Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my Newcastle correspondent and shows her daughter Hannah with a square blue tit nest from their square blue tit nest box. Earlier in the year some square blue tits had nested in it.
It was a warm and pleasant day with light winds and no threat of rain so it seemed like a good day go cycling. It took quite a bit of mental effort to get my body to agree but in the end I managed to get mind and body united and when Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I got the fairly speedy bike out and set off to go where my fancy took me.
Mrs Tootlepedal is a public spirited woman and she had noticed that one or two of the road signs which she passes when on her way back from catching the train to visit the world’s greatest baby were rather dirty and hard to read. As a result, on the last occasion that she had passed the signs, she had stopped the car and got out the handy cloth and bottle of water that she just happened to have with her and gave the signs a good clean.
It seemed only fair to cycle that way and record one of the shiny signs.
We had driven along this road yesterday and when we were quite near Lockerbie, we passed a small unsignposted side road and Mrs Tootlepedal had idly asked, “I wonder where that goes?”
We though that it might go to Castlemilk and when I took it today, I found that this was the case. It wasn’t very long but it is always a pleasure to find a new road to cycle along.
I followed the old A74 south for a few miles but then turned west until I got to the decommissioned nuclear power station at Chapelcross…
…where I stopped for a banana and a small piece of chocolate. I had done 25 miles by this time and was looking at about another 25 miles for my route home. The lovely weather had tempted me to take a longer route than I had planned and I knew that I might be going to be a bit short of food.
The route was well chosen as the first half of the loop had the wind against and a good deal of climbing but the second half, along the shore of the Solway and up the Esk valley was much less demanding and helped by the wind.
In a moment of good fortune, the distance clicked over to fifty miles just as I turned into our drive.
Dropscone tells me that he went out earlier in the morning determined to do his longest ride of the year but miscalculated and missed his target by two tenths of a mile. He’ll just have to go out again.
I didn’t stop for many photographs as getting on and off the bike is still a bit of a pain but I did enjoy these swallows at Tundergarth getting ready to leave.
And four tall trees standing by themselves near Eastriggs caught my eye. Perhaps they are part of a hedge that got out of control.
I gave the speedy bike a little rest in the sun when I got home….
Mrs Tootlepedal has got plum consumption on her mind so she made six pounds of plum jam while I ate as many as I could without making myself ill but we still have a large number left. It seems churlish to complain but the plum tree produced no plums last year and far too many this year. We are expecting a poor year again in 2015.
The sunshine had brought the sedum on and the sedum had attracted a peacock butterfly…
As well as the Shirley poppies, there are a few opium poppies scattered around the garden which appear from time to time. The latest one is a very delicate purple…
Although I have been doing a lot of complaining about sore hips, the fifty miles that I cycled today brought up exactly 500 miles for the month which was very satisfactory all things considered. As a reward I treated myself to a large dob of ice cream on the tasty bramble and apple crumble which Mrs Tootlepedal had made for our tea. It rounded off another good day (though I am creaking a bit when I walk).
One of the sparring sparrows turns up as flying bird of the day.