Today’s guest picture of a magnolia in bloom, taken in NZ where my brother has just been skiing, shows that spring is round the corner there at the same time. This was sent to me by Jennie, who lives in the north of the South Island.
We are headed in the opposite direction meteorologically from her of course but not quite yet as our spell of dry and warm weather continues. The wind has started to get up a bit which may be heralding a change but Dropscone and I had no need for overshoes or rain jackets as we set off for the morning run to Gair.
After his record of two punctures in his last two rides, Dropscone was hoping for the best today. He had discovered a small thorn in his tyre and as a result had put a different tyre on for this morning’s ride and this turned out to be a sound decision as we skimmed along with not a hint of a hiss of escaping air. There was a bit of puffing from me though as we had to work hard into the wind on the way home to get the average up to our target of 15 mph.
Our post ride coffee and scones became a very sociable affair with the arrival of first Sandy and then Scott, the cycling minister, who had both been voting in the referendum. Luckily I had made a big bucket of coffee and had some supplies of Selkirk bannock on hand so we were all fed and watered.
Once peace had returned, Mrs Tootlepedal and I took an old exercise bike round to a friend who is also going to get a knee replacement and badly needed some way of building up her muscles before the operation. We combined this with a visit to the polling station to cast our votes too and then I had some time to wander round the garden.
As a marker of just how dry it has been, one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s rhododendrons was looking so poorly that she thought that it was dying but a really good watering was enough to bring it back to life. If it doesn’t rain soon, we will have to start checking out shrubs more carefully.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help with the driving for the disabled and I waited for the arrival of Sandy as we had agreed to go for a photographic outing. After considerable debate, we decided to take up Sandy’s suggestion of a visit to the old port at Annan, a town about twenty miles from us. Neither of us had visited it before so we were interested as to what we would find.
As the river was low and the tide was out, what we didn’t find was any water. There were boats though….
There was not a lot to detain us on the waterless dockside so we decided to cross the River Annan by a modern bridge built in conjunction with Sustrans as part of the National Cycle network and go for a walk on the other side. The bridge looked a little grimy as we approached it…
In spite of the shadows on the bridge, it was another hazy day and rather flat for taking photographs. Looking up river as we crossed, we could see the old bridge taking the main road into the town.
….and even had the bonus of another tiny bridge to cross as we went along.
We noticed that we were being accompanied by a ghost railway in the woods beside the path.
It must have led to the large boiler making factory that we could see in front of us. We got almost as far as the factory before my knee suggested that turning for home would be a good idea. We had to keep a sharp eye out for low flying cyclists as we went along…
In spite of the weather feeling like late summer (we were walking in shirtsleeves), the trees know that autumn is coming…
Our return walk took us through the hidden sixth arch of the railway bridge….
I snoozed gently as Sandy drove us home and we polished off the remains of the Selkirk bannock with our cup of tea when we got back to the house.
In the evening, Sandy and I went to the Archive Centre and put a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the database. These two weeks took us to the end of 1887 and the putting of another year to bed is always a moment of satisfaction. Less satisfactory is the fact that the data miners are already two months into 1888 and my in-tray is piling up.
We retired to the Eskdale for our customary after-archiving refreshment and raised a glass to the our absent friend Jean.
The requirements of voting and going to Annan left me with no time to catch a flying bird today but as I have already exceeded my daily limit for blog pictures, this can only be a source of relief for busy readers.