Home and away

Today’s guest picture comes from the camera of Mrs Tootlepedal, who was away in Edinburgh visiting the WGB.  It shows Matilda in animated discussion with a duck.

Matilda with duckI stayed at home this week, partly because mother and grandmother can manage surprisingly well without my help and partly because we were promised a reasonable day with gentle winds and my cycling mileage has fallen a bit behind schedule.

I haven’t had a ride of above 22 miles all month so I thought that I would get a little further today if I could.  I offered Dropscone the chance of a longer run but he politely declined it and I met him whizzing home from his favourite morning run shortly after I had started out.  I was a bit late setting off as I had to wait for our plumber to finish a job before I went.

The weather looked a bit changeable so I was well waterproofed and was able to laugh in the face of a shower that chose exactly the same moment to start raining as I started pedalling.  It was not long though before I was out of the rain and able to enjoy the scenery….

Wauchope Road….and again not long before the clouds cleared and I had a good spell of pedalling in sunshine.  I was aiming for a three hour journey and hoping to do at least forty miles so I had to keep calm when I only managed 12 miles in the first hour.  This was due to some hills and a breeze in my face so I wasn’t unduly worried.

I stopped to take a picture of the ruined church at Hoddom Cross….

Hoddom Cross…before turning left to head down towards Annan.

Most of our autumn colour this year is coming from beech trees and hedges and I enjoyed this fine hedge on the road to Annan.

Beech hedgeI didn’t go into Annan itself but turned left to go past Chapelcross Power Station.  A substantial body of workers and considerable amounts of money are going into decommissioning this old nuclear power plant but it never seems to have changed as I go past it.   It will be a long and expensive business.

At the top of the hill above Eaglesfield, I paused to admire a rainbow…..which faded away in perfect synchronicity with my withdrawal of the camera from my pocket, leaving just a faint a Cheshire Cat smile behind it by the time that my finger hit the button.

faint rainbowMy route took my down through Kirtlebridge to Kirkpatrick Fleming and thence it was plain sailing with a following wind back home.  It had started to rain in quite a threatening manner near Chapelcross but for once, I managed to get ahead of the rain and got home dry and with time to admire a nice pair of hedges near Canonbie….

beech hedges…and the some bright colour at Knittyholm, just four miles from Langholm.

KnittyholmI arrived home bang on three hours of cycling time (with a little stationary banana eating time added on) and hit my forty mile target too.  In the first hour, hilly and into the wind, I covered 12 miles, in the second hour, less hilly and turning half way through, I covered 13 miles and in the last hour, flat and with a favouring breeze, I managed 16 miles.  I call that good route choice.

Those idly curious about the ride can click on the map for more details.

garmin 24 Oct 14I would have hoped to do more miles in the time but not only was my boiler a bit short of steam today but I can’t put full power through my bad knee any more so I have to be grateful for what I can do.

My friend Sue’s sourdough starter is behaving brilliantly and I was able to have a couple of slices of very tasty bread from the loaf that I made yesterday with home made raspberry jam for my lunch.

I had some time to spare for staring out of the kitchen window after lunch and I did what I should have done more often and put my camera on a tripod and used a wireless remote to fire it off.   I got a triple bonus.  The birds weren’t alarmed by my looming presence at the window, I was able to keep a better eye out for approaching birds than I could if I was peering through the view finder and the camera was a lot steadier than I can hold it.

The results in my opinion made the extra trouble worthwhile.   The first picture was taken while I was still hand holding the camera….

A bunch of house sparrows appeared and left soon afterwards.

…but the rest are from the tripod.  Although the light was not very good, I was spoiled for choice of chaffinches.

perching chaffinchchaffinch arrivingchaffinch arrivingchaffinch arrivingflying chaffinchflying chaffinchI put down the remote and walked up to the High Street to pay for my next  bag of bird seed and some Ethiopian coffee.  Both come in big bags but fortunately the 25kg bag of sunflower hearts had been delivered to my door by the time that I got home.  I was able to carry my own coffee.

When I got home, I found a message on my answerphone to ring the hospital and when I did, they told me that they were just organising the theatre list for knee operations and that I should expect to get a date for my proposed new knee before the end of November.  This is both exciting and rather alarming.

In an effort to get nearer a Mediterranean diet, I made a large bowl of mushroom risotto using Arborio rice for my tea.

When Mrs Tootlepedal got home in the evening, she told me that she had met the World’s Greatest Uncle  (our older son Tony) while she was in Edinburgh.  He told her that he had just done four days of jury service in a very distressing case and moreover, that he had been foreman of the jury.  He was pleased that he had been excused further jury service for at least five years as he had not enjoyed doing his duty very much, though he was proud that he had done it.  He couldn’t stop long as he was scurrying around trying to catch up with all the jobs he had missed during the week.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow, a female this time, in one of the very few brighter moments of the afternoon.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “Home and away

  1. Loved the picture of Matilda and glad you managed the bike ride you had planned. I must say that I don’t consider bread, even sour dough, and jam an adequate lunch for a chap of your age. The tripod was a very good idea, some splendid bird images resulted.

  2. I’m sure that you look at getting a new knee with mixed emotions, knowing that there will be some pain during recovery after the surgery, but afterwards, being pain free. My uncle, and a few other people I know have had it done, and they all say the same thing, that they wish that they hadn’t put it off as long as they did. Good luck! Oh, and the birds shot using the tripod are even better than your usual!

    1. I am trying not to think about the pain after surgery thank you very much. I am sure it will be worthwhile if I manage to follow the post-op regime carefully.

  3. I’m glad the sourdough starter is working well; now it’s getting a bit colder I have started using the tealight/oven method to rise the dough.

  4. Lovely picture of Matilda. Well done to Tony for coping with that distressing case as jury foreman.
    Well done to you, too, for the long ride. Glad to hear that you will soon get a date for your knee operation.

  5. Jury duty can be very stressful. I’m glad he was excused for five years.

    Great capture of all the fall colours. I am glad you can still carry your coffee ;-).

    Bring on the new knew; we will all be glad for you when that is accomplished.

  6. I think I would quite enjoy that graveyard – I love a good, old graveyard, they are so interesting. Plenty of stories to be thought up about the people buried there. Glad to hear you enjoyed a nice pedal at a steady pace. Great photos from your use of the tripod!

  7. Wonderful trip. I spent the last hour looking up the places on maps, getting distracted and reading about nearby places on your trip too. Then I moved onwards with your pedaling as you wrote. Was delighted when you posted a map. Was like solving a mystery without looking ahead in the book and having the missing information filled in. Thank you for the little vacation, with pictures, on this dreary windy rainy day. Allan (of tanglycottage)

    1. Thank you for your kind words Allan. It was not quite as adventurous as canoeing but I did enjoy my outing. It is good to find another map enthusiast. They are my favourite sort of reading.

  8. You got a good ride in and the rainbow was lovely even if it was fading. I like the ruined church too. It’s understandable being a little worried but the knee operation but I’m sure you’ll be glad you did it once it’s over.

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