From feast to famine

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce who remarks that he knew some dogs were given chips but he didn’t realise that they got cheese as well.

chips for dogsWe had another sunny day here today which was very welcome but it was accompanied by a brisk and chilly wind which made cycling harder work than I had hoped.

I made a venison stew for the slow cooker while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir and then rather reluctantly got the fairly speedy bike out for a pedal.  I had hoped for a wide ranging ride across the hills but settled for skulking up and down the valley bottom to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back three times to make up my 21 miles.

This severely limited my opportunities for taking pictures as I went along though I did stop to record the devastation of the wood along the banks of the Wauchope just before the school.

Wauchope forestryIt is quite striking that escarpments that used to look quite majestic when clothed with lofty trees turn out to be rather undistinguished when the trees are cleared.  I shall be more exposed to the winds in future along this section.   The foresters have stopped for the moment at this point….

Wauchope forestry…but I am not sure why.  Maybe these trees are too spindly to be worth cutting,  The trees that are left show clearly the foresters plan of planting the trees so closely that they have nowhere to grow except straight up.

The effect on the residents of the schoolhouse must be very noticeable.  Here is the house photographed on a ride last February…

Wauchope School
Wauchope Schoolhouse looking very snug tucked in among the trees.

…and here it is this morning.

Wauchope schoolI met a group of cheery cyclists on the bridge at the schoolhouse….

cyclists wauchope schoolThe two ladies on the right have recently acquired new speedy bikes and are enjoying using them a lot.  I couldn’t help feeling that the young lad in the photo was amazingly hardy to be out in shorts and short sleeves when I was well wrapped up and still feeling chilly.  Oh, to be young again.

I did my three laps, struggling up the slight hill into the wind and nipping back down hill and wind at a good speed but didn’t get much satisfaction out of it.  The air quality is very poor at the moment and my asthma doesn’t like it much and this may have contributed to my slight lack of gaiety.

I wasn’t cheered up by the complete lack of birds in the garden when I got home.  I didn’t see a single bird on the feeder at all.  This is the first time since we started feeding the birds that we have had such a drought.    I am hoping that things might pick up a bit when the flapping scaffolding and its cover is taken down in a day or two but it may just be that there is still plenty of seed to be had out in the country and there is no call for a feeder in the town.

I had to settle for a picture of one of several bunches of small daffodils which are presently brightening the garden.

daffodilsThere was a moment of excitement after lunch when Mrs Tootlepedal announced that she was going outside to do some stripping but even this wasn’t quite as exciting as it might have been.

A skirting board for the front room getting some care and attention

The afternoon was taken up by a trip to Carlisle for a choir practice.  Once again we had a substitute musical director and although she was very competent, it only went to show what a splendid choir master our regular leader is.  He is back next week.

The slow cooked venison stew turned out very well indeed.

There were still no birds in the garden when we got home bar two bickering  blackbirds and some gloomy looking jackdaws perched in the walnut tree.

jackdawsThe flying bird of the day is a passing rook.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “From feast to famine

  1. I had to keep looking at the two photos of the Wauchope Schoolhouse – what a remarkable change. The occupants must feel very exposed now. In side it must feel like someone has opened the curtains!

    1. It is surprising. Sometimes it is better as it opens up a view but often it leaves the place looking a bit bedraggled. They replant very quickly and we have seen the same wood cut down twice in several places since we came to live here.

  2. I don’t know how things work there, but I assume that the landowner around the schoolhouse had to give permission for the logging to take place. Still, I much prefer the old view of the trees to the current state after the logging took place.

    I hope that the weather and air quality improve soon, I know how anxious you are for an extended cycling outing.

  3. No birds in the garden must have been quite a surprise. You did well to capture a flying bird of the day in the circumstances..

  4. That is shocking to see those trees removed by the school. Couldn’t they have at least left one row? Removing all those trees made the schoolhouse appear completely different. Love the daffodils!

  5. Our trees look every bit like those. Maybe you should send those foresters to our property? 😉

    Tom, I am so surprised to read that you are already back out there riding again! WONDERFUL NEWS! 😀

  6. Venison stew? I’ve never tasted venison, what’s it like? Sad to see all those trees disappear. The valley sides, in the next valley have also been stripped bare, because of the risk of a rampant tree destroying disease. The result has been the introduction of a special “log train” travelling, everyday, from Port Talbot, where I work in the signal box, up to saw mills up in North Wales

    1. It’s very tasty if cooked well and with a distinctive taste. You’ll just have to try it as I can’t describe it. I expect that it is the larches that are being cut down as there is a big larch disease outbreak. You are lucky to get log trains, we have endless log lorries bashing our roads to bits.

  7. That is quite a change in surroundings for the school house! I’m not a great one for trees right up to the house…here the possums love to drop from the trees onto your roof and you can get quite tired of that noctural activity after a (short) while.

  8. You are lucky to live in such a nice area for cycling. I always find the borders quite flat compared with Central Scotland.

    As for cycling in shorts it’s too cold. During the Tour de France the pros wear leg warmers while training.

  9. We used to drive by a little cottage in the woods on the way to Seattle, and then one day all the trees were gone and it was a little cottage in full light, must have been quite a shock. (The land all around belonged to someone other than the cottager.)

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