Three journeys

Today’s guest picture shows a newspaper headline spotted in Hull by my friend Bruce, who is on a tour of interesting places in England.  He remarks that it is not a headline that he has seen before.  I remark that it must be hard to keep a flying goldfish in a bowl.

Newspaper in HullIt was a beautiful day today, with fluffy clouds in a blue sky and a very light wind.  It cried out for a cycle ride.  It would have got one straight after breakfast if the temperature had not been too close to zero for fun.  I waited around, looking out of the window occasionally…

robin and chaffinch
There was not a lot to see

…until it had crept up to a mellow 4°C.  I wrapped up well and then went off on the fairly speedy bike.

Rather alarmingly, the fields and the roadside were covered in a thick layer of yesterday’s hail and at places even the road itself was white.  I pottered along slowly and carefully until the very local nature of the storm yesterday was made plain by the complete disappearance of the evidence after a two miles.  From there on, conditions were perfect.

As the forecast for the next few days contains many indications of strong winds, I resolved to go as far as the new knee would let me while the going was good.

For the curious, details of the ride can be found by clicking on the image below.

garmin 25 March 15It was mostly gentle going in a green and pleasant land and as I had omitted to put a card in my camera, two pictures from my phone will have to do by way of an illustration.

River Annan
The River Annan seen on the outward leg of the trip.
Solway sky
The wide expanse of the Solway sky on my way home.

After thirty miles, my leg started to pass remarks so I stopped in Gretna for a bowl of soup and a poke of chips at the Old Tollbar cafe. This is advertised as  the last house in Scotland but it would have been the first house in Scotland had I approached it from the opposite direction.

Thus fortified, my legs stopped their moaning until I was near home.  Then they suggested, quite forcibly, that I give up any thoughts of a neat 50 miler and so I settled for 47.5 miles and a tasty heap of drop scones, freshly made by Mrs Tootlepedal when I got in.

It was such a nice day that I had a walk round the garden.

purple heaven
Colour was not in short supply…
frog spawn
…and frog spawn wasn’t scarce either. 
daffodils
Not quite a host yet
Spirea
Signs of life in a spirea

The answer to yesterday plant riddle is that the object was the rhizome of a water lily.  I felt quite a fool to be angrily hooking out a tyre only to find that it was a living plant.

water lilyIn my defence, Mrs Tootlepedal thought it was a tyre too when we saw it in the water and the pond is too crowded with plants anyway.

Flying birds were not available but a starling was back on the holly tree…

starling
About ten bickering starlings flew out of the tree as I got too near.

…and a portly pigeon sauntered about.

pigeonAfter a shower, I drove Mrs Tootlepedal up to the Langholm Moor for a brief bird watching session.  Moorland management was much in evidence when we arrived.  A tractor was mowing strips of vegetation….

Moorland tractor… probably to create fire breaks for the burning of the heather.

MuirburnThis burning is done to encourage new shoots in the heather for the grouse but it is subject to some controversy as a method of moorland management.

Naturally with all this going on not far from where we parked, we thought that there would be no chance of seeing any birds but a short eared owl soon made an appearance and drifted along the bank in front of us.  I followed it so far with the binoculars and then took a couple of shots for the record as it flew away.

owlAnother owl, or perhaps the same one again, if it had sneaked back undetected, made an appearance a bit further away later on.

owlWe also caught a passing glimpse of a merlin, flitting along above the heather so we were very satisfied with our outing.

On our way up to the moor, we had stopped at the Kilngreen to try and get a flying bird picture for the day.  The ducks were happy to stay firmly down to earth.

MallardMrs Tootlepedal strolled along to the Meeting of the Waters to ponder on the flow of the Ewes where it joins the Esk.

Meeting of the waters
It actually flows upstream at the junction.

In the evening, I went off to Brampton to visit the Brampton Community Choir.  They recently advertised for a musical director and then their old MD came back from illness and they unadvertised the job.  He is likely to go away within the next year or so and they asked if I would like to go down and see the choir meanwhile just in case.

It has about 60 members and and makes a good sound.  I sang along with the tenors, sight reading  as best as I could and it was arranged that I should go along in the Autumn and conduct a couple of pieces then to see how the choir and I get along.   I look forward to it.

I did find a gull to help out, under protest, with the flying bird of the day position.

flying gull

PS: While I was looking at today’s pictures on my phone, I discovered one that I took on Warbla the other day and didn’t use.  I don’t usually put in pictures which I haven’t taken on the day but I thought this was worth looking at.  The phone has easily my widest angle lens.

view from warbla

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Three journeys

  1. I’ve potted up and planted a few water lilies but I don’t ever remember seeing a root like that one. I probably just wasn’t paying attention.
    I’ve noticed that my phone is very wide angle too but I rarely get a good photo with it. Yours look much better. maybe I should fiddle around with the settings.

    1. Mrs Tootlepedal assures me that it is rhizome. It’s been in the pond for about twenty years so it may well have developed a bit more than most.

      I’ve got my phone set to ‘gaudy’ or the equivalent. It only works well when the conditions are absolutely right though.

  2. Your pictures are always wonderful, but these take the cake, biscuit or whatever. The lily rhizome had me stumped, as does the “right” side in the to burn or not to burn heather debate but I’m utterly certain 47.52 (which rounds up to 48, when all’s said and done) cycle ride is not to be sneezed at 🙂 Congratulations.

  3. My heavens, you cycled nearly fifty miles! That’s the distance from here to Boston, maybe more … seems an awful long way. Good for you. Lovely pictures of birds and flowers, I enjoy them a lot.

  4. Congratulations on the nearly 50 miler, that must have been satisfactory. Hope the knee doesn’t sulk today. Lots of nice photos but the owl shots in particular are v good.

  5. Congratulations on the (nearly) fifty mile ride today, and a walk after, your legs must be doing much better than 2 months ago. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, you’re very lucky to live in such a beautiful, and photogenic, area.

  6. What a cycle ride, well done indeed. Loved the picture from the day before, well worth putting in. Fancy starting up as a choir director, what fun.

  7. What a great effort with your ride! I’d be very happy to do that. Beautiful scenery and bird pictures again. I love your countryside. Thanks for the answer to the puzzle. A rhizome? I never would have guessed.

  8. Can’t believe you bicycled so far after having the operation so comparatively recently!
    Exciting news about the choir.

  9. Your bike ride would have taken me to work and two thirds of the way home again, had I wished to cycle in a skirt suit and heels, which I didn’t, and probably couldn’t . . . your new knee is performing brilliantly. And now a burgeoning musical director? What impressive things you and Mrs. T. do in your spare time!

  10. “A poke of chips”……. that takes me back, haven’t heard that since I was in Northern Ireland, didn’t know it was colloquial to Scotland as well. Thanks for teaching me something new. I envy you your short eared owls, I hear owls here most nights, and on my early morning commute, but rarely see them. I have seen a merlin, up on the moors towards Brecon.

  11. I’m glad the tire riddle was solved. They burn the gorse here for much the same reason but it does leave the heathland looking very bare and desolate for a while.

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