Uphill work

Today’s guest picture comes from my elder son and shows one of his dogs having a grand postprandial snooze.

snoozing dogThe forecast was very good and the wind was light so it was a perfect day for a pedal and for once I had the time to take advantage of this.  Dropscone and I have been inveigled by the minister into entering a 50 mile sportive in Cumbria quite soon and the course there is very hilly so we thought that a 40 mile hilly ride of our own would be good preparation.

garmin 21 Apr 15This was by far the hilliest ride that my new knee had encountered so I persuaded Dropscone to take it very easily.  As this was a longer run than he is used to, he was quite pleased to comply.

In the event, we got round quite well, though a couple of stiff climbs in the middle of the ride caused my legs to complain a bit.

We definitely felt that we had been working hard by the time that we got back but the alarming thing is that the sportive has an extra 1000ft of climb in only an extra 10 miles and two of the climbs are steeper than anything we met today so more work is probably needed.  Hm.

I did take one picture on the way round but it turned out to be so dull that I didn’t have the heart to use it.  Fortunately there was plenty to look at in the garden when I got home.  It was really quite warm and pleasant today and the tulips spread their arms out to welcome the sun.

tulipstulipsAnd the dog’s tooth violets had come on well.

dog's tooth violetAfter lunch, I drove down to Longtown to collect two pairs of new glasses from the optician in the town.  It was such a lovely day that I took a walk round the Longtown ponds while I was there to test  my new pair of long distance spectacles.

I could see the ponds looking very green.

longtown pondsI could see flying ducks coming in to land on the river.

flying ducksAnd gorse bushes glowing in the sun.

gorseThere were quite a few butterflies about but as usual they were hard to pin down.  One peacock butterfly did a little sunbathing on the track in front of me.

butterflyIn the course of my walk, I saw three herons, one flying, one fishing and one doing some rather odd disco moves.

heronsThere were quite a lot of swallows about and several waterfowl too.  The swallows were too quick for me and the waterfowl stuck to the middle of the ponds so photo opportunities were hard to come by.  Here are a couple of shots which are representative of my efforts.

duck and swallowThe new glasses were certainly letting me see quite a lot of birds but they also seemed to alarm them too as they either swam or flew off as soon as I approached.  I saw goosanders, oyster catchers, tufted ducks, coots, herons, mallards, curlews and even a lone lapwing but in the end I had to settle for snapping first some slower moving fauna….

cattle…and finally some actually static flora.

wild flowers
Probably ladies’ smock
wild flowers
With added insect
This is definitely celandine

Spring was really springing.

spring at LongtownSpring at LongtownlichenI was pleased with my new glasses.  But even with my old gasses I wouldn’t have been able to miss the bridge over the Esk.  This is one of my favourite views.

Esk bridge at LongtownWhen I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from making the final preparations for a group presentation at a WRI competition this coming Saturday and was back filling and painting the floor in the front room.  I am looking forward to seeing her design very much.

I had time to look at some pretty flowers on the edge of the dam round the back of the house…

aubretia…before having my tea and going off to Carlisle with Susan to play with our recorder group.  We were just a quartet this week and enjoyed the music that our librarian Roy got out of his apparently inexhaustible big cupboard.  My second pair of glasses is set up to help me read music and look at computer screens.  They worked very well for the music but they are not so useful for a laptop as I am too close to the screen.  Perhaps I need longer arms.

This was the first really warm day of the year in our area and I felt that I had made good use of it.

The flying bird of the day is an oyster catcher from Longtown.  One of the many birds that flew off as I approached.

oyster catcher

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

34 thoughts on “Uphill work

  1. I have a rainy day off at last so am reading backwards. I will try to refrain from commenting on every post but if I do you don’t need to track back and follow my journey. 😉 It’s like one of those art movies where the plot runs backwards. I see you finally have tulips and dogtooth violets…gorgeous pics!

  2. Beautiful view of the countryside, as always. Some very colorful fungi on that branch! We have a lot of lichens festooning the trees here. During the winter and early spring rains, the lichens swell, giving the trees a grey-green leafy look from a distance. Farther up into the mountains the giant old trees seem to drip lichens, giving them an Ent-like appearance.

  3. Beautiful day over there! Tip from me: I bought a nice size computer monitor (23″ on the diag), a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. I plug the monitor into my laptop, and can view things nicely with my computer glasses. The monitors are quite inexpensive these days. I wasn’t able to manage with the laptop screen either.

  4. Particularly enjoyed the flying bird of the day and all that colour in your garden and elsewhere. Sorry the cycling took more of a toll on your knee than you thought, you can always change your mind about the 50 mile ride if needed, your knee is more important.

  5. A great selection of shots as always but I particularly like the heron shots, the lichen, the butterfly and the flying bird shot. Spring is really springing now! I think the bridge over the Esk is a lovely view too.

  6. Who knew herons were so nifty with the dance moves?! Thanks to your new glasses for prompting such a wonderful wander around the ponds.
    I am in awe of your cycling efforts as usual;

      1. as long as you start out small make it convincing (the cough, I mean – although I guess it could also be said for the sportive) all will be good 🙂

  7. Lovely doggie!
    Your ‘probably ladies’ smock’ looks exactly like the ‘definitely ladies’ smock’ in the wildlife part of my garden, also known as cuckoo flower.

  8. fabulous blog as always.. your hirundine down at Longtown looks like a Sandmartin.. but they do fly in mixed flocks with Swallows.

  9. Very fine FBof the D. The sportive sounds very challenging! Glad you managed the 40 mile trial run.

  10. What a perfectly lovely day! I just can’t get enough of your tulips, they are so gorgeous!

    We had a very fine day here Friday, and then Saturday was also nice and it’s been all downhill from there, with very cold temperatures and high winds. So it was especially nice to see your fine spring weather and sunshine.

  11. New glasses always seem to remind me how bad my eyes are getting, a few years ago I swapped to varifocals which has put paid to the walking around glasses versus doing things glasses and made the supermarket less of a performance.

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