Making the most of it

The guest picture of the day is a fine crab apple tree, her pride and joy, sent to me by my Somerset correspondent Venetia.   I can see why she likes it.

crab appleBy all accounts, today is to be the last of our recent sunny spell with the temperature set to drop, the wind to rise and even talk of snow at the weekend.  In these circumstances, it seemed like a good idea to put the good weather to work.

After a quick whizz round the garden….

Mrs Tootlepedal likes this combination of colours

…and a little time spent cleaning the chain and gears, it was off up the Wauchope road on the fairly speedy bike.

garmin 23 Apr 15For once the Garmin website has reported the weather pretty accurately.  It was warm, it was sunny and the wind was conspicuous by its absence.

After the hilly pedal with Dropscone on Tuesday, I was after a much more gentle effort today.  My legs were even more insistent about this and at one stage fairly early on, were even wondering whether going home might  be a good idea.  It is never a good plan to listen to your legs so I spoke to them severely and after about seven miles, they started to play ball and I enjoyed the rest of the ride.

I had Pocketcam with me and was able to record the complete clearing of the bank below Wauchope Schoolhouse.

Wauchope SchoolhouseIt has changed the character of the road entirely.  My favourite plan on very windy days of riding up and down to Wauchope Schoolhouse in the sheltered valley looks as though it won’t work any more.

I picked up speed as I went along after a very slow start and soon found myself on the old A74, once the main artery between England and Scotland and now a mere back road beside the new motorway.  The verges were blazing with dandelions.

A 74I pedalled down to Gretna where I found that the installers of the Armco have made special provision of a nice flat bit for an old man to sit and eat a banana.

armcoI made a brief diversion into England and then headed back north, stopping to eat my second banana beside a pretty stream near Corries Mill.

StreamJust round the corner was a large field of rape.

rape fieldThis was beautiful to look at but very bad for my breathing so I held my breath for as long as possible and got by with no harm done.   My legs held up very well, helped by the marked absence of any hills and I got home in good style.

The garden was looking good in the sun.

tulipMrs Tootlepedal has been making good progress with her work on the floor and is in the process of reintroducing some furniture.  She has been working non stop for several days and I thought that an outing would be just the thing for her on such a lovely day. By fortunate co-incidence, Sandy rang up and suggested a trip to the Eskrigg Nature Reserve at Lockerbie and this is just what Mrs Tootlepedal enjoys so Sandy came down and off we went.

The reserve was looking at its best…Eskrigg

…and tempted me into taking far too many pictures.

There was a lot to watch on the pond.  There were ducks diving….

duck diver…and geese watching.

geeseOne of the geese did a duck impersonation….

goose diving…but ended up looking more like a faceless but demented rabbit.

A rough gang of mallards swept across in front of us….

mallards…in pursuit of a lone female.

This is wonderful place for seeing greater spotted woodpeckers….

greater spotted woodpeckergreater spotted woodpecker…and red squirrels.

red squirrelI took about fifty squirrel pictures but I have forced myself to reduce the number of these shots used in this post of these wonderful creatures to only two.

red squirrel…oh all right….three.

red squirrel…oh go on….just one more.

red squirreland definitely the last one.

red squirrelWe met two ladies who had driven ninety miles just to watch the squirrels.  They were very happy people.

While Sandy and I snapped away, Mrs Tootlepedal had her sketch pad with her.

Eskrigg sketchIn the end, time ran out out on us and we reluctantly left the squirrels scampering about and headed for home.

After a short break for tea, I met up with Sandy again and we went off to the Archive Centre for our usual Thursday evening session.  Mrs Tootlepedal continued to work away in the front room.  For some reason, both Sandy and I were suffering from a little tiredness and we didn’t work for too long before retiring to the  Eskdale for refreshment.

All in all, I think between us, we made the very best we could of a superb spring day and I hope that the memory of it will let us laugh at the snow if it  comes on Saturday.

The flying bird of the day is one of the Eskrigg mallards.

flying Mallard

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “Making the most of it

  1. I am so pleased you included all the red squirrel photos! The flying mallards are quite beautiful too.
    I am constantly amazed at Mrs T’s talents – her sketch is very good.

  2. Well, now I’m convinced that there is nothing that Mrs. T can’t do. I used to be able to sketch like that and seeing her example makes me want to try it again.
    I love the dandelions on the roadsides. We seem to be suffering a dandelion drought here and I haven’t seen a single one.
    I like the squirrel’s ears too. Ours don’t have the hairy ear tufts and the tail is quite a bit different.
    Nice shots of the mallards!

    1. It has been the American grey squirrel that has made seeing red squirrels here such a rare and treasured event. They carry a pox to which they are impervious but which kills the red squirrels.

  3. I love the little tufts on the squirrels ears. It reminds me of our dog who has tufted ears. Great photos, especially the one of the mallard upside down in the water.

  4. Your flying male mallards remind me of a certain once-popular wall decoration, though yours are incomparably more tasteful of course.
    What’s an Armco?

  5. Great photos of the squirrels and ducks, for that matter, all the photos! I hope that the forecasters are wrong, and that you’ll have more good weather, as I’ve really been enjoying your spring, almost as much as you.

  6. The fields of rapeseed are extraordinary here, too, but I’m guessing spring is a little more advanced there with you …. or perhaps you have more flowers. Iris, lilac and wisteria are blooming here, to give an idea. I hear at home … not yet daffodils, not yet forsythia.

  7. What a wonderful place the Eskrigg reserve is. I loved your picture of the goose/rabbit and especially enjoyed all those squirrels. Glad your legs managed a longish ride after you had spoken to them severely.

  8. No wonder Mrs Tootlepedal loves the Eskrigg Reserve. Your beautiful photos of the geese, mallards and red squirrels were superbly rounded off in my opinion by that excellent sketch.

  9. What wonderful pictures. The red squirrel ones are particularly good, including Mrs T’s artistry.

  10. You can never have too many adorable squirrel photos in a post, can you? I loved all of yours! So cute. Mrs. T’s artistic ability is impressive! I can’t even sketch decent stick people. Both “bottoms up” shots made me smile. That reserve looks like a real jewel.

  11. I love the goose;duck’rabbit and the old A74. The FBotD’s neck is the most gorgeous colour, and the bark on Mrs T trees looks just like the “real deal”. I call that a pretty good use of a very clement day.

  12. I don’t think there were enough squirrels but otherwise it looks like a lovely day. Mrs T is a very talented woman, is there nothing she can’t do?

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