Today’s guest picture comes from my son Tony, who is having a well earned rest on Cyprus with Marianne. There they need umbrellas to shelter them from the sun, a novel idea to us.
We had a genuinely warm and pleasant day today which was a great treat. I didn’t make the fullest outdoor use of it because much of the morning was spent being social indoors. First Dropscone came round with some scones for coffee. He has been beaten by the gravel on the back roads and has had to alter his usually immutable morning cycle route to avoid the worst patches. He had already been out for 20 miles by the time he came to see me, putting me to shame.
To be fair, I had walked round the garden. There is more to see every day just now.
Mrs Tootlepedal and I have been discussing whether things are blue or violet. There is nor much doubt about a cornflower and a viola..
…but a polemonium is not so clear.
After Dropscone left (with a little rhubarb to help us reduce our rhubarb mountain), I had time to watch the birds for a moment….
…before the minister arrived. Scott’s scone and coffee radar had misfired and Drospcone and I had finished everything off before he came but he took it very well. He too had been out on his bike so I felt very badly about my lack of exercise. He has been pedalling a lot recently and is going to do a 100km sportive this weekend. He should be ready for it.
When he left, I went to assist Mrs Tootlepedal who was clearing out some sickly privet in the back bed. This involved a good deal of shredding and kept me busy until lunchtime.
Usually I find it hard to get out on the bike if I don’t get going in the morning but today I surprised myself a lot by finding myself in cycling gear soon after lunch and then actually getting the fairly speedy bike out and going off on a ride. Scott, the minister, had told me that he had been round Bailliehill and Paddockhole on his morning ride so I resolved to do the same in the afternoon.
It was a lovely day for cycling and for the first time this year, I went out with only a single jersey on. I even ventured to expose my new knee to the fresh air and put on a pair of shorts even more stylish than those worn by Stan Warwinka in Paris last week.
I soon passed one sign of the better weather.
I stopped again for a drink and a banana when I reached the top of the climb after eleven miles. I love this unfenced road snaking across the col between the Esk and the Water of Milk. It is not very high up but there is a great feeling of being out in the hills as you cycle along it.
Keen cycling fans may wonder why I need to stop to eat a banana and have a drink when cyclists eat and drink on the move all the time. All I can say is that they have much better bike handling skills than me and if I tried to eat a banana while pedalling, I would probably end up in hospital. I have never been able to ride a bike with ‘no hands’.
I didn’t stop for any more photographs as my legs began to get rather competitive and I pedalled round the 26 miles circular route in a time that made me feel quite cheerful. My knee was a bit sore when I got home but it soon recovered.
I had enough energy left for another walk round the garden when I got back.
The chimney under the feeder has been brightened up a lot recently.
…before joining Mrs Tootlepedal to watch part of a very entertaining Australian production of the Pirates of Penzance on DVD.
Then I had a shower, made some tasty cauliflower cheese for tea and went off to drive Susan to Carlisle for our weekly recorder group meeting. Our plan to put in some serious work for a forthcoming concert was somewhat dented by the absence of one of our players on account of a family crisis but we had an enjoyable play and some useful practice all the same.
We are promised an even warmer day tomorrow with even more sun and even less wind. If that happens, I predict an early return of the stylish shorts. Sunblock may be involved.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch diving for a perch.