Driven to drink

In answer to my plea for some guest pictures, my friend Liz, whose official status is Dropscone’s sister, sent me this picture which she took of a modern grotesque, carved during some restoration work at Lincoln cathedral.  She notes that it was made during the great banking crisis.

Lincoln Feb 2015 097It was another glorious day, although a drift of light cloud towards the evening heralded a coming change in the weather tomorrow.  At 18°C in the middle of the morning, it was at my perfect temperature but at 24° in the early afternoon, it was too hot for me. Tomorrow it will be too cold again.  I am never happy.

Dropscone came round for coffee, having had his morning pedal.  He was quite pleased because recently he has been steadily improving his cadence (the speed at which his legs go round when he pedals) and today, he achieved a new record.  His scones were very good too.

When he left, I had a walk round the garden.   It was almost too bright to take pictures but a geranium cried out for a portrait.

geraniumThe sunshine picked out the iridescent colours of a starling’s plumage.

starlingBelow the feeder, a young blackbird hoped for a generous parent…

blackbird…but was disappointed and soon flew off.

I mixed sitting in the cool indoors with sawing up the rest of Dropscone’s tree and Mrs Tootlepedal’s privet, both of which are now safely in the log pile ready for next winter.  I also sieved a little compost from Bin D.  It is still a little soggy from the recent  rain but it is drying out well.

Mrs Tootlepedal was keen for a cycle ride and as she likes to pedal different routes rather than just up and down out local roads, we decided to go to Carlisle and pedal along the Caldew cycleway to Dalston and back.  We cycled this five mile trail shortly after it opened a few years ago and enjoyed it but it had some niggly bits along it.  However, we have been told that it was much improved so we thought that we would go down and see of this was indeed true.

We waited until we hoped that the heat of the day might have dropped a bit before setting off but the temperature gauge in the car, which was standing in the sun,  still said 31°C when we got in.  Mercifully, it went down to 23° as we drove along.

We parked beside the railway in Carlisle and started our ride by pedalling under the tracks.

English Damside
The sign on the left points to Dropscone’s favourite shop.

We soon found the route had indeed been greatly improved and cruised along smooth surfaces beside the river Caldew.

New trackWhen we got to a substantial weir on the river, there were plenty of people paddling in the river and a group of bold young people were standing on top of the weir and leaping off from time to time.

Caldew weirThere was a thin layer of cloud by this time and we were grateful to be protected from the direct rays of the sun and with the gentle wind whihc we created while pedalling, it was a perfect day for a ride.  Sadly, the same could not be said for photography and my little Pocketcam positively hated the diffuse light so the pictures don’t do justice to the views we saw as we passed at all.  Still, I took plenty.

Thanks to the excellent trail, we were soon out of the town and into the country.  Everything was as green as it could be, except where it was dotted with a rich tapestry of wild flowers.

Caldew CyclewayCaldew CyclewayThere were several footbridges across the river along the route and this more impressive railway bridge too.

Although the trail passes a mill and a Nestle factory, it is never far from the river bank….

Caldew….and always a pleasure to be on.  The highlight of the day was a profusion of sweet rocket all along the way.

sweet rocket Caldew CyclewayI was delighted to be passed  by a train as we rode along the railway line…

railway …but it was by us before I could get Pocketcam into action.

Just before we got to Dalston, I stopped to take a close up of a bunch of sweet rocket.

sweet rocketWe have never seen such a display as we saw today.

We cycled through the village and crossed the Caldew on a foot and cycle bridge.  There were plenty of people enjoying putting a toe in the water along with their friends.

Caldew at DalstonWe made a modest circuit which took us through the wonderfully named Buckabank and then popped into a pub in the centre of the village for a refreshing half pint.

The pub had a little garden at the back with some pretty flowers and a shady spot to sit.

Pub at dalstonBehind the pub was a charmingly restored old courtyard.

Courtyard dalstonMrs Tootlepedal pointed out that it wouldn’t have looked so elegant when it was a proper working environment.

We rejoined the trail for the homeward leg and I couldn’t resist having another shot of the sweet rocket.

sweet rocketI think that we might have been on the trail on the best day of the year as far as wild flowers went.

All too soon we were back in Carlisle, passing under a main road on an old railway line beside the river….

Our final bridge…and in the car park ready to pack up the bikes and head for Langholm.

Car park carlisleYou can just see two of the most important things about Carlisle in the picture, the cathedral looming over the trees and a train sneaking through them.  At one time, seven different railway companies ran trains in and out of Carlisle.

I don’t think that there can be many better short, flat cycle rides than this one, especially at this time of year and on such a perfect cycling day.

There was still enough light for us to be impressed by a flag iris when we got home.

flag iris

Mrs Tootlepedal did some much needed watering before coming in.

The flying bird of the day is a little siskin.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Driven to drink

  1. The sweet rocket looks like our imported “dames rocket” (Hesperis matronalis) and might be one and the same. I’ve never seen such large beautiful colonies of it here.
    I think your camera did a pretty good job with the landscapes.

  2. I grew more and more envious as I read your post – what a lovely place to cycle. The iris is glorious!

  3. My mother was very fond of the sweet rocket — that’s just what she called it — growing in the tall grass behind their house here in NH. So I’m very fond of it too. I was very surprised a few years ago, trying an unfamiliar bag of salad greens, by Arugula. Looked it up — it’s the same plant! You can see the whole story on Wikipedia, so interesting.

  4. You had a fine day, even if it was too warm for your liking. I love it when you take these excursions to other places, the countryside is always pleasant to look at, and I learn far more then I would from any book.

  5. The guest picture is wonderfully creepy. I am impressed by your fields of wildflowers. The sweet rocket is a vision of loveliness. I rarely see such fields of flowers around Brisbane. The outback comes alive with colour though after rains. You are having our current winter day temperatures and I am finding it pleasantly cool. I would really suffer in your Scottish winter! It is understandable that you would find it uncomfortably warm given what the weather usually throws at you. Thank you again for another beautiful set of photos and an entertaining read.

  6. Had to compare C to F and indeed 64.4 degrees is just about perfect. 60 F is ideal to me.

    Glad you both had such a good day out. Love the people and cattle by the river. The sweet rocket field looks glorious.

  7. What an excellent cycle route with so much to look at on the way. I loved the restored courtyard, so colourful. Your flag iris picture is an absolute winner.

  8. I first read today’s blog on my smartphone, and couldn’t for the life of me see the train. It has – thankfully – become apparent on my 19″ screen!

  9. What a perfect ride beside the river. And with the wild flowers in profusion too. The sweet rocket is spectacular.
    I will be looking out for the modern grotesque carving when I visit Lincoln in the near future.

  10. I will join the chorus in praise of the Sweet Rocket. I would love to see such masses of this pretty plant. The cycle way looked very pleasant – even I might be able to cycle this one!

  11. Next time we’re en route to Stranrear,( is that how one spells it?) I will have to bring our bikes along and pedal that cycle path, it looks tremendous. By the way, really enjoyed the tale of your day, the pictures and places, great post.

  12. Young people and wires seem to be made for each other. I remember seeing something similar on the Itchen Navigation a while back and noted it was the young men who dived from the top or went over in inner tubes to rove their bravery to the young ladies. Lovely wild flowers too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: