Today’s guest picture is another from Tom, my South African correspondent. It shows two young cheetahs in a cheetah outreach centre. He hopes to have rhino pictures soon.
For the second day running, I managed to get up into my cycling gear and actually go out for a ride after breakfast. (The ‘after breakfast’ bit of that sentence might need qualifying by the addition of the words, ‘some time’.)
I had a moment (or two) to bird watch before I went.
It was a bit chilly when I finally set off, thanks to some early morning mist but it began to lift as I hit the road and I was forced to stop as soon as I had passed Skippers Bridge.
The light was so good….
It was a perfect day and my legs were in helpful mood which made things even better. It was lucky that they were co-operating as the first twenty five miles of my journey was relentlessly up and down hill. This wouldn’t have been too bad but the downhills, particularly at the start of the trip, were steep and twisty and frequently on roads with a bad surface so I couldn’t get full value from them. In addition, although it was most welcome, I was cycling more or less straight into the sun so every time I came to a bit of the road shaded by trees, it was hard to see what the road surface was like. All this meant puffing like mad to get up the long hills and then teetering down the other side hanging on to the brakes.
I found my first fairly flat bit of well surfaced road after 22 miles. If you think that I might be using a bit of poetic licence or literary hyperbole, here is the elevation map for my first 25 miles.
I didn’t rise to any great heights but I did rise to a lot of small ones. You can see from the elevation map that it took me a long time to get to the half way point of my journey.
The surrounding countryside and the roadside colour made it all worthwhile.
Once I got to the flatter ground, I had a lot of route choice. A signpost offering me Kirklinton Church in one mile seemed like a good offer so I took that road. After two miles or so, I was beginning to worry about a marked lack of ecclesiastical buildings so I was relieved to see another sign for the church. I was less than pleased to see that this one too said Kirklinton Church 1m. I was even less pleased to come to another junction in the road with no sign at all but luckily there was a local standing by the roadside who pointed me in the right direction.
From there, I knew where I was and pursued a flat route across country towards Gretna. For this first time this year, leaves were beginning to fall in front of me as I pedalled and I stopped in an avenue of horse chestnut trees to try to capture some leaves in the air.
To console myself, I paused at the Old Toll House in Gretna and had a nourishing plate of sausage, egg and chips to fortify me for the short ride home.
I took a final picture of the little settlement at the Hollows, five miles from home….
…and then pedalled home as fast as my little legs would carry me in a successful effort to get my average speed up to a meagre 13mph for the 51 mile outing. A very satisfactory part of the ride was the fact that my new saddle gave me no problems so I have every reason to think that it has been a good buy.
Details of the route may be found here.
While I had been out, Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy. She had had planted 56 bulbs, dug a trench round the apple tree stump….
…and done some heavy duty weeding and clearing.
After I had had a shower, Dropscone arrived to have a cup of tea and a slice of Mrs Tootlepedal’s banana and walnut loaf.
He is going to Malta for a holiday in January and he was very pleased to have snaffled one of the really cheap railway fares that are offered to people booking three months in advance. He was so early with his booking that he will have to wait several days before he can book the return.
When he left, I put some pellets out in the lawn feeder and enjoyed the starlings landing mob handed.
We are getting some of the forecast rain as I write tonight’s post and we are promised two very windy days on Thursday and Friday so I was pleased that I took this picture of the end of the middle lawn as it might be the last good flower bed shot of the year.
In the evening, I went to Carlisle with Susan to play with our recorder group. Susan has been a bit under the weather so I drove tonight and I was happy to find that my cycling had left me with plenty of energy for this extra trip. We had a really good play tonight so, all in all, it has been a day well on the credit side of the great ledger of life.
The flying bird of the day is one of the jackdaws that soon drove the starlings away from the feeder.