Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia, my Somerset correspondent, and shows her very fruitful crab apple tree in all its glory. Her answer to the question, “How do you like them apples?” is “A lot.”
I was hoping for a cycle ride but 3° is right on the limit of what is safe on a road bike as far as possible icy conditions go so I was pleased to have the legitimate excuse of preparing a lamb stew for the slow cooker to help me pass the time until it got a bit warmer.
A little early sun looked promising….
It was still pretty chilly when the stew was ready so I was happy to let a few more minutes float past the kitchen window while I tried unavailingly to bank a flying bird of the day.
In the end, Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to sing in the church choir before the thermometer finally hit 6° and I was brave enough to go out. Luckily, the wind was very light and although it was in my face as I headed down the A7 towards Longtown, it wasn’t brisk enough to provide any noticeable wind chill factor.
I was heading for Smithfield, 16 fairly flat miles away and I was hoping that the light wind, by then behind me, would compensate for having to go uphill for the last few miles to get home.
My hopes were perfectly realised and my outward and return trips differed by less than a minute. With the trip being 32 miles (100000 in binary) and the times being almost equal, I was pleased by the mathematical precision of the ride.
On a less satisfactory note, I was hoping for some sunshine as the colour on the trees was the best yet but the skies remained obstinately cloudy and I didn’t much feel like stopping and getting colder than I was already
I did stop once on my way out though to take a few pictures of and from the bridge over the River Lyne, south of Longtown.
…and the fine display in front of the kitchen window….
I did spend a moment or two trying to get a decent image of a pair of coal tits that were flitting about….
With clocks going back, it was dark when we left Carlisle to drive home and that certainly brought the shortening of the afternoons very much into focus. I will have to remember that if I want to get about outdoors, then an early start is essential.
When we got back, Mrs Tootlepedal made dumplings to go with the lamb stew and the whole thing was so tasty that we had to be quite restrained so as not to eat tomorrow’s meal as well as today’s at one sitting.
I did find one flying bird but it was only a rather blurry standard chaffinch.