Stretching the legs again

Trip to Jerusalem

Today’s guest picture comes from a recent visit to Nottingham by my brother Andrew and shows what purports to be the oldest pub in England nestling beneath the castle wall.

Trip to Jerusalem

The main event of the morning was an end to recent harrowing scenes of scone starvation  in the Tootlepedal household as Dropscone appeared for coffee bringing three of his excellent scones.  He was in good form after his hospital stay and pleased to be back in a place with quiet sleeping accommodation and good food. He is under orders from his daughter to take things easily for a few days at least.

It was raining while we drank our coffee but not long after Dropscone left, the weather took a turn for the better in spite of a really miserable forecast for the whole day.

I dallied long enough to take a bird picture or two.  The chaffinches were alternately fierce and friendly…

chaffinches

…and a blue tit showed that it didn’t need a perch to peck a seed or two.

blue tit and chaffinch

Then I had a  light lunch, put on my walking shoes and, in the hope that the forecast really was wrong,  went out for a walk.

I was heading for the Moorland Feeders bird hide and as it was rather soggy, I stuck to firm tracks and roads .  This was not as bad as it might seem as the road section was along the Tarras road which is currently closed to through traffic due to a landslip so there were hardly any cars on it.

Although it wasn’t raining, it was chilly, grey and windy and I kept going as much as possible, although my camera did occasionally force me to put the brakes on.

I had a look to see whether Skippers Bridge had been repaired yet.  It hadn’t but the contractors have lowered more big rocks in front of the cutwater as a temporary protection.

Skippers Bridge

It looks a bit ‘Heath Robinson’ to me but it must be better than nothing.

As I went up the Broomholm hill, I couldn’t pass a bit of moss on a wall looking as good as this without capturing it, could I?

Moss on Broomholm wall

My route took me past Broomholmshiels farmhouse…

Broomholmshiels

…underneath a circling buzzard high above me…

buzzard

..and into the warmth and shelter of the hide, where I was well entertained by birds for twenty minutes or so.  I had hardly sat down when a rush of birds leaving the feeders was followed by a sparrowhawk swooping down the clearing.  I feared that I might have to wait quite a time for the small birds to reappear but in fact, they were back in less than a minute and the sparrowhawk didn’t reappear.

I was able to watch a greater spotted woodpecker or two…

woodpecker

…three sorts of tits…

blue tit, coal tit, great tit

…many, many chaffinches…

chaffinches

…quite a few pheasants…

pheasant

…and, rather surprisingly, a rabbit.

rabbit

 It was browsing busily on the grass in front of the feeder but it was unmoved both by the sparrowhawk and me and I think that its red eye shows that it has myxomatosis, a very common and deadly disease in rabbits.

The weather seemed to be getting darker and the wind louder so I didn’t stay for too long but set out for home, hoping to beat the onset of rain.  Once again, I didn’t stop for many pictures but the elegant Broomholm Island bridge, which is only visible from the road when there are no leaves on the trees, caught my eye…

Broomholm Bridge

…and I felt that a feast of lichen as I went down the hill, all on the same patch of wall and within two feet of each other, merited recording.

Broomholm lichen

I got back to the town before any rain appeared and as my legs were in cheerful spirits, I walked along to the Kilngreen to see if any oyster catchers were to be seen.

oyster catchers

Unfortunately, they didn’t stop to let me get a nice picture of the pair of them but flew off down the river.

I walked over the Sawmill Brig,  across the Castleholm, over the Jubilee Bridge and got back home just in time to sample some dropped scones that Mrs Tootlepedal was making for afternoon tea.  After a week of scone drought, this was a day of scone surfeit and very welcome it was too.

The skies darkened and the wind got up once I was safely inside so once again I had by good luck picked on the best bit of the day for my walk.  It wasn’t an attractive day for cycling so I am very pleased that my new knee gives me the alternative of having a good walk on days like this.  I did six miles in good order but it did remind me of how relatively effortless and stress free cycling is compared with hitting the ground with your feet every yard, however delicately you tread.

As I walked along, it crossed my mind to wonder at the great number of words that there for walking slowly – amble, stroll, saunter, daunder or danner, wander, meander, dawdle etc – compared with words for cycling in a leisurely manner.  I can’t think of a single one at all.  Maybe an imaginative reader could coin a word for the equivalent of strolling on a cycle.  Pedawdalling perhaps.

We have got a big singing day with our Carlisle choir tomorrow so I spent some time trying to make sure that I have got all five songs solidly off by heart.  Sad to say, it is quite easy to think that you have got them learned and quite a bit harder to be 100% accurate under pressure but we will see tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is one of the oyster catchers disobligingly scuttling off before I could get a decent portrait of them.

flying oyster catcher

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

39 thoughts on “Stretching the legs again

  1. Glad about the feast of scones and the fact that your knee can take you for a walk when cycling is off the agenda. I hope Dropscone really does take it easy for a few days at least. Loved the flying bird.

  2. Your walk sounds outstanding. What a lovely place you live in. Dropped scones are my favorite. And I may try pedawdalling this summer myself. I love that English let’s us invent words with no fear of reprisals. 🙂

    1. I am not totally happy with pedawdalling as it is a bit lumpy as a word. I will keep trying to come up with a better one as I cycle slowly along.

      1. Cycle-dreaming. Wheeling along? Cruising? Slow-cycling? It’s a word we need to find, I agree entirely. I’m kind of fond of pedawdalling. It has a certain charm.

  3. I think the moss might be juniper hair cap moss (Polytrichum juniperinum.)
    It’s always a pleasure to see those beautiful pheasants.
    That’s too bad about the rabbit. I’m going to have to see if I can find out if our rabbits also get that disease. I’ve heard that rabbits are becoming scarce in these parts.

  4. I really lied the variety of birds today, all well photographed, especially the oyster catchers!

    Walking is harder on a person’s joints than cycling, but you see more of the smaller things in nature while walking.

    It’s good that Dropscone has been released, but have you lost weight while not being treated to his scones?

  5. Good news that Dropscone is home, and that you had a long and interesting walk without getting soaked.
    Flying oystercatcher looks good.
    Hope choir practice goes well.

  6. I loved your pairs of chaffinches, and the bridge is lovely. I really liked the woodpecker; I don’t remember seeing a picture of one before.

  7. What an absolutely splendid post. I envy you the variety of sights within your walking distance. The birds always are lovely, of course — and so unusual, from my perspective — but there are other treats, such as the bridge and the farmhouse. Strip malls and professionally planted, uniform landscapes abound here, but they’re not nearly so attractive or interesting.

    My biggest problem now is that I want a scone. Since there are no decent ones to be had, short of a bakery 30 miles away, it may be that I make a short jaunt today.

  8. The bird photos are all so fine today – the comparative warmth and shelter of the hide must make bird photography a real pleasure in the winter. I hope Skippers Bridge can be repaired before too long.

  9. Very absorbing post as always. How the blue tit landed without a tumble must have been a flurry of feathers. The oyster catcher pictures are amazing too. I had to look up Heath Robinson and was motivated to get a library book with more sketches. No books by him are in the system though he illustrated many. The rabbit’s myxomatosis also merited more research. “…introduced into Australia in1950 to control the rabbit population.” (Wikipedia & you) was news to me. Thanks for sharing. (Allan)

  10. Well I’m relieved that Dropscone is feeling much better and that you are back to the delicious scone routine. I’m not a great baker but one thing I did manage to get quite good at was scones – savoury and sweet ones. They were a popular morning tea meal (or smoko it was called in the old days) on farms. Unfortunately, I found out I had a gluten intolerance and had to stop using wheat flour. I am using a variety of flour combinations now such as rice, corn, potato, sorghum, millet and tapioca but I have yet to obtain the springiness and lightness of my old scones. If Dropscone or you and Mrs T know of a nice fluffy gluten-free scone recipe please let me know as we do miss them. My children are also gluten intolerant.
    I enjoyed your fine photographic gallery as usual, especially the lichen. Australia never had rabbits until they were introduced by the British. They quickly became a terrible pest here and reduced the ground to bare dirt in many places. Myxo was introduced to control them. It’s a horrible death but did reduce the numbers. Apparently, some boarding schools would cook up the dead rabbits and so many students were turned off eating rabbit for good after that. Some rabbits have become resistant to it though so they are still about, but in much fewer numbers.

    1. We used to get rabbit for school dinners but I don’t think many people would be pleased to eat them now. I know nothing about gluten free so I can’t help you but I can sympathise with having to avoid wheat flour.

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