A quiet day

Regent's Park 23.02.16

I nagged my sister Mary to take another of her photographs of Regent’s Park on her way to play tennis and she very kindly obliged with this beautifully composed guest picture when she went to play today.

Regent's Park 23.02.16

We awoke to a pleasantly sunny day here too but our delight was tempered by the fact that it was freezing.  With damp patches on the roads providing many icy opportunities, there was no way that I was going cycling until things got quite a bit warmer.

I was therefore very pleased to welcome Dropscone (bearing scones) for coffee.  He had been up bright and early and had already been shopping in Carlisle.  As well as scones he brought us a gift of leeks, which he had purchased there for a very reasonable price. I feel  a bowl of soup coming on.

He is under orders to let his broken ribs heal gently and is going to put in the time by thoroughly mastering the rules of golf, a gargantuan task which should keep him fully occupied.

The feeder outside the window was in deep shade so I had to look to the plum tree for birds that I could recognise.  The brambling was back.

brambling

The birds at the feeder could only be seen in silhouette.

chaffinches
The flashes of white on the wings reveal these to be chaffinches

Some were not easy to identify at first.  Was it a siskin?

redpolls

Zooming in on two of the shots made me think that I had spotted a redpoll…

redpoll

…and the photo editor confirmed it.

Before Dropscone had arrived, I had cleaned and oiled my chain and I had also taken the precaution of getting dressed in my cycling gear for breakfast to ensure that I would have no excuse for not cycling when the time came.  It was nearly mid day though before the thermometer reached 3 degrees and I felt able to set out.  I armed myself with two of Mr Ritchie’s power boosting filled rolls and a banana and pedalled off into the distance.

It was far from warm, even in the sunshine and I skirted nervously past quite a few icy puddles on the road in the sheltered parts of the Wauchope valley but once I was out in the open, the ice disappeared and so did my fears.

There was a light but very nippy north wind blowing and I was pleased to be suitably dressed.  I had two pairs of socks, shoes and over shoes on my feet, long johns and cycling shorts and leggings to protect my bottom half, a helmet with two under caps and a buff round my neck to protect my head and, most importantly, four top half garments as well.

There were times when I thought that I might have overdone it when I was puffing slowly up hills but as soon as I picked up speed, I was grateful for the four tops.  For some reason I couldn’t get the strains of “Reach out, I’ll be there,” out of mind as I pedalled along.

I chose a mainly flat and rather dull route, going through Ecclefechan and passing the wood powered power station at Steven’s Croft, near Lockerbie….

Steven's Croft

…before stopping at the 25 mile mark for a breather and a filled roll.

I turned for home with the wind now behind me.

I was heading down the old A74, once the main road between England and Glasgow but now relegated to a minor route….

A74

…hemmed in between the railway on the left and the new motorway on the right.   It is handy to have this road for days when I feel the need for an undemanding ride.

‘Pagedogs’, one of my correspondents, suggested lackadaicycle as a good word for gentle pedalling and with a slight adaptation of this clever thought, I was enjoying a lack-a-day cycle today.  (You have to say Pagedog’s suggestion out loud if it means nothing to you when you  read it.)

It was good to be getting a few miles in without trying to rush though I did push on a bit when it started to hail near Waterbeck on my way home.  There were some impressive clouds about…

waterbeck clouds

…both to my left….

waterbeck clouds

…and to my right so I pushed on and escaped with only the lightest of pinging for a few hundred yards.

I haven’t done much cycling recently, lackadaisical or not, so I was very happy to arrive safely home after fifty miles, tired but cheerful.

I had time for a quick look round the garden.

aconite, hellebore and crocus

In spite of the sunny day, there was not much to see – another two aconites, some very fed up hellebores which have come out too early and been subjected to several frosts and a potential crocus.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been working in the garden along the dam at the back of the house for almost all the time that I had been cycling so she was quite tired and happy too.

The light had reached the feeder by now and I took a picture of two siskins in conversation.

siskins

They are probably discussing the political situation and wondering where they will migrate to if Britain leaves Europe.

After sitting down on the bike all afternoon, I practised sitting down in an easy chair for  the evening.  I did get up twice, once to catch the end of a lovely day…

sunset

…and once to take a shot of the almost full moon…

moon

..but I was a day late and I should have done this yesterday.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, taken when I had got back from cycling.

flying chaffinch

 

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, novice photogrpaher

33 thoughts on “A quiet day

  1. It’s been quite a while since I’ve heard the Four Tops so I had to go and have a listen.
    I’ve never seen a cloud with such a flat bottom as the one in your photo. It seems odd.
    That’s a nice shot of the moon even if it is a day late. I’m glad someone remembered what I forgot again.

  2. Mary’s guest photo is particularly lovely. It looks like such a nice spot to stop and think.

    The whole day was full of interest–lots of new places. Fifty miles. Wuff. I really must be more ambitious about walks with the dogs.

      1. Certainly. It did not go well. My dogs are not like the dogs you see. My dogs are more like . . . mules. That’s it. They are exactly like mules.

  3. Nice to have Mr Dropscone back. That is a good cycling pun thanks to PageDog. I just heard today about the UK possibly leaving the EU. Goodness gracious! I read that is is leading to pitched arguments and strong feelings on both sides.

    1. We have been fed anti European stories for so long by the Murdoch press and others that people find it hard to know what to think. Even the mayor of London repeated a hoary old (and quite untrue) chestnut about the EU banning children under eight from blowing up balloons the other day and that gives you some idea about the standard of the debate.

  4. I’ll bet that it felt good to get out for a longer ride, no matter how many layers that you had to wear and even if you had to dodge the hail.

    In a country where most of the forests have been cut down, is a wood fired power plant a wise idea?

    1. There are many more commercial plantations about than you might think. We are only a few miles away from what was for many years (and may still be for all I know) the largest commercial forest in Europe. I don’t spend a lot of time photographing monotonous conifer plantations.

  5. Well done bicycling all that way – not lack a day cycle at all! and cosily warm by the sound of it.
    Lovely shot of the sunset and moon.

  6. Going cycling in your part of the world in chilly conditions can take much preparation! I can’t remember ever wearing long sleeves except to protect myself from the sun. Mostly it’s just knee length cycling lycra and a short sleeved tishirt. I do have to spend a long time applying sunscreen though. Your skies look deceptively warm. 🙂 I especially enjoyed the beautiful moon shot, but they are all lovely. I always admire your bird feeder shots. They make up for the lack of them in my yard this last year.

  7. Maybe we have coined a new expression (well … not likely, but fun nevertheless). Although a 50-mile ride while dressed like the Michelin man doesn’t sound like a particularly lack-a-day cycle to me. It’s clear your siskins are not discussing U.S. politics or they would be lying on their backs with bug eyes and legs waggling in the air.

  8. That brambling is so lovely, I had to check whether we have them here which we don’t.
    Congratulations on your pedal = not at all lacking in my book. Hope you had enough energy left to peel off all those layers again 🙂

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