Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s trip to Tanzania last month. It shows a dung beetle moving a ball of dung the size of a tennis ball. The male, down at the bottom right, is doing all the work and the larger female is getting a free ride. She has some wonderful pictures from the trip on her blog
I haven’t been to Tanzania but I did get to England today. We had another dry, grey day but the nagging north wind had dropped considerably so I didn’t have to have too much of an argument with my legs before getting the fairly speedy bike out and taking it for a fifty mile, very flat ride into England and back.
At 7°C it was still pretty chilly and a bit of sun would have been very welcome. The flatness of the route made it hard to find photo opportunities as I went round but I stopped to have a look at a favourite sight, the colourful little cliff beside the bridge over the River Lyne south of Longtown.
The little cliff is all the more interesting to me because although there is another smaller one on the other side of the bridge…
…the rest of the river at this point runs through very un cliff-like countrywide.
I stopped at the halfway point of my journey for a half pint of beer at the Crown and Thistle in Rockcliffe.
Their cellar had been flooded earlier in the year and the pipes for the beer had only finally been reinstalled a day or two ago. While this was sad for them, it was good for me as I got a glass of beer in excellent condition.
I had just enough money in my back pocket to be tempted by a steak pie to go with my beer. I went for it on the basis of the general rule that you can’t go far wrong with a steak pub for a pub lunch. To my chagrin, I found on this occasion that the rule may be general but it is not universal. Still, the beer was very good.
I enjoyed this sign on the pub wall.
I like to think that it was indeed a respect for history rather than hard headed business acumen that settled the naming of this pub so close to the Scottish border.
The light breeze and what gentle slope there was made the first thirty miles of my trip a great pleasure and without taxing my legs too much, I was able to do them in exactly two hours. The twenty miles, gently uphill and into what was left of the breeze, was a different kettle of fish and my legs had quite a lot to say before they finally got home.
Just at the thirty mile mark, a glint of water caught my eye as I approached Gretna. The Solway tide was in so I went down to the shore to have a look. The fields beside the firth were awash.
The firth was full to the brim.
There were tantalising glimpse of sunshine in the distance…
…but as you can see, it was a very calm day.
Because there was so much less climbing than yesterday, I actually took a shorter time to do five miles further today. We are very lucky in having the choice between easy and hard cycling routes on our doorstep.
Click on the map for further details.
I didn’t have much time to look out of the kitchen window when I got home.
…but the feeder had obviously been busy as I had filled it before I had left in the morning.
A goldfinch arrived, full of energy and I like the way that the chaffinch on the right is pretending that he wasn’t really going to visit the feeder, just passing by. After you, sir.
The reason for the lack of time for lazing about was the need to have a shower and get to Carlisle where our Carlisle choir was taking part in the Carlisle and District Music Festival.
The class had to start promptly as there were eight choirs in it. We were seventh on and we sat and listened to all the other choirs. They ranged from school choirs, through a small social choir and a medium sized experienced adult choir to our large bunch of cheerful optimists. We didn’t have a full turnout but we must have had more than sixty members there. The tenor department was much depleted and with only four of us to hand, we had to give our all.
There were some enjoyable performances to listen to, especially from a couple of the school choirs and we were really chuffed to come third, just a single point behind a pair of joint winners. Our stand-in conductor, one of the basses, did a very good job to hold us together. Luckily, our regular accompanist had come down from Glasgow for the evening and that helped too.
The only black spot was that the chip shop was closed when we got back to Langholm. Not having had anything to eat since three o’clock, a poke of chips would have gone down very well.
The flying bird of the day was a chaffinch.