Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Mario, the husband of my regular Newcastle correspondent. He took a wry look at the Tyne Bridge. He thinks it is showing its best side in this picture.
The weather forecasters are saying that our very welcome spell of dry weather with high pressure and predominately east and north winds is about to come to a close. It is to be replaced with low pressure, westerly winds and a much more changeable set of conditions. If this is so, we said goodbye to our good weather in great style today with wall to wall sunshine, light winds and temperatures creeping into double figures in the afternoon.
My sister Susan went off to church with Mrs Tootlepedal after breakfast and I had time to take the fairly speedy bike out for twenty miles of pure pleasure.
My route took me north out of the town and with a very light breeze at my back, I floated up the road to Fiddleton Toll, drinking in the pastoral views as I went.
When I got to the old toll house, instead of continuing up the narrow valley to Mosspaul, I turned right. It is a beautiful spot.
Looking back towards the toll house, it is very clear that the road was stuck as close to the steep hillside as it could possibly be so that no valuable flat farmland was wasted.
My route took me over a small bridge…
…along a well surfaced single track road beside a sparkling burn…
…and up into the higher country beyond.
I would very much like to have had the time to go straight over the hill and down the other side into Liddesdale but there were things to do and people to see so at the ten mile mark, I had to turn round and head back down the hill.
This did allow to enjoy one of my favourite views.
In spite of the glorious sunshine, it was still pretty chilly and I was glad to be well wrapped up as I picked up speed on the journey home.
I saw a genuine sign of spring on my way, a clump of coltsfoot beside the road.
A flash of grey on the Kilngreen caught my eye and I stopped for a moment to say hello to Mr Grumpy.
I arrived home just as the ladies of the house returned from church and we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a slice or two of fruity malt loaf. Then I made a pot of brown lentil soup which we ate with some good cheese and almost immediately, it was time to take my sister Susan to Carlisle to put her onto her train to London.
I just had time to try and catch a flying bird before we left.
We had to leave Susan at the station with some to wait for her train as it was the annual general meeting of the choir whihc we hadn’t known about when she booked her train. She took this with good grace and was even able to face an additional twenty minutes delay before her train came in without losing her equanimity.
The AGM went well and we even witnessed members of the choir volunteering to take on responsibilities. The practice itself, with a substitute conductor as our man was busy elsewhere, went exceedingly well and for the third week in a row, we were able to drive home in beautiful evening sunshine.
We have two weeks off over Easter before we meet again and having had three weeks when the choir coincided with grand gardening weather, you can almost guarantee that the next two Sunday afternoons, when we are free to garden or cycle, will be gloomy, rainy days with a light gale blowing. We shall see.
Today was the vernal equinox so at last our days are going to be longer that the nights and in general, joy will be unconfined.
I did find one co-operative chaffinch and she is the flying bird of the day.