Today’s guest picture shows Scarborough Bay where my brother was enjoying enough sun to bask (but not enough to swim).
I had carefully studied the weather forecast for today and it suggested that if I rose early, ate my breakfast promptly and got out on the bike in good time, I would enjoy pleasant sunshine and light winds…and then when I had gone twenty miles to the west, I would be able to turn for home and have a strengthening wind behind me for the trip home.
It sounded too good to be true.
These plans are easy to make and easy to break but for once, I actually followed this one to the letter. The morning sunshine made the old gravel pits at Longtown fairly sparkle.
The road at Gretna was lined with celandine.
And when the time came to change direction at Annan, the wind duly strengthened and blew me home under the little railway viaduct at Kirtlebridge.
Although the traffic was light and I hardly saw a lorry all day, the back roads were busy with tractors making the most of the good weather. I saw my first rolled field at Eaglesfield, always a good sign of spring.
Altogether it was a very good ride and the 45 miles had the added benefit of taking me over 400 miles for the month. This is a psychological boost with a few days still to go.
Those interested can find more details of the outing by clicking on the map below.
When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal was also making good use of the weather and had spent the morning in the garden on a major tidying and re-organising mission in the bed at the end of the drive. She is going to plant it with flowers for cutting for the house this year.
I did my bit by digging out the last of the old kitchen compost and distributing it on various beds in the vegetable garden.
The birds were as busy as Mrs Tootlepedal.
I had a look round for some flowers and found some old…
…and some new.
There are a lot of other flowers almost out so I hope to get some more photographic excitement the next time we see the sun.
Leaving Mrs Tootlepedal to her toiling, I went for a short walk in the hope of seeing some of the riverside birds.
Before I saw any birds, my eye was taken by a sprig of delightful blossom beside the river.
I didn’t need to go very far before I saw a pair of oyster catchers on the stones beside the Esk.
For once, they didn’t scamper off and this time they let me get quite close.
I like the subtle contrast in colours between the legs, the beak and the beady eye.
On the other side of the town bridge, a wagtail was wagging its tail on a rock in the Ewes.
As I was snapping away at the wagtail, a pair of dippers flew past me but they were gone before I could turn round.
I shot a duck by way of consolation.
I continued my walk onto the Castleholm. There was lots to look at.
I crossed the Castleholm and walked up one side of the river, over the Duchess Bridge and back down the other side.
It was a lovely spring day as you can see.
Mrs Tootlepedal was still slaving away when I got back and she might have been there still had not Dropscone arrived in the hope of a cup of tea and bearing a very competitively priced turnip which he had bought this morning as a gift for the household. He is a thoughtful chap.
During the day, I had rung up Sandy to find out how he was and received some disappointing news. He had been all ready to leave hospital but as he got ready to go, he was attacked by such a burst of pain that the doctors out him back to bed again. I am going down to fetch him home tomorrow if all goes well.
Talking of medical matters, my younger son thinks that I ought to have mentioned that he has been laid low by a terrible cold and has been quite poorly. I make up for that omission now. Aaah.
In spite of the sunshine, the frogs seem to have deserted the pond for the moment and this was the only one I saw all day.
The frog spawn seems to be developing well though and I hope to have tadpole shots before too long.
For some reason both Mrs Tootlepedal and I felt a little tired after tea and we spent the evening sitting very quietly and doing nothing.
The flying bird of the day is the two obliging oyster catchers.