Today’s guest picture shows a great crested grebe, sent by my Glastonbury correspondent Venetia. It was seen while on a visit to Shapwick Heath nature reserve with my sister Mary.
Our dry spell continued with another mostly sunny day here but the cool north easterly wind meant that it wasn’t a day for the natty shorts as yesterday had been.
Mrs Tootlepedal didn’t care because it was quite good enough for her to spend a day in the garden doing useful stuff all over the place.
She started in the greenhouse and I came and sat in the warmth while she potted out seedlings. I could see the rosemary in flower through the glass and went out to try to get a picture of it.
While Mrs Tootlepedal toiled, I enjoyed a leisurely morning which was enhanced by the arrival of Dropscone bearing some traditional Friday treacle scones. After he left, I had space to do the crossword, visit the shop and make some lentil soup until it was time to eat the soup for lunch.
There were not many birds about and the plum tree was operating a separate gender policy for chaffinches at first….
…although shy glances were exchanged later.
A redpoll was in full breeding colour.
I had a look at the pond and was impressed by the ripples of agitation which a light footed pond skater created.
And Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out a rather fancy daffodil which she couldn’t remember buying, let alone planting.
During the morning, we got a call from the bike shop in Longtown to say that my slow bike was ready for collection so after lunch we drove down to pick it up.
The slow bike has a belt drive rather than a chain so that it has no chance of getting oil on my trousers when I ride it around the town. On this occasion I had got the bike shop to make it even more convenient by fitting a solid tyre to the back wheel thus making sure that I could never get a puncture.
Robert William Thomson of Stonehaven patented the pneumatic tyre in 1846 but he was frustrated by the lack of thin rubber and he turned to the development of his solid rubber tyres. It was not until 43 years later that the pneumatic tyre returned, when it was developed as a bicycle tyre by John Boyd Dunlop. It will be interesting to see if the return of the solid rubber tyre catches on 130 years later.
With its enclosed gears, stand, belt drive, rear view mirror, mudguards and solid tyre, my slow bike should be the perfect vehicle for a leisurely tour through town or country.
I was interested to see how it would ride with the solid tyre fitted so I took it for a spin up the Lodge Walks to check for possible nuthatches while testing it out.
There were no nuthatches to be seen but the trees are beginning to show their springtime green…
…the primroses are very fine…
…and it is always a treat to have an ice cream from the van on the Kilngreen and have a chat with Mr Grumpy at the same time.
The new tyre coped with all the bumps very comfortably and handled well so first impressions were good.
When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal agreed to an extension of the trial by cycling with me up to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back. In spite of the sun, it was chilly enough in the wind to need a coat but it was a beautiful day to be out.
I stopped to record the continuing dilapidation of the cottage across the field from the road…
…and Mrs Tootlepedal spotted the first bluebells of the spring.
Once again, the bike handled well and dealt with any bumps most comfortably. The rolling resistance seemed very reasonable too so I am quite happy with my new tyre after the initial ten miles. The bike shop man told me that this was the first solid tyre that he had fitted so he too is interested in how it rides. The only unanswered question is how durable it will prove to be. That question will take some time to answer.
I had another walk round the garden in the afternoon.
The euphorbias are enjoying the sunshine a lot…
…and I liked the contrast between a tiny lithodora and an extravagant tulip.
Later on, Mrs Tootlepedal made the first rhubarb crumble of the year and I enjoyed a generous helping for my tea along with some cauliflower cheese.
In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had a go at a new sonata (for us) by Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739). I had found it in the bottom of a drawer under a pile of other music and it turned out to be very attractive and not too difficult so it will certainly appear on our menu again.
I haven’t made the best use of the recent sunny weather for taking the flying birds of the day but there haven’t been many birds about and I have had plenty of other things to do so once again, the flying bird of the day is not of top quality and I apologise.
22 thoughts on “Setting history back 130 years”
I’ve never tried getting a shot of rosemary but I can see how it could be tough.
The uninvited daffodil is a real beauty,
It’s too bad somebody doesn’t buy and re-do the cottage. It could probably be had for next to nothing.
I think it is a home for barn owls now and a buyer might have difficulty getting planning permission.
The great crested grebe is very regal, and the volunteer daffodil is a knockout. I could spin some tales about how it came to be in your garden. Who knows, one of them might even turn out to be true! It was such a fine day even Mr. Grumpy appears to be smiling. I hope the new tire just goes on, and on, and on . . . .
Fifteen years should just about do the trick.
Do you notice much difference in how the bike rides with a solid tire?
No….but I haven’t tried to throw it round any corners at speed and am not intending to either. It rode very comfortably.
is that an alfine or rohloff hub TP? or something completely different
It is a Nexus eight speed not brilliant but serviceable. I had an Orange front suspension mountain bike with a rohloff hub which was absolutely fantastic but the bike got so heavy for me after I broke my elbow that I was having problems getting it and out of the car so I reluctantly let it go. I rode the end-to-end on it with Mrs Tootlepedal and the bloke at Altnaharra said it was the heaviest bike that he had ever put in his shed. It was wonderfully comfortable.
Interesting to have a solid back tyre, am glad the experiment is working well so
far. Loved that bunch of primroses.
Your blog is always colourful, interesting and busy, which is all good – apart from the knees, but no one should expect perfection.
They certainly won’t get it from me…..though I try my best….most of the time.
Good to see Mr G looking quite perky.
Glad the solid tyre was satisfactory.
You should advise Mrs Tootlepedal to get one of these yellow mesh vests to make her as visible as possible.
The solid tyre sounds a good idea.
She has one but omitted to wear it. I ride behind her very gaudily dressed as a rule.
Solid tires, what won’t they re-invent next? I loved the first green of spring photo, I noticed a few places were beginning to look like that around here, my favorite time of the year.
It is always my favourite time too….until autumn comes and then I change my mind.
A very Springy post. Very nice redpoll photo and the primroses are very pretty too.
The primroses are looking very sturdy this year.
The cottage walls look solid? Too bad it has not been rebuilt. Solid tires for a bike – I didn’t know those were available. There is nowhere in our immediate area to safely bike, however, due to logging trucks and many blind curves.
Mr. Grumpy looks as if he might actually be smiling in that photo. He must be enjoying the spring weather. 🙂
I can’t imagine living in an area where you can’t bicycle. It would be hard for me but you seem to live in a beautiful place so maybe it is not too bad.
I like the fancy daffodil and hurrah to the first bluebell. Hello Mr Grumpy.
I struggle to capture the Rosemary too. Tricky devils to photograph. It will be interesting to see how soils tyres work out.