New Year, old legs


Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He took this atmospheric picture of Sheffield at dusk a few days ago.


After our very bright and sunny start to 2107, our weather reverted to its more normal style of the last few weeks for today, quite warm but very grey.  I made the most of the dull weather by having a very dull but restful morning.

The only moment of excitement was caused by the arrival among the usual goldfinches on the feeder…


…and in the plum tree….


..of the first lesser redpoll of the season.  It was rather scruffy but it hung around for long enough for me to get a shot or two before it flew off again.


I hope to see one again on a brighter day.

There were a lot of chaffinches about for a short while too…


…but in general, our bird visitors remain below the usual numbers.  In times gone by, I might have filled the feeder two or three times in a day but now it sometimes lasts for two days before it needs refilling.  Why this should be the case is a bit of a mystery but the long spell of good weather at the back end of the year may explain why there is still not much call for garden feeding.  I hall be interested to see what happens if we get a longer cold spell.

After a relaxing morning, I pulled myself together and got the fairly speedy bike out for the first time in 2017.  My legs were still feeling the effects of walking over the past two days so I put in a gentle 21 mile pedal by going up and down the sheltered road to Wauchope Schoolhouse three times.

A curious noise from the bike caused me to stop by a little bridge so I took a couple of pictures while I was there.

Earnshaw burn bridge

Warbla tree

I couldn’t pin down the source of the noise but it didn’t seem to be impeding me so I completed the ride. A bit of bike care will be needed before I go out again.

I thought about a short walk when I got home but thinking about was as far as it went and I retired to have a bath instead.

The rest of my day was dull but restful.

Because I was getting my cycling record spreadsheet ready for 2017 this evening, I was looking at my cycling statistics.  I started to keep them on a spreadsheet in 2011, and I found that I have done 38,010 miles in the last eight years.  My best ever year was 6600 miles in 2011 and I was looking forward to doing 7000 in my 71st year but occasional illness and a bad knee have kept my miles down since then.  I have upped my target to 4200 miles for this year but secretly I will be disappointed if I don’t get a bit more than that on the clock.  Still, it all depends on weather and health so you can never tell.

A lot of that 6600 miles in 2011 was achieved by doing a  21 mile morning run as many week days as possible in the company of Dropscone and a rough count reveals that we possibly did the ride 140 times during the year.

I go much more slowly these days.

The flying bird of the day is an impression of a chaffinch flitting through the morning gloom.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “New Year, old legs

  1. So you’re experiencing the mysterious drop in birds visiting the feeders too? I think we are going to have to blame it on the weather. The birds are as confused as we are. Your cycling will never cease to amaze me.

  2. Wishing you good bike riding weather, no illnesses, good knees and plenty of scones to fuel your travels in 2017.

    Our bird visits have gone up, and we are going through a lot of seed. We are having another run of cold weather here, and our feathered visitors are stocking up.

  3. glad to see you have been cycling. DH was out on his bike today. The first time since my accident so he didn’t get too many miles in. I still hope for 4000 this year but it will depend on when I can ride again.

  4. Here (Northwestern Germany) as well we notice a distinct lack of small birds at our feeder. Not even the usual blackbirds take notice of the food we especially for them have put on the ground.

      1. No expert opinion, but I put the blame on the three freewheeling cats my neighbour is entertaining. Have found three dead birds during fall. Not eaten, just killed.

  5. Re. your gentle rides and mileage hopes: you should tell yourself the same thing I do when I go to the gym and don’t exactly burn up the floor, which is “at least I’m not home eating potato chips (crisps, to you)”!

  6. 6,000 miles is like going back and forth across this country and I can’t imagine doing that on a bike.
    I hope the bird numbers are down because they’re somewhere else and not because they’re disappearing altogether.
    Maybe trying to keep up with Matilda made the legs work a little harder.

  7. Here’s wishing you health, strength and lots of good cycling weather this year to enable to get well over your target mileage. It was nice to see a photo of a redpoll again!

    1. I find actually getting on the bike gets harder all the time. Once in the saddle I am fine but the lure of a walk with camera in hand is strong.

  8. Great to see the redpoll and hope many more join him/her. We have an ebb and flow of birds at the feeders and think that they all just move from place to place in flocks on a circuit..hope that’s the reason. Good luck with your cycling target for 2017- like the idea of a spreadsheet record.

  9. I’d say that you’re very optimistic if you’re getting a spreadsheet ready for 2107! (or is it boorish of me to mention the typo?)

    I hope that the birds return, that you exceed your goal by October, and that you are still cycling in 2107!

  10. I don’t like the way age slows us down. I don’t like it one but. Have to remind myself to consider the alternative to aging.

    Birds in bare branches is always a hit photo with me.

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