Today’s guest picture is one from a holiday that Mike Tinker took last year. It shows a handsome bridge in Rhayader, Mid Wales.
I had requested a better day after our recent dreich spell and my plea was heard and we enjoyed a beautifully sunny day today. As an added and unexpected bonus, the temperature was well above freezing from the very start and had I been better organised, I could have been out and about straight after breakfast.
However, at the moment I am not sleeping as well as I would like and it is taking me quite a bit of time to get up to speed in the mornings. I needed a cup of coffee and a roll and honey before I could even contemplate starting.
There were hardly any birds to distract me and the strong light made the re-appearance of Zorro the Chaffinch the high or perhaps the lowlight of the morning.
I had a wander round the garden, A crocus has appeared, snowdrops are actually coming properly out and the rhubarb is more fantastic than ever.
I did finally get going, armed with two bananas and a tuna roll with a side supply of apricots and dates. The view at Wauchope School was a lot more inviting than the last time that I came up the road…
…and I headed out into the country with a light heart. Fairly heavy legs but a light heart.
I was headed west and once you get out of our local hills, the land turns to gently rolling fields…
I went through Middlebie and Ecclefechan and headed for Hoddom Castle. The road towards the Castle is flat and straight and I found myself pedalling head on into a noticeable wind. This was a bit of a trial so I tried the Donald J Trump method and declared loudly to anyone who might be able to hear me, “I am not pedalling into a headwind. The wind is behind. It’s fine.”
Strangely, it didn’t work. Obviously the alternative truth is not all that it is cracked up to be.
I did get within sight of the castle in the end…
…and stopped on the bridge over the River Annan to enjoy the view.
I crossed the bridge and cycled on towards the next crossing of the river at Brydekirk. The powers that be have put a lot of thought into the naming of streets and buildings in the village.
This is the cause of all this naming.
I crossed the bridge when I came to it and had a banana and half a roll on the other side. I was right beside a fine ivy plant.
And as you know, I am a sucker for a nice piece of moss on a bridge parapet.
By this time, I had turned enough to have the wind now across or behind me for the rest of the journey but this didn’t seem to speed my legs up very much.
From the top of the hill looking towards Eaglesfield after I left Brydekirk, I could see a fine crop of windmills, half at the old established windfarm at Minsca…
…and the other half randomly scattered across the country at the new Ewe Hill wind farm.
I think there are still a few more to be added to this lot.
I cycled down to Gretna on back roads, hoping to see some of our migrating geese in the fields but on this occasion, all my geese were swans…
…and there wasn’t a goose to be seen.
On my way to Gretna, I passed these trees…
…whihc would be very helpful to the confused traveller as they clearly show the direction of the prevailing wind. South west.
When I got to Gretna, I had thought of going back across country and clocking up fifty miles but time began to press on me a bit thanks to my late start and my legs weren’t exactly over enthusiastic about any more unnecessary hills so I headed back up the main road, taking the quieter bike route through Canonbie…
…and limiting my ride to 47 miles.
It did give me the opportunity to admire a set of fisherman’s steps leading to the river at Broomholm…
…and the extensive scaffolding now in place at Skippers Bridge.
I had a cheerful chat to two of the engineers supervising the task and asked them to take care of our bridge and make sure not to knock it down. They assured me that they would take care. Indeed, one engineer, a charming lady, told me that they really liked and admired the bridge. This was good to hear.
I got home and had a cup of tea and a biscuit with Mike Tinker who had dropped in and then after a good soak in the bath and a light curry for my tea, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to the Buccleuch Centre to watch a Woody Allen film, ‘Café Society’.
It went at a gentle pace, was well acted, beautifully set and costumed and had some (not a lot) of good jokes. The great man obviously couldn’t work out how to finish the film so he didn’t bother and just let it drift away but it was none the worse for that and I enjoyed it a lot.
My favourite joke went something like this:
A pedantic and rather upset character say, “Socrates says the unexamined life is not worth living,” and after a slight pause adds, “The examined life is not up to much either.”
As it was our 49th wedding anniversary yesterday, this was our anniversary treat. We might do something a bit more flashy next year if spared.
The camera may not lie but it does often conceal quite a lot from the casual viewer. Zorro the Chaffinch seen earlier in this post came straight from the camera. Photoshop reveals that the camera knows who the masked intruder really is.
Details of the cycle ride may be found by clicking on the map below.