The early worm escapes again

Rhayader Mid Wales

Today’s guest picture is one from a holiday that Mike Tinker took last year.  It shows a handsome bridge in Rhayader, Mid Wales.

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.

Zorro the Chaffinch

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.

rhubarb, snowdrop and crocus

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…

Wauchope School

…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…

Middlebie road
Looking back towards Waterbeck

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…

Hoodom Castle

…and  stopped on the bridge over the River Annan to enjoy the view.

View from the bridge at Hoddom

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.

Brydekirk

This is the cause of all this naming.

Brydekirk Bridge

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.

ivy

And as you know, I am a sucker for a nice piece of moss on a bridge parapet.

moss at Brydekirk

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…

Minsca

…and the other half randomly scattered across the country at the new Ewe Hill wind farm.

Ewe Hill 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…

swans

…and there wasn’t a goose to be seen.

On my way to Gretna, I passed these trees…

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…

Canonbie Church
It was a golden winter afternoon

…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…

fishermans steps Broomholm

…and the extensive scaffolding now in place at Skippers Bridge.

skippers bridge scaffolding
They have taken it through the arch and round the other side where the damage is.

skippers bridge scaffolding

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.

flying chaffinch
Herbert the Chaffinch unmasked

Details of the cycle ride may be found by clicking on the map below.

garmin-route-25-jan-2017

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

36 thoughts on “The early worm escapes again

  1. A belated happy anniversary. Surely swans “trump” geese? I was reminded of the Absolutely comedy sketches about Stonybridge; ” It’s got a stony bridge” 🙂

  2. Between the views and mosses it wouldn’t be hard to believe that it was summer there. It’s nice to get a glimpse into our future.
    It’s looking like they’ll have to lower all the needed materials over the side of the bridge or walk them down the scaffolding.

  3. I can’t believe you’ve revealed Herbert’s identity to the world. Happy wedding anniversary, sorry for being a feckless daughter and forgetting.

  4. So glad you had the very opposite of a dreich day for your long ride. I wanted to see that film, but it disappeared before I could get round to it.

  5. I add my congratulations to the list as well as my surprise at the unmasking of Zorro. Herbert has always seemed so mild mannered and (I’m sure he’ll forgive me for saying) a trifle staid for such carryings on.
    Woody Allen has always befuddled me…as with Mr Trump, I “just don’t get it.”

  6. typo of “which” letters mixed up, paragraph after the swan photo. Beautiful photos and sounds like a lovely ride.

    1. I always mistype that word and as my spell checker no longer underlines it in red (it must have got fed up with me) I sometimes let one slip by. You are very kind to point it out to me.

  7. Happy 49th wedding anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Tootlepedal!

    Those are beautiful photos from your bike route. Spring seems not far off now. We are almost at a cross-quarter day, which is our Ground Hog day here. I think Imbolc also falls on this day.

    So you tried the DJT approach? You would be better off with Gandalf the Wizard. Much nicer fellow with better connections and probably more effective. 🙂

  8. Best wishes to you both on your anniversary- sounds as if you celebrated in style! A lovely ride – so many interesting things to see and enjoy. Herbert has a lot to answer for!

  9. Happy belated anniversary. In a disconcerting blink of an eye, it will be your fiftieth! Wishing you a healthy seventieth in advance.

    Love the bridges and moss… and both Allan and I enjoyed your comment re alternative truth…although we are not enjoying living in DT’s rather horrible alternative world.

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