Slow going

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who found a wonderful display of crocuses on a visit to Parliament Hill Fields.


We had another chilly morning with a touch of frost about so yet again I spent quite a lot of time watching the thermometer rising at a snail’s pace while I did the  crossword and drank coffee.

It finally crept up to 4°C and I set out on my fairly speedy bike to see how things would go.  It didn’t take me long to realise that the wind was decidedly cold and also that the wind was decidedly brisk.  Under these circumstances I planned to spend 20 miles cycling down to the Solway shore and then decide about the return journey.

When I got down to Gretna by a round about route, I had a look for some sea but there was none to be seen….


…only wet mud glinting in the sunshine.

It felt as though the tide was so far out that one might have been able to walk to America.

I was nibbling a banana and considering cycling down into England with a view to a fifty mile ride when a lady who was gathering driftwood came up from the shore and asked if I thought that the rain was going to come.  I hadn’t thought of rain up to that point but when I looked round, I saw some rather grey looking clouds and adapted my plans to going back by a straighter route and clocking up forty miles instead.

This plan worked well.  I did go into England for a very short while and crossed back into Scotland over this undistinguished bridge.

Bridge into Scotland

This used to be the main road in times gone by and it superseded this old coaching road which runs beside it…

Bridge into Scotland

…over a fine bridge.

Sark Bridge
You can see the beam of the newer bridge in the background.

Both the roads have now been superseded by a motorway and only a few vehicles pass this way now.

Just before you cross the bridge, a farmer has put a small display of old implements beside the road to brighten the view a bit.

Sark bridge implements

While I was on the bridges taking pictures, I couldn’t fail to see a wonderful cascade of catkins on an alder beside the river.

alder catkins

I pedalled up the hill into Gretna Springfield village and paused to catch my breath and take a couple of pictures of the main street.


These single storey buildings plonked firmly on the ground are very characteristic of our area but these are unusual in having no dormer windows in the roof.  I wondered if they are all owned by the same person because when I looked up the street in the other direction…


…the thirst for extra space was very evident.

I pedalled on, going back into England for a few hundred metres and then slipping back over the border into Scotland again.

On my way I passed this tree, looking as though it was ready to pounce on me if I stopped beneath its branches.

Sark tree

You can see the ominous clouds in the background that made me cut my trip short.

It was a battle with crosswinds but I finally made it to the top of the hill…

Bloch view
Another clickable panorama

…from where it was all downhill to get home.

The chilly conditions and brisk breeze meant that my average speed was very slow but I was pleased to have got the miles in when there was plenty of bad weather around not too far away.

Those interested may find details of the route by clicking on the map below.


I note that it was colder than 43 degrees when I set out and the gusts were well above 16mph for a lot of the trip.

The crocuses where in cheerful mood when I got back in spite of three frosty mornings in a row…


…but it was too cold to linger in the garden so I went inside for a cup of tea and a snack while I looked out of the window.  There were no robins to be seen today but there was some top class posing by chaffinches…


…and a bit of proof that the female may be more deadly than the male.


She had no hesitation in kicking the male off his perch.

After a shower and catching up on my correspondence, I spent a little happy time complaining to my internet supplier that their latest ‘improvement’ may have made my supply less reliable and they promised to look into it.  I live in hope.

I cooked a healthy tea of fried bacon, mushroom and eggs and then Susan turned up and we went off to Carlisle in her car to play with our recorder group.   We started as a trio but soon became a quartet and had a very enjoyable hour and three quarters of music making….and a nice cup of tea and some tasty biscuits to round the evening off.

Our drive home was more exciting than we expected as we found ourselves driving into some quite serious snow but the road stayed clear and we got home safely.  I was very pleased to find Mrs Tootlepedal had got home safely too.  She had been up to Edinburgh to see Matilda and had met the same snowstorm as she came back from Lockerbie station.

It is supposed to be a bit warmer tomorrow so I am hoping not to see any snow about when we wake up.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Slow going

  1. I like the old coaching road. It looks like something Steed would have driven down at great speed in The Avengers.
    I don’t think I’ve seen a happier alder.
    The lawn full of crocuses isn’t something I’d have thought of doing but it’s a beautiful display.

  2. When I looked at the BBC weather I thought the snow looked to be in your part of the country so glad you both got back safely despite it. Loved the tree.

  3. What a lovely cycle out and crossing borders too! Thank goodness for your map to show which water/sea you passed by. Love the old coaching road, the threatening tree and the bridge and that splendid display of crocuses in London is wonderful.

    1. It is a miracle of the modern age that you can get off your bike and a tiny little instrument from it can be plugged into a computer to provide all the detail which comes with the map. It makes cycling that bit more interesting even to the cyclist.

  4. You have the same anomaly in your ride stats as I always see in mine.. the elevation gained is never the same as that lost.. you would think it would be the same unless your house raised itself fourteen feet in your absence ?

    1. Generally speaking I am lead to believe that the Garmin elevation stats are quite unreliable so I am never surprised at my house rising and sinking. I have read that they overstate the actual amount of climbing that you do.

  5. A beautiful lawn of crocus blooms! I would love to try that here, except I would see droves of gophers coming in with picnic baskets. They don’t have a taste for daffodils, fortunately.

    The country lanes are as inviting as always. Looks like a relatively safe place to bike where one does not have to worry much about cars.

    Love the photo of the female chaffinch coming in for the sneak attack. As usual, you have done a fine job of capturing the personalities of your subjects.

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