The open road

Trent bridge

After yesterday’s guest picture of the old Trent Bridge, I thought it only right to put my brother’s photograph of the new one in as well

Trent bridge

As it was Sunday, a certain ritual was observed today.  Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I made  a venison stew for the slow cooker and then went off for a pedal and then, after lunch, we both went off to sing with our Carlisle choir.

After a night of rain, the morning soon brightened up and although we both enjoy singing with our choir, it is a bit annoying when it coincides with weather which would be ideal for cycling and/or gardening.

Still, it was very pleasant when I rolled out of the drive on the slow bike for a short ride before lunch.  I went off up the Wauchope road with a plan to take the single track road over the hill and then go down towards Canonbie.  This plan was rapidly modified when I found that I had been passed by a dozen cars in the first mile and I remembered that Skippers Bridge was closed for repair so a lot of traffic would be going up and down my proposed route instead.

I didn’t fancy meeting cars on the single track road over the hill so I just cycled five miles up the Wauchope road and then turned back again.  I made a little diversion up the Cleughfoot road and took a picture of the bridge that I had to cross at Wauchope school.

Wauchope school bridge
One of our newer bridges

It is at this point, as it passes under this bridge that the Logan Water, having been just joined by the Bigholms Burn, magically transforms itself into the mighty Wauchope Water which then runs the full length of its three and a bit miles into the Esk.

The Logan Water was looking very pretty today…

Logan water

…and the road beside it was hung with catkins.


I think that these are willow catkins.

When I got back to Langholm, I pedalled on down to Skippers Bridge to see if it really was closed.  It was indeed shut but not much work was going on which may be why the chap that I spoke to was so cheery.

Skippers Bridge

I spoke to a lady engineer too and complimented her on the good looking repair to the cutwater which her team had completed and she was delighted by the compliment.  She told me that her team was very proud of the work that they had done.

Maybe because of the works, some trees beside the river seemed to have been cleared and I got a better view of the bridge from the main road to the north than has been possible lately.

Skippers Bridge from the north

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was back from church and we had a walk round the garden.  Once again, there were both frogs and bees to be seen.  I took a picture of the whole of our very little pond so that you can see that when I say that it is full of frogs,  I am nearly speaking the literal truth.

pond with frogs
I can count about 14 or 15 in this shot and some had already dived as I approached.

This was the most handsome potential prince in the  pond today.


The bees were drawn to the crocuses.

crocus with bee
If you look very closely, you can see the bee’s knee

The crocuses are very pretty at the moment, either in clumps of the smaller Crocus tommasinianus…

Crocus tommasinianus

…or more sturdy  single Dutch crocuses.

Dutch crocus

A few of other colours can be seen here and there.

yellow crocus

We have two Hellebores on the go and the morning sunshine had persuaded this one to hold its head up enough so that I didn’t have to crouch much to look it in the eye.


There were very few birds about today and as I didn’t have much time to look out of the window,  this starling….


…and two chaffinches were all that I had to show for any time that I did spend.



We had to leave early for the choir because of the closed road which meant a cross country trip and some extra miles but it was such a nice day that the driving was no hardship.  After plugging away at competition songs for the last few weeks, it was good to get onto two new songs today.

Our conductor was very pleased with our performance in Manchester and was kind enough to say that he thought that we had sung as well as we possibly could have done.  Since we knew before we went that we had no realistic chance of winning, it was good to know that at least we had done ourselves justice.

We have three months to go before our summer concert so the pace should be a little more gentle for a few weeks at least.

The stew turned out well and there was an Italian bike race with a British winner to watch on the telly afterwards so the day ended very satisfactorily.

This was my best effort at a flying bird today.  Must try harder.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “The open road

  1. A very spring-like post! Blue sky, fluffy clouds, sparkling water and plenty of flowers and frogs. The catkins are very nice indeed and the view of the bridge is much clearer. Beautiful!

  2. That is a pretty shot of the stream with bare trees.
    The crocuses are beautiful and the frogs and bees a treat to see. I’m anxious to hear our own spring peepers peeping and our bees buzzing.
    It’s always nice to have a pond, no matter the size.

  3. Love the frog. I share the sentiment of having to sing inside when it’s beautiful outside, but a beautiful day is a beautiful day as you have shown so well, wherever you get to enjoy it.

  4. It is looking very spring-like in your photos, and the frogs seem pleased. I like that small pond you have for them. The crocuses are quite beautiful, too.

    Snow here again this morning, and right on freezing. I probably won’t have to worry about the pear tree blooming too early this year due to unseasonably warm late winter weather. It is usually the first tree to blossom, along with the plums, then the cherries and finally the apple trees in late April, early May.

  5. So many lovely photos to enjoy today. The bright crocuses and the country views with the bridges are lovely but the sight of so many frogs is amazing! Just looked it up to check collective army of frogs and a knot of toads – I think you’ve got a whole battalion in your pond!

  6. It was good of your conductor to acknowledge your choir’s best effort and that you are pleased with that. It was always hard to convince students that their best, even if not the top result, was something to be proud of. On another topic – lovely hints of colour in the trees behind Skippers Bridge.

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