Two good choices

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Bruce.  He was much taken by this planting on the course of the Hawick Golf Club.  It must be just about the neatest planting ever ( and helpful to senior golfers who can’t remember where they are).

IMG_0427

There are strong winds forecast for tomorrow so that made today the last comfortable cycling day of the month.  It was theoretically a degree or two warmer than it has been lately but it was still struggling to get up to 10°C (50°F) and even with the wind coming from the south, it felt chilly as I went out in the morning.

I decided that the best plan would be to start by pedalling 25 miles into the wind and then, as the wind got stronger, I would get the benefit of the breeze at my back for the 18 miles home.  Regular cyclists will be well aware of just how unreliable this sort of planning is as the wind is very unpredictable.   Today however, the plan worked to perfection and by keeping calm and pedalling gently into the wind, I managed the first 25 miles at  12.5 mph and still had enough energy (helped by a guava energy bar) to pedal the 18 miles home at 15.2 mph.   I love it when a plan works out.

The first 25 miles was slow enough for me to keep an eye on the verges and there was plenty to see, though the dull weather and being slightly puffed didn’t make for great photography.

wild flowers

wild flowers

wild flowers

I stopped for a banana at the 25 mile mark and looked at trees on both sides of the road.

catkins and flowers on trees

I passed a very fine clump of pink bluebells (if that is the correct term and not pinkbells) near West Linton….

bluebells

…and shortly afterwards saw the real things at Alstonby Hall.

bluebells

It certainly cheers a cycle ride up when there flowers to look at.

I have passed a Historic Scotland sign pointing to ‘Merkland Cross’ near Kirkpatrick Fleming many, many times and today I finally took a moment out to cycle up a side road to visit the cross.  I had to walk the last quarter mile through wild  flower strewn meadows beside the motorway while being observed by cows…

Merkland Cross

…but…

Merkland Cross

…the cross itself, carved from a single piece of stone, was a bit of a disappointment.  I had been hoping for an elaborate  Celtic cross of great antiquity but this one was rather plain and  from the middle ages.  At least the sign was honest.

Merkland Cross

Between the kindly wind, the flowers and the antiquity, I really enjoyed my ride.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had cooked some leek soup with the last leeks of the season from the garden and together with some cheese and home made bread, it went down very well for a late lunch.

After a shower, I went out into the garden and did some dead heading and mowed the front lawn.

We have three trilliums in the garden  (three trillia?) and the first one has come out.

I passed a very fine clump of pink bluebells (if that is the correct term and not pinkbells) near West Linton.... ...and shortly afterwards saw the real things at Alstonby Hall.

I was just looking at the birds….

redpoll
A pensive redpoll
goldfinch
A startled goldfinch

…when, rather belatedly, I remembered that I was supposed to be filling the Moorland Bird feeders in place of Gavin who is on holiday in the north.

The glade at the bird hide has gone green.

Moorland Feeders

The birds themselves were in a very uncooperative mood and insisted on using the feeders furthest from the hide.  A woodpecker did turn up and i was hopeful but almost immediately another one arrived and they spent so much time chasing each other around that there were very few posing opportunities…

woodepeckers

…so I got fed up and after photographing a blackbird with its mouth full….

blackbird

…and a pheasant on the road outside the hide…

pheasant
It looked exhausted from chasing lady pheasants about

…I took a last look down towards the Tarras…

Tarras valley

…and went home.

I had persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal to come out with me to the Buccleuch Centre in the evening to see a group of six singers called ‘The Westenders’ give a concert of songs from West End musicals.  I could understand Mrs Tootlepedal’s initial reluctance to come because it is very difficult to know what a show like this is going to be like but on this occasion, we made a very good decision and had a grand evening out.

The six singers had a small but competent quartet of musicians behind them and they put everything they possibly could into a very well planned and musically arranged evening of songs.  We both went home positively uplifted by the sheer verve and professionalism of their performances.

I only just caught the flying bird of the day in the nick of time.

siskin

Those interested in the bike route can click on the map below.

garmin route 29 April 2017

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

18 thoughts on “Two good choices

  1. Since blue is my favorite color the intense blue of the bluebells is very pleasing.
    Our native red / purple trilliums are also just starting to bloom.
    Seeing anything from the middle ages would make me very happy. Odd that nobody knows why the cross was erected or who erected it.

  2. An uplifting concert was a great way to end another really interesting and lovely day. Those guava bars seem to give you endless energy!

  3. It is just lovely to visit again, and to see so many flowers – especially bluebells! – and an FBOTD. It will take me a long time to catch up, but little by little I hope to find out what’s been going on. (I have to say the blackbird was especially fetching – and I agree that anything from the middle ages would be extremely interesting to see Around Here. The people who lived in Antrim County Michigan back then were singularly uninterested in leaving monuments behind.)

  4. The fact the cross was carved from a single piece of stone is amazing in itself. That was quite a bit of work.

    The pheasant looks a bit grumpy in addition to being worn out. It is hard to be the Emperor. 🙂 A neighbor called yesterday looking for a male turkey. Their female turkey has taken a shine to he husband and won’t leave him be. They are hoping a male companion will stop the harassment. I made a few calls, and connected her with another farmer with extra males. We hope her husband will now be able to walk safely out in their back yard.

  5. Despite being so chilly, I am pleased to see that all your photos are showing lots more green leaves. The glade at the bird hide and the view towards the Tarras are looking very fine.

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