Plan A


Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who came upon this sprightly (spritely?) but rather unlikely fountain on one of her walks.  It makes me feel a bit nervous looking at it as it looks as though there is going to be a nasty crash in a moment.


We had another chilly day today with the temperature struggling to creep above 5° at best but once again it was dry and not very windy so there was nothing to complain about at all….except that I would have liked some better light for catching flying birds at work.

The morning was one of those that felt quite busy but in retrospect I can’t remember doing very much as I was probably operating in slow motion so that the simplest task took time.  I did make some potato soup with potatoes and onions from the garden.  The onions are nearly finished but there are still some potatoes to go so they have lasted well.

From time to time, I looked out of the window in the hope of seeing some interesting new visitors but things were very much as normal at the feeder.

goldfinch and chaffinch
A go9dfinch tucks in while a chaffinch keeps a wary eye out.

Pairs of chaffinches featured largely today.


The general motto was “Here’s looking at you.”

Some of the looks were sideways ones.


After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off for a Embroiderers’ Guild meeting and I girded up my loins with many layers and went out for a cycle ride.

I was a bit tentative as I hadn’t coughed all day and I didn’t want to set back my recovery by trying too hard but once I had got my legs warmed up and turning, I felt all right and managed a gentle 20 miles, mostly in the shelter of the valley bottom.

There were cloudscapes available….


…and traditional scenes….


…capped by some glowing light on Meikleholm Hill just before I got home….


…which caught a tree  on the other side of the road too…


And the whole thing was finished off with a display of vapour trail and flying rooks when I got into the garden.


There was no coughing after the ride so I feel that although my throat is still a little rough, the cold has finally given up and gone away.

Not the least satisfactory thing about the ride was that it brought up 4000 cycling miles for the year which was my plan A back in January.  With a few weeks still in hand, if the weather stays kind I may be able to reach the total for Plan B but I think the time off for my cold has scuppered any chance of Plan C.

Still, unlike the madder Brexiteers, I feel than any plan is better than no plan at all so I will be very happy with my 4000 miles even if it snows every day between now and Christmas and I can’t get back on my bike at all.

I had resolved not to watch the Scotland vs New Zealand rugby game on the telly as I thought that we were in for a hammering but in the end I succumbed to temptation and ended up watching a vastly entertaining match where we gave as good as we got or more.  We were only undone by making too many mistakes at vital moments, our besetting rugby sin.

In the evening, we went off to the Buccleuch Centre to see six singers do battle with the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook.   As is the fashion these days, they were vastly over amplified for our little theatre and this made their work rather less supple and sympathetic than the music deserved and at times we were being positively pummelled by the noise that they made.

Having said that though, the performers had plenty of pep and the songs have many really beautiful moments where the lyrics and melodies work together delightfully so it was an enjoyable evening.

The flying bird of the day is one of the chaffinches keeping a level head.

flying chaffinch


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

40 thoughts on “Plan A

  1. I agree with you about over-amplification these days. Even the buskers in the city use amps and the resultant cacophony is horrendous! I enjoyed the cloudscape and views from your bike ride.

  2. I’m guessing that the fountain your sister found was a nightmare to cast in bronze.
    The cloudscapes, landscapes and glowing light on the trees were all a pleasure to see. I caught a little of that light the other morning and wish I’d see more.

  3. Congratulations on reaching your cycling goal for the year, and the fact that you’re finally over the cold that’s been hampering you as of late. The flying bird of the day is excellent, as are your landscape images from your ride.

      1. If you want warmer miles, a visit to Southern California is just what you need…. a few days of 100+ and you’ll book a private jet to zoom back to cooler weather!!

  4. Congratulations on your 4,000 miles. Glad the cold receding at last.
    I quite agree with you about decibel levels, having been to hear Mahler’s first
    symphony in a large, resonant church yesterday evening.

  5. I was totally ignorant of the rugby but the Homestead sport expert echoed your opinion of the game – a manky victory were his exact words 🙂 Congratulations on achieving plan A

  6. Good to hear your cough has cleared up, and you were able to do some pedalling, hard luck to Scotland’s very good struggle against the All Blacks, but like yourself, I really enjoyed the game as a spectacle. Wales has to play them next Saturday, and I am full of trepidation. I hope we can generate as much or preferably even more hwyl than your home crowd did yesterday. That is going to be a major ask, as the commentators like to say, let alone the team effort needed to combat New Zealand’s brilliant team.
    Come on Wales!!

  7. I follow the sentiments of your correspondent above- Wales need some tonic by next weekend and some fire in their game- hope they watch how Scotland played to give them some clues! Sorry! Back to your lovely post- love the vapour trail and rooks and the splendid flying bird…very straight!

    1. Good luck to Wales. They will have to cut any errors in their own game out and hope that the referee isn’t so impressed by the Kiwi’s aura of infallibility that he forgets to penalise them.

  8. Congrats on reaching your Plan A goal. I hope your cold will soon me a distant memory…and that Plan B goals are in sight before long.

  9. well done on the 4000 miles. I lowered mine to 3000 because of a. the fracture b. the UTI that still isnt fully resolved but I made that yesterday. I hope to get more but pleased to have done so. DS1 was trying out bird photography this week and got some good shots too – not as good as yours yet though, glad to hear you are feeling better

    1. You have had a lot of bad luck this year. I hope the 4000 can reappear next year. Good luck to DS1 with the birds, they are are never ending source of enjoyment to me.

  10. If you’re at all disappointed in attaining your Plan A goal, here’s something to put it in perspective: you’ve just cycled from Brandon, MB to Vancouver, B.C. and back to Toronto, ON. So take a bow, and be very proud of yourself. And no blather about not cycling in mountains etc. allowed!

    1. I am pleased, there is no doubt about that, but I had been going well enough in the early autumn to dream of 4500 for the year and that is the dream that has disappeared.

      1. “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, else what’s a heaven for?” And we’ll interpret ‘heaven’ to mean next year’s cycling season, thank you very much!

  11. Bearing in mind the challenges of the year (and possibly a touch of age) it’s possible that this year’s 4,000 miles is better than the 6,500 from a few years ago. Be happy, it’s still good.

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