Outside and inside

concert venue

The last of my current set of guest pictures  (hint, hint) is a rather unorthodox setting for a Monteverdi concert that my sister Susan attended.

concert venue

Well, part of my wishes came true today and we had a day of almost uninterrupted sunshine.  Sadly, but predictably, the sunshine came with early frost and it was quite chilly all day.

On the plus side, after breakfast, I saw a man shinning up a telephone pole outside our house and before we knew it, our phone was back working.  Since it turned out that it was one of his fellow workers who had left a wire unconnected (“easily done,” the man said) when working up the pole while we were away, I felt that he could have been a bit more apologetic about the whole affair but as far as he was concerned, it was job done and off to the next one.

Still, our phone works so we are happy.  Now we can get back to receiving calls from crooks who want to sell us PPI deals or interfere with our computer’s operating system.  It has been hard to go without offers of a ‘green deal’ for so many days.

As well as our phone, there was a welcome return of some birds to the feeder.

busy feeder

There was even some queuing going on.


I was pleased to see siskins back as well as goldfinches…


…and I liked the rather lordly air with which this one was waiting for someone to get out of his way.

stately siskin

Pigeons approached on foot, looking very serious….


…while a goldfinch regarded an empty perch with suspicion….

flying goldfinch

…and a blackbird didn’t take to being photographed at all kindly.


By noon, the temperature had crept up to 4°C and all danger of icy patches on the road had receded so I wrapped up warmly, got the fairly speedy bike out, lubricated the chain and set off to see what use I could make of a fine day.

As long as I didn’t try to go too fast, things went well and I pedalled over the top of Callister and down into the flat country beyond.

Quite often, you can see blue sky and be under cloud but today for a change, I could see plenty of clouds….

between the waters

…but I spent three hours under blue skies.

It was grand day for cycling….

tree between the waters

….with interesting trees and quiet roads.


The camera club theme for the next meeting is ‘selfies’.  This might be my effort.

cycle selfie

As I passed the relatively new wind farm at Gretna, where the turbines were only just turning …

Longtown windmills

…I could see the even newer wind farm at Longtown in the background.

I stopped to eat a banana near Springfield and fell into conversation with an old chap who was touring on his electric bike.  He told me that he had done five and half thousand miles in the last eighteen months and was very grateful to be able to keep going in spite of having diabetes.

I am keeping the possibility of an electric bike very much in the forefront of my mind for when the time comes that I will need one.

I was hoping that I might be able to do 40 miles on such a fine day but my legs and chest had other opinions and I found myself crossing the bridge in Langholm…

meeting of the waters

…after 35 miles.  That was still a good deal better than I have managed lately so I was grateful for the very light wind which made it a pleasure to be out.

In the garden, the snowdrops are beginning to show….


… early daffodils are looking promising…


…and there were signs that Mrs Tootlepedal had done some gardening while I was out.  The lawn re-shaping is part of her 2018 garden scheme.

lawn imptovements

When I got in, I had a shower and then I added another Parish Magazine which Sandy had scanned and edited to the Archive Group website.  Now the two of us are working on the project, we should get a lot done.

After another portion of Mrs Tootlepedal’s pork chop with parsnips, apples and cider for tea, I left her to watch an interesting gardening programme and went along to the Buccleuch Centre to listen to The Outside Track.

The Outside Track are three Scots, an Irish girl and a Canadian from Cape Breton. They were described in the brochure as a stunning synthesis of virtuosity and energy with a love of traditional music and commitment to creating new music on its foundations.

That all seemed pretty fair when I listened to them.

I enjoyed the evening thoroughly, particularly the work of Ailie Robertson from Edinburgh on the Clarsach.  Anyone interested can hear them here  but they were a lot more punchy live.

Considering that there was a disappointingly small audience, they played with plenty of zest and were polite enough to give us encore too.

I did find a flying bird today, a female chaffinch intent on some seed.

flying chaffinch






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

42 thoughts on “Outside and inside

  1. So glad the birds are back and so nice to see the return of the flying birds. The blue skies helped to see you, albeit in outline, on a fine 35 mile ride. Must feel like a great improvement. Well done.

  2. Beautiful day, beautiful ride. Are you considering an electric bike—far in the future, I know—for environmental reasons or because you like to be outside? Or both?

  3. Sun, cycling, and snowdrops . . . a good day. Gardening in January must be a treat – I look forward to seeing the new footprint for the lawn when the Master Gardner is finished.

  4. You’re doing well to be able to bike ride after such a cold as you had. I hope Mrs. T. is doing as well.
    I love that solitary tree, and of course the snowdrops and daffodils. All is ice here, so we won’t be seeing either for a while.
    I think I’d have to skip this particular camera club meeting, though you did come up with a good way around the selfie requirement.

  5. I really enjoyed that interesting gardening programme. Difficult choice between that and the live music, but I’m sure the performers were pleased to have you add to their meagre audience.

  6. What a splendid day. I am so glad you not only had sunshine but managed a considerable distance on you bicycle. I think your selfie will be a most original contribution.

  7. Oh dear thought I might have beaten you with the snowdrop photo, mine are not out that far yet, will have to find something else to send.

  8. It was a lovely sunny day, I briefly had a small swarm of honey bees on one of the flowering shrubs. Back to rain again now. The latest phone scam seems to be pretending to be the folk who stop the scam phone calls updating their register, so of course they need to check your details … Glad it was sorted out anyway.

  9. I’m somewhat out of the loop on newer bands so I’m glad for the tip on The Outside Track ( complete with a fiddler from my own musical heartland ).

  10. A lovely day with a bike ride, photos of handsome trees, colourful birds and pristine snowdrops. Glad to see the Head Gardener is back in action.

  11. You deserved a nice day like this one after what seemed to be weeks of miserable weather there. And, the images of the scenes along the road reflect that as they look very inviting. I also loved seeing the snowdrops in bloom, while spring comes later here than it does in your part of the world, seeing any signs of spring anywhere is heartening.

    1. It is the perfect self portrait for Mr T. You made me smile, Lavinia!

      Glad Mrs T was able to do some gardening, and I will be interested to see the eventual shape of the lawn.

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