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.
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.
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.
Pigeons approached on foot, looking very serious….
…while a goldfinch regarded an empty perch with suspicion….
…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….
…but I spent three hours under blue skies.
It was grand day for cycling….
….with interesting trees and quiet roads.
The camera club theme for the next meeting is ‘selfies’. This might be my effort.
As I passed the relatively new wind farm at Gretna, where the turbines were only just turning …
…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…
…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.
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.