Today’s guest picture is my final offering from Venetia’s American trip and shows more wildlife from Yellowstone. This time it is a mule deer.
The forecast was for a dry sunny day here today and I had hopes of a decent cycle ride but the good weather came with a frosty morning so I had to wait to get going.
The frost had frozen the first clump of frog spawn in the pond…
…and I don’t know whether potential tadpoles can stand being frozen and unfrozen.
The sun soon brought the early crocuses to life…
..with added insect.
There weren’t as many birds about today as there have been lately so I only put out one feeder but traffic was brisk for a while on it.
Luckily, the ever reliable Dropscone was on hand with some traditional Friday treacle scones to help to pass the time over a cup or two of coffee and when he left….
…there were more crocuses to look at….
…and there were enough frogs in the pond to ensure that there should be fresh supplies of spawn soon.
It was interesting to me that I had been able to take much better frog pictures yesterday on a duller day than I could in the fairly bright sunshine today. It just goes to show how important light is to a camera.
In the end, I waited so long for the temperature to rise to what I considered a safe level that I had to have some lunch before I set out and it was early afternoon when I finally got going.
The trouble with the heaps of snow beside the back roads is that as they melt, they cover the road with water and if this freezes, it is impossible to avoid. Thanks to my delayed start, by the time that I was on the road things were safe enough….
…though a driver thought that this rather narrow avenue was just the place to pass me. I don’t like to rejoice in the misfortunes of others but I wasn’t as sympathetic as I might have been when she ran into quite a deep pothole just after she had almost squeezed me into the snow.
I headed down to the flat country round Gretna as I find it hard to get my legs really interested in hills when the temperatures are low. The wind had shifted a bit to the north west and was colder than yesterday so it was lucky that the sun stayed out to warm my old bones.
There were good views to be had.
I stopped regularly to have a snack, a drink and a breather for a minute or two and on one bridge, I found some unusual looking moss when I leaned on the parapet for support.
It was a railway bridge and a train whizzed past underneath me as I stood there.
The trains look exactly the same from either end so you have to know that trains drive on the left to realise that this one was going away from me by the time that I had got my camera focussed.
As I crossed the border between England and Scotland no less than four times on my short journey and each time on different roads of different sizes, I reflected that the airy politicians who talk of the Irish border being no trouble to organise just using technology are very optimistic to the point of stupidity. (And of course, we don’t talk about Gibraltar.) My mind often wanders while I pedal along.
It was such a nice day that I thought that a trip to the sea side was in order and so I went down to the Solway shore at Brow Houses where I found someone else enjoying the sunshine on a handily placed bench.
It is only really the sea side when the tide is in. On a day like today when the tide was far out, it is more just the estuary of the River Esk….
…as it runs between sandbanks.
Still, I could see the Lake District hills on the English side…
…and some interesting water fowl on our side…
…so I was pleased to be there as I munched a banana and some prunes. I was a bit too far away from the ducks to get a good picture but I think that they may be shelducks.
I have been short of bridge pictures lately owing to doing so little cycling during the winter so I stopped to admire this neat railway bridge carrying the Gretna to Annan railway…
…before taking a pretty direct and wind assisted route home through Gretna and Longtown.
This gave me the chance to book the fairly speedy bike in for its annual service at the bike shop in Longtown and to consider buying a new bike helmet as the one I was wearing today has a serious crack in it after the unfortunate incident last month.
I am not intending to fall off again but then I wasn’t intending to fall off last time so one can’t be too careful. There was a big item on the news last night about the benefits to the health of elderly people that a few hours a week on a bike brings but it didn’t mention the possible side effects for the careless pedaller!
I went through Canonbie on my way back as the main road was fairly humming with traffic and this gave me the opportunity, as I stopped for my final snack and breather, to get a sideways look at my favourite three trees…
…and to enjoy the late afternoon sun catching the church and manse as I went through the village.
When I got home, I found that the gardener had been making good use of the fine weather by working on the new arrangements of lawn and flower beds. She was taking a moment to view the work in progress. Note the neat line of transplanted snowdrops/
The man who made our compost bins came this morning to consult Mrs Tootlepedal about renewing some of her raised vegetable beds and he is also going to make us a new bench to replace the one on the picture, which is well past its ‘best by’ date.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been counting the frogs in the pond and told me that she had seen eleven at one time. There were still several about when I looked.
After only managing 140 miles in the whole of February, I have done 112 in the last four days so it is not too surprising that I am feeling a little tired tonight. The forecast says that there is a good chance that it might rain all day tomorrow so I might get an enforced rest.
The flying bird of the day was one of the early morning visitors.
For those interested, here is the map of my ride and a click on the map will bring up the full details.
If you bring up the route and look at the map, a click on the third button along on the top left of the box will give you the chance to choose the ‘satellite’ option. This, if you zoom in, gives you a very dramatic view of the Solway Firth with the tide well out, just as it was today.