In contrast to yesterday’s Antiguan sun, today’s guest picture shows a typical day in Derby. My brother Andrew was suffering in the rain there a couple of day ago.
We had another very welcome dry day here today and things are even beginning to hint at drying out a little. A bit more warmth would help the process.
A brisk wind also helps and we got that today, the downside being that it was a pretty chilly breeze and it made the day which was theoretically warm at 10°C feel a good deal colder. Still, it was a useful day for a pedal and some gardening so we were happy.
My fairly speedy bike was still in the bike shop so I went out on the slow bike and stuck to skulking 18 miles twice up and down the Wauchope valley, as far out of the wind as I could stay.
I was impressed by the dedication of a flock of sheep to getting their strength up and stopped for a shot…
…and as I always look closely at a wall when I am leaning over one to take a photo, I took some lichen pictures while I was at it.
I like the variations in colour, shape and style that the lichen on our roadside walls provides.
Otherwise, I kept my head well down in the crosswinds on the ride and didn’t take any more pictures.
When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had completed some errands round the town and was busy gardening.
She is very pleased with the early crocuses this year and so am I.
There are some brighter ones about…
…but the bulk of the flowers are a delicate pale violet and I like them both for themselves and when they mingle with the snowdrops.
And because I like eating it, I was very happy to see that the rhubarb is looking very promising.
Then I went inside and looked out. The kitchen makes a warm and comfortable bird hide and supplies good coffee too (Rwandan today).
I looked high…
After lunch, I went off for a walk. It had been gently sunny while I had pedalled along in the morning but the clouds had come over for my walk and it was a grey afternoon.
Snowdrops provided some cheer both at the start and near the finish of my walk.
On grey days, I tend to keep my eyes on the foreground and ignore the views and there is always something to help to pass the time.
This wall provided a home for some luxuriant moss.
And a birch tree had a neat circle of script lichen.
As always, walls are a never ending source of delight and today I came across a growth which I hadn’t seen before. It is the coral like structure on the left in the panel below. I think that it must be lichen but I am by no means confident about that.
On the other hand, I am confident about this.
This is definitely cladonia lichen.
I had already stopped at a promising piece of wall before I had noticed the tiny spots of red so either my lichen radar is improving with practice or I was just lucky because I didn’t see any more along the the wall.
It really is very red indeed.
I started and finished my walk with a visit to the Kilngreen in the hope of seeing some oyster catchers.
There was a pair at the Meeting of the Waters when I was on my out but they flew off with a gull before I could get too close…
And there was a pair (probably the same pair I would imagine) in the same place when I came back an hour later and they flew off again, first to further up the bank of the river…
…and then again to join the gulls on the fence posts.
Luckily one of them flew right past me.
When I saw that I wasn’t going to get close to them, I took a shot through an arch of the Langholm Bridge which gave me a lot of pleasure even on a grey day.
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden again when I got back and I fell easily into a supervisory role. It is a suitable role for me as it doesn’t involve doing anything else but walking around and saying, “That looks good.”
In the evening, I went to sing with our local choir and enjoyed myself not least because I am sitting next to my cello playing friend Mike who is an excellent singer and keeps me right.
He remarked that he and his wife have been enjoying the frog pictures on the blog so here is one from today, especially for them.
The flying bird of the day is a black headed gull which flew by while I was tracking the oyster catchers. It has almost got its spring black head.
Oh and the title of the blog refers to a telephone call which I received from the bike shop this evening to tell me that the fairly speedy bike has got a two inch crack in the frame so it is time to say farewell to an old friend. Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out that it is just as well to discover a crack like that when it is in the bike shop and not when you are going down hill at 30mph.
I don’t remember exactly when I bought the fairly speedy bike, a Giant SCR, but I must have had it for over ten years so it will have done about 40,000 miles at least. It has been a good servant, comfortable and reliable and I will be very happy if my new bike turns out to be as good.
I am going to look at getting a replacement suitable for a elderly gentleman with no great bike handling skills but who enjoys getting a few miles in over a year. Like Two Ton Tessie O’Shea used to say about herself, it will be built for comfort more than for speed. I know my limits now.