Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Gavin who is on holiday with his family in Spain. His picture shows his grandson Elliot surrounded by trains at Vilanova Railway Museum.
We got the promised sunshine today. The whole country has been gloomy over the past few days so there were amusing remarks on the breakfast radio show that I listen to about a strange light in the sky. The show comes from London where they had added warmth while we had ice and the remains of the snow.
Still blue sky is blue sky and always welcome. Sandy is always welcome too and he arrived after breakfast and drove us up to the Moorland bird feeders were it was his day to refill the feeders. I gave him a hand and we sat in the hide for a while to see what was about.
The answer was not much but the bit of sunlight gave me a chance to take a picture or two.
As you can see from some of the pictures, it was quite windy and cold and a pheasant looked thoroughly fed up.
It was chilly, even in the shelter of the hide and interesting birds were conspicuous by their absence so we didn’t stay too long and went back to Wauchope Cottage for a cup of coffee and a biscuit.
After Sandy left, I did the crossword and looked at our own garden birds. The usual suspects were there….
…but in was very pleased to see a couple of redpolls back at the feeder.
The siskins, as well as being very messy feeders, were as belligerent as ever.
I had decided not to go to visit Matilda today as the weather demanded a cycle ride of reasonable length and thanks to the early frostiness, I wasn’t able to get out soon enough to be able to catch the afternoon train to Edinburgh.
Matilda did very well without me and swam nearly a whole width of the swimming pool on her back with no help. She will doubtless be aimed at the 2030 Commonwealth Games.
I had a nourishing lunch and got the slow bike out. In spite of the sun, the thermometer was only just touching 6°C (about 40°F) so once again, I was well wrapped up. Although it was coming from the south west and should have been warm, the wind was once again both brisk and nippy so pedalling into it at the start of my journey was hard work.
This bit of road, near Eaglesfield may not look very important…..
…but it was the first bit of road that I had cycled on for fourteen and a bit miles which was not heading into the wind. To give an idea of the meanness of the wind, it took me one hour and forty six minutes to do the first 15 miles of the route and only seventeen minutes longer to do the next 25, which were either across or downwind.
As my average at the end of the ride was only 10 mph, the whole thing was painfully slow. Partly this was caused by the wind and partly it was because the road I chose for the main downhill ten mile section of the trip was full of potholes and floods…
… though it did have some fine daffodils, and few celandines…
…an interesting sheep and a fine view across the Solway Firth…
My asthma has not been helped by the constantly wet and chilly weather over winter so I found that I needed quite a lot of concentration just to keep going and since I had to keep a keen eye out for potholes on unfamiliar roads, I didn’t find many interesting things to photograph on my route but I did stop to note the delightful blue of the Longtown gravel pit pond….
….and the new windfarm behind it.
It is good to see that as well as annoying me, our never ending supply of wind is being put to good use.
It was still a lovely day when I got home so I had a walk round the garden….
…and then I had a mile and a half walk round Gaskells to make the most of the rare good day.
I adopted a very modest pace and this let me see quite a lot as I pottered along.
I was very interested to see buds on the hawthorn…
…as this is real sign of better things to come.
I heard some loud engine noises and was surprised to see how literally the pilots of a couple of planes were taking the phrase ‘low flying’.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he/she found that they had moss on the undercarriage when they got home.
I saw tiny lichen and big fungus…
…and the first rabbit that I have noticed this year.
I like the way that rabbits equate ‘standing very still’ with ‘hiding’.
Two more tried the same stratagem a little further on.
The main purpose of my walk was to check out the red tipped lichen on the park wall to see if it had survived the frost, rain and snow.
There was a rather scraggy patch along with a promising wild flower…
…just to prove that our park wall is a rich habitat and not just for moss and lichens.
Finally, almost as I had given up hope, I found a healthy looking clump.
My discovery of photography in my later years has provided me with a lot of pleasure but I don’t think anything is better than the ability of a camera to let you see wonders of nature that you just can’t see with the naked eye. These lichens are tiny, the red dots like pin heads.
Mrs Tootlepedal told me in a phone call this evening that she had enjoyed both sunshine and very pleasant warmth in the deep south but I wasn’t envious. Honestly. They don’t have traffic free cycling routes on public roads like us. I hardly saw a car for 34 of my 40 miles today. Mind you, a little warmth wouldn’t go amiss.
I am really looking forward to the coming of my new bike. I have pedalled three hundred miles on my slow bike over the past twenty two days but in the same amount of time and probably with less effort, I might have done sixty to eighty more miles on a quicker bike.
The low flying ‘bird’ of the day is the second of the air force planes that passed me on my walk. Credit goes to the nerve and instrument reading skills of the pilots.
Those interested can see details of the bike ride here
And you can see Sandy’s day here.