Blown off course


Today’s guest picture shows a fine peacock which my sister Mary saw on a walk in Holland Park. She was with my Somerset correspondent Venetia.

Thereby hangs a tail, as they say.

We have had to wait a long time but we finally got a warm and pleasant day today, though just to ensure that we didn’t get too uppity, the weather gods provided a stiff breeze, some clouds and an evening rain shower to go with the sunshine.

I was feeling a bit tired after pushing the slow bike around in the wind yesterday so I was more than happy to have a cup of coffee and some treacle scones with Dropscone rather than set out on another long pedal in the morning.

Before he arrived, I cycled round the town doing some business and then walked round the garden.  The gooseberry bush is starting to show signs of life…

gooseberry bud

…among its formidable thorns…

…and a rather cross bee gave me a hard stare when I went into the greenhouse to check on Mrs Tootlepedal’s seedlings.

bee in greenhouse

While Dropscone and I were drinking our coffee, I noticed an unusually marked jackdaw on the lawn.


It was taking a rest from collecting nesting material.

By coincidence, just as Dropscone left and I was checking a freshly out pulmonaria in the garden…


…this handsome dog….


…brought Dropscone’s sister with one of her daughters and a grandchild in a pushchair to our garden gate.  His sister has sent me a fine view of the town which will appear soon as guest picture of the day.

The dog, for those who are interested in these things, is a Vizsla, a Hungarian breed.

After Elizabeth and Anna went on their way, I took a moment to watch the birds.  The flocks of siskins and goldfinches have vanished like snow off a dyke and our regular crew of chaffinches flew in instead…

flying chaffinch

…doubtless quite pleased to see the coast clear.

They were joined by a greenfinch…


…who as usual didn’t seem to be pleased about anything.

After lunch, I got the slow bike out and set off up the road to see where my tired legs would take me.

They took me to the Cleuchfoot road where I enjoyed the tree beside the Glencorf burn…

tree and glencorf burn

…and these colourful alder catkins….

alder catkin

…and then, with a lot of huffing and puffing, they took me to the top of Callister where they finally gave up the unequal struggle with a strong wind and went on strike.

The view from the top of Callister doesn’t show the 25mph  gusts of wind.

View from Whita

It does show how the long winter and spring have drained all the colour out of our hills and it will be a couple of months before we are living in a green and pleasant land again.

Still, it was genuinely warm at about 10°C so it was nice enough to be out, even with bolshie legs and the brief 14 miles took me over 100 miles for the month.

When I got back to the town, I went along the riverside  before I finished my ride, in the hope of seeing one of these.

oyster catcher

There is nothing like an oyster catcher to make you forget a stiff breeze.

I had a cup of tea and walked round the garden to enjoy the little bits of colour that there are about.


Mrs Tootlepedal’s recently purchased fancy daffodil has survived the weather and is looking quite cheerful, though I had to hold its head up to get this shot.

fancy daffodil

A winter aconite had attracted a bee.

bee on aconite

I thought of a walk but the threat of a rain shower sent me back indoors after I had done a bit more work on the new raised beds.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and since Gardener’s World was not on, Mike watched England ladies play Wales ladies at football on the telly while Alison and I played played flute and keyboard duets.  Although the football ended in a goalless draw, Mike said that he had enjoyed it and Alison and I had certainly enjoyed our playing so with added conversation,  it was an evening well spent.

Our spell of warmer weather is set to continue for a while and I hope to get some more useful miles in over the next few days, even if they are slow ones.

The flying bird is one of our loyal band of chaffinches.

flying chaffinch


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “Blown off course

  1. What a day! Visitors, bike ride, scones, music, gardening. Not necessarily in that order.

  2. Our alder catkins seem to be slightly ahead of yours, which seems odd. I saw a female hazel blossom yesterday. I can’t remember if you have seen one yet or not.
    Nice to see the flowers and bees. I hope to see the same here before too long.
    The peacock is a beautiful bird but very loud, I’ve heard.

  3. At least you got out there for a pedal, I made the big decision I was going to start this morning on the road to getting my commute going again. The planning was perfect, I got all my bike and kit ready last night, all I had to do was get up, slip into it and pedal off. Eh! Eh! I woke up to a soft drizzle of a day at 06.00 and decided to wait for an hour while I snoozed in bed. Sadly, I’m not very good at hanging around so tried again at 07.00 only to find the soft drizzle had turned to stair rods of precipitation hammering down. It’s now 08.30 and it hasn’t changed. I know I should have just gone, but the idea of getting soaked before I get out of the street is very off putting. Didn’t the Welsh women’s football team do well, to stay on top of their world cup group and defeat the auld enemy in the process? The clattering noise from our conservatory roof has softened considerably now, no wait the rain was just taking a break and now once again the rain is building back to its former persistent deluge, I could be sat here in my ramshackle cycling gear for some time yet. Thanks for another great morning read, keep pedalling. Cheers.

    1. It hasn’t stopped raining here so I hope that you are luckier than us. Tomorrow looks better here so perhaps you had better keep your cycling gear on all night to be ready for an early start!

      1. I managed to get out at 11.00 for an hour and a half, a bit damp, but the rain held off and it was great to cycle around the Neath valley once again, cheers

  4. I like the oyster catcher photo too! A handsome dog, a witchy jackdaw and spring flowers all photos to brighten up a wet Saturday.

  5. Nicely colourful post today. The alder catkins, the oyster catcher, the flowers and the rather bleached view from the top of Callister are my favourites.

  6. I’m glad that some one somewhere had a nice day for a change, and also photographed the very colorful oyster catcher.

    I wouldn’t complain about the rain too much if I were you, it could be snow as we’re getting here this evening, again.

    Your new ride should be arriving shortly, let’s hope that your nice weather continues when it does arrive, so that you’ll be able to break it in properly.

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