Making the most of some more sunshine

pied shag

Today’s guest picture is another NZ bird from Mike and Alison’s recent antipodean expedition.  This one is a pied shag.

pied shag

We had a dull and cloudy morning but with men re-pointing our external wall under the kitchen window, there was no chance of seeing any birds so I retired to the computer and put in some practice on Sunday’s hymns.

When the men left so did the clouds and it turned into a another very good day, though a little cooler than yesterday.  Mrs Tootlepedal went out into the garden and did gardening things while I sieved a little compost.  The results soon found their way onto a flower  bed….

compost and blackbird

…although a blackbird found Mrs Tootlepedal’s manure more alluring.

I had a walk round and was happy to find new tulips out…

tulips

…a thriving dicentra…

dicentra

…and the daffodil of the day.

daffodil

In spite of the sunshine, we are very short of bees, with only one or two bumble bees about.

I had an early lunch and then gave Mrs Tootlepedal a little help with the third of the new veg beds before I packed some supplies in to my bike bag and set off to enjoy as much of the sunshine as I could (with as little hill climbing as possible).  As a result my route took me over the hill out of Langholm….

low plane

…where I was buzzed by another very low flying aircraft…

…and down to the shores of the Solway…

View over solway…where the men who put pylons in the middle of every view had been busy again.

On my way down I passed some early hawthorn leaves (with added lichen)…

hawthorn leaf and lichen

… and this fine show of celandines beside the road from Chapleknowe to Gretna…

celandine beside road

… and then a blast of the modern world seen from the railway bridge at Quintinshill…

railway at Gretna

…and wild flowers both modest and showy.

wild flowers

Having got down to the flat lands, I stayed on them.  The wind was stronger than I expected and pushing the slow bike into a breeze is quite hard enough without having hills to contend with too.

I headed south from Gretna into England, where there were flowering shrubs to be seen…

blackthorn and gorse

…and made my way down to the banks of the River Eden near Rockcliffe.

River Eden at Rockliffe

I was hoping to see some waterfowl but two swans and some unidentifiable ducks were too far away to be interesting…

P1090130

…so I found a pleasant spot under some early leaves…

P1090132

…and ate a blackcurrant jelly sandwich and half a banana.

Refreshed by this feast, I went back up to the top of the bank above the river…

P1090134

…and headed on southwards.  Before I got to Carlisle, I turned eastwards, following the line of this colourful gorse hedge…

gorse hedge

…where the men with pylons and telegraph poles had once again got there before me, and cycled inland across the A7.

The road in the picture below may look undistinguished…

Road near Scaleby

…but it represents cycling heaven for me.  It is flat, well surfaced, sunny, traffic free and (although you can’t see this) the wind is behind me and all is well with the world.

It took me through Scaleby, past the church ( probably early 13th century with tower of early 14th century and restorations of 1827-28 and 1860-62. Large blocks of dressed red sandstone, probably from the nearby Roman Wall)

Scaleby church

…and onto the main road to Longtown.

Now I was heading north again, with a bit of a crosswind.  Once I got to Longtown however, the wind was mostly behind me  and the 12 miles home, up the gentle hill to Langholm were very undemanding.

I had stopped at the border for another blackcurrant sandwich and the last half of my stock of bananas to give me some strength for the final push, when my eye was caught by some movement in the field on the opposite side of the road.  A small group of lapwings were flying low across the stubble and one landed and walked past me.

lapwing at border

Lapwings have become very rare round here in recent years so it was good to see some today.

As I got near to Langholm, time was drawing on and I liked the shadows cast by the trees on the near bank onto the far bank, making it look as though the trees on the far bank had ‘reverse’ shadows rising out of the water to meet them.

Esk in evening

I got home, having cycled 50 miles in five hours, including all my stops.  I managed an average moving speed of eleven and a half miles an hour.  This is a tribute to my skill in finding a really flat route.  The slow bike with its relatively upright riding position and its solid back tyre was surprisingly comfortable but I was still pretty pleased to get off.  Straight handlebars put a lot of pressure on your hands and wrists.

While I was out, Mrs Tootlepedal had settled in the third veg bed very neatly…

new veg bed

…and I couldn’t resist an evening lawn shot….

lawn at dusk

…before I went in.

There was enough light left to take a bird feeder shot…

busy feeder

…before it was time for a shower and an excellent meal of Mrs Tootlepedal’s fish pie to round the day off.

The new bench to go in Mrs Tootlepedal’s paved area is arriving tomorrow.  We are excited.

The flying bird of the day is an evening chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Sorry about too many pictures again.  Don’t blame it on the boogie, blame it on the sunshine.

For those interested, details of the ride may be found by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 20 April 2018

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

20 thoughts on “Making the most of some more sunshine

  1. Nice shot of the lichen encrusted hawthorn branch. It’s great to see leaves on the trees and all the flowers under them.
    It’ll be nice to see the new raised beds full of plants. That should be ample vegetable growing space for two people.
    The evening lawn shot was worth the effort. It and the garden are beautiful.

  2. A beautiful day for a lovely ride seeing so many interesting places, views and flowers. The celandines are stunning this year. How lovely to see a lapwing- wonder where they have all gone. The evening garden looks wonderful.

  3. Your lapwings are much more colorful than ours, congratulations for finding one to share with us.

    Once again, I loved seeing the different flowers that are blooming there, as well as seeing the first leaves of spring on the trees. I hope that your fine weather continues for a while.

  4. May the wind forever be at your back! The bench will likely look so lovely in that little garden of eden Mrs T and you have created.

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