Today’s guest picture comes from Bruce’s Highland Tour. As well as stunning scenery, he noticed this very curious gate.
As it happens, Dropscone is exactly half a year older than me to the day so to celebrate my arrival at the same age as he is, he brought round some of his traditional treacle scones to go with coffee this morning.
As there wasn’t room for 77 candles on the scones, we ate them unadorned.
After he left, I got my new bike out for the first time for a month and tested the state of my leg by pedalling the six miles to the top of Callister Hill and back again. This was my first ride on the new bike for a month. 12 miles may not be very far but it is a lot better than 0 miles…and my leg was quite happy about it all.
I went along the Wauchope road and this meant that I passed no less than three sets of barriers placed to stop motorists driving too close to the edge of the road where the banking has been showing signs of collapse…
…and one where the banking has disappeared entirely….
…and still hasn’t been repaired. The lack of repair does not come as a total shock. A group of enthusiasts is holding a ‘hands over the gap’ birthday party to celebrate the third anniversary of a continuing road closure on another local road which suffered a serious landslip.
My cycling road is still open to traffic but the little burn that runs along side it…..
…is not going away and will continue to eat into the banking just as huge and heavy timber and quarry lorries will continue to thunder along above it on a road which is not designed for them.
It is an intractable problem.
I got to the top of Callister Hill and noticed a great number of cars parked on the access road to the proposed new windfarm there. They are obviously busy preparing the way for the arrival of the turbines so I took this view of the ridge where they will stand and will take the view again as the turbines are erected over the coming months.
I heard an interesting programme on the radio last night as we drove back from Lockerbie. It was about hope and the question of whether hope is a curse or a blessing. I thought of it as I started my cycle ride today in a light drizzle because I was hoping that it would stop as I went along. This hope was based on the weather forecast. One of the questions raised in the programme was; can faith and hope co-exist? This seems to be because if you have faith you don’t need hope and if you are merely hoping, you can’t have faith. Is hope a trap for the unwary and stupid optimist? Is faith a snare for those who don’t learn from experience and keep on believing that something will happen that never happens?
Anyway, I had faith in the forecast and hoped that the rain would stop and it did…
…and I had a sunny ride home past the landslide.
I had time for a quick look at the birds over lunch.
The goldfinches were back again…
…but frequently flew off and let other breeds sample the delights of the sunflower hearts.
A chaffinch looked askance at a greenfinch heading towards the feeder at a great rate of knots.
More greenfinches arrived and surveyed the scene briefly…
…and one came down to the feeder but didn’t look very grateful when it got there.
After lunch, we went to Carlisle where I put the new bike into the bike shop for its second after-sale free service. It has done two and half thousand miles now and I am more than happy with it.
Then we went off to a shop in an enormous shed which sells a huge range of goods at a modest price. Mrs Tootlepedal bought some decorative items which she will add to the pantomime dress that she is making.
I had recently seen pictures of a good murmuration of starlings at Gretna and as it was getting near dusk, we decided to drive home by way of the site to see what we could see. We saw a fine sunset…
…but no starlings and got bored and drove on. We did see some small flocks flying about as we left and wondered if we had been too hasty. I didn’t have my starling camera with me so I will have to come back another time, equipped with both patience and the right camera to see if the starlings are still around.
In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I played some tricky pieces with varying success but considerable enjoyment. I am not playing at my best at the moment and will have either to practise harder or try to work out what I am doing technically wrong…or both.
An outstretched chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.