Today’s guest picture comes from a trip which my brother Andrew made to Shipley Park a while ago, when there as still some colour in the trees.
We woke to a fine calm and often sunny day but in spite of this, I had a very restful morning. Indeed, it was so restful that for most of the time, apart from a visit to the shop to buy a bottle of milk, very sensitive cameras would have had to have been deployed to detect any movement in me at all.
I did occasionally cast an eye out of the window to see if there were birds about but they were not much more active than me. Goldfinches arrived in small numbers…
…and a chaffinch glowered at me from the chimney pot.
More chaffinches arrived and in the end…
…it was hard to avoid a flying chaffinch for a short while at least.
After lunch, I was a bit ashamed of my lethargy, feeling that I was wasting a day which was perfectly usable so I got into my cycling gear, wrapped up well and went out for a pedal on my slow bike (my new bike being at the cycle shop for a service).
When I was in the bike shop yesterday, I had purchased some bamboo socks which claimed to be waterproof and I tried them out today to see if they were warm as well. With the temperature at 7°C as it was today, cycling can easily lead to cold feet which make pedalling literally a pain. The socks turned out to be very good and I had an enjoyable if sedate 15 mile ride.
As I was in no hurry, I stopped for photographs as I went along.
There was some low cloud about and although the hills in the distance were bathed in sunlight as I went past Bloch Farm…
…I was under a cloud as I passed my favourite tree.
When I got to the top of the hill at Tarcoon, I could see sunshine and clouds over England ahead of me…
…and by the time that I got to the road down to the Hollows, the clouds seemed to be laughing at me.
…although I was basking in the sunshine by this time.
It had turned into a lovely day for a pedal where I was….
…so I sailed down this road to the Hollows, crossed the Esk by the Hollows Bridge and puffed up the hill on the other side of the valley and returned to Langholm through Claygate.
This gave me an additional river to cross as the Tarras lay among the trees between me and Whita..
I enjoyed the sweep down to the river…
…crossed the bridge when I came to it and was able to take a breather on the way up the steep hill on the other side of the bridge because this is where the road has been closed for three years.
Luckily there is a small gap between the blocks for an elderly cyclist to push his machine through and take stock of the damage…
…before passing through the barriers at the far end and getting back to work.
The light had turned quite golden by this time….
…and I had one last swoop downhill to get back to the Esk…
…which was well in the shadows by this time.
I was very pleased to find that I had been able to cycle up two quite steep little hills without having to get off and walk and without, so far as I can tell, having set back my leg recovery.
I hope that there are a few more good days like this before the end of December. As long as I am well wrapped up, winter cycling is very satisfying .
We had thought of going out in the evening but the charms of a comfy sofa and Strictly Come Dancing persuaded us to stay in.
The flying bird of the day is one of the goldfinches.
Endnote: My brief remarks about hope in yesterday’s post caused some comments. They came after I had been listening to an interesting radio programme in which Melvyn Bragg and guests discussed the development of ideas about hope, which was left in Pandora’s box either as a consolation or as another evil, and which later became the companion of faith and love. You can find the programme here if you are interested. I am not sure whether it will be available to overseas readers.