Today’s guest picture is another from Joe and shows our daughter Annie crossing a bridge in the highlands when she came to it.
I was anxious to make up for the defect in my spreadsheet calculations by having a 30 mile plus cycle ride today so I was pleased when I got up to find that the temperature had stayed at a very temperate 9°C, the wind wasn’t whistling and the rain was staying firmly in the clouds. Under the circumstances, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to represent the family in the church choir and set off to visit a well known bench in Newtown, twenty miles away.
I reached the bench without any undue excitement….
…had a drink and a few raisins and set off back home again as it wasn’t a day to linger about taking in some rays.
I stopped at the bridge over the Esk in Longtown..
….out of respect for my legs which were muttering under their breath at this point.
And got home in good order after finally (and definitively) reaching 4000 miles for the year. My secret target had been 4200 but the pulled leg muscle in November put paid to that and 4012 miles will just have to do.
It was made up of 153 rides with 320 hours in the saddle, meaning an average distance per ride of 26.2 miles at an average speed of 12.5 mph. As 827 of the miles were done on my slow bike while I was waiting for my new bike to arrive, the average speed for the new bike will be a bit higher than that but not a great deal.
It was still warm and dry when I got home so after a nourishing plate of duck soup and some bread and cheese, I went out for a walk with Mrs Tootlepedal.
We chose a modest two bridge walk up one side of the river and down the other. Mrs Tootlepedal strode out bravely, ignoring the trees leaning over the path….
…and the ones that had leaned finally and fatally in the woods along side.
This bank of the river spends a lot of its life in shade and the trees are very mossy to say the least.
But they are very much alive and the catkins and buds on a birch beside the Duchess Bridge were looking very healthy.
We crossed the Duchess Bridge…
…passed a fine show of ferns…
…and walked onto the Castleholm track through a gate with a garden of moss on the gatepost.
Looked at more closely, the moss seems rich and lush.
Further on, the trunk of a Scots pine showed evidence of wear and tear…
…and a fallen birch was playing host to a splendid set of birch polypores.
To my eye, this tree on the bank of the river had the look of a samba dancer with a skimpy backless costume of fern.
We crossed the Jubilee Bridge and took the track behind the school where we came across what looked at first sight to be a shrub in full flower…
Mrs Tootlepedal’s sharp eye noticed that the colour came from berries and not from flowers….
…and she correctly identified it as a pernettya, presumably a garden escape.
Although it was still quite early when we got home, the gathering gloom made taking pictures of birds on the feeder impossible so I didn’t even check to see if there were any about and it wasn’t long before the curtains were drawn and we settled down for a quiet evening at home.
Mrs Tootlepedal cooked gammon and egg for tea and it was very satisfying to have a serving of home grown marrow on the side. The marrows were picked a long time ago and have survived very well in a cool place with no special care required.
In the absence of a garden bird, the non flying bird of the day is one from the Castleholm. It sang very loudly and continuously as we walked down the path but it was too far away for a good identification. We wondered if it might be a blackbird or a thrush. Any suggestions would be welcome.