The guest picture of the day is a curious sculpture of a bicycle on a railway line which Bruce encountered on his recent Annan walk.
We had a splendidly sunny day today but from a cycling point of view, it wasn’t as useful as it might have been as it was also very cold for several hours in the morning, with too much of a risk of ice for a unworried pedal.
Under the circumstances, I was more than usually happy to see Dropscone arrive for coffee with treacle scones. We managed to eat all the scones ourselves with perfect timing just before we were joined by our neighbour Liz who had been walking her dog and Mrs Tootlepedal who had been putting another coat of paint on her horse.
As we sipped our coffee, the conversation, as conversations among people of more than three score years and ten tends to do, turned to the many and various strains and stresses that come with the turning of yet another page on the calendar. The upshot of the discussion was a firm injunction from the rest of us to Liz to seek medical advice today as she won the competition for the most serious immediate ailment by some distance.
When the coffee group broke up, I went for a stroll round the garden. Although the shady parts were still frosty, the sun had encouraged the crocuses…
…with some even popping up uninvited among the moss and grass on the middle lawn.
The snowdrops along the back path are almost at their peak and don’t seem to mind the frosty mornings at all.
A euphorbia is showing welcome signs of spring.
I went back in and did the crossword and ate some soup and waited in vain for some birds and the sunshine to come to the feeder. Birds were scarce but in the end a siskin arrived before the sun.
Occasional chaffinches joined in but annoyingly for the would be photographer, kept getting their heads into the shadow of the feeder.
In the end, the thermometer rose enough to make cycling a pleasure so I left the birds to it…
…and went out to see how far my legs would take me.
I was very pleased to find that the potholes on the muddy road past the site where the new wind farm will be on the top of Callister had been repaired and the road cleaned, so I was able to cycle down to the valley of the Kirtle Water in comfort and safety.
I had my eye on bridges today and stopped at the second one over the Kirtle Water that I crossed.
As well as the bridge, I looked at trees…
…on both sides of the river. These three are being undermined by burrowing creatures.
I stopped for the next bridge at Sprinkell…
…and then stopped again in the village of Eaglesfield to show another side of the gaily painted bus shelter there.
From Eaglesfield, I headed south to Gretna, very pleased to get away from a chilly and nagging headwind that had made progress a rather slow business.
The wind had been stronger than I had expected and I would have been much happier when it gradually dropped to a mere whisper, if this hadn’t coincided with a change of direction in my route so that now it was behind me but hardly helping at all.
Still, it was a sunny day and it was a treat to be out and about with my ankle giving me no trouble as I pedalled along….and of course there were more bridges to cross.
This one was over a little tributary to the river Sark, just a short distance from the border between Scotland and England.
There was a very inviting path along the stream…
…but I didn’t have time to follow it as my slow progress meant that I needed to get home before it got too dark and cold for comfortable cycling.
I pressed on as fast as my legs would let me and after a very short visit to England, I returned to Scotland and got back to back to Langholm with thirty eight and a half miles showing on my bike computer. I was seized by a decimal obsession and emulated Mrs May’s Brexit tactic by going round in ever decreasing circles without getting anywhere until the 40 miles finally came up on the screen. At this point I stopped.
I was just having a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal when our neighbour Liz dropped back in to report that she had followed our advice and actually gone to the Health Centre to see the practice nurse. She now has an appointment with a doctor. We were mildly surprised but very delighted with this outcome as her joints are giving her no peace at the moment.
Having discussed pain over coffee in the morning, now we discussed death in the afternoon over tea. You can see what fun old people have when they get together. Actually both conversations were very cheerful and interesting, all things considered.
I am glad that I got out for a cycle ride today because when I look at the forecast tonight, it tells me that we will be back to windy weather tomorrow.
I did manage to catch one chaffinch in the right time and the right place over lunch, so it is the flying bird of the day.
For those interested, clicking on the map of the ride below will bring up further details. It should have felt warm at 56 degrees but the wind was cold and I was happy to be well wrapped up.