Acting my age

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  When I looked back at his pictures from Kirkcaldy’s Highland Games on the beach, I saw that as well as cyclists and runners, they had these curious characters too.

beach runners Kirkcaldy

It was the day of the wires in our garden and luckily, the wire hangers had a fine day for their work.  They got prepared and while one man disconnected the power from a neighbouring pole, using a handy bucket, a worker shinned up the new pole in our garden and got ready to remove the wires from the old pole.

new electricty supply 1

The picture on the right in the panel above was taken by Mrs Tootlepedal and as I had to leave the scene, she took all the others of the works too.

Once the wires had been taken off the old pole, it was carefully lowered down….

new electricty supply 2

…and turned out to fit exactly into the available space.

Our new pole stood alone.

new electricty supply 3

Then new wires were fitted from our neighbour Liz’s house to the new pole at the front gate….

new electricty supply 4

…and connected up by a team of two hanging on the vegetable garden pole which acts as a centre point for all the houses surrounding our garden.

new electricty supply 5
I see that I have put the two pictures in this panel in the wrong way round. 

Mrs Tootlepedal took a picture of a section of one of the old poles showing exactly why it was time for replacements.

new electricty supply rotten old pole

Mrs Tootlepedal had to go to the Buccleuch Centre, where she was helping out at the coffee shop, and it wasn’t long after she got back that the power was restored and she was able to enjoy our new (and doubtless better) electricity as she made herself a cup of tea.

I had had to leave her to be photographer in chief as I wanted to make use of the good weather to get a cycle ride in.  After cycling thirteen miles on Sunday and walking two mile yesterday without any bad effects on my feet, I thought that the time had come to extend my range a little.

Long suffering readers will know that I harbour an ambition to cycle as many miles as I have had birthdays each year and for as many years into the future as possible.  As there was a rock solid guarantee of no rain today, I thought that this might be the day to accomplish the challenge for this year.

Unfortunately, in spite of the sunny conditions, there was still a pretty brisk wind blowing with gusts of up to 25 miles an hour, so I chose a very flat out-and-back route in the hope that the wind would blow me home.

I was not at all confident that I would be up to the task so I made to sure to stop for a minute or so every five miles to have a drink, eat a snack, stretch my legs and take a photo if the opportunity arose.

There were a lot of things to see on my way…

wild flowers on way to Bowness

…but my favourites were the banks of daises that lined the roads in many places.

daisies beside M6 service road

My route took me down to the southern shore of the Solway Firth and along some very flat roads beside the salty marsh there.

This cow crossed the road in front of me at one point and gave me a hard stare before going off to join her pals in the distance.

salt marsh cow

I would have enjoyed the flat road better if I had not been pedalling straight into the wind, working really hard to achieve a measly 10 mph.

I stopped to admire the fortified farmhouse at Drumburgh, built in the 12 century using stones taken from Hadrian’s Wall.

Drumburgh Bastle

For once, the tide was in and the sea was lapping at the shore as I pedalled along.

solway fiorst view

After 40 miles of head and cross winds, I was mighty pleased to find a small shop in a developing holiday complex in Bowness.  I bought an ice cream, a coffee and an alleged Bakewell tart bar and sat in the sun and had a rest while I enjoyed them. (The Bakewell Tart bar tasted surprisingly good but not much like a  Bakewell Tart.)

Bowness cafe

I pedalled along the shore a bit further after my snack and enjoyed the sight of the marsh cattle peacefully grazing.  Across the Firth, I could see Criffel on the Scottish side.

cattle grazing on salt march bowness

I turned for home after 43 miles, and my plan to be blown home by a friendly wind worked out well.  This was lucky as the 43 miles into the wind had been hard work.

I had stopped on the way out to record the Methodist church at Monkhill, and to even things out, I stopped to record the 12th Century Anglican church at Burgh by Sands (also built using stones from Hadrian’s Wall) on the way back.

chapel and church

I had nearly got back to Langholm when I spotted the biggest treat of the day.  The people who mow the verges of our roads had failed in their task of exterminating every possible wild flower on the  A7  and near the end of the Canonbie by-pass I came across a small clump of orchids which had survived the trimming.

orchid beside A7

After 81 miles at a very modest speed, I managed to get home just before Mrs Tootlepedal went out to an evening meeting and was very pleased to find that she had cooked a nourishing meal for me to eat after she had gone.

When I had eaten, I was recovered enough to go out and mow the middle lawn and take a turn round the garden.

The climbing hydrangea is covered with flowers and bees.

climbing hydrangea with bees

The day of sunshine had brought the coral…

coral peony out

…and the white peonies out…

white peony out

…and the lupins were a joy to look at in the evening light.


But of course, the highlight was the new pole.

new electricty supply final

At the time of writing,  my feet and ankles have survived the slightly longer cycle ride but only tomorrow morning will tell if I was ill advised to take on my age challenge.

I managed to capture a flying siskin of the day after I got home.

flying siskin

I have appended my route map below.  You can see that it was a very flat route.

Those interested can learn more by clicking on the map.

garmin route 18 June 2019


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “Acting my age

  1. I’m surprised there is any of Hadrian’s wall left.
    I didn’t know Mrs. T was also an excellent photographer! The linemen really earn their pay. It’s a job I wouldn’t want.
    Nice to see the orchids and the beautiful scenery. Glad the feet held up well.

    1. You would have to be really confident that everyone else in the team knew what they were doing.
      There isn’t much of the wall left and none at all in the more populated parts of the route.

  2. Replacing the pole was quite the project, but the workers seemed to cope well with the constraints of working inside the Langholm Municipal Gardens. The fortified farmhouse is quite foreboding – and made from filched materials, tsk! Hope your feet work without complaint tomorrow.

    1. They did. Half the old houses in the north of Cumbria and Northumberland seem to have been built out of Hadrian’s Wall stone. It is amazing that there is any of the wall left to see.

  3. Bravo! A nice long pedal. I would be hardpressed to ride that distance as I’m mostly a commute these days. Nice to see you pedaled by familiar landmarks: Burgh by Sands church and the building in Drumburgh, both I’d walked past (though I visited the church – spectacular- and well worth a visit) on my Hadrian’s Wall walk. What I missed, was the Scottish side of the firth, so I immensely enjoy your stories and photos.

    1. I will have to try to go into the church next time that I go past. That was the longest pedal for this year by far so I was pleased to have managed it. I certainly couldn’t walk the Wall.

  4. How good of Mrs T to stand in as photographer. Wouldn’t like to have missed the activity. Very professionally installed. Your ride looked quite lovely — glad you could escape.

  5. What a wonderful ride, Tom! I read back yesterday trying to find out about your feet, but nope, couldn’t find it. Arthritis, flat, what’s paining them? I have missed a lot while I have been avoiding the internet. Your gardens have really bloomed out since April/May! And as always, so beautiful to see.

    1. Thank you for your concern Lynda. I had bad arthritis in one foot and that made me walk somewhat lopsidedly so I ended up with a strained Achilles tendon in the other ankle. On top of that I think problems in my back have been giving me extra pain in the arch of the arthritic foot so all in all, I have been having a hard time walking for two months and more. I could cycle relatively easily but it made my feet hurt when I had finished. For some reason, things have suddenly improved and I have been able to cycle without making my feet worse. A walking trial will come next.

  6. Such an enjoyable cycle ride seeing all those buildings using reclaimed stone and seeing all the delights of the countryside and finishing the day off mowing the lawn…too much energy! Good to see the poles sorted and job done properly.

  7. It seems Mrs T is successful at everything she attempts to do. You really are a lucky man to have such a talented and industrious partner.

  8. Absolutely amazing. I have been meaning to drop in and see what you’ve been up to and am glad I am witness to such a triumphant ride. Good luck sorting out the walking. I think it’s unfair to discover–only after we’ve lived in our bodies for so long–how interconnected one part is to another in ways we would never expect. (My right knee is improving only to discover all my pain avoidance has now caused my ankle to complain.) And I’m glad the orchid escaped the mowers.

    1. I absolutely sympathise with one thing affecting another in a bad way. It is sometimes very hard to find someone who will look at you in a whole way rather than just treating an immediate ailment. Getting the right exercises at the right time is the key to happiness.

  9. Mrs. Tootlepedal is a Force of Nature in her own right, with her hard work and many talents.

    Glad to hear you were able to get out for a good bike ride, and that your ankle is better. My wrist has almost recovered from my fall, and I am back to performing.

    The orchids were a nice find! The bank of daisies is very beautiful. Our local ox eye daisies have done the same, brightening many a field in our area.

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