Small but select

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who took it while  flashing past Stonehenge on a double decker bus.  There was no time to stop as she was off to London for a march to demand a second referendum.  One of my sisters, my brother and his two sons also attended the march so it was an important affair.


It was a bright and calm morning here today but it was also decidedly chilly and I was in no hurry to get my bike out until the temperature reached at least 7°C.  This gave me time for coffee and the crossword as as it was after eleven o’clock before the target was reached.

Mrs Tootlepedal advised me that blackbirds were bathing in the dam behind the house and there might be a photo opportunity.  I went to check but found a blackbird that was waiting on the edge but not willing to take the plunge.

blackbird by dam

I put on a great many layers of cycling clothing and finally got going.  When I got to ten miles and stopped for a drink of water, I noticed that a tree which had had leaves last Friday but which had lost them now.

tree no leafs

But it was a fine day and as you can see there was so little wind that the turbines at Minsca were not turning at all.

still windmills

I had a lot of clothes on and just turning my legs over was quite a task in spite of the still conditions but I plugged away and passed trees with leaves on near Eaglesfield….

trees with leafs eaglesfield

…and stopped for a buttered roll with honey under the cavernous motorway bridge near Kirkpatrick Fleming (my bike ignored the no parking sign)…

motorway bridge KPF

…and paused for a smaller bridge near Gretna.

bridge over burn near gretna

The bridge’s arch was framed with bright red berries.

red berries

As I got back on my bike and was just getting going, another fairly elderly cyclist passed me without stopping for some civil conversation.  Just to annoy him, I caught him up and pedalled along silently a few yards behind him.  He knew I was there and occasionally pushed a bit harder to try to shake me off but he couldn’t and in the end I passed him …with a few civil words about the lovely weather.  I could see him in my mirror, hanging on about twenty or thirty yards behind me even when I pushed a bit to try to shake him off.  Mercifully we took different routes at the first junction we came to, and we could both relax.

I had taken my route in the hope of seeing migrating geese near the border and a loud honking directed my attention to a big flock foraging in a field.

geese at Englishtown close up

There were a lot of them.  I think that they are greylag geese

geese at Englishtown

I waited for a while, hoping that they might take off and give me a flying shot but they remained firmly on the ground.  Resisting the temptation to say boo to a goose, I pedalled on home.

The wind had got up enough to make the wind turbines at Gretna turn very slowly but it was mostly behind me by this time so I was able to do my 40 miles with two minutes in hand before the three hour mark arrived.

I had put a mixture into the bread maker earlier in the morning and Mrs Tootlepedal had taken it out while I was pedalling.  The bread maker had done a fine job and some vintage plum jam was on hand if needed.

bread machine triumph

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy gardening so I heated up a mug of celery and Stilton soup and went out to see what was going on while i drank it.

In spite of the chilly morning, the roses were going on very well.

Crown PrincessRosy Cheeks

A rudbeckia was looking a little part worn but as it has been looking like that since it first started flowering several weeks ago, I think it deserves credit for trying.


I saw a dunnock…

dunnock on edge

…and nearly caught a flying dunnock of the day but it was too sharp for me.

flying dunnock

Honeysuckle berries and nasturtiums caught my eye…

honeysuckle and nasturtium

…and the perennial wallflower and the lamium look as though they will never go over.

perennial wallflower and lamium

My flute pupil, Luke turned up and mindful of the truth that if a pupil is having difficulty with something, it is the fault of the teacher, I upped my game a bit and we made some serious progress in counting.

After tea, I went off to the camera club meeting where Sandy helped me to set the projector and screen up.

Once again we had a rather small but very select group of keen photographers and once again we had some most enjoyable images to look at.  With pictures from a royal palace in St Petersburg and raptors from a park in Keswick, local wild life and memories of our trip to Beamish in the summer, we were well supplied with things to enjoy.  One of our members had been having a very creative time with his photo editor and he produced results which defied belief.  All in all, it was a satisfactory meeting and we agreed to meet again next month, with the hope of a few more members turning up.

The flying bird of the day is that reluctant swimmer.

flying blackbird

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

39 thoughts on “Small but select

  1. I enjoyed your autumn photos. The Tootlepedal garden is still looking loudly colorful, as I would expect! All that is blooming here now are the few remaining unhappy roses, and some very cheery dandelions. A bee was out collecting pollen from them earlier today.

    The bread looks good. Rick is our breadmaker, too, and makes a fine loaf.

    1. We may have some flowers left but we have very few bees visiting at all. I am sure that Rick probably makes fine hand kneaded sour dough loaves which would put ours to shame.

  2. I’ve noticed that some cyclists for whatever reason don’t even give you a quick wave,let alone speak.
    I always make a point of giving them a loud cheery “hello”,but even that sometimes falls on deaf ears..maybe they’re so “in the zone”they don’t have time,takes all sorts.
    Great autumnal shots taken on your ride 👍

    1. I think that such cyclists are, as the saying goers, rather up themselves and think that they are too superior to waste time talking to old men on slow bikes.

      1. I think your probably right there..If I could remember that far back dare say I was probably the same in my youth..😔

  3. The plum jam sounds delicious. I’ll have to see if I can find some. The bread doesn’t look bad either.
    It’s nice to see the roses. I doubt I’ll see any here until June.
    Those are two fine shots of the blackbird. I would have loved to have seen the camera club offerings.

    1. On a comfortable bicycle, which mine is, it is merely popping out for a moment or two. I was sitting down quietly the whole time, not rushing about. 🙂

  4. We’ve been in search of migrating geese. I imagine we traveled a good bit more miles ((4,250 altogether) than you did without any pedaling involved, but eventually came across a great gaggle of snow geese.

  5. Loved rivalry between the cycling pensioners, too funny, good job he turned off. The garden is still giving, and so is that breadmaker!

    1. The breadmaker may not be truly artisanal but for two minutes work by me, it gives consistently good results…especially if compared to buying commercially baked bread using the Chorleywood method.

  6. It is such a shame that we can’t get near Stonehenge any more unless we are prepared to take out a mortgage and trudge past in a slow-moving queue. Jackie read out the cycling rivalry before I got to it today. She was really laughing 🙂

  7. Yes, too funny about your encounter with the other cyclist. I was taken with the lovely rimmed eye of the black bird. And, do you think there will be a second referendum? Despite being preoccupied with our own mess of a government, we watch anxiously across the pond and hope things improve for your beautiful country.

    1. I am not sure whether we will get a second referendum and things have been so badly mismanaged from the start of the process that I am not sure whether one would be a good idea. As soon as the referendum was called, there should have been a national conversation set in motion and certainly this should have happened after the result was so close. The conservatives regarded this as a purely party political matter that affected only them from the start rather than something that affects everyone in the country and that has led to the present mess.

      1. Can’t ‘like” this. So very sorry that you have to go through all this. Fingers and toes crossed that it all turns out well for you. But political messes get discouraging, don’t they? As I’m sure you know, we are having our own “fun” over here. We have to retain hope, but sometimes it isn’t easy.

  8. Such a lovely looking loaf and with plum jam too- heaven! How fortunate to find that large flock of greylags- what a lovely sight. Love the shadow and reflections under the little bridge.

  9. That is a funny story about the two cyclists!

    Good for Venetia and your brother and nephews for marching. There should be more of that over here. I wish you could all have a second vote.

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