I have run out of current guest pictures so I looked in my files and I am using one from last month again. I was so impressed by my sister Susan’s guerrilla gardener’s work that I am showing his/her earlier effort to brighten the neighbourhood. Everyone should be doing this.
We had a brighter morning. Hooray. We could even see quite bit of blue sky as we ate our breakfast. It wasn’t quite as good as it might have been because the blue sky was on one side of the house and sun was on the other side where the clouds were, so we didn’t actually get any sunshine in the garden.
All the same it looked like a day for a bike ride. There is a gap between looking and being and that gap was filled by coffee, toast and the crossword. I am still finding it quite hard to discover where I have put my get up and go in the mornings.
I killed a little time by looking at a greenfinch.
And then I cleaned the feeder and refilled it.
Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Hawick on embroidery business before I finally managed to get the wheels turning and hit the road. The temperature was still in single figures and with a north easterly wind, the ‘feels like’ factor was strong enough to make me grateful for every one of the many layers in which I was encased.
This picture, taken three miles after my start, summed up the day quite well, I thought.
But it wasn’t raining and the chilly wind was behind me so I pedalled along cheerfully, stopping from time to time to take pictures.
This is an old mission or outreach church at Kirtleton, now converted to a private dwelling.
I like the potential oxbow lake near Waterbeck. The tree on the left of the recent landslip must be considering its position nervously.
Considering their size and the enormous weight of wire that they carry, pylons have very dainty feet.
It is a curiosity that beech hedges retain their leaves long after beech trees have shed theirs. I am told that this is because by routinely cutting hedges below 2 metres the plants are kept in their juvenile state, so retaining their dead leaves which get pushed off the tree with emerging new growth in the spring.
It cheers up the roadside on a dreary day.
Any hint of blue sky disappeared as I pedalled along, but the rain stayed away so I could stop to indulge my liking for bare trees without getting the camera wet.
This one was leaning politely to one side to make room for passing traffic (only me today).
And this one was retaining a little foliage in spit of its exposed position.
The hedges here are hawthorn and have lost their leaves.
The wind had helped me on the way out and for the first twenty five miles of my outing, I was able to average a respectable 13.3 mph. Coming home into the wind and up the gentle hill was a different matter and for the last 15 miles, 12 mph was all that I could muster. I was happy to stop and admire the well appointed village centre at Glenzier, with its refurbished hall, bus stop, post box and telephone kiosk.
The bus service is infrequent however, and in general, cycling to Langholm is the quickest way to go.
I have done very little cycling in November so my legs were more than happy to suggest ending the journey after forty miles when I got back to Langholm. As it was getting gloomy again by this time, I was quite happy to fall in with my legs.
I had a cup of tea and checked on the birds.
Our resident robin was hopping about under the feeder.
…and a lone siskin was testing out the peanuts. I expect to see a lot more of these before the winter is over.
On the feeder, resident birds were keeping an eye out…
…for incoming traffic.
I had a shower and spent some time going over songs for the Carlisle choir Christmas concert. With ten days to go, any spare moment can be usefully spent doing more of this as we are slightly under rehearsed and there are quite a few tricky corners to be negotiated.
On consulting my spreadsheet, I see that today’s bike ride took my total distance for the year to over 3000 miles. As I was hoping for 4000 miles when the year started, this is well below target but trouble with my feet in the early part of the year kept my cycling miles well down for three months, so I am quite pleased to have hit this B target. I have done 2000 miles in the last six months and that has been very satisfactory.
If the weather is kind in December, I may be able to add a few more miles before the years end.
I didn’t get a chance to catch a good flying bird at the feeder so I have sneaked in a few low flying gulls in a field near Glenzier to act as flying birds of the day.