Hail smiling morn

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.

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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.P1190347

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.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “Hail smiling morn

      1. That’s true,around 70% of my 20 mile ride is all uphill.
        But being only age 70 it’s still no excuse.
        Today (fri 29th) was a perfect day for a bike ride,not a hint of a breeze and sunny..but unfortunately I have quite a nasty chest infection which has kept me of the bike for a few weeks.
        It’s very frustrating as you’ll know,but I did manage a 5 mile walk on the local moor.
        I noted you are running short on guest photos..I have a few which might be of interest,let me know how I go about posting them to you if possible.

      2. I would welcome your pictures. You can send them to hutton . tommy @ gamil . com if you leave out the spaces and correct the obvious spelling mistake. Look after that chest infection (though it can’t be too bad if you managed a five mile moorland hike 🙂 ).

  1. I’ve noticed that young beech saplings here also hang onto their leaves longer than adult trees as well.
    I’m surprised they’re still using telephone kiosks there. It has become next to impossible to find one here because everyone has a cell phone.
    Congratulations on reaching 3000 miles. That’s about like pedaling coast to coast in the U.S.

    1. There are very few working phone kiosks left and I am not sure if the one in the picture is still functional. They had to leave a few in country areas because the mobile signal was very bad.

  2. Great photos and commentary. The cows look as if they are waiting in the mud to be fed. Nature can be very interesting and sometimes we wonder how the trees grew the way they did. Like the tree that is leaning a bit. Your birds are always lively. The winter birds have yet to come here. It seems something is a bit off…

  3. Your sister Susan does some nice guerilla gardening work. I hope it catches on in her area. 🙂

    Your capture as much personality in your tree photos as you do of the birds at the feeders.

  4. Great trees, I promised you a shot of a local tree here ages ago, but it’s in a field surrounded by high hedges which prevents a clear picture. Your trees up there in the borders seem so accessible because of the openness of the terrain. As you’d expect, here in the valleys of south Wales views are quite enclosed, unless you’re able to get to the tops of the valley sides. That requires a steep climb which I am not up for. I love the potential ox-bow lake, takes me back to my school geography. The steep fast flowing young river transforming as it flows towards the sea into the meandering old river and the formation of ox-bow lakes and then deltas. Obviously, we had a great teacher, who was also one of our rugby coaches Mr Davies, who went to teacher training college with the great Gerald Davies who played for Wales, the Lions and Barbarians (who beat the All Blacks in what’s known as “the Game”, when Gareth Edwards scored that fabulous unforgettable try) Sorry, I must end my reminiscing for now. Thanks for your posts, they really kickstart my brain in all sorts of directions. Cheers.

    1. I enjoy sharing your thoughts, keep them coming. I was taught by a rugby referee and cricketer but he didn’t teach me much. The thing that sticks in my mind is him saying that he only thought that he had had a successful match as a referee if both sets of supporters booed him.

  5. Next time you pass the little church you can admire the tastefully made gates …..fabricated by Jack Pringle. Even the wee finals resemble the wee spire.

  6. Well done on completing all those miles on your bike I think that would take you to the North Pole…you’ve got to get back now! Interesting to read about the beech hedges …they are splendid in their russet leaves next to those lovely trees in your photos.

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