Today’s guest picture comes from my camera club friend Simon. He is offsetting the disappointment of the disappearance of all his normal work thanks to the coronavirus by taking healthy walks along the beautiful Esk between some humdrum jobs which he has taken to fill the gap.
I took a walk in the garden after breakfast. It had been frosty when we woke but the sun made things feel quite pleasant…
…and a scilla had added a little more colour to springtime.
There was shopping to do, so while Mrs Tootlepedal combined shopping and business, I pedalled round to the corner shop passing the oyster catchers at their regular spot beside the river on the way.
I like a reliable bird.
After coffee, we went out into the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal did some vegetable bed preparation and I did some compost sieving. The compost, from the back end of last year, was some of the best that I have made and I put this down to some careful attention to layering green and brown material in the original bin and not letting it get too wet.
We checked on the forced rhubarb and decided that it looked good enough to pick a stalk or two. Its colour was wonderfully fresh.
Although it was warm enough to garden comfortably in the sun, the morning cold was not gone and when I tipped some rainwater out of the wheelbarrow, the evidence of the underlying chill was plain.
A glittering starling serenaded us from the top of the holly tree as we worked.
We went in and Mrs Tootlepedal settled down to some administrative work on the computer while I made some lentil soup for lunch.
And kept an eye on the birds.
I got an unusual view of a wood pigeon.
There were no siskins in the garden at all today and not many goldfinches either. This left the field clear for the chaffinches, who gathered on the plum tree…
…and flew into the feeder uninterrupted by the hostility of siskins.
…and female chaffinches took advantage of the peace and quiet.
I had been waiting for the day to warm up a bit before going cycling but even though the sun was still out after lunch…
…and there was a crowd of chaffinches basking in it on the plum tree…
..the thermometer refused to rise above 6°C so I put on several layers of bike clothing and then went back in and put on some more when I saw this cloud looming up over the town.
A few drops of rain fell as I set out but I persevered, and the clouds, although still quite impressive, looked a bit more friendly as I approached Callister.
And by ten miles, they looked more friendly still.
Out of the sun, it felt chilly but there always seemed to be a bit of sunshine ahead. Here it was lighting up the pylons that I would follow for the next few miles.
Things didn’t look quite so good when I got over the hill and headed down towards the Solway Plain, but the rain shower was a good few miles away so I cut my intended route short, turned away from the dark clouds, and headed for home.
It looked like a good decision as I passed this pastoral scene at Half Morton…
..but life is seldom perfect and I had to pedal through a few miles of light rain not long afterwards.
However, it didn’t last too long and it certainly didn’t dampen my spirits. This was because my spirits had been considerably dampened already by arguments with my legs.
They were in a very uncooperative mood and I got into trouble with OFFLEG (The office of the regulator of Leg use by Elderly Gentlemen.) It turns out that in this day and age of politeness, you are no longer able to call your legs “Old Celery Sticks” or “Soggy Spaghetti” when they refuse to help you get up hills. Ah well, I will be nicer to them when I go out next and hope that that makes them work better.
Still, I managed 26 miles at a very modest pace and that has taken me almost to 600 miles for the year. After the appalling weather in February, that is not too bad so I shouldn’t complain.
Mrs Tootlepedal roasted the rhubarb with a little sugar coating for a dessert with our evening meal. The colour was an attractive translucent pink and the taste, enhanced by some custard which I made, was not bad either.
We should have been visiting Matilda in Edinburgh today but we had to make do with a video call in the evening instead. Matilda and her parents seem to be surviving ‘house arrest’ very well. Al and Clare are both working from home and they are making use of on line material and help from her school to keep Matilda entertained and learning at the same time.
I had a choice of flying birds of the day but I chose this back view of a male chaffinch to fill the role.