Offleg problems

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.

Jocks Pool Simon

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.

two oyster catchers

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.

forced rhubrab

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.

ice from barrow

A glittering starling serenaded us from the top of the holly tree as we  worked.

starling on holly tree

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.

perching chaffinch on stalk

I got an unusual view of a wood pigeon.

back vire 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…

two male chaffinches sun

…and flew into the feeder uninterrupted by the hostility of siskins.

Both male…

flying chaffinch male panel

…and female chaffinches  took advantage of the peace and quiet.

flying chaffin female panel

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…

chionodoxa and crocus

…and there was a crowd of chaffinches basking in it on the plum tree…

chaffinches in 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.

clouds over Langholm

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.

clouds over callister

And by ten miles, they looked more friendly still.

cloudscape gir road

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.

pylons in the sun

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.

clouds over gretna

It looked like a good decision as I passed this pastoral scene at Half Morton…

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.

flying chaffinches

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “Offleg problems

  1. Your photos are all wonderful. I am a new subscriber from USA and love to see your trees, clouds and skies. They really evoke spring. The rhubarb looks beautiful and I’m sure the dessert you made was delicious. My rhubarb is just poking through, and my sorrel plants are up at least 4”. Can’t wait to make a nourishing pot of sorrel soup. Is there a post where I may find some photos of the Mrs’s garden?
    Thanks for all the comforting posts.

    1. If you look at the post for August 27 2019, there are some pictures from an upper window there. Good luck with the sorrel soup, I have never tried that.

      1. Found them! Gorgeous. Thanks so much. Last year was my first time to sow the Willow Herb, Epilobium. I just showed more seeds yesterday. Your clipped hedges and striped lawn set off the garden beautifully. You must try sorrel soup, great on a chilly rainy April day.

  2. It looks like the rhubarb was indeed a bit blanched but the stalks should have been nice and tender because of it.
    Nice to see the cloudscapes. Our clouds snowed on us today.
    How lucky some of us are to be able to work from home these days. I don’t do it any longer but I’m glad there are plenty who can.

  3. Well inspired by your 50 miler I went on my first ride for 3 weeks…my usual 20 miles which turned out to be as hard as I can ever remember,so bad in fact I only averaged 9mph,even that was a real struggle..I was so disappointed didn’t even upload it on Garmin.
    I’m thinking of seeing my GP to rule out any underlying health issue.
    Your young rhubarb shoots look very inviting,I believe they are at their tastiest at that stage.

    1. I think that you are right about the rhubarb.
      I am sorry that your ride was a struggle but perhaps it was just getting back into the saddle after the lay off. Indoor cycling is no preparation for real hills in my experience. Your route is much hillier than mine.

  4. I enjoyed all the photos from your day. One has to keep a close eye on the clouds. They can look quite innocent, but their friends can be be harboring a good bit of rain. 🙂

    I noted the ice in your wheelbarrow. Your mornings have been as cold as ours.

  5. Your first taste of rhubarb. That says spring for sure. Can’t wait for mine to be ready. Just little nubbins right now.
    I must tell my hubby about OFFLEG. That might help to explain a lot. He’s doing his PT as we speak. ;—D
    Beautiful sky pics.
    Happy spring!

  6. I was wondering if you were able to video call with Matilda. So glad you are.
    In a year like this your mileage is impressive.
    Your post had the answer to a question i had asked on Facebook earlier in the day, was it too early to pick rhubarb? I had broken some off by accident when trying to move one out of four rhubarb plants. We stewed it. I’ve never heard of roasting it, must google the method. Thanks!

  7. Sorry about those legs, but twenty-six miles is not too shabby. That rhubarb is gorgeous, and in my imagination I could taste it with custard. Yum! Must be hard not to see Matilda. At least you can visit with a video call. We do that with our North Carolina children. Love it!

  8. Thought there might be some reference to cricket fielding positions in your post re: title …I’m obviously a silly mid- on and should read post properly! Hope you get a ‘fine leg’ soon! I think this social distancing is getting to me! Lovely guest photo followed by the great photos from your cycle ride. The cloudscapes are good to see after we have had so many dull and bland skies to look at recently.

    1. There was a glancing reference to cricket in the title but it was only whimsical. All the same, I am glad that you caught it and it didn’t go bye you unnoticed. It would have been a pity if it had stumped you….. I am getting social isolation problems too.

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