A Sunday without a song

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.  On a clear day recently, he was able to look across the Forth and see North Berwick.  We haven’t organised a holiday there for this year yet.  This may be the closest we get to it.

north berwick

On a normal Sunday at this time of year, we would go to Church to sing in the church choir in the morning, and then go to Carlisle to sing with Community Choir in the afternoon.  Thanks to the dreaded virus, both church and community choir are closed for the foreseeable future and time hung heavy on my hands.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy with community buy out work, but I just mooched around feeling hard done by, not even being able to raise enthusiasm for a walk or even compost sieving.

On the bright side it was another sunny and dry day (after another frosty start) so I did wander around the garden where I found a lot of the potential tadpoles developing well.

developing tadpoles

The cold mornings are not encouraging new growth so I had to make do with daffodils…

daffodil in sun

..and chionodoxas for floral cheer again.

chionodoxa clump

The silver pear is offering signs of hope…

silver pear march 22

…and a single flower on the head of a drumstick primula hinted at good times to come.

first primula flower

Mrs Tootlepedal and I were sitting on our new bench enjoying the warmth of the sun when we heard the buzzing of a bee.  I rushed to get a camera but only managed a very fuzzy shot of the buzzer.

faint bee

Any bee is welcome though.

Taking a last shot of a fancy cowslip, I went in to make lentil and carrot soup for lunch.


After lunch, I stirred myself enough to get my bicycle out in the hope that the good Dr Velo would offer a cure for my blues.  It was not very warm in spite of the sun and the temperature was still in single figures, but the wind wasn’t too bad.

The blue sky was almost cloudless and the good doctor soon began to work his magic, helped perhaps by the fact that I had chosen a very easy route, my favourite Sunday ride down the main roads to the Roman Wall and back again.

As I passed the junction at the start of the Canonbie by-pass, I thought that I heard people hooting at me but when I looked up, I saw it was a skein of birds flying overhead.  I stopped and got out my camera but they were well past me before I could press the shutter.


I cycled over the bridge at Longtown and was pleased to see that work has started on repairing one side of the bridge at least.

It is not  a very photogenic ride but a bright bracket fungus on a tree stump did make me stop…

barcket fungus newtown road

…and I was happy to see young lambs at the far side of the field.

two lambs

It was a clear day and I could see the final fling of the northern English fells in the distance.

north england hills

I got to Newtown, my twenty mile turning point, and was glad of a rest to eat a banana while sitting on my customary seat…

newtown bench

…and admiring the daffodils round the old village drinking fountain.

newtown pump with daffs

The wind had been in my face the whole way down so I was fully expecting the weather gods to play their usual tricks and either change the wind direction or let it die away completely on my return journey.

On this occasion though they were at their most benign, and after taking 90 minutes for the southern leg, I only needed 79 minutes for the return to the north.

I paused for this fine English tree…

longtown road tree

…and for the Welcome to Scotland sign at the border.

welcome to scotland

It is not an impressive gateway to our beautiful country, comprising as it does of a scruffy lay-by, two litter bins and a slew of ill matched road signs.  To add to the lack of warmth in the welcome, the illuminated digital sign up the road was telling people to stop doing all this travelling around anyway.

“Ceud mìle fàilte” as they say.

Mrs Tootlepedal had had a busy afternoon split between business and the garden but she had finished by the time that I got back so I nodded at a blackbird perched on the greenhouse…


…and went in to join her.

Mrs Tootlepedal hunted out some more of her chicken cacciatore and we had it with rice for our tea.

I had tinned peach slices with Mackie’s excellent ice cream for afters, and that rounded off a day that ended with me feeling much better than when it had begun.

I had thought that the skein of birds that flew across me when I was cycling were geese of some sort but a closer look on the computer showed me that all my flying birds of the day were not geese but swans.

gaggle closer

It’s not often that all your geese are swans.  It was lucky that I saw them because there was hardly a bird at the feeder all day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

46 thoughts on “A Sunday without a song

      1. I know the feeling. Julia, it seems, doesn’t think my habit of cursing politicians is at all endearing. Or my habit of pointing out people who are wearing their masks in a slip-shod fashion.

  1. I enjoyed all the photos from your day, especially the tadpoles. They look nice and healthy.

    I got out into the garden for a little while this afternoon. The sun was warm and felt good. Tomorrow the rain returns for a while.

    1. A: I can’t breathe and eat at the same time when I am cycling so I have to stop.
      B: I would almost certainly fall off if I tried to peel a banana while in motion.
      C: I need a rest at my age to keep the legs and back stretched if I am on a longer ride. I could probably do without it but I would feel it the next day.

      Sadly, in the days when I was a keen long distance runner, there were no marathon events slow enough to let me have an enjoyable run. Mass jogging took off after I stopped running. I once did a ten miler in 63 minutes and came well last. I did do the Ben Nevis race without stopping though.

      1. I did two different 10 milers in that same time, Tootlepedal. But I suspect your fields were of a rather higher standard. Even when stationary my stomach never wanted food until somewhat later.

  2. Hi tootlepedal, As usual, really enjoyed your post. You are very fortunate to see so many swans flying to their summer locations. I had the great sight of two mute swans flying low over, what I call the old road, my cycle route, the other day. Really majestic flight, of course being so slow on the draw with my phone camera, they were long gone. Good to hear you are still getting out for a pedal in these virus times. The sunny weather is with us so I am commuting regularly on my trusty Pioneer, though it did develop a squeak in the right pedal on my way home last night, so I think it needs looked at. I wonder are bike shops shut now?.

  3. I didn’t know swans grouped like that, either. So very sorry that you weren’t able to sing. Our library is sponsoring virtual movie and book clubs with Zoom, a video conference service. I wonder if your choir could get together and sing that way. Wouldn’t be as good actually singing together, but these are very unusual times. Anyway…

  4. Great photo of the flying swans against that beautiful blue sky….just had to look this up…… a group of swans is called a bevy or a wedge in flight. Looked an enjoyable cycle ride in the spring sunshine- hope it stays dry and sunny for longer or days will really drag!

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever seen even one swan in flight, let alone a wedge (had to look up that one!). Were they noisy?

  6. Re tomorrow’s post, do they really say you can only go out to exercise once a day?

    Think on about the benches. Our city council is thinking of removing picnic tables because if a person carrying the virus sits on one and then so one someone else sits there …could be contaminated by the first person.

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