Land of milk but no honey

Today’s guest picture comes from my Welsh correspondent Keiron, who thought that a Welsh lamb would be appropriate for the time of year. I thought so too.

Kieran lamb

We had another in the run of dry and warmish days that have made March such a contrast to February.  Once again there was thin cloud about but there was plenty of sunshine too and the temperature had no trouble in leaping into double figures (just).

Some daffodils appreciated the sunshine…

daff in sun

…but others are still hanging their heads.

daff drooping

I am developing the skills  required for facing the lockdown and have learned to stretch time to fill the available space.  Where it might have taken me five minutes last week to put my socks on in the morning, now it takes me ten, and where I might have taken five minutes to walk round the garden to check if anything new had appeared, now it might take me a full quarter of an hour.  In this way, the day positively rushes by with no need for extra activities to fill it up at all.

And there was new grwoth in the garden, an emerging grape hyacinth…

first grape hyacinth

…and signs of cracking in the magnolia buds.

magnolia bud

But pride of place in the novelty stakes goes to the cardamine


I paid a visit to our local shop and got almost all of what was needed but unfortunately couldn’t get any set honey so I will have to go again tomorrow.  As well as the lack of honey, there was a marked lack of oyster catchers on the river bank on my way home.

My friend Dropscone rang up to have a chat in lieu of coffee and scones and in the course of the conversation revealed one of the deadly hidden perils of the lockdown.  His daughter Susan, who has been laid off and has got time on her hands, is intending to tidy the house.  Dropscone is worried.  How will he ever find anything again?

The tidy bug affected us too and after having had our logs in cheerful disarray for a long time…

rough wood pile

…Mrs Tootlepedal is getting some order into the log store.

neat wood pile

We made good use of an old raised bed surround, I thought.

While Mrs Tootlepedal gardened, I shifted another third of the compost from Bin B into Bin C and should finish the job tomorrow.  Last year, I might have done it all in a ‘oner’  but the new expanded time method applies to composting as well as socks.

After lunch, I went out for my permitted exercise.

It was a day for cycling, and it started well with this fine display of daffodils against a wall just as I left the town.

Alix daffs

It wasn’t all plain sailing though as there was a stiff wind in my face as I headed west and it took me an hour to do the first ten miles.  I was glad to have en excuse to stop to take a picture of this tree on a very steep slope.

tree before grange quarry

I have photographed it before but I am always pleased to see it still resisting the pull of gravity, and if I can keep cycling, I expect that it may well appear again if it survives.

I got as far west as Paddockhole, and then I turned north and headed for Bailliehill up the valley of the Water of Milk.  There are turbines on every side here already….

ewe hill wind farm

…and more are going to appear in the near future.

But it remains a very peaceful valley and a pleasure to cycle up.

water of milk valley

I could see the work being done to prepare the ground for the new turbines in the shadow of the existing wind farm.

crossdykes windfarm

As a bonus for elederly cyclists, the narrow road across the hill has been slightly widened to accommodate the lorry traffic for the wind farm and this lets a car pass me without either of us having to stop.

road to bailliehill

I only met one car though.

At the top of the hill, just before the road swoops down to join the course of the River Esk, this lonely man made pond had been well filled with water by the February rains.

pond at bailliehill

The wind had been behind me from Paddockhole and I had been blown up the hill so I expected that once I turned at Bailliehill to follow the road back to Langholm I might find the wind a bit troublesome.

My fears were largely unfounded and the wind was helpful more often than not so I was able to maintain a reasonable speed to Bentpath, where I stopped to admire the bridge and church, looking at their best.

westerkirk bridge and church

And I took in the view across the river at the same time.

benty and the fell

As I got nearer to Langholm, the hills which were sheltering me from the wind also left me in shadows, while the sun shone on the opposite side of the valley.

view towards potholm

It was still warm enough to make me happy that I only had had to put on two layers of clothing after months of cycling wrapped up like a Christmas parcel.

As I came down Caroline Street in the early evening sunshine at the very end of the ride, my neighbour Irving popped out of a side road and ambushed me.  You can see that I like to wear clothing that passing motorists can’t fail to notice.

Thanks to Irving and Libbie for sending me the picture

Mrs Tootlepedal made a sausage stew for our tea and another day of the crisis passed off peacefully.

In the continued total absence of flying birds at our feeder, the non flying bird of the day is a ‘shopping trip’ gull in the midst of the very sparkly Esk river this morning.

gull in sunshine

Footnote: members of the camera club have sent me some pictures for our virtual gallery while the club is not meeting and they can be seen here:

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

39 thoughts on “Land of milk but no honey

  1. Your method of task time expansion to fill the day has considerable merit. 🙂

    I enjoy these wide views of your countryside for perspective. Our hillsides are a bit greener than your area, but otherwise, our weather and spring progress look much the same.

    Two more days and my new strawberry plants will be here. I will be busy on Friday.

  2. Was a good day for a cycle ride..I too won’t venture out without my hi viz and daytime lights as well,which some might consider a bit OTT,but I don’t like giving drivers an excuse to say they couldn’t see me, god forbid.
    Bentpath looks a picturesque little village..your blessed with some great scenery.

  3. It’s nice to see the flowers and the lack of snow. We just had more. I don’t recognize the cardamine. I think we might call it toothwort, but I haven’t seen one.
    As always the landscape photos are beautiful.
    Thanks for the link to the camera club photos. I’ve wished that I could see them for quite a while now. I think I remember all of yours.

  4. I agree about the need for high-vis clothing while biking – did you manage to find a small, flashing LED light to wear on your back???? Thanks for the link to the camera club photos – four very different styles and “eyes”. Was it in “About a Boy” that Hugh Grant’s character divided the day into units, and created activities to fill x number of units of time? Sigh . . .

      1. In general I like to pay a little more for honey to make sure that it hasn’t come from China where pest control standards are low but I wouldn’t go as far as Manuka. Our local honey is very good but the chap who sells it has stopped coming to the producers’ market as his wife is ill. A sad blow for him and us.

      2. I didn’t even know we imported honey from China. I will start checking. The big problem I have with Manuka honey is that shops sell more than the bees produce.

        It is always best, I think, to support the local man – much safer.

  5. I like having time slow down a bit now. It takes a bit of adjusting, though, at least for me. I did very much enjoy going along on this jaunt with you.

    1. I am fundamentally lazy so I have no trouble stretching time. That’s why I try to keep busy or else I would happily do nothing and sink into lethargy.

  6. It feels good to ‘get out’ into your lovely landscape. I treasure the fact that we have a garden for me to escape the confines of the next three weeks of ‘house arrest’. – then there are the birds to watch. Your unconfined views are a delight.

      1. Surely he has one of those drawers that he chucks everything that might come in handy into. Untangling the defunct phone cords will kill of a couple of hours at least 😊

  7. Makes a huge difference during these confined times if the weather is good. Seems like you’ve got our recent sunny stuff. We’re now rather cold and it’s snowing in Carcassonne.

  8. I really enjoyed looking at all the photographs posted by your camera club. Such a wonderful example of how photography can encompass many subjects. Look forward to seeing more.

  9. I think the photo of Bentpath with its church, bridge and perfect setting is wonderful. Look forward to seeing it again in the Camera Club gallery. Funny how we are all doing similar things in these strange times..tidying woodstore…half a tick, digging up strawberry bed…full tick, sorting out compost…half a tick…to be completed tomorrow!

    1. It may well be the same all over the country. It is not all fun though as times are hard for some. Has your business taken a big hit from the present disaster?

      1. We’ve had to close…Welsh Gov orders..we’d already taken the decision to shut up shop so now in process of returning all deposits to all who had booked. The cottage is really a hobby- Jim thinks it’s good to keep me busy! The money though comes in handy for all the extras…like more plants for the garden and help for the grandchildren! Goodness knows how some businesses are going to survive this even with help…it really is a nightmare!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: