Today’s guest picture comes from my Welsh correspondent Keiron. He had a lovely day for a pedal along the towpath.
It was cold and grey here when we got up and my original plan (Plan A) for the day was to go back to bed after breakfast, pull the covers over my head and hope that everything would go away.
That plan dissipated into nothingness when I managed to pull myself together and walk up to Sandy’s to deliver some archive work for him to do to while away the hours. He has been badly hit by the lockdown as he has just spent six weeks confined to his house with a foot in plaster after an operation. Then, as soon as the plaster came off, he was confined to his house again by the lockdown. He is remarkably cheerful all things considered. I would liked to have stayed for coffee and a chat but that is not on the menu at the moment.
I did a little footling about in the garden when I got back while Mrs Tootlepedal continued her spring tidy up and general preparations.
Because of the chilly conditions, there were no new flowers or exciting developments to photograph so I took a picture of the resident blackbird…
…and the rare sight of a couple of chaffinches near the feeder…
…had a slice of toast and honey for an early lunch and went off on my bicycle
I am fully recovered from arguing with the other short plank, but I took things pretty easily. I had planned an exciting route (Plan B of the day) deep into England but just as I was about to turn off over the hill, I met a cyclist coming the other way. He stopped to warn me of an angry farmer up the road.
When he explained that the farmer was angry becuase he, the cyclist, had chased two stray sheep down the road in front of him, I rather felt for the farmer and decided that I would not risk causing any further agitation so went straight on instead of turning off.
This was Plan C
My new route let me enjoy the sight of a pair of muddy beaked oyster catchers in a field on one side of the road and a plaintive curlew calling in the distance on the other side.
As usual, there was a wind, not a strong wind but strong enough to make pedalling hard work for an old man as I went over Callister so I was pleased to stop when I had gone down the other side of the hill to admire some colour by the road side.
You could have any colour today as long as it was yellow.
When I had passed through Eaglesfield, I had to stop again to admire this very neatly rolled field.
Everywhere I went today, farmers were busy. If they weren’t rolling their fields they were spreading muck, much of it on the road. Sometimes I am pleased that my sense of smell is not very acute.
Plan C had led me to going round a rather tried and tested route, short of good views on a dull day, so I took a small diversion instead of going straight down the old main road to Gretna.
My diversion took me under the main line railway by a venerable railway bridge…
…and over the Kirtle water by another old bridge…
…and past the even old Robgill Tower.
When I had puffed up the hill from the river, I got a splendid view over the Solway to the Lake District hills.
I must say that the chap who goes round putting telegraph poles up in front of good views in our area is a very conscientious worker.
Further along my diversion, I could look across the Kirtle Water to the Kirkpatrick Fleming church on the far bank.
I stopped just before the last stone bridge over the river when another wild flower caught my eye. I did say that the only colour available today was yellow.
This is the bridge.
I crossed the Kirtle water for a second time by a small undistinguished bridge on the back road to Gretna from Rigg. I had hardly seen a soul, either in a vehicle or on foot so far on my trip, but this quiet back road was obviously the permitted walk of the day route of choice for the locals. I had to keep a sharp eye out to manage my social distancing as I went along.
Once at Gretna, I choose the quick route home, up main roads to Canonbie, but I did take another very small diversion to add to my churches and towers of the day with a visit to Kirkandrews on Esk.
It has a fine tower…
…and an elegant little church.
I rounded off the church collection with the Kirk at Canonbie.
It had got rather cold by this time, so I didn’t dilly dally for the final six miles home but I couldn’t resist these lambs trip trapping over a bridge…
…perhaps on their way to join this relaxed sextet who were mulling over life very peacefully.
I got home with 41 miles on my computer and discovered when I looked at my spreadsheet later in the evening that this ride had taken me up to 34 hours of cycling for the month, producing 441 miles at the very modest average speed of 12.74mph. One of the sad facts of ageing legs is that in the not so distant past, I would have got a good many more miles for same amount of time and effort. Still, March has been a generous month for dry days for cycling so I shouldn’t complain.
When I got home and was having my post ride cup of tea, Mrs Tootlepedal called out to say that the jackdaws were pecking the lawn again. We point the finger at the guilty parties.
Earlier in the day, Mrs Tootlepedal had been to the shops and come back with a brisket of beef which she cooked for our tea. It will last us for three days and as it tasted very good, this is very satisfactory. I made some semolina for pudding and so, all in all, in spite of the clouds and the chill and the you-know-what, it was a day to add to the credit side of the great ledger of life.
The flying bird of the day is one of the starlings who like to collect on our electricity wire and chatter away.