Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. Our sister Susan is visiting him at the moment and he introduced her to the chain ferry over the River Soar. She enjoyed it a lot as you can see.
We had another fine day here after another cold morning. The temperature was low enough to put paid to quite a few of the nasturtiums and runner beans and courgettes as well. However, most of the garden survived and it was warm enough after coffee to let me get out for a cycle ride as long as I wore plenty of clothes.
I decided that I would go to see how our other new wind farm at Crossdykes is coming along as I had read in our local paper that it was getting ready to put up turbines.
My route took me up the hill at Callister and I stopped when a buzzard flapped lazily away from a tree and settled on a telegraph pole. Usually they wait until, you have got your camera out before flying scornfully away laughing at you, but on this occasion I stopped in the shadow of a bush and the bird was happy to sit and get its picture taken. The result wasn’t very good as the sun was in the wrong direction but it was such an unusual event that I have put it in anyway.
I headed over the hill and onward towards the Grange Quarry, stopping to record a treescape before I got to the quarry….
…and the bridge at Paddockhole after I had passed it.
I crossed the bridge and pedalled up the valley of the Water of Milk….
…with the well established Ewe Hill windfarm visible on the far side.
I was on a narrow winding road and turbines are big things so a new road has been driven across the hill….
…to bring the kit in.
When I got to the site, I could see curious things spread across the hill and a small town of portacabins built for the builders….
…but no erected turbines yet. Another visit will be made in a few weeks, weather permitting.
On the other side of the road, the scene was more pastoral.
People complain about the intrusion of wind turbines into the landscape and the need for so much infrastructure in the building of them, but a few hundred yards further down the road, I came upon this spectacular mugging of a hillside by commercial foresters.
Mind you, people complain about that too.
From this point, it was generally downhill on the way home but there is a climb just before you get back to Langholm and I was happy to stop on my way up it to look at the view of the Esk Valley below me.
The trip was just a whisker under 26 miles and I am always happy if I can do it under 2 hours. That makes me feel that not even the best runner in the world could have run it more quickly. I did it in just under two hours today so I was happy.
Mrs Tootlepedal was watching the men’s cycling world championships road race when I got home so she was happy too.
I had time for a light lunch and a walk round the garden.
The bright sunshine had brought several butterflies and a vast number of smaller insects out. Many of them were feasting on the sedum throughout the afternoon.
It was not hard to find a cheerful flower in the sun…
…and I liked the choice of colour in the St John’s Wort berries.
The three sunflowers plants at the end of the front lawn have produced an astonishing number of flowers…
…and it never fails to impress me that all this started with three tiny seeds and is basically created out of fresh air. I like to think that quite a lot of my breathing as I walk round the garden has gone into making them.
I went in to watch a bit of the cycling and Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out the the Rosa Moyesii had a single very late flower so I went out again to record this…
…and was pleased to see on my way back in that not all the nasturtiums had been laid low by the cold morning.
Once inside, I had my shower and took a moment to watch the birds.
A chaffinch was keeping an eye out for competition…
…and it very soon got overtaken by a crowd of greenfinches, who in turn got the wind up when a starling visited the feeder. The greenfinches left in a hurry….
…leaving the field open to a little coal tit who wasn’t frightened of starlings at all and enjoyed a nice chat.
Other birds waited until the starling had left.
Then I sat down for the weekly virtual choir practice with the Carlisle Community Choir. In a sign of the times, our conductor, who is a post graduate student in Glasgow, couldn’t be with us as she had had to go off for a Covid test because she had been in contact with someone who had tested positive.
Our accompanist took the practice and it was as satisfactory as these things can be (not very but quite a bit better than nothing).
Annoyingly, the world championship bike race ended just after the session started so I missed an enthralling finish.
Aftre the practice, I had time for another look at the birds, where a patient greenfinch caught my eye…
…and another walk round the garden to enjoy the evening sunshine on the flowers….
…before coming back in to make tea. As this was exactly the same meal as yesterday’s, it didn’t require a lot of culinary imagination to set it on the table.
Mrs Tootlepedal is marginally better than she was yesterday but recovery is a slow business and she got a lot of crochet work on a new blanket done today when she would have much rather been out gardening.
The flying bird of the day is that sporting coal tit.