Today’s guest picture from our son Tony shows an East Wemyss stairway. Not the ‘stairway to heaven’ but the next best thing.
We had a grey but dry day today and with the temperature well above freezing, it seemed like a good day for both a bicycle ride and putting another slab in place in the drive. I did the cycling and Mrs Tootlepedal did the hard work.
Before I left, I had a look round the garden to see what is still out.
Because of the rather gloomy conditions, it took me a bit of time to get going but I finally left home, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal and Margaret to have coffee in the garden without me.
I went for a slightly longer circular ride than yesterday but I still passed the Solwaybank wind turbines as I went up Callister. I was just in time to see the last of the three blades being attached to the nose cone.
Once again, when I put the picture on my computer, I could see that the tiny dot on the top of the housing is a person, giving an idea of the size of these constructions.
I stopped after ten miles to take an arty black and white shot of a tree and a pylon having an arm drooping contest.
At about 20 miles, I stopped again. A tree had replaced its fallen leaves with a flock of starlings.
My legs were not in a very co-operative mood today so at a handy railway bridge a few hundred metres further down the road, where I could safely lean my bike against a wall, I paused for a rest and a mouthful of guava jelly and dates.
A noise made me look over the parapet and a long goods train rumbled slowly under the bridge. It was mostly made up of containers from a big supermarket chain and it was good to see that some of their goods were going by rail and not clogging up motorways.
The train might have been going slowly, but I was going yet more slowly, even though I finally had the wind behind me after 20 miles of pedalling into it. It wasn’t a very strong wind but it was still welcome.
Not much further on, I was surprised by a dandelion….
…the only patch of colour I had seen in the roadside verges so far. I saw a couple more before the ride was over.
I had chosen a route home in the hope that I would see migrating geese in the fields near the border. I did see a flock of birds which rose up as I approached….
…but they turned out to be gulls. They flew across the road above my head and joined another gang in the middle of a field there.
They were needlessly unsettled by me and soon both lots took to the air with a burst of noise.
There were a lot of them, too many for my camera which couldn’t decide which of them to focus on.
But there were no geese.
At thirty miles, my legs asked for another break so I stopped from time to time to look at what remains of the autumn colour.
Even the trees that have retained some leaves are mostly brown now…
…and the view up the river at Irvine House was sombre.
Youth counts among trees and when I got nearer Langholm, young larches were more cheerful….
…and there was a very bright show of berries beside the cycle path…
…so I arrived home after 34 gentle miles in good spirits.
I got back in time for a late lunch and after that, I went out to supervise the laying of the tenth slab in the drive (sixteen more to go), and lend a helpful hand at one moment.
In between times, I looked at more flowers.
The Icelandic poppies are fighting back after the frost, and are even attracting visitors.
A few campanula flowers, which should not be out at at this time, survived too…
…but I think that my favourite dash of colour was not a flower at all.
In spite of (because of?) my help, the slab was not quite lying correctly and Mrs Tootlepedal, who is a perfectionist, carried on working while I went in and made a cup of tea.
When Mrs Tootlepedal came in, I did have a look at the birds but there were very few about…
…and a goldfinch made a futile effort to get picked as flying bird of the day.
A rook looked reflectively at one of the last leaves on the walnut tree.
And by the time that I had had a shower and we had watched the end of today’s stage in the Vuelta, it was almost time to draw the curtains against the encircling gloom.
I did a little work on a Bach Trio so that I could play along with it on the computer, and then disguised the last helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s slow cooked brisket of beef as a curry which we ate for our tea.
Following the goings on of the election in American is very tiring, but I am hoping for an early night tonight as nothing seems to be happening at the moment.
In the absence of a domestic candidate for flying bird of the day, that flock of gulls gets the job.