One to go

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.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “One to go

  1. I wonder if there is an elevator inside the vertical shaft of the wind turbine. Or maybe a winding circular staircase.
    The flowers are always nice to see but especially in November.
    My favorites today are the colorful barberry leaves and the flock of seagulls.

  2. I envy you your 30 mile plus pedal. I haven’t ridden my pioneer since last Sunday morning, but will be back commuting for night shifts over the weekend. Unless of course we have frost on the ground. We have had quite sharp frosts over the last three nights. I may have to see if I can set up my own bike ride to nowhere, if the temperatures keep falling just to keep my pedalling going. I haven’t seen a flock of more than ten or so of starlings in years down here, but we do have large flocks of jackdaws which congregate when going to roost in late afternoon. Sadly, so many of their traditional roosts have disappeared, trees felled and land cleared for housing and, what seem to be, pointless industrial estates. These were built to provide jobs after the mines closed and the steel works at Port Talbot cut back the size of it’s workforce. Most remain empty, and presumably will continue to do so, in this covid-19 environment. The presidential election is a complete bore now, and I just can’t understand why it has such a hold over the news. A few lines of news to state the current situation would surely do, but no, we need to have this and that reporter and expert give their opinion. Still it keeps the myriad of TV news room employees in work. But I think it is overkill. Just the same as when the PM makes a statement and the news media decides we need an expert to tell us what he meant? Sorry, here I go rambling on again, I should put my walking or bicycling shoes on and get some exercise, but I have to wait for the gasman to call to sort our electricity out? It’s a complex world we live in. Lol. cheers.

    1. I hope that the gasman came and fixed the electricity.

      I know what you mean about overkill on the US election but once they’ve sent someone over, they have to keep him/her talking to justify the expense. The result will have an effect on us so I suppose we should pay attention to it.

      I hope that your commute turns out to be frost free.

  3. Your last bits of Autumn color are more than a dozen times what we ever get here, and your pictures make me feel as though I’m there. As to the election, I woke up this morning to some good news… keeping positive thoughts going for a Biden win and the end to that idiot who’s currently in place. I don’t watch TV news, thank goodness, or I’d have lost what little is left of my mind this past week. Stay hopeful there’s an end to this madness today…

  4. Goodness that ‘nose’ engineer has to have a great head for heights! Love the starlings decorating the trees, the colourful young larch and those bright red berries…very wintry-( didn’t write Christmassy…too soon!)

  5. I must have Christmas on my mind because the starlings in the tree and the man on top of the wind turbines reminded me of Christmas tree decorations.

  6. Sorry our election news is wearing you out, but you can imagine how it must feel being in the thick of it. I’ve given up on tuning in to it for now until we get closer to the new year. It’s far too disgusting to waste time and good cheer on.

    It’s so good you finally are getting a look at some of the action on the turbines. Given my recently acquired fear of heights, it’s a bit queasy to even look at your pictures from a distance. 😉

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