Today’s guest picture is another showing my missed opportunity yesterday. As well as Tessa, my friend Gavin found a moment to rush up the hill, and got there in the nick of time before the mist burnt off. He was pleased that he went.
We got up to a lovely sunny morning today and not surprisingly, considering the time of year, it was pretty chilly with the thermometer at 0°C.
In the sun, it was warm enough to let Mrs Tootlepedal do some cleaning up in the garden before coffee, and for me to check on some flowers after the overnight cold.
The calendulas continue to cock a snook at chilly mornings.
And the verbena looks impervious too.
The dahlias have taken a hit and Mrs Tootlepedal is busy removing them from the beds. This is one of the last survivors.
My neighbour Ken set off on his bike for a ride but it was still too chilly for my taste, and I was happy to sit with Margaret and Mrs Tootlepedal in a sheltered sunny spot for an hour outside while we had our regular coffee and conversation. Out of the sun it was pretty chilly still.
Perhaps because of the cold air, passing aeroplanes were leaving a very clear trail in the sky above us…
…and we saw not just one…
…but two of them…
…going over us while we sat.
One of the benefits of the slowdown in air travel thanks to the virus has been the very clear skies overhead.
After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal went back to gardening and I went back to wandering around, carrying dead plants to the compost bin from time to time. As well as the large Michaelmas daisy, given to Mrs Tootlepedal by our friend Angie, which has done so well, another from the same batch which has sulked so far, decided that today was the day to come fully out.
Some flowers are trying hard but fading away like the fuchsias…
…and Lillian Austin…
…while others just need a little warmth in the morning to show a lot of life by lunchtime.
According to the forecast, we are in for a week of warmer weather with no frosty mornings so there may be hope for the flowers continuing for a while.
After lunch, I went for a cycle ride. Our thermometer said it was 8°C by this time but it still felt cold so I wrapped up well again and put on a pair of new waterproof socks which I have recently purchased. I hoped that they were wind proof too. Any cyclist will know that there is nothing worse than cold feet on a ride because there is absolutely no way of getting them warm again so this was a test to see if I had spent my money wisely.
There was a light north wind blowing so I headed north up the main road. I always like to be blown home if possible.
The Ewes valley was looking at its best…
…in the sunshine…
…but soon, there will be many more trees and fewer green hills to see as these signs of preparations for planting show.
Although it was a sunny day when I started, some light clouds came up behind me and by the time that I got to the top of the hill at Mosspaul after ten miles and looked back, it was a different picture.
It wasn’t quite as dramatically dark as the camera makes it seem, but I abandoned any thought of going further and headed for home.
It got gloomier as I went along and the ridge of Potholm Hill looked quite impressive in the fading light.
For a day which had been so bright, it was a disappointment to find it disappearing at such a pace but I got home in good order, helped down the hill from Mosspaul at 17mph by a light but still useful wind. The new socks worked very well.
Once again, I had timed my ride well and was able to join Mrs Tootlepedal, who was resting after more work on the drive in my absence, in watching the final kilometres of the Vuelta stage.
We then were able to take in the developments in the US election before I went off to do some shopping. While i wasn’t paying full attention, 500g of Portuguese raspberries at a handily reduced price fell off the shelves into my basket, and after tea, I converted them into two and a bit jars of raspberry jam.
Quick raspberry jam is the easiest jam to make as it only takes three minutes of boiling once you have put the sugar in, with no need for thermometers. The only requirement is that the jam should be eaten fairly soon after it has been made. After sampling a little on some newly made bread, we don’t think that this is going to be a big problem.
I didn’t get any opportunity to watch the birds at the feeder today but I did see a starling on a wire in the morning…
…and a rook passed at just the right moment in the afternoon to become the (distant) flying bird of the day.