Today’s guest picture is from our son Tony in East Wemyss. He found a delightful beach in nearby Kirkcaldy when out walking his dogs.
Our spell of dry weather under a ridge of high pressure is coming to an end, and it gave us a taste of things to come with ten tenths cloud from dawn to dusk….and thanks to the clouds, dawn and dusk seemed pretty close together.
Mrs Tootlepedal has been using up some spare wool by making a crochet pillow cover and this was just the day to find out if it made for comfortable snoozing on the sofa.
It passed the test with flying colours.
It may have been very cloudy, but it was also a very still day and as it wasn’t raining, I got my bike out and went for a short cycle ride. It was so gloomy that I put a flashing rear light on my bike and even then, I didn’t feel entirely secure as cars whizzed by me at great speed because the traffic was very light and there was nothing to hold them up.
I went up the main road north out of the town as it is the easiest cycling, but there was no chance of lovely views of the Ewes valley today. I could just see the church…
…but the hills on the other side of the valley were hard to make out.
I was intending to go up the hill to Mosspaul but the clouds came right down to road level at Fiddleton after eight miles, so I turned back and headed home. I found Mrs Tootlepedal and Margaret having coffee in the garden, with our neighbour Liz having dropped in for a chat after her morning walk.
Our local weather station says that the temperature was 43°F (6°C) at 11 o’clock, but Mrs Tootlepedal reported that in the still conditions, it was quite pleasant to sit outside and chat. I think that I can safely say that if it hadn’t been for the lockdowns, we would never have contemplated an outside cup of coffee at this time of year.
I joined in the chat and had a couple of biscuits and then, when the coffee meeting closed, I set off again up the Wauchope road to add another four miles to my total. I like to do twenty miles at least if I can when I have gone to the trouble of getting my bike out. I haven’t quite done 300 miles this month, which is disappointing, but today’s twenty took me over 4000 miles for the year. I have done a lot more regular walking this year in an effort to use more than just cycling muscles so reaching 4000 miles on my bike is very satisfactory. It is a great deal further than I have driven this year.
I took pictures of two surviving garden flowers before I went out for my second cycling trip.
And I took some pictures of birds when I got back.
It was a quiet day at the feeder with no competition for places at the table, and occasional chaffinches were interrupted by a lone dunnock.
A couple of greenfinches dropped in later on.
The light was so poor that it wasn’t really a day for spending a lot of time watching the birds and even a chaffinch seemed to have difficulty in spotting where the perch actually was.
After a late lunch, I had a bit of time on my hands before the virtual Carlisle choir practice so I went for a short walk.
The mallards at the Kilngreen have started to pair up….
…though the sole white duck is yet to find a friend.
As you can see from today’s header picture, the gulls have taken up their posts beside the river again and they kindly put on a small flying exhibition for me as I passed.
It was not a day for views….
…so I looked at lichen on tree branches as I walked round the new path on the Castleholm. (I had to use the flash on the camera.)
The resident sheep were too busy grazing to look at anything.
I looked up though and saw my friend Mike Tinker walking towards me. He kindly changed tack and we walked together up to the Duchess Bridge, where we saw hazel catkins looking almost ready for spring…
…and then down the other side of the river, where we spotted that fungus beside the river that looked so curious when I first saw it when it was young and soaked with rain. It turns out to be quite normal when older and drier.
It was good to have some company.
The virtual choir practice was enjoyable but nothing like the real thing. I am getting impatient for the return of singing in the company of sixty or seventy other singers. I did a recording for a virtual choir performance of Silent Night yesterday for a church in Carlisle and it was a bit painful to hear just me singing instead of being part of something much bigger.
I was cheered up by a second helping of profiteroles with my cup of tea after the practice. Mrs Tootlepedal had made some creme patissiere to go with them and it went down very well.
She had also slow cooked a shin of beef with parsnips, carrots and barley and this made for a delicious evening meal, so although the singing part of the day may not have been perfect, the eating part was very good indeed.
The flying bird of the day is one of the Kilngreen gulls.