Going loopy

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. Looking through my files I noticed that I had missed this nice double bridge shot combining one of his sons with the Erewash canal. It was taken a month ago.

We had another in our series of cool and calm days here, this time with added morning light rain. The rain put paid to coffee in the garden, but I managed to fill an otherwise quiet morning with a trip to the Co-op and making some soup. I can really pad out an unforgiving hour if I try.

The rain had stopped by the time that I had got back from the shop and I saw a collared dove resting on an overhead line and taking an interest when I went out to the car and plugged it in to charge the battery.

I took a moment to watch birds at the feeder after lunch, but once again there were not many to watch.

Sometimes two arrived at the same time…

…but this chaffinch seemed surprised to find that he was sharing the feeder.

Mostly they came as singles today.

I went upstairs to get changed for a bike ride and when I looked out of the window, I noticed a blackbird having a bath in our pond….

…it came out for a good scratch and a yawn.

After a moment of thought, it had another go and was so active that the camera couldn’t catch the action clearly.

A dunnock under the feeder was more peaceful and let the camera get a slightly better shot.

The light was pretty poor as i set off on my bike, and it was no surprise to me that soon after I had taken this shot a mile and a half into my ride….

…it started raining again.

As I plodded up the hill into the rain, I was considering abandoning my proposed trip round the Solwaybank windfarm loop and running for home. However, when I got to the top of Callister, in spite of some gloomy weather to the south west where Criffel was shrouded in rain…

…the immediate prospects looked better…

…with some blue sky in the direction from which the wind was coming. I took heart and pressed on down the hill…

…encouraged by the clear skies round the slowly turning Minsca turbines.

I took the Linnbridgeford road and noticed that where there had been a dense crop of willows a month or two ago…

…they had been ruthlessly cleared now and only a field speckled with short stumps remained.

It will be interesting to see how quickly they grow again.

In spite of the slightly clearer skies, it was not a bright afternoon and I couldn’t hang around too long if I wanted to get home before darkness fell.

I had front and rear lights on the bike so I was easily seen, but the only cycling glasses that I have are dark ones so seeing rather than being seen was my concern. (“Why do I need cycling glasses?” I hear an alert reader asking. The answer is that they wrap around a bit and protect your eyes in cold weather. If you don’t wear wraparounds, your nose drips like a leaky tap and spoils your fun.)

The tendency towards banks of low clouds in the valleys and around hills was in evidence again today…

…and I get the feeling that there may be places that have been literally under a cloud for the last week.

My loop kept me in the clear though and I enjoyed some good cloudscapes as I rode home.

I got back in time for a slice of toast and a cup of tea but too late for a walk with Mrs Tootlepedal. With only two weeks to go to the shortest day, daylight hours are at a premium at the moment. (08.27 to 15.43 today)

My current bicycle back light has got a broken attachment and has to be stuck to the back of my bike with sticky tape for each journey. The tape proved a bit unreliable today in the rainy conditions so it is lucky that I have just bought a replacement. This is a cunning device which attaches to my offside handlebar and has a back and front light in the same compact unit. It came with a spare attachment so now I will be able to use my old back light at the same time, and I will be able to ride about the countryside lit up like a Christmas tree. No bad thing if this dull weather persists.

Due to the poor light and the light traffic, a very poor flying bird of the day appears today.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

24 thoughts on “Going loopy

  1. You did well to get a ride in at all today, we had pretty much continuous rain all day.
    You canโ€™t have too many bike lights at this time of year…better to be seen than sorry,just as long as you arenโ€™t mistaken for a Christmas tree ๐Ÿ˜Š
    Was that an actual car in one of your shots,most unusual.๐Ÿ˜‰
    Nice to see our little friend the unobtrusive dunnock,he or she are a firm favourite .

    1. Yes, it was indeed a rush of traffic. We have been very lucky with the weather whihc has kept above freezing and mostly dry. I have cycled on all of the last five days now.

  2. You may be going loopy, but I have gone already. Should have been going loopy today, but as usual other things on the agenda. So no pedal for me, and I would easily have missed any rain. Good to hear those lights of yours are getting you seen. I wonder at the mental health of other cyclists, I see all to often, cycling in dark conditions with neither reflective clothing or lights? In fact I have a very frightening memory of almost colliding with one on a busy roundabout one dark winter evening. Cheers.

    1. The current fancy for dark cycling clothing is insane but there is no arguing with fashion. I am happy to wander about in a bright yellow jacket.

  3. A crop of willow trees caught my interest. I wonder what that wood is used for commercially.

    I enjoyed the photos from your day, especially the blackbird panels and the scratch and yawn. You had a very cooperative subject there.

  4. That new light sounds great. Being seen is a definite advantage when you are biking on the road. I really enjoyed the series of pictures of the blackbird taking a bath.

  5. That’s a fun sequence of the bathing blackbird. It must have gotten squeaky clean.
    It’s hard to stop a willow. They grow right back here.
    The sky does look a little dark in some of your shots so another light is probably a good idea. It’s hard to see people on the edge of the road sometimes.

    1. It has been pretty gloomy so I have been pleased to have lights. Normally I wouldn’t bike late enough to need them but this month I have been out in the afternoon a lot.

  6. Good to see the blackbird sprucing up ready for Christmas. Hope all the wildlife in the willow wood managed to scoot into the wood behind before their homes were lost. The weather may be downcast but the cloudscapes are all interesting and you’ve managed another good cycle which is encouraging for December!

  7. Glad you got out on a ride. I can learn from your optimism. Because I wear contacts, I often use clear glasses for protection from dust, etc. Tip: hardware store safety eyewear is stylish nowadays and much cheaper than cycling specific glasses.

    1. Thanks for the tip. I have got a ski mask which I have worn if things were really cold but I am unlikely to go out in these conditions now that I am getting on a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

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