Driving ahead

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She was able to spot Mr Grumpy’s London cousin with no difficulty on her walk today.

It was another of those days here when it was quite hard to see anything because of the gloomy weather, but it wasn’t raining and once again it was quite calm.

As a result, Mrs Tootlepedal was able to get out after breakfast and do some useful work on her drive project. When the time was ripe (i.e. when the hard work had been done), I came out to lend a hand and we dropped the next slab into place. Thanks to Mrs Tootlepedal’s keen work with the gravel teaspoon, it sat down down nice and level. We have nearly reached the front door now and the end is definitely in sight.

We are not getting overconfident yet though as the last few slabs will literally be uphill work, and that will pose a levelling challenge to the slab layer.

It was just warm enough for us to have coffee outside with Margaret but it was not a long session.

After an early lunch, I set off on my bicycle to give my new light a try out. Before I left, I checked on the flowers. The last nasturtium was very cheerful…

…but Lillian Austin was frankly looking a bit depressed.

When I got going, the gloom was so pervasive that it was a good thing that I did have lights. I found myself cycling through cloud that was so low that I could feel rain even though it wasn’t raining. I had planned a slightly longer ride than usual but this changed my mind, and I settled for the familiar twenty mile Canonbie jaunt.

These belted Galloways summed up the weather quite well.

It wasn’t a day for stopping to take pictures but I did stop to chat to three good men who were public spiritedly clearing the accumulated autumn leaves from a popular parking place for cars near the Hollows bridge. As this also had the effect of making cycling a lot safer there, I was grateful to them.

The calm weather has led to a lot of the hills round the town having a semi permanent crown of cloud and today was no different.

Warbla is under there somewhere.

As I had stopped to take a picture of the clouds, I thought that I ought to look across the hedge beside the road at a favourite subject too.

In the damp, chilly conditions, I couldn’t work up a lot of speed and when I passed Irvine House, I was going so slowly that I thought that a stop wouldn’t make much difference, so I looked at…

…contrasting trees on the slope opposite the house.

The Christmas lights were illuminated in the High Street when I got back to Langholm but there were so many heavy lorries squeezing up the narrow road that I had to leave taking a picture of them until another time.

I got home at about half past three, and there was enough light left for me to see a jackdaw on a power line…

…and the monument surrounded by yet more cloud.

Somehow or other, a packet of chocolate ginger biscuits had slipped into my back pocket as I cycled past John’s shop. They went down very well with an afternoon cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal.

The Sky Arts channel has magically appeared among our Freesat channels and we watched a couple of interesting programmes as the darkness fell. It has been a subscription channel until the lockdown and I suppose it is being provided free for the likes of us with time on our hands in the hope that we might pay a subscription when the lockdown ends.

We had a good chat with the siblings over Zoom and followed that with an evening meal of trout, potatoes and peas.

I didn’t see a single bird on the feeder all day thanks to drive works and coffee in the garden during the morning, and being off on my bike in the afternoon. This blackbird on our back gate when I got home is the non flying bird of the day.

Footnote: I was looking at my cycling page today and I saw that this past November has been my best cycling November for miles covered since 2014. If I can get another 100 miles in during this month, the whole year will also be my best since 2014. That would be quite encouraging. (The next few days are not looking very promising though, and there is talk of a very cold spell coming so I won’t get ahead of myself.)

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Driving ahead

  1. Best annual mileage since 2014..great work..non cyclists may not appreciate how much self motivation it requires to reach that mileage.
    Like a fine old port your improving with age 😉
    I’m unable to cycle yet again after a nasty few visits to the dreaded dentist needing two large molar extractions (or root canal fillings) which I declined)one of which subsequently has become infected. No antibiotics prescribed either until it gets worse…This has been my worst ever year for health issues,so hopefully 2021 will bring better luck.
    Not the best day for photography but glad to see the lovely nasturtiums are just holding on.

    1. You have not had your troubles to seek as they say. Surely 2021 will have to be an improvement on this year. I am hoping for a few more good days in December as it would be good to get to 4200 miles.

      1. I’ve no right to complain really there are millions of folks far worse of than me..I can still walk a good few miles with my springer spaniel every day,so I count my blessings.

  2. Good luck with biking milage! Is it because the weather has been so mild? Or is it your own Intiative? At any rate, glad that you are well lit as you ride.

    1. I took advantage of some reasonable weather in the middle of the year to get above average mileage in and the lack of frost in November was helpful bit it still requires quite a bit of get up and go.

  3. Wish you good cycling days for breaking your 2014 record! The nasturtiums ever cease to amaze me. It seems they are also trying for a personal best for longest number of days of continual blooming. Lilian Austin seems to be giving them a good run for it.

    Your trees in winter have a lot of character to them, which you capture very well. The lone jackdaw looks a bit puffed and cold there.

    1. The garden flowers did very well after a very slow start. I hope that we get more ‘normal’ weather for them next year or they will start to get very confused.

  4. Sadly my mileage for the year must be well down. I was probably doing my highest mileage back in 2014, commuting all the way to and from work. That piled up 40 miles three and four times a week at least, plus I’d invariably be pedalling on my days off. Great days. I’d love to get back to that rate of pedalling activity. Good news is I’m seeing a consultant about my troublesome knees next week, so, hopefully, I’ll get some good news going forward. Full of respect for your mileage totals, congratulations. Cheers.

    1. I hope that you can get something done for your knees as I know from experience how boring it is to have a knee that is not working properly. You must have piled on the miles in 2014.

      One thing that I have done is cycle more miles in 2019 and 2020 than I have driven in those two years.

  5. Why is it that cattle seem to congregate in mud, when there’s perfectly serviceable grass nearby?

    Good luck with the hundred mile project – I hope the weather cooperates for you.

    1. In this case, the cattle were getting hay from a feeder so it was mud or starve. I hope that i get some good weather too but this spell of calm weather can’t last I fear.

  6. Do hope you succeed in gaining those extra cycling miles it would be such a welcome achievement to remember in this horrid covid year. We’ve just discovered Sky Arts too…makes a change to have some interesting programmes to watch. Love seeing the belted Galloways and the bright blackbird.

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