Slow and steady

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. East Wemyss has its own special path to the sun.

We had another dry and chilly day here today. It was above freezing all day but only just, so the icy patches were still a peril for the unwary walker. After breakfast I stayed in and pedalled steadily to nowhere on my bike in the garage.

Although I only cycled for about 55 minutes, the process took up most of the morning. Time is spent getting trying to get motivated to do something as essentially boring as cycling to nowhere. Then there is the cycling itself, which is quite boring. Then there is a shower and afterwards sitting around drinking coffee while complaining about how boring the cycling was. I enjoyed it. You can make indoor training more fun with fancy trainers, computers and power meters and screens and then you can pretend to be cycling up Mont Ventoux instead of just staring at the wall. This costs more money than I am prepared to spend though, so staring at the wall it is. I do listen to jazz on my headphones, which dulls the pain.

I did find a moment or two to look as birds as well.

The new peanut butter feeder is getting quite popular with both blue tits…

…and coal tits.

There was quite a lot of decorative posing for the camera today.

And there was a modest but steady stream of chaffinches trying to picked as flying bird of the day.

There was even a dunnock at the seed feeder, an unusual sight as they are more often to be found picking up seed underneath the feeder.

After lunch, I went for a walk. I settled for a dull but generally ice free stroll up the Wauchope road again. Although this was rather a dull choice, it was undoubtedly quite relaxing to be able to stride out without having to look at where I was putting my feet every step of the way.

It also gave me a chance to look around as I went.

The Auld Stane Brig still has its parapets covered in snow….

…and the fence post at the far end still has its little lichen garden on top, with some frozen water droplets to go with it.

I found myself an object of curiosity for a cow.

Where there is a wood or a wall beside the road, there is always something to see but I was a bit baffled when I saw catkins and cones on the same tree. A closer look showed me that a larch and an alder had got their branches intertwined.

I passed the fence post where Boris Johnson keeps his spare hairpiece….

…and further on, an interesting lichen and a pretty seedhead caught my eye.

Across the field from the road, the dilapidated cottage is getting more dilapidated every time that I look.

My walk had been under grey skies but by the time that I had gone about three miles, the sky lightened up…

…and today I got my walk in without any threat of snow.

I was going to take the road up the hill from Wauchope Schoolhouse in pursuit of a view, but it was quite icy so I settled for a view-less walk six mile in the valley bottom and turned for home. It was a bank holiday today so traffic was very light and I had a peaceful walk back to Langholm.

On my way I stopped to admire a tree that has seen better days…

…and a buzzard that settled in a tree after greeting my approach with alarm.

I was too low in the valley to catch the sun when it came out but I enjoyed its golden light on the trees.

I got home to find that stringent new restrictions have been put in place in Scotland as a response to a rapid rise in Covid infections so any hopes of getting out and about a bit further afield have had to be put on hold for a month or two.

After a cup of tea, I went out to the chemist and the Co-op for some necessary supplies and then settled down to discuss the situation with Mrs Tootlepedal and my brother and sisters through the medium of Zoom. We are all resigned to the new limits which is just as well, as there is no alternative.

The Christmas chicken made a welcome re-appearance from the freezer in the form of a mild chicken curry which I made for our tea.

According to the forecast, we are in for another week of freezing or near freezing weather before a bit more warmth next weekend so I could not have chosen a worse time to lose my Yaktrax. My new pair should arrive just in time for the end of the freeze.

The flying bid of the day is a rather surprised looking chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Slow and steady

  1. Wonderful photos of the cooperative birds, and another beauty from Tony.

    Have you tried audiobooks while on the bike to nowhere? They’ve gotten me through a lot of knitted blankets this winter. I can recommend the Bryant and May audiobooks – very well read by Tim Goodman.

    I laughed at the “Boris” fencepost, but I think it’s a bit tidy to be his spare wig. Even my own lockdown haircuts haven’t proven to be quite a disastrous as his hair!

    1. I haven’t thought of audiobooks but on the whole I think music with a strong beat to keep the legs turning is the way to go for indoor cycling.

  2. I’ve been riding a few slow miles to nowhere as well recently.
    As you say getting motivated is tough..the ride is boring and unrelenting,far harder than a real bike ride.
    On the plus side it’s safer it’s warmer,and takes less time..and if you push yourself it can be a very hard workout.
    I have my favourite playlists on my phone linked to one of those Bluetooth little loudspeakers,it’s actually pretty good with tunes that keep my cadence up around 80rpm,which works pretty well for me.
    I’m going to try to make it a 2or3 times a week habit,we’ll see if I manage it
    Still doing my 3 mile moor walk a day as well.
    We’ll have to have little friendly rides on gamin of say 3 hrs a week as joint encouragement 😊
    I can’t afford Zwift or Peleton either,although those who use say it’s very realistic and love it.

  3. I enjoyed the birds and scenes from a frozen but beautiful day there. The lichen garden with it joyful trumpets is always a pleasure to see.

    The day started off unseasonably warm here today at 56 degrees. It dropped 10 degrees not long after, and we have had heavy rains from time to time.

  4. I was reading about Scotland’s new and very sensible lockdown this afternoon, fortunately allowing for exercise.

    Your robin has an upside down heart in red feathers. Your Boris toupee made me laugh out loud, more than just the usual chortle.

    The dilapidated cottage makes me wonder if I could live there under a tarp, with a little wood stove. 🙂

    I hope you decide to get your groceries delivered. We just have to get through a few more months of this (or so I optimistically hope). Even a stick in the mud like me is getting fatigued by it all.

  5. Every time I see one of your robins they seem to have a different shape. They’re puffy little creatures.
    I had to laugh at the fencepost with the spare hairpiece. If I can find one with orange moss I’ll show it on my blog.
    It’s too bad that somebody with some spare cash doesn’t buy that stone cottage and re-do it. Stone houses are worth quite a bit here.

  6. The birds certainly know how to pose! Great photos of them all especially the cheeky robin. The yellow lichen looks like miniature seaweed. The tree behind the stone wall looks as though it has a tale to tell…very story like…in keeping with the abandoned cottage! My mind is wandering again! Good to see that East Wemyss is keeping up the idea that it’s the best place to live!

  7. You manage to keep us entertained with your delightful commentary despite the impending restrictions on movement. We expect to return to a severe lockdown any say soon.

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