Taking a chance

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan. Stepping out of her front door the other day, she came across this fine display of early hellebores, a welcome sign of good things to come.

We had a dull and occasionally drizzly morning here, but I held back from resorting to the bike to nowhere for my exercise as the forecast offered the possibility of a better afternoon. Or to be more precise, one forecast offered the possibility of a better morning (which was obviously wrong) while another went for a 30% chance of rain in the afternoon. As the 30% chance of rain was accompanied by a detailed weather map showing no rain over Langholm in the afternoon, I crossed my fingers and opted for that one.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been invited to take part in a Microsoft Teams meeting in the afternoon by someone interested in the process of the community land purchase. As we had not used Teams before, she spent some time installing the app and trying to find out how it worked. I am happy to report that her meeting went without a hitch.

In between offering Mrs Tootlepedal moral support and making some lentil and carrot soup for lunch, I watched the birds. It was so dull in the morning that even shooting sitting birds produced unusable results. The only two that I kept were shots of a blue tit at the peanut butter feeder…

…and a rook on a wire.

I had nearly given up, when unexpectedly the sun came out.

The change was dramatic….

…and suddenly there was a lot of action…

…and reaction.

A chaffinch flew in trailing a thread.

After a bowl of lentil soup and some bread and cheese, I felt strong enough to get my bike out and take a chance on that 30%. Although the temperature had made it up to 4°C (40°F), I didn’t feel totally confident about little used back roads or going up hills, so I stuck to the main road south and pedalled into a chilly wind down the A7 to the bottom of the Canonbie by-pass.

To go any further would have meant entering England. This is not recommended under our regulations (and anyway I had forgotten my phone so I didn’t want to stray too far from home in case of mechanical or physical breakdown). I turned back and pedalled back up to Langholm through Canonbie village, passing the three sisters at Grainstonehead who were looking less dramatic today…

…and a nice pair of pines at the Hollows.

The rain held off, so instead of going straight home when I got back to Langholm, I pedalled through the town and out of the other side going up the A7 northwards. As I came up the hill from the High Mill Brig, I stopped to look back to check that I wasn’t going to be overtaken by bad weather from behind. I was pleased to find it looking relatively bright to the south.

Further omn, a little shed in a field beside the road caught my eye.

With the brisk wind now behind me, it would have been tempting to keep going but thinking of the wind in my face on the way back, I settled for three miles before stopping to admire the scenery in general…

…and a very uncompromising wall in particular.

The three miles back home took my journey up to 22 miles. I was very grateful to have got any miles in in the changeable weather.

When I looked at the forecast for the next three days before I started writing this post, it suggested an inch of rain every day. Now it is suggesting an inch of rain for two days and then a fine day to follow. This gives an idea of how difficult the forecasters are finding it to predict the weather as the climate changes play havoc with their models.

After Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her Teams meeting, we had a lively Zoom with my brother and sisters and that rounded off another day of lockdown. Thank goodness for that little burst of sunshine that cheered up the chaffinches (and me).

One of them is the flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “Taking a chance

  1. Interesting that the birds come out when there is sunshine. I wonder if it helps them spot predators better.
    That’s quite a sharp 90 degree corner on that wall. It must have meant quite a lot to someone at the time it was built.
    Nice to see the trees and the hills. I’m glad you stayed dry.

    1. The birds come out in all weathers so it may just have been a coincidence that they were around when the sun came out.

      The abrupt corner in the wall is unusual round here.

  2. I enjoyed the photos from your day out. The Three Sisters trees appear to be waving at you. 🙂
    The lighting on the birds was good, especially on the FBOTD, in spite of a grey day there.

  3. You were spoiled for choice on flying birds today.

    I hadn’t thought about how new regulations would affect your bike trips that might cross into England.

    The photo of the little shed is beautifully composed.

  4. Given the wind chill factor and having no phone that was an adventurous ride,well done 👍.I went for something a bit more comfortable,50 mins on the ride to nowhere,but as I always say,it’s still better than nothing.
    Great shot of the three sisters and the lonesome pines.
    We have a forecast of a months rain in one day with severe flood warnings issued,followed by snow on Thursday. But as you say forecasting isn’t easy right now,so prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

  5. The 90º corners of the wall must have been difficult to do, but it just looks . . . wrong. The walls that weave their way throughout the hills seem to suit the geography better than the harsh angles.

    Lovely rook.

  6. I agree with mj that the wall looks ‘wrong’ somehow – as if the owner of that particular land is making a point to all and sundry: this is MY land!

  7. Fine pair of pine trees, some straight stone walls and an interesting shed all adds
    interest to your lovely cycle ride. The sunshine just added that extra spark to brighten up the birds especially the FBOTD. I know you can’t see them but at the bottom of these comments there’s always “More on WordPress.com” . Today there was a great photo from your post November 11 2015 …a penguin mosaic on a beach made from stones…photo taken by your sister…it was brilliant!

  8. If you’re going to build a wall properly use of a set square is best. Judging by that right degree angle on a slope, the wall builders had a surveyor complete with theodolite helping out! Once again, I am jealous of those miles you’re totting up. Currently, I’m just sheltering from Storm Christoph, it has not stopped raining since Monday. Now, and I’m not due in work till Friday day shift, my part commute is illegal because of the lockdown restrictions. My youngest son has purchased, yet to be delivered, the parafanalia etc for his own bike to nowhere, which he says I can also use. I do believe retirement to Spain could be the answer to non stop pedalling. A work colleague, though not a cyclist is doing that this year. When he still doesn’t know, because of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions here and in Spain. It seems this pandemic is bringing sadness, and grief, and complicating everyone’s lives. Stay safe. Cheers.

    1. Spain is very popular with cyclists so you may have the right idea there. It has rained steadily here but very lightly so we are not in danger from flooding in the near future at least.

    1. It is true that the cameras sees things that your eyes ignore. You see the wonderful view and the camera sees the telegraph poles in the foreground for instance. 🙂

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