Feeling the need for a bit of sunshine, I have gone back a couple of days for my guest picture of the day to this delightful sunset over the roofs of Kentish Town, London. It was supplied by my sister Mary.
It turned out to be another grey and windy day here today but at 5°C, it was a day with the definite possibility of a bicycle ride in the real world instead of in the garage. The trouble with bicycle rides in the real world is that you actually have to go outside and pedal if you want them to happen. That requires many layers of clothing and a bit of determination when a cold north easterly wind is gusting at 20 to 25mph.
I had a number of things to detain me indoors; first the curds for the Greek style cheese needed turning to help with the draining of the whey; then there was a crossword to consider and this was one of those where they tell you the clues but don’t tell you where to put the answers so it takes some thinking about; then there were the birds.
I saw four goldfinches on the feeder early on…
…but I had to wait to see any more birds at the feeder and that might have partly been the fault of this visitor.
The light was so poor that my camera was having difficulty using its autofocus and I had it on manual when the sparrowhawk arrived. Annoyingly, I couldn’t change it in time to get the hawk in focus before it flew off.
I finally ran out of excuses and set off to do a few miles. Regular readers will not be surprised to hear that it started to rain almost as soon as I had left the house. I sometimes think that the weather gods have got one of those surveillance cameras pointed at out back door.
Still, I was well wrapped up so I pedalled on and by the time that I had done six miles, the rain had stopped and there was even a patch of blue sky overhead.
At this time of year, blue sky overhead does not mean blue sky on a cyclist’s back as the sun is still low in the sky. The newly felled wood at the Kerr looked sombre…
…and although the day had definitely brightened up a little…
…I was in no danger of getting sunburnt.
I did a three pronged attack on Cleuchfoot, the Kerr and Callister and by the time that I had battled through the wind to get back to Langholm, I had done 19 miles. With the words of my late friend Arthur Bell ringing in my ears (“It’s not worth going out for less than 20 miles, Tom,”), I pedalled through the town and out of the other side, battling on into the wind up the Ewes Valley for three miles.
At first sight, the valley looked quite benign…
…but a closer look at the head of the valley…
…made me glad that I had not chosen to go there today.
The twenty five mile trip was very satisfactory in the end, the furthest that I have cycled this year so far, and a good one to have got in as it looks as though our temperatures are going to be one degree or less all next week.
Refreshed by a bowl of soup with some bread and shop bought cheese, I settled down for some keen sofa work, first in front of “Anne with an E” on Netflix, and then in front of the England vs Scotland rugby international.
In between the two, I had another look at the birds. There were a few chaffinches about in the gloom….
…and the seed level in the feeder had gone down a bit while I had been out cycling.
Perhaps this chaffinch was responsible for that.
The dim light brought out the best in a dunnock….
…but flying birds were hard to shoot, so I got my Lumix out for a portrait…
I often intend not to watch Scotland playing international rugby, as usually it is a vale of tears and upsets me quite unreasonably when we lose, which is frequently but I usually end up watching at least a bit of a match.
This time I managed to watch all the way through, and instead of playing well and losing, Scotland played pretty well and won. This was unsettling. Now all I have to worry about is them losing their next game ignominiously.
As soon as I have finished this post, it will be time to salt the Greek style cheese curds and leave them for a final twelve hour rest. If everything goes well, there will be a photograph.
The extremely scarce flying bird of the day is a male chaffinch alarming a female.