Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew and shows the pond behind his house.
We had a very nice day here today, with an average temperature for the whole day up to the moment when I started writing this post of 48.5°F (9°C), topping out at 52°F (11°C). It was sunny for most of the day and there was no sign of rain. It put a spring in our step.
The only downside from a cycling point of view was the 20mph wind from the south. We were sheltered from it in the garden, but I knew it would be a factor if I went out on my bike. As a result, it took me quite a bit of time, with a cup of coffee and a slice of toast and marmalade, to crank up my get up and go to the point where I actually got up and went.
I chose my traditional Sunday morning route down the main road as there are few if any lorries on that A7 on a Sunday. I did 20 miles more or less due south, crossing first the Esk at Longtown and then the River Lyne…
…on my way to the bench at Newtown on the Roman Wall where my bike likes to pause for a rest.
The wind made it quite hard work but the thought of the helping hand on the way back made it tolerable. Even so, I needed a little rest at Longtown so I took the opportunity to admire the fine bridge there once again. It has been substantially repaired after its recent troubles. I took the wider view with my phone…
…and a closer look with my Lumix.
Even with the helpful wind on the way home, the computer app on which I record my rides was kind enough to point out that this was the slowest that I have ever done that route. To tell the truth, my legs were very happy that I didn’t try too hard as they were beginning to complain five miles before I got back. An hour on the bike to nowhere is all very well, but it doesn’t do all that much to prepare you for three hours in the saddle in the real world. I am not complaining though as I enjoyed the outing a great deal.
Mrs Tootlepedal had spent the morning in the garden and pointed me in the direction of freshly blooming crocuses when I got back.
I looked at snowdrops too, particularly the fine crop lining the back path.
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy on her drive project so I went in and had a late lunch and then a look at the birds.
The afternoon sunshine made for some interesting light and shade pictures as chaffinches flew in towards the feeder…
…and when they arrived too. (A lone coal tit interrupted the procession of chaffinches.)
A lone chaffinch was king of the castle on Mrs Tootlepedal’s seed tray table.
I had a shower and then took part in the weekly virtual choir practice with the Carlisle Community Choir. The way things are going with the vaccination programme, it does begin to look as though we might get back to real singing together before the end of the year. I am trying not to get too optimistic though in case of more disappointments.
The days have just got long enough to let me get out for a quick three bridges after the choir finished. Mrs Tootlepedal, who had had a long and busy day in the garden, was happy to let me go by myself.
As I left the garden, a thrush in the walnut tree was doing some choir practice of its own.
There was some very nice evening light…
…as I walked down to the river…
…and just beyond the suspension bridge there was a flock of ten oystercatchers. I was very pleased that I had come out for my stroll.
I love the beady eye of the oystercatcher…
…and its decorative legs and beak too.
I walked along the river towards the town bridge, admiring the views across the water…
…and the view of Castle Hill from the bridge.
There was another pair of oystercatchers among the ducks at the Kilngreen…
…but the light was beginning to fade now, and there was just enough sunshine left to illuminate the moss on the wall beyond the Sawmill Brig…
…and to provide some evening shots as I went over the Jubilee Bridge on my way home.
For a walk of just over a mile, I thought that it had been very good value.
Mrs Tootlepedal had the inspired idea of adding eggy bread to enliven the remains of a quorn pasta sauce for our evening meal and that brought an excellent day to a close. We have been eating a lot of home made crackers in between times. They proved to be very eatable in spite of not winning even second prize in a beauty competition.
A curious feature of my morning bike ride came as I passed the entrance to an industrial estate near Longtown. About thirty unmarked white vans drove out of the entrance and passed me as I cycled down the road. The looked slightly sinister and the words of a song from years ago came to mind:
At midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do
A little research when I got home showed that Amazon have opened a warehouse there since I last cycled that road. This is a sign of the times, I suppose and may or may not be regarded as sinister.
The flying bird of the day is another shady chaffinch.