Taxing day

Today’s guest picture is another from America. Mary Jane from New York sent me this impressive array of dogs in the charge of professional dog walkers. They would have to pay me a lot to do that job.

We had another cold, grey day here today with the temperature not getting above 5°C. It is back to below 0° as I write this in the evening. This is not good weather for taking photographs.

Mrs Tootlepedal was recovered enough to encourage me to go out for a morning cycle ride between coffee and lunch, and as it wasn’t raining and the winds were very light, I went.

The roads are dry at the moment so there was no danger of ice, but it felt pretty miserable all the same, and I was glad to be well wrapped up. Being well wrapped up makes for slow cycling though, and I had to work hard to squeeze my average to just over 12 mph for 25 miles as I took a fairly hilly route past the curious construction over the Kirtle Water at Falford…

…past a ruined cottage near Conhess…

…and then past the Solwaybank windfarm.

The turbines had been motionless when I had cycled by the other side of the site as I went over Callister, but rather spookily, they all began moving extremely gently at the same time as I went by this time. I was pleased though as the wind was behind me and any help was gratefully received.

They may be cutting down the Kerr Wood, but the wood on the other side of the road that was cut a few years ago has been replanted and is growing steadily…

…and it is now providing some shelter from westerly winds for the passing cyclist.

Instead of going straight home when I hit the Bloch to Mossknowe road, I turned right and pedalled down to the Canonbie bypass before heading up the main road for home. My hands and feet were getting cold so I was more than happy to step into the warmth of the house and prepare a light lunch for Mrs Tootlepedal.

There was a tiny blink of brighter weather and I wondered whether these three constituted a host of golden daffodils..

I roamed round the garden.

After lunch, I watched the birds for a while and was pleased to see a dunnock again…

…and yet another chaffinch posing on the pole.

The feeder was quite busy and I am having to fill it regularly….

…which is good, because I have just bought a big bag of seed.

I had arranged to go for a walk with Sandy in the afternoon and as he was looking for a bit of novelty, we drove down to the Hollows in separate cars and then walked round the North Wood and down the Byreburn track.

The track to the North Wood follows the old railway and I took a picture of the station site and some of the cheerful algae on the stonework of the platform.

There were horses of various sizes to be seen on the adjoining field and this was my favourite.

The track was wet in places but much drier than it usually is…

…so the walking was enjoyable.

We passed thousands of hazel catkins but very few flowers…

…so I don’t think that there will be a good nut harvest here.

It was a pleasure to walk beside the wood….

…and once we got onto the road through the village of Claygate, there were snowdrops under the hedge to keep us happy…

…and my second ruined cottage of the day.

We turned off the road and onto the track that runs down beside the Byre Burn…

…which lead us past many little waterfalls and then to the Fairy Loup itself.

We were beginning to feel the cold a bit by this time, so we didn’t dilly dally for many more pictures on our way back to the cars, but a bright gorse flower made us pause for a moment.

At just under three miles, this was the longest walk that Sandy has done since his foot operation and he was pleased about that. He told me later that his feet mentioned the walk several times in a marked manner later in the evening. We intend to go for another walk soon.

I got back to find that Mrs Tootlepedal had been able to come downstairs to make herself a cup of tea and she was chatting to a friend on the phone. This was progress.

I was quite tired myself and was happy to do nothing for a while before cooking the evening meal and spending ages looking for my bike computer. I have put it down somewhere after my morning ride and I can’t remember where. It is most annoying. It is silly I know, but it almost feels as though I haven’t been for a ride if I can’t record the stats on my spreadsheet. I hope it turns up tomorrow.

It might get slightly warmer tomorrow but as this seems to be a precursor to some wet and windy days next week, this may be a mixed blessing.

The flying bird of the day is a passing chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

38 thoughts on “Taxing day

  1. What a lovely variety of photos: signs of spring showing up in the garden; a very interesting rail station site; and yet another example of the fuzzy livestock that live near you.

    It’s also very good to read that Mrs. T. felt well enough to go downstairs.

    I’m impressed at how widespread your audience has become Tom – you’re getting to be quite the global phenomenon!

    1. Her improvement continues which is gratifying.

      I have a select company of readers though they are widespread, I agree, If a post gets 90 to 100 views, that is about average though occasionally one gets more and occasionally one gets less so I am not getting too puffed up about international celebrity.

  2. It was nice to see daffodils, hellebores, snowdrops, and the gorse. Gorse reminds me of bird’s foot trefoil.
    I’m glad Sandy’s foot is well enough for a three mile walk and happy that Mrs. T. is up and around.
    My favorite photo is of the hazel flower and catkin. That’s a tough shot to get.

  3. I enjoyed the photos from your day. The sky there looks much like ours id here today, a raw, damp day with little sun. I agree the hazlenut flower and catkin is a hard shot to get, and is very beautiful.

    Good to hear Mrs. T is feeling better and could come downstairs. A sure sign you have been taking very good care of her, as well as checking the quality of the chocolates and treats.

  4. “The turbines had been motionless when I had cycled by the other side of the site as I went over Callister, but rather spookily, they all began moving extremely gently at the same time as I went by this time.” Perhaps you were cycling faster than you thought! I simply love photographs of ruined buildings.

  5. Great to see those pictures of the Fairy Loup, hope you find your bike computer today. Glad also ro read about Mrs Tootlepedal’s improvement.

  6. Hi tootlepedal, Read your post much earlier on, and enjoyed. I am desperately disastrous at putting things down and forgetting where. But then again I suppose it has to happen to me, because as her indoors continually points out I can never find anything in a drawer, whereas she can pick it out in a second. It’s good to hear Mrs tootlepedal is able to get up and about, wish her our best. That strange construction seems to be for the purpose of carrying a pipe over the stream. I reckon the draft of you passing by on your bike started that wind farm turning lol. Last night I was reading a cycle touring book describing ten different cycle tours around the UK. One started from Edinburgh and the first leg of the tour was 76 miles to Langholm, giving the extra information that it was also known as Muckle Town, in reference to the industry of textile manufacture there, is that right? I hope I’ve got that right now. Cheers.

    1. What is in the pipe? That is the question. And where is it going?

      It is indeed 76 miles to Edinburgh from the Muckle Toon, so called because in its textile heyday, it was a muckle or large town of over 5000 inhabitants. Mrs Tootlepedal and I cycled from Langholm to Edinburgh when we did the Lands End to John o’Groats trip in 2008 but we took a day and a half to do it.

      1. LEJOG(GER)S I am so
        impressed by you both is there reference to your trip in your blog archives? Sorry, being lazy, typing on my mobile is not great for checking out your archives
        . I’d love to read up about your LEJOG. As far as the pipe contents is concerned could it be slurry? The slurry being conveyed away from natural water courses into a pit? Well, it’s a theory, what do you think? I am getting very used to living in this luxurious, albeit sometimes awkward and slow convalescence provided by her indoors. Biggest problem is seeing blue skies everyday, or so it seems, while I am literally bursting to get out there pedalling. Another treat yet, I have to read your latest post. Cheers.

      2. It is worse being stuck inside when the weather is nice but the next few days should make being indoors easier to bear. We did the LEJOG before I started blogging and before I started taking photos seriously so I don’t have a great record of the trip. We did a steady 50 miles a day for 19 and a half days.

      3. For somebody who doesn’t mind pedalling in the rain, I must admit sitting in a warm conservatory with the rain hammering down is, also not to be sniffed at. Yes, I had time today to go back to the beginnings of your blog in 2010. I am even more impressed. Was it just the two of you, or were you in a guided group, did you camp or B&B? Finally, what about the burning issue of the pipe and what’s in it? Lol. Cheers.

      4. It was just the two of us though we had various friends who helped by taking our luggage on for a lot of the days. We stayed at B&B and Travel Lodges.

      5. Sounds great, but must have taken a lot of preparation and planning. A major tick on any bucket list. Cheers.

      6. Did you stick to the plan? Did you have any setbacks, like mechanical problems, punctures, wrong turns etc? What bikes did you ride? Sorry just being nosey. Cheers.

      7. She rode a Dawes gents tourer and I rode an Orange mountain bike with no suspension. We had a couple pf punctures but no real problems although there were some wet days to put up with.

      8. Sounds a great trip, do you still have your Orange mountain bike, and Mrs tootlepedal her Dawes tourer? Orange, is that a specific make? Cheers

      9. No, I sold the mountain bike as it was getting too heavy for me to lift. Mrs T still has the Dawes Sonora but doesn’t use it any more as she now needs a step through bike frame. Orange is a British bike maker and makes good bikes.

      10. I’ll have a look at Orange Bikes, that’s the bike nerd in me. I’ve had no suspension mountain bikes from Halfords in the past, a Carrera Subway 8 speed with internal hub gears and also Carrera Subway 21 speed. I used both in my early days of commuting with little success. The internal hub gears used to freeze in th colder weather, while the 21 speed was just too heavy. The trials and tribulations of a commuter I suppose. Both those bikes are stored in pieces in my big shed for when I retire. That will be an interesting experiment, me trying to put them back together? Her indoors here also needs a low step through bike, because of a hip replacement. We have a Pashley tricycle for her but she has only used it a couple of times. It needs to be transported to proper bike trails, neither of us trust the safety on the roads here. What sort of step through bike has Mrs tootlepedal?

      11. The Orange I did the end to end on had a Rohloff 14 gear hub and was great for pedalling along comfortably and slowly behind Mrs T. We were never more than ten yards apart the whole way. We averaged just under 10mph for the trip.

        She has a Dawes red feather now, basically a shopping bike with a single front cog and seven rear ones.

  7. Obviously, it was the breeze of your passing that set the turbines spinning. The thorns on your budding… rose?…are impressively spiny. And I am very fond of your ruined cottages.

  8. Coming downstairs to make tea and chatting to a friend are really positive signs that Mrs T is indeed recovering swiftly- great news! I wonder if the dog walkers let the dogs loose for a run! Love the little pony photo …reminiscent of a Thelwell pony! Few catkin flowers here too…very odd! Can’t get my camera to focus on them- ! I like the ruined cottages and the bank of snowdrops …all our snowdrops have finished here so it’s good to have your photos to prolong the season.

    1. Getting the camera to focus on hazel flowers is a very tricky business. I have found that my phone in macro mode is much happier to do the job. Autofocus is good but not always helpful!

  9. What an adorable fat little pony! This is one time I have really regretting reading backwards and not knowing something bad had happened to Mrs T so I could express timely sympathy.

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