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.