Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who stopped on his way to work this morning to record an early flight crossing above the rising sun.
The sun rose in Langholm too, and after another chilly start, we had lovely weather all day.
In the middle of the morning, we had a Zoom with our granddaughter Matilda and her father Alistair. They were enjoying fine weather in Edinburgh too and were both in cheerful form.
On either side of the meeting, we spent a lot of time in the garden distributing compost onto beds in the vegetable garden and surrounding the soft fruit bushes. In addition, Mrs Tootlepedal did some gardening and was active with the strimmer making the vegetable garden look neat so we had a busy time.
I really enjoy the process of composting. It as near as you can get to money for nothing, and everything goes back onto the garden where it came from in the first place. The present lot of compost in Bin A has got a lot of cardboard in it, as we have been composting the the packaging of things that have been delivered during the lockdown. It will be interesting to see if it comes out well.
I did manage to
waste spend a fair amount of time grappling with a bumper holiday crossword both before composting and after lunch.
Mrs Tootlepedal went back out into the garden after lunch and I mooched about for a while, trying to think of a good cycling route. I spent so much time thinking about it without coming to a satisfactory conclusion that when I did finally get going, it was too late to do any of the interesting rides that I might have thought of. As a result, I was in rather a grumpy mood about going round a familiar route for yet another time and I wasn’t helped by the fact that my body was in an even grumpier mood than me.
However, grumpy bicycling is better than no bicycling and the wonderful Dr Velo soon began his customary cure. By the time that I had got to Waterbeck on the much improved road from Falford, my spirits had risen and instead of going round in the usual circles, I struck off on the back road to Middlebie and Eccclefechan. This road too has been improved, and there were no potholes to navigate as I went up and down the many little valleys you have to cross on the way, stopping to take a picture or two…
…of spots that caught my eye.
I liked the daffodils on the bank opposite Middlebie Church…
…and I liked that way that the church itself seemed to be climbing the same steep that I was cycling up.
It had some striking red flowers at its gate and a closer look showed that they were an early flowering rhododendron.
I may not know a bank where the wild thyme grows, but I do know a bank which is covered with celandines. It is between Middlebie and Ecclefechan.
When I got to Ecclefechan, I found some early green leaves on show, helping to hide the motorway from my view.
The motorway didn’t really need much hiding as there was hardly any traffic on it today.
I turned off in Ecclefechan and crossed the Mein Water by this handsome bridge…
…just before it joins the River Annan at Meinfoot.
This is a beautiful spot, it was a beautiful day and my grumpiness was long gone. As I pedalled gently along the quiet roads enjoying the sun and the views, I reflected that in spite of not seeing our grandchildren, having a sore knee and a bruised toe and having being stuck at home for a year, life could be a whole lot worse.
Especially when a turn in my route meant that the wind would be behind me for almost all the way home.
I didn’t follow the river to Brydekirk today but turned back towards Eaglesfield, and after enjoying a final view over Annandale…
…I went along the road…
…that would take me down to the valley of the Kirtle Water and eventually back to Eskdale.
I was on familiar roads now so I didn’t take my camera out except to show the welcome view of Whita and the monument which tells a cyclist that they are only a bit over five miles from home…
…and a very fine blackthorn beside the main road at the Hollows.
I got home after 38 miles and the mellowness of my mood could be measured by the fact that I didn’t think it necessary to rush up and down the road to add the two miles to me trip that would have brought up a nice round forty miles. It was either mellowness or the fact that I was pretty jiggered.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy while I was out, and had made progress with improving the gravel part of the drive.
Between the compost work and the cycling, I had no time to look at the feeder today. I only took one token picture just to show that birds were still about.
…so the non flying bird of the day is the first butterfly of the year, a small tortoiseshell on a primula, spotted in the garden this afternoon.
For those interested, I have included a map of today’s flat ride and a click on the map will bring up more details.