Today’s guest picture comes from Michael, a long time friend of our son Tony. Just to show that he can take seaside pictures too, he sent me this fine study of a bridge next to the sea near Rockliffe on the Solway coast where he was today.
We had another very chilly night. Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it was -5°C when she got up early this morning.
Once again a chilly night was followed by a sunny morning, and it was warm enough for Mrs Tootlepedal to start gardening not long after breakfast and for me to invite Sandy down for a cup of coffee in the garden.
We were joined by our neighbour Margaret, and it was pleasant to have an addition to our usual company. In spite of the sunshine, it wasn’t over warm so we didn’t dally for too long after the coffee was drunk. Sandy went off with our old bread maker, which he is hoping to be able to get working again, and Mrs Tootlepedal returned to her gardening. She is in full Attila the Gardener mode and two box balls bit the dust. I did some shredding and some more gravel raking, sifting and spreading on the very last section of the drive.
I found time to look round the garden…
…and have a walk along the dam at the back of the house.
Over lunch, I checked on the birds. The feeder was busy and a chaffinch couldn’t find a seat.
After lunch, I went for a cycle outing to see if my legs had stopped sulking. Fortunately, they were in a much better mood today, but unfortunately, the sun had started to sulk instead and it disappeared behind the clouds as I made my way up the road towards Mosspaul against a gentle breeze.
And then it started to snow.
The snow shower was not heavy and the snow itself was very light, so I kept going and by the time that I got to the head of the valley, it had stopped and the sun had re-appeared.
I had stopped at this point to look at the little waterfall that appears in today’s header picture. It is caused by the river running straight on and cutting a corner. The cut off loop to the left of the waterfall should be forming an ox bow lake but as you can see from the panel below, there is no water in the by-passed section of the river.
I had a look at the fine daffodils at the entrance to a farm…
…and set off up the climb through the narrow valley to Mosspaul.
Half way up, I met a small blizzard.
It began snowing quite hard and the flakes were starting to lie on the road. I did wonder for a moment if it would be wise to turn back. However, the previous shower had not lasted long so I pressed on, and by the time that I had got to the top of the hill, the snow had reduced itself to the occasional flake.
Fortified by half a banana, I decided to go five miles down the other side of the hill. I even felt confident enough to stop and take a tree picture.
I was a bit worried when another sharp snowstorm loomed up ahead of me, but fortunately it drifted past me, half a mile to my left, and I only caught a few flakes. Still, this unreliable weather did make me stop after fifteen miles.
My plan for the trip back was to cycle fast enough to avoid the next snow flurry coming from behind me, and slowly enough to avoid catching up the one that had just gone past me. It was a good plan and it worked out well.
When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had walked up to the stables and got another bucket of manure. Her life is an endless round of fun.
I was in excellent time for a cup of tea and a look at the birds before the Grand National took place.
I spotted a redpoll arriving at the feeder in a race with a siskin…
…and a redpoll leaving the feeder chasing a siskin.
For the benefit of readers who do not know about British horse racing, the Grand National is a four mile handicap steeplechase, one of the biggest events of the horse racing year. There were 40 entrants this year and it was a frightening sight to see them all charging at the first fence. History was made as a female rider won the race for the first time, but the female rider that I was backing, was unseated and taken to hospital. I hope that she recovers.
By the time that the race was over, the sunshine was settled again and it was a lovely evening, so I went for a short three bridges walk, starting along the Esk, where I saw handsome birds…
… and beautiful blossom…
…and the first of the Lady’s Smock or Cuckoo Flowers of the season, a very welcome sight.
At the Kilngreen, the shadows were lengthening.,..
…and this gave me the chance to indulge my affection for back lit flowers as I walked on.
The Noble fir at the corner of the Castleholm was looking busy…
…and there were other developments to be seen…
…as I walked along the path to the Jubilee Bridge.
I met a family with two excited children who were searching for a set of numbered and painted stones which kindly people had set out round the town and the Castleholm as a sort of Easter holiday hunt.
I found one.
In spite of the sun, it was cold enough to bring a tear to the eye of a walker by this time, so I hurried home without taking any more pictures.
The pattern of dry and mostly sunny days with cold nights seems set to continue for a few days, but at least the forecasters think that the days will gradually get warmer. I hope that they are right as I would like to get a longer ride in soon and it is not much fun if it is cold all the time.
The flying bird of the day is a determined chaffinch in the morning sunshine.