Oiling the wheels

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who was once again up early enough on his way to work to catch a fine sunrise complete with artistic lamppost.

I wasn’t up early enough to see a sunrise but I was up early enough to find that the temperature was once again below zero at breakfast time. The poor flowers in the garden must be scratching their heads with a run of frosty mornings followed by fine afternoons.

We started the day with a visit from a plumber, much needed as he fixed a faulty radiator in the sitting room which had been leaving Mrs Tootlepedal feeling quite chilly in the evenings as the temperatures fell after dark.

When he left, I went out to find a white fritillary which Mrs Tootlepedal had told me about…

…and then we had a warm and sunny coffee in the garden with Margaret, though we still needed an outdoor coat for comfort.

After coffee, I pottered about the garden while Mrs Tootlepedal worked, and then went in to talk to our energy suppliers about our smart meter which is not working. They were not keen to talk to me on the phone, so I ended up having an online chat. The chatterer asked what my problem was and when I told her, she did a little research and told me that it was working. When I asked her why they were sending me estimated bills if it was working, she sent me this message:

I naturally took off all my clothes but it didn’t have any effect and my smart meter remains far from clever.

I had time for a quick look at the birds before lunch…

…and after lunch, I went for a walk.

I thought that my knee had mended enough to give it a short go on a hill, so I took the easy path that contours round Meikleholm Hill.

It has been a dry spell and the hill showed it.

When I got to the little col between Meikleholm and Timpen, I took out my phone to take a picture. It can see cheerful colour where the human eye (and an old fashioned camera) can see muted tones.

I sometimes think that visitors to the countryside who have been fed heavily saturated photographs like the one above, must be a bit disappointed when they meet real life and find that it isn’t candy coloured.

My Lumix took this view from the same spot. It showed a path that I had followed round Castle Hill on a walk a week ago.

The scene might not have been as colourful as my phone camera claimed but the light was interesting all the same.

I went through the gate in the wall and puffed my way up to the top of Timpen Hill and on my way, I saw the only wild flower on the hill that I had met so far.

It is a steep slope so I took the opportunity of a stop to look back down at Langholm.

When I got to the trig point at the top of the hill, I was more than happy to stop and look around again. This was the side of the hill that I would walk down.

I took a picture with my phone as I went down the hill and once again, you can see how differently it sees the landscape.

I went back to the Lumix as I dropped further down the hill and looked over at the Gates of Eden.

I was getting near to the road home now, and I was welcomed by a sturdy tree.

I had intended to take a wider route back down the hill, but there were a good many sheep there and as it is lambing time, I thought it best to leave them undisturbed.

Once I got to the road, I came across a twig on a bush which could hardly had had more lichen on it…

…and found that there were a lot more wild flowers on the roadside verges than there had been on the hill. They were mostly coltsfoot…

…but there were a lot of them.

It was only a four mile walk, but it was a good work out for my knee which managed to get up and down hill without any complaints. Or hardly any.

Once back in the garden, I took a tour round the tulips which had enjoyed the slightly warmer day.

…and stalked a bumble bee among the pulmonaria.

I thought that I was following a single bee but looking at the panel above, there may have been two different bees buzzing about.

It was such a nice afternoon that we invited our friends Mike and Alison to come round for a cup of tea in the garden. I got the mower out and gave the lawn a trim in their honour. And I still had time to check on the birds and find siskins keeping an eye out for…

…invading chaffinches…

…and find a backlit tulip…

…before they came.

Alison brought a sample of her home made simnel cake with her and it went down well with the cup of tea.

I had planned to go for an early evening cycle ride after the tea party but I couldn’t quite summon up the energy, so I spent a useful half hour changing the oil in my bicycle internal hub gear instead. This was the first time that I had done this myself, but the fresh cleaning fluid and oil came with a syringe and a set of very clear instructions, so I hope that I have managed to do it correctly. I will go for a ride tomorrow and see if the bike is running smoothly.

The last photograph of the day came just before I started to write this post. Mrs Tootlepedal had seen a crescent moon last night but by the time that I came to look for it, it had disappeared. I was in better time tonight. Here is the nearly new moon. It bookends the post with Tony’s sunrise.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Oiling the wheels

  1. The Grauniad today, on first announcing the arrangements for the D of E’s funeral on Saturday, said the the men would not be in military uniform but in ‘mourning’ dress. Easy confusion in the circumstances I suppose.

  2. A little bit of bike maintenance usually, goes a long way, sadly not in my case. My poor old Pioneer has been sitting idly in my shed for seven weeks. I’d just brought it home from Tredz after a full service two days before my slip. Much as I want to go for a pedal, I’d settle for having a go at a bit of bike maintenance. Not like me at all, but I am even daydreaming about when I actually have a go at my Swytchbike upgrade to the Pioneer. I’ll probably be very nervous about attempting it. The kit is en route aboard a container ship coming from the USA. That means the Swytchbike kit will already have travelled thousands of miles before it is even attached to my Pioneer. It should arrive early May, fingers crossed. I am in two minds about whether or not to use it in my efforts to recuperate this gammy left leg of mine. (sadly my right knee is giving me the odd twinge as well, probably because of my attempts to “shield’ the left one) Should I make my knees work that bit harder without the electric assist or vice versa? I suppose it will be down to the way I feel and the prognosis. Sorry, Tom just got carried away with my ramblings. Cheers.

    1. I would start with the assistance of the Swytch. It can’t do any harm. I will be interested to see if it is easy to set up and use.

      Making the other leg go off because you are saving the bad leg is a very real problem. Keep an eye on that.

      1. Yes, that’s good advice, but I have become a master of the John Cleese school of funny walks. I get twinges here there and everywhere form my neck to my hips, knees and ankles. What hurts the most is these weeks of glorious weather we’ve had just right to be out pedalling. Great news is I can walk without the aid of crutches and drive the car again, so things are progressing in the right way. Cheers

    1. I am about halfway between the camera and the phone when it comes to seeing colour in the landscapes. My camera has become rather gloomy so perhaps it needs a clean.

  3. Marvellous moon shot!

    And it’s a good thing I didn’t have a mouthful of tea when I read your smart meter story! Such things are sent to try us. Just recently I managed to convince a tax company’s “intelligent” answering system that I didn’t want to chat with a computer and needed to talk to a person – and actually reached a real person. If she was there all the time . . . sigh.

      1. Re the “bare with me”, you should see some of the weird interpretations the subtitles on BritBox come up with. Last night it was “hand party” for “hen party” on an episode of Moving On. If they can’t understand the words, the subtitles just say “indecipherable” even though it is usually completely decipherable to me.

      1. I just mentioned to Clif that this past year it has seemed as though we were in purgatory. A little light? Perhaps even rising to the next level?

  4. I had a good chuckle at the note from your energy supplier. 🙂

    Those views from this hills are outstanding, no matter if it is high color or muted. It is interesting to look down and see Langholm nestled snugly in the valley. From the vast to the small, I have enjoyed the scenery down to the smallest lichens. It is good to see the moon coming around again, too.

    Mornings are still cold, around freezing or below, but the daytime temperatures seem to be climbing here now. The first of the two crab apples has bloomed, and the wild cherries and plums made progress today. The air at sundown was fragrant.

  5. I used to collect photographs of these common errors to add interest to my teaching – it boils down to ‘looking before you leap’ into the public domain 🙂

  6. Particularly splendid photography today, especially the landscapes (and Tony’s). Those machine operated helpful chat lines would sometimes be laughable if they weren’t so useless.

  7. Our goldfinches almost look more like your siskins. I am glad you were able to get out and walk with your knee (as I come late again to your posts) and show another side of your corner of the world that is still beautiful even when not moist and green. I shivered thinking of the consequences of “bare with me”. I love the windswept trees.

      1. It’s always the fine dividing line between more and too much exercise… I never thought there was such a thing as the latter until my last year or two. Tread lightly on. 🙂

  8. Wonderful photos of some beautiful views enhanced by the blue sky and matching cloudscapes. A bit of a hike but worth every step! Like the tulips in all the colours but the backlit one is a favourite. Your siskins have got their bright plumage on still waiting for the colours to show here! Love both the book end photos.

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