Up to speed

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin who is on holiday in the west of our region. He enjoyed the sight of the Bladnoch Distillery, and the aromas too. This is the most southerly of Scotland’s many distilleries.

We had the hedgehog camera out over night, and when Mrs Tootlepdal brought it in, we were a bit shocked to find that the temperature had dropped to -2 in the early hours of the morning. The low temperature hadn’t discouraged the hedgehog, but it had fogged up the camera so the last shot is a bit blurred. Luckily we had got two better shots earlier during the night.

I tried and failed to set the camera to video so I will try again next time that I put it out.

We got some welcome sunshine in the morning which helped to warm things up a bit, and I was able to get the mower out and tidy up the mess that those pecking jackdaws had left on the front lawn. I did a bit of tulip dead heading too, and then walked up the hill to have coffee with Sandy. It was very nice to sit and chat on his patio in the sunshine, especially as he had laid on a delicious slice of orange cake to go with the coffee.

I couldn’t stay too long as I had a visit from a BT engineer scheduled for between 12 and 2 o’clock. I left in plenty of time. This was lucky as Mrs Tootlepedal rang me up as I was walking back down the hill to tell me that the engineer had arrived twenty minutes early.

He was very cheerful and helpful and made sure that I had the best possible internet speeds all over the house, even in the garage where the bike to nowhere lives. If I want better speeds, he told me, I will have to wait until full fibre reaches every house in the street. He expects to be retired before then.

Just as he left, I got a delivery of a new laptop. This was the reason for my attempt to make sure that I had the best possible internet connection. My old laptop had got so slow that writing the blog, and especially producing the pictures for each post, had become a tedious task. My new laptop, bought with advice from my younger son who knows about these things, is lightning fast and I am using it to produce this blog. I am a happy person, though I would be even happier if I could get the spell checker to work.

All this activity meant that I didn’t have mich time for taking pictures but I did have a quick walk round the garden before I went up to see Sandy.

Late tulips are looking good…

…and there was a heavy hint of white rhododendron flowers to come shortly.

A female blackbird was busy collecting worms from the tidied lawn…

…and a bee was visiting the dandelions again.

After the engineer left, I unpacked my new computer. I didn’t dare touch it in case I broke it so I looked at the birds instead…

…and discovered that it had started to rain.

That didn’t discourage those pesky peckers who were back making a mess of the middle lawn.

I didn’t go back out into the garden but had lunch instead.

I spent quite a lot of time after lunch tidying up the room where I do my computing so that it would be in a fit state to welcome the new machine. Then I carefully connected everything up but didn’t turn it on. It looked so smart that it made me nervous.

There was some light rain continuing, but I put on my cycling gear and went off to have a short ride in the middle of the afternoon.

In spite of the rain, it felt good to be out with the wind behind me at the start and temperatures feeling quite springlike by this time. By the time that I had done nearly ten miles, the rain had stopped and I stopped too. Beside me in the verge, I saw the first plantains (I think) and some crosswort which is popping up everywhere now.

A little further on, the gorse was in great form but there were parts of the bushes that looked extremely dead as well.

I went up to Gair and turned off to take the road past the Solwaybank windfarm. There was a lot of this in the verge at one point…

Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it is sedum. It looked amazingly healthy.

I had chosen the route for the conditions as some of it is tree lined, and not only does that bring balm to the soul in spring..

…it also provides excellent protection from the wind.

And it has a very good surface.

I had to go out into the open again to get home and it was a bit of a battle into the wind. A glance across the moor back towards the wind farm…

… showed that it was a pretty grey day even if the rain had stopped.

I got home safely but slowly, and found that MrscTootlepdal had had to spend longer at her upstairs window painting project than she would have liked as some masking tape had been very reluctatnt to become disengaged from the glass of the window. Therse things are sent to try painters.

I had another look round the garden and found a very open tulip…

…and a very pecked middle lawn.

Some flowers have lasted well past their sell by date in this odd year, like these grape hyacinths…

…while others have been made sad by repeated frosts. The magnolia looked so promising earlier on but almost all its flowers look like this now.

The pansies in the chimney pot outside the kitchen window continue to look very cheery.

I couldn’t stand the mess so I used the mower to clean up the moss from the middle lawn and then made a sausage stew for my tea.

While it was cooking, I bravely switched on my new computer and found it worked very well. Apart from having to get what seemed liked endless confirmation messages on my mobile phone to make progress, I have got most of what I need installed and running. It turns out that much of the slow repsonse and sluggish perfomance I have been blaming on app providers and internet signal suppliers was actually caused by my old laptop. I hope that my happy state of mind contiunues and that I don’t find any hidden drawbacks as time goes on.

In a busy day, I just didn’t have time to spend trying to get a decent flying bird of the day so a passing siskin will have to do.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

41 thoughts on “Up to speed

  1. I can’t help but feel that a jackdaw-pecked lawn is a good thing. Is it a possible PhD project?

  2. The pansies are glorious!

    I’m glad your new laptop is meeting your expectations and speeding up your blogging work. My new one arrived on Monday with a huge hole in the shipping box, the computer packaging, and a dent in the case. πŸ™‚

      1. Sadly, yes. It was well packed, but it looked like UPS put a javelin through the box. Getting a replacement arranged was quite easy and quick; getting a mailing label to send it back was quite another story. I gave one person five days to fix the issue, then reached another who fixed it in 20 minutes. Sigh. Hopefully I will soon be able to join you in the “circling around new technology” dance!

    1. I think bitter experience leads to the fear but I must say that up to date gadgets seem much easier to set up and use than in the old days. Software comapnies have not improved a lot because they are always trying to sell you something that you don’t want.

  3. My thoughts echo that of unionhomestead: there is a degree of trepidation upon opening / starting a new electronic device for the first time. Lovely tree-lined roads you passed through today.

  4. During the week, they rolled out full fibre here in our street. πŸ™‚ Now wating for the resuls…. Lots of succes sith your new laptop. May I ask which one you bought ? (specifications) as I’m also tinking about replacing my ASSUS laptop that is almost 9 years old. Enjou the comming weekend and many thanks for the ride and the pictures. Weather is also very unstable here in Belgium.

    1. I bought a SCAN 3XS laptop with a 17 inch screen. It is over specified for me as I don’t do online gaming but it does make photo editing very easy.

      I wish we had full fibre here, it would be the icing on the cake.

  5. That cycling surface is a joy to see, must make cycling so enjoyable especially through those green lined stretches. Still lots of rain down here, builders had finished our outdoors/indoors area (if you see what I mean? ), but have had to come back, this morning, because of a couple of problems I pointed out to them last night. I have had the joy (not) of trying to open a new bank current account, for the past two days. One cannot go, to do so, to a bank, cannot do it over the phone, it became so frustrating. Verification of identity, via uploads of photo of a selfie and my driving license. My phone alone couldn’t do it because it ran out of memory analising input? In the end I had to use my laptop and my mobile phone together to succeed. Still it’s done now, phew! Then, when that is up and running I have to do the same to set up a joint account? The trials of modern technology. By the way there were full instructions to follow? They might as well have been for a flat pack, I cannot follow them either, lol. Cheers, hope you’re having another great tootling day today as well. PS It was great to see the waterfall at Ynysarwed as a header to your blog.

    1. The good surface is a joy. Thanks to a levy on our local quarry, there has been quite a lot of money put into keeping up our local roads and there are quite a few bits of good surface about now.

      I am sorry that you have had snags with your new bit of building. That is always annoying.

      Well done for getting the bank acocunt sorted. I had to use a lot of phone codes to get things set up on the new laptop.

  6. Enjoyed the pictures of the soothing tree lined roads.
    Congratulations on getting the new laptop and making all the connections work.

  7. Those jackdaws sure mean business! Great that your new laptop has made everything speedier. Very irritating to deal with s-l-o-w computers. I have had more than my fair share. Yes, sedum.

  8. I enjoyed all your spring photos. I agree with Mrs. Tootlepedal, that does look like sedum growing there.

    The jackdaws seem better than a lawn scarifier, and they eat grubs, too. πŸ™‚

  9. A lovely cycle ride under the tunnel of trees which would cheer anyone up. The pesky pecking of all the moss must frazzle the nerves spoiling the look of the lawn. On the bright side the lovely pansies and tulips brighten things up and a new laptop that works is just the best!

    1. The new laptop contnues to be a delight. It turns out that I have been wasting a lot of my life sitting in front of an unresponsive screen in recent years. The jackdaws are getting a bit past the joke now.

  10. Those jackdaws just don’t know when to stop, do they?!
    My favourite pictures are the two of the tree-lined road, the very orange, open tulip and the grape hyacinths.
    Congratulations on being able to set up a new lap-top. I hope you continue to enjoy using it.

    1. The laptop is a continuing treat. It has many brilliant facilities which I will never use but I get a warm feeling from knowing that I have got them.

  11. It’s certainly not everyone who can have a hedgehog camera! I very much liked your tree tunnel. What joy it must be to have faster internet… though my experience seems to be that joy may dwindle in time. πŸ˜‰

    1. It will take some time for the joy to dwindle as the new laptop is so much quicker than my old one that I sometimes go and turn it on just to see it boot up quickly.

  12. Congrats on the new computer. I must confess that when mine sadly died a year…or was it two.ago, and the dang back up decide also failed (!!), even though a friend was kind enough to give me an old MacBook, I got bogged down trying to get my Email to work on it and have since used only my iPad for blogging. It means Allan processes all the blog photos because haven’t figured out how to get camera photos to iPad. I’m not even a Luddite, just flummoxed.

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