Quick cooking, slow cycling

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. Just to show that the sun doesn’t always shine on East Wemyss, he sent us this picture of the moon shining there this evening instead.

There was no sun to be seen in Langholm when we got up this morning. The clouds were clamped down on the hills, and there was a persistent drizzle making life look rather glum, especially for greenfinches.

This chaffinch didn’t seem to mind about the rain so much..

Fortunately for me, Sandy come round for coffee and brought a little sunshine into my day.

After Sandy left, I went round to the corner shop, and then took a moment to watch the birds when I got back.

I can’t make up my mind whether the chaffinch in the bottom frame of the gallery above is coming or going. It has a seed in its beak, so perhaps it has just fallen off the perch backwards.

I put down my camera and turned my attention to making some marmalade. Supplies of the home made stuff are running low. In the good old days when I was an ‘artisan marmalade maker’, I would spend a long time, often with Mrs Tootlepedal’s help, halving, squeezing, preparing and thinly slicing the rind of many Seville oranges, and then stewing the rinds for ages until they were soft enough to start adding the sugar and making the marmalade.

Nowadays, I open a tin of prepared fruit, add water and sugar, put the thing on the cooker, and I have seven pots of marmalade ready in half an hour. It may not quite have the authenticity of the old ways, but there is a lot less mess, and no danger of slicing a finger as well as an orange.

And the marmalade doesn’t taste too bad either.

The speed of this activity gave me enough time to have an early lunch and go out for a cycle ride.

The rain had stopped and there was even a hint that the clouds might be lifting . . .

. . . as I set off to do a gentle twenty miles round my familiar Canonbie route.

I was on no hurry, as my knees were still a bit doubtful about the wisdom of pedalling, so I stopped to take pictures of trees as I went along. Some are still fairly golden . . .

. . . and some are showing that trees have a hard life in our windy corner of the country.

My three favourite trees at Grainstonehead are beginning to slip into winter mode.

As I came across the hill, I saw that the grass was unusually pale. This turned out to be because the seed heads were covered in water droplets.

Once I got to Canonbie, I had to press on a bit. Although I got a welcome bit of sunshine . . .

. . . the sun itself was getting very low. The black lines right across the road in the picture above are the shadows of the fence posts, and this shows just how low the sun was already.

It stayed above the hills for long enough to light up Hollows Tower as I went past . . .

. . . but I was cycling in the shadows, and it had got quite chilly as I made my way home.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been out in the garden clearing off more stones from the front beds while I was out pedalling, but she had gone in before I got back, and we were both ready for a refreshing cup of tea.

I did look round the garden for colour before I went in but there was very little to show.

However, we can’t complain. The weather in the first half of November has been pretty kind with no real frosts and plenty of calm days to make cycling enjoyable. If the forecast is to be believed, it is going to keep warm for the rest of this week, although there might be some brisk winds to contend with.

Thanks to the early onset of dusk, I had time to have a shower and make a sausage stew before the regular Zoom meeting with my siblings. We got an illustrated tour of the five churches of Stamford from my sister Mary, as well as lots of good scenery around Derby from my brother Andrew, so we were well entertained.

The only disappointment of the day was a failure to catch a decent flying bird of the day and this rather shadowy goldfinch was the best that I could do.

Footnote: having just received that lovely picture of the moon at East Wemyss from Tony, it occurred to me to look out of an upstairs window when I went to have my shower to see if we had a moon here too.

We did.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “Quick cooking, slow cycling

  1. I enjoyed all the photos and bird feeder commentary. That is indeed a glum-looking chaffinch. The last bit of golden-orange angled light in late autumn as it lights up colorful trees is always a beautiful scene.

    I saw the moon only briefly last night as the clouds moved in. It was quite rainy and windy by late morning here, but the grass is emerald green and it wasn’t too cold. It doesn’t appear that I will see the moon here tonight. Which camera did you use for that moon shot?

    1. I used my Nikon D7000 with my 150-6000mm Sigma lens at full extension. I brightened up the result a bit in the editor. ISO 4000, F-stop 1/1000th, aperture f/18
      The settings are a bit odd but I needed the fast shutter speed because the camera was not on a tripod.

  2. We have had rather a lot of cloud for the past few days and we have seen neither sun nor moon so your photos of the moon and the shine of the sun were very welcome. I love the photos of the seedhead covered in dewdrops and the wind-bent trees.

  3. That first shot of the colored trees is a beauty and the windblown trees are always fun to see. They have the deepest roots, I’d bet.
    Nice to see the sunshine. It was beautiful on the tower.
    That’s a nice shot of the moon too. I hope to be able to do more of that once I retire.

    1. I hope that you have many happy hours with your camera when that time comes. (Although you already take a mass of wonderful photographs on your walks.)

  4. The water on the seed heads makes for a beautiful photo.

    I’ve never made marmalade but I am lucky that my friend Lucie does, and it’s wonderful: tartly delicious and full of gem-like bits of rind. One of the recipes she uses is Delia Smith’s. It’s very difficult for her to find Seville oranges here – one small shipment, once a year, and you’d best not miss them the week they come in!

    1. It is getting harder to find them here too as less and less people make their own marmalade. I feel a bit guilty about using the prepared fruit but my hands are not so keen on chopping and slicing as they once were.

  5. The moon is lovely, no matter where it is, but your son’s photo is especially beautiful as day slips into the blue of dusk. November has been kind to us in Maine, too.

  6. The changing colour of the leaves, the architectural beauty of the bare trees … all beautiful. The seedhead covered in dewdrops is a spectacular photograph.

  7. The marmalade sounds delicious even if you have resorted to prepared fruit. Mum and I used to make our own marmalade years ago but I have since found a very good substitute at the import store that tastes just as good.

  8. Love my marmalade on toast…especially the whisky in it! Both the moon photos are great and the autumn sunshine catching the Tower is lovely too.

  9. A day – and evening – of beautiful contrasts. I wish I could get a good view of the moon from attic window but I have a streetlamp that competes with the moon’s brightness. But now I have a hankering for marmalade…

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