Having my cake and eating it

Today’s guest picture completes a trilogy of recent East Wemyss scenes; day, dawn and dusk. This is dusk today, as seen by our son Tony.

It was my birthday today, and the weather gods obliged by presenting Langholm with a beautifully sunny morning to greet me when I got up. Just to make sure that I didn’t get carried away and run about laughing too loudly, it came with a nippy frost.

We are trying to work out if there is a better place to put the bird feeder which would stop our little birds being snatched up by passing sparrowhawks. In the meantime, I’m keeping an eye on it, and this morning there were quite a few birds at the feeder, while the shadow of the house still fell across it after breakfast.

It is only the front of the garden that is in shadow. The walnut tree was in glorious sunshine as the last of its leaves hung on.

We had a very festive morning, as both Sandy and Margaret came round to have coffee and share the excellent cake which Mrs Tootlepedal had made for the occasion. I still had enough breath to blow out the candles in spite of my advanced years. (The little camera was in extra sparkly mood for the occasion.)

After Sandy and Margaret left, I made some lentil and bacon soup for lunch, checked on the birds again . . .

. . . ate the soup, and went for a walk.

I had hoped to go for a birthday cycle ride, but at 4Β°C, I thought that it was too cold for cycling fun and decided on the familiar five and a half mile traipse round Potholm instead. Mrs Tootlepedal chose to do some indoor cycling while I wandered about.

I took too many pictures on my walk, but as it is my birthday, I am going to put a lot of them in anyway. To be fair to the busy reader, I will put most of them in galleries which you can scoot through with just a passing glance.

I walked past the Kilngreen to start off.

When I got to the river at Potholm, the lack of leaves let me get a better view of the bridge.

And then, as I walked along the road from Potholm bridge, I looked back, I looked ahead, and I looked at a very good crop of hawthorns in the hedge.

It was really too gloomy for views, although it was pleasant enough for walking, so I have put the set of trees that I passed into black and white . . .

. . . and I spent a lot of time looking at walls and not hills. Almost every stone in the wall had a story to tell.

If I had stopped to listen to them all, I would not have got home before dark.

The leaf in that last block is not a moss or a lichen, but a spleenwort, seen on the splendid spleenwort wall just before getting back onto the Langholm road.

I walked along the road back to town, rather than take the slippery path through the wood, and enjoyed the little bursts of colour that the fading hazel leaves brought to a dull afternoon.

I was going down the Galaside hill back into town, when the merry ring of a cycle bell woke me up to the fact the Mrs Tootlepedal on a bicycle had caught up with me. She had got bored cycling indoors, and with a bit more courage than me, she had got her outdoor bike out, and pedalled round the same route that I had just walked, hoping to catch me up before I got home. She managed this with perfect timing, and we completed the last quarter mile home in companionable fashion.

The social nature of my birthday was completed when our friends Mike and Alison came round to have a cup of tea and a slice of the cake with us.

My day was completed by a Zoom with my siblings, an excellent evening meal of roast chicken and roast potatoes prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal, and a WhatsApp video call with our granddaughter Evie and her parents in London.

I have reached eighty years of age today, and there may be some who would have expected a bit more of a fuss about reaching this milestone, but it has been a quiet day for two reasons. The first is that we don’t think that asking friends and family to travel about the country is a particularly good scheme at this time. Mrs Tootlepedal will have a significant birthday at this time next year, so we will be able to combine the two occasions into a single celebration then, hopefully in more auspicious circumstances and avoiding the necessity of two sets of arrangements for everyone concerned. The second reason was that I have felt a bit shifty about the whole thing. I didn’t want to tempt fate by making a fuss about something that I felt that I hadn’t done much to deserve. I hope that I will feel more relaxed about it next year.

I did get quite a good double flying bird of the day picture though, so perhaps the fates were kind to me.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

44 thoughts on “Having my cake and eating it

  1. Happy birthday, Tom. May we all be in such good physical and mental shape when we reach that “significant” birthday!

    1. I wish that i was as confident about my mental and physical shape as you are. I try to keep both going as well as I can but you never know when fate might take a hand.

  2. You are a role model for us all. I am glad you celebrated this milestone birthday with local friends and that a walk with lovely views, trees, bridges and fungi was in order. We all look forward to the double celebration next year!

  3. I will join the others in wishing you a happy birthday, 80 years young. I agree, you and Mrs. T are good role models for the rest of us.

    I enjoyed this very beautiful set of photos from the day, especially the panels and the B&W trees. Monochrome gives bare trees a very different character.

  4. A very, very happy birthday to you! I am in complete awe of all that you accomplish in any given day. I sincerely hope that by next year, COVID is so far away that we won’t even be able to see it in our rearview mirrors and that you and Mrs. Tootlepedal can party on.

  5. Happy Birthday! I counted the candles and guessed your age and had to count again…amazing! It must be all the walks, cycle rides, scones, cake and soup that keep you so fit and energetic! Looks like you had a wonderful day.

  6. Congratulations on becoming the fittest and most enthusiastic octaganarian I know..and a living example of the old adage β€œuse it or lose it”.
    I hope I have but half of your drive 8 yrs time .
    Happy birthday πŸŽ‚πŸ₯ 

    1. Thank you for your kind words.

      I am committed to taking as much exercise as is reasonable because I love eating and if I don’t get about, I get plump and my clothes don’t fit.

  7. I think your dedication to exercise is rewarded by this milestone birthday, not to mention keeping your mind sharp and witty with blogging. I have now traveled backwards to the actual big day so I can wish you a very happy belated birthday, as I see that it was.

  8. Wishing you a belated Happy Birthday! That 3rd nippy frost picture would have made a lovely backdrop to add a special Birthday greeting to. Quite sensible to keep the celebration down to a dull roar. I’ll be catching up to you before long! πŸ˜‰

    We’ve been seeing a Cooper’s hawk hovering about and catching an unsuspecting dove now and then. I’d be a bit more concerned if the number of doves hadn’t been steadily increasing lately.

    I’m quite sure I’ve never seen a spleenwort.Β 

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