More sociable celebrations

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline. She had a chilly but sparkling day for a walk round Portsmouth, and found the famous Spinnaker Tower looking at its best.

We had a chilly but far from sparkling day here, with some persistent drizzle in the morning putting paid to my scheme for a early start to a bicycle ride. Instead, I pedalled round to the corner shop and paid my bill. They have recently increased the amount that you can use the contactless card to pay for, and now disturbingly large amounts of my pension can disappeared into the ether in a flash.

On the other side of the coin, the government has kindly increased my pension now that I have reached a certain age. This rise amounts to a full 25p a week, and Mrs Tootlepedal and I are locked in negotiations as to how to spend it.

I peered at the birds on the feeder in the gloom when I got home. There were quite a few about, but they were quite hard to see.

I liked the hairstyle that this chaffinch had gone for.

The delayed start to my cycling brought an unexpected bonus when our neighbours Liz and Ken came round for coffee. Liz had made some scones and covered them with excellent home made lemon curd to mark my recent birthday, so for the third day running, we had not only good coffee but excellent food too. For those who think that I am a keen cyclist, Ken leaves me in the shade. He is almost the same age as me, but has done a thousand miles more this year than I have, and he has done them a lot faster too.. He is real enthusiast.

All this scone eating made a cycle ride a priority, so when Ken and Liz had gone, I had a last look at the birds . . .

. . . crossed my fingers that the rain, which had stopped, would stay stopped, and popped out for thirty miles.

My knee is not quite back to full function, so I had to go carefully up any hills, but otherwise the ride was good. I did get into a little drizzle on the top of Callister, more low cloud than actual rain, but by the end of the ride, the day had got quite a lot brighter.

It was pretty damp when I started, and with wet roads, I tended to get a bit of spray when traffic passed me, but by the time that I got to Waterbeck . . .

. . . things had improved.

The last time that I cycled through the village of Kirtlebridge, I stood on the old bridge and photographed the new. Today, I stood on the new and photographed the old.

I realised today that the the old main road and the motorway have two separate bridges squashed close to each other. The motorway bridge does not treat the river with respect.

As I left the village, I came upon a very untypical colourful scene, much to my surprise.

Generally, it was a grey outing.

The wind was not strong, but it did give me some help when I turned for home at Kirkpatrick Fleming, for which my knees were very grateful.

It was cold though, so I didn’t stop a lot, but trees often catch my eye and it was not different today.

When I got near home, the loss of leaves gave me a better look at Irvine House than I have had for several months . . .

. . . and a couple of minutes later, the sun came out very briefly to light up an oak tree in the house’s curtilage.

Looking at the forecast, this may well have been my last cycle ride of the month, so I am glad that I got it it in. I am a bit sorry, in spite of the excellent scones at coffee time, that I wasn’t able to get out earlier and add a few more miles to it, but you can’t have everything.

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy sowing yellow rattle and other wild flowers in her mini meadow on the drying green.

Mrs Tootlepedal had raked the grass last year and planted yellow rattle then too. You have to be cruel to grass to be kind to wild flowers. Yellow rattle is a grass parasite and lets other wild flowers thrive (we hope).

I had a look round for colour without finding much today . . .

. . . checked on the overhead wires for birds . . .

. . . and then went in for a very late lunch. My bread and cheese was enhanced by some chutney which my recorder playing friend Susan had given me for my birthday.

Probably because of all the excitement of the past three days, both Mrs Tootlepedal and I felt quite tired, and we had a very peaceful rest until it was time for our evening Zoom with my siblings. This was followed by a light meal and a choir practice with the enhanced church choir. It was well enhanced and there were a lot of sopranos, but the other sections were smaller. I modestly took my place as the one and only bass (though I did not oompah up and down the square, fans of the Music Man will be glad to know).

It was a good practice, and we have made some sound progress towards our concert in December.

It was not a good morning for catching flying birds, and the light was gone by the time that I had got home and had a meal, so I have gone for quantity rather than quality for today’s flying birds with not one but two chaffinches.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “More sociable celebrations

  1. Quite a busy day,donโ€™t know how you manage to cram it all certainly wonโ€™t suffer from boredom ๐Ÿ˜Š
    Great shots of the Kirkpatrick Fleming area .
    I have reluctantly had to move our bird feeders from near the kitchen window to the front of the house and with no food for them the family of rats have moved on.
    I may try moving them back in a few weeks time?
    With most of our neighbours having chickens and horse feed rats are a constant problem,all part of country living I suppose.
    Hope the knee continues to improve.

    1. Chickens and horses for neighbours will certainly encourage rats. Have you thought of a generous bird table which might prevent seed falling? I am thinking about one myself.

  2. I hope the government didn’t send you a letter telling you of your weekly 25p increase – it would no doubt cost much more than that to produce and mail the notice :).

  3. Many stores have a $5.00 minimum charge on cards here but since a gallon of milk costs nearly $5.00 now, it is easy to meet the minimum.
    That was a nice spot of color along the roadway.
    I didn’t know that yellow rattle did that to grass. I found a couple of plants growing wild years ago but they never got a foothold, apparently.

  4. Homemade scones , lemon curd and coffee sounds delicious. You have good friends!

    That is a beautiful lineup of golden trees coming out of Kirtlebridge, enough to light up any grey day.

    Good to see the last garden flowers of the season doing their part to keep things colorful. Not even a dandelion is blooming here now.

  5. Congratulations the wage rise ๐Ÿ˜ Contactless is called Paywave here and the limits have also been increased. Its a bit scary how fast the shops can grab your money …often while Im still half way through asking, “do you have Paywave?”

  6. I realy love that Spinnaker Tower in the first shot !
    New bridges are not always nicer bridges…. I like the old one more, it’s more in harmony with the landscape.

  7. From time to time I meet a word I don’t know, you produced’ curtilage’ in this post. I thought it must be Scottish but no it’s an English word and is mentioned in the the fourth amendment of the American constitution. Thanks for the introduction.

  8. Good to read that birthday food celebrations are continuing. Lovely to see the sights on your cycle ride with the brightly coloured leaves on the roadside trees, the stand of six military ordered trees and the lovely pine tree. Hope you spend your increased pension wisely! It’s scary that debit cards can now be used up to ยฃ100!

  9. Research shows that if you have to sign or key in a number when using a card the pain centres of the brain spring into action. I know mine do. But when you pay by contactless means this doesn’t happen, making payment a more pleasant experience, and helping you to spend more.

    As for 25p, it seemed more when it was still called 5 shillings.

      1. If you save it instead of squandering, you will soon be able to afford a stamp. Then you can write to the Government and thank them for their generosity.

        I was interested by this link - – 5/- a week if you passed the character test. ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. I shall check out that link. It was said that in the outer islands, canny crofters got elderly relatives to stay with them and created pension farms.

    1. This is why Amazon lures us in with their easy โ€œbuy with one clickโ€.

      I have missed an important birthday and a knee problem!

      The old bridges look better by far.

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