The first pedal of the year

Today’s guest picture came out a curious colour, but our son Tony sent it to me just to show that they have a moon in East Wemyss as well as lots of sunshine.

We didn’t see the sun or the moon here when we got up today because we were back to cloudy and grey weather. It was a degree or two warmer though, so the snow had gone and there were no slippery spots to negotiate.

We had a very quiet morning in. I did rouse myself enough to look for birds from time to time. There were none about at all when I first looked, but visitor numbers built up over the morning.

. . . and it got quite busy . . .

Sometimes the birds were so busy that they were just a blur . . .

. . . but if I pulled back the zoom, I could get a clearer picture.

The forecast had said that it would be quite windy with a chance of rain, but it seemed fairly quiet and clear, so after lunch, I got my bicycle out for the first time in 2022 and went for a spin round my familiar Canonbie circuit.

I did get a light sprinkling of rain soon after starting out, but the wind was not too bad at all and I was quite happy.

I got even happier when the sun came out after six miles.

With the temperature at 5.5°C, it had turned into a very friendly day for January cycling.

Beech hedges, which retain their leaves in winter, added a little colour to my trip.

I stopped to say hello to old friends at Canonbie.

I would like to say that we see eye to eye, but I don’t think that that is possible.

There had been some heavy rain overnight, and there was a bit more water running down the Esk and under the bridge at the Hollows as a result.

I have passed a lot of cut tree trunks after the storm, and many of them have the differential colouring that I saw on this example at Hagg-on-Esk.

I don’t know whether this is normal, or a natural result of exposure to the air after cutting, or whether it indicates a bit of ill health that might have contributed to the tree being felled. I would love to be able to interpret tree rings. It looks as though something interesting might have happened to this tree about thirty years ago.

I had to keep my eyes pretty carefully on the road while I was on the bike paths and old road sections of my trip from this point onwards. There was a lot of debris and wet leaves about as well as the very occasional patch of slushy ice. This knocked my average speed down too, but I was in no hurry and arrived home safely.

I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off for a five mile walk, so after calling her up on her mobile phone to check her direction of travel, I got changed into walking clothes and went off to meet her.

We were getting near to sunset by this time but the weather was still good and the road past Holmwood has got much brighter since the storm blew the trees down.

You can get views that have been hidden by trees for many years.

Mrs Tootlepedal was going well, and I hadn’t gone a mile before I saw her coming towards me.

She hadn’t intended to go this far when she set out, so I was pleased to be wearing my bright yellow cycling jacket to make sure that passing motorists could see us as we walked back to town. The moon was up . . .

. . . and some threatening clouds were extending their hand towards us . . .

. . . but we got home exactly as the sun set, so that was perfect timing.

The cycle ride had made me feel very positive, and after tea and two pieces of shortbread from the Christmas hamper, I found the strength to fill in two sets of forms which I had been successfully ignoring for several days.

Sunrise is getting a minute earlier every day now, and sunset is coming two minutes later so we really are on the journey to spring. Mrs Tootlepedal even mentioned gardening today.

If it wasn’t for the fact that Covid cases in our area are rocketing up, all would be well. Sadly, we are far from being carefree yet.

The flying bird of the day is another chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

34 thoughts on “The first pedal of the year

  1. Hi Tom, the central dark wood is heartwood which is no longer functioning as transport so is dead. The paler outer rings (sapwood) are still alive and functioning to transport water and nutrients. The large gap between rings about 30 years ago suggests an excellent growing year.

    1. Meant to also mention the darker colour in the middle is caused by tanins produced to protect the wood

  2. What a pleasure to get an answer to your question about the different colours in the cut tree. I have fallen for your old friends at Canonbie. The one with the interesting hairdo in particular. We finally have some sunshine here and you have inspired me to get out for a walk!

  3. Well done for taking your first cycle ride of the year, so glad the sun came out to greet you. I loved your ‘old friends’ giving you a hard stare, what splendid animals they are.

  4. What is it about the mere mention of “forms” that fills just about everyone with a sense of dread?

    I, too, am glad that Elizabeth sent a prompt explanation of the different colours in the tree trunk – thank you! A slice of that trunk would make a lovely top for a garden table.

  5. Good first ride of 2022,on nice quiet open lanes,some good comes out of all bad..well done..
    I’m just about getting well again after my bout of bronchitis,but it will take a bit longer to get back to full fitness.
    That old tree might make a fine coffee table.
    We’re at our new recently bought second home,well a caravan to be precise..tucked away in a nice secluded park with hundreds of birds..treecreepers,siskins,goldfinches,all the tit family,bullfinches robins,and more besides..I’ll send you anything unusual…It’s in a place called Ings,not far from Kendal..lots of great walks around Kentmere,and plenty of cycle no excuses for not getting out a lot more this year,fingers crossed.

    1. I sounds like a paradise. The selection of birds is good. Mrs Tootlepedal saw some goldcrests on her recent walk. I hope that you are fully recovered soon to take advantage of those walks and cycle tracks.

  6. I like the highland cattle. We have them here but I rarely get to see them.
    The log end was pretty. It’s too bad you couldn’t get a slab of it.
    I’m glad you were able to get the bike out. We have snow and cold here so there won’t be any of that for a while.

      1. It’s a well-known syndrome, I believe – the Dunning-Kruger Effect. The more you know, the more you realise that you don’t know. The less you know, the more confident you are of your knowledge, I had to look it up as I can never remember it when I need it.

  7. I too am very pleased with Elizabeth’s explanation of the tree rings – we learn all the time. Your sunny scenes are lovely to see, as is the eye of the Highland cow.

  8. The hairdo of the brown cow giving you no eye reminds me of a man living down in Downing Street. Seems you had a day on the right side of the ledger.

  9. It looks like it was a beautiful day there with a mixture of sun and clouds. I agree, the tree section would make a nice coffee table. Your old cattle friends are an interesting bunch. 🙂

    It is mostly clear and cold here this morning, below freezing now but will warm up nicely.

  10. Lovely first ride out for 2022 hope it’s the first of many, many more. Beech hedges are such great value, the birds love hiding inside them and as your photo shows, they are especially lovely through the winter retaining their golden coloured leaves.

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