Today’s guest picture is from my brother Andrew. On one of his walks, he came upon the Gallows Inn on the Erewash Canal, and took the opportunity to hang around there long enough to eat his picnic lunch.
We had another frosty morning here, followed by another sunny day. Once again, in spite of the sunshine, it felt quite cool, and I waited for the day to warm up a bit before I contemplated a cycle ride.
Only the occasional siskin or goldfinch interrupted a steady stream of chaffinches threading their way through the shadows to the feeder in the morning.
After coffee, I drove the Zoe round to the Kilngreen to see if I could get the charger there to give us some electricity. Much to my surprise, my government issued card worked, and I plugged the car in.
The charger I was plugged into was not one the smart and swift ones, so I left the car there . . .
. . . and walked home.
I spent a little time shifting the last of the compost in Bin B into Bin C . . .
. . . and then wandered back to the Kilngreen by way of the Jubilee Bridge and the pheasant hatchery, a two mile diversion.
I saw two wildflowers on my way round the Scholar’s Field, a dandelion . . .
. . . and a wild strawberry . . .
. . . and there were some snowdrops beside the path as I walked up the river . . .
. . . but we have some way to go before a walk will be a genuine wild flower opportunity, so I turned my attention to other things, like moss on a tree trunk . . .
. . . a striking pine tree . . .
. . . and a survivor of the pheasant shooting season which is now over.
As I came back to the town along the tree lined roads . . .
. . . a tree kept its eyes on me . . .
. . . and I kept my eye on a tree.
The snowdrops are going over but there is still a good display at the gates to the Lodge Walks.
The Zoe was munching away contentedly at her feed bag when I got to the Kilngreen, and I found that after just over an hour of charging, her battery had been filled up by a third, giving me 50 more miles. This was free of charge as part of the government’s encouragement to people to go electric, and if I had wanted faster charging and had the right connections, I could have paid for a quick top up at another charger at the site. The slow charging (it would have taken me three hours to get fully charged) would encourage visitors to the charging point to go into the High Street and do some shopping or perhaps have a meal, so it has a good side.
I was happy with my charge, and pleased to know that my card was still working after not being used for two years, and I drove home quite content.
The chaffinches were still coming and going at the feeder . . .
. . . sometimes in opposite directions.
The thermometer had crept reluctantly up to 7°C by the time that I had eaten a sardine sandwich and a banana for my lunch, so I thought that it might finally be warm enough for a cycle ride and set off to go round the Crossdykes windfarm circle in an anti clockwise direction.
The route choice put the wind at my back for the first ten miles and I was pretty cheerful as I pedalled up the Esk valley, enjoying the views, in spite of a rather flat light.
I reached the windfarm at a reasonable speed.
. . . but inevitably, they were facing the direction in which I was about to cycle for 14 miles. I was a bit alarmed to see that they were going round rather more briskly than I had hoped, and I set off along the much patched road down the valley of the Water of Milk with some foreboding.
Getting home proved to be quite hard work, with the wind feeling both cold and strong enough to give me a slight headache until I got into the comparative shelter of the valley at Paddockhole.
Under the circumstances, I directed all my energy into cycling and forgot to take any more pictures until I stopped for a breather on top of Callister. There I took this exciting shot of the undergrowth.
Alert readers may be questioning why. I did have a reason. A rabbit had been standing in the middle of the picture until exactly half a second before I pushed the shutter button.
By the time that I got home, I was both quite tired and rather cold so I was very pleased when Mrs Tootlepedal made me a strong cup of tea. I felt in need of more sustenance so I set about making a batch of oatmeal and raisin biscuits.
I had to wait until after one of our regular Zoom meetings with my brother and sisters until I could eat one, but it was worth waiting for. I had thrown in a bit of treacle and ground ginger for added flavour.
I made some sausage rolls for our evening meal, but since I had mistakenly purchased short crust pastry instead of puff pastry, they were not quite the triumph that I had hoped for.
The weather looks as though it might get a bit warmer during the week, but as it is going to get a lot windier and wetter too, that will be a mixed blessing.
The flying bird of the day is a horizontal chaffinch