Braking distance

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie. She is on holiday in Tenerife and enjoying the flowers there. This is Lantana.

We had another day with a chilly morning but quite a lot of sunshine here. Dropscone remarked that he was pleased to have been well wrapped up when he cycled over for coffee and scones. He had been playing golf in what I would have thought were very chilly conditions yesterday, but claimed it had been quite warm. I put that down to the fact that he had played quite well.

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal went off on a shopping trip to the town, and I had a quick walk round the garden, where fritillaries are threatening to take over the world . . .

. . . and the drumstick primula has nearly completed its spherical head.

A cautious tulip was still keeping itself to itself, and not risking coming out while the mornings are cold.

I went back in and looked out at the birds. Siskins were in control of the feeder today.

And where there are siskins, there is discord.

The redpoll is made of stern stuff though, and it soon got a perch to itself.

Getting new brake blocks for Mrs Tootlepedal’s bike has been an adventure. On Wednesday we drove to to the bike shop in Longtown and found that it was closed. On Thursday, we went back again, acquired some brake blocks, and found when we got home that they were not the right sort. Today, I went back to Longtown for a third time, but to make a virtue out of a necessity, I cycled down.

It had warmed up to 9°C by the time that I set off after lunch, and the trip down through Canonbie was a real treat with a kindly wind lending wings to my heels as I averaged over 15 mph for the eleven miles to the bike shop . . .

. . . which was open, and had the right sort of brake blocks for sale.

I only stopped once on the way down to check if there were any flowers on a promising larch beside the cycle track. I was quite amazed to see that there were a great many flowers on it.

I was so happy by the time that I had seen the larch flowers, got to the bike shop and collected the brake blocks, that I ordered a new set of handlebars for my road bike. I currently have drop handlebars, but I hardly ever use the drops because if I do, my back complains about it for days afterwards. I am getting a wider straight set of bars. These will encourage me to sit up and enjoy the view, and to stop wearing myself out by pretending to be Bradley Wiggins. The wider bars will also give me more control on bumpy sections of road.

I wasn’t entirely looking forward to the 16 mile journey back to Langholm by a longer route on quiet back roads. It was going to be uphill and into the wind that had blown me down to Longtown. On this occasion though, a small meteorological miracle occurred. While I was in the shop, the wind had first dropped and then changed direction. Now it plucked up a bit of strength and blew me back home up the hill with the same enthusiasm with which it had blown me down the hill. This is not the sort of thing that happens very often as any cyclist will tell you.

The north winds and some rain have between them cleared away the murk that was sitting over the Solway during the recent fine weather and when I stopped and looked back, I could see both the Gretna turbines and the Lake District hills across the Solway today.

Tow more look backs later on showed light snow on the northern English fells . . .

. . . and on Skiddaw in the Lake District.

The clearer air may explain why I have felt so perky on my last two cycle rides.

There was just a hint of snow a couple of times on my ride today, but it was only a few flakes and there was always some sunshine just round the corner.

The fine weather held up for the rest of the ride, and I enjoyed a quick sprint down Wauchopedale . . .

. . . to bring me home after 28 most agreeable miles in a fraction under two hours of pedalling.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the garden while I was out, and once we had had a quick walk round admiring some rather battered chionodoxa. . .

. . . and a tulip that had almost been brave (or foolish) enough to open fully out . . .

. . . it was warm enough for us to sit on the bench under the walnut tree where she had been doing some very good plant tidying up. We noted that the wind had changed back to coming from the north again by this time. The weather gods were really looking after me today.

We went in, and there followed a lot of muttered imprecations as I dropped fiddly little washers about a hundred times while trying to fit Mrs Tootlepedal’s front brakes. A cup of tea restored my equanimity, and a cheerful Zoom with my brother and sisters rounded off a satisfactory day.

There were plenty of feeder pole and fake tree posers in the morning . . .

. . . but I did manage to catch one rather impressionistic flying siskin among the disagreements.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “Braking distance

  1. The lantana brings back memories of our trip to Australia. When we visited our goat farming friends we spent a day clearing it from a paddock: cutting it, spraying diesel fuel on the roots, and burning the piles of brush we’d cut off. It’s poisonous to a lot of animals, including goats, apparently!

  2. That flying sisken is a beauty! Good idea to get the straight handle bars. Those larch flowers are so snappy. No wonder you were pleased to see them.

  3. As pretty as it is, the Lantana is considered a noxious weed here – as in Australia. I enjoy your flying bird of the day.

  4. I really love the Lantana with its warm colored flowers and your Fritilaria is doing extremely well 🙂
    At least, you have the brakes to repair Mrs Tootlepedal’s bike, she will be very happy.

  5. Wonderful photos of the lovely countryside views you saw on your cycle ride. A straight handle bar sounds very sensible just don’t get a basket on the front! Love the larch flowers and the flying siskin photos too.

    1. I have got a little bag which sit on the front of a straight bar. I used it a lot when Mrs T and I were cycle touring as it is very easy to get at. A little wicker basket would be a nice touch for an elderly cycling chap. I saw one recently on an electric bicycle and it had a dog in it.

  6. I enjoyed your selection of photos, ending with a rather striking siskin. I have never seen larch flowers, and was very pleased to see these beautiful ones. The drumstick primula is also new to me as well, and I will keep an eye out for one in the garden centers.

    1. They are very pretty flowers in my view though in some years the flowers at the bottom of the sphere begin to go off before the flowers at the top have formed. This is not such a good look.

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