Today’s guest picture comes from ex Archive Group member Ken. He thoughtfully sent me this picture of a duck and twelve ducklings on the River Wansbeck at Morpeth.
We went back to having a colder morning here, but luckily we were not up with the lark, and it was quite warm by the time we poked our head out into the garden after breakfast.
We had a plan for the day which involved getting two bicycles to the cycle shop in Longtown. As we can only squeeze one full size bike into the car, the scheme was to take the first one, Mrs Tootlepedal’s old touring bike which we have traded in when buying the new bikes, down in the car. Deliver that one, drive home and cycle my road bike down for its service and meet Mrs Tootlepedal, who would have driven down with the two new bikes in the car, and then go for a pedal.
I drove the first bike down on schedule, but found that as the bike mechanic had got Covid, there was no call to bring my own bike down for its service. Half the country seems to have got Covid at the moment.
I drove home and invited Sandy for a coffee instead, and he came down and joined our neighbour Margaret, Mrs Tootlepedal and me for a social occasion.
After coffee, I looked round the garden.
We still have daffodils . . .
. . . and there are plenty of tulips of all colours . . .
. . . and the good weather has encouraged rosemary and apple blossom and kept older flowers looking perky.
We didn’t entirely abandon our projected plan for the day though, and after lunch, we put the new bikes in the car and drove down to Longtown to get in our intended pedal.
It was a very calm day and although it was wasn’t as warm as it has been, the sun was out and it was very pleasant as we cycled up the gentle hill to the Bridge Inn at Penton.
As we got near the top of the hill, we were in open pastoral country with excellent views over to Whita and the monument on one side, and of some rather dark clouds ahead.
We ignored them and concentrated on the pretty blackthorn hedges beside the road . . .
. . . and the busy bees visiting the flowers.
The gentle help given by the electric bikes made what is usually a bit of a six mile slog into pure pedalling pleasure. It is easier to enjoy the views and the countryside when you are not crouched over the handlebars and breathing heavily.
We turned right at the Inn, and then quite soon, right again as we headed back down towards Longtown. The skies clouded over and the blackthorn gave way to beech hedges here . . .
. . . but the road surfaces were excellent so we were still very cheerful. We passed a wonderful clump of wood anemones . . .
. . . on our way to the tiny village of Easton, where we stopped for a Kit-Kat biscuit and a look at the view. The sun came out . . .
. . . but unexpectedly hazy weather ruined the view which is normally glorious. The only thing that we could see was what looked like a mini tornado in the distance over the Solway.
As we cycled on down the hill, we could see Kirklinton Church standing on the far bank of the River Lyne.
The wind got up enough to turn the blades of the Longtown turbines as we passed the windfarm. They had been motionless when we started the ride. Once again, the gentle help of the electric motors meant that cycling into the wind was no problem, and we arrived at the friendly garden centre cafe where we had celebrated buying the bikes last week in perfect time to enjoy a pot of tea for two and a couple of fruit scones.
One or two drops of rain meant that we didn’t linger over the scones for too long, and we whizzed back up the main road to Longtown.
Our trip was 17 miles, and as Mrs Tootlepedal’s battery was showing that she had only just used half her charge, we felt that this boded well for future outings. 25 miles would obviously be well within our reach in normal circumstances.
Were going to test the bikes on a big hill on our next outing.
Our timing was good, as there was some rain as we drove home.
I had watched the birds at lunchtime, and although there was plenty of seed in the feeder for all . . .
. . . this didn’t stop a siskin trying to kick a goldfinch clean off its perch.
By the time that we got back from our ride, the seed had almost gone . . .
. . .so I refilled the feeder. By this time the light had gone too and there was light drizzle whch didn’t make for good bird pictures.
I put Drospcone’s cauliflower to good use for our evening meal, and then I was just settling down for a quiet sit in front of the telly when the phone rang. It was our neighbour Irving telling me to go out into the garden.
I obeyed the instruction, and was rewarded by the sight of a very intense double rainbow. I nipped upstairs to see if my little camera could get it all into one shot from an upper window.
Not quite was the answer . . .
. . . but it was still a wonderful sight, one of the best rainbows that we have ever seen. (Note to self – think about getting a wide angled lens)
Later in the evening, after the rainbow had gone, dramatic clouds filled the sky over the garden.
If we continue to get good weather, I can see a lot of use being made of the new bikes.
The flying bird of the day is a fuzzy siskin in the poor late afternoon light.