Getting goosed

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline. She has a welcome touch of spring in her garden already. Of course she is 350 miles south of us so it will take some time for spring to get up here at its alleged speed of 2mph. Even that seems a bit optimistic, as we don’t usually see a daffodil until late February.

I’ve had a puncture in the front tyre of my electric bicycle ever since I went for a ride to check that the puncture in my back tyre had been correctly fixed and picked up another thorn. A combination of very cold weather, the Christmas holidays and idleness has stopped me doing anything about it until today when I took my bicycle down to the bike shop in Longtown to get it repaired.

The sun was shining brightly, so I went for a walk while the mechanic was at work. After some heavy overnight rain, there was a lot of water flowing under the bridge when I crossed the Esk.

I walked through the town, passing yet another bank branch that has closed forever, a severely pollarded tree and a much more expansive one by the river.

It was a bright day, but there was a piercing wind blowing so I didn’t stop long beside the bridge before heading down river, passing a bench which had its own swimming pool attached today.

The day felt a lot colder than it looked when I got down to the spot where the river runs past the old gravel pits . . .

. . . which are now large ponds. Today they were full of water . . . and a few ducks, possibly pochard or widgeon. They were a long way away.

I walked round the ponds as briskly as I could in the muddy conditions, and then headed back up the river towards the town. A flash of white on the water told me that there was a male goosander to be seen. I would have got a picture of its partner too, if they hadn’t both flown away rather rudely.

I enjoyed the views up the river as I went back towards the bridge . . .

. . . and I was accompanied by the honking of several small batches of geese flying over my head. It is more usual to see the geese in quite large skeins so I wondered if the brisk wind had split them into smaller groups.

I was quite pleased to get into the shelter of a scrubby wood as I got nearer to the town, although the state of the path did call for quite a lot of puddle jumping

The honking of the geese got louder as I went along and soon I could see a lot of them feeding in a field on the other side of the river. From time to time they rose up and flew about . . .

. . . before putting their flaps down and settling back into the field

There was still a lot of water going under the bridge when I got back to the bike shop after an extremely bracing three mile walk.

My timing was good and I only had a moment to wait before my fully inflated bike was returned to me. I got it into the back of the car just as a very heavy shower of sleet rolled over, and I left Longtown under a magnificent rainbow right across the road. I would have liked to have stopped to take a picture, but stopping in the middle of a busy road is not recommended.

I looked at the feeder when I got home. It had been hardly touched yesterday so I was quite pleased to see that it had gone down quite a bit already, and there were a number of birds interested in getting it down even further. I filled the feeder up again.

Birds arrived regularly, though there were no greenfinches to be seen today. Perhaps the strong wind discouraged them and caused the sparrow to mistime its landing on the perch.

In spite of the bitter wind, I did think of trying out my repaired electric bike in the afternoon, but characteristically, as soon as I mentioned this to Mrs Tootlepedal, great curtains of rain swept across the garden. I took the sensible decision to put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database instead.

Other tasks, both useful and footling filled up the rest of the day. The weather did not get any better. It is raining again as I write this, and it is going to be another cold day tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day is one of the Longtown geese captured by my pocket camera’s zoom as best as it could.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Getting goosed

  1. It’s funny / odd how the puddles formed on that path. You wouldn’t think foot traffic would cause such evenly spaced depressions.
    I think it’s time for a few sunny days in a row. That river looks just about full.
    I hope the e-bike tires stay thorn free for a few hundred miles.

  2. Glad you have the e-bike back – you are due for some sunny and dry days that will let you take it for a long test drive. The daffodil is lovely, and the pattern of polka-dot puddles on the path is particularly pleasing 🙂

  3. Sunny and cold with a rain squall too! The photo of the bridge fully in golden sun, with blue water and green grass is my favorite today.

    We had variable cloudy weather and a touch of rain here today, and a beautiful double rainbow to the east. It did not last long, but I stood there and watched as it intensified before winking out. I consider myself lucky!

  4. Nice to see the ducks – I think they are Wigeon. In spite of all the rain you are getting some glorious sunshine. Maybe the sunshine brought birds back to your feeders.

  5. What a surprise to see the daffodils flowering in january !
    You will be very happy with your tire fixed… ready for a lot of new bike miles 🙂

    1. I always like to see the geese. I was just sorry that I didn’t have my bird camera with its big lens attached with me but it is too heavy to carry on a walk.

  6. Would have liked to see your hop, skip and jump over all those puddles! Banks closed in our local town have been bought…one is being turned into a wonderful residential home, another undecided and another a well needed postoffice and shop…so there is hope! Your lovely photos on your walk look bright but chilly . Favourite photos are the flying geese with their legs and feet angled for landing!

    1. It was case of snaking round rather than hopping over. One of our Langholm banks is being converted to a house but the other is still open from time to time. We are down to an occasional visiting post office though

  7. Hi tootlepedal, Great to be back reading your blog, I’ve been AWOL so to speak. So much going on, these past couple of months. At least I don’t have to worry about punctures, my solid Tannus tyres are brilliant. Not that I have been out much on my bike, for various reasons. My bike is now fitted with a lighter SwytchBike battery now. It makes a big difference. I love your confidence to get a walk in and get back in time to pick up your bike, making sure you make full use of the day. Keep tootling. Cheers.

    1. I am waiting for Tannus inserts for my ebike. I am waiting for some above zero temperatures to get out on my ebike for the first time this year.
      I hope that you have not been flooded out on the recent rainy spell. Good to hear from you again.

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