Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He was staying with my sister Mary last week when he spotted this visitor to her frosty garden.
It was a few degrees above freezing here today without getting particularly warm, but it was dry and almost sunny when Sandy came down for coffee. Both he and Mrs Tootlepedal are being sensible about what they eat at the moment, so I had to eat a couple of the excellent chocolate biscuits which I had purchased from Lidl yesterday all on my own. I bore this with fortitude.
I filled the feeder, but there weren’t many birds interested in sunflower hearts today. I spotted a shady sparrow after coffee . . .
. . . but things were very quiet. After a while, I realised that going cycling would be a better use of my time than not watching birds, so I put on many layers of clothing, ate a banana, and went off on my electric bike. Although the temperature was about 5° or 6°C, there was a noticeable north westerly wind blowing and I was glad of my many layers.
Because I had electric assistance, I chose a route with a hilly start and went through Paddockhole with this fine conifer beside the road just past the bridge . . .
. . . and then turned left at Bankshill and headed uphill for what should usually be a glorious view when you look back. However today the light was not very helpful at all, and although it was almost sunny and the hill was still quite steep, the view was very flat.
Going down the other side was not much better, with only a glint of the Solway to be seen . . .
. . . and even the little reservoir above the village of Middlebie didn’t have its usual charm in the hazy conditions . . .
. . . so I put my head down, zoomed down the hill paying attention to any poor bits of road surface and kept pedalling until I came to Middlebie itself, where I found the lichen covered church looking rather charming today.
I stopped to take a picture of the viaduct over the Mein Water at the bottom of the hill . . .
. . . and a waited a few minutes in the hope of catching a train crossing the arches. I did hear a humming noise and got quite hopeful, but I decided that it was probably just the noise of traffic on the motorway a mile away and set off on my bike again. You can imagine my mortification when a train zoomed past me two minutes later, going far too quickly for me to get my camera out.
I did try one more view, looking back to the flat topped hill at Burnswark . . .
I did take one more view when I looked back towards the flat topped hill at Burnswark which I had cycled past as I came down the hill . . .
. . . but the light had not improved. I was on rather dull larger roads by this time so I put my camera away and only got it out once more to show what happens to the Korean pine cones at Half Morton over the winter. Birds or squirrels have been busy.
I was getting a little chilly by this time in spite of my many layers, so I kept going until I got home after 37 thoroughly enjoyable miles. I had done the distance on the strength of one banana and a couple of dates and I was more than ready for a very late lunch when I got in.
I finished the day off with two Zoom meetings, the first with our son Alistair and his daughter Matilda. Matilda played her recorder so well that we accused her of secretly practising, an accusation which she indignantly denied. She then played one of her more recent pieces from memory, impressing both her father and me. Neither of us would have been able to do that when we were eight years old. Her dancing lessons are obviously useful in more ways than one.
The second zoom was with my brother and sisters and Mrs Tootlepedal as we met to discuss the arrangements for our sister Susan’s funeral. There is a lot to think about.
Due to the lack of birds at the feeder, there is no flying bird of the day today. A sunny chaffinch is standing in.
For those interested, I have put the map of today’s route below. You can see that the start was quite lumpy but the ending was mostly smooth. You can click on it for further details of the ride if you have time to waste. The wind started from the north west but moved round to the west as the ride went on, which was generally quite helpful.
28 thoughts on “General zooming”
It looks like the central leader on the conifer died off. We have weevils here that will do that to white pines.
The church might be white one day if the lichens aren’t scrubbed off.
You did a lot of climbing on the bike today.
There was correspondingly quite a lot of welcome downhill to enjoy as a result. I don’t mind uphill too much even on my pushbike because there is always a reward to comer. What is not so much fun is cycling into the wind on the flat. That is just boring.
I think the train is in cahoots with the weathergods…both enjoy a chuckle at your expense. With all that cycling a chocolate biscuit or two hardly counts 😁
That is what I thought about the biscuits. Whether the scales agree, only time will tell. I hadn’t though about it, but perhaps the weather gods and the train people are in cahoots.
You are a very brave biker to go out in such cold weather. I am sure you and your siblings have a lot to think about.
We do. It is a sad time.
Yes, I’m sure of that. So sorry.
You caught some beautiful views on a cold, mostly cloudy day, even finding a little sun on green grass with dark clouds in the background. I like the far away glint of of the Solway, too.
It was 16 degrees here this morning, our high was around 43 degrees. Tonight looks to be clear as well, so we may see temperatures in the teens by morning again. The birds were very hungry this morning, and were eating up the suet cakes and seed like there was going to be no tomorrow.
Thoughts and prayers are with you and the family as final arrangements are made for your sister Susan.
Thank you for your kind thoughts. I hope that it doesn’t get too chilly. Your temperatures seem pretty cold to me.
It hasn’t been that cold here since 2009.
It was interesting to see the Korean pine cones, if the birds and squirrels could do that, I hate to think what our resident possum would do!
You did well out there on such a cold day, but the cycling would keep your circulation going I’m sure!
It is not as good as walking for keeping you warm, but it works well if you keep pedalling vigorously. The pine cones don’t drop off and rely on animals to spread the seeds.
I loved to see the church and the eaten pine cones 🙂
I am glad that you enjoyed them Rudi.
I laughed at your missing the train. This is what I often do with wildlife.
This was particularly annoying as I only missed it by a minute.
For us Exiles who have perhaps not the clearest of memories of all your wonderful journeys a map like todays was very helpful. So I am for a map whenever you can .Thank you.
I will do my best. 🙂
Someone should take away those blue bins in front of the Midlebie church. They are an eyesore. Chapeau to your brave cruise in such forbidding weather. And chapeau to your tootling and dancing grandchild.
I was very pleased with the recorder playing as I have got a lot of pleasure out of playing the recorder myself. I hope that she will too.
Congratulations to Matilda on her recorder
I think you deserve lots of Lidl chocolate biscuits after burning off all those calories on your cycle ride. You’ve missed that train before! Love the cloudscape with the Solway in the distance…definitely winter!
Missing the train is the story of my life. It is not often that I am in the right place at the right time.
Ah there is choreography in everything. Very astute to note Matilda’s prowess in dance likely contributes to her recorder playing.
Your intrepid rides are perhaps more centering than ever these days.
I also like the pine cones.
The electrical assistance definitely reduces the amount of intrepidity required for winter cycling.
I’m still impressed. The ratio of heat created by pedaling to the additional wind chill by acceleration boggles my mind.
It is a calculation that is continually being made in practical terms as I pedal along on cold days.
I think you are getting a good start on your year of cycling, considering the weather.