A pedal and a tootle

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew, who is in London, visiting my sister Mary. He spotted these two fine parakeets while walking in a park.

We had a sunny morning here today but as it was -2°C when we got up, our joy was slightly modified. It warmed up quite quickly though, and when the sun hit the garden, I went out to check whether the crocuses had survived the frost.

The news was good.

After coffee, I cycled round to the corner shop to get some vegetables to make soup and on my way back, I stopped to chat with a local beekeeper while we admired the sunshine on the Esk.

He told me that the sun had been warm enough to tempt a few bees out of his hives this morning, so I had a check for bees in the garden when I got home. There were none to be seen, but a few other things caught my eye while I was walking around, like this magnolia shoot . . .

. . . and a positive flock of crocuses, now fully open.

It is always a great pleasure to see this first burst of real colour after the snowdrops have started spring off.

I went in to make the soup, and noticed that it was a very quiet day for birds in the garden. This chaffinch was the only visitor to the feeder when I looked out.

The sun crept round the garden while I was making the soup, and by the time that I had finished, it had got round far enough to encourage a group of cream coloured crocuses to open up.

By lunchtime, Mrs Tootlepedal had come back from another tree hugging session, and the number of birds on the feeder had doubled.

There was a blackbird scavenging underneath, but there were slim pickings today.

After lunch, the sun had come round far enough to encourage another set of crocuses to open . . .

. . . and to persuade me to go upstairs and put my cycling clothes on. It was only 7°C and the thermometer had stopped rising, but it wasn’t going to rain and the wind was lighter than yesterday so this time, I actually managed to get dressed for chilly cycling, and get my push bike out of the garage.

I passed a sitting bull soon after I left the town . . .

. . . and then I concentrated on cycling as I had left the start a bit late for my ride. Pedalling under my own steam takes more time than rushing about on the electric bike. It is just as enjoyable though.

I made good progress through Waterbeck, stopping to admire the rather hazy view across the Solway when I got near to Eaglesfield. I thought that I could see a hint of snow on the top of the Skiddaw.

The sun had stopped shining by this time, and the views got greyer as I went along, so I turned my attention to the road side with a holey wall . . .

. . . and one of the many patches of snowdrops under hedges giving me pause to get the camera out.

I took a picture of the turbines at Gretna which were matching their height to the background hills very neatly. (I found that there was a flock of birds, probably starlings, in the background when I looked at it on my computer.)

It was getting slightly colder and slightly darker all the time, so I switched on my cycle lights and headed for home by a direct route, arriving back at the house just as the thirtieth mile clicked over on my bike computer.

I reflected as I went in to the house about what a wonderful invention the bicycle is. I had spent a quarter of an hour less on my outing today than yesterday, and I had gone three times as far. Admittedly, I hadn’t taken nearly as many pictures today but you can’t have everything. You need to be going quite slowly to see interesting things.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been gardening while I was out, so the flower beds in the garden are getting quite orderly.

In the evening, my recorder playing friend Susan arrived in her car, and she drove us to Carlisle where we enjoyed a evening of recorder quartets with the two other members of our group, Sue and Jenny. As the playing included some Bach pieces, and the playing was followed by tea and two sorts of biscuits, it really was a first class way to end the day.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, the only one I saw in the air all day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

24 thoughts on “A pedal and a tootle

  1. Between the colourful clumps of crocus, the snowdrops, and yesterday’s rhubarb, things are looking quite hopeful.

    The bull is quite a handsome chap, although the poor fellow is quite chock-full of piercings of one kind or another!

    1. Your weather seems to be quite challenging all over the country judging from reports that we are getting here.

      Local builders used to collect gravel from the river in times past but the river authority doesn’t approve of disturbing the bed these days so the gravel builds up. Many locals think that it increases the flood risk but it is hard to tell.

  2. What lovely patches of of colorful crocus! Here, some crocus shoots are up now, and our snowdrops have emerged, though so far the only blooms besides the snowdrops are a few daffodils. It is 22 degrees Fahrenheit here this morning, and so dry due to the dry and cold east winds yesterday, there is no frost anywhere this morning.

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