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Archive for the ‘Cycle outings’ Category

Today’s guest picture is a small bridge across one of the ditches on the River Derwent flood plain that my brother crossed on his walk.  The low sun ensured that his shadow never got far away from him!  (I am open for new guest pictures.)

derby bridge

We had a slightly colder and slightly greyer day today but it didn’t halt the very gentle progress towards recovery.  I am fine as long as I take things very slowly but Mrs Tootlepedal is still pretty flat and spending time in bed.

In another first though, I got the car running in the morning and drove down to the Co-operative Store  to do a little shopping, more for the sake of checking that the car was OK after a week of idleness than the urgent need for provisions.  We have been eating so little that we have both lost weight.  Under normal circumstances a bit of weight loss would have been very welcome but we don’t recommend catching flu as a sound dieting method.

As well as the shopping, I made some bread and cooked a pan of soup so I didn’t have much time to look at the birds.  This was no great loss as there were very few birds about today even when I did look.

The poor light led to poor pictures…

chaffinch

…so I didn’t waste a lot of time.

dunnock

I had to go and open up the Day Centre for an Embroiderers’ Guild meeting after lunch as Mrs Tootlepedal would normally do this.

I cycled up to the town to unlock the door and then cycled off up the Wauchope road  to keep my legs turning over.  It was a bit colder and windier than yesterday so I just went a bit slower today and got on not too badly.  Once again, I stopped from time to time to give my breathing a break.

I like the way that trees grow out of the banks of the small burns on the hillsides at a jaunty angle.

Earnshaw burn tree

I had parked the slow bike on the bridge when I walked up to take the tree picture and when I went back to it…

Earnshaw bridge

…I was very struck by the combination of lichen and moss on the bridge parapet.

Earnshaw bridge lichen

Life’s a jungle.

Earnshaw bridge lichen

Further up the road, I was brought to a halt by a perfectly upholstered stone in the wall beside the road.  It is most unusual.

wall moss

While I was stopped, I had a look at the next few metres of the wall.  It was a good place to spend a few minutes.

The colour of the day prize definitely went to a lichen with this very striking burst of yellow.

wall lichen Xanthoria parietina

It was so vivid that I might have thought that it was a paint spill at first sight but a closer look…

wall lichen Xanthoria parietina

…showed me that it is probably xanthoria parietina, a lichen I more usually see on concrete fence posts.

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Another elegant clump of moss could be seen and …..

moss

…a striking but pale lichen rounded off my inspection.

lichen

I could have picked many more lichens and mosses within a few yards but I didn’t want to stay standing around for too long as it wasn’t very warm.

I cycled up the Cleuchfoot road and lifted my eyes up from moss and lichen to admire the scenery.

Bigholms Burn

Cleuchfoot road

I went through the farm yard and took a picture just to show that not all our bridges are made of beautifully cut stones.

Cleuchfoot farm bridge

I like the valley beyond Cleuchfoot farmhouse.  There is something very restful about it.

Arisgill valley cleuchfoot

It is possible to ride up a track across the hill below the larch plantation which you can see ahead of me and come back to join the Wauchope road further along……

Arisgill valley cleuchfoot

…but that would have required more time and energy than I had so I turned round and eased gently back down the hill into town.  A circuit of the New Town brought my distance up to to 10 miles and I don’t know when I have been more pleased with a 10 mile cycle ride at 8mph.

And that, as they say, concluded the entertainment for the day.  I am going to see if I can sing tomorrow.

A perching bird of the day today.

robin

 

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Today’s guest picture shows a spectacular water meadow on my brother’s recent walk from his house in Derby.

flooded field

We had a slightly less gloomy day today both medically and meteorologically.  I felt quite positive, though still pretty wheezy and I noticed an improvement on Mrs Tootlepedal, though she thinks she is never going to get better!

I had an errand to run for Mrs Tootlepedal in the morning and a couple of bills to pay in the town as well so I made two excursions to the High Street and, very daringly, I went on the slow bike to discharge the business.

Although it was still chilly, the clouds were a lot higher and the wind was very light so it seemed like a pleasant day.

Certainly there was much better light for watching the birds when I got home.

Our little gang of robins are still skipping about and posing for the camera.

robin

And plenty of birds kept me busy refilling the feeder a couple of time during the day.

chaffinches

The better weather seemed to have calmed things down and there was no violence to be seen today.

siskins

There was no trouble in finding flying birds either.

flying chaffinches

In the absence of a lot of goldfinches and siskins, the chaffinches had a quiet day and I thought that the tableau below had the sober look of a Victorian gentlemen’s club.

flying chaffinches

The clouds got even thinner as the morning went on and there was even occasional glimpses of brightness so I took Mrs Tootlepedal up a light lunch and then got the slow bike out to see if my legs were up to a short excursion up the Wauchope road.

To say that I took things easily would be correct.  Indeed, I proceeded with such care up one short hill that my bike computer actually thought that I had stopped and went into pause mode.  I did stop and few yards further on and went down to look at the river.

Bessie Bells

You could almost say that the sun was shining but there was no blue sky, just moments when the clouds were so thin that the sun could shine right through them.

It made for kindly cycling though so I got back on and went as far as Mrs Tootlepedal’s old manure mine where I had another walk to break up the cycling.

Manure mine

It’s a grand spot for a walk, with interesting trees….

lichen and cones

cones

….a gate….

gate

…a delightful riverside path through a little wood….

Woodland walk

…with both moss….

mossy tree

…and lichen to add interest…

lichen

…and then another gate to bring you out of the wood and back into the field.

gate

Although it was well above freezing, there was still an icy patch or two in well sheltered spots….

field with icy puddle

…and these were surviving even though the puddles that had caused them had long since drained away from underneath them.

field with icy puddle

I have received a letter from the association of Langholm lichens complaining about my statement yesterday that the only colour on the go at the moment is being provided by mosses.  They felt that I was underselling the wonders of lichen so I was happy to stop a bit further up the road where there is a vibrant lichen display on a wall.

lichen

lichen

I got up to Wauchope Schoolhouse and then resisted the temptation, which was quite strong, to add a few more miles and turned and headed home.  I was very happy to find that I could do seven miles of gentle pedalling without any bad consequences and even had a little tootle on my flute to celebrate.

I added to the glory of the day by doing a load of washing and giving the car a rather superficial wash.  If all this seems to indicate a miracle cure, I would have to point out that everything was done at a snail’s pace with plenty of serious resting in between.  I have some way to go yet.

The New Hampshire Gardener asked whether the lichen on the plum tree which appeared a couple of posts ago might be a tree lungwort so I used the better light today to take another picture of it….

lichen

…and my book suggests that it might be Lobaria scrobiculata, the textured lungwort rather than Lobaria pulmonaria, the tree lungwort but since I know nothing, any lungwort wizard out there is welcome to put me right.

After a relatively lively day, I settled down to a very quiet evening in and Mrs Tootlepedal and I enjoyed a light meal of scrambled eggs on toast for our tea.

I am looking forward to a little more progress for us both tomorrow.

The flying bird of the day caught what brightness there was.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is the second portrait of Tony’s dogs by Tash.  It looks as though the dogs had had a New Year’s splash even if Tony hadn’t.

Tony's dog

We were promised better weather today and we got it but it took some time to arrive as we were covered in mist for most of the morning.

I had an early start as I had to take our car to the garage.  It had been sending us intermittent signals of distress through the dashboard display recently.  Intermittent distress signals can be very annoying as they always disappear as soon as you take a car to the garage and that is what happened on this occasion.  The garage’s diagnostic machine though is very smart and can tell what a car was thinking yesterday as well as today so the garage was confident that they could get to the bottom of the trouble.

I walked home and had breakfast and then there was a pause in the day as I waited for the mist to go.  It was too thick for safe cycling and at 2°C, it was a bit chilly anyway.

This gave me a chance to do a tricky crossword and occasionally look out of the window.

The robin was upset by being substituted by a chaffinch in a recent post so it made sure I got its best side today.

robin

The other birds weren’t posing.  They were too busy trying to get at the seed.

busy feeder

Although the picture is not of good quality, I liked this shot of a siskin sizing up its chances of knocking a goldfinch off a perch.

siskin

The mist thinned enough after coffee for me to put my cycling gear on and get the fairly speedy bike out.  Mrs Tootlepedal went out to do some gardening and after putting away some bread and marmalade and a banana as fuel, I went off up the road, hoping that the mist would clear.

It took its time and while I was going along the valley bottom, things looked a bit gloomy…

Mist over the wauchope

…but as soon as I turned up into the hills, things brightened up and I got above the mist.

Misty windmills

Soon, I could look back and see the mist lying along the Wauchope valley that I had just cycled through.  It looked denser from above than it did when i was in it.

Mist in wauchope valley

Once I got over the hill and looked down into the Esk valley, more mist was to be seen.

Mist in Esk valley

And the windmills at Gretna were up to their knees in it.

Misty windmills gretna

Looking across from Tarcoon, Whita Hill was an island in a sea of mist…

Misty Whita from tarcoon

…and looking ahead to where I was going, a solid bank of mist lying along the Esk made it look as though there might be dangerous conditions for cyclists when I got down to the river.

Mist from tarcoon

But once again, the mist wasn’t as bad when I was in it as it looked from above and although my favourite trees at Grainstonehead  had a misty background….

Misty trees grainstonehead

…by the time that I had gone a couple of miles further, the mist had gone and the river was bathed in sunshine.

Esk at Byreburnfoot

As was the tower at the Hollows…..

Hollows Tower

…and the Ewes valley when I had cycled through the town and out of the other side.

Ewes valley

Having cycled a bit along all our three rivers, I felt that it was time to give my ice cold feet a break and head for home and a bit of warmth.  It was still only a meagre 3°C in spite of the sunshine.

When I got back, I had a look at Mrs Tootlepedal’s new path….

garden path

…and went in for a late lunch, pretty happy with 26 miles on such a chilly day.

Mrs Tootlepedal had got some useful gardening in while I was out.

I kept an eye on the birds while I had my lunch.

I could see seven blackbirds round the feeder at one time but couldn’t get them all in one shot so I took some individuals.

blackbird

One popped up onto a hedge to make things easier for me.

blackbird

The goldfinches had given up fighting and were concentrating on eating.

goldfinch eating

goldfinch

While Mrs Tootlepedal went and fetched the car from the garage (it got a clean bill of health), I had time for a shower and some singing practice and then Mike and Alison came round for their regular Friday visit.  They usually come in the evening but once again, we had something to do in the evening so an afternoon visit with music, conversation, tea and shortbread was arranged instead.  All four were very enjoyable.

Making music in the home is always a pleasure but in the evening, we went to the Buccleuch Centre and got real musical joy in spades.

It was the annual visit to the Buccleuch Centre of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for their New Year Viennese Gala.   We are incredibly lucky to get this treat on our doorstep as the Buccleuch Centre concert is their only appearance in the whole of the  south of Scotland, the other three appearances on this tour being in Dunfermline, Inverness and Stirling.

They don’t stint either, bringing a 60 piece orchestra to play a programme designed to bring joy to the hearts of a full house.

The orchestra’s players are not particularly fond of playing in the Buccleuch Centre because they find the acoustic dry and don’t get the feedback that they would wish but I love listening to an orchestra here because of the superb clarity of the music.  Sometimes a big orchestra just makes a big noise but you can hear every instrument in its place here and the excitement of having a 60 piece orchestra playing only a few yards away from you is immense.

As an ex schoolboy viola player myself, I took a particular interest in the viola players in the Roses from the South, a piece we played with our school orchestra.  It seems a bit extravagant in a way to bring a bunch of talented players down and then just make them go “rest, bom, bom” on the same note for bars on end.  But that’s orchestral music for you and it was wonderful to listen them all.

The flying bird of the day is a crowd.

busy feeder

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie, who met one of the Grumpy clan chatting with a friend, while she was on a walk in Regents Park with a friend of her own.

LOndon heron

We were promised a day of rain today after the latest storm passed over us during the night.  The storm knocked our electricity out just before we went to bed and after scrabbling about finding candles and torches and worrying about the freezer, the lights came back on again after about half an hour and we could sleep a bit more easily.

Right enough, it was raining when we got up and I had a rather soggy visit to the Moorland bird feeders to act as a fill-in feeder filler.  It was far too damp and gloomy to take pictures but I nearly had to push this pheasant….

pheasant

…off its perch before it would let me take the feeder down to fill it.

When I got home, the weather improved a bit and Dropscone was able to walk round with a bag of scones to have a cup of coffee.  He is going to Malta soon for a short holiday and hopes that he will get better weather there.

It was raining again as he left.

It stopped again not long afterwards and I got the slow bike out and set off up the road in the hope of getting twelve miles in without getting wet.

Because I was anxious to get my miles in before it started raining again, I only stopped once on my way but I took two pictures.

lichen

Lichen on a bridge parapet.

Winter sunshine up Wauchope

The only sunshine I saw while I was out.

I did get the twelve miles in but I did get a bit wet in the middle of the ride.  I also met Mrs Tootlepedal who was having a ride herself.  She was going in the opposite direction but I knew that she would turn for home soon so after a while, I turned back and joined her for the last mile home.

By the time that we got back, the light had improved again so I looked out of the kitchen window.

In the absence of a suitable robin, a chaffinch posed on the chimney.

chaffinch

A coal tit was busy flying to and from the feeder.

coal tit

And the goldfinches were very busy and dominated the feeder again, though a chaffinch and a greenfinch did try to get a look in.

goldfinches

Sandy had rung up  to ask about a walk so after a light lunch, I met him at the top of Jimmy’s Brae and we walked along to see how the felling of the Becks Wood was going.

We got a little sunshine on the way….

Becks track

There was no action at the wood but the logs had been piled up very neatly.

Becks wood

We walked down the field beside the Becks Burn as it snakes towards the Wauchope Water.

Becks burn

And then we walked back to the town along Gaskell’s Walk.

I was keeping an eye out for moss as we went.  There was any amount to see….

moss

…and many different varieties.

moss

Some small…

moss

…and some large.

moss

It will take some research even to start to get a grip on all this.

moss

Thanks to our damp climate, there is no shortage of learning opportunities.

P1060509

In these dark days, it was a cheerful moment when I spotted these.

daffodil shoots

Sandy came on for a cup of tea and a golden biscuit courtesy of a Christmas hamper from our son Tony.  They really are golden.

Then I went off to the health centre to get two injections, one regular and the other to protect me against shingles. The government recently introduced a policy to immunise the elderly against the effects of shingles and I have just come into an age category where I qualify for the jab.  Shingles is a nasty ailment so I was happy to get an extra hole in my arm.

When I got home, I was quite tired for some reason and fell asleep listening to the evening news on the radio.  Considering the state of the news these days, this was probably a sound move.

I did find a flying bird of the day (or two).

flying chaffinch and flying goldfinch

Moss is not always easy to photograph, being a bit green on green so I was playing about with one of today’s not very successful pictures….

moss

…and did this by accident.

moss

I thought it worked out quite well.

You can see Sandy’s take on the walk here.  He took some jolly good pictures.

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Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Sue who sent me this shot of a Christmas visitor to her bird feeders.

IMG-20171224-WA0000

Either my eyes are getting dimmer (and my camera’s sensor too) or the cloudy days are getting greyer and greyer.  It was a really miserable day today with very little light filtering through from above so it was just as well that there were things to do indoors while the rain pattered down outside.

Mrs Tootlepedal did some serious clearing out of our utility room and I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

I did look out of the window from time to time but there was not much to see.  Just a lot of raindrops…

raindrops

…a soggy looking siskin…

wet siskin

….and a clueless coal tit.

coal tit

The utility room clear out led to many agonising decisions regarding throwing away things that had sat unused and unloved at the back of the same shelf for thirty years but which were still obviously entirely necessary for the well being of the house and/or far too good to throw away.

We managed to get rid of quite a lot of stuff.

After lunch, the weather improved to the extent that it actually stopped raining but it was still tremendously grey.  Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some shopping and I got out the slow bike again and set off for a short spin.

Although it looked very gloomy when I started, it improved a little and I got an hour of gentle pedalling in before I thought it was dark enough to come in again.

I did take a camera with me but it wasn’t a day for cheery scenic photographs so I concentrated on some water shots and visited a couple of my favourite little cascades on the mighty Wauchope.

wauchope cascade

After the rain, there was a fair bit of water coming down the river…

wauchope cascade

…with more rushing to join it from across the road.

wauchope cascade

I did basically the same ten mile trip up to Callister and back as I had done yesterday but put in a diversion to Cleuchfoot to add an extra couple of miles.   This took me across the Glencorf Burn…

Glencorf burn

…which has a handy sheep catching gate.

Glencorf burn

There was not much to see today but a couple of well furnished fence post tops caught my eye.

My lichen grip is sketchy but this might be Parmelia sulcata or a similar lichen

lichen on fence post

It looked very striking on a dull day.

The second fence post was more varied and seems to have two different sorts of lichen on it.

lichen on fence post

I put one of these images into the Google image search and it suggested that it might be a lilac!  Maybe AI still has a bit to go.

When I got home, we were visited by Mike Tinker, who had enjoyed his walk yesterday too.  When we told him that Mrs Tootlepedal had been doing some heavy  “spring cleaning” in winter, he told us not to mention it to his wife Alison under any circumstances.  Mike likes a quiet life.

If you read this Alison, it was just a little decluttering, nothing serious at all.

My ambition to eat a bit less has been hampered by the fact that I keep on eating more.  I am afraid that 12 miles on the slow bike won’t do much good but it can’t do any harm so I will continue to take any small window of cycling opportunity that appears in the gloom and hope for some better light to go with it.

No chance at all of a flying bird of the day today so a paddling blackbird will have to do instead.

paddling blackbird

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Irving who found a place without trees at Castle O’er.  Not an easy thing to do.

Castle O'er

After deciding a couple of days ago  that I wasn’t going to take part in the annual New Year’s Day “Whisky Run” because of the snowy conditions, I changed my mind entirely when the snow disappeared as quickly as it came.  As a result, I leapt out of bed this morning to greet the new dawn, put on my walking shoes and set out after breakfast.

The Whisky Run is a friendly affair that accommodates both serious runners and gentle walkers, the only condition being that you should try to start out at a time that will bring you to the Market Place in Langholm as near 11 o’clock as possible.

The main route takes the participants up the road on the west side of the River Esk, crosses the river at Burnfoot and then brings them back by track and road on the east side of the river along the Langfauld and then finishes along Langholm’s High Street.  At just over 8 miles, it is the longest walk that I have done (as far as I can remember) since I did the same event last year.

I left myself plenty of time to do the walk and got round in two and a quarter hours, having paused to take a few picture on the way.

By the time that I had got to the far end of the route and had turned for home, the sun had made an appearance and picked out the windmills on the far side of the valley..

P1060398

I looked back across the river at our local racehorse trainer’s track.

P1060401

I got near to the Gates of Eden but didn’t go through them.

P1060404

I liked the way that the sun had picked out a single field further down the valley.

P1060407

The track was in better condition than I had feared and I stopped and looked back at Golf and Bauchle Hills behind me…

P1060408

…and across to my favourite spot in the whole valley.

P1060409

I passed a merry group of walkers who had gone for the shorter five mile option, including Mike Tinker on the right in the green,.  He was one of the founders of this popular event more years ago than he cares to remember.

P1060411

I stopped to look back at a view…

P1060413

…which I had seen in very different circumstances only three days ago.

View of Potholm from Langfauld

I continue to be amazed at the swift disappearance of so much snow so quickly.

I arrived a bit early and was able to watch bands of runners enjoying making the finish….

P1060416

…and after a while I got the opportunity to take a group photo of some of the runners and walkers…

P1060427

…and watch Alison, my Friday night orchestra, present the prize to the winner, flanked by the second and third placed runners.

P1060432

While we waited for the prize giving, we were entertained by the Town Band which was doing its annual New Year’s Day perambulation of the town.  It paused to play for us….

P1060422

…and then proceeded with further perambulating.

P1060425

Mrs Tootlepedal, having arrived at the Market Place ready to help Alison with the finish, found enough volunteers already in place and went off to bicycle round the five mile route herself.

I made some potato and leek soup and peered about to see of any birds had survived the Hogmanay celebrations.

_DSC0519

The goldfinches were back, though the arrival of an argumentative siskin caused a little bafflement on the perch.

_DSC0535

There are still plenty of blackbirds in the garden.

_DSC0538

_DSC0540

The day was mild enough at 5°C for Mrs Tootlepedal to brave the occasional short shower and do some digging in the garden as a start to her 2018 great gardening improvement scheme and it seemed a pity to me not to make use of a possible cycling day myself so while she delved, I pedalled off on my slow bike.

My major plan for the start of the new year is to lose some of the unwelcome weight that two slack months in November and December have piled on.

The best way to lose weight for me is to eat a little less and exercise a little more but since I like eating a lot, it tends to be a bit of a problem if the weather is not co-operative.  Ten miles on the slow bike is not much but it is better than nothing….and I only had a small plate of fish pie for my tea.

I saw a few things on my way.

P1060433

It was lunchtime at the cow cafeteria.

P1060434

Moss and a fungus on an old tree stump.

P1060437

Alder catkins.

I took the New Hampshire Gardener’s advice after failing to get a good picture of the catkins on the tree and picked this twig off and laid it on a wall stone to get a better contrast with the background.

Then I looked at the wall stone and took a picture of it as well.

P1060440

 

I avoided any showers and had a most enjoyable leisurely ride.  When I got home, I prepared a cycling spreadsheet for 2018 and entered my first few miles into it.  Having narrowly failed to make 4200 miles last year, I will try again this year so there are just 4190 miles to go. Here’s hoping for some good weather!

One of my resolutions for the new year is to go on more exciting outings with Mrs Tootlepedal.  We just didn’t do enough in the  way of getting out and seeing things last year, mainly because of the weather so I am determined to do better in 2018.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

_DSC0544

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, taken by Alistair, shows Matilda and her mother Clare enjoying a good book.

clare and matilda

The miserable weather gave us a break today and we even got a sunny spell.  It was quite a bit cooler but as it kept a few degrees above freezing, no one was complaining.

After some early dancing with Matilda at the keyboard and work at the keyboard while Matilda danced, I found a moment to fill the feeders and have a look at the birds.

The colder weather had brought them back in good numbers.

I can count thirteen waiting in the plum tree for a seed opportunity.

 

plum tree birds

There was no standing on ceremony at the feeder itself although as you can see there was some standing on chaffinches.

flying chaffinch

A starling got small reward for its visit.

starling

There was constant activity and the chaffinch rightly looked a little worried as a siskin bomb approached him.

chaffinch and siskin bomb

A dunnock wisely kept out of the way in a nearby bush.

dunnock in bush

Al and Clare took advantage of the better weather and went off for a walk and with Matilda politely keeping Mrs Tootlepedal engaged with some painting tasks, I took advantage of the better weather to go off for a bike ride.

I had to spend quite a bit of time before I left in cleaning my bike and getting rust off the chain.  The downside of winter cycling is the amount of maintenance a bike requires which is why many cyclists put their bike on a rack and retire to the gym at this time of year.

Still, I like fresh air and there was plenty of it about today after all the mist and clouds so I was happy to hit the road.

From the look of the hills, we had only just missed a white Christmas.

snowy hill

You might think from that picture that it was a rather wintery day but the more the camera pulls back to the bigger picture….

snowy hill

…the better….

snowy hill

…the day looks.

Wauchopedale

Although it was only 4°C, while the sun was out it felt pleasantly warm.  Sadly, the sun didn’t last all the way round but the roads were quiet and basically dry and the wind was light so it was a good day for a pedal.

I went round my usual loop to Canonbie and back and stopped at some familiar spots.

grainstonehead

Liddle viaduct

The viaduct is 1.2 miles away and proves what a good zoom the Lumix has.  The picture was hand held and is not cropped.

There was plenty of water coming down the Esk at the Hollows….

Esk at Hollows

..and plenty more joining it.

Esk at Hollows

I thought that if I cycled through the town when I got back and went a mile or two up the Ewes valley, I might get a snowy view of the hills but it was disappointing with only the highest hills in the distance showing white.

Ewes valley with snow

I managed to add 23 miles onto my annual total and I have now cycled more miles than last year which is satisfactory.   I have five days left to meet the target which I set myself at the start of the year but the forecast is not very encouraging with either frost or rain for the rest of the month.

In the afternoon, Al and Clare took Matilda off to visit the parents of Alistair’s best friend from his school days.  The friend now lives in California but his parents are always pleased to see Alistair and gave Matilda and Clare a warm welcome.

While they were out, I had another moment to bird watch and I liked the very smart reaction time of a chaffinch at the feeder.

chaffinch and siskin

The siskins were once again out in force.

siskins

We had an excellent evening meal of cold cuts, roast vegetables and small portion of sticky toffee pudding but only tiny inroads were made into the cheese mountain caused by some over optimistic purchasing by me.

I have had an email from my Manitoba correspondent, Mary Jo which included a picture of the sort of clothing needed for a cheerful walk when the temperature is miles below zero and I have joined it to a picture of the sort of cycling gear needed when the temperature is only just above zero.  It is hard to tell who is the more elegant.

Mary Jo and me

All right, it isn’t hard.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin looking for a perch.

flying siskin

 

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