Stepping back

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin. He recently spent some time in Wigtown in the west of our region where he watched the tide come in to fill the little harbour.

With no noticeable improvement in the state of my chest when I got up this morning, I bit on the bullet, abandoned all thoughts of volunteering, cycling and even walking, and spent most of the day sitting around doing nothing.

Mrs Tootlepedal by contrast had a busy day with a Langholm Initiative meeting in the morning and a social stitching gathering in the afternoon.

It was rather chilly and not very inviting outside, so I limited my visits to the garden to one before lunch and one in the afternoon.

There is a lot of promise about . . . .

. . . but we are still waiting for a good spell of warm weather to move things along.

I didn’t spend a lot of time watching the birds but I saw a siskin demonstrating a poor attitude to avoiding food waste . . .

. . . and chaffinches and sparrows flitted to and fro during the day.

Although I complain that there are not so many birds about as there should be, the feeder was empty by the late afternoon and I had to fill it up again. The birds must be waiting until I am not looking before they come and eat the seeds.

The second visit to the garden produced a bit more colour with the yellow azaleas looking better every day . . .

. . . and a promising show by a very late tulip.

In the back border, tiny woodruff flowers are hard for my camera to capture . . .

. . . even though there are a lot of them.

The first polemonium had flowered, and it had even attracted an alert spider.

I took a picture in the vegetable garden purely to have the opportunity to say that it was a lot more full of beans than I was.

It is supposed to be warm and sunny tomorrow, and if it is, I shall go out for a gentle cycle ride just to get my legs moving. I suffer from mild arthritis and if I sit about too much, I seize up. Another day like today might find me unable to get up the stairs to go to bed without a great deal of theatrical groaning.

I wouldn’t like to think that by moaning so much, I have given the impression that I am ill because I am not. But I am certainly not well, and it is very frustrating to be in a sort of limbo between being ill and being well.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

A visit to hospital

Today’s guest picture goes to show that the sun continues to shine in East Wemyss. You have to be up at six o’clock in the morning though, as our son Tony was yesterday, if you want to catch views like this.

It was a first rate morning for cycling here today, dry, warm and with a light wind. Unfortunately, good sense kept me off my bike, and I managed a look at the birds . . .

. . . have a quick tour round the garden . . .

. . . and go on a very slow three mile walk instead of cycling.

Although it was slow and undemanding, the walk was most enjoyable and I took far too many pictures which I have grouped into galleries. I walked down to the river, along the Kilngreen, along the Baggra, and then back home by way of the High Mill Brig, the Castleholm and the Jubilee Bridge.

Butterflies: I saw several small butterflies:

Bird life: I saw swallows under the eaves in Caroline Street, goosanders at the Meeting of the Waters, a foraging wagtail above the Sawmill Brig, and a pheasant survivor of the shooting season.

Pleasant prospects: I enjoyed the Church in its green nest, the Lodge Walks, different moments along the Baggra, and the sight of the neatly mown racecourse on the Castleholm.

Wild flowers: I wish that I had had more time (and the energy to bend down a lot more) as the warmer weather had brought a lot of new flowers out. I saw red campion, stitchwort, ajuga, crosswort, violets, Welsh poppies, bluebells, cranesbill, silverweed, garlic mustard, and delicate wood stitchwort.

Pines: On the Castleholm I saw fresh life in a pine tree and male and female action on the noble fir. You can see the remains of a last year’s noble fir cone behind the young one in the foreground.

I got home in time for a quick lunch and another look at the birds . . .

. . . before we drove off to Carlisle. Considering that I hadn’t been able to bicycle today, I was quite pleased when it started to rain as we drove south.

When we got to Carlisle, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some shopping while I went to visit Dropscone in the Infirmary. To my surprise, I found that he was also being visited by his daughter Susan, my recorder playing friend, who works in Carlisle. Dropscone, was in much better form than I expected, considering that he has done some serious damage to his shoulder and is also recovering from an infection which he had picked up.

He had been suffering from a fever over the weekend, and when Susan took him down to A & E on Monday, he had collapsed in the waiting room and was promptly admitted to a ward. He is recovering well, though he tells me that trying to eat porridge with just his left hand is quite an art. He was well enough to walk down to the main concourse to have a cup of coffee in the cafe there with Susan and me. He was remarkably cheerful.

He doesn’t know what the immediate future holds, so he can’t tell when they will let him out of hospital. He gets a terrific row from the nurses if he takes his arm out of his sling for even a moment.

After the visit, I picked Mrs Tootlepedal up and we got extra value for our trip by visiting another couple of shops on our way home.

If Dropscone doesn’t get out before then, we will visit him again on Sunday when we got to choir.

I feel a bit better tonight than I did yesterday, so it is a question of whether it will be sensible to go volunteering with the Tarras Valley people tomorrow. We shall see.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow.

Out of breath

Today’s guest picture comes from my blogging friend, Gunta, in Oregon. She has acquired an electric bicycle and was testing it out today in a car park with a rather fine view of the bridge over the Rouge River.

Whether it was connected with yesterday’s bike ride or it was just an annoying side effect of my very slow recovery, I had a poor day today as far as my breathing went. As a result, I thought it better to do very little.

It was our neighbour Margaret’s birthday so we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her when she came round to join us for coffee. She was especially welcome as she brought round two slices of birthday cake which her daughter had baked for her. We gave her a dainty chocolate biscuit in return.

When she left, I summoned up the energy to go out into the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal. We severely pruned a buddleia which may have been killed by the winter frosts. We are giving it a chance to prove us wrong . . .

. . . but we are not optimistic.

After snipping, sawing and shredding for a while, I wandered about taking pictures before going in for lunch. As I am still rather tired as I write this post in the evening, I will put them in without comment.

A few more warm and sunny days will make a big difference to the garden.

After lunch, we spent the afternoon watching an extremely dull stage of the Giro. At least it was extremely dull until the last few kilometres when there was some rather unwelcome excitement as there were three crashes in quick succession and chaos reigned.

As it was a pleasant afternoon, I thought that I ought to make at least a little effort to get out again, so I mowed the greenhouse grass and the vegetable garden paths. We are trying to strike a balance between being environmentally friendly and keeping the garden functional so that we don’t have to wear wellies every time we go out of the back door.

I took a flower picture and went back in.

During the day, I had a look at the birds from time to time, and found that the usual suspects were at the feeder.

After our evening meal, we walked along to the Buccleuch centre for the AGM of the Langholm Initiative. We heard updates on the projects that the Initiative has in hand, including the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve. The amount of thought, work and care that is going into the Tarras Valley project is astounding.

I am hoping that my quiet day will pay off, and that I will feel a lot better tomorrow. The slow recovery is vexing as Mrs Tootlepedal, who was sicker than me when we both had the bug, has recovered well and is almost back to full form.

The flying bird of the day is a strangely off centre chaffinch.

Getting cross

Today’s guest picture is another from camera club member, Stan. He knows that I like gates and took this picture during our little fall of snow in March just for me.

After yesterday’s rain, we welcomed a much better day here today. We had some business to do in the morning, but when it was finished, I took a picture of a goldfinch . . .

. . . and then we were able to get out and do some gardening. I combined sawing and shredding as we continued to tidy up the area under the walnut tree with some wandering about while dead heading tulips and taking pictures.

I found a tulip of the day among fading trout lilies . . .

. . . and then we went in for lunch.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal did some light gardening and entertained our friend Mike Tinker to a cup of tea and a garden visit, while I went off for a gentle cycle ride.

The forecast was for sunny weather, so it came as quite a surprise when I got rained on steadily for about six miles as I headed up the road through Bentpath. The wind was behind me, so it wasn’t as bad as it might have been, and I kept my head down and pedalled on in the expectation that the forecasters hadn’t been entirely wrong.

My optimism was rewarded when the rain stopped as I cycled up the valley to Bailliehill . . .

. . . and there was even a little sunshine about when I got to the Crossdykes windfarm at the top of the hill. This is the place when the road is near to turbines and it gives a chance to see just how big they are.

As I looked ahead . . .

. . . the conditions didn’t look too promising, but the further down the road to Paddockhole I went, the better the weather became . . .

. . . and the bridge at Paddockhole was bathed in sunlight when I got to it.

I liked the way that the rippling water was reflected on the underside of the bridge.

The ten miles home, with the wind increasingly getting behind me, and the sun still shining brightly, were pure pleasure.

I found Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike inspecting the garden when I got back. Mrs Tootlepedal is going to look after some seedlings for him when he and his wife go on holiday soon. When Mike left, we had a walk round the garden, and we were pleased to find a bee busy among the apple blossoms.

While I was in active mode, I mowed the middle lawn and then went in for a cup of tea and a well earned rest.

It looks as though we might be back to rain tomorrow, so it was good to have made some use of a springlike day today.

Traffic at the feeder is very slow at the moment, but I did see a siskin and a greenfinch in the afternoon . . .

. . . and I just managed to catch a siskin as the flying bird of the day.

I append a map of today’s cycle ride as some readers like this information. I am still not back to full fitness, so I was very pleased to have my e-bike on what is quite a ‘lumpy’ ride.

Footnote: I am sorry to report that my friend Dropscone, who should have been on holiday in Germany this week, is instead lying in hospital in Carlisle, having tripped over in Edinburgh before he caught the plane and injured muscles and tendons in his side. I spoke to him today, and hope to get a clearer idea of how he is doing when I speak to him again tomorrow.

Soup adventure

Today’s guest picture shows that I am not the only one to spot an orange tip butterfly. Our son Alistair took this picture of one spotted by his wife Clare in a local park in Edinburgh.

There was not much to recommend the day when we got up this morning. It was raining steadily and continued to do so until late in the afternoon.

It was lucky therefore that both our friend Sandy and our friend Nancy joined us for coffee. Good company more than made up for bad weather.

When they left, I had time on my hands, and instead of idling about, I decided to make something a bit more adventurous than my usual lentil and carrot soup. I had seen a recipe for an Italian soup called ribollito on a recent Thistles and Kiwi blog and I thought that it looked interesting. I had most of the ingredients to hand and plenty of time, so I had a go at. I had never heard of cavolo nero, let only alone seen any in a shop in Langholm, so I substituted some spinach which I happened to have about me. The soup was not hard to make, but it took a long time, so it was just as well that the result was very tasty, and well worth the effort.

There had been some jackdaws pecking the lawn after breakfast . . .,

. . . but traffic at the feeder through the morning was very light, with the occasional siskin . . .

. . . joined by the occasional goldfinch . . .

. . . who certainly weren’t going to make any visiting sparrows feel welcome.

No one looked very happy . . .

. . . and there were regrettable outbreaks of bad manners.

Fortified by two bowls of the nourishing soup for lunch, I decided to brave the rain, wrap up well, and go for a walk round Potholm in the afternoon, tucked under the shelter of a large umbrella.

It was not a cheerful day, and even the bluebells along the road side looked a bit sad . . .

. . . but it was warm enough to be pleasant for walking, and there were views of a sort to be seen as I went along peering out from under my brolly.

I liked this piebald beech hedge as I came down to cross the river at Potholm.

It wasn’t a day for stopping for interesting detail but the prospects were still quite pleasing as I pottered along . . .

. . . and I could have stopped for more wild flowers if I had wanted.

However, my main interest was keeping walking at a steady pace and watching my breathing carefully, as I am still far from being as fit as I would like. There were a lot of bluebells in the woods . . .

. . . and I could have stopped many times to take more pictures of them. Perhaps I will go round the walk again if we get some sunnier weather soon.

When I got home, I had enough energy left for a quick tour of the garden, where a wet willow caught my eye . . .

. . . and that promising rhododendron had opened its first flower.

The day had started very sociably, and it ended in the same way, with first a Zoom with Alistair and Matilda, then a Zoom with my brother and sisters, and finally a meeting of the Langholm Camera Club. We had a select group at the camera club as some members were away on holiday, but the quality of photographs was very good indeed, and the technical conversation about cameras and lenses was interesting too. It was an hour very well spent.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

Creative croaking

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She took my brother Andrew up to Kenwood House in the pursuit of spring colour today.

We had recovered enough to go to church to sing with the choir this morning. Although I was a bit croaky, it helped me get some good bass notes in the hymns. We had enough choir members to sing an introit in harmony and a unison anthem. The hymns had good bass parts, so I enjoyed the service.

All the same, the singing was quite hard work, and we were ready for a reviving cup of coffee when we got home.

After coffee, I walked along to the park to enjoy the spring sunshine . . .

. . . and check on the wild garlic and bluebells.

The wild garlic is by no means all out yet but there were still some impressive drifts . . .

. . . and the bankings were rich in bluebells too.

I took several pictures as I walked up the hill and back to the Stubholm . . .

. . . but the bluebells were a bit disappointing. I can’t make up my mind whether this is because it is a poor year for them, or I am too early, or the light was wrong, or they are being overwhelmed a bit by dog’s mercury which has been growing very strongly this year. You can see that clearly in this next picture.

The horse chestnuts on the top of the banking are getting ready to flower.

Even if the bluebells hadn’t been as exciting as I had hoped, it was a lovely day to be out for a walk . . .

. . . and I arrived home in a very satisfied state of mind.

I found Mrs Tootlepedal busy in the garden when I got back. I checked on a rhododendron bud that has been looking very promising, but it was still not quite out.

I filled the feeder and went in to watch the birds for a while. A goldfinch returned my interest with a very sideways look . . .

. . . before posing in a more traditional manner.

While there are still very few birds coming to the feeder, it is hard to go outside without tripping over a blackbird.

I am hoping that we will have enough bees and other insects about to pollinate our fruit properly this year. There are not as many as I would like, but I see some almost every time that I go out.

I had to dead head a lot of tulips today and for the first time, I couldn’t find one in a fit enough state to be tulip of the day. I took a picture of some lily of the valley instead.

There was time for another look at the birds after lunch. There was plenty of action to admire.

We had survived singing in the church choir in the morning, so we went off to Carlisle after lunch to sing with the Carlisle Community Choir, combining the outing with a visit to a low priced supermarket just opposite the choir venue. The shopping was quite successful, but the singing was a step too far for me. Because they are short of tenors, I sing tenor with this choir, and I was reduced to some very squeaky efforts when it came to hitting the high notes by the end of the session. However, we had the services of an excellent conductor again today and I learned a lot, even if I couldn’t put it into practice.

The forecast is for some heavy rain tomorrow morning, so I may have a good excuse to take things quietly and help my recovery along. We are both a lot better than we were but we are still getting tired as soon as we do anything for any length of time.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

Perfect timing

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He and my sister Mary visited Greenwich Park yesterday, and enjoyed this striking view from the top of the hill.

Following my policy of taking things easily until I am back to full working order, I had a very leisurely morning today. My only exercise was a short cycle ride to the Buccleuch Centre to buy fresh fish at the monthly market there. To avoid unnecessary excitement, I allowed Mrs Tootlepedal to watch the coronation on my behalf.

I watched the birds for a bit and was pleased to see that more siskins have arrived.

Unlike the weather in London, we had a fine and dry morning here, and the apple blossom is responding to the warmth with enthusiasm.

There are hints and promises of new delights in the garden on all sides . . .

. . . and there are still enough tulips for me to be able to choose a tulip (or tulips) of the day.

I filled the bird feeder and more siskins turned up.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal set about sowing vegetable seeds in the greenhouse, and I thought about a cycle ride as it was still a fine day. I contemplated a longer, more leisurely ride through some back country, but I had the good sense to take a precautionary look at the forecast before setting out. Much to my surprise, I found that there was a more than even chance of thunderstorms if I was out for too long. I consequently changed my plan and went off on the modest 21 mile ride round the Solwaybank Windfarm instead.

The electric bike let me keep up a steady pace without over exerting myself, and I enjoyed the outing.

I saw some fine wild garlic along side the road at one point . . .

. . . and I screeched to halt to take this picture a little later.

You may well wonder what made this patch of grass so interesting, but if you look carefully, you can just make out a little white dot in the bottom half of the frame and a little to the right of centre. It was an orange tip butterfly. I zoomed in and got this rather confused shot.

Are there perhaps two butterflies in the picture?

I cycled on through the beautiful spring tunnel . . .

. . . and stopped to check on the skunk cabbage when I got to the big house.

I had a moment of drama further along the road when I stopped to let a car coming the other way get past me. Instead of passing me, it stopped too. Then I noticed that there was a badly injured buzzard flapping unavailingly on the verge between us. I was very surprised when the driver and passenger in the car got out and set about rescuing the buzzard. The lady passenger wrapped the injured bird in her coat, and I left them considering what was the best thing to do next.

I hope that they found somewhere where it could be taken care of.

At this stage of my journey, the weather began to change and dark clouds loomed up ahead of me.

I could still see sunshine on Tinnis Hill on the far side of the Langholm Moor . . .

. . . so I reckoned that I should have enough time to get home, if I didn’t footle about taking too many pictures on my way.

I couldn’t pass a surprising bunch of what looked like very white flowers. They turned out to not to be flowers but the seed heads of coltsfoot.

The worst of the clouds seemed to be drifting to my right as I came down past the Bloch farm . . .

. . . but I wisely pressed on and got home just as the first drops of a very heavy rain shower began to fall. Mrs Tootlepedal was taking in the washing as I arrived.

The shower didn’t last long but we had two more very heavy showers later on so the garden will have got a much needed watering. In spite of the rain, the feeder got busy with goldfinches in the gaps between the showers.

I got a much needed haircut from Mrs Tootlepedal, and later in the evening, we watched the highlights of the first stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia to round off an interesting day.

The flying bird of the day is one of the gloomy goldfinches.

Striking a balance

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair. He went down to the sea at Portobello this afternoon and found that Fife had disappeared under a cloud. This was an illusion though, as our other son Tony was able to post a picture of the sun shining on his side of the Forth too.

We had quite a lot of sun here in Langholm today, and as it was warm and not too windy, it was an excellent day on which to continue the recovery from our recent bug. Mrs Tootlepedal is much better and was able to do some shopping in the High Street, and quite a lot of gardening as well.

I thought that I was completely better a couple of days ago, but found that I was not, so I had another quiet morning, doing a bit of work on the Archive Group newspaper database. I only joined in the gardening after coffee. I took one or two pictures with my phone while I was out in the garden.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went back to gardening and I got my electric bike out and went for a very cautious pedal round my Canonbie circuit.

Although it was a good day, it actually started to rain as I set off. I was a bit annoyed, but decided that it wouldn’t last so I pedalled on without stopping to put my rain jacket on. I turned out to be right. The rain soon stopped, and I had a lovely afternoon for the rest of my ride.

I was slightly disappointed that there weren’t more wild flowers to see on the way, but there was enough interest to make me stop several times. This was very good for my health as the e-bike is such a pleasure to ride that it is easy to start going too fast without noticing it.

There could be no doubt as I cycled along that spring has finally arrived.

It was a privilege to be out cycling on such a day in such surroundings.

I had seen a few white butterflies about but none had obliged by perching in front of me for long enough for me to get a picture until I was near the end of my ride, when this one came up trumps.

It even flew across the road and gave me another view. (At least I think that it was the same butterfly.) I don’t know what variety it is and would welcome suggestions . . . a green veined white possibly?

Thanks to keeping a careful eye on my speed, I managed to get home without overtiring myself, and found that Mrs Tootlepedal had just come in from the garden. The vegetable garden is beginning to look pretty well organised. The potatoes are in and the first broad beans have been planted out.

Things are growing in the borders round the lawns too, and even if we are some way from full colour, everything is looking much better than a couple of weeks ago.

It was such a lovely evening that after our regular Zoom with my brother and sisters, I went out into the garden for a last look round.

The only disappointing thing about the day is that we were promised some meaningful rain in the evening and when the time came, it didn’t rain. We definitely need rain, and it would have been perfect if it had rained at the end of a day of lovely sunshine. Now we are not looking at any serious rain until Monday.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

Stepping back

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He is on a trip to London and took the opportunity to visit Regent’s Park to have coffee with my sister Mary after she had played tennis there this morning.

I was very disappointed when I woke up today to find that yesterday’s trip to Longtown to fetch my e-bike had turned out to be a good deal more taxing then it had felt at the time. I was back to feeling rather poorly for a while.

As a result, I had a very quiet morning and only got out into the garden at coffee time. A new flower on the lamium caught my eye.

Refreshed by a cup of coffee and some brioche, I was able to go back out into the garden at midday to help Mrs Tootlepedal plant out some of the 200 cornflowers which she has grown from seed. They went into the four scarified areas on the front lawn which we are hoping will turn into wild flower mini meadows (with a lot of help from us).

In the end, we got half of the cornflowers planted out before lunch, and then did the other half afterwards.

Mrs Tootlepedal has more wild flowers growing from seed in the greenhouse which will be added to the mix when they are ready. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the jackdaws don’t come and peck them all up.

While Mrs Tootlepedal went on to plant out some Sweet Williams in a border, I had a quick wander about.

It was quite breezy and not particularly warm, but it was bright enough to tempt me out for a slow and easy stroll, so I went to check on the bluebells at the Stubholm, and then to see if I could spot the otters at Skippers Bridge.

If you kept out of the wind, it was not a bad day at all, and I was greeted by wild garlic and green leaves . . .

. . . on my way to visit the bluebells. Along with some stitchwort, there was a light dusting of bluebells at the little wood on the banking . . .

. . . and there were quite a few more when I got to the bluebell wood itself. I feel that there should be a lot more to show in a few days time, but I took a picture or two on my way down to the Murtholm.

It stayed sunny as I walked along the Murtholm track towards Skippers Bridge . . .

. . . and I came down to the waterside hoping to find the otters enjoying a little basking. I didn’t see an otter. What I did see was that the long lens which I had recently sold to a new camera club member, Nichola, had got there before me, and was having a good look round in the hands of its new owner.

Nichola told me that she had seen a kingfisher, but hadn’t seen the otters on this occasion yet. She was intending to wait for another hour in the hopes of a sighting. This was much too patient for me, so I took a picture of the bridge . . .

. . . and walked up the steps onto the old railway, and then went up to the Round House in the woods above the river. Horses posed geometrically in a field . . .

. . . and having got to the Round House, I took advantage of the bench there, and sat for a while enjoying the view.

I did think of going further up the hill, but I was hit by a sudden and rare attack of good sense, and took the direct and simple way home along the track back to Hallpath and the town. I got a severe shock when I passed a postbox on my way which had been not been decorated. It looked very odd!

I had hoped to see more butterflies on the river bank when I got to the suspension bridge but it had got a little late on the day for that, so I photographed the church lying on its bed of willows . . .

. . . and pottered gently home in time for our evening meal.

It is clear that I will have to take things easily for a day or two, but on the plus side, Mrs Tootlepedal is feeling much better and did a lot of gardening today.

It looks as though we might be in for a week of warm and occasionally showery weather so spring really ought to take off. I will be keeping an eye on those bluebells.

No flying bird of the day today but a blackbird kindly stepped in to give us a song instead.


Today’s guest picture comes from South Africa. Langholm exile Tom tells me that they are slipping into autumn there, but in the meantime, his bottlebrush tree is going very well.

A pleasantly warm spring day here greatly helped with our continuing recovery. All the same, we didn’t do a lot in the morning, although the middle lawn did get mowed and edged, and we managed to drink a cup of coffee and eat several slices of the brioche produced by the bread making machine. I wandered around too.

Apple and ajuga were shot before coffee.

The willows round the bird feeder are making a shady resting place for visitors.

After coffee, I dead headed daffodils, and noticed that the magnolia is making a comeback after getting hit by recent early morning frosts.

The little yellow lamium was a magnet for bees . . .

. . . and the very vocal blackbird in the rowan tree took a break from singing . . . .

. . . for about two seconds!

I have started to find one or two tulips which need dead heading, so I thought that I ought to make sure that my favourites are recorded yet again before they go.

After lunch, I walked up to the town to buy some milk and was happy to see three or four white butterflies flitting about among the Lady’s Smock on the river bank. I had a letter to post and I noticed that post box bothering has come to Langholm too.

I had received a phone call at lunchtime to say that my e-bike was finally ready for collection, so when I got home from shopping, I got out my road bike and cycled down to the bike shop.

I was still not feeling 100%, so rather than cycle down the busy main road, I took a longer, hillier but much quieter route across country with stops for photographs. The verges are finally beginning to look spring like . . .

It was a good day for a ride, with a fairly gentle breeze, and definitely more green around.

I put my road bike in for a service of its own when I got to the bike shop, changed my shoes, accepted the fully working e-bike from the mechanic, and rode home by the way which I had come. There was nothing to pay for the replacement of the leaky controller, so I laid out a little money on some superior cyclists nutrition bars and gels. I ate a protein bar on the way home.

The route home starts with ten miles of gentle but steady climbing, so I was pleased to have some electrical assistance. In spite of the extra climbing, I got back to Langholm 12 minutes quicker than I had gone down to Longtown.

It was time for our evening meal when I got home, and Mrs Tootlepedal produced the last of the slow cooked lamb for the occasion.

The trip to the bike shop was 15 miles each way, and although I had managed the journey well, it was obviously a bit of a shock to my system, as much to my surprise, I fell asleep while I was still sitting at the table after the meal was over. It took me about an hour of sofa snoozing to get back to a state where I could produce this post. I will take things carefully tomorrow as I don’t want to set my recovery back.

I didn’t have a lot of time to watch birds today, but I did see a siskin in the evening . . .

. . . and a sparrow obliged as flying bird of the day.