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Posts Tagged ‘cycling outings’

Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo’s Australian trip.  Her husband used his phone to take this shot of a big flock of bats.

Mary Jo's bats

We woke to brilliant sunshine and we were easily able to ignore a crisp temperature and a nippy wind.  Not having rain and a gale were quite enough to keep us happy.  The crocuses were ignoring the chill too and had opened their petals to greet the sun at an unusually early hour.

daff, crocus and rain gauge

Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge showed that we had had another four and a bit inches of rain recently so it is remarkable that the crocuses haven’t thrown the towel in.

And talking of towels, Mrs Tootlepedal thought that the best thing about the morning was that she could hang the washing out without it coming back in wetter than when it went out.

washing march

Dropscone, back from his Northumbrian holiday, arrived with scones and our friend Gavin kindly dropped in to help us eat them as we drank our coffee.

Dropscone had enjoyed his break with his two daughters and his granddaughter in spite of some very windy days.

After coffee, I spent some time pretending to be a man who was going cycling but actually watching birds instead.  (It may have been sunny but the wind was far from kind.)

The birds tended towards sneaking in from behind the feeder today.

chaffinch round the back

Both chaffinches and siskins were at it.

siskin round the back

And a blue tit escaped before I could catch it.

blue tit leaving

It was thin pickings for my camera but fortunately some chaffinches were prepared to co-operate.

This one came in at a perfect height…

chaffinch too low

…but this one was all too conscious that it was bit too high for comfort.

chaffuinch too high

In the end, I couldn’t waste any more time so I pumped up my tyres and set off into the unforgiving breeze.

The government was keeping an eye on my progress.

low flying plane

I was thinking of doing 30 miles, heading into the wind for 15 miles and then being blown home, but the sun had long gone and there was a sort of rain hanging about in the air and annoying me.  After only three miles both uphill and into a twenty mile an hour breeze, I thought better of it and turned left and headed for my twenty mile Canonbie circuit instead.

I kept my head down and didn’t stop much as I didn’t want to get chilled.  However, this fine tree caught my eye after five miles so I stopped for it…

tree at raehills

…but I didn’t stop again until I got back to Langholm.  In fact I didn’t even stop when I got to Langholm because, out of the blue, the sun had come out and things looked a lot brighter so I pedalled on through the town.

I still wasn’t intending to take any more pictures but the Ewes Valley mugged me.

ewes view in sunchine

And then I stopped again to record a common sight these days, a puddle that has become a pond.

ewes puddle

And with the sun making stopping a little less chilly business, I allowed a tree to detain me…

ewes tree

…and thought that I ought to record Ewes Church, my turning point for home…

ewes church

…and a nearby bridge (with an additonal gate as a bonus).

ewes church bridge

Some black clouds rolled over me as I pushed into the wind on my way back home but I sneaked past a rain shower and got home dry, having coincidentally having done exactly the 30 miles that I had set out intending to do.

Gavin had seen some young wild goats yesterday so when I got home,  I asked Mrs Tootlepedal if she would like to see if we could find them too.  She thought that this was a good idea, and we scooped up Mike Tinker who had come or a cup of tea but got potential goats instead, and set off up the hill in the Zoe.

As we turned onto the hill road a mini blizzard started and we got some rather odd views as went we went up the hill.  We could see a sunny Ewes Valley through a curtain of hail.

snow and the Ewes valley

The hail and snow got worse as we reached the moor and we were just beginning to think that our trip was ill advised, when the clouds blew over and a rainbow appeared.

snowy rainbow

We got down to the Tarras and sure enough there were two goats with kids.

This pair turned their backs on me…

goat with kid

…but this proud mother was more accommodating…

goat checking me out

…and waiting to make sure that I had taken her good side…

goat profile

…then got her children to pose prettily for the camera.

goat with kids

The snow had passed without a trace and the light was lovely as we looked up the Tarras Valley before we headed for home.

tarras view

A busy day wasn’t over yet, as first my flute playing friend Luke arrived for some duets and then, after tea, Mrs Tootlepedal cut my hair.  This was a load off my mind.

She had been able to get out into the garden for some tidying up work while I was out cycling, so we had made good use of a better day between us.

The flying bird of the day is one of those accommodating chaffinches, eyeing up its approach to the feeder.

flying chffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia who recently visited Banwell Castle and sent me this picture of the gatehouse.  I am glad to see that they festoon potential photographic subjects with telephone wires down there as well as up here.

Banwell castle Gatehouse

The best weather of the day today was in the morning when it was calm and sunny so it was unfortunate that I had agreed to act as a substitute welcomer in the Welcome to Langholm office from 10am to 12 noon.

Still, I got a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and welcomed several visitors and both supplied them with information and extracted a little money for booklets from them so it wasn’t time wasted.

When I got home, I looked out through the kitchen window to see if the goldfinches had come back to the feeder.

They had…

goldfinch

…in numbers…

goldfinch

…and in squabbling mood.

goldfinch

They looked even better when the sun came out.

goldfinch

They were joined by sparrows…

sparrow and goldfinch

…and chaffinches, this one wearing a bird ringer’s ring on his leg…

chaffinch

…and blue tits.

blue tit

This is a very satisfactory start for the new feeder season.

After lunch, we went out into the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal is not quite back to 100% yet but she was able to do some good work in the garden today.  I had a look round.

The poppies are continuing to do well and to attract insects.

hoverfly on poppy

I didn’t see the bee creeping up on this one when I took the picture.

bee approaching poppy

Recently there have been several pictures of fuchsias with a pot marigold in the background.  I reversed that today.

pot marigold

I didn’t hang around in the garden though as I wanted to make use of a good afternoon for cycling.

After a few outings on wet roads, my fairly speedy bike needed a wash and lubrication so I was a while before I got going but I got out in plenty of time to do thirty miles or even a bit more.

In the event, perhaps because of the dust from the Sahara which Ophelia brought up with her, thirty miles was quite enough and cycling was a rather weird experience with my brain in turmoil as I tried to sort out what I was actually thinking from snippets of dreams and imagination that confused me as I pedalled along.   There are days when being an asthmatic cyclist is not the best thing to be.  A say with Saharan dust in the air is one of those.

Luckily, my cycling reflexes were in good order and as I went at a very modest average speed, I was able to get along quite safely although my concentration was anywhere but on the road ahead.

I must have been aware of my surroundings a bit though, as I stopped to take a few pictures as I went round.

There were various shades of autumn as I went along.

View of windmills

It was a good day for a pedal although it was one of those days when the wind seemed to be against for an awful lot of the journey.

autumn colour

Hedges have been clipped but the frequent rain showers have swept the roads clean so there were no thorny problems for me to avoid.

clipped hedges

The roads were quiet which was perhaps lucky as I was pedalling in a bit of a dwam.

KPF road

Gilnockie Tower was looking quite crisp as I passed.

Hollows Tower

And the distillery looked very cosy tucked in among the autumn leaves.

Langholm Distillery from skippers bridge

I fear that we are not going to get a really colourful show of autumn colour this year but perhaps there is still time.  I think we need a few cooler mornings to set thing off.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal showed me the work that she had been doing in the garden in my absence.  She has great plans for the autumn and winter so that she will be ready for a bright new gardening year.  I will try to record developments as they happen.

In the evening, I went off to sing with the Langholm choir and as there were four tenors and only one bass, I jumped ship and went off to sing bass (with variable success).  It was probably quite a good idea as my voice was suffering a bit from the dusty bike ride.

The flying bird of the day is one of the goldfinches.  Unfortunately, I didn’t catch one while the sun was out.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by their father, shows two more children of a Langholm exile.  William and Sara, grandchildren of Mike Tinker, are standing in front of the monument to the 29th chieftain of  Clan Macdougall in Oban where they are on holiday.  A nice contrast in posing styles here.

William and Sara

It was another good day today, warm and dry and not too hot for a change.  There was just a light wind blowing when I went off for a pedal up to Mosspaul and back and this allowed me to keep up a good pace.  I didn’t g0 as far as I might have done on such a good day as I had an outing with Mrs Tootlepedal pencilled in for the afternoon.

I only had one stop which was when a large buzzing insect flew through one of the ventilation slots on my helmet and got stuck.  I screeched to a halt and let it out post haste and was relieved when I found that it was just a buzzing insect and not a stinging or biting one.

Mrs Tootlepedal had finished singing with the church choir and was busy in the garden by the time that I got back.  I was in the garden too but just looking rather than doing anything useful.

There were new flowers….

cosmos

Cosmos

…and old flowers…

lupin and eryngium

long serving lupin and eryngium

…and flowers that signify future meals for us….

runner bean and courgette

Runner bean and courgette

…and berries for the birds.

rowan berries

Rowan berries

One picture baffled me a bit when I looked at it later.  I couldn’t remember try to shoot the sky.

pond

I worked out that I had been trying to catch a pond insect and had caught both it and my reflected camera…

pond insect

…which had the insect again.

pond insect

I am not quite sure what happened here. Is this a reflection in a reflection?

There are two clumps of astilbes coming on with more waiting in the wings.

astilbes

The rambler roses are doing amazingly well considering that they have been absolutely covered with mildew all season and didn’t look as though they were going to come out at all.

rambler roses

And I took another look at my favourite astrantias.

astrantia

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set out on our bikes with the intention of visiting Waterbeck, ten miles away over the hill, where they offer a cream tea every Sunday in July. However, things did not go to plan.  The weather was still fine but the wind had got up a lot and was blowing straight in our faces as we pedalled up the Wauchope road towards the hill at Callister.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been very busy in the garden lately and has been also looking after our many recent welcome guests so she has not been out for any long rides for quite a time.  As a result, she wisely thought, when we had battled to the top of Callister into the teeth of the wind, that enough was enough…especially as there are still two cream tea opportunities to go in July.

We turned for home and enjoyed the reward for our hard work as we whizzed back down the hill in style.

We were also able to watch the last miles of a very interesting stage of the Tour de France while we recovered which was a bonus.

It wasn’t long before Mrs Tootlepedal was out in the garden again though.  I followed and mowed the drying green and came out again with my camera to take advantage of the evening light to capture some pale flowers..

The phlox are beginning to arrive.

phlox

hostas

Our hostas are flowering furiously

Ligularia

The ligularia are standing tall but are dying from the bottom before the top is out.

euphorbia

A pretty euphorbia fading in style

I found a bee in clover.

bee in clover

…and then went in to rest.  I was much less tired today than yesterday and I was relieved to find that the strawberry jam wasn’t as bad as I feared, although it is not as good as it should be.

I didn’t have much time to watch the birds during the day but I was entertained by our young blue tit.

blue tit

It also appears as flying bird of the day although I must admit that I didn’t know it was in the picture when I pressed the shutter button.

flying blue tit

 

 

 

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