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Posts Tagged ‘dandelion’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Welsh correspondent Keiron.  He had a lovely day for a pedal along the towpath.

Keiron's canal

It was cold and grey here when we got up and my original plan (Plan A) for the day was to go back to bed after breakfast, pull the covers over my head and hope that everything would go away.

That plan dissipated into nothingness when I managed to pull myself together and walk up to Sandy’s to deliver some archive work for him to do to while away the hours.  He has been badly hit by the lockdown as he has just spent six weeks confined to his house with a foot in plaster after an operation.  Then, as soon as the plaster came off, he was confined to his house again by the lockdown.  He is remarkably cheerful all things considered. I would liked to have stayed for coffee and a chat but that is not on the menu at the moment.

I did a little footling about in the garden when I got back while Mrs Tootlepedal continued her spring tidy up and general preparations.

Because of the chilly conditions, there were no new flowers or exciting developments to photograph so I took a picture of the resident blackbird…

resident blackbird

…and the rare sight of a couple of chaffinches near the feeder…

chaffinch in garden

…had a slice of toast and honey for an early lunch and went off on my bicycle

I am fully recovered from arguing with the other short plank, but I took things pretty easily.  I had planned an exciting route (Plan B of the day) deep into England but just as I was about to turn off over the hill, I met a cyclist coming the other way.  He stopped to warn me of an angry farmer up the road.

When he explained that the farmer was angry becuase he, the cyclist, had chased two stray sheep down the road in front of him,  I rather felt for the farmer and decided that I would not risk causing any further agitation so went straight on instead of turning off.

This was Plan C

My new route let me enjoy the sight of a pair of muddy beaked oyster catchers in a field on one side of the road and a plaintive curlew calling in the distance on the other side.

oyster catcher and curlew bigholms

As usual, there was a wind, not a strong wind but strong enough to make pedalling hard work for an old man as I went over Callister so I was pleased to stop when I had gone down the other side of the hill to admire some colour by the road side.

You could have any colour today as long as it was yellow.

gorse and celandine gair road

When I had passed through Eaglesfield, I had to stop again to admire this very neatly rolled field.

rolled field

Everywhere I went today, farmers were busy.  If they weren’t rolling their fields they were spreading muck, much of it on the road.  Sometimes I am pleased that my sense of smell is not very acute.

Plan C had led me to going round a rather tried and tested route, short of good views on a dull day, so I took a small diversion instead of going straight down the old main road to Gretna.

My diversion took me under the main line railway by a venerable railway bridge…

railway bridge robgill

…and over the Kirtle water by another old bridge…

kirtle water bridge robgill

…and past the even old Robgill Tower.

robgill tower

When I had puffed up the hill from the river, I got a splendid view over the Solway to the Lake District hills.

I must say that the chap who goes round putting telegraph poles up in front of good views in our area is a very conscientious worker.

view of skiddaw from near hollee

Further along my diversion, I could look across the Kirtle Water to the Kirkpatrick Fleming church on the far bank.

KPF church from Hollee

I stopped just before the last stone bridge over the river when another wild flower caught my eye.  I did say that the only colour available today was yellow.

dandelion

This is the bridge.

kirtle water bridge rigg

I crossed the Kirtle water for a second time by a small undistinguished bridge on the back road to Gretna from Rigg.  I had hardly seen a soul, either in a vehicle or on foot so far on my trip, but this quiet back road was obviously the permitted walk of the day route of choice for the locals.  I had to keep a sharp eye out to manage my social distancing as I went along.

Once at Gretna, I choose the quick route home, up main roads to Canonbie, but I did take another very small diversion to add to my churches and towers of the day with a visit to Kirkandrews on Esk.

It has a fine tower…

kirkandrews tower

…and an elegant little church.kirkandrews church

I rounded off the church collection with the Kirk at Canonbie.

canonbie church

It had got rather cold by this time, so I didn’t dilly dally for the final six miles home but I couldn’t resist these lambs trip trapping over a bridge…

lambs going trip trap

…perhaps on their way to join this relaxed sextet who were mulling over life very peacefully.

six lambs

I got home with 41 miles on my computer and discovered when I looked at my spreadsheet later in the evening that this ride had taken me up to 34 hours of cycling for the month, producing 441 miles at the very modest average speed of 12.74mph.  One of the sad facts of ageing legs is that in the not so distant past, I would have got a good many more miles for same amount of time and effort.  Still, March has been a generous month for dry days for cycling so I shouldn’t complain.

When I got home and was having my post ride cup of tea, Mrs Tootlepedal called out to say that the jackdaws were pecking the lawn again.  We point the finger at the guilty parties.

jackdaws on lawn

Earlier in the day, Mrs Tootlepedal had been to the shops and come back with a brisket of beef which she cooked for our tea.  It will last us for three days and as it tasted very good, this is very satisfactory.  I made some semolina for pudding and so, all in all, in spite of the clouds and the chill and the you-know-what, it was a day to add to the credit side of the great ledger of life.

The flying bird of the day is one of the starlings who like to collect on our electricity wire and chatter away.

flying starling

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Welsh correspondent Kieron and shows a Welsh tree from Wales.

welsh tree

The wind was slightly kinder today but it was still very cold out in the garden, unless the sun was shining….which it did intermittently.

When it shone, I tried to be ready with my little camera.  Among the familiar faces of grape hyacinth, pulmonaria and cardamine, a dianthus, a dandelion and a daisy caught my eye.

six garden flowers

All the while, our resident blackbird kept its eye on what was going on.

blackbird panel

The tulips didn’t manage to come out as early as last year and it looks as though we might have to wait until April for them.

nearly tulip

The magnolia might just make it in March if we get a kinder day tomorrow.

magnolia

In spite of the chilly temperature, we spent quite a lot of time in the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal worked on her vegetable beds and tidied up the flower beds, and I sawed logs as the tidy up of the log shed continued.  Then, under supervision, I gave shrubs a haircut and pruned the plum tree.

haircuts

I went very cautiously about this business because I had no ambition to repeat the plank trick.  In fact, in my sawing, I dealt with the offending plank and I think that I can safely say that I have cut it down to size. My nose recovered remarkably well from the bashing and Mrs Tootlepedal’s neat work with tape meant that the cuts were well healed today.

In the afternoon, we were serenaded by a dunnock in the walnut tree.  It spent a lot of time singing loudly though it wasn’t clear if this was to attract a mate or frighten off the competition.

dunnock in walnut

We had some suitably separated conversation with Mike and Alison whose permitted exercise took them past our front gate.  I will have to give up the meadow pipit battle and settle for them being song thrushes as too many people have told me that I am wrong now.

The weather got a bit warmer in the afternoon and I was able to sit on the new bench and enjoy the daffodils…

lawn and daffs

…and the cowslips.

cowslips

It was my intention to make some ginger biscuits and then go for a bike ride in the calm of the evening, but circumstances intervened.

I enjoyed this flock of dancing daffodils and went in to cook.

flock of daffs

And once inside, somehow or other I made a mess of the ginger biscuit weighing and measuring process and the mixture wasn’t right. I had to add a bit of this and that at a late stage and hope for the best.  But the best wasn’t forthcoming and the resulting biscuits were not up to standard at all.

Perhaps because of the bang on my head and perhaps because of the general situation at the moment, I got rather gloomy about life, biscuits, bicycling and everything else too, so I decided it might be better just to go for a short walk and not risk losing concentration while pedalling.

The weather looked a bit ominous as I set out…

impressive cloud castle hill

…and a few light spots of rain made me press on past a gull on a rock…

gull back

…and a tiny wagtail in the rain.

distant wagtail

The sky cleared again as I got to the Castleholm…

clouds and tree

…and I enjoyed looking at it through the trees.

tress and clouds

Pussy willows greeted me as I crossed the Jubilee Bridge

pussy willow

…and I liked the combination of sunlight, blue sky and clouds at the monument.

monument and cloud

Our neighbour’s flowering currant is in full swing and made a cheerful end to my walk.

flowering currant

In the garden, I saw the new and the old before I went in, the first of the Erythronium and the last of the Winter Jasmine.

trout lily and jasmine

The non flying bird of the day is a chaffinch on the feeder.  (Mike and Alison say that they have plenty of birds coming to their feeder.)

chaffinch on feeder

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Today’s guest picture is a triumph of patient gardening.  Mike and Alison Tinker have been tending a kowhai plant (a New Zealand native) for twelve years and this year it has finally flowered.  Alison took the picture and Mike sent it to me.

kowhai flower

I leapt out of bed, had breakfast, dashed on my cycling gear….and then footered a couple of hours away in drinking coffee, reading the newspapers and doing the crossword.  It was a perfect day for cycling and I can only put my reluctance to get going down to mental feebleness brought on by a combination of various aches and pains and possibly Brexit.  Brexit has been blamed for everything else so it might as well take the blame for my idleness too.

But I did get going in the end and enjoyed myself thoroughly.  The first bit of the ride, with more downhill than up and with the wind mostly behind me, was a treat and I soon found myself in England, in the shelter of the motorway banking, eating a sandwich and a banana after twenty miles and an hour and a half of pedalling.

M6 at gretna

There are still not many wild flowers about but there were dandelions along the the whole route.  At one point I saw a good crop of Danish Scurvy Grass beside the motorway and near Longtown, I met a nettle just about to flower fully.

dandelion, scurvy grass and nettle

In order to keep my foot happy, I stuck to flat roads and tried not to press too heavily on the pedals.  This last was quite easy to achieve with the wind behind me but when I turned east and passed a fine pine tree, it was harder as the wind was not negligible and my speed dropped.

tree near todhills

I won’t complain though because it was genuinely warm by then and pottering along was no hardship.  To avoid going as far as the busy main road into Longtown, I turned on to a track which is part of National Cycle Route 7.  These routes often have artistic trail markers.

bike route sculpture post

This particular track follows an old railway line and takes you across the river Lyne by way of a new bridge on old piers.

railway track on NR 7

It is a very peaceful place and the track is well maintained.

Unfortunately, I can’t ride the old railway all the way back into Langholm as the chance to turn it into a cycle way was lost after the line was closed and many bridges and viaducts have been knocked down.

Back on the roads again, I crossed this small bridge…

bridge near arthuret

…near the fine church at Arthuret.

arthuret church

I took the main road out of Longtown as it has recently been resurfaced and it is always fun to ride on a smooth surface for a change.  Sadly, the new surface has been done using a method that ensures that it will become very bumpy again for cyclists in the not too distant future.  Ah well, I will enjoy it while I can.

Somewhere along the road between Longtown and Canonbie, I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of a carpet of bluebells under some trees.

bluebells

This seems to be early for bluebells and is a week before they have appeared on the blog before and a fortnight before the usual time.  Still, they are very welcome as they are sign that spring is really springing.

On a stretch of the old A7 north of Canonbie, there were several butterflies warming their wings on the road and fluttering away as I got near them.  I stopped and one of them obligingly flew back and perched on a dandelion.  As I was getting back on my bike, I noticed a bonus ladybird crawling up a wall.

peacock butterfly and lady bird

My legs were a bit rusty but by stopping regularly for a stretch and a rest, I manged to cajole them into taking me round just under 44 miles.  As this was the furthest I have been since the 22 February, I regard it as very satisfactory distance.  Tomorrow will tell me what my foot thinks about it but I am optimistic.

When I got home, I had a walk round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal who had had a busy day indoors.

The warmth had brought a new tulip out….

new tulip

…caused others to open wide….

three tulips

…and encouraged the trout lilies to lift up their skirts and dance.

trout lilies

A striking dark red pulsatilla had also emerged.  I liked it a lot….

red pulsatilla

…as did a bumble bee.

pulsatilla with bee

We went in for a cup of tea and a biscuit and when Mrs Tootlepdal went back to work, I watched the birds for a while.

Redpolls returned to the feeder…

redpoll in sun

…and one took a very dim view of the  loutish behaviour of a chaffinch.

chaffinch about to stamp

Strangely, I felt a bit tired so the rest of the day faded away into quietness, interrupted by giving Mrs Tootlepedal a little help with her project and then eating a tasty meal cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Footnote: The curious might want to know what Mrs Tootlepedal was so busy at during the day.

She has finally finished turning this…

old rocking horse

…into this.

new rocking horse

We are thinking of entering it in the Derby.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who saw this pink elephant but swears that she hadn’t touched a drop of drink all day.  I believe her.

pink elephant

It is going to be a rushed post today as I went to Carlisle to sing with our Carlisle choir at the local music festival in two classes and as there were eight choirs in the first class and seven in the second, it turned into a long evening and I haven’t even had my tea yet.

I had two visitors in the morning, a frog in the pond among potential frogs…

frog and tadpoles

…and Sandy who dropped in for coffee and to give me advice on getting my printer to print satisfactory pictures for the forthcoming exhibition.

His advice was sound and I spent most of the rest of the morning printing out pictures, a very slow business.

I did have time to walk round the garden.  The daffodils are looking better all the time…

clump of daffodils

…and some of the fancy ones are coming out too.

fancy daffodil

There was a brisk traffic at the bird feeder.

busy feeder

After lunch I went for a walk on my slow bike by which I mean that I bicycled slowly along a route which I would normally have walked as I am trying to rest my sore foot.

Signs of spring are all around, with the ducks pairing up…

two ducks

…and daffodils nodding their heads at the vigorous ripples on the Ewes Water.

dafodils beside ewes

It was sunny but windy and there was occasional rain so I thought that this little scene on the Castleholm summed the day up well.

puddle on castleholm

There were more signs of spring as I crossed the Jubilee Bridge and headed home.

tree budsanother dandelion

I liked the way that the shadows of the playing field fence lay so neatly on the path.

scholars fence shadow

When I got home, I had time to cut a couple of mounts for my exhibition pictures before I left for Carlisle and the choir competition.

I had given myself plenty of time and I had a few minutes to walk round the city centre before going to the warm up.

I noted the old town hall, now a tourist information point…

dav

…the old guildhall, now a restaurant….

dig

…and the very old  cathedral which is still a cathedral.

burst

We sang well at the music festival but the competition sang even better so we  we had to relinquish our grip on the trophy that we won last year.  My heart sank a bit at the prospect of sitting through 13 other choir performances but in the event, it was an entertaining evening with lots of variety in the choirs (everything from a male voice choir to several school ensembles) and lots of variety in the musical offerings (everything from Bruckner to ‘Blame it on the Boogie’).

The winning choir, an all ladies ensemble, was sensational and well worth being beaten by.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch with its eye on a free perch.

flying goldfinch

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by our friend Gavin.  Last week when we were enjoying wet and grey conditions here, he was over on the east coast basking in the sun on Tynemouth beach, a mere 80 miles away.   But it was chilly there too in the brisk wind in spite of the sun.

tynemouth beach

We enjoyed a pleasant day of warm spring weather here today.  The shock was so great that I nearly had to go back to bed for a lie down to recover.  In the end though, I pulled myself together, turned down an offer of treacle scones, nodded at the goldfinches on the feeder…

goldfinches

…and set off for a pedal.  I didn’t rush out as it was only 5°C after breakfast and I didn’t want to have to put on a lot of cold weather gear only to have to take it off again as the day warmed up.  I compromised and waited until it hit 8° and only had to shed a few garments as I went round.  (I have a handy pannier to store them in.)

As I was hoping for a longer ride than usual, I stopped from time to time to have a drink and a snack and make sure that my legs got a rest.

I enjoyed this bank of snowdrops near Gair at my first stop.

snopwdrops at gair

I didn’t enjoy having to take my front wheel off and clear a lot of mud from my front mudguard which I had picked up when I cycled past the new windfarm  site entrance on the top of Callister.  The potholes there have been mended but the mud is a continuing problem for cyclists.

The wind was not strong but it was in my face for most of the outward journey so I made slow progress down to the village of Rockcliffe, which sits on the bank of the River Eden.

I parked my bike just before I got to the village and walked down a short track to the riverside and enjoyed the peaceful scene.

rockcliffe and eden

I had just turned away from the river when a loud noise made me look back.

I was amazed to see a tidal bore rolling up the river towards me and struggled to get my phone out to record the scene as my camera was having one of those Lumix moments when the zoom won’t extend.

I have seen bores on the news before but I have never seen one in real life so this was a treat. It was surprisingly loud and although it was only about a foot high, it looked very powerful as it swept past me…

sdr

…with the front of the bore not being a straight line as I expected but an elegant curve.

sdr

My camera started working again at this point and I used it to record the contrast between the calm water ahead of the wave and the turbulent movement behind it.

bore on eden 3

Three canoeists were paddling along behind the bore.  Whether they had been riding it earlier and had got left behind, I don’t know.

canoeists follwoing bore

I reclaimed my bike and went on my way very cheerfully, having seen a sight that I had never expected to see.

As I got back on the road, I enjoyed a black and white view of horses.

rockcliffe horses

The direct route that I wanted to take from Rockcliffe was closed for resurfacing so I had to go round by the cycle lane along the new northern by-pass.  This led me past a newly constructed pond and I was pleased to see that what could just have been a utilitarian run off pool had been carefully sculpted and planted with reeds.

pond near asda

I turned for home and crossed the A7 at Blackdyke, and on my way, I passed this, the first dandelion of spring.

first dandelion of spring

From there I headed onto the Brampton Road, joining it opposite this  fine row of trees..

three trees brampton road

…and then I stopped for a sit on a bench below the Longtown bridge for a final snack and drink.

burst

I was hoping for some waterside bird life but there was none, so I took a shot through one of the arches…

longtown brodge arch

…and, with the wind now behind me,  I cycled home up the hill a good deal faster than I had come down.

The day was so well adjusted for cycling that I might well have gone further but my legs, which are a bit out of practice, objected so I settled for 53 miles at a modest pace and was very pleased to have had the opportunity to do that.

I said a day or two ago that the flowers in the garden were just waiting for a bit of sun to come out.  They got a bit of sun  today and they came out.

clump of blue crocus

single crocus

creamy crocus

I was interested to see a lot of insects about.

pale crocus

 

yellow crocus

Mrs Tootlepedal reported that she had seen a bee early in the afternoon but it had left before I arrived.  We are going to refer to it as Bee A as it is the first that we have seen this year.

She did some gardening while I checked on the frogs….

two frogs in pond

They were not seeing eye to eye today

…and then I went in to make a cup of tea and watch the birds.  There were not many about.

chaffinch head down

A second helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s fish pie round off a good day very well.  We had some marrow on the side.  We have had a big marrow on the go for several weeks and it has provided many side dishes for meals and shows no sign of going over at all.  It is the only one of our own vegetables left as the fish pie had used the last of our home grown potatoes. Still, we have been eating our own potatoes since August so we can’t complain. They kept very well thanks to the good summer.

Birds were very few and far between when I was watching today but I did find a flying chaffinch of the day.

flying chaffinch

Those interested can click on the map below for more details of the ride.
Garmin route 22 Feb 19

A final note: the traction on my back seems to have helped my foot problem a lot and it is much less painful than it has been.  I hope that this progress continues.

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Today’s guest picture comes from  Dropscone’s recent seaside holiday on the east coast.  He climbed a dune to look at the beach and saw five people, two dogs and half a million razor clam shells.

razor clams

We had a third and bonus sunny day as the weather turned out better than expected.  It was frosty again at dawn so I was happy to entertain Dropscone (and scones) for coffee while the temperature climbed slowly up to cycling levels.

Before coffee, I had an early walk round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal and we saw the first bumblebee of the year.

bumble bee

It was so bright that it was hard to miss.   I think that it is probably a tree bumblebee, Bombus hypnorum.

After coffee, Dropscone went off to play golf and I looked out of the kitchen window while making some carrot and parsnip soup for lunch.  Rather to Mrs Tootlepedal’s surprise, the parsnips came out of the vegetable garden after a hard winter in pretty good condition.

Rather to my surprise, there was a steady supply of flying chaffinches and some convenient sunshine for them to fly in.

We try to run a gender neutral blog so here are male chaffinches, both horizontal and vertical…

flying chaffinches

…and females with wings in and out.

flying chaffinches

Flying birds are like buses, sometimes you don’t see any and sometimes they all come at once.

After lunch, I went out for a pedal.  Because my throat was still a bit rusty, I started carefully but it soon became obvious that cycling was doing no harm so I put a bit of effort in.  For once, the wind was light and I enjoyed every mile of my usual twenty mile trip to Canonbie and back.

There were a few signs of life in the verges at last.

dandelion

I stopped to admire a handsome tree at the Bloch….

bloch tree

…and some cows in a field who were happy to sit for a picture.

cows

This one took her duties very seriously.

cow

In times past, I would have been worried to see cows lying down as this was thought of as a sign of impending rain but this is a myth and the sun stayed out for me, giving me a fine view of the northern English hills in the distance.

view from tarcoon

I took another picture of the lambs at the Hollows.

lambs

Who could resist them?

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had been very hard at work in the garden on her new design for the middle lawn and its surrounds.

new garden plan

It takes a lot of skill and energy to lay paving stones.

I had a look round while she toiled.

The winter aconites were soaking up the sun..

winter aconite

…and a welcome hint of a flower or two could be seen on the drumstick primulas.

drumstick primula

Dr Tinker, who was walking his daughter’s dog, Bob arrived in nice time to join us for a cup of tea and half a dainty cake.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we made some progress which was helped when I found out that it wasn’t us but the computer that was making a mistake in one movement of the sonata we were playing.  GIGO.

I was expecting to go and play trios in the evening but the playing was cancelled so I went off with Mrs Tootlepedal to see a screening of Lady Windermere’s Fan at the Buccleuch Centre.  I didn’t know what to expect but in the event, I liked the slightly stylised  production a lot.  The setting, costumes and lighting were unfussy and bright (a very unusual thing in modern productions as far as I can see) and you could hear every word spoken. As the words are by Oscar Wilde this was a Good Thing.  What came over very clearly was the relevance of the play to Wilde’s own life and this gave genuine pathos to a witty production.

The flying bird of the day is one of the busy chaffinches and for once, the photograph has not been cropped at all which shows how favourable conditions were this morning.

flying chaffinch

My twenty miles today got me over three hundred miles for the month of March.  This is as much as I did in the first two months put together so things are looking up a bit. 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by Irving, shows the Black Esk reservoir which provides us with our drinking water.  I have often meant to visit it but never have so perhaps this will spur me into action.

Black Esk reservoir

We had another frosty morning heralding another beautifully calm and sunny day and we tried to make good use of it.   For some mysterious reason, I was feeling a little tired in the morning so I needed a leisurely breakfast which morphed into a leisurely cup of coffee and a look out of the window…

Black Esk reservoir

…before I went off for a little walk while Mrs Tootlepedal put a second coat of paint on the bathroom door.  (It is looking very smart.)

There are no new flowers on the go as the frosty mornings are delaying things a bit but the drumstick primulas are looking finer every day.

drumstick primulas

Taking my walking poles in hand, I left the garden and  walked up onto Meikleholm Hill and then, having found that my legs were in working order, I went through the gate at the top of the hill…

Meikleholm gate

… and  continued to the top of Timpen at which at 326m offers fine views.

Timpen trig point

I was in windmill country and I could see not only the long established Craig turbines but some of the new ones on the Ewe Hill wind farm peeping over the horizon behind.

windmills

To the north I could see the Ettrick Hills….

Ettrick Hills

…and to the south, the same Lake District hills that I had enjoyed on my bike ride yesterday.

Lake District Hills

I was shooting into hazy sun and I liked the resulting interpretation of the scene by my camera.

Down below, on one side of the hill, the Esk river wound through the valley.

Esk at Milnholm

…and on the other, the town lay peacefully in the sun.

Langholm

As I stood there, I was delighted to be serenaded by the constant singing of larks.  It was a privilege to be alive.

On my way down, I noticed a tree which was doing its best to get a little shelter in the lee of a slope….

Meikleholm tree

…and a bright dandelion beside the track into the town.

dandelion

When I got back home, Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her painting and was going three rounds with a overgrown rose that needed pruning.

We retired indoors for lunch and then put her fairly speedy bike and my slow bike into the back of the car and drove off to Longtown.

Our aim was an eleven mile circular drive up the hill behind the town and then back down again.

We hoped for quiet cycling and great views and got both……as a nice little bridge too.

Easton road bridge

We had a bit of work to do to get our views….

Easton road

…but it was worth it.

My camera has many virtues but taking pictures of extensive views is not among them so you will have to take my word for it.  This is the view looking back towards Langholm.

Easton panorama

You can click on this if you want to get the bigger picture.

The view towards the Lake District and the Pennines was magnificent to the eye but rather hazy from a camera’s point of view…

Lake District

…but the prospect to the south and west was enough to take the breath away  (though cycling up the hill may have contributed to this).

Once we had enjoyed the views, we were able to scoot back down to Longtown in a very relaxed way.

We were cycling along without gloves and an indication of just how pleasant the day was can be gained from the fact that Mrs Tootlepedal suddenly exclaimed, “I can smell coconut.”

As we don’t have any palm trees around, it meant that the sunshine was warm enough to get the gorse to release its very coconutty aroma.  Sure enough, there was the gorse in the hedge beside the road.

gorse

It was almost like a summer day by this time and the temperature was in the mid teens.

We thoroughly enjoyed our outing and  and I hope that we get many more cycle rides together as the year goes on.  The cup of tea and a biscuit when we got home went down very well too.

I had enough energy left to do a little lawn mowing  (or moss pressing as we call it at this time of the year) and some compost sieving.   Mrs Tootlepedal’s gardening had left the stock of sieved compost rather low so I will need to get some more done soon.

During the day we had two less common bird visitors, a greenfinch in the bright morning and a coal tit as the light went down in the evening.

greenfinch and coal tit

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went out to the local operatic society’s performance of Sweet Charity and I had a quiet sit down.

Rather annoyingly, instead of the clear blue sky which we should have enjoyed, the atmospheric conditions revealed just how many aeroplanes fly over us and the the sky was full of drifting con trails all day.  At least the passing pilots had the good manners to sign off in style as the sun went down.

St Andrew's Cross in the sky

I took a closer look.

St Andrew's Cross in the sky

The flower of the day is a daffodil…

daffodil

…and the flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying caffinch

 

 

 

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