Posts Tagged ‘Westwater bridge’

Today’s guest picture shows spring in Regent’s Park, London this morning.  It was sent to me by my sister Mary who was enjoying a game of tennis on the one of the public courts in the Park.blossom in Regent's Park

By contrast here, Mrs Tootlepedal reported snow on the lawn when she got up.  By the time that I had unearthed myself, the snow had all but disappeared.   It was that kind of day.  One minute there was sunshine and the next there was a hailstorm.  Out of the back window, we could see snow on Whita.

snow on Whita

Out of the front window there was not a flake to be seen.  There were birds to be seen of course.


Goldfinches seem to have a special liking for the very topmost point of a plum tree twig.

Once the temperature had hit 5°,  Mrs Tootlepedal joined me for a pedal.  Our route was flexible and depended on the weather.  As we were cycling into a strong breeze and were pelted by not one but two passing hailstorms before we had even got to Wauchope School, we settled for six miles.

Once home, the weather took a turn for the better and I was able to dry off gently while looking out of the window.  Today the chaffinches reigned supreme.




Tiptoeing onto a perch


Spreading his wings


Taking in some rays

After lunch Sandy arrived on his new second hand bike.  He and Mrs Tootlepedal both have very nice Dawes Sonora machines.

The sun looked as though it was firmly out (for a while at least) so Sandy and I resolved to go to the bridge at Westwater.  Sandy has not cycled for many years and is working up towards pedalling some longer distances in the summer holidays.  Meanwhile a ten mile trip is just what the doctor ordered.

If the wind had been a little bit lighter, it would have been a splendid day for cycling.  As it was, we were pleased to take a rest at the new bridge…


…and enjoy the view….


…before being blown home by the breeze.

As we headed towards Langholm, we could see a hint of snow on the distant hills.

snow on hills

This looked as though there might be enough to make a picture so after Sandy had gone home, Mrs Tootlepedal and I drove up to the Langholm Moor to see if we could see an interesting bird or two and a snowscape at the same time.

There was not a bird of any sort, interesting or otherwise to be seen so it was lucky that there was a little snow on the hill tops contrasting with the deep brown of the moorland below.  I started with a view of Tinnis Hill….

Tinnis Hill

…and took took shots looking up the Tarras valley.

The top of the Tarras valley

Tarras valley

There was only the merest trace of snow in the Ewes valley.

Ewes valley

It was cold and windy on the moor so we didn’t stay for long and were soon back in the warmth of our kitchen looking out on yet another very heavy shower.

In a break in the weather, we were visited by a jackdaw.


I am still spending quite a bit of time deciding what to put onto the new computer which I am going to use as my internet connected workhorse and downloading and backing up is taking up far too much time which could be better spent.  I am hoping that it will all be worth the trouble.

With this in mind, I had some fish for my tea as it is supposed to be very good for the brain.  It isn’t working so far though.

The flying bird of the day was one of the flock of chaffinches.


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Today’s guest picture, from my sister Mary, shows a fine display of daffs at Kew Gardens.

Kew Gardens

The weather today was rather curious.  The hills around the town were shrouded in thick mist but the town itself was clear and there were even moments when the sun shone.  As the wind was light, it was quite a good day for cycling and so Dropscone and I went round the morning run after breakfast.  We had to stop to turn our lights on when we got into thick mist at the highest point of our journey but otherwise the run was uneventful if a little slow.  The bike shop is still holding on to my speedy bike.

For no very clear reason, the traffic at the bird feeder was intense all day and I had to fill it three times which is most unusual.  It gave me the opportunity to try to capture a feeling of what a busy feeder day looks like.

Warning! Far too many bird pictures coming up.

Sometimes there were six birds on the go….

busy feeder

….and sometimes there were ten.

busy feeder

Sometimes they quarrelled in pairs….

pair of flying birds

..and sometimes three joined in.

busy feeder

Sometimes they flew downwards….

siskin going down

…and sometimes they flew in all directions at once.

busy feeder

It all gave me plenty of entertainment.

There were calmer moments.

chaffinch on chimney

A chaffinch taking a breather.

siskin and greenfinch

A siskin deciding that perhaps attacking a greenfinch might not be the best plan.

Single flying birds could be found….

flying chaffinch

…but mostly it was mayhem.

busy feeder

End of excessive bird picture section.

Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the morning but she came home full of beans and suggested a pedal after lunch.  I was quite happy to tag along and we went up to inspect how the new bridge at Westwater was getting on after all the rain.

Westwater bridge

Mrs Tootlepedal inspects the scene.

The floods had knocked some big stones out of the bank to the right of the bridge and  there will have to be some work done to repair the damage.  Looking up at the hills behind the bridge……

hills at Westwater

…you can see how low the cloud/mist was but our road was quite clear and at times it was bright enough for us to see our shadows as we pedalled along.  I stopped once or twice on the way home when things caught our eye.

fence post with moss

We liked this mossy wig which a fence post near the bridge was wearing.


There was a feast of lichens on the walls beside the road.

The temperature was surprisingly mild at 9°C in spite of the mist on the hills and in the light wind, we were able to enjoy the short trip in benign circumstances.  This nine miles brought my total for the past two days to 65 miles and considering that they were all done on the slow bike, which is a lot harder to push along than the speedy one, I was really pleased…if a little tired.  Today also took me over 1000 miles for the year which is very good going for the winter months.

After a refreshing cup of tea and a biscuit, I got the bike out again and pedalled up to the High Street and did some splendid work replenishing my stocks of cheeses of all nations (Cumbrian, Dutch and Italian) and Peruvian coffee beans.  I’m not quite sure if that counts as ‘shopping local’.

When i got home, I was looking for something to cook for my tea since my intended fish had got lost in the freezer disaster and while thumbing through my big book of recipes for the simple minded, I came across the directions for a tortilla.  I expected this to be some sort of Mexican bread thing but it turned out to be a Spanish omelette, best eaten cold.  I substituted macaroni for the potato as I had already made leek and potato soup for lunch and it turned out very well.  It will appear on the menu again.  Mrs Tootlepedal thinks it would taste better if it was eaten hot from the pan.  We shall see.

In the evening, I went to the Archive Centre with Sandy and Jean and we did some useful work as ever.

The flying greenfinch of the day is not my best effort but at least it is a change from the never ending chaffinches.


Oh dear….another chaffinch sneaked in too.

flying chaffinch







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Today’s picture shows an elegant arcade roof in Hays Galleria seen by my sister Mary when walking beside the Thames.

Hays Galleria

After the cycling of yesterday, today was devoted to more serious matters.  The lawns have been neglected so I started by mowing the middle lawn.

Then there were flowers to inspect.  The Shirley poppies are flourishing and although to a careless glance they may appear rather similar for a mixed packets of seeds, a closer inspection reveals a bucket of difference.

shirley poppies

There were many visitors to the garden today including a bunch of hoverflies playing their version of the student game of ‘see how many people we can get onto a phone box’.

icelandic poppy with flies

Different flies were also on duty at the mint.

mint and flies

There was a regulation bee or two of course.  This was one was visiting a nasturtium.

bee at nasturtium

I was very pleased to see a coloured butterfly which will be the first of many, I hope.

small tortoiseshell

This is a small tortoiseshell

The white phlox is hard to photograph because of the lack of contrast but it deserves an entry in the garden record as there are several clumps going great guns at the moment.

white phlox

A white cosmos at least has a contrasting yellow centre.


All these pictures were taken in the space of 15 minutes so it wasn’t hard to find interest today.  I had to go and sit down before I became too excited.  I watched some birds to calm me down.

fat chaffinch

A posing chaffinch just for my sister Susan.


And one posing for me.

Then there were treacle scones to be eaten as Dropscone arrived having pedalled solo round the morning run.

These were safely disposed of and this was followed by the disposal through the shredder of a great many cuttings from a pyracantha which Mrs Tootlepedal and our neighbour Liz had trimmed for an elderly neighbour.

Then it was time to do some work at the computer updating one of the websites I manage for other people.

There was just time for a quick look out of the window before lunch…

chaffinch and greenfinch

Approaching the feeder

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I cycled up the Wauchope road to check on the replacement bridge.  Mrs Tootlepedal was in determined mood on the bike….

Mrs Tootlepedal biking

…and it didn’t take us long to arrive at the bridge.  It wasn’t finished but it was open to traffic with the aid of a traffic light.

Westwater Bridge

We cycled across it and then turned round and cycled back across it.  The workmen were impressed by our versatility.  They told us that it will probably be another three weeks until the works are finished.  It looks a bit rough and ready at the moment.

Westwater Bridge

Soon we had completed a journey of about ten per cent of my ride yesterday but it was equally as pleasant and the company was better of course.

The front lawn got a mow when we got home and as a bonus Mrs Tootlepedal trimmed the edge with the strimmer so it ended up looking well cared for.

The drying green and the grass round the greenhouse badly needed a mow too but this was a lawn too far for me and they will have to wait.  I looked at some flowers instead.

a clematis

A smart new clematis has come out on the back fence.

day lily

The day lilies are appearing quite regularly

I thought it only fair to them to show the row of marigolds hidden behind the nicotiana and cosmos.

hidden marigolds

The rest of the afternoon was spent gently snoozing and catching up with my correspondence.  I printed out a two pictures, a woodpecker and a jay from the Moorland Feeder Station, for an environmental exhibition which Dr Barlow is mounting in September and though I say so myself, they looked quite good.  As I am using very cheap compatible ink cartridges and inexpensive photo paper, this was more than satisfactory.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow for lovers of flying sparrows everywhere.

flying sparrow




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