A new experience for Max

Sunday 11th – Saturday 17th December 2016

But first we were back at Corfe Mullen and Upton Heath on Sunday 11th. First we visited the scuzzy pond.

Max in the scuzzy pond

Here’s Jez backlit by the sun.

Jez, backlit by the afternoon sun

Then we went out on the heath.

Max waits for me and Jez

Where the dogs were contemplating heading in different directions.

They say opposites attract

Moving on to Friday 16th December, and I took Max for his first ever session in the water walker in an attempt to strengthen the muscles supporting his poorly hips.

Max gets to try out the water walker,  but I don't think he's too sure about it

As you can see, he wasn’t entirely sure about the experience.

And finally, on Saturday 17th, which was dull and damp, we went over to Upton Heath. I didn’t take the camera but then spotted this fungi. At first I thought it was a Hare’s Foot Inkcap, but it was way too big and it’s the wrong time of year. I think it’s a Snowy Inkcap – a first for me.

I think this is a Snowy Inkcap - it was way too big for a Hare's Foot Inkcap

Isn’t it pretty?

A year ago this week

We went to see Corfe Castle lit up in the run-up to Christmas.

Shadows from the past

Sun on Upton Heath

Sunday 4th December 2016

Yes, I know I’ve only put one date and I said I’d be posting weekly, but that is because this is the only day I have to post anything for this week.

So, being a Sunday we went up to Corfe Mullen and out onto Upton Heath. It was a lovely sunny afternoon.

The winter sun shines over Upton heath

Max was a happy boy.

Max in the afternoon sunshine

And was very interested when he thought he heard the word ‘Treat’

Did someone mention a treat?

And that’s it for this week.

A year ago

Max in the sunshine and shadows in Longmeadow Lane woods.

Max in the long shadows

Oops – sorry!

What with one thing and another I realise I haven’t updated this blog for over a month. In that time the replacement of the kitchen has progressed, we’ve had Christmas and New Year, I had tax returns to complete, and I’ve had a dreadful chesty cough thing. Finally I am starting to get straight, although I still have to decorate the kitchen and hall in preparation for the new flooring.

So in order to catch up, and looking back at the photos I have uploaded to Flickr, I have decided to post in weekly chunks. The number of dull, grey days we’ve had has meant I have rarely taken the camera out with me anyway, so there are less days to post about.

I’ve also been wondering about taking a break from this blog, which I tend to do from time to time. Although it forces me to take the camera and look for photos, it also means that I take a lot of meaningless rubbish. So perhaps I’ll go for less posts and better quality in future. We’ll see.

Anyway, to get me started I see that I only took the camera with me one day in the first week in December, and those photos aren’t great, so instead I am going to do the promised progress of the kitchen, to the stage where it is finished all bar the decorating and the new flooring.

So, firstly a reminder of what it looked like before I started (I believe it dates back to about 1982 when the house was built, although I’ve replaced the worktops, tiles and painted the cupboards since then).

So this was it before we started.

The kitchen before I empty it The kitchen before I empty it

Monday 21st November: the men arrived and started to rip out the old kitchen. No turning back now.

New kitchen - End of day 1

End of day 2 and there’s not much left. Plumbing and electrics for new lights have been started though.

New kitchen - end of day 2 (taken the following morning)

Meanwhile I’ve set up little replacement kitchen stations around the house.

Tea and coffee making in the living room.

Tea & coffee making facilities

Breakfast and lunch station in the dining room.

Breakfast & lunch station

Cooking station in the sitting room (fortunately I have a combination microwave so can use it as a conventional oven).

Cooking station

And washing up station in the main bathroom.

Washing up station

Day 3 and the new kitchen arrives and is stored in the garage.

Our new kitchen has arrived!

Day 4 saw the arrival of the plasterer.

The plasterer has finished

And on day 5 (end of the first week) the floor was re-laid.

The new floorboards are laid

Day 6 and the units start to go in.

The new kitchen is starting to go in

The new kitchen is starting to go in

From this point on things seemed to slow down. Day 9 and the washing machine is in

Day 9 and the washing machine & dishwasher are back in

The oven is in too.

Day 9 - the oven is in too

In the garden there was a plethora of power tools!

There was a plethora of power tools in the garden

Day 13 and the fitting is complete.

Day 13 - the fitting is complete Day 13 - the fitting is complete and the new fridge freezer has arrived

Notice we have the new fridge/freezer as well.

And day 14, the tiling is done and I am starting to put the kitchen back together.

Day 14 - the tiling is done Day 14 - all that's left is the decorating and new flooring

I’ve moved things around a bit since then but by 8th December I once again had a fully functioning kitchen. I really like it (with the exception of the cooker hood which was not the one I ordered, but it took the guy 2 hours to fit it before I realised, so I’ve decided to live with it).

Oh – and the one downside? The dogs hate the beep on the new induction hob, which I can’t turn off. Every time I turn it on and off they run and hide outside. AEG please take note.

A cold start to December

Thursday 1st December 2016

Frosts have been thin on the ground here so far this winter, but this morning we woke to freezing fog. To celebrate I took my best camera with me when I took Max for a walk at Upton Country Park (no way was Jez moving from her warm, snugly bed).

Entering the park from Poole Road on a frost morning

In the car park I was surprised to see that there were still one or two cornflowers in bloom. This one was looking lovely with the frost on it.

Frosted cornflower

In places it was quite frosty in the park too, as Max demonstrates in this photo.

We had had a bit of a frost overnight

But a lot of the time it was all about mood.

Walking towards the picnic area

This was taken in the Woodland Walk.

Sunlight through the trees (1)

And I like this one in black and white.

Sunlight through the trees (3)

This was the little boardwalk over the lake. I’ve softened the clarity and rather like the effect.

Boardwalk across the lake

The lake, itself, was a bit icy this morning.

Frozen lake

But that did not deter Max.

Max in the icy lake

As you can see the sun had, by now, broken through the fog, which made for a very nice photo along the path to Hamworthy.

Path to Hamworthy

And here’s Max further along the same path.

Path to Hamworthy

The view along the shoreline was fairly evocative too.

Procession of Geese on Upton Lake

Around here a haw frost had frosted the reeds.

Frosted reeds

And the wooden side rails.

Frsoted fence

Although the sun was starting to thaw it.

Frosted reed

By the time we walked back through the gardens, though, the sun had disappeared again.

Walled garden

The start of our drive home was in fog, but as we got to Creekmoor (only a couple of minutes away) we drove back into bright sunshine. And that pretty much set the pattern for the rest of the day, with the fog coming and going.

A year ago today

Max and I were out and about on Canford Heath.

Trees in black and white

A chilly walk at Kingston Lacy

Tuesday 29th November 2016

It was another sunny, but chilly, morning this morning. Jez decided to stay on the bed in the sun, so I took Max to Kingston Lacy for his walk, along with my best camera.

Kingston Lacy house

With only Max with me I decided to walk all the way around the back of the house and through the Woodland Walk, only today we walked anti-clockwise. This was the view across from the front of the house.

In the grounds

As you can see there was still frost on the ground. This sycamore leaf was still quite frosty where the sun had not reached it.

Frosty leaf

As was this pretty little leaf on the path in the gardens.

Leaf

The low sunshine made this little corner of the gardens look very picturesque.

A gate in the sunshine

Although some trees still have some of their leaves the limes in the Lime Avenue have lost all of theirs.

The lime avenue

Round in the Woodland Walk I loved this back-lit leaf.

Backlit leaf in the Woodland Walk

And here’s Max who managed to get tangled up in his long lead, as you can see.

Max has got tangled in his lead

And lastly for today, here’s me and Max in the Woodland Walk.

Max and I in the Woodland Walk

It had been really cold, but a very pleasant walk in the sunshine.

A year ago today

We stopped off at the little Christmas market at Upton Country Park.

Christmas chalets

Sunshine for our walk

Monday 28th November 2016

What a lovely change it made to have bright sunshine for our walk on Upton Heath this morning.

This was the view as we got up to the old railway track.

The old railway track across the heath

And looking across the lower heath.

Autumn sunshine on the lower heath

We walked on round to the pond, much to Max’s delight.

Max at the pond

I had arranged to meet Dawn there with Henry and Addy, so that I could catch up on how Addy is as she has had quite a bit of pain in her back legs and is not walking properly, despite the fact that she is not quite 2 years old. Apparently Dawn has swapped vets and Addy is booked in for Xrays on Wednesday. In the meantime she is restricted to lead walks.

Poor Addy is on lead walks only

Henry, meanwhile, is off lead and spent the whole time we were walking up the hill pestering me for treats.

Henry wants a treat

As we walked up the hill we met a couple of other people we know so spent quite a while chatting in the sunshine. Eventually I phoned Chris and got him to come and pick us up at Beacon Road.

There are no photos from a year ago today

Jez is looking very smart

Sunday 27th November 2016

It has been far too miserable the past couple of days for me to take a camera on our walks, and today I only had the iPhone on me when we went for our usual Sunday walk up to Corfe Mullen and the top of Upton Heath. It’s also been very cold, so today Jez wore the new sweater I’d knitted her for the first time. Although I say it myself I think she looked very smart.

Jez shows off her new jumper

I wouldn’t normally put her in a sweater, but with her heart disease I’m told she is less tolerant of very cold and very hot weather, so today the sweater came out. I made this one a size smaller than the last one, which was a bit too big, and I also made the legs longer to cover her arthritic elbows.

Time to rest at the end of our walk

And just to be fair, here’s one of Max taken at the end of our walk.

Max

It was pretty chilly, and I was glad to get home and have a nice mug of hot chocolate.

A year ago today

It was another gloomy day when we went for a walk on Upton Heath and came across the cows, one of whom was having a bit of a rest. Time for a rest