Rain then some sunshine

Sunday 10th September to Saturday 16th September 2017

Yes, we went over to Upton Heath for our walk on Sunday and we got wet again! Although it wasn’t as bad as yesterday my walking boots decided enough was enough and let water, so I came home with wet feet. Teddy wasn’t particularly happy about the state of affairs either.

Wet again! Teddy's not very happy

Monday was a good day – we didn’t get wet! And on Tuesday we actually had sunshine for our walk on Canford Heath. Here is Teddy, backlit by the sun.

Backlit on Canford Heath

And letting me know that all this photo-taking malarkey can get a bit boring.

Well this is boring!

When we do get sunshine a lot of Red Admiral butterflies are taking advantage, and we saw this lovely one as we headed down towards Knighton Heath.

Red Admiral Butterfly

I also spotted quite a large fungi and was trying to get a photo of it, but Teddy thought he’d take a leaf our of Max’s book and photobomb the shot.

Teddy takes a leaf out of Max's book and learns to photobomb

We continued on round and Teddy met a young Cocker Spaniel for the second time and they had a really good play. After which, of course, Teddy had to find the nearest puddle in which to cool down.

Teddy poses for Tongue out Tuesday

I particularly like this photo of him.

Time to cool down in a puddle

Needless to say he got out covered in mud!

Tuesday would have been Jezebel’s 10th birthday, so the day was tinged with sadness. But she loved cake, so in her honour I made a chocolate marble cake in the afternoon which Chris and I have been enjoying. This photo of Jez was taken on her birthday last year.

Jez on her 9th Birthday

On Wednesday I went to Dad’s in the morning as usual. I am pleased to say he has suffered no ill effects as a result of his fall last week, other than a very sore thumb where he cut it. In the afternoon I took Teddy over to Canford Heath, although I didn’t take any photos as once again it looked as though it could tip down with rain at any minute. After our walk we dropped round to Pat’s to take her her birthday presents: she will be 97 on Thursday.

On Thursday Teddy and I headed out to Badbury Rings for our walk. We didn’t get that far, though, as Teddy decided to whine and bark in the back of the car. Instead I called into Kingston Lacy which was closer.

Unfortunately the main part of the Woodland Walk is closed.

No Woodland Walk for us today

We did manage to do one small loop in the woods though, and then headed back past the house to the gardens. This view of the house was taken as we were walking back from the Woodland Walk.

Kingston Lacy House

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but in the woods in one part of the gardens they are using pigs to clear the undergrowth. They’ve always been too far away for me to get a photo before, but today they were by the fence. Here is the big one (I think it might be a Gloucester Old Spot, but I can’t actually see any spots so I might be wrong).

Clearing the undergrowth in the gardens the natural way

And here is one of the Kunekunes.

This Kunekune is hoping to be fed a few apples

He came over to the fence as there is a shoot there. You can buy apples and feed the pigs. Sadly I didn’t have 50p on me for the apples, so he had to go hungry.

Over in the Kitchen Garden the dahlias are looking lovely.

Dahlia

There was supposed to be an orchid flowering there somewhere but I couldn’t find it. I did find the little autumnal scene in one of the outhouses though.

Autumn's harvest in the Kitchen Garden

And one final shot of the house as we walked back to the car.

Kingston Lacy House

On Friday we walked over Upton Heath again and although I took the camera we spent time walking round with a dog walker so I didn’t take any photos. I did take the camera when we went on Saturday though, despite the forecast of rain. There was a very misty and moody view over Poole Harbour, looking towards Arne.

A misty view across the heath

And yes, we got wet, but not very. Just a couple of fairly light showers. So I’ll leave you with a panorma of the heath and hope that the forecast is right and we will not have a few days without rain.

Panorma across Upton Heath

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We celebrate Pat’s 96th birthday

Wednesday 14th September 2016

Today was Pat’s 96th birthday. For those of you who don’t know Pat was my Dad’s partner for many years, but had to move out when her frailty and his broken hip meant that he couldn’t look after her any more. She now lives with her son, and as her birthday fell on a day when I normally go to my Dad’s I offered to pick her up and cook them both dinner, which I did.

Here are Dad and Pat on the sofa just before lunch.

Dad and Pat

After lunch I washed up and then left Dad and Pat at the flat while I took the dogs over to Nea Meadows Nature Reserve, where we often walk with Dad on a Wednesday. Today though I had a decent camera with me so took a few photos. Here are the ducks on the pond.

Ducks on the pond

And in the gap in the trees you can see the seat Dad likes to sit on.

Our usual seat

Today we walked up to the top of the meadow and I sat on a seat under an old oak tree while Jez had a rest. Max, of course, wanted to play.

Max

And while we played Jez kept watch over the meadows.

Jez sits and looks across the meadow

We walked back towards the stream and had to pass under the second of the two large oak trees in the meadow. I thought it looked magnificent in the sun.

Oak Tree

I love big old oak trees.

And then we walked back to the flat and after a while I got Pat and the dogs back in the car and dropped Pat home before coming on home myself.

A year ago today

We went for a walk on Upton Heath.

Upton Heath

Jezebel’s 9th Birthday

Monday 12th September 2016

Today was Jez’s 12th birthday. She decided not to come with Max and I when we went for our walk on Upton Heath in the morning. Rather she chose to have a lie in. She did go out with Chris in the afternoon though. When they came home we had presents and the peanut butter cookies I had baked for the occasion. There are lots of photos on my Flickr feed, but I will share a few of the best ones here.

We started with Chris teasing the dogs with the peanut butter cookies…

Chris teases the dogs with peanut butter cookies

…before allowing them to have some.

Time for a peanut butter cookie

Then it was time for presents.

Present time

Max helped himself to a new Monkey soft toy.

Max helps himself to Monkey

Whilst Jez took some persuading that the small, squeaky space hopper was something she could play with.

Chris tries to persuade Jez its a toy

She did, eventually, get the hang of it though.

Jez investigates

Here’s Chris and Max.

Chris and Max

And here are the two of them with Jez.

Chris, Jez and Max

I also took a bit of video.

And a portrait of the birthday girl.

Birthday girl

Who soon got a bit tired of the proceedings.

Birthdays can be very tiring

And then after all that there was chicken and rice for their dinner. I hope she had a nice birthday.

A year ago today

Of course, it was Jezebel’s 8th birthday. Here she is posing for me on Upton Heath.

Posing

We have visitors

Sunday 17th July 2016

I had a phone call on Thursday night from Chris’ brother to say that his parents were coming down to Bournemouth on holiday for a week commencing Friday. I suggested that they come to dinner Sunday (Chris picked them up and took them back to their hotel), and I also invited Dad and Pat. And there was another reason for celebration: it was Max’s 8th birthday.

I did a salad for lunch, cooking gammon and a leek and Camembert flan, and made a pavlova for dessert. After lunch we all went and sat in the garden and I took the camera.

This is Chris’ Mum, Ann.

Ann

And his Dad, John.

John

This is my Dad.

Eric

And this is his partner of 16 years, Pat.

Pat

Pat will be 96 years old in a couple of months.

Chris and the birthday boy took a more laid back approach to the whole thing.

Chris and Max

In fact, a very laid back approach.

A man and his dog

It was very nice to see everyone, but I was glad of a rest when they’d all gone.

A year ago today

It was, of course, Max’s 7th birthday. Here he is with one of his birthday presents.

Max on his 7th Birthday

A nice birthday

Sunday 7th February 2016

Today was my birthday. We won’t mention how old I am. The morning started with present opening, which Max had to help with.

Max helps me open my presents

One of the presents I had asked Chris for was a monopod for the camera. Chris hadn’t wrapped it as the box was so big. I was a bit confused as I knew the size the monopod was supposed to be, and, sure enough, when I’d opened the box and removed all of the bubble pack, this is what I found.

A big box for a little object

After that I had to get up and cook dinner as I had invited Dad and Pat to lunch. When they arrived, however, it allowed me to play with my off-camera flash cable.

Dad and Pat

We had roast lamb and pork for lunch, followed by sherry trifle, and then, later in the afternoon, I produced my Birthday cake, which I’d made on Friday and decorated yesterday. It’s another lemon drizzle cake, with lemon curd and lemon buttercream filling, covered in icing. It wasn’t decorated quite as well as I would have liked, but it tasted nice.

My birthday cake

Although my birthday was quite busy, I had a nice day. After Dad and Pat had left I was glad to sit down and have a rest though.

A year ago today

My cousin, Linda, and her daughter, Lucy came to stay. We went shopping and had lunch out and then walked around Creekmoor Ponds when we got home.

Linda and Lucy

Happy 60th Birthday Chris

Wednesday 18th November 2015

My husband Chris was 60 years old today. That’s pretty scary. I don’t like the thought of us getting old. But, I wasn’t going to let that spoil the day. So we woke up and had presents (we’d gone out yesterday evening and bought his main present: a new office chair, which will hopefully arrive in a couple of weeks time.

It had been extremely windy overnight, but nonetheless I chose to take Max down to Lake Pier at Hamworthy. Sometimes after high winds you find all sorts of interesting things washed ashore (like boats!). Today I questioned the wisdom of my choice as I got out of the car as I was nearly blown away. Not only that, but there was nothing interesting on the beach at all.

But what we did have was a mixture of stormy skies and blue sky, which made for some good photos. This one was taken from the beach looking back to Lake Pier.

Lake Pier As we were in Poole Harbour the waves weren’t very big, but they were quite foamy, and Max was a very happy boy playing in the sea. Happy Dog

As ever, once we left the beach and walked up to the cliff top the wind subsided. I know that seems the wrong way round, but it’s always the same here. I think it’s where the wind whips across the open expanse of Poole Harbour.

Anyway, we walked around the cliff top, and then went to Ham Common Lake, where Max had a nice swim, before heading back to the beach and the wind, which was playing havoc with Max’s ears.

Max's ears were getting blown about by the wind We walked back along the beach to Lake Pier. Lake Pier

And then we walked down onto the short stretch of beach between the pier and the marine base. There was a young guy taking photos down there, all kitted out with his tripod. Walking the dogs I don’t get to carry a tripod with me (I have too much else to carry!), so I just have to content myself with hand-held photos. I didn’t think this one was too bad though.

Boat After that we came home and had lunch. And then I embarked on my next project: a birthday cake for Chris. I roughly followed the recipe that Nadiya, the winner of this year’s Great British Bake Off used in the final. So it’s a lemon drizzle cake, filled with lemon curd and lemon butter cream and covered in fondant icing (which I’ve never used before). I was quite pleased with the result. Chris' birthday cake

And it tastes good too!

In the evening we had an Indian take-away, a bottle of Champagne, and we watched The Apprentice. So all in all I think it was quite a good birthday for Chris.

A year ago today

Obviously it was Chris’ birthday, and we went out to a local pub for lunch.
The birthday boy pulling a silly face

Jezebel’s 8th birthday

Saturday 12th September 2015

Today was Jezebel’s 8th birthday. She celebrated by staying in bed all morning, and then coming for a walk with Max and I in the afternoon, when we went to Upton Heath. Here she is with Max under the pine trees.

Jez and Max on Jez's 8th birthday

She was very slow at the start of our walk, and there was a lot of lying down, but it did mean I managed to get this nice portrait of her.

Jez is 8 years old today

And here’s quite a quirky one as Jez shows us her teeth.

Show us your teeth Jez

For the sake of balance here’s a photo of Max too.

Pond boy

Here’s Jez standing near the pond.

Posing

And Max peering out from the deep pond in the centre of the lower heath.

Max wants to go on playing cone

When we got home we had presents in the garden.

Time for the birthday presents

Although the dogs were mainly interested in the treats.

Never mind the presents - let have the food

Jez was so interested in the treats she thought she’d better double check in the bag to make sure there weren’t any more hidden in there.

Jez looks in the bag for more presents

Perhaps there are some hiding at the bottom

Eventually they got round to playing with the toys, and then it was time for their birthday dinner of chicken and rice.

A year ago today

Well, it was Jez’s birthday of course, and once again the dogs were only interested in the treats, which Chris is struggling to get open.

Never mind the presents, lets have the treats