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.


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


Happy New Year

Friday 1st January 2016

We managed to get through the fireworks last night without too much trouble by turning up Jools Holland on the TV and feeding Jez peanut butter. Thankfully they had all stopped by 12.30am this year. Nevertheless, I wasn’t in too much of a hurry to get up this morning, especially given that it was wet and windy out.

When we did go out both dogs came with me to Upton Country Park. As if it wasn’t wet enough as it was Max spent as much time as possible in the water (seen here in the lake)…

Max at the lake

… and Jez decided to join him in the stream.

Jez in the stream

But you can tell the weather wasn’t great as even the ducks had decided to hunker down.

Hunkered down against the elements

And lastly, as we walked back to the car, a photo of the bare, tangled branches of the trees that grow alongside the stream.

Trees along the stream

I was going for the overall feel to the day with that shot.

And after that, I spent the day snuggled down on the sofa in front of the TV.

A year ago today

Oh look! We were at Upton Country Park where a couple of the sheep came over to say ‘Hello’ to us.

The girls came over to say 'Hello' today

A hot afternoon

Saturday 8th August 2015

It was pretty hot this afternoon and I struggled to think of somewhere to take the dogs where Jez would not get too hot and immediately lie down in the shade and refuse to move. In the end I decided to walk them round Creekmoor Ponds, where there is lots of shade and lots of cooling water.

We started at the corner of the small lake next to our house. Here’s Max, hoping I’ll throw something.

Max in Creekmoor Ponds

And here’s Jez.

Jez cools down in Creekmoor Ponds

We walked on round to the larger pond, to the little ‘beach’ where they normally play. Again, here’s Max, waiting for me to throw something.


And Jez, cooling down again.

Time for another cool down

From there I tried to continue on round the ponds but Jez headed off for the local pet shop where she likes to watch the rabbits. It’s a bit of a struggle controlling the dogs in there as they are both really excited and pull me in all directions. After the pet shop we were all hot and tired and so headed straight back to the ‘beach’ where the dogs, at least, could cool down.

Eventually we continued on round the ponds. I had my 70-300mm lens on the camera, hoping for butterflies. We didn’t see any but I rather like this photo of a duck.

Duck paddling by

And finally, my favourite photo of the day – Jez back in the water again, watching the ducks.

Jez watches the ducks

Notice the tip of her tail just peaking out of the water.

It was a good choice of walk on a hot day.

A year ago today

We were down by the River Stour at Cowgrove, where I took this very pastoral scene.

Pastoral Scene

Max so wants to go for a walk

Tuesday 30th June 2015

Poor little boy is going stir crazy. At first we could hardly get him past the end of the drive, but now he wants to go out on walks. He’s still limping quite badly despite his strong painkillers, though, so a proper walk is out of the question. Yesterday I walked him very slowly around the small pond next to the house (the smaller of the two Creekmoor Ponds), and this morning I did the same thing, only this time taking the camera with me. It was a lovely sunny day, so lighting was difficult, but I was using it to practice what I have been learning about Exposure from an online course. Even so, this first shot, from the top of the pond, is a combination of 3 separate exposures.

Creekmoor Ponds

We used to take Max swimming in this pond and so he wanted to join the ducks and swan.

Ducks and the swan gather as we approach

I did let him in the shallow corner for a paddle, though. As you can see he’s looking at me imploringly, wanting me to throw something for him (which is out of the question now).

Please throw something Mum

And here he is on the opposite corner, in a nice little leafy spot.

Mum, Please!

He did ok on his walk today, which was good. Perhaps we can let him go up to Delph Woods with Chris and Jez tomorrow as they don’t tend to walk very far.

Later on, evening to be precise, the sun looked very pretty going down behind the clouds. You can’t get a great shot from our garden, and I didn’t have time to run round to try a shot across the Ponds, so I just took this one.

Sunset over the garden

That’s the dead branch on our oak tree you can see there. We are waiting for the planning permission to come through to have it and another removed and the crown taken down to try to help strengthen the tree.

A year ago today

The squirrels were busy knocking over the bird feeder at my Dad’s.

All the better to get at the food

It’s Shanks’ pony for us

Thursday 5th February 2015

For those of you who don’t know, Shanks’ pony means walking. Apparently the North American version is Shanks’ Mare. Anyway, walking is what we are reduced to at the moment. Overnight I hunted around the internet and though the problem with the car might be that the chip in my key was damaged and so the immobiliser is cutting in. So for Max’s walk this morning we walked around to the garage to try Chris’ key in the car. It didn’t work. The garage is going to borrow another diagnostic computer to try on the car.

Walking to the garage means that Max gets to go to Hatch Pond, so he was a happy dog. He wasn’t so happy when a family of swans decided to come over and hassle him though.

Max gets hassled by the swans at Hatch Pond

This was the main culprit: last year’s cygnet.

Last year's cygnet

I got him out of the water and we moved on round the pond, but the swans were relentless in their pursuit of Max.

They're behind you!

Sadly we therefore had to give the idea of Max playing in the pond up as a bad job.

As we walked on home we were followed by this noisy little chap.

All sorts duck

He wasn’t happy with our presence either. As for what sort of a duck he is, I think the answer is an all-sorts.

And lastly, there was a small flock of tufted ducks on the pond – always one of my favourites.

Tufted ducks

I think they are so attractive.

So that was our walk for today. As for the car, the garage couldn’t find the fault so I’m going to have to have it towed to the Vauxhall dealership in Wimborne.

A year ago today

Max and I went to Upton Heath where the wind and rain was all a bit much for him.

Wind alert!

We were at Upton Country Park today

Tuesday 21st October 2014

It was sunny and so I took the EOS 6D with me today. As usual, we started off walking through the Woodland Walk, where Max spent a happy few minutes in amongst the sweet chestnuts.

Sweet Chestnut forage

The ducks were happily swimming around on the lake…

Ducks on the lake

…until two dogs arrived, of course.

Max and Jez at the lake

(I don’t know if you can see Jez in the background behind Max in that one).

This is the path leading past the lake to Hamworthy.

The path to Hamworthy

And along the back path I found this sycamore leaf caught in the fence.

Sycamore Leaf

It looks as though someone might have placed it there.

Further on and Max had a quick play in the stream


While Jez waited for him on the little bridge.


From there we walked on back to the gardens and then on back to the car, as I am still trying to keep the walks relatively short for both dogs.

A year ago today

We had a bit of a wet walk on Upton Heath.

Matching coats

Not much walking today

Tuesday 27th May 2014

Jez and I only managed short walks today. Well, I say that, but her morning walk ’round the block’ took in an extremely big block and took us 40 minutes, during which it showered on us.

A lot of today, being Dad’s first day home, was spent sorting things out and waiting for the District Nurse (daily injections to prevent DVT) and the Rehab Team (physiotherapy), plus getting me insured for Dad’s car, and shopping etc. So Jez and I didn’t get out again until the evening, when I only had my phone with me.

We went to Nea Meadows again tonight. This was the pond at dusk.

Nea Meadows Pond at dusk

The ducks thought Jez had food for them. Jez thinks the ducks might be food!

The ducks think Jez has got food for them. Jez thinks the ducks are food for her.

But in the end both decided it was all a waste of time.

Going their separate ways

Now we get to play the game ‘Where’s Jez?’

Where's Jez

Ah, there she is!


Dad’s certainly much better for being home, although he gets very tired, but that’s to be expected.

A year ago today

Jez, Max and I went to Badbury Rings.

Badbury Rings