A massage then off to the River Stour

Thursday 15th May 2014

The massage was for Jez, you understand. She had an appointment with her physiotherapist, Rachael, in the morning. I’m pleased to say that Rachael was very pleased with Jezebel’s progress, and unless she has any setbacks, her next appointment is in a month’s time.

In the afternoon, as it was a lovely warm, sunny day, Jez, Max and I went for a walk along the River Stour at Cowgrove, where Jez took the opportunity to stand on her favourite tree trunk while Max had a swim.

Jez stands on her favourite tree trunk

It was a bit of a day for nature again today. First there was the oak tree in the middle of the field that I like.

Oak Tree

Then there was the little rabbit nibbling on the grass in the same field (fortunately the dogs couldn’t get at it).

Rabbit

And then there was this beautiful Cuckoo Flower growing near the farm.

Cuckoo Flower

Back at the river the dogs enjoyed the cooling water. First Jez waded out…

Jez wades out

… then she waded back.

Jez wades back

While Max enjoyed playing with his cone.

Max with his cones

And while Max played, Jez waited on the bank. This one is called ‘Where’s Jez?’

Where's Jez?

Ah, there she is: hiding in the grass.

There she is!

While Max was playing in the river two dogs we sometimes meet came along. One of them, Jodie, so wanted to play, but as I couldn’t see her owner I didn’t like to throw a cone for her. Here she is standing in the river looking imploringly at me.

Jodie

Isn’t she pretty? We eventually caught up with her owner and walked back to the car with them.

A year ago today

We went to Upton Country Park for our walk.

Jez and Max at Upton Country Park

Breakfast at Upton Country Park

Friday 21st March 2014

No Jez this morning: just Max and I. I didn’t go down to Parkstone Bay as I often do on a Friday. Someone had dumped a load of fish down there a couple of days ago that had washed up along the shore where we play and I didn’t want Max gorging himself on rotting fish! So we went to Upton Country Park where I thought it was about time I took another photo of the wheel on the Play Trail.

Wheel on the Play Trail

Breakfast, by the way, wasn’t mine, or Max’s, but was the buzzard’s.

Breakfast

I apologise for the poor quality of that and the next shot – I blame poor light and having to use the Powershot on a long zoom. That said, I did manage to get almost directly underneath the buzzard, who was not at all happy with me.

Someone's unhappy at my presence

So that was me told!

Further on and Max had a play in the stream as usual.

Max in the stream

And along the shoreline I spotted some Shelducks…

Shelduck

… and lots of celandine’s, which are all in bloom at the moment and looking very pretty.

Celandine

In the afternoon I tried out another new cake recipe: Nigella Lawson’s chocolate Guinness cake, which I’ve had my eye on for a long time time now. It was all a bit fraught, though. Firstly I didn’t have enough cocoa powder and had to walk round to the local Co-op to get some more. Then I didn’t have a 23cm springform tin. So I ended up lining my square tin to stop the very runny cake mixture running out and used that instead. It seems to have worked ok. I haven’t taken a photo, though, as I decided not to put the topping, which contains sour cream, double cream and icing sugar on the cake as that would have meant I had to keep the whole thing in the fridge. Instead I’m spooning it on as I serve it.

A year ago today

It was a very wet day. Max and I set off to walk to Upton Country Park but he got a piece of glass in his paw on the way there so I had to phone Chris to come and bring us home.

Taking Max for a walk on the 2nd day of spring!

I get the worst of the day again

Friday 7th March 2014

The forecast was for an overcast morning and bright sunshine in the afternoon. In the end we had an overcast morning and patchy sunshine in the afternoon, although it was considerably warmer then than I had it in the morning. Jez didn’t want to come for a walk, having had 3 walks yesterday, so Max and I went down the The Baiter and Whitecliffe Park along the edge of Poole Harbour. I have to say it wasn’t particularly warm, as there was a chill to the breeze, and most people were still well wrapped up. It was nice to see the blossom is coming out on the shrubs though.

Blossom

And by the little pond a willow is in bloom.

Pussy Willow

Still on the nature front, oystercatchers were poking about in the shallows at Whitecliffe Park.

Oystercatchers

Although it was quite hazy I was surprised that Corfe Castle showed up so well today, through the gap in the Purbeck Hills to the west of Poole Harbour.

Corfe Castle from the Baiter, Poole

The tide was just right today for Max to have a good play in the water. Here he is at the bottom of the steps.

Max

When we were down on the beach by the Baiter we watched as a ship headed into the port.

Coming into Port

I’m not sure whether it was the ship or Max in the water that put this flock of Brent Geese to flight.

Brent Geese take flight

All in all it was a good walk, and at the end of it I had one tired, wet dog.

Tired, wet dog at the end of his walk

From this day a year ago

It looks like it was a pretty wet day. I took Max to Delph Woods to try and avoid the worst of the rain.

Max in the pond at Delph Woods

In which Max has to share his pond

Monday 24th February 2014

We had bright sunshine first thing, but by the time I got to sing my little ‘Bin Day’ song to get the dogs out it had clouded over and the sun had disappeared. That meant Jez set out on our walk to Upton Heath with us. She didn’t get very far though: to the bottom of Bluebell Lane and then she would go no further, so I turned round and took her home before setting out, once again, with just Max.

Our walk was fairly uneventful, although we did have a surprise when we got to his favourite pond: it was already occupied.

There were visitors at Max's favourite pond

And in case you can’t make them out, there was a male and female mallard on the pond, which moved to the bank when Max got it. I kept him to the near side of the pond though, so we didn’t really disturb them much.

Pair of Mallards

For a Springer Max is very good around ducks – he rarely attempts to chase them. Normally he’s far too interested in playing in the water to bother about such things.

Oh my! How he’s grown!

Saturday 22nd February 2014

The ‘he’ in question is Ozzie, the deerhound, but more of him later.

I got all behind this morning: I was trying to contact a local specialist garage as the car is playing up at the moment. Despite keep trying I couldn’t get an answer on the phone so I drove round there, only to find it was all closed up even though it was supposed to be open. So I called in at my normal garage, who stuck the car on their computer and decided the fault might not be what they’d thought it was when I’d phoned them and they’d referred me to the specialist. They weren’t sure if they’d managed to fix it though, and neither are we. I’ll just have to see how it goes.

So I was late doing my cleaning. Even so that didn’t make me late taking the dogs over Upton Heath in the afternoon. The sun of the morning was disappearing again, and the wind was getting up. Even so we had quite a lot of sunshine so it wasn’t too cold. It can’t have been – we were over there for 2 hours. This was the view looking towards Poole once we turned onto the heath from the Roman Road.

Upton Heath

And here’s a shot of the little path we follow around the back of the hill.

Path behind the hill

And now it’s time for a tree: this time a silver birth trunk that has got Razor Strop Fungi growing up it.

Razor strop fungi on a silver birch trunk

Walking on down the hill we met the cows.

Cows grazing on Upton Heath

One of which crept up behind Max and stood watching him as he waited in the the gully at the bottom of the hill for me to throw something for him.

Someone is taking an interest in Max

And then we met Ozzie.

Ozzie at 16 months

I can’t believe how much he’s grown since we last saw him – he must have had a bit of a growth spurt. He’s 16 months old now and weighs 8.5 stone (119 lbs). And he decided to try jump up and put his paws on my shoulders so he could lick my face. Good job I like dogs. He is just fabulous though.

When we got to the lower heath a certain little brown dog was keen to play cone.

Jez wants to play cone

After which she was all puffed out.

A happy dog after her game

We even met one of the Exmoor Ponies.

Exmoor Pony

Which was a bit odd, as normally the three of them are fairly close together and I couldn’t see the others at all. I like this parting shot I got of this one though.

Exmoor Pony

Although I’d washed him off in the stream I shampooed Max when we got home: he has been scratching an awful lot recently. Jez kept well out of the way, just in case some of that shampoo stuff headed her way. She really does not do baths.

Sunshine at Upton Country Park

Thursday 20th February 2014

Today started with rain, but the forecast said it should be clearing during the morning so I didn’t hurry too much to take the dogs out. It was still drizzling when I finally decided to leave, though, so I wrapped up in full waterproofs and headed out – with both Max and Jez, much to my amazement. As the weather wasn’t great I thought we’d go to Upton Country Park. It turned out to be a good choice. In the carpark we met some friends so stopped to say ‘Hello’ and then we headed off to the Woodland Walk, where I spotted this rather nice bracket fungi which I must have walked past on numerous occasions before.

Bracket fungi on a tree

When we got to the lake Jez was fascinated by the ducks chasing each other around and got up on an old tree stump for a better look.

Jez watches the ducks

Walking on, and I finally found some shoots on the hawthorns.

Bud burst on the Hawthorns

Best of all though was that, as we walked on, I turned to look to my right and there was a buzzard, perched a few yards from the path. It was quite unconcerned by our presence.

Sitting watching the world go by

We walked on round, meeting up and chatting with more friends along the way. And as we did so, the sun came out. When we got to the gardens, near the shoreline, the sun was just right on one of the old oak trees down there. I always think this is such magnificent tree – it’s so old and gnarled.

Old Oak

I was worried it might have been damaged by the storms (one close by lost a large branch last year), but it’s all in one piece.

Gnarly

Finally, as we walked around the front of the park, I spotted some really bright orange jelly fungus growing on one of the trees. It looks great against the blue sky.

Orange Jelly Fungus

so I didn’t need my waterproofs – in fact I was too hot by the end of the walk. Typical!

Guess what the weather was doing today

Tuesday 22nd October 2013

Yes – it was raining. Well, it was raining up until about 10.30am, when it started to clear. And then in the afternoon we had sunshine up until about 5.30pm when we had a huge thunderstorm and lots more rain. So, raining in the morning meant Jez walked to the front door, looked out, and then walked back inside again. That meant that it was just Max and I went to Upton Country Park this morning. It may not have been particularly pleasant weather for me, but it seems it was great weather for ducks (and Max).

Nice weather for ducks ... and Max

As we left the carpark we met an elderly gentleman we chat to sometimes, with his dog, so walked a short way with him. We were discussing sweet chestnuts as we wandered through the Woodland Walk, and he said that one of the trees was producing particularly nice chestnuts this year and that he’d picked up quite a few yesterday, so we both went off foraging. Here he is with his dog.

Gathering Sweet Chestnuts

Max, of course, was in sweet chestnut heaven, while I picked up quite a lot for Chris who likes them. The only problem is Chris doesn’t quite believe that I’ve picked up sweet chestnuts (as opposed to horse chestnuts, the casing of which are completely different) and that I’m not going to poison him.

Even though it’s raining, its surprising the number of things you can find to photograph if you look. Like this shining, wet sycamore leaf, for example.

Sycamore Leaf in the rain

In the woods near Hamworthy, which I have discovered are called Grove Woods, I found this really nice, ruffled looking fungus growing.

Ruffled fungi

And do you remember that slightly hollowed out tree stump that was collecting water? Well this is it today, with me reflected in it.

Reflection

Further on, the rain had stopped, but the stream was flooded, which Max seemed to find very confusing (although I don’t know why as he’s seen it flooded loads of times in the past).

Max is confused by the flooded stream

By the time we got round to the board walk the sun was starting to peek through the clouds and was lighting up the reed beds.

Reedbeds at High Tide

As you can see, the tide was really high this morning. This shot is taken from the other end of the board walk, looking north east.

Reed Beds

On round the front of the house, the leaves are finally starting to turn on the trees, providing some autumn colour.

Autumn colout

Apparently this process is running some 2 weeks late this year.

The front lawn in Autumn

Once back home I had a quick bite of lunch, then had to take Jez for a physio appointment. We are seeing Rachael up at the vets now, and on the whole Jez seems to be enjoying it more. She’s certainly moving a lot more freely, and her vet is going to use the video of her I took recently in a talk he is giving next week which includes a section on arthritis in dogs. I’d taken my iPad with me to Jez’s appointment so that I could show the video to Rachael, so while I was there I took the opportunity to get a photo (this one is slightly better than my last attempt to photograph Jez receiving her massage).

Jez getting her massage from Rachael

I’m quite impressed with the quality of the photo. Perhaps I should take them on the iPad more often!