In which we meet the Kray twins

Thursday 28th August 2014

By which I mean two 12 week old black Labrador puppies called Ronnie and Reggie. For those of you who don’t know, by the way, the Kray twins were notorious criminals from the East End of London in the 1950s and 1960s. The two boys we met were a lot softer and more friendly, but I’ll come back to them later.

So today we went to the River Stour at Cowgrove. It had rained a lot again overnight, so I wore my wellies, which was a good job as it was pretty muddy in places. I was also surprised to see how much the river had risen again, and how fast it was. Jez came with Max and I today, and as soon as we got there she headed over Eye Bridge from where I took this shot looking downstream.

River Stour from Eye Bridge

It’s odd. Last year there was no way she would go over the bridge as she didn’t like the slatted steps. Now I can’t keep her off it!

Once both dogs had been in the water and Jez had had a good sniff around the opposite bank we crossed back again. As we did so, a couple of ducks landed on the river in a sudden flurry of wings and with quite a splash. Jez and Max were fascinated.

Jez and Max study the ducks from Eye Bridge

I hope, by the way, that you agree with me that that photo looks rather good in black and white, although oddly the original didn’t have a lot of colour to it as the woodwork of the bridge is grey where it has weathered.

Walking along our normal path these teasles with the sun behind them caught my eye.


I also spotted a notice from the National Trust telling walkers that they would shortly be replacing the wooden footbridge along the path. It took me a while to work out where they meant, and then I realised that it was the little bridge over a stream just before we reach the place where we play in the water. Here is Max posing on the existing bridge.

Max on the footbridge

And just to even things up, here is a photo of Jez (again in black and white) waiting to come through the stile by the farm.

Jez waits at the stile

You may have noticed from the quality of the photos that I had the EOS 6D with me again today, so I took the opportunity to snap a photo of part of my favourite oak tree.

Oak Tree

And so onto the Kray twins, who were at the playing place when we got back there. Here they are with Jez.

Jez with the Kray twins (Reggie & Ronnie)

And I called this one ‘Whispering Sweet Nothings’.

Whispering sweet nothings

Now don’t ask me which is Ronnie and which is Reggie, but here’s one of them posing for me.

12 week old Labrador puppy

And here he is again (at least, I think it’s the same one!).

12 week old Labrador puppy

I’m hoping we’ll get to see them again as their car followed me virtually the whole way home, so I think they live somewhere near us.

A year ago today

I took the car in for service so Max and I went for a walk round Hatch Pond.

Hatch Pond


Jez has been in a funny mood all day

Saturday 23rd August 2014

She didn’t want to go out for a walk with Chris and Max this morning, and she didn’t want to come with Max and I this afternoon. So it was only the two of us who went on our regular Saturday afternoon walk over Upton Heath. We started off by walking up the Roman Road (this photo was taken from under the old railway bridge).

Walking along the Roman Road

Then once we got up to Pinesprings we turned onto the heath.

View over the Heath

As we wandered along the path I spotted a stonechat off to our left, looking a little bit tatty for some reason.


We walked up to the Viewpoint and then round the back of the hill, where a rather strange site greeted us. Across the heath, in the tussocky- boggy area that has no paths across it and is virtually impossible to walk across, was a man with his two sons. And they were trying to take their bikes across this inaccessible area.

Stuck in the mud

I don’t know what they thought they were doing. As Chris says, there are no paths across there for a reason. And they kept having to lift their bikes up and over obstacles. I was pleased to see that they eventually made it to higher, drier ground though.

On high ground at last

I doubt if that’s a mistake they’ll be making again in a hurry!

After that we headed down across the Heath towards Max’s favourite pond. On the way I spotted this Grayling butterfly…

Grayling Butterfly

… and we met a lady looking for Gentians (the flower). She had found one, but it wasn’t open. I will keep an eye on it when I’m over there though to see if I can find it open and photograph it.

And so onto the pond.

Max in the pond

Don’t ask me how I managed to get a muddy, brown pond looking that blue!

Max and I came home and found Jez wide awake and running around wanting to play. So after a short rest I took both dogs out round Creekmoor Ponds.

View across Creekmoor Ponds

And if anyone is wondering whether summer is really ending and autumn approaching, I found these berries along the path behind the ponds.


I think they give us our answer.

A year ago today

Jez was in a funny mood a year ago too. We obvoiusly started off heading for Upton Heath, but ended up meandering along the Castleman Trailway and then back to Creekmoor Ponds. This is the Trailway.

Castleman Trailway at Creekmoor

Meet and greet by the River Stour

Friday 15th August 2014

This morning I had a dental appointment: to have a crown fitted. I had had the prep done a couple of weeks ago, at which time I’d spent about 30 minutes in the dentist’s chair. I thought this morning was supposed to be quick, but in the end I spent over 20 minutes in the chair again. The crown, on one of my back teeth, is fitted though (and at great expense!).

That meant that I took the dogs out in the afternoon today. I choose to go to the River Stour at Cowgrove. Now Jez had always been very reluctant to cross Eye Bridge (which is near the car park) as she does not like the slatted steps. She has been over once before though, and today she decided that there was so much going on on the bridge (from where teenagers were jumping into the river and making a lot of noise about it) and on the opposite bank that she had to go and investigate. This shot was taken from the bridge.

Afternoons by the river

Once over the other side Jez went into the river by the weir, where she met this young lab.

Meet and Greet in the River Stour

If you have been reading this blog for some time you will know that there is a ford across the top of the weir which you can walk across. We all walked across it last summer, so today Jez decided to go and have another look.

On the edge

That line you can see running out behind her is the edge of the weir.

Of course, Max was in the water chasing his cone as well.

Eventually I persuaded Jez that we should go back across the bridge and continue with our walk. En route we found this lovely bee on a comfrey flower.

Bee on Comfrey

On our second visit to their normal playing place I joined them in the water to throw cones for Max. While there I spotted a kingfisher. I had just focused on it when Jez headed in its direction and scared it off, so I didn’t get a photo. We were joined by some more canoeists, though.

More canoeists

Eventually I decided it was time to head home and get the dinner. Walking back along the river bank though, I glanced across the river at one point and was struck by the view in the afternoon sun (remember we normally walk there in the morning when the light is different). And this was the resulting photo.

Across the river

It’s surprising what a difference a few hours makes.

A year ago today

We went to Broadstone Recreation Ground where I took this photo of Jez and Max.

Jez and Max take a rest from playing ball

Different day, different heath

Sunday 10th August 2014

Sunday means another afternoon walk for me. Today we went to Canford Heath.

Path across Canford Heath

The heather and the gorse were looking particularly lovely.

Gorse and Heather

As we walked along there were lots of Small Heath Butterflies flitting about. Fortunately this one decided to land and stay put long enough for me to take a photo of it.

Small Heath Butterfly

The weather might not be as hot as it was, but when the sun comes out it still feels really warm, which means the dogs were searching for water. Sadly there is very little left on the heath. Here Jez is lying panting by the dried stream bed.

No water in the stream for a hot little dog

At least there is one pond left on the hill as we head back to the car though, so the dogs were able to cool down there before we headed home.

A year ago today

We went to Upton Heath where I took this photo of a Grayling Butterfly.

Grayling Butterfly

Back to normal

Monday 14th July 2014

Which means that Monday is bin day and it’s time to go for a walk over Upton Heath. Walking along the old railway line I came across what I’ve now identified to be Common Toadflax. I seems to be very attractive to insects.

Attractive to insects

There were also lots of small heath butterflies around this morning. Unfortunately, most of them didn’t want to settle for long enough for me to get a photo. This was the best I could do, I’m afraid.

Small Heath Butterfly

It was quite a hot morning, so Jez was glad to have a lie down in the shade when she found some.

Jez rests in the shade

Max just wanted me to throw a cone for him, but he did pause for long enough for me to snap this shot.


As usual we came home via Creekmoor Ponds, where both dogs cooled off in the water.

After that it was back into the usual round of shopping, cleaning, washing and cooking for me. It’s a good feeling being back though.

A year ago today

Jez sits and gazes out over Creekmoor Ponds.

Jez sits in the shade watching the fishermen opposite

A walk around Highcliffe

Tuesday 8th July 2014

Well, not all of Highcliffe, of course – it’s too big for that. But after lunch, when I had packed Dad off my Aunt’s (I let him drive himself today!), I set off to walk to Highcliffe castle and from there east along the beach.

My first photo of the afternoon was this pretty little cornflower, spattered with rain drops, which was growing in someone’s garden.


I took several more photos of Highcliffe Castle today as I had the EOS 6D with me, so here’s another view of it.

Highcliffe Castle

When I said I walked east along the beach that wasn’t strictly correct. I actually walked east along a path that was just up from the beach but below the cliff top. Which was where I spotted this hoverfly coming in to land.

Coming in to land

And I was surprised to see that the blackberries are starting to ripen already.

The blackberries are ripening

A bit further on and the path came closer to the beach and I lost the trees that grew along it higher up.

Highcliffe Beach

In that photo, and this next one, you can make out Barton on Sea, which is the next town along.

Highcliffe Beach

At the time I took those photos I had stopped to chat to a couple of lifeguards who were keeping an eye on the beach: not that there was anyone in or near the water to keep an eye on. They were talking on the radio to their colleagues further up the coast at Poole and Bournemouth and were telling me that there was a huge thunderstorm there. In fact, after I got home it was all over Twitter and later the news as parts of the towns were flooded. This photo, though, shows you Poole and Bournemouth being hit by said storm.

Storm over Poole and Bournemouth

I had taken my waterproof coat with me as rain had been forecast, and I was glad I had for this was the view when I turned up from the beach a few minutes later.

The storm clouds are heading my way

The place where I turned back inland from the beach was Chewton Bunny. You may remember that I visited Chewton Common a few weeks ago, and there is a big, luxury hotel here called Chewton Glen. But back to Chewton Bunny: as the sign explains, ‘Bunny’ is a New Forest term meaning a narrow valley or wooded ravine. Which is very apposite for this little valley.

Chewton Bunny

The Bunny ends at the main road, where the stream drops over a little waterfall.


When I was walking along there I felt a spot or two of rain, so put by coat on. After I left the Bunney and walked back along the main road through the town it started to rain. But fortunately it was only a quick shower and we missed that huge storm.

A year ago today

Jez, Max and I went to Upton Country Park where we met these young calves.

Brave litte chap

The River Stour and the tree of many faces

Wednesday 7th May 2014

This morning I had to get up bright and early to drive across town and take my Dad to the eye clinic at Bournemouth Hospital again. Being early it meant I got stuck in all of the rush hour traffic driving over there. But at least his appointment was really quick today, so it meant that I could drop him back at his flat and then call in at the garden centre, where I bought some bedding plants, and tomato and chilli plants, before coming home. Consequently I took the dogs for a walk in the afternoon.

Jez is definitely improving. We went to the River Stour at Cowgrove, and she was trotting out in front of me for most of the walk. It was good to see her looking as though she was actually enjoying her walk again. All of that running around meant she had to cool down in the river though. I call this photo ‘One in, one out’.

One in, one out

The weather was a bit mixed today. It was quite cloudy but we occasionally had some sunshine.


There were no birds about on the river today, but walking along the path by the river bank I noticed quite a lot of comfrey about.

Common Comfrey

And there are loads of Celandines brightening up the landscape.


Further on again and we came to the tree-of-many-faces.

The tree of many faces

I’ve taken a couple of photos again as I have quite a few new readers since I posted the photos of it last year. We have face number 1.

Face 1

And face number 2.

Face 2

And the Scream mask face.

Scream Face

It is such a beautiful old tree. I love seeing it.

Back at the little bay where the dogs play Max had another game of cone, while Jez showed us what she thinks about having to wait for him to play in the River.


Despite that yawn she continued to be bright and perky all the way back to the car. I’m hoping this means that she is finally on the mend.

A year ago today

It’s an opportunity to share a photo of Jez having a rest in the shade in our garden.

Jez rests in the shade