Just me and Max this morning

Tuesday 23rd August 2016

Jez did not want to come for a walk this morning, so I took Max to Upton Country Park. This morning we walked all the way around the park: I thought it would do us both good to have a bit more of a walk.

Here is Max enjoying the stream.

Max in the stream

He is going to be a very happy boy soon as the Sweet Chestnuts are coming along well.

This year's sweet chestnuts are coming along nicely

As we passed the lake I spotted a heron doing a spot of fishing. The lens on this camera would not allow me to get a close up though.

Heron on the lake

We walked on round and Max had another play in another bit of stream, and then we took the shoreline path. This was looking across the reed beds to Poole.

View across the reed beds

Where the shoreline path through the Country Park meets the cycle path to Poole there is a stone seat under a tree. Today it was providing much needed shade.

A shady seat

If you want to sit and rest there a while it provides a lovely view across Upton Lake to Poole.

View from the seat

We continued on round and cut up across the front lawn before walking back through the Woodland Walk to the stream for one last dip before we went back to the car.

A year ago today

We went down to Lake Pier at Hamworthy. It was a windy morning and a kite boarder was taking full advantage.

Kite surfing


Thursday morning at Upton Country Park

Thursday 11th June 2015

So it’s Thursday morning once more, so time for a slightly earlier than normal walk at Upton Country Park before my pilates class. It was nice and warm this morning – t-shirt weather – so Max and I had a very pleasant walk. Fairly early on I was pleased to see this beautiful Painted Lady butterfly on the cow parsley.

Sweet Painted Lady

We walked on round, past the shoreline, where there was nothing of interest to report other than one or two shelducks and some seagulls in the distance. But as we approached the lake I noticed that the dog roses are out.

Dog Rose

Best of all though, when we got to the lake itself the heron was close by (as opposed to being on the opposite bank) so I was able to get a really nice photo of it today.


What a beautiful bird. Just so long as it’s not eating all of the fish from our garden pond, that is.

A year ago today

Dad, Jez and I went down to Mudeford Quay where I took some very nice portrait photos of Jezebel.


Pilates day

Thursday 4th June 2015

Thursday morning is my pilates class, so Max and I have been going to Upton Country Park for our walk so that I know I can get home in time to get changed and get out again. Today, this was the view from where the old bird hide was, looking towards Poole.

View over Upton Lake

As you can see, it was quite a nice morning.

Round at the lake on the other side of the park the heron was back. We haven’t seen him there for ages.

The heron is back

I didn’t want to walk Max too far due to his limp, so rather than go round the new path, where he has 4 places he expects me to throw his cone into the water for him, we cut through the Woodland Walk.

Max in the Woodland Walk

I know I have posted this before, but many of you won’t have seen it. On one of the old, dead tree trunks are carved the words ‘Look Up’, and when you do this is what you see (lit up nicely by the sun this morning).

Tree Carving in the sun

I can’t help wondering who climbed up there to do that!

A year ago today

I took Dad our to the Farm Shop at Bashley in the New Forest, and en route home we stopped off at the cafe at the Motorcycle Museum where Jez got to meet some alpacas.

Getting to know you

Not quite a walk along the River Stour

Friday 5th September 2014

That had been the intention when I set off with the dogs for the River Stour at Cowgrove this morning. When we got to the little car park though the gate into the field was locked, and I just managed to squeeze in to park by the ford. We got out of the car and were about to start out walk only to be told that the small footbridge further along (just before the bay where the dogs play) has been removed (it is being replaced). Jez had other ideas anyway and headed straight across Eye Bridge.

Crossing Eye Bridge

I chatted with the man you can see on the bridge and he was planning to do the circular dog walk set out on the National Trust sign on the opposite bank. At first I thought we’d just cross back over the bridge and take the long route to the playing place. Meanwhile both dogs went in the water while I photographed a heron fishing by the weir.

Fishing for breakfast

We were about to head back across the bridge when I wondered if the longer ‘there and back’ walk would be too much for Jez, so I thought I’d follow the man’s example and try the alternative walk. We started out around the edge of a recently harvested hay field. It was hard going, and eventually I met the man coming back. He couldn’t find the walk. We both looked and couldn’t see where we had to go, so we turned back. Then I walked around the edge of the next field, which wasn’t right either. It did enable me to take this photo of one of the farm trailers though, with the remnants of the harvest on it.

Harvest time

And I took this shot across the field looking back to the cottages on the opposite side of the river.

Looking across to Cowgrove

By the time we’d finished walking round the field we were all tired out, so we went home. But not before I’d studied the map again. And I still don’t have the faintest idea where this dog walk is supposed to be!

A year ago today

We were at Cowgrove again, where Max was contemplating jumping over the weir.

Don't do it Max!

Sorry – its the river for us again

Friday 25th July 2014

I’m sorry if this is getting a bit repetitive. The hot weather means I’m looking for places with shade and water to walk the dogs, and the River Stour at Cowgrove fits the bill. So this morning, back we went. I have managed a few different photos today though.

First of all, a heron. Normally I don’t join the dogs in the river until we get to the playing place for the second time. This is so that I don’t have to squelch around most of the walk. Today was the exception, though, when I spotted a heron on an old branch in the middle of the river.

Preparing to catch breakfast

I think he was after breakfast.

At the car park we’d met a Great Dane and Labrador we’d seen a couple of days ago, and soon they and another dog joined us. Jez likes large dogs, but I think this Great Dane made her a bit nervous as he’s so bouncy.

Meet and Greet

His owners rescued him 3 months ago and immediately paid for an operation on his eyes, which won’t have been cheap. They are a very nice couple and I take my hat off to them. And as for my saying he is bouncy, here is is bounding back to his Mum.

Bounding back to Mum

So we walked on from there to Max’s usual swimming place…

Waiting to swim

… and I took the opportunity to take a photo of the oak tree in the field there.

Oak Tree

It’s a very fine oak tree.

Then we went on round and back to our playing place, where Jez was rather surprised to see two canoeists coming up the river.


So, of course, she had to go and say ‘Hello’.

Jez goes to say 'Hello'

To be honest I’m surprised he didn’t ground that canoe. The middle of the river isn’t very deep in places, as you can see from this photo I took of me standing out there.

Standing in the middle of the river

We may have come back for the third day running but it was a lovely walk and we had a good time playing in the river – and even managed to stay fairly cool into the bargain.

A year ago today

Oh no! Guess where we were. Yes, you’ve got it. We were at the River Stour again. The weather wasn’t quite so good though. This view is taken from Eye Bridge, near the car park, looking towards Wimborne.

The River Stour from Eye Bridge

Back to the rain

Thursday 8th May 2014

Well I suppose it could have been worse. Heavy rain was forecast all morning, and it was certainly chucking it down when it came time for our morning walk. As Jez doesn’t do heavy rain, she stayed curled up in her bed, so I donned my waterproofs and took Max to Upton Country Park.

A bit of a wet walk

Fortunately, by the time we got to the lake it had just about stopped raining. While Max was retrieving his stick from the lake the heron paid a brief visit.


We haven’t seen it there for quite some time now.

The rain had left this Wood Cranesbill looking very pretty.

Wood Cranesbill in the rain

And this little plant was very pretty too.

Pretty in Pink

Sadly, I haven’t a clue what it is. On a positive note, the rain stayed off for the rest of our walk, so it wasn’t as bad as I had been expecting.

A year ago today

We were on Canford Heath where the old trailer had been dumped by one of the gates.

Old Trailer

What a difference a week makes

Thursday 25th October 2013

Last Thursday I took Max to the River Stour at Cowgrove (“We went down to the river”), and today I did the same. There wasn’t quite as much sun this morning, but it was still sunny for some of the time. And just like last week Jez decided that she preferred to stay and snooze on the bed in the sun. But after all of the rain this past week there was a huge difference in the river. The little shingle beach where the dogs play has disappeared under a foot of water. And there’s no way I can wade out into the middle of the river to play with with dogs anymore: around 2 foot out from the bank the river gets too deep for my wellingtons. Here’s Max in the little play area, and you can get an idea of just how much deeper it is.

The water level is a lot higher today

It’s also flowing an awful lot faster too.

In Max’s favourite swimming spot the higher water meant that it was easier for him to get in and out, since the water now comes over a little ledge on the bank. As ever, he was at his happiest swimming after his cones.

Max having a swim

And here he is a the bank.


This is a shot of the trees to the left of his little swimming spot.

Max's favourite swimming spot on the Stour

I had taken the EDO 6D with me today as the weather and light conditions looked good. It was a good choice. This morning along the river bank there were lots of cobwebs on the last of this summer’s long grass, and many of the plants were covered in dewdrops.

Here’s a good example of a cobweb.


And another.

Cobweb on grass

Here’s the dewdrops.


And the two combined.

Dewdropts and cobwebs

The river, itself, was looking lovely in the early morning light.

River Stour at Cowgrove

Aided by the swans.

River Stour at Cowgrove

And, once again, the early(ish) low light provided a wonderful backdrop.


Meanwhile, up in a tree, a heron was keeping a watchful eye on proceedings, while balancing on one leg.

I think I'll rest that other leg

One thing that did surprise me, though, was that the leaves on the oak I’ve been photographing are only just starting to turn.

The oak tree

Poor Max. I thought the river would give him a good wash off and ease his itching, but in the afternoon and evening he was extremely red on his chest, under his armpits and between his legs. and I’ve found another big blood-blister thing (well, a burst blood vessel) between his legs. I just don’t know what’s going on with the poor boy. He’s got another check-up on Monday to have blood tests run again, though. I just hope we can get him sorted sometime soon, since as time goes on he’s getting progressively worse and it can’t be very nice for him itching all the time.