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


We visit my Dad

Wednesday 17th August 2016

As usual on a Wednesday morning I drove over to Highcliffe to visit my Dad and took the dogs with me. There was nothing much for me to do over there today, so we walked the dogs over to Nea Meadows nature reserve which is near him. I didn’t have a camera with me, so as is often the case when I’m at my Dad’s, the photos were all taken on my iPhone.

Back at Nea Meadows

We walked around the pond and, as is Dad’s habit, had a sit on the seat part way around.


While we sat there I was throwing a ball for Max, but it was hot and eventually I persuaded him to have a rest.


After that we walked on round and the dogs cooled down in the stream before we walked back to Dad’s flat.

A year ago today

We went for a walk by the River Stour. Here’s Jez on Eye Bridge.

Crossing the bridge

Nea Meadows with Dad

Wednesday 27th July 2016

Wednesday mornings I go and visit my Dad in Highcliffe, which is just the other side of Bournemouth and Christchurch. I usually take the dogs with me as he likes to see them, and today, after I had done one or two little jobs for him, we walked over to Nea Meadows, which is his local nature reserve.

Here’s Dad counting the ducks on the pond there.

Dad watches the ducks

Poor little Jez. She’s not walking very well at the moment as on Sunday, when we had finished our walk on Upton Heath, she fell off the top of the ramp onto the road. She landed on her bad side and lay winded for a few seconds, but all of this week she has seemed a bit stiff and sore. She’s always happy to walk to Nea Meadows, however,

Jez has a rest

And that’s it for today, I’m afraid. As you may have been able to tell I only had my iPhone with me so didn’t take many photos.

A year ago today

Max and I play tug with a cone on Upton Heath.

Playing tug with a cone

Upton Country Park and a visit to Dad

Wednesday 3rd September 2014

The plan this morning was to go to Upton Country Park as it meant that I could better control the time taken on our walk as I had arranged to visit Dad in the afternoon and was planning on having an early lunch. Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men… It was only Max and I on our walk, but we spent so long meeting and greeting, and taking photos, that in the end I didn’t get home until just on lunchtime!

We got there reasonably early though. The cows were still having their breakfast and an early morning drink.

Time for a morning drink

In the Woodland Walk fungi are starting to appear, like this Hare’s Foot Inkcap (I love these – they are so delicate and pretty).

Hare's Foot Inkcap

And this bracket fungus.

Bracket Fungus

We also met two lovely dogs, and for once Max didn’t growl at them. We met a lovely 6 month old Staffy called Stanley, and Poppy, a Wheaten Terrier / Saluki / Deerhound cross who is only a year old. Poor Stanley – Max kept pushing his luck and trying to mount him. But Stanley didn’t seem at all concerned. He just wanted to play with Poppy. So, here are the three dogs.


After that we went to the lake, where the ducks were out and about.

Mallard on the lake

And then on round to the stream.

Max in the stream

Later on, a little way after the boardwalk I came across the largest bunch of bracket fungi I think I have ever seen.

Bracket Fungus

While I was photographing them a lady came along and pointed out a hen pheasant in the field. It was a long way away, so this photo is cropped heavily.

Hen pheasant

And lastly from this morning a bit of a puzzle for you. Can you make out what this is?

Upside down in an oak tree

It’s a Common Darter dragonfly hanging upside down in an oak tree.

So, as I said, in the afternoon I took the dogs over to see Dad. He was well and is walking much further, so we walked the dogs over to Nea Meadows, the nature reserve local to him. Here he is giving Jez a treat.

Dad gives Jez a treat

And here’s yet another photo of Max in a stream!

Max in the stream

We had a nice afternoon and once again I came back across Bournemouth in the rush hour, and still found it quicker than my usual route via the airport.

A year ago today

Coincidentally Max and I were at Upton Country Park, although on this particular day I also walked him along the top of Holes Bay, where I took this photo.

What do you mean I can't go in?

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

Jez and I move to Highcliffe

Sunday 25th May 2014

Dad came out of hospital today. He was supposed to leave at 10.30am, so we packed the car up with mine and Jezebel’s things and headed over to his flat in Highcliffe. As we only have one car now the plan was for Chris to keep the car (so he drove us over) and for us to insure my Dad’s car for me to drive. Pat and her son were at the flat when we got there, although Greg soon left. Pat stayed to see Eric, but she is having to move in with her son temporarily as Dad is no longer able to care for her. In the end the hospital transport never arrived for Dad until 1.15pm, so he did not get home until just after 2pm. He managed to negotiate the steps from the car park and the step into the flat on his own, though, which was good. Chris and I left him and Pat to have a chat for a while, then Chris loaded up the car with Pat’s luggage and took her to her son’s before he and Max went on home.

Dad was very tired, so late afternoon I left him to snooze and took Jez to Nea Meadows, the local nature reserve we visit sometimes.

Nea Meadows Pond

As well as the pond there is an open grassy area that the dogs can run around in. Here Jez is walking along with another lady and her dog.

Walking in Nea Meadows

In the grounds of Nea Meadows is an old cedar tree. Dad and I noticed a few months ago that it had been cut right back after the storms. Today I saw there was a notice saying it had root fungal root and that the council had been monitoring it for several years. This year, after a large branch came down they decided to cut back all the top branches, leaving it looking a little bare.

Cedar in Nea Meadows, Highcliffe

Also in the grounds is a bowls club. Today the green was looking particularly splendid in the late afternoon sunllight.

Nea Meadows Bowling Club

Dad wasn’t late to bed tonight, as was to be expected. Although I’d bought Jez’s bed she decided to ignore it and sleep on the sofa instead.

A year ago today

We went over Upton Heath, where I took this rather nice photo of the little Heath Milkwort.

Heath Milkwort

A trip to Highcliffe

Thursday 14th march 2013

It’s getting to be a pattern: the sun is out, so Jez stays at home catching a few rays while I take Max out. She then goes on the afternoon and evening walks with Max and Chris. So today I only had Max with me, and as I didn’t want to be too long, I took him over Upton Heath. It was a lovely sunny day, and not quite so cold as the wind had moved around to the north east. As it was sunny I took a couple of photos of where a lot of the scrub (bracken and young birch trees) have been cleared from the lower heath. This first shot is looking back towards the small copse we walk though.

Scrub clearance on Upton Heath

And this is a small pond that has been uncovered near the little pool and boardwalk where Max likes me to throw his cone.

Scrub has been cleared around a small pond

The reason that I didn’t want to take too long in the morning was that I had arranged to go over to Highcliffe (the other side of Bournemouth and Christchurch) to visit my father in the afternoon. As part of the visit we took the dogs for a short walk to the little nature reserve close to his flat: Nea Meadows. The reserve consists of a pond, a small stream and an area of meadow. Around the meadow there are a couple of seats made from tree trunks which have been sawn in half. I always think they are very appropriate for the setting. Today, though, I knoticed that one of them was engraved to say who had donated it. I went to take a photo, but of course, my photo bomber had to get in on the act by dropping his ball on it for me to throw.

Seat with inscription ... and Max!

Nearby is a lovely old oak tree. I’m usually there in the summer when it provides welcome shade. With it’s branches bare, though, you can see what a lovely shape it is. By the way, the seat in the previous photo is under the tree to the left.

Oak Tree, Nea Meadows Nature Reserve

Finally, I;’m not really supposed to post photos of my father, but I liked this one of him, his partner, Pat, and the two dogs on a more conventional seat near the pond.

Dad and Pat with the Dogs