Playing about in the river

Tuesday 11th October 2016

The river in question is the River Stour at Eyebridge, near Wimborne. I took Max there for his walk this morning. Jez did not want to come as she had found a nice patch of sun to lie in. And I thought I’d treat Max to a play in the river as he is going in to have his lump removed on Thursday and so won’t be allowed in the water for 10 days after that.

It was a bright sunny morning, although we still have a cold east wind. Max didn’t care though. All he wanted to do was get in the river.

Max waits in the river

After we’d visited the big bay where the dogs play and I’d thrown his cone for him we walked further along the river bank to his swimming spot.

Time for a swim

Max had a short swim then we continued on round the circular walk by going along the dry stream bed. This is where the old oak that I love so much is. It was looking rather resplendent today.

Oak Tree

I got in closer and took a photo of its ‘Scream’ face.

Scream face in the oak

And then got closer still to take a photo up through the branches.

Old oak

We continued on our walk and went back to the big bay, where Max had another play. And then we headed back to Eye Bridge, where there was a bit of a surprise waiting for us.

Men in the river alert

It turns out Dorset Fire and Rescue were having a practice session.

Dorset Fire and Rescue

The two men in the water were soon joined by two more.

Messing about in the river

And then all 4 took it in turns jumping off the bridge and generally hanging about in the water.

Just chillin'

Their excuse was they were checking how deep the water was when you jumped (which people do all the time in the summer). I thought Max might join then but he declined.

A year ago today

Jez, Max and I went over to Upton Heath for a walk. I took this photo of Max at Pinesprings.

Max has got a cone



Monday 26th to Thursday 29th September 2016

I’m really sorry about the absence of posts. Hopefully this one will start to explain at least one of the reasons why I have been a little distracted of late. Plus I don’t seem to be taking that many photos, partly due to the overcast weather and very flat light on a lot of days recently. In fact, a lot of the time I’ve been going out without a camera, so only have iPhone photos if I spot something of interest.

Monday was a good example. Max and I went over Upton Heath for our walk. It was a bit of a dull day and I didn’t take the camera. I didn’t really see anything of interest to photograph either, so all I have is a shot of Max standing in the pond.

Max waits in the pond

And then onto that hole. I can’t remember if I mentioned that last week I decided that the ‘stain’ on our hall carpet was actually a growing damp patch. I pulled back the carpet to find the floorboards were soaked though, indicating we had a water leak under the floor. On Tuesday our plumber came. He started taking up the floor in the hall, but it soon became apparent that the leak was actually under the kitchen floor, so that had to come up too.

The mess in our kitchen

As you may be able to see, the floor is soaked though. There is no obvious leak so a pipe must just be weeping. But it’s been doing it for a long time so before anything else can happen we have to wait for the floor to dry out. This was the situation on the Thursday.

Holes in our floor

Although normally we have a board down across it so that we can walk in and out of the kitchen.

Our temporary flooring

As I write this we are still waiting for it to completely dry out.

So moving onto our Thursday walk we went to Broadstone Rec. I was hoping the leaves might show signs of turning, but on the whole they are still green. I did find this maple leaf on the ground though.

Maple leaf

And this little cluster of oak leaves.

Oak leaves

And I was rather touched by this small personal remembrance left at the War Memorial.

In memoriam - left at the war memorial

I’m not sure if you can read the note, but its in remembrance of the person’s uncle who was killed on 27th September 1916 at aged 25.

A year ago today

On 29th September Max and I were out walking on Canford Heath.

Heading across the heath

Signs of Autumn on Upton Heath

Sunday 18th & Monday 19th September 2016

On Sunday I took the dogs up to the top end of Upton Heath at Corfe Mullen for their walk as usual. It’s a bit of a pain at the moment as the car park is closed and we are having to park on a busy road. We had a much longer walk than normal, taking in quite a bit of the heath, much to my surprise. I had been expecting Jez to walk to the big muddy puddle and back as normal so hadn’t taken my camera. Therefore I only have one photo from today – of acorns on an oak sapling, taken on my iPhone.

Acorns On

Monday morning I took Max over to the lower part of Upton Heath. It was a bit of a damp start so again I didn’t have the camera. But here, in the silver birch grove, the fungi are finally starting to appear. Here is a pretty little Grisette.


And an Amanita pantharina nestled at the foot of a tree.

Amanita Pantharina

And that’s about it for today.

A year ago today

There were lots more fungi in evidence on Upton Heath, like this Fly Agaric. Fly Agaric

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

Max and I go to Eye Bridge

Tuesday 6th September 2016

Once again Jez did not feel like joining us for our morning walk. Today I took Max out to the River Stour at Eye Bridge and without Jez in tow we were able to do our full circular walk.

It was a lovely, still morning along the river.

Along the River Stour - going

The teasel flowers have all gone over now and I loved the backdrop of the clouds reflected in the river behind the teasel seed heads.


As usual we stopped for Max to play in the big, shallow bay in the river.

Time to play

And then we walked on to the place where he likes to have a swim.

Time for a swim

When the swans came along and started taking an interest in him, though, I decided it was time for us to continue on.


Poor lad – with the low water level and his dodgy back legs he couldn’t get out by himself and I had to hang onto a branch. lean over, grab his collar and haul him out.

As we haven’t been along here for a while I haven’t had the chance to photograph some of my favourite oak trees. So here is the oak tree in the middle of the field.

Oak Tree

And, of course, along the currently dry stream bed is what I call the ‘Oak of Many Faces’.

The 'Oak of Many Faces'

I love this really old oak and have so many photos of it. I just can’t resist.

The 'Oak of Many Faces'

And here’s a photo from a bit further on of Max in the dry stream bed.

Along the stream bed

We walked on round back to the big bay so that Max could have another play in the river. We were just leaving when some people came along with their dogs including this really cute, 13 week old, Border Terrier puppy.

Pig wants a treat

She’s called Pig because she was born on a pig farm. The lady who owns here also had a year old Springer Spaniel who was very tolerant of Pig.

Time for kisses

And Pig absolutely adored her.

I love you

We walked back to Eye Bridge and today I actually took a photo of the bridge as it was reflected nicely in the water.

Eye Bridge refelection

Here’s Max on the bridge, cone in mouth.

Max (with cone) on Eye Bridge

And here’s the view from the bridge looking upstream …

Upstream from Eye Bridge

… and downstream towards Wimborne.

Downstream from Eye Bridge

We’d had a really lovely walk.

A year ago today

We went for a walk at Broadley Inclosure in the New Forest with my Dad.

A Sunday afternoon walk in the New Forest

Monday’s walk to Upton Heath

Monday 18th April 2016

As usual on a Monday morning Max and I walked over to Upton Heath. We were fortunate to have sunshine today, so I took the better camera with me.

First thing I spotted as I walked along the footpath next to our house: Max’s nemesis (or at least one element of it). The oaks are in flower.

Oak flowers

Oaks are one of the trees Max is allergic to, so this won’t be a good time for his. It most probably also explains why I’ve had to put him back on his steroids recently. He doesn’t care, though. All he cares about is water and his cone.


And one last photo from today: Max peers though the fence alongside one of the boardwalks on the heath, waiting for me to throw his cone (you can see it at the very bottom of the photo).

Max waits hopefully by the boardwalk

That’s really a large puddle there though, so not surprisingly I had to wash him off in Creekmoor Ponds on the way home.

A year ago today

My friend Irene was staying with us while she recuperated from a hip replacement, so we went for a day out to West Bay, further west along the Dorset coast.

East Beach and the cliffs

Wierd winter

Friday 29th January 2016

There has been a lot of discussion on the internet and TV about the wierd winter weather we have been having. Apart from the huge amount of rainfall this month the main talking point has been how warm it has been and the impact this is having on nature and wildlife. On this score I had a real shock today. But more of that shortly.

As usual on a Friday morning I went to Wimborne to do my grocery shopping before returning home to walk Max. I was threatening to rain and was very windy (gusts up to 45mph forecast), so I was surprised when Jez decided she wanted to come too. Conseuqently I chose Broadstone Recreation Ground for our walk today.

The first sign of the mild winter at the Rec. didn’t surprise me. I have had a small azalea in bud in the garden which I have bought indoors so any frost doesn’t get it, but some of the bigger bushes at the Rec were in flower.

Azalea in bloom

Now comes the real shocker (and I apologise in advance for the poor quality of the photo, but it was blowing rather) – I found an oak leaf out on one of the trees!

Oak leaf!

I know the oaks have had their buds for some time, but they are nowhere near opening yet, so I don’t know what was going on with this one.

Now you may have noticed I used flash for those photos. I don’t like using flash outdoors. I always think it looks far too unnatural, and I think those photos demonstrate what I mean. But I have been watching a course on flash photography and so am practicing adjusting the amount of flash to achieve a more realistic lighting effect. On those two photos I hadn’t reduced the flash power enough, plus there was very little ambient light. I tried again, though, with the dogs when we got back to the cricket pitch.

I still had it too high for this photo of Jez and Max.

Jez and Max

And for this one of Max with his ball (which he insists on ripping part at every opportunity).

Max with his ball

But I reduced the amount of flash again and this one of Jez is better.


Of course, that meant that by the time I came to take a photo of the two of them in the back of the car it was a bit too low, but the effect is far more natural.

In the car

Oh well, I’m learning, and that was just the small flash on the Powershot. I’ll progress to the on-camera flash on the old EOS 20D next.

A year ago today

We had sunshine and clouds on Upton Heath.

We spotted the cows