In which Jez shows off her new harness

Friday 27th May 2016

When we were at the vet’s hydro centre on Tuesday Jez had to wear a harness for her shower treatment. I rather liked the look of them and am aware that the right harness is better for her back that having her pull on her collar, so I ordered her one. It arrived this morning, so when we went for our walk after I’d done my grocery shopping we gave it a test drive.

We went over to Upton Heath, but as Jez hasn’t been able to walk the whole circuit of late I drove over to the southern part of the heath near the Country Park, rather than taking them to the Beechbank Avenue entrance as usual. This meant that we started off where the stream crosses the Roman Road, which have both dogs a chance for a paddle to start off with.

Along the Roman Road I came across a beautiful wild rhododendron in flower.


We walked to the end of the Roman Road (where it’s interrupted by the dual carriageway) and turned onto the heath. At his point Jez needed a rest.

Max and Jez

And then she had to lie down, which means that you can see her new harness better.

Jez and Max

She doesn’t like it, of course, but it’s a nice light nylon which drys quickly and which has a little handle on the back that comes in very handy for helping her down the car ramp.

We walked up to the little pool by the boardwalk where Max plays (and where Jez managed to get her back leg caught between the slats of the boardwalk today!) and then wandered back to the car. It had been quite a long walk for Jez.

A year ago today

I took this portrait of Jez up at Pinesprings.


Pre-pilates at the Country Park

Thursday 19th May 2016

As usual on a Thursday Max and I walked at Upton Country Park this morning. This was the view over Upton Lake towards Poole as we walked around.

View over Upton Lake to Poole

Max likes the Country Park: he gets to play in the stream.

Waiting for his cone

Today we saw the buzzard – we haven’t seen him (or is it her) for ages.

Its been a while since we've seen the buzzard on his perch

The blossom was looking rather nice this morning.


And here’s a shot of the blossom looking up through the branches of the trees.

Blossom covered branches

And lastly for today, we came across this lovely rhododendron as we walked through the gardens.


A year ago today

I grabbed the camera when I saw this blackbird sunbathing in the garden.

Playing dead

Broadstone Rec. in bloom

Friday 13th May 2016

What with poor weather and visiting my Dad on Wednesday (now a regular thing) I haven’t taken any more photos this week until today. As I was later with my walk today (I do my shopping first on a Friday) Jez decided she was coming with Max and I, so we went to Broadstone Rec. It was a bit chilly when we started out, although later the sun came out, which was nice.

This is the time of year when the trees and shrubs are in bloom at the Rec.

Firstly there’s the blossom.


And then there’s the rhododendrons. We have purple..

. Rhododendron

… White …


… and a purple bud.

Rhododendron bud

There are also some very colourful azaleas, such as this flame one…


… and this yellow one.


We had a nice little walk, although it was longer than I expected thanks to Jez leading the way: but then, what’s new?

Today was also our 34th Wedding anniversary. We didn’t go out, but we opened a bottle of champagne in the evening and I cooked Chris a new curry recipe for dinner, which was very tasty.

A year ago today

As an anniversary surprise I took Chris to see the Anthony Gormley ‘Land’ statue at Kimmeridge Bay.

Land, by Anthony Gormley

Another walk at Kingston Lacy

Tuesday 16th February 2016

It was a frosty, sunny morning again today and for some reason I felt like taking Max back to Kingston Lacy for a walk. It is half term here, so the place was really busy today.

Kingston Lacy House

Today, though, I rang the changes by putting my 100mm Macro lens on the EOS 6D. I’m pleased I did. As I said, it was frosty first thing and the frost was still on the rhododendrons which were in the shade.

Frosted Rhododendron

Elsewhere there are still quite a lot of camellia buds…

Camelia Bud

.. and I was surprised to find a bud opening on a magnolia.

Magnolia Bud

In this same part of the gardens some of the blossom is coming out.


And then, of course, there were the snowdrops, seen here as a clump…


… and here in isolation.


Further on round the walk where the snowdrops were on the higher banks I was able to take them against the blue of the sky.

Snowdrops against a blue sky

This one still had dew on it.


And here is one of my favourite photos, of a single snowdrop covered in dew against a blue sky.

Dew drenched against a blue sky

I think, though, that the snowdrops are starting to go over, so I’m unlikely to get such nice photos if I go back next week (not sure about that yet).

A year ago today

Max and I walked along the River Allen in Wimborne, where I took this photo of a swan drinking.


I take Max to Kingston Lacy

Wednesday 10th February 2016

It was quite a nice morning so I thought I would try taking Max to Kingston Lacy. I’ve never taken the dogs there before because they are not allowed in the formal gardens near the house and they have to be on the lead all the time: my time are used to off-lead walks.

The dog walk takes us round a side of the house we’ve not seen before: the east side.

Kingston Lacy House (side view)

From there we walk south around the east end of the Lime Avenue. There are quite a lot of camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons here. Many of the camellias were over, but I was surprised to find this rhododendron out.


Here are all the snowdrops at the southern end of the gardens.


Overlooking the Heavenly Seat (Japanese garden).

Looking over the Japanese garden

After that we headed into the Woodland Walk, which was quite muddy and slippery. One thing I did notice this time, at the play area, was the entrance to the Woodland Walk, which I thought was quite nice.

Entrance to the play are and Woodland Walk

It was a really pleasant walk, and Max was very good on the lead. I don’t think he minds so much now he’s getting older.

I’m afraid there are no photos from a year ago today.

I take Dad to Exbury Gardens

Wednesday 10th June 2015

Today I had a day out and took my Dad to Exbury Gardens, near Beaulieu in Hampshire. I left the dogs at home with Chris and drove over to my Dad’s to collect him, and then we continued out to Exbury. The gardens consist of 200 acres of a collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and rare trees and shrubs. Given that the rhododendrons are in full flower around us I had expected most of them to be out in the gardens, but sadly they were nearly all over. Nevertheless we had a very pleasant two hours plus walking around the gardens – a very long walk for my Dad!

So this is Exbury House.

Exbury House

The Top Pond, which is full of very large carp, constantly cruising around.

Top Pond

The Azalea Bowl.

Azalea Bowl

And Jubilee Pond, where we sat and watched more carp, a dragonfly skimming the water and a lovely little chaffinch pecking about.

Jubilee Pond

This is the History Tree. The rings are marked to show events through the past 300 plus years.

The History Tree

Here’s Dad in the Sundial Garden.

Dad in the Sundial Garden

And a view through to the Beaulieu River.

View through to Beaulieu River

And then a few flowers. The remaining rhododendrons that were out were the common purple (which grow wild around here) and the deep red and white varieties. Here’s one of the deep red ones that I particularly liked.


And a white one with a lovely pinkish tint.


There are other flowers too and I thought a Primula bed was very pretty.


And last, from Exbury, here’s one of those Primulas.


We walked back to the entrance and then had a late lunch in the cafe there. After that we left and I drove down to Lepe on the Solent. We didn’t stop (minimum parking was £2 and there wasn’t exactly a lot there), but I did take a photo looking across the Solent towards Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

View of Cowes from Lepe

After that we came on home. Dad was tired out. He’s not walked that far since he broke his hip just over a year ago. He seemed to enjoy himself though, so now I’m planning our next day out.

A year ago today

Jez and I went for a walk on Hengistbury Head.

It was a bit hazy today

Max and I go to Canford Heath

Wednesday 3rd June 2015

There’s no post for yesterday, I’m afraid. In the morning I took Dad to the eye clinic, and then in the afternoon I was cleaning.

And so onto today, when Max and I went to Canford Heath. It’s easier to make our way onto the heath from Gravel Hill now as they have removed the fallen trees from the path.

Rhododendrons are an invasive plant around here, and have to be constantly removed from local heaths and woodland or they take over. Even so there are still large clumps of them around on Canford Heath and they are now in bloom.


I tried not to do too long a walk today as Max is still limping quite badly. We avoided all of the ponds, and I didn’t throw anything for him as we walked, but I did let him play in the stream for a little while. After we’d crossed the stream I spotted this bird on a nearby tree, which I think is a Meadow Pipit.

Meadow Pipit (I think)

We headed back to the car and I couldn’t resist a photo of one of my favourite trees. Today I liked the contrasting lines between the heath, the blue sky and the cloud.

Heath, Trees and sky

And that was it for today.

A year ago today

Jez and I went for a walk on Hengistbury Head near Christchurch. These are the beach huts at the end of the head.

Beach Huts