Sunshine means playtime

Friday 17th November 2017

Friday morning meant Teddy and I walked over to Upton Heath, and this morning it was lovely and sunny. And it looked very autumnal in the silver birch grove.

Autumn in the Silver Birch grove Silver Birch trees

Just after I’d taken that first photo we met our friend Tig, the staffie, with his Mum, Amanda. Here’s Tig posing for me.

Tig

And Tig, after a treat, in his ‘bear’ pose.

'Give me a treat' - Tig does his bear pose

He and Teddy had a great time playing.

Teddy and Tig at play

We walked on and then met Ollie, who is around a year old. Again, he and Teddy had a great time playing, despite the size difference. They were particularly interested in an old stick.

Teddy and Ollie were having such a good time with that stick

First one would get it and run off with it and the other would chase, and then the other one would get it and run off. Here they are playing tug with it.

Teddy and Ollie play tug

And lastly for today, a wonder autumnal scene along the Roman Road.

Autumn on the Roman Road

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End of Days

Sunday 15th to Saturday 21st October 2017

On Sunday afternoon Teddy and I went for our walk on Canford Heath for a change. At one time I always took Jez and Max to Canford Heath on a Sunday afternoon, but I had got out of the habit. It was a bit of an overcast day, though. This was the view across the west of the heath from what I call the ‘escarpment’ (basically a very steep hill that you can just about walk up, although Teddy and I took the easy route).

View from the 'escarpment'

We didn’t really meet any dogs for Teddy to play with on our walk, but he was happy running around. Here he is as we head back to the car.

On our way back to the car

And a short distance further on, here is a very happy Teddy on the sandy area.

Teddy loves the sandy areas

We’d obviously managed to wear him out today, as when we went to bed he was soon asleep.

Shhhh! Teddy's asleep

Now you may be wondering about my blog title. That is there to wind my husband Chris up. On Monday the remains of Hurricane Imogen passed over Ireland and bought a huge depression over the UK. The result was some very strange skies over southern England. This photo was taken on Upton Heath early in the morning. Although the sky simply looks overcast you may notice that there is quite a yellow cast to the photo.

Teddy and friends Zeus and Jasper

The photo is of Teddy with his friends Zeus and Jasper whom we met on our walk. After we left the pond, and Zeus, we walked on round the lower heath with Jasper and his Mum, Judy. From time to time Jasper and Teddy would run and play, which was nice. After my walk I went grocery shopping and as I did it was getting darker and darker, and the sky was getting more and more yellow. By late morning every car had its headlights on and it was like being in a sort of ochre twilight. By lunchtime, the sun was trying to break through the clouds, but it was a reddish-orange colour. This photo was taken outside my front door.

The sun at lunchtime

Apparently in London it was even redder. Lots of people were laughing and talking about ‘the end of days’ which for some reason annoyed Chris no end. So I spent the next 48 hours repeating it. And the cause? Well the depression had sucked in dust from the Sahara Dessert and smoke from the wild fires in Portugal, which combined had the effect of changing the colour of the sun and sky and making it quite dark.

The next day there was still a slightly pink tinge to the sun but the colour of the sky was back to normal, although there were some very interesting cloud formations over Canford Heath that I photographed as we walked. I will just post 3 of them here, but there are another 7 over on the Flickr stream.

Strange skies over Canford Heath (1) Strange skies over Canford Heath (5)

Strange skies over Canford Heath (7)

By Friday things were back to normal and we had sunshine for our walk to Upton Heath. Here is Teddy in the pond.

A lovely sunny morning

Later on in the walk Teddy made a new friend. I’m always a bit wary of letting him play with small dogs in case he thinks they are some sort of prey, but this one was up for a good game.

Teddy made a new friend today

They had a good time playing, as you can see.

Little and large at play

And all credit to the owners for letting him play with such a big dog.

By Saturday the wind had picked up Storm Brian approached the UK. We went for our normal afternoon walk on Upton Heath, avoiding the silver birch tree that had blown down at the entrance to the heath. As we walked up the Roman Road we met up with our friends Frazzle and Roxy.

We met Frazzle and Roxy today

That is Frazzle on the left and Roxy at the front on the right. And here is another photo of Frazzle.

Frazzle

As I said, it was a tad windy, as you can see from this photo of a windswept Teddy as we walked down the hill across the heath.

Teddy was bit windswept

As we approached the pond we met another friend, Wendy, with her dog, Titch, and her daughter’s dog. So we all walked on round with them. This photo was taken as we got back to the pine trees.

Walking with friends on Upton Heath

And that’s pretty much it for this week.

Of Dogs and Fungi

Sunday 1st October to Saturday 7th October 2017-10-15

Having said this post is from the 1st October I don’t actually have any photos from that day, so the first photos are from Monday 2nd when we went over to Upton Heath for our walk as usual. I took the EOS 6D with the 100mm Macro lens attached, and I’m glad I did as I got some really nice photos. Unfortunately, if you suffer from arachnophobia the first one isn’t quite so nice as its an Orb Spider.

Orb spider

That photos was taken along the old railway line. We walked onto the pond and Teddy was really pleased to find some doggie friends there. It all started with a meet and greet.

Meet and greet at the pond

We met Max, the Golden Retriever.

Max the Golden Retriever

And Buzz, the Viszla who was staying with Max temporarily.

Buzz the Vizsla

Teddy and Buzz had a good time playing.

Teddy and Buzz

And then there was Tig, one of our staffy friends.

Tig

After a good game we went our separate ways and I walked Teddy round through the old pits.

Teddy in the old pits

On the lower heath the Fly Agaric are still in evidence.

Flly agaric

Although these had been kicked over.

Broken

As usual Teddy went into the little pool by the small boardwalk for a drink.

Teddy by the boardwalk

And then posed for me.

Teddy

After that we made our way home.

On Tuesday we started the day, as every day, with breakfast, and Teddy was a happy dog when he found out I’d finished the yogurt and he could have the pot. He soon got stuck in.

Nose in the trough

For our walk we went to Canford Heath and as it was a lovely sunny day I, once again, took the EOS 6D with the 100mm lens on it. Although it is a macro lens it is also excellent for portraits, which is why it’s great for taking photos of dogs, like this one of Teddy.

Teddy

Fungi are also in evidence on Canford Heath, like this one, although I’m not too sure what it is.

Fungi

As we walked through the woods I found this huge Cauliflower Fungus.

Cauliflower fungus

And these Razor Strop, or Birch Bracket Fungi.

Razor Strop Fungi

I also spotted this pretty little feather, suspended on some blades of grass.

Feather

There were more fungi when we left the woods. Firstly this Russula

Russula

And then this Panther Cap

Panther Cap

And lastly from Tuesday, a photo of Teddy surveying the heath as we walked back to the car.

Teddy surveys the heath

Jumping ahead to Friday we were again on Upton Heath. Firstly we went to the pond.

Teddy in the pond

And then, after Teddy had had a drink and a paddle, we headed towards the old pits. En route we met the cows.

We met the cows

You can see that at some point that one has had a nasty injury on its side.

On the lower heath we met several dogs. Firstly there was Oscar, a Border Terrier.

Oscar

And then we met a lady with 4 small dogs, including this 12 week old Chihuahua puppy.

12 week old Chihuahua pup

At this point I put Teddy on the lead. As the lady said, he might have thought it was was a rat! He was really good with it, though, and very gentle, so I don’t think I need have worried. And this, was the pup’s father.

The pup's dad

While we were talking our friend Janet came along with her lurcher, Jake.

Our friend Jake

After a long chat we walked on round and, as usual, Teddy went in the pond by the small boardwalk where he was once again searching for something under the water.

Teddy is searching under the water again

When we got to the Roman Road I was pleased to see that there was another small fungus growing on the tree stump by the stream.

Fungi

While we were there I took the opportunity to take a photo looking along the Roman Road while the leaves on the trees are still green. They won’t be there much longer.

The trees haven't turned along the Roman Road yet

The Virginia Creeper along the path in Creekmoor has turned though, and has produced beautiful Autumn colours.

Autumn Colours

I don’t have any photos from our walk on Saturday, but first thing in the morning the plumber arrived to fix our leaking stopcock. And do you remember that lovely new kitchen we had installed 10 months ago? Well, today part of it had to come apart again!

My new kitchen is in pieces! Bits of kitchen fill my small sitting room

I’m pleased to say that it’s all fixed and back together again.

Rain then some sunshine

Sunday 10th September to Saturday 16th September 2017

Yes, we went over to Upton Heath for our walk on Sunday and we got wet again! Although it wasn’t as bad as yesterday my walking boots decided enough was enough and let water, so I came home with wet feet. Teddy wasn’t particularly happy about the state of affairs either.

Wet again! Teddy's not very happy

Monday was a good day – we didn’t get wet! And on Tuesday we actually had sunshine for our walk on Canford Heath. Here is Teddy, backlit by the sun.

Backlit on Canford Heath

And letting me know that all this photo-taking malarkey can get a bit boring.

Well this is boring!

When we do get sunshine a lot of Red Admiral butterflies are taking advantage, and we saw this lovely one as we headed down towards Knighton Heath.

Red Admiral Butterfly

I also spotted quite a large fungi and was trying to get a photo of it, but Teddy thought he’d take a leaf our of Max’s book and photobomb the shot.

Teddy takes a leaf out of Max's book and learns to photobomb

We continued on round and Teddy met a young Cocker Spaniel for the second time and they had a really good play. After which, of course, Teddy had to find the nearest puddle in which to cool down.

Teddy poses for Tongue out Tuesday

I particularly like this photo of him.

Time to cool down in a puddle

Needless to say he got out covered in mud!

Tuesday would have been Jezebel’s 10th birthday, so the day was tinged with sadness. But she loved cake, so in her honour I made a chocolate marble cake in the afternoon which Chris and I have been enjoying. This photo of Jez was taken on her birthday last year.

Jez on her 9th Birthday

On Wednesday I went to Dad’s in the morning as usual. I am pleased to say he has suffered no ill effects as a result of his fall last week, other than a very sore thumb where he cut it. In the afternoon I took Teddy over to Canford Heath, although I didn’t take any photos as once again it looked as though it could tip down with rain at any minute. After our walk we dropped round to Pat’s to take her her birthday presents: she will be 97 on Thursday.

On Thursday Teddy and I headed out to Badbury Rings for our walk. We didn’t get that far, though, as Teddy decided to whine and bark in the back of the car. Instead I called into Kingston Lacy which was closer.

Unfortunately the main part of the Woodland Walk is closed.

No Woodland Walk for us today

We did manage to do one small loop in the woods though, and then headed back past the house to the gardens. This view of the house was taken as we were walking back from the Woodland Walk.

Kingston Lacy House

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but in the woods in one part of the gardens they are using pigs to clear the undergrowth. They’ve always been too far away for me to get a photo before, but today they were by the fence. Here is the big one (I think it might be a Gloucester Old Spot, but I can’t actually see any spots so I might be wrong).

Clearing the undergrowth in the gardens the natural way

And here is one of the Kunekunes.

This Kunekune is hoping to be fed a few apples

He came over to the fence as there is a shoot there. You can buy apples and feed the pigs. Sadly I didn’t have 50p on me for the apples, so he had to go hungry.

Over in the Kitchen Garden the dahlias are looking lovely.

Dahlia

There was supposed to be an orchid flowering there somewhere but I couldn’t find it. I did find the little autumnal scene in one of the outhouses though.

Autumn's harvest in the Kitchen Garden

And one final shot of the house as we walked back to the car.

Kingston Lacy House

On Friday we walked over Upton Heath again and although I took the camera we spent time walking round with a dog walker so I didn’t take any photos. I did take the camera when we went on Saturday though, despite the forecast of rain. There was a very misty and moody view over Poole Harbour, looking towards Arne.

A misty view across the heath

And yes, we got wet, but not very. Just a couple of fairly light showers. So I’ll leave you with a panorma of the heath and hope that the forecast is right and we will not have a few days without rain.

Panorma across Upton Heath

Two Dog Shows in a Week

Sunday 6th August to Saturday 12th August 2017

Sunday was the day of the Margaret Green Animal Rescue Companion Dog Show at their lovely centre at Church Knowle in the Purbeck Hills. I wanted to go as Margaret Green was the rescue we got Teddy from. It was a sunny, although breezy day. and after we sitting in a traffic jam to get to Wareham for 25 minutes (yes it’s the time of year when I curse holidaymakers) we finally arrived at Church Knowle just before noon. Being in the Purbeck Hills the setting is stunning.

Looking across the showground Show Ring #1Margaret Green Animal Rescue The wind was a bit chilly at first – as you can see, Chris felt the need to put his hood up.

Chris and Teddy

Teddy, who can be nervous of people, particularly if they are carrying big wooden walking sticks, seemed quite happy to meet and greet.

Saying Hello to Teddy

He missed out on the treats that were being handed out though.

Anyone for a treat?

I entered him in one of the classes, Margaret Green Rescue best male, but he only came 6th out of not very many.

Me and Teddy in the show ring Me and Teddy in the show ringMe and Teddy It was nice to see a staffy win it, though.

The winner of the Best Margaret Green Rescue (Male)

And while I was in the ring Chris busied himself taking photos of a couple of other dogs, like this French Bulldog…

French Bulldog

…and this lovely little staffy girl that I wanted to take home with me.

I loved this little staffy girl

After that we bought some lunch and sat an ate it in amongst the crowds.

Lunchtime

We even had our photo taken by a photographer from the local paper. It’s a lovely photo but although I’ve tried to buy it the link doesn’t work, which is a shame.

And to finish for Sunday a couple of photos of Teddy taken by Chris. First snoozing…

Snoozing

… and then looking slightly more alert.

Teddy

I didn’t take any more photos until Thursday as the weather wasn’t good. But on Thursday the sun was back and I took Teddy over to the far side of Canford Heath. This was the view looking back over Poole as we climbed the hill.

Looking across Canford Heath to Poole

Here’s Teddy on the path across the heath.

Teddy looks across the heather

And looking cute and teddy bear-like.

Teddy

In the afternoon to go out to RSPB Arne and have a wander over Combe Heath; something that is possible now we have a second car again. I was ever hopeful of spotting an Osprey, but sadly it was not to be. Mind you, it might help if I had some decent binoculars. Ah well. It was really hot and I had problems stopping my neck from catching the sun. This was the view from the top of the heath.

Panorama over Combe Heath

The heath is currently grazed by English longhorn cattle.

English Longhorns

And for one little chap it was still lunchtime.

Lunchtime for this little one

Further round the path a group of artists were making the most of the stunning views.

Painting the landscape

But they were the only really half-decent photos from my trip. There is no doubt about it – I seem to have lost my photography motivation. I just can’t seem to get inspired to take that many photos, which suggests I’m no longer seeing the possibilities.

This conclusion was reinforced on Saturday when I walked Teddy over to our second dog show of the week: the Dorset Dogs Festival at Upton Country Park. It was almost as though I had to force myself to take photos of some of the dogs. There were a few cute ones though. Like this friendly chap.

Friendly dog

And this lovely wire-haired Vizsla pup.

Wire-haired Vizsla pup

Who, after playing with Teddy, needed a scratch.

Time for a scratach

At the other end of the age scale was this 15 year old, frost faced staffy.

Frosty chops staffy (15 years)

Towards the end of our time there we bumped into a friend of Teddy’s, Tanner, whom he sometimes meets when Chris takes him for an evening run at the Country Park. Tanner is also a Saluki cross, but he and Teddy look quite different.

Teddy and his friend, Tanner

Tanner was there with his friend Moose.

Tanner and Moose

And here is Teddy and Moose.

Teddy and Moose

All 3 dogs got on really well together and after chatting for a while we took them over to the enclosed training area so they could have a good run. After which they were all worn out. And so was I as by then we had been out 3 hours, so I phoned Chris to come and pick up up.

I’ll leave you with one last photo for today: of Teddy at the Dorset Dogs Festival.

Teddy

Our Sweetheart Girl

Sunday 28th May 2017

It is with heaviest of hearts and tears in my eyes that I have come back here to let you know that our sweetheart girl, Jezebel, passed over the rainbow bridge on Tuesday 23rd May 2017. After struggling on for so long the poor little soul’s back legs just wouldn’t work any longer. She was a happy little dog right up to the end though, so I thought I’d share one or two photos of her from the past few months that I may not have shared before.

Jez

Jez

Jez

Jez in reflective mood

Jezebel

Are you pointing that camera at me again?

Jez looks out over Lychett Bay

The world looks much better this way up

Time for Jez to have a rest

Coming down the hill

Jez snoozing in the sun

Jez rests in the bluebells

Run, free from pain and stiffness, with all your old friends my gorgeous girl. We will love you always.

And a cold start to 2017

Sunday 1st January – Saturday 7th January 2017

The cold spell has been continuing into the new year, although we had some rather welcome sunshine on Monday 2nd January. To celebrate Max and I went for a walk on Upton Heath as usual on a Monday.

New Year - Same old pond

Near the pond we met the 3 Weimeraners, including Hazel who had one of her usual ‘small’ sticks. Here she is having a good old chew at it.

Hazel's found herself a stick

We walked on round the lower heath and when we got to the Roman Road Max got in the stream as usual. The light on his was lovely.

Max in the stream

And lastly for today, here is a shot of the Roman Road where the stream crosses it.

The Roman Road in winter

On Tuesday it was a cold and frosty start, so I chose to take Max out to Kingston Lacy. When we got there Max was a bit worried by the warning sign at the entrance.

The sign has got Max a bit worried

But he needn’t have worried as the paths weren’t slippery at all. The grounds were looking lovely in the frost and sunlight though.

A clear, frost morning

This photo was taken along the Cedar Avenue.

Sun throught the cedars

As was this one of a frosted bench.

Frosted seat

These frosty leaves also caught my eye.

Frosty leaves

It was only towards the end of our walk that we began to see many other people. This couple passed us as we walked through the gardens, though.

Waling through the gardens

We walked on round to the Japanese garden, which looked nice in the frost and sun.

The Japanese Garden

And I rather liked the light and shade around this little ornament.

Stone ornament

After that we continued on through the woodland walk and finally back to the car.

Wednesday I went to see my Dad as usual and on Thursday we once again had a heavy frost so I decided to take Max down to Lychett Bay. The tide was out and the shoreline was rather icy.

An icy Lychett Bay at low tide

Max was not happy as he couldn’t get anywhere near the water.

Max is not happy that the tide is out

We walked on round to the small beach at Turlin Moor, where the boats looked lovely in the still water.

Reflections on a cold morning

Round here the seaweed on the beach was frozen.

Frozen seaweed

As was the fishing gear left in the boats.

Fishing nets and float Frosted float

There was also frost over this discarded bag left on the beach.

Discarded

Max finally managed to get down to the water round here, but he also got very muddy paws in the process.

Mr Muddy Paws!

After that we headed back to the car but before we left we went to see the new viewing platform that has been built overlooking the bay.

The new viewing platform

And this is the view it gives.

Lychett Bay from the viewing platform

And one last photo from our walk: a frozen seed head.

Frosty seedhead

You may be wondering where Jez was while Max and I were doing all this walking. Well, she was busy snoozing in the sun at home.

Jez snoozing in the sun

And who can blame her?

A year ago

From the same week a year ago I’ve chosen this photo, taken out at Badbury Rings, which is also part of the National Trust Kinston Lacy estate.

Circle of light