At last, a bit more sunshine

Sunday 13th August to Saturday 19th August 2017

Normally I take Teddy over Upton Heath on a Saturday, but as we went to the Dorset Dogs Festival instead I took him over on Sunday afternoon this week. We were greeted on our arrival by this beautiful Red Admiral on the path.

Red Admiral

We turned left into Longmeadow Lane woods where the beech trees were looking lovely in the sunlight.

Beech Trees

Then we made our way up the Roman Road before turning onto the heath and heading towards the viewpoint. En route I spotted this pretty little Grisette. I rather liked the setting with the moss surrounding it.

Grisette

We walked down the hill and eventually came to the pond where Teddy set about eating the soil – something he seems to like to do quite a bit here. Jez used to lick the soil here too, so I’m guessing it’s full of minerals. Perhaps I should try it!

Teddy likes to eat the soil by the pond

From there we walked around the lower heath where I spotted another Grisette.

Grisette

Finally we walked back along the Roman Road before heading home. Monday morning, of course, we were back there again. And once again Teddy was sticking his muzzle in the soil, as you can see.

Teddy's been digging with his nose again

Tuesday was a lovely sunny morning so we headed out to Morden Bog, which is looking beautiful where the heather is in full bloom.

Heather in full bloom at Morden Bog Looking back up the hill

In this photo you can see Decoy Pond.

Decoy Pond behind the heather

And here’s a photo of Teddy in the heather.

Teddy in the heather

We walked on and as we headed towards Henry’s Pond we met our friends Tink and Twig. We walked on round with them. At one point they disappeared into some shrub. I heard a rustle, and then a young roe deer popped out onto the path between me and Teddy. I don’t know which one of us was more surprised. It ran off into the trees on the opposite side of the path and after thinking about it for a moment Teddy thought he’d follow. But he was a good boy and came back when I called, after which Tink and Twig re-appeared and took off after the deer in totally the wrong direction, so Teddy had to follow them. The next time we saw Teddy he was a really long way away, still chasing the non-existent deer. So we walked in his general direction with me calling him, and after a short time he came running back to me. I was so proud of him!

After all that running, though, the dogs were hot and had to cool down in a bit puddle.

Teddy, Tink and Twig cool down in a muddy puddle

And finally for Tuesday, one last view of Decoy Pond and the heather taken from the top of the hill as we headed back to the car.

Looking across to Decoy Pond

On Wednesday morning I went to see my Dad, and in the afternoon I took Teddy over to Canford Heath.

Teddy admires the view

Unfortunately I struggle to find good photos on Canford Heath these days, but I quite liked this one of the trees along the path that runs next to the Crematorium.

Trees and clouds

And here’s a slightly different view, taken as we walked up the hill from Steeple Close.

Trees, clouds and heather

And so onto Friday and another walk on Upton Heath.  Along the old railway line the honeysuckle is now in bloom.

Wild Honeysuckle

But there are no other photos from Friday. We did meet Charlie, the dog walker, though, with 6 dogs so Teddy had a good play.

And, of course, Saturday afternoon it was back to Upton Heath. As usual on a Saturday we walked up the Roman Road, across to the viewpoint, and then down the hill. Today, as we passed to two pine trees on the hill, the sky behind them was fabulous.

Cloudscape

We continued on to the pond where Teddy spotted a pigeon on the far bank.

Teddy has spotted a pigeon

And then I threw him a stick and he started to play.

I don’t know what he thought he was doing. Although he picked that stone up at the end he immediately dropped it and then went back to digging in the deeper water. He was doing this for nearly 15 minutes while I sat watching him and laughing.

And then we walked on around the lower heath, along the Roman Road and came back to the car. And although he spotted the ponies along the way and showed an interest he came away when I called him. I’m sure it won’t always be like that though!

Jez makes her presence felt

Thursday 17th November 2016

I seem to have been running around in circles this week, due to the fact that our new kitchen is being fitted over the next 2-3 weeks. Quite a bit of my spare time, therefore, has been spent clearing the contents out of the existing kitchen. In a way it has helped that we have been resting Max up quite a bit.

So here we are at Thursday and at 4.15am I had a rude awakening. Yes, it was Jezebel, wide awake and whining at the side of my bed.

Jez wakes me at 4.15am

Turns out she wanted food, then she wanted to go out, and then eventually she settled down to sleep: which was more than I did as I lay awake for the next couple of hours and only managed to go to sleep a short time before I had to wake up again!

For our walk today we went to Upton Country Park. In the Woodland Walk the beech trees are a beautiful golden colour.

In the Woodland Walk

And this is looking towards the Dark Age Dwelling.

In the Woodland Walk

We walked over to the stream, although I didn’t throw anything for Max as his legs still aren’t great. Then we walked around to the dog run where we came upon a year old English Pointer, Woody, so we went in to say hello.

Jez and Max meet Woody

Jez was really pleased to have a bit of a play with him.

Jez is happy to play with Woody

After the dogs had played for a while we headed on back to the car, but not before I’d taken some more photos in the Woodland Walk. Here the sun is coming through the leaves.

Sunlight through the trees

And a nice shot looking up through the branches.

Autumn leaves

The walk hadn’t taken too long but it had been very pleasant.

A year ago today

Max and I were on a wet Canford Heath.

Big puddle time

A foggy morning at Kingston Lacy

Thursday 27th October 2016

Once again, apologies for the delays in posting. I was almost up to date and then everything went to hell in a handcart again.

So, back to a foggy Thursday in October. I took Jez and Max to Kingston Lacy for our walk. I didn’t actually expect it to be foggy. It had just about cleared at home and I drove through Broadstone and Corfe Mullen in bright sunshine. But the fog had closed in again by the time we got to Kingston Lacy. This was the entrance.

A damp start at Kinston Lacy

You get a better feel for it from this photo of people heading towards the Woodland Walk.

A foggy morning at Kingston Lacy

We didn’t go to the Woodland Walk, though, as I wanted to go to the Acer Glade again. As we walked along the path that runs down behind the house of took this photo of it in the fog.

Hidden in the fog

But the fog meant that the cobwebs were great today.

Bejewelled web

Web on grass

And this plant was covered.

Covered in cobwebs - just in time for Halloween

The fog still lingered as we reached the Acer Glade.

Acer Glade in fog

But the sun was starting to break through and the leaves were stunning.

Acer leaves

I love the cobweb on this one.

Cobweb

And I rather like this photo of a single leaf.

Acer Leaf

This was Lady’s Walk. As you can see the fog was clearing.

Lady's Walk

When we got around to the Cedar Avenue I saw a tree stump I hadn’t really noticed before.

Tree stump in the Cedar Avenue

It tells you when the tree was planted (1835)…

Planted

… when it was felled (2007) …

Felled

… and points in between.

Recent history

This was the Cedar Avenue in the sunshine.

Cedar Avenue

And the house.

Kingston Lacy house

A view across the park to the front of the house.

Looking towards The Ponds

Roses in the gardens.

Bejewelled rose

There were also Halloween preparations in full swing.

Halloween Preparations are in full swing

Back at the entrance Max had to investigate the pumpkin display.

Max examines the pumpkins

And finally, a photo of Max taken fairly early on in our walk.

Max

There are more photos from today over on my Flickr stream if you want to take a look.

A year ago today

We went to Broadstone Rec for our walk and then I gave Max a trim.

New clipper - new haircut

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

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.

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.

Max

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.

Teasel

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.

Swans

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