A cold start to December

Thursday 1st December 2016

Frosts have been thin on the ground here so far this winter, but this morning we woke to freezing fog. To celebrate I took my best camera with me when I took Max for a walk at Upton Country Park (no way was Jez moving from her warm, snugly bed).

Entering the park from Poole Road on a frost morning

In the car park I was surprised to see that there were still one or two cornflowers in bloom. This one was looking lovely with the frost on it.

Frosted cornflower

In places it was quite frosty in the park too, as Max demonstrates in this photo.

We had had a bit of a frost overnight

But a lot of the time it was all about mood.

Walking towards the picnic area

This was taken in the Woodland Walk.

Sunlight through the trees (1)

And I like this one in black and white.

Sunlight through the trees (3)

This was the little boardwalk over the lake. I’ve softened the clarity and rather like the effect.

Boardwalk across the lake

The lake, itself, was a bit icy this morning.

Frozen lake

But that did not deter Max.

Max in the icy lake

As you can see the sun had, by now, broken through the fog, which made for a very nice photo along the path to Hamworthy.

Path to Hamworthy

And here’s Max further along the same path.

Path to Hamworthy

The view along the shoreline was fairly evocative too.

Procession of Geese on Upton Lake

Around here a haw frost had frosted the reeds.

Frosted reeds

And the wooden side rails.

Frsoted fence

Although the sun was starting to thaw it.

Frosted reed

By the time we walked back through the gardens, though, the sun had disappeared again.

Walled garden

The start of our drive home was in fog, but as we got to Creekmoor (only a couple of minutes away) we drove back into bright sunshine. And that pretty much set the pattern for the rest of the day, with the fog coming and going.

A year ago today

Max and I were out and about on Canford Heath.

Trees in black and white

Monday morning on Upton Heath

Monday 10th October 2016

It was a lovely morning and today both dogs came with me to Upton Heath for our Monday morning walk.

The lower heath

Here’s Max in the morning sunlight.


We headed for the pond and I was surprised to see Common Toadflax still in flower.

I was surprised to see Common Toadflax in flower

At the pond we met our friend Zeus.

We met Zeus at the pond

He’s way too boisterous for Jez who kept well out of his way. Here she is posing for me for once.


Of course, Max had to pose too, although he was standing in the pond at the time.

Max in the pond

After the pond we walked on around the lower heath where I came across this lovely lttle clump of Sulphur Tuft fungi.

Sulpher Tufts

And right next to the were these really nice lichens (Cladonia polydactyl).


Apologies that the focus isn’t great on that last one, but they were small and I had to get up very close.

We walked along the Roman Road as far as the stream and then crossed the road to Creekmoor where Chris picked us up.

A year ago yesterday

We had Henry and Addy to stay for a few hours.

Henry and Ariadne

Just me and Max today

Saturday 20th August 2016

Jez had had 3 good walks yesterday and went out with Chris this morning so this afternoon I decided it was most probably best to leave her at home, especially as she didn’t seem keen to come out with me. Max and I went to Upton Heath.

View over the heath

Rain was forecast so I wore my thin waterproof. That was a waste of time though, as it didn’t rain at all. It was blowing a gale however.

We started off walking up the Roman Road where I could hardly miss this large clump of Chicken of the Woods fungus.

Chicken of the Woods fungi

On the heath the heather is looking lovely at the moment.


And here it is in amongst the gorse.

Heather and Gorse

We walked from the Roman Road onto the heath and up to the top of the hill where Max had a few problems with the wind.

Chocks Away!

I have a whole series of photos of him standing up there with his ears flapping about: it looks as though he is sending a semaphore message.

As we walked on round the sun started to come out.

Max ignores the view - he just wants to play

And just after I took that Max went in one of his favourite little boggy pools. Further on down the hill he also went in the muddy gully. So I ended up with a very muddy dog.

Muddy Dog!

We headed on towards the pond so that I could wash him off. I have included this next photo as you can see the problems he is having with his hind legs at times.

Max's back legs aren't great at times

At the pond we met our friend Sky, a 12 year old staffy.

Meet Sky

She posed for me nicely.


And then barked at me when I stopped feeding her treats!

Sky barks to ttell me she wants another treat

By the time we left the pond I had a clean dog, so we headed back to the car and home.

A year ago today

We had tree surgeons in, cutting the dead branches out of our oak tree.


Down by the river

Tuesday 9th May 2016

It was another warm, sunny morning so I took the dogs to the River Stour at Eye Bridge near Wimborne this morning. Jez was reluctant to leave the area of Eye Bridge and took a lot of persuading. I am wondering whether it was because she hurt herself down here a couple of weeks ago. Eventually we managed to make our way towards the bay where the dogs play. We have to cross this little bridge over a stream just before we get there.

Along the riverside walk

And if you don’t feel like joining the dogs at the water’s edge, or even in the river itself, then there are a couple of seats for you to sit on. This morning they were in the sun.

A seat in the sun

I din’t join the dogs in the river today,s o they are a bit distant in this shot.

Max and Jez in the river

After they’d spent some time in the water we headed back to the car. En route something caught Jez’s attention.

Jez takes and interest in the horses

And it wasn’t the teasel.


No, it was the two horses wandering over to see us.

The horses need protection from the flies

I don’t know, but I’m guessing those hoods are to keep the flies off their eyes.

Closer to Eye Bridge and we came across a team repairing the fence at one of the cows’ drinking spots.

Mending the fence at the cows' drinking spot

And so we strolled on back to the car and headed home.

A year ago today

We went for a walk on Upton Heath where I spotted this Emperor Dragonfly.

Emperor Dragonfly

We end up at the vet

Thursday 28th July 2016

Today I thought it would be nice to go to the River Stour at Eye Bridge, so that’s what Jez, Max and I did. Jez is still a bit stiff and sore so I didn’t expect it to be a long walk.

Walking along the river bank you could see all of the teasel starting to flower.


We walked along to the bay where the dogs play and I decided not to join them in the water today. But I threw Max’s cone for him while Jez waded out into the middle of the river.


I was surprised to see that a little egret didn’t seem at all bothered by her.

Little Egret

In fact, not only was it not bothered by her presence, but it was so intent on fishing that it kept walking towards her.

Little Egret

Fortunately Jez completely ignored it, and eventually came back to join me and Max.

She didn’t want to walk on round, so we headed back towards a car. By the cows’ field I stopped to chat to a lady with a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and while I did so one of the young cows wandered over. Jez got very excited and managed to fall over! When she got up she would hardly walk and her left elbow was stuck out much more than usual. So she hobbled back to the car and I drove her round to the vet. Here usual vet came and saw her and thought it was most probably a slight sprain, and prescribed rest. She really is in the wars this week.

A year ago today

Max and I went for a walk on Canford Heath where there were lots of puddles.

Even more puddles

A walk around Badbury Rings

Tuesday 26th July 2016

Linda went home on Sunday, and although I took the dogs out Sunday afternoon and Monday morning I didn’t take any photos. Today, though, I took the Powershot with me when I took the dogs out to Badbury Rings. I should have checked it over first, though. I had last used it when we were down the beach and didn’t realise Max had splashed seawater all over the lens. The first few photos from today therefore have a bit of a blurry patch on them. Luckily, this isn’t over the main subject of the photo.

So today, as on our last visit, we walked through the centre of the old hill fort and then walked around the top of one of the embankments to the south. Today we chose the central embankment.

Although the day was overcast it was warm and there were lots of wild flowers out, like this selfheal.


Walking along I came across several of the beautiful, delicate little harebells.

Delicate Harebell

And I think this is a new one for me: a Pyramidal Orchid. They are only supposed to bloom until June, but I guess the cold damp weather we had in May and June has delayed them this year.

Late flowering Pyramidal Orchid

I was also pleased to see a 5 spot Burnett moth.

5 spot burnett moth on ragwort

It flew along with us for a while so I was able to get another photo of it.

5 spot burnett moth

There are so few insects around this year though. I have hardly seen any butterflies and a local photographer recently said on Twitter that he’s stopped taking his camera with him due to the lack on insects that are around.

Of course, I took some photos of the dogs. Here’s Jez.


And here’s Max.


I also took this profile close-up of Max.

Best not ask what Max has been eating!

Not nice – best not ask what he’s been snacking on. This might give you a clue though.

Here come the cows

Dogs! You’d think he was never fed

A year ago today

We’d obviously had a lot of rain. Here’s Max in a puddle on Canford Heath.

Puddle + cone = Play time

The river is the only place to walk on a hot day

Tuesday 19th July 2016

Today was supposed to be the hottest day of the year, and it got up to 29C down here. I got the dogs out fairly early and took them to the River Stour. We walked along to the big, shallow bay and then I joined them out in the middle of the river. Here’s Jez in the middle of the river.

Jez in the river

And here, something has caught her attention.

Something has caught Jez's attention

Max, of course, was only interested in me throwing his cone.

Max in the river

The trouble is, his tail splashes more than ever nowadays (I’m not sure why), and I got soaked every time he bought the cone back to me. I suppose at least it kept me cool.

I did get Max to pose nicely for me though. And I managed to keep the water from his tail off the lens long enough for me to get some photos of him: no mean feat!


Jez didn’t want to continue on round today, so we made our way back to the car. I took this photo of some Hogweek flowers that were catching the light nicely on the way back, though.


Given that it was so hot today (well, hot for England anyway) you would think that I would do something sensible like take it easy when I got home. But no. I was busy cleaning and ironing for the rest of the day!

A year ago today

Jez, Max and I went for a walk along Lychett Bay.

Looking across Turlin Moor Nature Reserve