Friday 31 May 2013

Our Morning Walks

Recently our morning walks have become much more exciting than usual. For the last month, my son has been working on construction sites in Sandbanks, starting at 8 am. Because the first bus he could get doesn't arrive until 8.10, I have volunteered to drive him and Jade comes along for the ride, which takes about twentyfive minutes after we have run the gauntlet of all the traffic lights on the way. Then we have various options for our walk. Jade's favourite is obvious - the beach at Sandbanks. In the summer months, dogs are allowed on the beach between the far end of the car park and the end of the peninsula where the chain ferry crosses to Studland. On the beach Jade runs wild, chasing the stones I throw and digging them into the sand before she picks them up in her mouth. We meet lots of other dogs and their owners, and everyone talks about the weather and how fickle it is, while the dogs sniff each other and try to get Jade to play with them. She never will; she much prefers getting petted by people to rough-housing it with other dogs.

On Tuesday I ignored the immediate beach and turned the car towards Canford Cliffs, which is on the way to Bournemouth. 

                                                             photo by Michael9559 at Wikimedia CommonsHere you can park along the road above the beach and walk along a footpath beside a green, which then goes past a children's play area and into woodland. I noticed that since I was last there a couple of weeks ago, the rhododendrons have started to bloom, giving patches of bright pink among the green of the leaves and the bare tree barks. Farther on there is a delightful carpet of bluebells under the trees. We took a tarmacced pathway that drops down through a chine to the beach. At the bottom is a strange conglomeration of beach huts as you can see in the picture. 

photo by Chris Downer

Down here I have to put Jade on the lead to stop her running onto the sand, which could cost me a fine of up to £1000 at this time of year. We walk along the promenade to another pathway that zigzags back up to the top of the cliff via steep slopes and steps. I have to stop several times on the way up to catch my breath, so I take the opportunity to gaze at the spectacular views: right around to Old Harry Rocks to my right; past Bournemouth to Hengistbury Head on my left, with the Needles of the Isle of Wight beyond.

Sometimes I drive to Whitecliff Park at Parkstone Bay within Poole Harbour which is on my way home. From the free car park here, the dog walks skirt football and cricket pitches, although no-one is using them at this time of day. you can walk along the shore all the way to Poole Quay from here, but we only have time to go about a third of the way before turning away from the sea to complete our circuit. One morning I noticed a sign explaining that there were once quarries here into cliffs which no longer exist, and you can just see a small patch of light earth on the side of the bank up to the road, which explains the name Whitecliff. Back at the car park there are always rooks on the ground in the mornings and they only grudjingly move out of the way when a car needs to pass. Even when Jade or other dogs want to chase them, they don't move far. I've never seen rooks this tame before. Perhaps it's because there is a food stall here and when we go back to the car, it is usually being set up with everything for the day being offloaded from an estate car.

So those are just three of my many morning walk options at present. It's quite an anticlimax at the weekends when we just step outside and walk to the park at the end of the our road.

Friday 24 May 2013

Book Reviews

I've recently written a couple of Amazon reviews. I only do this for books that really impress me. This time I was  inspired by one, and then remembered others I've been meaning to write about. So here they are.

House of Silence by Linda Gillard

This is the second book by Linda Gillard that I've read on my Kindle. In both I have been impressed by the author's command of English and the lack of any errors to distract me from the content. I bought the House of Silence because I had so enjoyed Emotional Geology, the previous book of hers that I'd read, and I wasn't disappointed. The emotion and psychology in both books was one of the themes, and I suspect it will feature in all her work. Another element common to both books was textile craft, which was woven into the story with an apparent in-depth knowledge and passion. But there was so much more in House of Silence: a mystery on many levels that kept me reading far into the night. I recommend it to anyone who likes to get into the head of the characters in a fascinating story.

The Chocolate Egg Murders by David Robinson

I do love the STAC mysteries. They are light enough for reading them to be a great way to unwind in bed after a tough day. The mysteries keep me guessing, but over the course of the series I’ve got to know the characters so well that they are pretty predictable now. I must admit that I was a little surprised when Jo got into bed with… no I won’t be a spoiler. In the The Chocolate Egg Murders, the club outing is Easter weekend in Weston Super Mare and it was a perfect follow on from the last one. In fact, the books in this series seem to get better and better. The author knows his cast well and keeps them perfectly in character throughout. For me, the main three have become like family now. I’ll be looking out for the next book to see where STAC is off to next, and how Jo solves the crime with the help of his two employees. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes crime fiction that is not too dark.

Friday 17 May 2013

My Life by Jade: Under the Weather

I've  been poorly today and unable to control myself so I pooped in the house when Daddy wouldn't let me outside because he thought I just wanted to bark at the birds. He opened the door quickly enough then though. Mummy was cross with him, not me.

Of course, she was the one who had to clear up the mess. And once it was cleared she used some marvellous stuff on the tiled floor that she got from Pets at Home when I was still a baby. It completely took away the smell and all the germs. The fact that we still had some left in the bottle shows that I don't normally have accidents like that.

Mummy said I must have eaten something bad that I found out of doors when she wasn't looking. But yesterday she put some of that nasty worm and flea stuff on my back, and it always makes me feel bad. in fact I let her know I didn't like it by not going in the office with her all day and sleeping on my bed in the kitchen or on the couch in the lounge - except when we went out for our secnd walk after lunch of course.

Anyway Mummy said I should not eat all day today, but I let her know that I felt better tonight so she relented and gave me some of the chicken bits she had just cooked and then some Science Diet nuts. I ate it all up and even wanted a biscuit afterwards so I must be better now.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Morning Walks

pic by Graham Taylor

Tuesday morning - Jade and I walk along  Sandbanks Beach to this point, after dropping my son at work at  8 am. (He's currently helping to build another few luxury apartments in this millionaire belt.) We only met other dog walkers on the beach. Everyone was saying how cold it was, but we were lucky because the rain didn't start till later in the morning. At one point I looked up and saw the Brittany Ferries ship towering over this hotel as it passed through the small gap to leave Poole harbour. I stood and watched it heading off to France growing smaller and smaller until it was just a blip on the horizon.

This morning we walked at Whitecliff Bay on the way back from Sandbanks. Then I took the scenic route home along Poole Quay and we saw the ferry in the middle of the harbour, pulling away from the port. It didn't look so huge in the  big expanse of water. 

Friday 10 May 2013

Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe

Hubby and I are fans of writer Bernard Cornwell's novels. We've read the books about Richard Sharpe and one of the presents I bought for hubby's birthday this year was a set of the TV series on DVD.

Today was the second afternoon this week that I scived off my writing work to watch one with him. I think they'll be coming out for viewing year after year.

Although they are really predictable and parts of them make us laugh, and I have to close my eyes on some of the gory bits, for some reason we really enjoy watching them. In his scruffy green uniform, Dick is a salt of the earth type, who is modest about his heroics while he always comes out on top, gets the women, and gets the better of the baddies and the enemies of King George.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Do you know about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome? I didn't, but when you discover that someone you know has it, you find out. One of my writing friends at Facebook has it, along with her children and siblings. Find out more at this Facebook page, where she gives information and declares a fund-raising writing marathon.

Friday 3 May 2013

Another Interlude

I am chilling out in south west London and using my daughter's painfully slow laptop. This morning we went for a lovely walk in Richmond Park, and she has now gone off for the weekend and I am in charge of the puppy and the girl.

But the puppy is fast asleep and Eryn is at school and then on to her football training - won't be brought home till after 6. So I have nothing to do for a few hours, which seems very strange.

When I logged into my email just now the first on told me that one of my articles had sold at Constant Content, and I am feeling very content now.  I think I'll take a book into the garden, but shall I sit in the sun or the shade. Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Reflections on the Nile

My head's still in Egypt in 2009, but I've no time to write, so here are some pics.

Writing Tip

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