Monday 30 June 2014

A Busy Weekend

After the Friday singing, it was writing work on Saturday morning and Folk on the Quay with a friend in the early evening. I didn't take my camera, but here's a pic of the quay on a quieter day. When we arrived on Saturday, it was packed with people all along this road, which of course was closed to traffic. A folk group called The Jesters from Oxford  were performing under the shelter visible on the right edge of the pic and we stayed to watch for a while. They were very good and, unusual for a folk group, included a double bass. The rouondabout was edged with stalls selling cheap jewellery and bright hippy type clothing. My friend bought a pair of earrings I liked as well.

photo by Chris Downer

She had a sleepover and I had a business meeting here on Sunday afternoon. Jade got her walks fitted in, but the house didn't get cleaned.

Weekends when I am at home are usually pretty low key, with house chores top of the agenda, followed by recuperating from the week. I'm feeling a tad weary today.

Friday 27 June 2014

Singing for Fun

I went to a singing group this afternoon at our local library. It is being run by a friend of a friend whom I know slightly. He had been approached to run it by a local NHS service to help people with breathing problems, but he was happy for me and my friend to go along, although strictly speaking we don't qualify. In my youth, I used to belong to choirs and even an operatic society, but that was many years ago. I found that I still love to sing. It was great fun and I met some some lovely people there. They encouraged me to go again, so I probably will, although I can't next week as I'll be away on child and dog minding duties.

We sang old favourites like I Believe and Oh Shenandoah. Then we were told that every session ends with a rousing rendition of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Cue video for a bit more fun.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Summer Growth

In April, the new pots I put in the front garden looked like this.

Now they look like this.

Monday 23 June 2014

My Life by Jade: Hot Weather Lament

Mummy wanted me to write a traditional tanka. She told me it has to have 31 syllables in five lines, where the syllables line up 5-7-5-7-7.

So I came up with this:

Pavements burn my paws.
Minutes after leaving house
I am panting hard.
Best not walk in blazing heat.
Wait till the sun has gone down. 

Friday 20 June 2014

In the Back Garden

The potatoes are flowering so we'll soon be lifting them.

The first rose has bloomed.

And the hanging baskets seem happy.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Early Summer Flowers

The Rose of Sharon have started to display their gorgeous golden heads and my cherry tree is enjoying their loving cuddles.

Looking at this picture reminds me that I still have work to do in the front of the house. Those two shrubs in the wall need trimming and shaping, and the beds beneath them tidying and planting up again. I need to buy more plants though. Perhaps we'll go to Wimborne market on Saturday and I'll get some ideas there.

Friday 13 June 2014

Badbury Rings

For the last few days the weather has been sunny and hot here. Sunday was no exception, and we knew that many of the places we go to walk Jade would be choc full of families enjoying the great outdoors. The roads would also be clogged with traffic. Hubby suggested we make for Badbury Rings, so I packed a bottle of water and we drove around narrow back roads and lanes to get there. I was glad I wasn’t driving when we met vehicles coming the other way, but we got to see more of the countryside than we had before. Everything looks wonderful when the sun is shining.

Badbury Rings is an Iron Age hill fort dating to between 800 BC and the early years AD when the Romans invaded Britain. These forts were encircled by deep ditches and rising earth ramparts outside each one. Badbury Rings is a very good example of one that has survived well. It is now maintained by the National Trust and is open free to members and the public. I took my camera on Sunday, but an aerial photo gives the best view of it all. You ‘ll see  a few of those if you search  for it by name on Google.

Last time we went there we had walked the high outer rampart. This time, when we left the car park we walked along an old cobbled track through the field with the fort on our right. Could it have been part of the network of Roman roads around the area? The spectacular views to our left beyond the point-to-point course were towards our previous local haunts in North Dorset.

There are plenty of walking options, but it was too hot for us to go far with Jade, so we stayed inside gates and stiles and went uphill towards the fort where the wooded centre offered some welcome shade. 

In the middle an engraved metal disc directed us to other landmarks. Looking south west we could just make out a glint of Poole Harbour and the line of the Purbeck Hills beyond.

We went right over the fort and probably through the centre of the site of the bailey that would originally have stood there, to come out at the entrance near the car park we had started from.  As we passed between the ramparts I saw a lone figure in the outer ditch and stopped to take a picture that gives you an idea of the scale of the outer earthworks. 

Back at the car, Jade had a good long drink, and I stopped to take photos of the horse jumps on the other side of the fence.

I remember going to a point-to-point once back in my young days, and losing a few bob on each race. Perhaps one day we’ll come to see the racing here and I might win it all back.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

My Life - by Jade: Being Rather Naughty

When we came back from the park this morning, silly Mummy didn't fasten the gate to the back of the house properly when she went to water the pots at the front. I sneaked out when she wasn't looking and went to say hello to Kitty, the cat from next door. Usually she likes to give me a kiss and then lies down and pats me with her paws. But today she decided to run away, and then there was no stopping me. we went  round and round our front garden and the two next to us. I was enjoying it so much that I didn't hear Mummy calling me back. I don't think she realised just how much fun it was.

But then along came Leo, the border terrier from round the corner. He was with his Mummy who had him on a lead.  Of course I had to go and say hello to them and then I was caught. Leo's Mummy held my collar until my Mummy arrived. I didn't mind really. I like Leo's Mummy as she always gives me cuddles and talks to me when we meet her in the park. Anyway I'd forgotten about Kitty. Mummy was cross though and she put me through the gate and closed it firmly. She had to go and pick up the pot I had knocked over in our neighbour's garden, and she said it was lucky I hadn't done any more damage.

After that I was ready for a nap. I love the big, soft tiger bed I got a few weeks ago.

Monday 9 June 2014


These elegant spikes of bright pink flower bells are doing well in our local area this year. On Saturday we parked at a view point on our nearby holiday park and walked down to Ham Common which is just above the beach in Poole Harbour. We saw lots of foxgloves dotted around, but I hadn't taken my camera so I couldn't photograph them.

Today I did take the camera on our walk and spotted these just off the path leading to Creekmoor Ponds. We always walk there before going to the pet shop for biscuits and treats for Jade. I was hoping also to take pictures of the ponds and their wildlife, but that didn't happen as the battery went dead. I guess one day I'll get it all right.

Friday 6 June 2014

The Royal Parks - South London

Today I had to write about the property market in an area of South West London.  I did some research but since I used to live there I didn't need to do much.  Considering why people would choose to locate there, got me round to thinking  about the Royal Parks that are nearby. The two that are close are Richmond Park, and Bushy Park. I always think of the Hampton Court Home Park as one of them as well, but it's not included on the Royal Parks website.

Over the years I've spent a lot of time in them and taken a good few photos. Here's one I particularly like of the lake in Bushy Park.

According to the parks' website, one of the reasons they are important is that "As some of London’s biggest green spaces, they cool urban temperatures, reduce wind speeds and absorb pollution and flood water". You can see lots more facts and figures about them here.

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Batteries Recharged

I’ve just had another couple of days in Devon, catching up with family and friends. Unfortunately I was unwell  on Friday and Saturday, so I had to postpone travel until Sunday and could only use the  return half of the advance train ticket I’d bought. The single journey out cost me as much again, so the journey had to be worth it. Of course, it was.

I managed to catch up with most of the party of friends I’d planned to see on Saturday by having a pub lunch with them in the Great Western in Exeter. The advantage of that is that it is located right next to St David’s Station, where I had to change trains anyway.

After that I got a later train, run by First Great Western, alongside the River Exe and through Dawlish where the line had been washed away during the storms earlier this year. Network Rail had certainly pulled out all the stops to get that fixed quickly, as trains have been running through there since April. But I still witnessed a lot of damage to the sea wall all the way from Dawlish Warren to Teignmouth. The promenade on top of it, which forms part of the south west coast path, was closed to the public and workmen were employed on it at intervals. The pic (by Lewis Clarke) shows it in happier times.

Still, we got to Torquay without incident and I was met by my lovely sister and brother-in-law who were my hosts for the next two nights. I spent Monday with someone I’ve been friends with since we went to infant school there. She now lives in Somerset and drives down to meet up, so that we can revisit some of our old haunts, while we talk incessantly. Usually we catch a bus to St Marychurch and walk along Babbacombe Downs and then choose a route back to the harbour. This week was no exception. We ate lunch on the Downs against a background of wonderful coastal views, and then trekked over Walls Hill and down to Meadfoot Beach via Ilsham Vale. This pic of a seat we passed on Walls Hill is by Derek Harper.

Of course we met lots of dogs as it is perfect dog walking country and Jade would have loved it, but she was at home with hubby. I found it harder going than I have before, another indication that I need to step up my general exercise regime. But I got my South Devon fix and had a great time with people I love. On Tuesday I came home and was welcomed at the station by an ecstatic dog along with hubby who drove for nearly an hour to meet me and save me a much longer journey by public transport.

Now my batteries are charged and I’m raring to get to grips with my June deadlines.

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