Thursday 22 December 2016

Beach Hut Views

Top storey beach huts at Branksome Chine have the best views. And they are safe for dogs and children too. A little bit of paradise on a sunny winter day.

Saturday 10 December 2016

The Tree is Up

For about ten years I have grown a little Christmas tree in a pot in the garden. We brought it indoors in the pot each December. This year I reluctantly agreed to let it go because it was no longer happy in the pot and I don't have a place for it in the garden. I was sad to see it go, but it has made room for one that comes in a box and will be broken down and packed away when the time comes. It is taller and slimmer, and has its own built in lights, so it is easier to put up (hoping the lights still work next year). And it fits nicely into this corner. Now that we have it decorated I quite like it.

Sunday 4 December 2016

Winter Sun and Wind

It was bitterly cold with a bracing wind at the beach this morning. Heading into the wind really took your breath away. It was bliss to turn around and walk back. But the sun shone from a bright blue sky and everything was beautiful. the dogs appreciated it too.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Storms and Office Clearing

Outside the storms have been raging and now we have the calm after the storm.

Indoors I have finally hung up my commissioned writing boots. I say finally because I think this time it is. A couple of years ago I did it but went back to it after a few months.

So  now I am working on dismantling my home office and decluttering the space. It's a bit of a nightmare to see just how much I've hung onto in case it became useful. The local community are benefitting though, as I'm using the PooleFreecycle group to advertise what I no longer want and am prepared to give away.

A few days ago 3 boxes of files, envelopes, paper and miscellaneous items were collected by a start up from Swanage. Now there's another lot on offer, inluding one of my two office chairs. I hope all that goes as quickly.

Yesterday I went out to lunch with my daughter and good friend and we ate at The Green Man in Wimborne - a cheap, cheerful and cosy traditional pub with a lovely log fire. Tomorrow, if I feel up to it, I am out for lunch again, with my singing group. We are all going for fish and chips.

So it will be a couple of days before I can get back to the office clearing.

Friday 11 November 2016

The Kitchen in Poole Park

I took this picture nearly 4 years ago but the view is still more or less the same. Sorry about the focus which is not as clear as it should be because it is an enlarged cropped area of a wider landscape.

It shows the restaurant, now called The Kitchen, on the shore of the lake in Poole Park. It's where some well loved, visiting friends waited for me to meet them after an appointment in the large building in the background, Poole Hospital. That was on Tuesday, a very cold day this week. But we had a pleasant time together over the couple of days they stayed locally before heading back to their own pad near Eastbourne.

Another happy interlude.

Saturday 29 October 2016

Another Holiday

I've been away for nearly two weeks. Torquay again - and for the last five nights was in a sweet little cottage with views to die for. We were in the last but one on the left in the terrace - blue fronted.

The field in front of it is called Daddyhole Plain and it reaches to the edge of a cliff with a car park that used to be my dad's favourite viewing point. Here's why.

That was looking to the right. And in the opposite direction:

Thursday 13 October 2016

News not too Good

Saw my consultant last week following scans and got some bad news. The chemo tablets have stopped working and my tumours are growing. There's one more type I can try. If they don't help there's nothing else and it will all be over soon. I must make the most of the life I have left.

Meanwhile I am living in a beautiful place and going out to the beach is soothing whatever the weather.

Sunday 9 October 2016

All Girls Together

My granddaughter is the queen of selfies. She took this photo this morning on a dog walk with family and friends. We had a lovely stroll in the October sunshine while our leg of lamb was roasting.

Thursday 29 September 2016

Stourhead Revisited

This week I had an overnight with a good friend in the small North Dorset town where I used to live, Gillingham. My friend is a National Trust volunteer at the nearby estate of Stourhead, one of the Trust's star properties. She had some brief business there, so we visited together and I met many of the workers there for the first time, both volunteers and employed. We went into the Estate Office and I saw a smidgeon of the enormous amount of work that goes into running the place. Multiply that by the number of large NT properties around the country and it's an immense undertaken.

After that we did a trip round the garden. Fortunately they now have a golf buggy plus volunteer driver which took us just over half way, as it would be tough for me to manage the mile long path all the way round the lake, and we got a running commentary, much of which I already knew but there is always something new to learn as well. I've spent many a happy hour at Stourhead and had lots of lovely memories brought to mind.

Saturday 24 September 2016


Although I don't ride any more, I still love being around horses. It was a real treat when my daughter took me to visit her new horse share.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

At the Weekend

We had family visitors and Sunday was a blessed day. we got ahead with the roastie preparations quite early and put a leg of lamb in the oven or a slow cook. Then we took the dogs to Sandbanks dog beach. I couldn't walk the distance so we took a folding chair and my great nephew opted to stay with me while the others walked to the end of the beach and back. He had a great time digging a large hole with his hands and then burying his feet.

We were covered in sloppy love when the dogs spotted us on their way back and came haring over.

After this we drove to the lifeboat museum at the quay and purchased some crabbing items, so we could spend a happy hour catching the crabs that come close hunting the bait. They seem to know they won't be hurt and will end up back in the water. Here's that great nephew enjoying the experience.

And here's my son who got really into it and caught more than anyone else.

Our lamb roastie was very welcome after all that activity.

Sunday 4 September 2016

A Week to Remember

I've had quite a week again. In between gallivanting I've been meeting article deadlines.

Wednesday we took the boat from Poole Quay across the harbour and up the River Frome to Wareham Quay. It was another tick on my bucket list and well worth being on it. On the way out we sat on the top deck to see all that was going on around us. It was pretty windy.

Once we reached the river, we saw some intrepid swimmers making their way down the river to the harbour.

We picnicked on the river bank before reboarding our vessel for the return journey. Coming back we chose to sit lower and aft so we could turn around and dangle our feet over the water.

It was a truly memorable day shared with some of my family and friends. Then the next day I had a quiet lunch harbourside at Salterns Hotel with my daughter after walking the dogs. Dogs are allowed in the courtyard at the back.

Friday was singing group again. The weekend was busy too. More of that to come.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

RIP George

I can't believe it's two years to the day that I lost him.

Friday 19 August 2016

Egypt Again

I've had a rough week with lots of pain. Thought at one time it was diverticulitis, but after lots of tests and prodding it turns out not to be the case. Just more of the side effects of the medication that is controlling the cancer. At least it seems to be doing that. Feeling better now but pretty exhausted.

So I thought I'd look back on some happier times.

The last overseas holiday George and I took was to Luxor where our hotel on the banks of the River Nile had this enormous chess board in the garden, in front of the swimming pool.

I organised this for his birthday as he had alsways wanted to visit the Valley of the Kings not far away in the desert. We did this and other tourist things there, including a visit to the temple of HapSetSut.

And we had our one and only ride on a camel along the west bank of the river.

Afterwards I wrote this article which is still for sale at Constant Content

Friday 5 August 2016

My Latest Kiva Loan

I sold an article at Constant Content (CC) this morning. I don't get many sales now, probably because I don't add much to my portfolio there these days. Being semi-retired, I just write my 6 commissioned pieces a month and then perhaps one on spec for CC. Anyway it's always good to get a sale. This was one that I wrote in June about listening skills. It sold for usage rights which means it can be used once and I retain the copyright, so it still sits in my portfolio and is still for sale.

When I do get a sale I like to make another loan in I've usually had some repayments there so I have some credit with them which I can top up from my earnings. It only costs me a few dollars, plus a small donation so it's an easy way to help someone out.

Today it was Fatima who lives in Bethlehem. she works part-time and goes to university, working for a BA. Since I was a mature student myself, and aged 38 when I got my degree without having to pay, I have always been interested in women's education and was a board member of a college I attended for many years. It is good to be able to help another woman to fund her university fees.

Saturday 30 July 2016

Dorset's Blue Pool

Wednesday seems a long way back now, but that is the day we went to The Blue Pool, and I wanted to share it with you. Once it was a clay pit developed to serve the need of smokers in the 17th century when tobacco was introduced to the Britain. Then the clay was made into clay pipes and later made fine china crockery. Now it is a tourist attraction with lots of delightful walks where you can take dogs on leads. When they say that, we always cheat and take our long leads, only shortening them when we meet other people.

The pool is famous for the turquoise colour of the water that you can see in the pic. It's not always that colour and Wednesday wasn't sunny all the time, so it wasn't the best conditions to see it, but we were lucky to get some good photos.

I was determined to walk all the way around it. Even though there were much longer routes than the one we took, it was quite a long walk for me and I was glad to reach the tea rooms and sit down for a lovely cream tea to share with my daughter. Grandaughter had her choice of chocolate cake. A quick browse in the little museum and a couple of purchases in the gift shop and we were off to give the dogs a bit of a  run on the Purbeck Way which runs past the entrance. Then back in the car and home after a peaceful and satisfying afternoon.

Monday 25 July 2016

The Garden in July

It's looking pretty good right now.

Regular readers may remember what it was like when we moved here in July 2009.

Monday 18 July 2016

A Weekend Break

On Friday I took a train to Leamington Spa where I met up with some friends. Actually it was two trains because I had to change to a Cross Country route at Southampton. We stayed at the Regent Hotel which is now a Travelodge. It has come down in the world a little because in the 19th century Queen Victoria chose to stay over there, which is remembered in the stained glass windows on the landings of the very grand staircase (even though it has seen better days).

The Queen is also commemorated  in a statue outside the Town Hall, a very different and ornate Victorian building.

That afternoon  we visited the local museum and art gallery which is located in the modernised Pump Rooms of the spa. Here we learned some of the history and how the pump rooms were developed into a famed medical centre with a range of spa treatments available as well as its rejuvenating waters. Outside is an ancient drinks fountain where one of our party gave the water a try. He pronounced it not unpleasant but rather  salty. From the bridge over the River Leam near the Pump Rooms we could see the weir further up. Alongside the river were attractive looking gardens and walks.

This picture is of the bridge in Victorian times, and it is not that different now. The columns in the background are on the facade of the Pump Rooms and also look similar today.

On Saturday, we took a bus to Warwick and found historical buildings that go back a lot further. Do come back in a few days to read more about that.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Wheal Martyn Again

Someone commented on the weird sculpture in one of the photos in my last post, so I thought I would show you some close ups. It wasn't until we passed it that we realised it was on the approach to the Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum and Country Park. Then it became clear that the sculpture depicted various stages in extracting and transporting the clay.

The clay trail we had walked to get there was part of the route to the port at Charlestown where the clay was loaded onto ships and taken on by sea.

Monday 11 July 2016

Happy Holiday Memories

These pics were taken on the last holiday I had with George. He hated having his photo taken and would never pose or smile. Sometimes I would resort to taking the back view. We stayed at St Austell and this one was taken at its little port of Charlestown. I've written about it before here.

Another day we took the clay trail from St Austell to Wheal Martyn Clay Museum which, by the way, is well worth the visit. We had walked from St Austell more than 2 miles at this point because we hadn't found it easy to find where the trail started.

We were almost at the museum here and found this strange sculpture a little further on. I posted about the clay trails and Wheal Martyn on 2012 as well.

Back at our cottage George had to repair to the dog friendly smoking area outside and made friends with the resident dog.

Photographs bring back so many lovely memories.

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Evening Walk

The sun was still shining after we had eaten and we decided on a walk at Ham Common. I still find it hard to believe I actually live in this beautiful place. 

Of course it was tinged a little with sadness as we walked towards George's seat, where the dogs sniffed around as if they could still sense him.

But it wasn't hard to appreciate the warm, balmy evening.

After this we strolled to the lake that sits behind the sea, before heading back
 to the car park and home.

Sunday 3 July 2016

Things Are Looking up

I just reread my last post and noted a couple of typos that have now been put right. Normally I pride myself on my proofreading skills, so I really hope that's just a blip that doesn't carry over to my professional work, I've finished my article drafts and the first one has been proofed and delivered. Two more go tomorrow and I'll take extra care with the proofing. The last batch goes later in the week.

Healthwise, the week has been just as bad, if not worse than the last one, at least until Friday. Following a night of pain, diarrhoea and sickness, that morning I called the Macmillan nurse and was given a reprieve from the meds for three days. Later I was persuaded to go out, take Rafi for grooming, walk Jade on the beach at Branksome and find a dog friendly pub where I could watch my daughter eat her lunch and even share a bit of it.

We found an excellent inn for that. Called The Plantation, it was decked out in old colonial style with a lovely conservatory restaurant and bar areas where we could take our dog while we ate and drank. They even brought her out her own drink of water in a special dog bowl. The service was superb, making us feel really special. I'd never noticed the place before, but someone said it used to be a residential home so I guess it's new. Sitting in the car on the way home I realised I felt better than I had for weeks.

It has been good ever since, with nights for just sleeping. I went out twice yesterday, dog walking in the morning and to my granddaughter's football presentation in the afternoon. That was in a sports club we'd never been to before, very civilised with a bar and a covered area we could sit. Outside was a children's play area plus various pitches and sports grounds. It is obviously popular with families in the local area as there were plenty of people there who were not associated with Poole youth football teams.

The girls had a great time and all received their awards for playing for a whole season, with one or two singled out for special praise.

Saturday 25 June 2016

Good News, Depressing News, Doggie Routine Notwithstanding

I've spent most of the last week hunkered down at home nursing a virulent bug. Now that I have to take nasty, chemo type medication, every time I catch something like this it hits me hard. There was some good news on Wednesday though. I couldn't attend my hospital appointment, so the consultant phoned me to say that my latest scans show a decrease in the size of my tumours. It was the highlight of the week. Seems if I can persevere with the treatment, it is working ok.

Apart from that, there hasn't been much to write about, not that I've felt like posting anyway. I did manage to keep up with my writing schedule and now have four of this month's articles drafted. On Thursday I did go out to vote, then came home and collapsed on the settee again.

I didn't vote to leave the EU and am shocked at the result. I am worried for the future of my grandchildren and their children. I doubt I will live long enough for it to bother me, and my children are already set on their paths, but the next generations will have to fight more for their opportunities. I just hope I am wrong about that.

None of it bothers the dogs. They still want to follow their routines - eat, sleep and go for walks. Rafi has his mad half hour with toys while Jade sits and looks on as if she is an old lady indulging a child, even though she is only 18 months older than him. She just wakes up when it is food time, barking at him to let him know she is top dog and gets first pick.

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