Two of my tree children decided this week they would jump off a cliff overlooking a quarry in North Wales attached only to a thin bit of wire to celebrate my daughter turning 30!
It's the longest zip wire in the northern hemisphere apparently and reaches speeds of 100mph on the way down.
We didn't join them but went to watch, it was very cold but worth it!
They hurtled past us at a cracking high speed looking like Superman and wonder woman. All very good till they got to the end when they made a very ungainly landing onto a platform and we're hanging there till they were unhooked!
As it is a bank holiday today people were streaming into the Isle of Purbeck where we live....it's not an island but that's how it's known! So it made sense to us to go the other way, into mid Dorset. We took a leisurely drive to Sydling St Nicholas through the country lanes and back roads.
My husband's ancestors were Vicars here and are buried in the church....well the crypt to be exact.
We found this gravestone in the churchyard, it's a millstone and marks the spot where the last ever Miller in Sydling was buried, rather apt really.
The church is pretty and quiet and while we were inside looking around the church bells struck three, a muted lovely sound.
A little walk from the church and up the hill, we surprised a deer, although he wasn't really that bothered by us and remained quite nearby as we passed him.
The scenery was stunning and we only passed a couple of dog walkers and three young girls riding their ponies along the bridle path. When we got back to the car we saw an elderly couple sat on a bench, they looked quite elderly and he sported a huge bushy white beard that came down onto his chest and a lot of white hair. They looked like they had been transported from another century!
On the way home we hit heavy traffic near Dorchester, glad we missed it the rest of the time.
What is it about the first burst of spring that makes your heart sing and everything just seems so much better?
As I look around our garden the Blackthorn is blossoming, bees foraging around in the frothy white flowers. Brimstone butterfly's, Peacock, Tortoiseshell and a Comma butterfly sunning themselves on the stones round the pond, a little blue butterfly fluttering round the Laurel hedge. the Hawthorn buds big and fat, Spindle already open as is the Elder and the Hornbeam. Primroses in little clumps....not the garden centre copies but proper wild ones that smell wonderful and are more graceful and dainty than their garden centre cousins, Bluebells just starting to open under the hedges and Celandine too.
I have dug a couple of tons of gravel out to create two new flower beds around the garden table, I ache, have rough hands and got well and truly sunburnt but very happy to have achieved so much, the seedlings are coming on well that I shall put in the new beds. Sweet Peas, Cosmos, Bishops Flower, Marigolds, Hollyhocks, Larkspur, Sunflowers, Sweet Rocket, Snapdragons, Love In A Mist and others I have forgotten.....and forgotten to label!
The birds are busy too, nesting and feeding. Annoyingly the Jackdaws have decided to nest in our chimney and are chucking twigs down, enough to keep us in kindling all next winter! The chimney needs a cowl on it but that means scaffolding and gets expensive....in these days of Health and Safety no-one will go up a ladder!
The sunshine and warmth brings out people too, friends dropping in, both ours and our adult children's friends.
Well this might all sound a bit drippy and romantic but this week has been so lovely, long may it continue.
I used to see Goldfinches a long time ago at our old home but since new neighbours had moved in and got rid of trees and shrubs they had gone. No such problem here! Lots of them, I hear them twittering in the tree most of the day.
Chaffinches are new to us here, hardly saw them before!
This fellow has also taken some food off the table! Oh well, he's part of the food chain and he is rather beautiful.
An Angle Shade moth
Slow worms aplenty, adults and young ones, hopefully they will eat lots of slugs.
Damselflies are all over the wild part of the garden, several different types.
A hole in the grass heap.....does this mean we have grass snakes? I hope so.
We have seen bats in the evening, very large ones but not sure what type they are. Last night I think I heard a hedgehog, but didn't see it.
I shall keep watching and listening and hopefully see lots of other stuff.
Well. Since I last blogged a lot has happened. We have moved house, our son got married, our daughter had some major surgery (10 days before the wedding!) and I am working my notice and taking early retirement. Whew!
This is our new home, this picture makes it look much bigger than it really is, trick of the camera! It shows the garden though and there is a rough bit of ground behind me which I am euphemistically calling a "wild garden". It is pretty wild but has a lot of life in it already.
This picture was taken in early May and its much taller now. I have seen Slow worms, several butterfly's, masses of insects and a dead hedgehog!
The house is on the edge of a small Dorset market town, busier at the moment because its holiday season. We have heard a Cuckoo from the garden, admitted it was quite a distance away but I heard it, I also can hear cows in a field up the road....magic! Very different from our last home which was in the middle of town.
The wedding was beautiful and we gained a lovely daughter-in-law, on a lovely sunny day at the end of March.
Our daughter thankfully well enough to do the reading at the wedding supported by her other brother.
I hope to get back to blogging again, with new walks and wildlife stuff, retirement looms although I am calling it a career change to full time housekeeper and head gardener
Well, for those of you who don't know yet, we had to have our lovely Wrecks put to sleep a couple of weeks ago. He had a large tumour which in the end we could see was making him feel bad. His tail had stopped wagging and he was clearly in trouble. It was such a sad day and made more difficult because of his fear of the vet.
Still I look back on 10 years of fun and companionship, I miss him on my walks and at the moment haven't managed to do any of the walks I used to do with him. We hope to have another dog sometime, but not just yet.
I have been having trouble with putting pictures on the blog, which is part of the reason I haven't blogged for a while. When I use the iPad the photos are oversized, it's ok if I use the pc, but I would prefer to use the iPad.
One of the pleasures of driving out into the countryside is stopping by cottage garden gates to buy some plants, eggs, home-made jams or bunches of home grown flowers. The "honesty box" where you put your money is on the wall but sometimes just a tin. We stopped at this one in Milborne StAndrew and I bought a lovely posy of flowers.
It is a mixture of garden and wild flowers. Ox eye daisy, euphorbia, sweet William, mint, grasses, ivy, hosta leaves, may blossom, it is so pretty. Much nicer than a formal display I think.
A quick stop up at Bulbarrow Hill to see the view......well you couldn't just drive past this could you!
Swan and little'uns on the River Stour, Ahhhh!
This afternoon, a walk on Martin Down, serenaded by Larks and lots of Yellowhammers. The chalky ground spotted with Cowslips. All in all a very nice Bank holiday weekend.
Also a bit of work in the garden, which is growing so fast now, and I noticed the first rose opening today.
We met these nosy parkers while walking Wrecks the other day!
And finally, a trip to the reclamation yard and we solved our garden table problem, its cast iron and weighs a lot! I can hardly lift the chairs so the wind won't blow this lot away! We have bought some paint and a wire brush.......
We have driven along the A31 in Dorset many times and admired the grand gates into the Charborough Park Estate, but we had never been in those gates........until yesterday!
A group of relatives, of folk who have died in the Hospice where I am a nurse, got together and organized a walk through the woods and tea and home made cakes afterwards. One of the ladies has links with the estate as she rents out some land to keep some cattle.
The owner allows the estate to open for a few days every year in aid of charity so it was lovely that it was us!
The Tower was built in 1790 by Edward Drax, a descendant of the current owner who is Richard Drax, our local MP (Member of Parliament for my USA friends) His family have owned the estate since 1549 although it goes back to at least 1087 as it gets a mention in the Domesday Book. We have seen this tower in the distance lots of times so it was good to go right up to it. It stands 420 ft above sea level so there is a very good view from there.
Sadly the weather was not too good and it was chilly and no sun to be seen. However, we're British so we keep going anyway! I apologise for more Bluebell pictures but the woods were lovely with bluebells and ransomes. There were also Rhodedendrons and azaeleas but I am not a fan of either so I didn't take any pictures of them!
Below is Charborough House as seen from the base of the tower. Most of these grand English Houses are too expensive to be privately owned these days and have been handed over to the National Trust, I do like visiting NT houses and estates but I am also pleased that some are still lived in and still used by families as they have been for centuries before.
From the base of the tower we could enjoy the view across the parkland, and I think that might be an Elm tree in the picture which is a bit of a rarity now, since the start of Dutch Elm Disease which has killed so many lovely trees. Through binoculars we could see the pigs in a field near Tarrant Rushton airfield where we sometimes walk.
More bluebells then back for a cup of tea and lovely home made cake. Mr Richard Drax (owner of the estate) came up with his lovely dogs to chat to people and it was a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I don't know how much these kind people have made for the Hospice but I hope they do it again one day and next time the sun shines on them!
Home via the very grand track down to the A31 again.