Friday, 29 May 2009

Lower saved from development

On bank holiday Monday we had a wander round Lower kingcombe north of Dorchester and near Toller Pocorum. This farmland was bought by the Dorset Trust for Nature Conservation about 25 years ago. it had been a farm owned by the Walbridge family and had been farmed with no chemicals or any sprays or artificial fertilisers. It was therefore untouched by modern farming methods and had kept it's meadows and hedgerows as they have been for generations. The estate was bought by a London property speculator who broke the land up into lots and put it to auction. There was an outcry locally and I remember it being very much in the news here in Dorset. Eventually enough money was raised to save over 300 acres and that's why we could enjoy this meadow today.
The little beastie above is a wasp beetle.This meadow is one of several, every field you walk through is covered in wild flowers, I haven't seen meadows quite like these since I was a child.

We saw lots of birds, dragonflies, and flowers. It's real escapism and I shall hopefully return to see the later summer meadows. We came here years ago when it was first bought by the Nature Conservation and it's nice to see it so unchanged.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Return to Turners Puddle.

Now wouldn't you just like to hop over that style and walk across that field? I make no apologies for returning to Turners Puddle for another walk. The sound of the birds were wonderful and plenty of butterflies fluttering around.
How about a swing on this piece of rope! Our children have done it many times and I have waded up the river with them when they were small to see the pig who lives in the field down the river.

Believe it or not this is the same church I photographed on April 9th when the graveyard was covered with Celandine, Primroses and other spring flowers. Actually the link from the picture at the bottom of this item will take you there. In the few weeks since then, the cow parsley has grown and the grass has got really tall but it's still more beautiful than any other church I know, so wild and natural.

I'm not sure what this caterpillar will turn into, I will look it up today but it was a big one and a bit hairy too.
It's a bank holiday today so we will find somewhere to walk today, it's also our daughters 24th birthday, she is on holiday in North Wales and climbed Snowdon yesterday. She phoned us from the top and told us that they had felt their legs were like jelly, so stood two jelly babies on a rock to take a photo of them...and a passing gull came and ate one of them!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Scaling the heights of the coast path!

Last evening my husband had a phone call from a friend who helps at the Swanage railway that several engines were 'in steam' as they were to be taken to Eastleigh in Hampshire for a Steam Gala this weekend. It amused me to see the men polishing the buffers with what looked like a brillo pad! I wonder if he helps with the washing up at home? Round the engine there were lots of other men cleaning and polishing it.
After all this excitement we drove of to Rempstone, the other side of Worth Matravers. Parked the car and walked off towards Chapmans Pool. Not many people about, just a couple of people floating above in a parachute and a couple who had taken a bottle of wine and were sitting on a stone bench waiting for the civilised is that! We followed the coast path back eastwards towards St Aldhelms Head, then we reached this steep climb...believe me this picture does not do it credit! We lost count but we think it was between 175 and 200 steps up! Those little dots at the top are cows.

Halfway up and we stopped to look back at the way we had come (actually it was to breath and catch our breath really!) While we were walking we saw a Meadow Pipit and several Whinchats.

Finally we watched the sun setting as we walked back to the car. As a final icing on the cake a Barn Owl was flying around the field next to the car park.
Well I'm on night shift for two nights now so that will have to last me until Sunday!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

I think this cat may not be so 'lucky'!

Saw this in a shop window notice board this morning....I think maybe not so lucky!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Three Okefords Fair

The delightfully named Three Okefords Fair is on this weekend just outside the village of Shillingstone. It's called the Three Okefords because of the three Okeford villages of Okeford Fitzpaine, Child Okeford and Shilling Okefore (which is the old name for Shillingstone). It is set in lovely Dorset scenery as you can see in the second picture and has Dorset characters aplenty! However for me today it was the dogs and children that amused me, this first dog looked totally fed up and resigned to being driven around and his body language said it all.
This traction engine was driven by a young Mum and she had her two little tots seated in the back.

There didn't appear to be a driver in this old steam lorry, just this little chap. It was a lovely afternoon, the commentary was in wonderfully local dialect and funny too. ...and I came home with some home made marmalade and a jar of runner bean chutney. Yummmm.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Where is our milk coming from?

Did anyone out there see Countryfile on Sunday about the cows being kept in all year round now. I am from an extended farming family and have two friends who have or had dairy herds and their cows have always been kept in the fields except for in the deep midwinter. I must admit to being shocked and saddened by this and although I always buy my milk from Waitrose because I believe that the farmers are paid more fairly by them I am beginning to wonder now if I have to buy organic milk to be sure they are outside in the fields. On reading Waitrose's statement on the website it is a bit ambiguous and does not actually say much.
I do understand the issues farmers face with the supermarkets underpaying them and all the other stuff but....I feel I want to do something about it, or at least moan about it!
I must admit as we walk the countryside now you see less herds of cows and we are poorer for their absence.
The fine ladies in the photo are reasonably close to where I live, and I love to see them.
Still it's my birthday in a couple of weeks and I always have a pint of Jersey/Guernsey milk on that day.....can't wait!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

What will the librarian think of these books!

I went to the library and I think my choice of books may say something about me! If I were a librarian I'm sure I would assess people by what they read, just as when I am in a shop queue I look in other folks baskets to see what I can glean about them! Have they got a cat or a dog, do they cook from scratch or save time with ready meals? I chose quite lightweight books this time, and maybe I am feeling my age!

Hmmm, haven't made any alterations yet....

Haven't folded any tea bags either!

This book is great and makes you think about why we like to keep up with the Jones and why many people are not content with what they have. Personally I feel very content with my lot in life, I have a great husband and children who give me pleasure all the time and make me laugh alot! I have a home, it's not big but it's all we need, I have a job I enjoy, although some of my friends think that's a bit strange knowing what I do but it gives me great satisfaction. I have a strong faith which makes me feel secure and loved and gives me hope. I think the only thing I wish is that I could move out of the town and have a garden big enough to make into a mini nature reserve, if I could transplant my house that would be fine!

Another book by Oliver James, apparently the Students Nurses are now being given it as a suggestion to read and it is very interesting . could say I'm looking after the future with this little selection!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Weird and Wonderful recipes!

A few weeks ago my friend, 'Tattyanne'
popped in with this little book for me, she had picked it up somewhere and thought I would enjoy it. She was right! It was printed 36 years ago and has some wonderful recipes in it.

I think the Grandmothers Embrocation on this page is great! There are some very strange things, such as....

Gorse wine
Plank bread
Tomato marmalade
Divinity Fudge
Mangold wine
Pig curing
Dressmakers tripe
Beestings pudding

There are alot more too! Also there are some really nice sounding recipes and I hope to try some this week. The Lemon Meringue Pie sounds tempting.......

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The ladies make tea...and the best cakes in Dorset!

Bank holiday was a little subdued on the weather front but we made the decision to take a turn around Wimborne St Giles, a village near Knowlton and Horton. You can walk around the lanes,
over the bridge and spend a few minutes gazing at the watermeadows....watching the swallows skimming over the river and the cows grazing next to it.

Walk along the lanes with the cow parsley in full flower along the edges.

Past the Wisteria clad cottages, their gardens beginning to fill up with promise of summer flowers to come.

Stop off at the Village Hall where the wonderful ladies of the village serve tea and cakes between 3pm and 5pm every weekend and bank holiday. All the cakes, biscuits and sandwiches are home made and the biggest problem is which to choose! It is very popular and people start arriving for 3pm, there is a real village community atmosphere, the men seem to do alot of table clearing and the kitchen seems abuzz with people washing up and getting new cakes out on the table as the first lot disappear!
You may have noticed the wonderful quilt hanging behind the table, click on the picture for a better look, unfortunately I have alot of reflection in the photo.

I really should have taken this picture before we started but.......we couldn't wait! It's so nicely presented, linen tablecloths, a posy of garden flowers, enough tea in the pot for 3 cups each! I had a lovely light sponge cake with mandarins and cream and my husband had scones and cream. Even the plates are all different and vintage, old fashioned stuff but like a breath of fresh air after some of the chain cafes that are around now.

This is the view as you leave the village hall, the river meanders between here and the white building opposite. (the Pub!)

Finally a walk back to the car, which we purposely parked away from the village hall so that we would walk it off!
Well it might not have been sunny but I think we had as good a time as you can, try it if you are in the area, you won't be sorry.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

When all the visitors have gone......

The trick to seeing places at their best is to go when very few people are around. I have been on nightshift this week so when I woke up yesterday (and not having to do any more shifts) we went out in the evening for a walk. The top picture is near Goathorn again and I took it last week after nights. By the way, I don't do nights all the time, in fact I mostly do day shifts, but I do feel a bit nocturnal lately!
This is where we walked last night, parked at the RSPB car park at Arne, most folk were getting in their cars to go home when we arrived so we had the place to ourselves pretty well. We walked towards the Middlebere channel and this seat just was the perfect place to spend a few minutes. Plenty of deer ambling about including a white one in the distance. We watched a pair of Linnets and a Stonechat singing from the top of the Gorse bushes, Shelduck on the water and those annoying Green Woodpeckers sounding like they are still laughing at me because I haven't seen one this year....yet!