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.
To look at this blog it seems that I do nothing but swan around the countryside having fun. I promise you that I spent the day doing the mundane stuff we all have to do, cleaning loos, washing floors, washing clothes, cooking meals, etc....BUT, when my daughter turned up after she had finished work and asked if I would like a trip to Kimmeridge with her and the dog, I was off!
It's such a pretty view, and every time I go there I take far too many pictures!
One slightly worrying thing is the amount of land slips that are occurring along the Dorset coast, this has appeared since last we were there. In fact the path up to Clavell Tower is closed as is a lot of the coastpath from here to West Dorset.
I have walked the path down to the fishermans huts many, many times and I have never noticed this little path and gate. It looks like it goes to a secret garden doesn't it. As you can see the blossom is out now and the spring has finally come.
We really have had the most amazing weather this weekend, sunshine and nice temperatures. All three days we have spent going up to north Dorset, we thought that every man and his dog would be on Purbeck so we headed off to the north of the county. Good decision I think!
Above is a picture taken from above Buckland Newton.....there are worse places to chill out in the sun!
This is a beautiful wood near Gillingham called Duncliffe wood, it was heady with the scent of Bluebells and alive with birdsong. The paths were lined with Bluebells, Primroses, Violets, Celandine, Stitchwort, Orchids and one or two Campion flowers. As you can see there were carpets of bluebells. We walked three miles round and up and down the woods and only passed three other groups of people! We needed a good walk as I had just enjoyed Dorset Apple cake with clotted cream and D had a cream tea. The woods are quite hilly so I think we made a good inroad into using up those calories!
The rather dark picture below is the Oak pub at Dewlish. Its so nice there and the locals are chatty and want to talk to you, the foods good too. We had Sunday lunch there yesterday and it was beautiful. Amazingly we met a retired teacher from a school local to where we live (which is about 15 miles away from Dewlish!), he now lives at Hilton near Dewlish. Then while we were talking to him our old GP walked in, he retired 20-30 years ago, we had a good time reminiscing with him too. What a small world!
On the way home we stopped off at Cutt Mill near Sturminster Newton and sat by the water watching the Grey Wagtails bobbing about and the swallows skimming over the water catching flies. We think that my husbands ancestors once were the Miller and his family there. Now it is a sad ruin but still a pretty and peaceful place to sit. A group of young people were there too, they had been swimming in the water and having fun. So nice to see them there having a laugh and simple pleasure.
Roll on the next Bank holiday! I intend to try and do this blog more, it is fun to look back on and to share with others.
Last time I blogged I put a photo on of a pretty cottage in Corfe Castle. Well I decided I would make a fabric picture of it. Now, I realise I have used a bit of artistic licence here, there is not in fact a chicken walking along West Street nor are there flowers growing in front of the cottage. Still that's the nice thing about art and creativity, you can as you will, so.....bring on the chickens!
I have been asked to make a few of my sewn pictures of houses and scenes for an exhibition to be held in Studland in June, so to that end I have been out this afternoon taking photos of cottages and buildings on Purbeck that I can transfer into a needleworked picture. I love this cottage in Corfe Castle and I almost certainly will try this one.
These lovely chaps were at Farrington Gurney near Bristol yesterday. We had lunch at the Farm shop cafe there but we were a bit disappointed. Over the years we have called in there to buy stuff and have a lunch, or a coffee but I feel that lately it has got too big and impersonal. Almost a victim of it's own success. Don't get me wrong, I do admire the farmer for diversifying and making something of his farm in difficult times but probably not for us any more.
And finally.....six of us nurses where I work all like needlecrafts/ knitting or other "gentle arts" and we get together every now and again to chat, drink tea and talk crafty! Well, we all bought a cake with us so the table looked like this! Eeeek! So what have I given up for lent? By the looks of it my New Years Resolutions!
After a morning of busyness cooking for the freezer, 2 tea loaves, double batch of shortbread biscuits and 5 mini Victoria sandwiches, we decided to get out of the house, even though it smelt very nice after all that baking!
A walk round Corfe Castle was just what was needed, followed by tea in the Castle Tea Rooms by a log fire. The castle tea, cucumber sandwiches, cheese scone and lemon drizzle cake, Mmmmmm.
Then a walk to walk the tea off!The cottages are beautiful, even on a grey day.
A beautiful winters day today, we decided to "hang the washing" and get out and enjoy it. Starting at Dewlish we stopped for lunch in The Oak, a lovely independant Pub run by a delightful couple who made us very welcome. We chatted to them a bit as my husband's Father was born in Dewlish and spent his childhood there and they showed us some pictures on the wall of old Dewlish. A roaring fire and very good food. try it if you are out that way, it's well worth going through the back roads to find a pub like that.
From there we drove up through delightfully named villages, Melcome Bingham, Hazelbury Bryant, Holwell, Holnest, Caundle Bishop and many others and ended up in Shaftesbury. We had a wander round for an hour. If you see the next picture and you are English and of a certain age you will be humming the tune to the Hovis advert from many years ago when Gold Hill pretended to be somewhere in Yorkshire!
On the way home we passed loads of horses and riders, I rather think we just missed seeing the North Dorset Hunt or Blackmore Vale hunt in action again. We did have a rather close encounter with them at Holwell a few years ago! (See 21st February 2009 ) if you want to see video of that encounter!
Well, I think you have to make use of the few sunny days we get at the moment and get out there while you can.
I have been reading a book by Dominic Couzens called " A Patch made in Heaven". It's a diary really of his year watching a patch of land and the birds and wildlife that visit it. I know the patch he writes about as it is not far from where I live and I have walked around it several times. I thought that I should like a patch to watch too but more local to me and I don't want to copy his either. I thought maybe the park which is large and nearly joins the sea but as I walked down there to check it out I passed a bit of land that has been closed off for years.
There is a notice on the fence surrounding it to say that the council intend to make a path round it, create a pond and manage it for wildlife. BINGO!
Over the far side there are some boggy plants so that will entice some different species hopefully. At the moment there is a bit of clearing up to do with rubbish that has been chucked in there. It is surrounded by trees and scrub and just above the field is some woods where Wrecks and I walk so I shall probably include some of that in my patch too. In the past I have seen foxes in there as I walked past and I think I may have found " my Patch" . It will be nice to be there from the start when it is opened and hopefully I will see lots of stuff.
Watch this space, as soon as I can go in there, I will. Until then I will look over the fence!
Today has been so lovely, sun and milder weather. Off down to Osmington Mills for lunch in the Smugglers Inn. Last time we had lunch there we had the most beautiful beef and red onion chutney baguette with salad. Sadly this time the menu was part of the chain that is part of the Hall and Woodhouse group which is fairly local, but not as good as it was when it was an independant menu. Still, it's a lovely place to eat lunch.
After lunch a drive along the coast road to Bridport in West Dorset. Bridport is a great little town, the shops are varied and although some of the big names are there, there are a good choice of independant shops to look around. Traditional butchers and vegetable shops are there, we even found ourselves dreaming of retiring there! Not just yet though!
On the way back a few minutes stop near Abbotsbury to admire the view over the Chesil beach. Lovely day!
The snow has gone now but it was good to see this Thrush and his blackbird friend feeding on the feeder in the garden.