Note 24…I’m Just a Walkin’ the Dog…

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View across to Axen Farm

Nearly every day I walk with the dog at least 1.5k and today I decided to go a bit further so got The Man to drop me in Symondsbury Village so that I could pick up the Monarch’s Way and walk back to Wooth. I tried measuring it on the map and it seemed to be 8k. It was in fact 7k but felt like 10k. This is because it was cross-country, up and down hills, muddy footpaths and really a bit of a ‘hike’. Nevertheless I enjoyed it and so did the dog.

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Centre of Symondsbury Village Where Our Walk Began

I wasn’t sure of where we were going so I did not let the dog off the lead until we were nearly home and in a field that we knew well and no possibility of sheep. Also, I could see no other dogs at all. I have to be a little bit careful with her because she’s a bit unpredictable and although she’s not out to kill another dog, she does like to show them who is boss. A bit like most women I guess. But, it can be a tad embarrassing when she ‘goes’ for them even though it’s all noise and not much else. I tend to warn people who appear with their dear little doggies off the lead and charging all over the place. As I may have said before, at least I can say I’ve got control over my dog (to a degree) whereas they haven’t.

Well Cleared and Signed Bridleway/Footpath (I think this must be a cross-country course too).

This brings me to a little bug bear I have about other owners. We are so lucky to have a multitude of public footpaths in this area and most of them go through farmland. They are often clearly signed with, ‘please keep your dog on the lead’ and I am staggered how many people don’t bother.

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This Sign is at Pymore Airport 

Unless your dog is highly trained, which is quite rare I think, there is always a risk they will run off through a load of sheep.  They also run over newly sown fields and generally run amok. A relation of mine in Buckinghamshire has a farm with public footpaths and he’s forever moaning about the ‘bloody walkers with their dogs off the lead and running all over the place.’ I can understand now exactly how he feels.

 

View Towards the Sea (left) and View Towards Home (right) 

When a loose dog comes hurtling towards me I usually call to the owner and ask them to get them back before my dog decides whether she’s friendly or not. But dogs generally ignore their owners it seems. Secondly I’m fed up with reading signs in villages about ‘clean up’ after your dog, when there is no bin in which to put it when you have collected it. I ALWAYS pickup after my dog even when we’re in the middle of the countryside,  if she decides to empty herself in the centre of a public footpath then I don’t leave it for someone to tread in.  I have bio-degradable bags which I then bury or make sure I put deep in the centre of a very big hedge. If necessary I will walk with it until I find the right place. Sometimes it’s easy to ‘stick and flick’ to get rid of it. But why? Oh WHY, do people bag it and hang it in a tree?? What is that all about?

Colmers Hill

Looking Back To Colmer’s Hill – Which was Close to Where Our Walk Began

By the way…on today’s walk I didn’t see any litter, rubbish in the hedgerows, not one bit and I never saw any ominous black bags hanging in trees. So a good morning all round!

 

 

 

Note Number 17…January’s Over…(warning post not suitable for vegetarians or vegans…)

Today the snowdrops are showing their pretty white heads in the garden, it’s such a lovely sight…Spring is on its way and it’s only about seven and a half weeks before the clocks change…

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January 2017 is over – it was a dry January for some but for me only demi-sec, I did have some Prosecco, a gin and tonic or two and a few glasses of red, few glasses of white, but overall, I was good.  The weight is staying off and if I can lose another half-stone, then I will indeed be a happy bunny. I’ve been walking as much as possible and the first part of January was pretty dry but the end of it and the first two days of February have been mega wet and windy and more to come over the weekend for those of us in the southwest.

Wet days walking in the fields, dog with her hi-vis jacket on…

As we live in the countryside, country things happen and during January I was given a brace of pheasants.  I gladly accepted, it would have been rude had I declined. I didn’t shoot them, not do I wish to, but in my opinion, they’ve had a better life than the chicken I buy, even an organic free range one. The problem with the pheasant is they don’t come plucked, gutted and oven ready.  We hung them just for a couple of days and then I had to face the music and roll up my sleeves. I’d done it before but a long time ago so I googled it and youtube showed me how. Except, it was to skin them and not pluck them. Well, I have to say, it was pretty easy although a bit gory and taking off the feathers along with the skin was just like taking its coat off. Very weird. Vegetarians and vegans, turn away now….I’ve left out the really gory photos out…

A Brace of Pheasant Hanging outside the Front Door …then in preparation. 

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I know, I know… I look like a big game hunter but honestly I didn’t shoot them…Also, had my gilet on under my apron so look over large…can’t see that half-stone I’ve lost. 

In January, thoughts turn to holidays and sunshine. My next postings will be from Madeira,  I’m looking forward to it as I’ve not visited it previously. Before I booked our ten days away, I tried to find out where the good weather would be within a short distance from the UK, also we wanted to fly from Bristol and not any of the London airports. One website came up with the five best places being, Sicily, Malta, The Canary Islands, Cyprus and Madeira and we chose the last one. I’ve looked at the forecast as it does seem we might have some rain but the temperatures are up in the late teens, so I’ll be content with that…there’s always a glass of madeira to sup!

See you in Madeira folks.

Films…walks…films…

AshLane

Walking Across the Farmland – Public Footpaths and Bridleways

It’s been a busy few weeks here in Dorset. Lots of walks, eating, theatre and cinema going and plenty of…RAIN… ah well, you can’t have it all. I’m missing the sunshine and warmth of Italy, that I cannot deny but, the upside is that we have been fortunate in choosing a great place to live. In fact, last Friday in The Times, Bridport came second in a poll of the best places, by the sea to live in England. I’d like to put a link on here so that you can read it but, The Times won’t allow anyone to read anything without subscribing – so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

I am managing to walk everyday for a minimum of 2 kilometres and sometimes more, perhaps five or six. Jpeg and I take a different route each time we go out, there are so many public footpaths and bridleways around here. Last week we dropped The Man off to collect his bike from Symondsbury and he joined his mates for a bike ride…yes he does have mates. I took an hour-long walk, part of which was along The Hardy Way. I rarely meet anyone or any other dogs when I’m out walking but on this occasion we were close to Colmer’s Hill and bumped into several people who were on their way up or down this iconic Bridport landmark. It made me realise that in the summer months I’ll have to be careful where I choose to go, if I want our walks to remain peaceful and private…

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Colmer’s Hill

The Parish Council has been replacing the local signposts, including the one on our corner. So we discovered this week that the junction at the end of our road is Ebenezer Corner…

signpost

I cross here often and go over the style into the field and walk to Pymore. This interesting little village was, I believe, once a Quaker village. There was a rope making factory here, the Bridport area was well known for it’s rope and net making…check it out here and find out about the Bridport Dagger, it’s interesting. The Bridport Museum is on our list for visiting but it only opened for the season a week or so ago.

But, back to Pymore…the village has been redeveloped – tastefully – the factory and buildings converted to apartments and houses and new places also built.

There is footpath which passes beside the reed bed and along the river Brit. Some of the houses are a little bit ‘toy townish’, but that’s just my opinion.

From the 30th March until the 3rd April, The Bridport Film Festival has been running, From Page to Screen  it’s been fantastic. Evening Screenings took place at The Electric Palace, which is an amazing vintage cinema from the 1920s Daytime screenings were shown at the Bridport Arts Centre. The Man and I went to see five films in four days and we loved it. Over the five days at least twenty films were screened, The Man and I managed to get to these:-

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Plein Soleil
A Month in the Country
The Big Short
The Lady in The Van

This is not a film reviewing blog so I’ll refrain from writing about each film. For me the whole experience of being able to get to the theatre in less than five minutes by car and see such a great selection of movies together with live interviews from producers, writers, actors etc., was a marvellous opportunity.

On Friday, A Month in the Country was shown at eleven in the morning and it was really strange coming out of the theatre at lunchtime. It put us out for the whole day and then in the evening we went to see The Big Short – two viewings in just less than twelve hours, a bit like a long haul flight.

The Director Charles Sturridge was the organiser of this year’s festival and did a wonderful job. He is of course a well-known director, the TV series Brideshead Revisited and the film a Handful of Dust (shown at this festival) to name just two productions. He certainly put together a great selection of films and arranged some interesting guest speakers, including Alex Jennings who played the part of Alan Bennett in The Lady in the Van and Claire Bloom, one of the stars in The Spy who came in from the Cold. She was at the Bridport Arts Centre for the screening and did a Q&A session at the end of the film. I hope that at 85 years old I will be as elegant and eloquent as she was.

Thank you Bridport Film Festival, Charles Sturridge and all the volunteers who helped the week run smoothly…you must all be exhausted.

For a moment, this week, I became a little nostalgic for my past life and wondered where I would be now had I pursued my career in the theatre…would I have been successful? Would I have risen through the actress ranks and now be rubbing shoulders with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren and all the other famous actresses of my generation (well I’m actually a teensy bit younger than most of them – I think)? What about all the gorgeous actors too? Ah well, it’s easy to dream but when I think about it, I do have a wonderful life, family friends etc., so probably took the right path. It’s never too late though – is it? Perhaps I’ll get a copy of The Stage next week and see what auditions I might be eligible for…

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Nah..too scary…on second thoughts I’d better stick to the writing…

New York, New York…it’s a wonderful town…(for some)

Manhattan View 1 jpgOlivespastavino is in New York City with The Man. The Man doesn’t go much on New York although he seems to be warming to it slightly. He doesn’t like the noise, the subway, the lumpy sidewalks (pavements for those who don’t understand the lingo)…AND…he especially cannot abide the tipping culture. He has moaned constantly about having to give between 15% and 20% on top of any restaurant bill.

It was beginning to get us all down and restricting us from going out for coffee or to eat because he was being such a ‘grumpy old man’ but, then we were saved by ‘The General Greene’ where the service was good, the food delicious and the guy behind the bar is from Liverpool and extremely helpful and liked proper football. So it was decided by The Man that perhaps tipping was okay in this establishment.

I hope we don’t get bored only visiting the one place over the next week or so…

But wait! The Man is going to watch baseball for a few days, a little mini tour; New York, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia…

Hoorah! (in the words of my friend Linda from Tuscany) we can visit a different bar and restaurant every day whilst The Man is away.

PS…why is it I’m always walking the dog in the rain? This morning (Monday 20th) Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn – taken by The Man who was also there, shivering and enjoying himself in his own inimitable way….

FGPark
My raincoat hood would not stay put as it had no fastenings, hence I had to tie my scarf around my neck on the outside of the coat in a not very NYC style…(good job the rest of the population were sensibly inside!