In the King’s footsteps

Living quite close to Worcester, we often pop into the city for a walk along the river.

Worcester is a city steeped in history, where many battles have been fought.

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Looking towards Diglis Lock from Diglis Bridge last week.

The River Severn was very calm, and flowing at a more normal depth, unlike the video I posted last November in a previous blog post.

About a mile from this very modern bridge is Powick Bridge, a site of one of the major battles of the English Civil War during the 17th century.

We continued over the bridge and headed towards Worcester Cathedral. The cathedral’s tower was chosen by King Charles II to watch over the Battle of Worcester.

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Worcester Cathedral’s Watergate wall has dates recorded on it of the varying flood levels when the Severn has burst its banks. The highest recorded level was in 1770 (the large plaque) followed closely by March 1947.

To the right just above T’s head, is a marker (with greenery growing under it) for July 2007, the highest level in my lifetime.

The river’s normal level is at least 10-15 feet below the footpath he’s standing on.

We walked into the town, and along Friar Street, a very picturesque street full of beautiful timber framed buildings. I wonder what tales those walls could tell.

IMG_4689Having a while to wait before our train home, we called into King Charles House. This ancient building, which is now a pub, is one of Worcester’s most historic buildings.

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I’ve never been too interested in the history of the British Monarchs, but as T, who has a great interest in the English Civil war, launched into a history lesson with the poor barman, I started to find it very interesting.

King Charles House is the building from where King Charles II escaped his enemies after the Battle of Worcester in September 1651. This battle marked the end of the English Civil War, when the Royalists were defeated by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians.

The King who eventually escaped to France, first headed north towards Shropshire, then, almost doubling back on himself, headed for the south coast.

Below is a map of his route.

For anyone interested, as I’m not going to launch into a history lesson, there is some good information here.

I have often walked Sal and Jasp on the part of The Monarchs Way that passes nearby our home, without knowing the full reason for its name, but the cogs of my brain where slowly putting two and two together.

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So today, we decided we’d would walk in a few more of Charles II’s footsteps.

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Is this really the route he took?

If it is, according to the above map, On September 10th 1651, he would have been heading towards where I am standing on his way south.

After doing a spot of research for this post, it appears we’ve trodden in his footsteps quite recently too.

When he reached the south coast, Charmouth was another place he passed on his escape route.

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I doubt he’d have had time to look for fossils though 😉

** I have added quite a few links to this post. Because of all the history involved, I felt it would make for heavy reading and may be off putting, but for anyone with an interest, they are quite informative.**

May YinYang (Yang)

May 23rd 1999 was the Yang.

It was the day I adopted Harry, or HugehappyhairyHarry as he was affectionately known by all at The Border Collie Trust GB where he was one of their ‘guests’. 
Guests!, I do love that title they give to all the waifs and strays they have there, who are patiently waiting for their forever home.

Harry had lived at the BCTGB for six months, he had been transferred there with two other dogs (Tom & Dick) from a dogs home in South Wales, after being found on the streets of Glamorgan. His age was obviously unknown, but they’d guessed him to be about two or three years old. Tom and Dick soon found homes, but at 30Kg Harry was big for a collie, this coupled with his passion for chasing cars is why they thought he kept being overlooked.

When I arrived at the Trust, I was greeted by a couple of the kennel girls, who asked if I had any preference with age or sex of the dog I wanted to adopt.

“No” I replied, “show me the one least likely to find a home”

Both girls looked at each other, and almost simultaneously said “Harry”

Which explains why I found myself standing in the grounds of the bungalow, waiting apprehensively at the doors of a rather smart kennel with it’s own run.

Opening the door one of the girls explained…….

“Harry has a very laid back nature, so any new guest showing signs of stress, spends time with him in ‘The Penthouse Suite’ (she nodded towards the smart kennel) we find it helps to calm them down”

……..she’d barely finished the sentence, when 30kg of wagging dog charged out of the door, almost flooring me in the process……

Hi, I’m Harry…………… slurp slurp……………….. I love everyone slurp slurp…………….. I’m HAPPPPPPPPPPPYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!

I did feel rather guilty adopting him, who was going to help them calm any future guests, but as Jennie, the trustee in charge said “We will miss him, but it’s about time Harry found his forever home”

The following years with Harry were some of the happiest I’ve had. At every opportunity we’d be out walking, high on the hills away from the rat race and rabble. I could go anywhere with him, I felt safe with him.

Then something happened that turned my world upside down:

On Saturday 8thDecember 2006 Harry was rushed to the vets. At 4pm on the Sunday I got a call from my vet to say he’d performed an operation to remove a piece of sweet corn cob that was blocking Harry’s small intestine. Harry’s heart had stopped during the op and he was given a 50/50 chance of pulling through……

I won’t go into detail here, anyone wanting to read about the nightmare three months that followed can read Harry’s story over on Pippadogblog Part 1 and Part 2.

Against all odds Harry did recover and we walked on the hills together for a further eighteen months.

Which is when the Yin comes in…..26th May 2008

The collection of photos in this video span H’s life with me.

Tiptoe through the garlic

At long last spring has decided to show her face, and a hint of green can be seen in the trees and hedgerows.

Walking along the River Arrow – the river that meanders through the town – is always nice at this time of the year, and even more so this year, as winter just didn’t seem to want to go to sleep.

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The dogs never seem to object to going there, even when the footpaths are deep with mud, but today was dry, the dogs feet, all twelve of  them (that’s feet, not dogs :-D) stayed clean and dry.

We watched a Great Spotted Woodpecker, drumming away on the hollow branches of a tree above us, a fascinating sight until he caught us watching him, he then moved off to another tree, that gave more depth to his drumming, looking for a mate perhaps?

The air was heavy with the smell of garlic.

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The sight that greeted us as we walked further round the track soon explained the aroma.

Wild garlic was in abundance everywhere. I’ve just googled wild garlic, according to Wiki:

Latin name Allium ursinum – known as ramsonsbuckramswild garlicbroad-leaved garlicwood garlicbear leek or bear’s garlic

I like the name Bear’s garlic 🙂 it conjures up images of many, many years ago, before mans persecution of this magnificent animal, when wild bears would have roamed and foraged on the land.

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The only bearlike creature  foraging amongst the garlic today was my huge teddy bear of a dog Jasper.

I also checked on the net, to see what part of the plant, was edible, I was surprised to see the whole plant is, leaves, flowers and roots. It did point out though, that the leaves can be mistaken for Lilly of the Valley, which are extremely toxic. There was certainly no doubt when I rubbed my fingers on these leaves though.

I think I need to forage before it vanishes for another year…… recipes anyone?

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I’ll leave you with a photo of the flower, only partly open in this pic, but it looks too pretty to eat.

 

The need to escape.

I haven’t been able to get out on the hills recently, anyone who read my Little Guest post will probably realise why.

Though I am now pleased to say that my mum is improving slowly and all being well we will be returning her to Yorkshire next Sunday.

I’ve missed my escapism on the hills, so yesterday, after making sure my mum was happy about being left, I decided on a good brisk walk was the order of the day to blow away the cobwebs. I contacted Deb my youngest daughter to see if she fancied joining me.

A dogless walk is never as good as a walk with one, but as Jasper would definitely have struggled and I couldn’t take one without the other, so Little Sal remained at home too. The chariot was also out of the question because of the gated fields.

Deb suggested she brought Bonzo along. Bonzo is a Springer Spaniel who Deb often walks for his owner. You can read more about him here.

‘He’s at the dog parlour’ his owner announced when Deb phoned him, ‘but collect him from there if you want to’

Which explains why Deb turned up with a pristine looking and wonderfully smelling Bonzo.

Half an hour later we pulled into the car park at Broadway Tower. I opened the rear door of my motor, and this beautiful snowy white pup, leapt out of the back……splat into the mud….ooops!!

‘Never mind, he’ll brush clean’ said Deb.

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The view looking westward from the car park towards Bredon Hill and the Malverns in the distance.

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We made our way over to the Tower. I think everyone else must have had the same idea, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so busy, though it was a beautiful day.

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Deb and Bonzo running across the open fields. A bit of ‘The Hills are alive’ from The Sound of Music there 🙂

IMG_3802Halfway down, looking back up the hill to the Tower in the distance.

We continued to descend through two more gated fields towards the village of Broadway, before turning round and making our way back up again. All this time Bonzo had been hurtling around like a hurricane enjoying his freedom.

When suddenly Deb screamed out AAARGH BONZO NO!!!!!!!!

I turned back to see him rolling in something rather more to his liking than the lovely perfumed smell from his recent shampoo, and sporting a lovely dark stain from it on his shoulder 😮

He returned to his hurricane hurtling, charging past us every now and again……… Hhhmm, were we getting a rather strong whiff of fox s***?

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Arriving back at the Tower, the sun was on the way down, though still plenty of folk around.

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Deb and Bonzo silhouetted against the sun.

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Making our way back to the car park, we called into the cafe for a coffee. Sitting outside in February isn’t too bad at all 🙂

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The sun now almost gone, we made our way home with a rather more ‘natural’ aroma in the motor.

Luckily Bonzo’s owner wasn’t too concerned about the state of his dog…….Ah, no worries, I’ll chuck him in the bath!

Chariot to Muskets

Following on from my earlier post Walking off the cheese on toast we though we’d try the walk with J and his chariot. After two days of freezing fog, it made a change to be able to see where we were going.

We set off, walking to Morton Stanley Park as I had done on saturday with little Sal. T, ever the gentleman, was striding out ahead with Sal, while I struggled to stay on my feet, by hanging onto the railings alongside the steep icy footpath with one hand, while the other hand was holding back 48kg of dog and chariot. Perhaps I should have just slid down, but I didn’t fancy my chances with the bollard at the bottom.

Walking through the park, which is in a hollow, I was faced with the same problem in reverse, as we climbed the footpath on our way out.

I eventually managed to catch up on the level footpath in this photo.

 We had decided we’d walk straight to the high bridge this time as the ‘ski slope’ would have been too much for J to cope with.

Looking over the bridge, all the trees were white with frost, what a difference to saturday when the trees were golden with the sun on them.

Once over the bridge, we  let J out of his chariot and headed into the woods. From the high bridge footpath, the only way through the woods is downhill.

J did extremely well, walking downhill and enjoying all the new sniffs, but started to struggle on the climb back up again, so we popped him back into his chariot.

This is where I got my own back on T……… We had a choice, either up the steps in this photo ……….which was a definite no with J settled into his chariot, or up a steep slope, which must have easily being a 1 in 4.

The slope it was then……………. and guess who pushed that 48kg total up…….. Yep, NOT ME!! 😆

Once at the top, Charlie one of Sals friends suddenly appeared, he was also out for a walk with his owner. He had a run around with Sal, then suddenly peeped into J’s chariot, the look on his face said it all…….’what ya doing in there pal’

Retracing our route home, the walk this time was probably nearer four and a half miles in total, plus the fact I was pushing J most of the way, so I think the other slice of cheese on toast has now being walked off.

T on the other hand decided not to go out on his planned bike ride, saying his legs had done enough exercise for one day 😉

Walking off the cheese on toast

After viewing roughseas post on onion soup topped with the cheese on toast, the cheese in my fridge started shouting at me, ‘mmm, just imagine me melting on a piece of toast……in fact use all of me on two pieces of toast’

Well I silenced that voice……. there’s no more cheese to talk to me now 😉 ………but then the voices in my head started, ‘You’ve eaten all that cheese, you’ll get fat, you need to walk it off’

Looking at little Sal asleep on the chair, I knew she’d appreciate a nice walk. As soon as she saw me putting my coat on, she was dancing round me, ‘take me, take me, so all togged up against the biting cold, we set off.

My plan was to walk via Morton Stanley Park to Muskets woods, or Pitcheroak woods to give them their official name. I’d never done it before as I usually jumped into the motor to visit the woods which are about three miles away by road.

En route to the park we met several dog walkers, one who I got chatting to because her dog was wearing a Dogs Trust collar was walking of a mince pie (I think my walk needed to be longer than hers ;-))

IMG_3680Looking across Morton Stanley Park. This was about 2pm, already the low winter sun is casting long shadows.

IMG_3683Leaving the park, we followed the footpath, I knew I was heading in the right direction, but wasn’t sure if the path would lead me all the way there.

IMG_3686I was pleasantly surprised, it led me almost all the way to the low footbridge over the A448, which is the main link between Redditch and Bromsgrove.

The high footbridge can be seen in the distance.

IMG_3688The low bridge leads straight into Muskets woods.

This is the famous ‘ski slope’. it probably still is, but now only a shadow of its former self. In the 70’s before the A448 chopped about a third off the top it was the place to be with your sledge when it snowed (It was one hell of a walk back up again though ;-))

We walked slipped down the slope. Twice I ended up running to keep up with my feet, that had a mind of their own.

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Sal enjoyed her walk through the woods. We then walked back up onto the footpath that leads to the high bridge.

IMG_3696The high bridge.

This is notorious for folk jumping off, earlier this year there were two suicides within a month, which may explain the Samaritans notice now at either end.

IMG_3699Looking down onto the A448 which cuts the woods (and ‘ski slope” in half). The low bridge is just visible where the road curves out of sight. The remaining ‘ski slope’ is on the right.

IMG_3701Looking back across the bridge into the woods.

We continued back through Morton Stanley Park and to home.

Checking the distance on the map, the total walk was just under four and a half miles which we did in about an hour and a half, hopefully I may have walked off one slice of cheese on toast 😉

Now I know the route, it will be a chariot walk with Jasp next.

Rather an odd photo now, and one of several I could have taken.

IMG_3703Under this fluorescent orange paint is dog poo. The council have deemed it an excellent idea to highlight the amount that lies on the footpaths by spraying every one flourescent. I’m not quite sure on the reason behind it, but one thing I’m certain of, I doubt it will shame those dog owners to clean up after their dogs. I will say one thing though, highlighted like that, there’s less chance of standing in it.

Dougal’s got new shoes

That’s Dougal disco, in case anyone is puzzled.

Looking at my old tyres, although still legal, I thought they were looking a tad short of some good traction, so yesterday, after ordering 4 new ones on Tuesday, I popped along to get them fitted.

The tyre company had mentioned they were quite busy, so I might have a while to wait, so I’d decided to take litle Sal along with me and we could go for a walk, as just over the road is the Arrow Valley Country Park.

The park which was created in the 70’s is around 900 acres in size, and stretches two and a half miles from north to south. In the middle of the park is a 29 acre man made lake.

There are many tarmac footpaths criss-crossing the park, but the main footpath follows the lake edge all the way round, which is about a mile in total.

It was a regular walk with Ben my old dog as he loved swimming in the lake. Harry liked it, but for the wrong reason as several cyclists found out the first time I took him there, when he joined them on their ride snapping at their tyres.

Further walks there (now on a lead) found me in a heap on the floor on a couple of occasions, when he still thought the wheels were fair game to chase. So needless to say, it became somewhere I steered clear of.

Out of habit I guess, it has never been high on my agenda for dog walking, so poor old Jasp and Sal had never been there. In fact, Jasp still hasn’t, as yesterday he’d been a bit under the weather, so stayed behind with T.

 

A view across the lake, which has a wide variety of wildlife living on it.

The land behind the trees on the left is an island. My daughters used to call it rabbit island. I didn’t see any this time, but years ago, it was full of rabbits. I used to wonder how they got there, until recently when I found that rabbits are quite proficient swimmers.

The peace garden.

I had only taken my little compact camera with me, so my attempt to capture a swan flying across the lake, could have been any flying bird 😳 ……can you spot him? 😉

 

Two more views.

Sal and I walked around the lake twice, she met many dogs to play with and I bumped into an old friend I haven’t seen for years.

Somewhere else on my doorstep where I haven’t been for years, and thoroughly enjoyed. It calls for more walks, perhaps with Jasp and his chariot next time.

Finally, here’s one of Dougal’s four new shoes.

My purse is now considerably lighter, but I’m ready for what the winter can throw at me 🙂

Mr Blue Sky…….

Yes, I’ve been digging through my old albums recently, and following on from my previous video post which was accompanied by ELO’s Hold on tight, another song of theirs sprung to mind straight away today.

In the words from the song……….What a beautiful day!!

I drew back the curtains this morning to a piercing blue sky and everywhere covered in a heavy frost.

The motorhome on the drive appeared to be on fire, with steam spiralling off the roof as the heat from the sun slowly crept across it.

We agreed it was a perfect day for a walk to the park, so we set off on Jasper’s third trip out in his chariot. We followed a similar pattern to the previous two days, push him to the park, let him walk around, then push him home again.

quite frosty in the shade

The sun is still warm enough to melt the frost

There were still large areas of the park out of the suns reach, that lay heavy with frost.

a beautiful autumn day

Part of the path around the perimeter of the park, probably just under a mile in total. This is looking back to the woods in my previous post.

plenty of dogs around

It’s a dog walkers paradise, where dogs are allowed to run free through almost all the park. Sally and Jasp met two beautiful Bernese Mountain dogs.

Play with me

Sally becomes a little flirt when she meets a handsome dog, continually play bowing to them.

We continued all the way round the park, Jasp even found a spurt of energy when he saw a squirrel, before we popped him back into his chariot for his journey home.

Just leave me here to sleep

Parked up outside our house, Jasp was quite content to stay inside his chariot again.

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King Jasper’s chariot ride

Anyone who has read my blog, will probably know I have two rescue dogs. Little Sal (LS) and Jasper (J), both guessed at about eleven years old. You may also have read that Jasper, the big one, suffers with Osteoarthritis in his knees.

On most of our holidays this year, we’ve had to curtail any walking we’ve wanted to do because Jasper can’t cope with much more than about twenty minutes twice a day. In fact on one of the holidays, we did a bit too much and we really thought we’d put his lights out.

About a mile from home is Morton Stanley Park, somewhere that both dogs love to go to, but if we wanted to go there these days it meant a car journey, as J couldn’t cope with walking there, around and back. So recent walks had only been boring around the block, which appeared to be sinking J into a bit of a depressed state.

This prompted me to search for some type of transport for him. I searched the internet, eventually finding a ‘chariot’ that he could hop into when his legs started to hurt.

The short video below is his first ride in it, we pushed him to the park, he then walked around the woods, where not long ago, he’d have been charging round chasing squirrels and rabbits, then he jumped back in for the ride home. He must like it, as the last photo shows him still sat in it, five minutes after we got back home. 🙂

We had several folk stop and chat to us about it, saying what a good idea it was.

There are several on the market, this one is made by a company called Solvit, and it really is excellent off road, so no holds barred now 🙂

A week in Whitby – day seven

SATURDAY 26th MAY

I woke up feeling quite sad, this was the last full day of what had been a truly fantastic week.

What more could anyone have wished for. Earlier this year, we had purchased our motorhome, which for me had been a long standing dream. We were in Yorkshire, for obvious reasons one of my favourite places in the UK, and after almost six weeks of more or less of continual rain, we’d had a week of totally stunning weather.

I could hear the seagulls outside. On the mornings of the sea frets, there had been an eerie silence, so I was hoping this was a good sign, as I reached up and unclipped the blind of the rear window.

I couldn’t have wished for a better sight…………

I unfastened the window and opened it as wide as it would go, reached for my camera to record what my eyes were seeing……….the start of another beautiful day!!!

Much on the same lines as yesterday, we sat outside for breakfast then discussed how we’d spend the final day. We both agreed there was no point in driving anywhere as we had all we wanted on the site.

T had called into a pub in Whitby earlier in the week, and found they would be screening a rugby match he wanted to watch, so his plans for the afternoon were sorted.

Firstly though, Sal and Jasp needed a walk, so we set off along the Cleveland Way in the direction of Robin Hoods Bay. I had viewed this section of the walk through my binoculars the previous evening, and although it wasn’t a proper footpath, it still looked OK for Jasper to cope with.

More a track than a footpath, the various fields were separated by swing gates to walk through, everything was going well, until we came across a flight of wooden steps straddling a ditch, they were far too steep for Jasp to manage, and without a slope at the side, reluctantly we had to turn back, probably a good job anyway, as it was getting quite warm by the time we got back to the van, and both dogs were quite happy to lie in the shade, while T and I sat soaking up the suns rays.

T was quite happy to stay where he was, as he’d be walking the mile into Whitby later,  but I wanted one final walk in the local bay, and as the tide was out, it was a perfect opportunity. Jasp wouldn’t have managed it, but I thought  Sal would enjoy a run on the beach, so grabbing my camera, we set off.

Sal ran almost the full length of the slope down to the beach, leaping off the three foot drop at the bottom, where we’d struggled with Jasp earlier in the week.

I walked out to the rock, which is just visible from this photo and Sal posed for her photo. The campsite is just visible to the top left of this pic.

We spent about an hour wandering around the beach and rocks, then went back up the slope to the site, I can’t believe how steep it was, unlike the other day when we were taking a couple of strides and stopping for Jasp, I had no excuse this time, Sal was already at the top, waiting for me and wagging her tail, by the time I, puffing like I’d just smoked about fifty fags (not that I’ve ever smoked) caught up with her.

Walking back through the campsite site entrance, I got back to the van just in time, as T was waiting to set off into Whitby. “I’ll be back in about two or three hours” he shouted back to me as he walked away.

Both dogs asleep, I’m sat in the sun, watching the world go by, with a bottle of Peroni in my hand………does life get any better?

Suddenly my phone rang…………it’s T……..”Vic, you won’t believe this” he carries on to tell me,  he’d got to the pub, just in time for the start of the game, walked into the lounge, to find a local derby of two Yorkshire football teams on the TV. Being in Yorkshire, with two Yorkshire teams on the TV, he didn’t think it a good idea to ask if he could watch the rugby instead. So he was going for a wander around the town.

After about an hour, thinking he’d probably be on his way back, I decided I’d take the dogs along the coast path to meet him. Half way there, I thought I’d better phone him to tell him what I was doing, just incase he’d decided to find a bus back. It was a good job I did, he was just leaving and his plan was to walk back along the beach. So, change of plan, he set off up Donkey Road to the cliff top path. Sal and Jasp were a picture, they couldn’t believe who they saw walking towards them, and charged up to greet him.

That evening, T had the mixed remains of yesterdays curry, I had beans on toast again, and we finished another bottle of red.

Looking out of the window later in the evening, I saw the beginning of a what I thought would be a beautiful sunset, so grabbing my camera, for the last time this holiday, I set off along the clifftop towards Whitby (again) for my finale photo.

SUNDAY 27th MAY

We had to be off site by 10am, so no leisurely wake up, breakfast etc. it was all hands on deck preparing the van for the off.

Calling to visit my mum in Harrogate on the way back to the midlands, we arrived home at 8pm, exhausted, but happy.

WHAT A FANTASTIC HOLIDAY THAT WAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!