Heifers

I’ve been spending many, many hours sitting inside at the weekends, looking at the sunshine and fields full of tractors and cows, revising agricultural rent reviews and other such matters.  But there comes a time when my brain can only take so much of compulsory purchase compensation, and then the inevitable happens.

Camera Cows

As quick as a flash I’m downstairs, boots laced and camera in hand.  The cattle have become my photography subjects.

It goes something like this.  The cattle are relaxing, chilling out in the field.  Some are lying down, others are eating.  They know where they are and they’re happy and comfortable.  So I walk into the field.

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One by one they look up.  ‘Who is this person in our field? She’s not the one who feeds us…’

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I crouch down.  These are young, maiden heifers and I’m 5ft10.  Cattle look strange when you take photos from above! This confuses them even more.  There’s a public footpath so walkers passing through are not uncommon, but someone stopped, crouching in the field? That’s unusual.  And so more begin to appear.

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And eventually I end up quite surrounded by these lovely girls.  They stand around and look at me, sniff me, snort at me. But, because I’m still crouching down they don’t come very close.  Still unusual.

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I stand up to leave and immediately they march forwards. ‘Oh!’ they say. ‘You’re just a person, really!  Well why didn’t you say?!’

And with that they’re all over me.  Licking, rubbing, scratching.  I back away slowly so as not to get chased, and leave them to it, to find their cousins, the beef cattle, for some more entertainment.

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A trip to the beach

The weather, having been rainy and windy for so long, finally broke.  And so we went to the beach.

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If there are two places I’m drawn to, it’s hills and beaches.  Today was no different and so we set off to Hoylake.  It’s not a beach I’ve visited before, but it is vast.

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Of course you can’t go for a walk on the beach without taking a dog, right?  Fudge had never been to a beach before and really didn’t know what to make of it.

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Lots of jumping around in excitement.

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Lots of wimpering and clingyness – the big wimp!  Maybe she’s agoraphobic?!

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Fudge had also never played fetch before! She looked at us like complete idiots to start with, but once she got the idea she thought this was the best game ever invented!

The sand buggies were out and it looked like they were having an absolute ball.  This is definitely something I want to have a go at at some point!

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The recent storms don’t seem to have been kind to the life at the bottom – the beach was scattered with star fish that must have been washed up from the depths of the sea.

DSC_0087DSC_0089 ‘Look! Are those penguins over there?!’ Ironically, you an find this ship wreck by walking out in a straight line from the life boat station.

We had a really fantastic afternoon, and had the beach pretty much to ourselves.  Who said beaches are just for the summer?

The Beauty of Home

It’s reading week, so I’ve come home for a few days.  I spend an awful lot of time in Shropshire and Cheshire, but I can’t come home to Oxfordshire without photographing its beauty.

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The wind is back but the rain has held off for about a week now, and we even got a day of brilliant sunshine.

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We took advantage of the weather and walked to Segsbury Fort on the Ridgeway National Trail.

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I think you’ll agree that the views were amazing, and Oxfordshire is truly beautiful.

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A Weekend of Adventures

After four weeks back at uni, being bombarded with dissertations and assignments and information about applying for jobs and all sorts of other Very Important and Scary Things, we went for a weekend away.  And oh, was it needed.

I’d bought S a trip to ZipWorld Caverns for his birthday back in May, and we finally went last weekend.  There are no pictures to show, unfortunately, as you’d be foolish to take a camera or a phone down there as if you dropped it you would never see it again, so you’ll have to take my word that it was great.  After a small training session, the course consisted of 9 zip wires in caverns an old slate mine, with logs, chains and foot holds to get between the wires.  After the wires are a series of bridges, climbs and tunnels.  We spent a couple of hours there and it really was fantastic!

After ZipWorld we went for a jaunt up Snowdon.  By this time we were starting to get short on light (and energy!) so we just went up a short stretch, but it was far enough to get a beautiful view out towards the sea.

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@maddinaish

A walk in the woods

Close to us is Snelsmore Common Country Park.  It’s a nature reserve with a mixture of woodland and lowland heath, and it’s an all round great place to go with a picnic or the build dens in the woods.

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We visited last week with the intention of looking for toadstools.  When we visited around this time a few years ago there were hundred of fly agaric, the red toadstools with white spots (the ones that fairies sit on!)  Unfortunately we didn’t find any toadstools, but we did find blackberries in abundance and now have a freezer full of them.

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When maintenance work is carried out on the woodland, the cut branches are left intentionally to benefit insects and wildlife, and for making dens.  There are loads of little hideouts made all around the woods.  Some go for the red Indian tipi method of leaning large sticks against eachother, while others use a horizontal branch of a tree as the support for their den.

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And of course, it wouldn’t be a wood without a tree swing or two over a perilous drop.

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We were very lucky.  It had rained all morning and for about three days previously, but the sun finally made an appearance and it was beautiful.

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Something about a Spaniel

Since I’ve been home from Derbyshire I’ve taken over walking the dog on the days that mum’s at work (and some of the days she isn’t) and consequently have been spending quite a lot of time with this chappy.

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He’s more than happy to pose for a photo (provided he gets a piece of gravy bone every time the shutter goes) and therefore he’s taken over from Chatsworth’s sheep and deer herds to be the subject of a lot of my photography.

He gets a lot of attention from people we see on walks, to whom he gives a cursory glance and trots on by.  They greet him like an old friend ‘Oh, hello! Look at you!’ but he really couldn’t be less bothered, unless they were waving a steak at him, then he might take notice!  It’s because there’s something about a spaniel, with their floppy ears and kind temperament.

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One of our favourite walks circles a village close to town, and incorporates woodland, open fields and a pond to paddle in (we don’t chase sticks, we throw gravy bones into the water to be paddled too).

Below is the flying tree.

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Of course, this sort of clowning around is only tolerated if there is a large supply of gravy bones. Otherwise, frankly, it’s not worth his effort to even think about it.

Around the garden

Today has been an absolute scorcher – pushing towards 30 degrees with tomorrow set to be even hotter.  To celebrate the fine weather and the last of my time at Chatsworth, we decided this morning to have a barbecue.

Between courses I took a wander around our little garden with my camera.

The side boarder

It’s very wild but I think it’s a thing of beauty.

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Rose

Personally, the dog rose (below) is my favourite.  It reaches across the back of the garden, through the small oak tree and over the dry stone wall.  DSC_0054

It’s just such a beautiful flower that fills the garden.

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Roses

Finally – the veg patch.  These raised beds haven’t seen veg in a while but they do have some beautiful flowers in them!  The flowers on the lupin seem to be just starting to come off but it still looks wonderful – and there are a few daisies and other flowers in there too.

Daisy and lupin

Daisy and lupin

And I’ll leave you with this to finish…

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Maddi

@maddinaish