Sunday, 24 August 2014

A tribute to Daisy

We said goodbye to our beloved and faithful dog Daisy on Thursday. She was such a special dog and the hole she has left in our home is so huge.

She only came into our lives when she was 5 years old having had 2 previous owners and she has shared our home for the last eight years. She was born in Paris on 26th December 2000 and lived with her first owner a Frenchman for about 4 years. She then moved to London with him and when he had to find alternative accommodation and couldn't find anywhere that accepted dogs she came to live in Dorset with one of his friends' mother.

When our previous dog died we got a cat from Cats protection league and our daughter asked each year for a dog whenever it was her birthday or Christmas. We had just made the decision to have a dog when our cat was diagnosed with acromegaly. We decided that it would be too much for our cat and instead put an advert in the local Co-op to ask if anyone would like their dog walked. Daisy's new owner had 2 dogs and answered our advert and that is how we came to meet her. After a year when our cat died we were asked to look after Daisy and she came to live with us on a permanent basis.

She was such a gentle dog , her greatest pleasure was to join in with whatever we were doing....

 She could also be stubborn and on walks in particular knew exactly which way she wanted to go!

And like other West Highland Terirers she loved to roll in the smelliest deposits she could find even if this would result in a shower that she didn't enjoy!

She believed the cushions on the sofa were there just for her!

Twinkle has always been fascinated by Daisy and was initially attracted by her to our garden when she was  a stray cat. She too joined our home when she reappeared in the garden injured, and despite searching no owners ever claimed her. Daisy put up with her, whereas Twinkle was always trying to get closer to her!

      Daisy was very wary of most other dogs and wasn't sure about snowmen either!

It was always a challenge to take a good picture of her as she always noticed the camera and would look away!

This blog has included images from the many walks we have taken with her and she has captured many dog and human friends from all around the world.  It is going to be hard no longer having her to share these special moments with us.

 Stone angel pointed me a few weeks ago towards the poem The Power of the Dog"" by Kipling this is just one of the verses.....

When the body that lived at your single will,
With it's whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone-wherever it goes-for good,
You will discover how much you care
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

Sarah x

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Overlooking Southampton Water

 First of all thank you for all the lovely comments you left with me during the last week. I was very touched and many bought more than a tear to my eye! Dear Daisy has had a reasonable week.

Back in May we headed to Southampton for the day, not to visit the shops or Ikea but to walk along the seashore at Royal Victoria Park and also to unexpectedly discover a part of history!

It was a beautiful day and the views were equally stunning and different from our part of Dorset.

 I was attracted by the roots of the tree, sadly neither of us noticed at the time whether the tree was still alive.

The winter storms have created this wild landscape (above).  It  almost matched the colours and shapes of this graffiti on a World War 2 bunker we discovered close by.

Many boats sailed past as we walked along the shore. The container ship was huge. I wouldn't have wanted to be in that tiny rowing boat! The oil refinery on the opposite bank created an unusual back drop.

After our walk by the water we headed towards this beautiful building amongst the trees. We discovered it was a hospital chapel, and all that remained of a huge military hospital that once stood on this site. Unfortunately the visitor centre inside was shut so I was unable to learn very much more about it until we returned home.

One of my favourite ladybird books was the story of Florence Nightingale (the founder of modern nursing.) She was a remarkable lady and realised that patients needed fresh air, light, nourishing food, peace and quiet to help them heal. She is still remembered on the anniversary of her birthday on 12th May each year when nurses celebrate International Nursing Day.

The horrendous conditions in the military hospitals in Crimea in 1854 resulted in the construction of a huge military hospital in England. This site was chosen because of it's close proximity to the sea - where wounded troops could be transported from the ships bringing them home. The hospital was a quarter of a mile long, had 138 wards and around 1,000 beds. The hospital was planned and built while Florence Nightingale was still nursing in the Crimea. When she returned she was unhappy with the way the building was designed, but it was too late to make many major changes. Her main criticism was the lack of windows in the wards and the lack of ventilation and fresh air. Queen Victoria made many visits here, she was very supportive of the project and it was only a short boat ride away from her home, Osbourne House, on the Isle of Wight.
The hospital was extensively used in the First and Second World Wars. In the first World War the hospital expanded to accommodate 2,500 patients. It was finally closed in 1958. See here for more details and pictures of the hospital and park.

On a sunny day it was lovely to see so many families out together enjoying the extensive grounds having picnics and playing games of football and cricket, such a different scene to a century ago!

Sarah x

Sunday, 3 August 2014

The joys of gardening

I love gardening it is always fun to experiment sometimes things work they can turn into a complete disaster. A few years ago we created a gravel garden and it has been a great success. The  plants have thrived and always look so good throughout the whole year.

 It is a bit different way of growing and it has been a surprise to see how easily plants set seeds.

This pelargonium and snap dragon (antirrhinum ) survived outside unprotected all winter

For me these words sum up what I feel about gardening :-

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul."

Alfred Austin, The Garden that I Love, 1894

In the mixed border phlox take central stage

Many years ago a competition was held at work for staff to show a picture of their garden and explain why the garden was so important to them. Those choosen as winners would have a photograph taken by George Wright who is a freelance photographer, workling internationally for newspaper, magazine and book publishers. Everyone who entered (about 14 of us) won the prize! It was such a privilege to have in our garden especially as I had often seen his pictures in the Observer newspaper magazine showing Christopher Lloyd's Garden and Jane Grigson cooking.He also took photographs for the "Room of my own" series that I also loved.

We only have a small copy of the picture as the original is still on the wall in one of the departments at work.

It was about 10 years ago, Linda's tree in the background is small in comparsion to it's size now!

 Luckily we didn't get any of the flash floods this week but it was good for the garden to receive some much needed rain. Our children were both camping this weekend in Cornwall, in different locations, and didn't enjoy the downpour so much!

The garden is so important to me to give me the space and time to "Get away from it all". Daisy's health has continued to decline and this week we have learnt the bad news that she probably has a brain tumour.We are concentrating on keeping her happy, making sure that she has short walks in her favourite locations and also is having more of her favourite food. She has given us so much loyalty and love over the years and is such an important part of our family.

lavender back in June

This afteroon while she was enjoying lying out on the patio in the shade I decided to trim the lavender. I failed to notice a bee hidden under so foliage and it showed it's displeasure by stinging me. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post some things in the garden can be a disaster! At least I had a some time to write a post even if it is one handed!

Sorry for the lack of visiting others at the moment.  Sadly my priorities lie elsewhere at the moment.
Sarah x


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