Tag Archives: Cottage

Sleeping Monkey Boy!

Jester the Labrador sleeping soundly in the cottage without a worry in the world!
Jester the Labrador sleeping soundly in the cottage without a worry in the world!

I wonder if Jester the Labrador is allowed to visit the cottage again with his new carers?  He is extremely well behaved when invited to come in and usually ends up sleeping on a foot or up against a leg or any other body part he can manage to get close to!  We miss this monkey boy!

The Lovable Jester the Labrador
The Lovable Jester the Labrador

 

Jenny Kirwan (me) with Jester and Indi on the back terrace at Haughurst House, Hampshire, England.
Jenny Kirwan (me) with Jester and Indi on the back terrace at Haughurst House, Hampshire, England.

Jester the Labrador has is own Cottage Doggy Pillow!

Jester in the cottage sleeping soundly with his new doggy pillow.
Jester in the cottage sleeping soundly with his new doggy pillow.

We invited Jester into the cottage again tonight as his owners are away sailing again and Steve thought he would like a pillow to be more comfortable!  Like?  he took to this pillow like a duck does to water and it stayed attached to his head for a few hours!!  from now on this will be Jester’s ‘Cottage Doggy Pillow’, something for a treat for him when he spends the evenings with us while his owners are away…and this is a great deal these days!

Life's tough when you're a posh dog!!
Life's tough when you're a posh dog!!

South West Coast Path, from Charmouth to Golden Cap, Seatown and back.

Golden Cap, the most stunning South West Coast Path walk one could ever wish for!
Golden Cap, the most stunning South West Coast Path walk one could ever wish for!

It’s impossible for me to hide my love for this wonderful part of the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.  It most definitely is my most favourite walk in England.  On a fine day, the views are breathtaking and ever changing as you walk through fields and up and down cliffs to reach the top of Golden Cap.  A pretty good level of fitness is required if you wish to attempt this walk as there are many steep climbs but you are rewarded with the finest views of the coast line. 

Golden Cap is the highest point on the south coast of Great Britain at 191m and visible for ten miles in each direction along the coastline.

Today, Steve and I set off early for this 8mile journey.  We start at Charmouth where we climb Stonebarrow Hill.  This is a long, steep lane that leads to the start of the path.  You can also start this walk from Charmouth beach.  This path has recently been re-opened but was closed for some time due to the landslips and cliff erosion.  We walked back on this re-opened path, but in my opinion, it really isn’t a safe route and when wet I would imagine a slippery, muddy mess!

After a steep climb up Stonebarrow Hill, Steve and I begin the magnificent walk to Golden cap and Seatown.
After a steep climb up Stonebarrow Hill, Steve and I begin the magnificent walk to Golden cap and Seatown.

We pass a lovely cottage as we continue along the West Coast Path towards Golden Cap.
We pass a lovely cottage as we continue along the West Coast Path towards Golden Cap.
We pass through a field with the local cows and a massive bull!  Lets hope he's no where to be seen on our return!
We pass through a field with the local cows and a massive bull! Lets hope he's no where to be seen on our return!

The weather conditions were brilliant for walking; sunny with a slight breeze.  The cows we passed in the fields were not aggressive at all but I didn’t like the look of the massive bull sitting down resting as we passed him.  Please God let him be further away on our way back!!!

Golden Cap, here we come!
Golden Cap, here we come!
The hills were getting steeper.....
The hills were getting steeper.....
....as we climbed higher (looking back towards Charmouth and Lyme Regis)
....as we climbed higher (looking back towards Charmouth and Lyme Regis)

Even though we had quite a few hilly steep climbs, the smile on my face said it all.  I was enjoying this part of the coast just like I knew I would.  Fantastic!

Looking back towards our starting point....we were getting higher and closer to Golden Cap.
Looking back towards our starting point....we were getting higher and closer to Golden Cap.

We snacked on a banana and had plenty of water along the way.  The plan was to have cod and chips on the beach at the end of the day, so this exercise was essential to get rid of any guilt we would have eating the best battered fish I’ve ever tasted!

This last climb to Golden Cap is well passed the scale of a 15 hill on the tredmill!!
This last climb to Golden Cap is well passed the scale of a 15 hill on the treadmill!!
We made it!!  Steve on top of Golden Cap...now on to Seatown then back again
We made it!! Steve on top of Golden Cap...now on to Seatown then back again

The views from this height are totally amazing.  We stopped to admire the view for a while then headed towards Seatown.

We reach our destination, Seatown beach.
We reach our destination, Seatown beach.

Wow!  What an amazing walk……but we both had to turn around and go back which involved more steep climbs and stunning views in the other direction.  Seatown beach was beautiful, a quiet spot to sit and re-charge the batteries.  The Anchor Inn is a great pub to stop for lunch with sensational views.  Their beer garden is one of my favourite spots, situated on the cliff top overlooking the beach.  With a lovely thirst quenching beverage and perhaps a Ploughman’s lunch (Stilton cheese, branston Pickle, pickled onions, crusty bread and a little salad) this is hard to beat after a walk.  But it was still morning! and we had a long way to go before we could even think about such a rewarding finish…..so off we went, back up to Golden Cap and on to Charmouth.

Jenny Kirwan (me) walking through a healthy crop just out of Seatown towards Golden Cap
Jenny Kirwan (me) walking through a healthy crop just out of Seatown towards Golden Cap
Looking towards our climb to Golden cap from Seatown.
Looking towards our climb to Golden cap from Seatown.

So, we were on our way back to Charmouth and do you think the bull was in the field on our way back?  Yep!  He certainly was!!  Not only that, but the massive creature was right on the path and I could see him from two fields away.  I marched through this field like some machine on wheels!  I was SO scared!  Thankfully Mr. Bull  didn’t take the slightest bit of notice of us….I even had a brief moment to stop and take a quick, hasty photo of him!

Mr. Bull happily grazing with his girls! on our way back to Charmouth.
Mr. Bull happily grazing with his girls! on our way back to Charmouth.
Looking back at our fantastic journey to Golden cap and Seatown.
Looking back at our fantastic journey to Golden cap and Seatown.
Charmouth.....we are nearly at the end of our journey!
Charmouth.....we are nearly at the end of our journey!

Yippee!  What a wonderful sight, Charmouth here we come.  We decide to take the path that had been closed for some time back to Charmouth but was a little disappointed as it wasn’t quite safe, with deep cracks and grooves underfoot from the remains of the landslip and cliff erosion.  but it wasn’t an issue at this stage as I was still smiling from such a brilliant walk.

Charmouth Beach, what a wonderful finish to a brilliant 4hours walking.
Charmouth Beach, what a wonderful finish to a brilliant 4hours walking.
The best Cod in batter I have ever had at Seaton's 4c's fish shop and restaurant.  No guilt here!!!
The best Cod in batter I have ever had at Seaton's 4c's fish shop and restaurant. No guilt here!!!

Such an amazing feeling at the end of today to have walked my favourite stretch on the South Coast of England.  Steve loved it just as much.  We teamed our fish ‘n chips on the beach with a bottle of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc…….wish Fiona and Rob were with us because they would have loved this day!

Chicken, Spinach, Ricotta and Goats Cheese Cannelloni!

Ready for the oven....Chicken, Spinach, riccotta,goats cheese Cannolloni
Ready for the oven....Chicken, Spinach, ricotta,goats cheese Cannelloni

It’s Saturday morning and I have walked the dogs,  been to the gym (got saturated by a heavy down pour on the way back!!)  walked to the local shops with Steve, read the papers and have done a bit of house work.  The weather is crap…..typical English weather…..wet with occasional sunny intervals and a slight chill to the air.  This is meant to be Summertime!!!!! 

So, I’m preparing Cannelloni for supper tonight.  It will be a well deserved treat.  It’s my own recipe, made with wholewheat Lasagna sheets (‘cos we’re healthy!) and works very well with all the other flavours in the dish. 

I feel like a relaxing quite night so, Saturday night at home in the cottage will be just that….supper in front of a lovely fire with some decent  TV, wonderful.  We’ll walk down to the Pineapple Pub for a drink before hand (raincoat will be a must!) This is rural Hampshire, not much excitement here at the weekend unless you’re invited to a party.  That could be a different story!

  The recipe is quite yummy……..serve with a crisp green salad or on its own with a lovely glass of red wine.   I will post the recipe soon………

  

Ready!...Chicken, spinach, ricotta and goats cheese Cannelloni...you little beauty!
Ready!...Chicken, spinach, ricotta and goats cheese Cannelloni...you little beauty!

If only my sister Fiona were here!

A handful of roses picked from the garden.
A handful of roses picked from the garden.

If only my sister Fiona were here to see how happy I am to walk out into the big garden and come back to the cottage with an armful! of roses and other flowers to fill vases.  Fiona is a lover of flowers just as I am.  She arranges beautiful displays of flowers every week for her partner Rob’s bar and restaurant called “OST” in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond.

Beautiful pink geraniums are everywhere in the garden
Beautiful pink geraniums are everywhere in the garden

So, Fiona, who is all the way over in Australia, this post is for you my darling little sister.  Every time I pick flowers in the garden I think of you and how much you’d enjoy being with me too.  I miss you so much……….

A vase of cream roses adorn a shelf in the bathroom of the cottage.
A vase of cream roses adorn a shelf in the bathroom of the cottage.

Beans Galore!

I’ve just come into the cottage after spending some time in my small garden and I feel wonderful seeing my beans looking so healthy already.  This is my first attempt at growing runner beans and broad beans so it’s a bit of an experiment this year……so far, so good!

Runner beans looking quite happy in pots on the decking area.
Runner beans looking quite happy in pots on the decking area.

I spoke to the gardener who looks after the large garden on this estate and he thinks they will do well, as long as I feed them regularly.  I think our crop will feed a small village but that’s not a concern….we can give some away and freeze them if needs be.  I’ve been researching through my cook books and on the Internet for summer recipes for beans and I’ve come up with some great ideas and can’t wait when it’s time to start harvesting them.

Broad beans in their early stages of growth.
Broad beans in their early stages of growth.

The sweet peas I planted out are going to be a beautiful fragrant display. As long as we continue to keep the two dogs from peeing!! on my plants, all will come together well.  Jester and Indi love to come and see the garden when we are in there and so far have been very respectful!

"Okay, Jenny" says Jester, "I promise not to pee on your plants and just save that for the big garden!."
"Okay, Jenny" says Jester, "I promise not to pee on your plants and just save that for the big garden!."

The dogs much prefer running around in the big house’s massive garden anyway.  They have taken into rough play in a big way in their garden.  It’s like the doggy version of championship wrestling.  There’s no rules,  just whoever gets tired and fed up or (in Jester’s case!) scared by the other dog, wins.  Indi is still top dog and wins nearly every time.  It’s very entertaining and a good workout! for both dogs.

Let the Wrestling begin.......
Let the Wrestling begin.......

“The Wetter and Muddier the Better!” says Indi Boy.

Another daily walk with Indi and Jester the two Labradors through the woods and down to the water meadows.  All the heavy rain we’ve had has made the ground extremely wet, muddy and boggy……really horrible but the dogs have to be walked and so we must put up with these conditions.  Indi absolutely loves these conditions and the deeper the mud, the happier he seems!!  He had four swims in the large, full stream running through the water meadows.  Throwing a stick in the water works wonderfully well and he loves plunging in at any spot then climbs up the bank saturated and covered in mud.  The trick is to stay well away from Indi as he leaves the water….his shaking off the water business isn’t too pleasant when your too close!  Jester is scared of water still but surprisingly enters the water once.  The look of panic on his little face as he paddles through the deep water is concerning but he always manages to get to the bank and spring up to ground level effortlessly.  I guess in time Jester will learn to love the water just as Indi does….if not his master won’t be too happy to have a new gun dog who’s afraid of water!

"Let's go again Jenny" says Indi hoping to fetch the stick again in the stream.
"Let's go again Jenny" says Indi hoping to fetch the stick again in the stream.

When Steve and I finally get back to the cottage we give Indi a little hosing down but Jester isn’t at all up for any water to be sprayed anywhere near his body.  “Come on Jester, just a tiny little wash down that’s all little boy” I said trying to coax him over to the hose/tap.  He wasn’t having any of it and seemed like we were trying to punish him for something.  So he had a towel rub instead which I think he loved….he became a lot dryer now which made him happy.  “What a woos you are,” said Indi as they settled back in their room. “You’ll make a rubbish gun dog Jester if you keep this up.” he concluded.  “I’m alright Indi, leave me alone….best not to get into criticizing our faults as we could be awake all night with the list I have made for you!” Jester replied.  “Shoo-sh! now you two,” I said.  “No fighting tonight okay?  You both be good boys please and think about tomorrow’s walk alright?” I finished with.  “Okay Jenny,” they replied together and as I closed the glass door to their room after patting them goodbye, I could see them settling without any problems.  Lovely happy fit dogs gives me such great peace of mind.

Spring is on the way……..

Crocus are popping up everywhere in the garden now!
Crocus are popping up everywhere in the garden now!

What an incredible sunny day it has turned into today.  BBC Weather Website is so wrong again today.  They forecast mist and my last glimpse on their weather page is still saying mist for this area when all we have had is beautiful bright sunshine all day.  Hard to plan our long hikes in advance when the forecast is so inaccurate.  Someone needs the sack! 

I walked leisurely through the large gardens today on the estate and saw many signs that spring is definitely on the way.  Yippee!!!!  Crocus and daffodils are pushing their way up through the ground at a rate of knots and the gorgeous little snow drops are present there too. 

The Snow Drops are growing in numbers.
The Snow Drops are growing in numbers.

The bird life are growing in numbers also.  I hear two woodpeckers near the orchard as I am writing this bog (outside on the sunny decking area)  The birdsong is wonderful and as I close my eyes to listen , it is very relaxing……except for the chainsaw! I can now hear in the distance…….hopefully for not too much longer!

Pansies planted outside the cottage.
Pansies planted outside the cottage.

I have planted pansies in large tubs on each side of our Cottage front door.  They are already looking lovely and have proved to be frost tolerant much to my surprise.  So, a lot to look forward to now as I love the garden with a passion and can’t wait for all the freezing cold conditions to be well and truly behind us.