British summertime

          I don’t have a regular routine anymore. My days in work, although three in a row, start and finish at different times of the day so the change from British summertime on the clocks didn’t really effect me. However, I worked an extra day last week as pay-back for an earlier day off, and then was asked to cover the early shift for my other three days so ended up with four 4 o’clock alarm calls in a row. It would appear that it only takes four mornings for my bodyclock to think I should be awake early everyday again now.

          I was awake too early again this morning and just lay there quietly listening to the cars. To me they sound like waves, especially early in the morning. We live on a long street so they pass at a regular speed. You hear them very quiet from further away at first, then as they get nearer they get louder until they pass with a “Woosh” and their sound fades away to the distance.

          The fact that I could hear the cars at all made me smile. When the wind blows in Weymouth it whips in off the sea and stirs up a storm. Yesterday all I could hear from outside was the rain lashing at the windows, but today, I could hear the cars, and what’s more I could hear the rumble of the engines and not the tyres ripping through the puddles as they passed so today is a dry calm day, all we need is a bit of sunshine and the seagulls will come out of hiding and the beach will fill up with people.

          On my last morning in work this week the latest storm was giving everything it had. I had a lift in, but would be walking home, so I took my shoes in a bag, and dressed in my “Hat and Mac“, adding my wellies to complete the outfit. I even chose a sheltered spot to wait for my lift and was only tempted out once to wade in the giant puddle near by.

          As a rule, if the weather causes me to wear my wellies to work, I use them to walk “In the sea” on the way home.

          By the time my shift had finished the constant rain had turned to showers, and although the showers were often, the wind was making sure they were short and swift. The sun had put in a welcome appearance so I tucked my hat into my bag, leaving my hair (which is far too long at the moment) to blow about wildly, and headed for the sea.

          The sea was big and the tide was right up under the stilts supporting what is left of the Bandstand Pier. I stood for a while watching the waves pushing and pulling against the stilts while I decided whether to go across or not. I would not have even considered the crossing without my wellies as this young lad found out, it only takes one wave to get your feet wet.

          You can see the young lad in the next picture getting caught out with just his trainers on …

          I crossed to the other side and stood for a while watching the surfers. I don’t know if one was better than the other, or just braver, as he would make his way out and wait for a larger wave to arrive further from the beach and ride it in, but the second caught the smaller waves and although there were more of them, he didn’t have such a long ride back to the beach.

          As the sea was rough, I positioned myself on the stones, only just in reach of the longer waves and enjoyed the water swirling around my wellies and back out again while I watched the surfers. Quite distracted I hadn’t noticed my feet were sinking until one wave which would have usually been no problem at all slipped over the top of one wellie, I felt the water colder than usual on one foot and decided it was time to head for home.

          I headed up towards the prom in a homewards direction. My socks, and my trousers which were tucked into my wellies had soaked up the excess water, but now I had to take the little girl inside me home, before the old lady had to pay for her antics later.

          The weather apparently had other ideas. Half way up the beach the clouds spilled over and the wind whipped the rain into marbles. I didn’t have my mac done up and to be fair, there has to be something really big chasing me to make me run, so I turned my back to the rain, shoved my hat on tight, stood my ground and just let the mac and hat do what they were made for while I watched the waves and the rain pellets battle over who could make the beach wetter.

          Eventually the storm cloud blew over and I continued towards the prom. You’ll have to take my word that a beach full of bedraggled onlookers were rewarded with a rainbow because it was pretty much instantly blown away again.

          However, so was the storm cloud, leaving the next patch of bright blue sky behind it.

          More from before: living into “Semi-retirement” and beyond… 

Walktober – coastal path

          Robin, over at “Breezes at Dawn“, hosts Walktober each year, I’ve missed the last couple of years, but quite by chance I found myself in the right place at the right time to find her Walktober post again this year.

          Every year Robin invites you to go for a walk wherever your world takes you and write a blog post about it. Then, everyone who has written their post leaves a link with Robin and she gathers them all together in one post so that we can stroll along with each other, often in what seems to be a very different world.

          For my walk this year I’ve chosen a section of the South Coastal path, the part which is to be found between Weymouth and Lulworth Cove. However, there is a twist, we’re not going to walk, we’re going to follow the coast on a boat ride.

          I’m afraid I’ve used a little poetic licence on the date too, I’m taking you back to the end of July … The water is beautifully calm, the weather is amazing, (don’t forget your suncream), and although there’s practically no breeze at all in the harbour, you might need to hold onto your hat as we move faster out in free water.

          We’ve arrived early and found ourselves a good seat, we’re at the back of the boat, we won’t get the first sighting of where we’re going, but we’ve got a panoramic view of where we’ve been, perfect for the camera. Anything we miss on the way out, we’ll just sit tight and catch the views on the way back.

          As we head out of the harbour you can see the “Town Bridge” in the distance, we walked over it in a previous Walktober, the bridge lifts up to let the taller boats in and out of the marina, I don’t think I’ll ever get fed up of watching it open.

          On our right as we leave we’ll pass Custom House Quay …

          And on our left you’ll see Nothe Fort above you, hiding “Nothe Gardens” behind it…

          Just past the harbour wall you can see the whole of Weymouth Bay stretched out before you …

          And as we pass stone pier on our left, we head out towards the open sea and this is the skipper’s cue to pick up speed and leave the white horse waves behind us …

          Sit back and enjoy the sunshine with the wind in your hair and I’ll tell you a little about our ride …

          We’re riding the waves on board the Tango, an orange boat as is suggested by its name, which for me makes the ride even more enjoyable. To be fair, I don’t know much about our ride, but I do know that it’s been part of Weymouth harbour since a time when I was just a visitor, a “Grockle“, and actually living at my seaside was just a pipe dream….

          It’s been in Weymouth harbour for long enough to be featured in the “Jigsaw” bought for me by Eldest Daughter and Son-in-law for my first birthday here.

          Since the beginning of covid, Weymouth has had some very unusual visitors staying with us, if we had been sitting at the front of the front of the boat we would have seen these visitors from a distance before we had even left the harbour, but to turn around now and to see it up close is just awesome …

          The little boat next to the cruise ship is about the same size as ours, and is easily dwarfed by this, the Ventura, which in turn would have been dwarfed by the QE2 when she visited.

          The cruise companies ground to a halt through the pandemic and found safe places like Weymouth Bay to drop anchor and wait out the storm. At some points through the summer, as many as nine cruise ships could be seen along our bit of coast. As much as its really great to see life in general heading back in a normal direction, I for one, will miss them when the last few finally move on.

          Turning our gaze away from our cruising companions and back towards the coast, the path we would be walking along rises and falls as it negotiates the white cliffs and hidden coves below.

          The boat slows and we have our view of the crowds on the beach enjoying the sunshine …

          I’ve seen Durdle Door many times from the beach below, or from the cliffs above, but never from this angle before …

          After a short stop for the photographers on board we carried on at a slower pace. The coast path goes up and over from the carpark at Durdle Door to the carpark at Lulworth Cove, both of which, incidentally, share the time you pay for one carpark ticket. We, on the other hand, are going to hug the coast in our little orange boat and head off past the man o’war beach on the other side of the door .

          Looking down from the cliffs above you can access the window via a very steep scramble, but I’m pretty sure I’ve caught the other side of the window in this next picture….

          Before long we reach the destination of our boat trip, Lulworth Cove. ….

          I haven’t walked from one beauty spot to the other over the path yet, but I have wandered down through the pretty street from the carpark….

          Obviously, in the height of summer, both beauty spots have been commercialised for the inevitable holiday makers, but if you get a nice day off season I would highly recommend them….

          I hope you enjoyed the alternative view of this part of the South Coastal path. I’ve taken all the photos I need on the way so I’m going to put away the camera and just enjoy the trip back….

          More from before : discovering “Durdle Door” and “Lulworth Cove“.

Pollyanna patience

          Pollyanna is still ticking off time nicely, she’s passed her fifth birthday and is well into her sixth year.

          She is still very much “my” snake, quite comfortable with me invading her space and privacy for a play or a cuddle. I guess if this wasn’t the case I’d have to very carefully take her out of her viv to give it a good clean, I’d have to transfer her to another safe box, or at least to a pillowcase in a nice warm place, in the airing cupboard for instance. (she travelled for about 140 miles and three hours when we moved house, “Just chilling” in a pillowcase and was perfectly happy afterwards). But this is me, and this is my Pollyanna. We have an agreement, she trusts me to feed her, to keep her warm, comfortable and safe, and I trust her not to bite me… unless it’s absolutely necessary.

          Royal pythons are not by nature messy creatures, generally just a spot-clean is plenty to keep up higene levels, but I do completely change her bedding from time to time. I’ve always used beech chippings for the base of her viv, a nice clean sealed bagfull from a well known petshop. As with her food, I could probably buy cheaper and from a more local source, but Pollyanna has no contact with any other reptile type pets and so has avoided any illnesses or infestations which might come from such contacts so I’ll stick to what we know.

          When a deep clean is happening, I take out all of her toys and her waterbowl, and lastly her hide. I scoop her up and place her onto her top shelf where she settles with a watchful eye as I set about her wood chip bedding with a small dustpan and brush.

          A wipe down with special reptile disinfectant, and a bag of new bedding later, and her toys go back in, her water bowl is filled with fresh water and her viv is sprayed with water to help boost the humidity to a more comfortable level for her, then I leave her in peace to explore every inch of the viv anew to ensure it passes inspection.

          There have been a few changes in the viv over the years, Pollyanna has grown out of most of her toys. She still loves to just chill on her shelves and, of course, there’s her latest game of wrapping herself around the heat lamp cage on her ceiling, and dropping off into her water dish with a splash, but the large fish aquarium toys are too small for her to weave in and out of the different windows and columns now that she’s grown.

          I hunted around online for some sort of large toy, a model or garden ornament which would provide some entertainment for her and failed, then, quite by chance, I found someone on marketplace selling a terracotta wine rack.

          Terracotta sounded like a good idea, and what’s more, the bottle spaces were all in separate pieces and could be moved around. Pollyanna loved the new toys to climb over, the only problem was that I had expected tunnels and these were very much better quality than I had expected and were more like caves than tunnels. Pollyanna squeezed herself into one of the bigger, base pieces, but as you can see, there was no way she would fit into one of the smaller caves….

          Of course, with my very much “outside of the box” thinking process, I took one bottle cave out into the garden to play with the power tools.

          I placed a cross of masking tape on the outside of the base of one of the bottle caves and drilled a hole. I half expected the terracotta to crack or shatter, but was pleasantly surprised by the quality, even though it seemed like an age before I finally made a hole.

          Next I attached a tile cutting blade to the electric saw and starting at the hole, I very slowly made my way around the base to cut a disk out of the bottom.

          Lastly, I draped myself with a dust sheet I use for painting protection, and set about the hole I had made in the base with a large metal file.

          The whole process took me all afternoon to do ust two pieces. But Pollyanna seemed much appreciative of my efforts, and enjoys the tunnels a lot more than the caves.

          Carrying on the terracotta theme, I looked for some more bits for her to play with. Many, many moons ago I found her a resin aquarium ornament in the shape of a “broken water urn” to play with, but she outgrew that one pretty early. She did enjoy going in through one hole and out through another while she fitted though, so off I went online looking for something similar.

          I found a firm who made garden pots for planting and part of their range were these two pots below. Either one would make a nice addition to my garden so I bought both, one for Pollyanna and one for me.

          Pollyanna has the urn-like one. Again I spent a good few hours covered in the dust sheet filing off sharp edges, and expanding the hole inside the neck to a suitable size for a Pollyanna-size royal python not to get stuck.

          I was pretty sure I had a picture of Pollyanna playing in her new pot, but I can’t find it. That will have to wait for another post.

          More from before: “Pollyanna“, my pet Python.