It’s a dog’s life on the Levels.

So we (LWD and I) continue to investigate our new surrounding in terms of finding suitable off lead dog walking, and I have to report that we are a little overawed by the amount of choice. We have trekked several routes along or near the banks of the R. Parrett, we’ve found a route into town by going around it, and a route on the disused rail line to Yeovil, not that we’ve gone quite that far yet, we stopped at the medieval abbey at Muchelney.

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We’ve discovered The Hanging Chapel in Langport, a 15th century chapel built on top of a 13th century archway at the eastern entrance to the old town. It was a fairly common practice in the middle ages to have a chapel at the entrance of a town so that merchants and other travellers could give thanks for a safe arrival or pray for a safe journey on leaving. It is a Grade 1 listed building and a scheduled ancient monument. The chapel is still in use today as a Masonic lodge.

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East view

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West view

Today we climbed the steep banks of the highest hill in this neck of the woods.

Burrow Mump is a 79 ft high tor standing near the confluence of the River Tone and the old course of the River Cary, joining the River Parrett at Burrowbridge, surrounded by the low lying land, maximum 25ft above sea level, of the South Somerset Levels. Thought by some to have been used by King Alfred, he who according to legend let the cakes burn whilst on watch for Danish marauders, as a lookout point across the levels. Today the views from the top are 360° of drained farmland, in Alfred’s time the views would have been of swampy marshes. A medieval church was built on the hill in the 15th century. The current ruined church on top of the hill was built in 1793. The land and ruin were donated to the National Trust in 1946 as a war memorial to the men of Somerset.

 

All that and I haven’t even had to unpack the wellies – yet …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Gone fishing

Today LWDs forced march was around the fishing port of Sagres. I was in full on photography mode so she also had a lot of standing around.

 

 

Then as she’d been reasonably good and because it was beautifully sunny, we moved on to the beach at Praia de Cordoama where she had an off lead romp.

 

 

The lads doing the paragliding were really showing off for the few beach walkers braving the icily cold northerly wind.

Really pleased with today’s camera workout.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Vet and valium.

So Monday evening found me waiting at the vets with LWD who had developed, quite unusually, bilateral ear infections. Unusual only because up to now it’s always been either one or the other ear. Silly moo had been rubbing her ears in the sand again, tho’ I’m never quite sure whether that’s the cause or the effect. Very thorough Portuguese vet who did an extreme deep clean of both ears and hair plucking of the worst affected. LWD snuggled and trembled but didn’t make a sound, the Vet was most impressed she apparently gets snarled at and bitten quite a bit doing that procedure. She prescribed ear cleanser (which I’d run out of – lulled into a false sense of security by 9 infection free months) and an aural antibiotic. LWD was totally stressed out by the time we got back to R0X1, even the biggest cuddles didn’t calm her, so I administered Daizepam which relaxed her enough that we both got some sleep! 3 days later and her ears are slowly improving, we go back for a check up on Friday.

My plans haven’t changed much, I shall just be a day later arriving at Pria-de-Luz than I expected. We’re currently up in the hills about 20 miles inland but still by the Spanish border. The weather is foggy first thing, some days like yesterday the cloud lifts and we get a warm afternoon. Not looking that promising today but we shall get a good walk in later and it’s so peaceful up here who cares about the weather!

Alcoutim was our first stop in this neck of the woods. The drive alongside the river Guardiana was winding and would on a nicer day have been stunning. I didn’t see Alcoutim at its best either, dull and deserted – but hey ho, I had high hopes for our lakeside overnight stop. Except the lake was almost empty, the dam virtually completely exposed and the water left was not much larger than Hurst village pond and, with only two water birds, a lot less populated. Walking around what used to be the reservoir bed I found it quite a depressing place.

Alcoutim and Pereiro reservoir

It was with a heavy heart and little hope that I drove to our current stop at Odeleite. So I was delighted to find one of the best aires I’ve ever used; large marked out pitches all with water and electricity should you want it (gimme, gimme, I have a blog to write and photos to edit and upload). Despite it not being high season, there’s a cafe and bar on site which is open,  and a laundry room. Price? €7.50 per night (only €4.50 if you don’t want hook up). The views are stunning and it’s so quiet I can hear my tinnitus! Add to that a bread delivery van arrived at seven this morning; unsurprisingly I went straight back to bed after purchasing my day’s requirements.

Views from todays walk around Odeleite

🙂 🙂 🙂

Not playing ball …

Yesterday’s forced march for LWD was along the beach, around the lighthouse and back. We happened across fellow Moho-ers walking the two labs they’re dog-sitting. LWD was invited to play ball – she didn’t play ball. When the prize was finally hers (by subtle and devious means) she showed her labrador heritage by stubbornly and absolutely refusing to give up possession.

Now she had the prize she played paw-ball, nose-ball and bury-ball very happily on her own. Eventually, and it was a very long eventually, she tired and I was able to play grab-ball and stuff-in-pocket-ball. The wet and somewhat sandy ball was returned to its owners on our return to site.

 

Cape Trafalgar

🙂 🙂 🙂

Autumn glory

In the south of England this weekend has been an echo of summer, not necessarily this country’s summer, but t-shirt and sandals get-outside-while-you-can weather.

I’ve always thought of spring as being the colourful season, but maybe that’s just because after winter everything is fresh and bright, like youth. Breathing in all the fiery, flamboyant colours whilst walking LWD this afternoon, Nature gave me a different way of thinking. Autumn is not about resting back and taking it easy, it’s about fire and spirit and vibrance. Today’s spectacle of colour has shown me that my autumn is also about those things. Unconsciously I’ve been living in that manner since retiring, but now understanding I intend to glory in my autumn years and they are going to be even more have-a-go and feisty than ever.

Autumn glory

I’m sure none of the above is original philosophical thinking, but it’s definitely my new credo …

🙂 🙂 🙂

The first Walk

She-who-has-been-mended gave her walking boots a workout today, first time since last August, and has increased her confidence in her mobility. On uneven ground she walked a couple of miles around Englemere Pond near Ascot. The walk is supposed to take 40 minutes and it only took her 10 minutes more – not bad for 5 weeks post-op spinal fusion!

 

Daisy, the Smart Preteen and I had a pretty good time too …

🙂 🙂 🙂