Saturday, 30 August 2008

Last summer's day of 2008?

It was sooo warm, sunny and lovely today! About two weeks ago it felt like summer ended, but we got a glimpse of summer again for a day today. We went for a walk by the cliffs at Birling Gap; walked all the way to Beachy Head, had lunch and walked back.

I didn't take many photos today, but I did get a photo of a little birdy. After consulting the bird book, I think it's a sedge warbler.

And one silly photo.

When we got back to Birling Gap, the whole area was full of parked cars! Part of a nearby field had turned into a car park, as well. We were wondering what was going on, or was that amount of people normal for a sunny Saturday... I spotted a few people wearing t-shirts saying "The Downs in A Day 30th August 2008" so maybe it was some Downs walk finish or whatever. But when we went to have a look at the beach, we saw why so many people had parked their cars at Birling Gap. They were on the beach enjoying the summer day.

I've been wondering for a while whether I could take interesting landscape photos with the Lensbaby. These beach shots are slightly interesting, I think. Click on them to see larger versions.

Yes, it was a long walk for a puppy today, and this is what we all felt like after it. Tired but happy.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Little Egret

Finally I got slightly closer to a little egret.

But it didn't take long for it to fly away. They seem to be very timid birds.

Actually, first thing in the morning we went for a walk along the river towards Piddinhoe and I saw a grey heron! I think it's the first time I've seen a grey heron in the wild. And I didn't have a proper camera with me! I was kicking myself. From this on I will always take my 400mm lens with me when walking between home and Piddinghoe... I want to get photos of that magnificent bird.

Back on Castle Hill, the sea was almost dead calm.

Teasels have all gone brown now.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Puppy School Graduation

Since Zebedee starts his Junior School tomorrow, I thought I'd take his Puppy School graduation photo first. So here it is. With the rosette and everything. ;-)

Oh, and BTW - today he lost both his upper canines while we were playing tug-of-war. I have no idea where they went. Probably down his throat! I did find one of his other teeth that fell off today, though. His upper adult canines were already coming through just in front of the milk ones.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Lazy days and Mondays...

I think this photo pretty much sums up what we were up to today.

I love waking up in the same bed with my lover, but I don't mind waking up sharing a bed with a silly puppy, too. ;-) His own bed is on the floor in the background, but he gets up on my bed in the morning and greets me with a waggy tail, playfulness, kisses and lots of yawns. And gooood stretches. Aww, he is the cutest thing in the world, I tell you.

Anyway, teething! As I told you, yesterday I saw that his lower adult canines were coming through, and that he still has his milk canines intact. Well, not anymore! Before I knew it, the left lower canine was gone when I looked at his mouth today, and in the evening, while we were playing tug, Zebedee started behaving oddly as if he was chewing on something, but he had nothing in his mouth so I guessed there was something going on with his teeth. Bless. (I remember how annoying it was when I had a milk tooth that was ALMOST loose but not quite enough.) The right lower canine was so loose it was only hanging on to the gum by a tiny bit and I managed to get it out and put it safe. Now I have two of his milk teeth. I will take a photo of them soon. Even if no one else wanted to see a photo of them!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Ditchling Beacon

Very foggy and very drizzly day - "perfect" for a walk in the countryside...

This is a terrible snap of Zebedee, but I'm glad I took it because when I looked at this photo on the big monitor at home I realised what I was seeing...

His lower canines are coming through! I've highlighted them in this cropped photo. He's still got his milk canines intact, though, and the adult canines seem to be growing in too much in the middle of the jaw. Hmmm, hope they don't cause any problems.

Below is one of the many (about 300) dew ponds on the South Downs. I didn't know what a dew pond is, but there was a sign explaining it, and it said something similar to what is written on this page:
Dew ponds

When it rains, the water soaks into the chalk. So, dewponds were made on the Downs to collect rain to provide water for cows and sheep. The bottom of the pond is lined with clay which stops the water disappearing into the chalk rock.

Since the invention of plastic piping and water troughs, dew ponds are not often used or looked after. However, where they do exist, they have become a valuable habitat for many creatures, such as great crested newts and dragonflies. Dew ponds are part of the history and way of life of the South Downs. They are easy to find along the South Downs Way National Trail.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

New place for a walk

Today we went to Friston Forest for the first time. Some people I've met on walks in Newhaven have recommended it, so we decided to go and check it out. We didn't actually walk a lot in the forest itself, but came across a practice horse race track on these lovely fields:

There were a few jumps further on in another field, and then we saw these "portable" starting gates for the practice race track.

On a whim I went down on the grass to take a photo from a low position, and as soon as I did, as usual, Zebedee came over to see what I was up to...

...followed by Miles who took a picture of us.

A cool-looking mongrel we met on the walk.

Just one photo from the forest itself. Next time we'll walk a little further and venture more into the forest.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

George Washington reincarnated

When I showed the latest photo of Zebedee to Miles, his first reaction was "He reminds me of George Washington."

I kind of had an image of George Washington in my head, but not exactly, so I had to do a Google Images search... And yeah, they are twins!

Well. Kinda.

Zebedee's got slightly longer hair.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Edestä, takaa, istuu, makaa

I've posted a lot of photos of Zebedee in this photo diary. Some people say too many, and some people say not enough. I say there will be many more. ;-)

The other day I was taking photos of a friend of mine, just to test out coloured gels for the background light when taking portraits. At the end I thought I'd take a photo or two of Zebedee, but he wasn't in the mood for posing. I had to coax him into the position with a sheet of rawhide (the only thing I had handy at the time), but then he wouldn't let go of the rawhide so that I could take a proper picture. So I took one shot of him anyway. With the rawhide in his mouth. Makes me laugh every time I look at this photo of a "reluctant model".

In Finland, when someone has taken a lot of photos of one single person or an animal, other people looking at those photos get bored and mock them with a rhyming saying (...where xxx is the person/animal they are not as interested in as the photographer was):
xxx edestä
xxx takaa
xxx istuu
xxx makaa

which means:
xxx from the front
xxx from the back
xxx sitting
xxx lying down

So here goes. With recent photos of a 4,5 months old little Z. (Just to hammer it down properly to anyone who is not so keen to see any more puppy photos.)

Zebedee from the front:

Zebedee from behind & Zebedee sitting:

Zebedee lying down:

And hey, I've got some extra ones!

Zebedee from the side:

Zebedee from below: (with Ollie, his puppy school friend)

Zebedee by a flowering plant:

Zebedee looking over a cliff edge on a windy day:

Oh, that reminds me of a couple of great photos Miles has taken of Zebedee. With his permission -
Zebedee looking at the Seven Sisters (on a windy day):

Zebedee biting Ollie's bum:

Friday, 15 August 2008

The ponds

There are a few little ponds near where we live, and we sometimes go there just to have a tiny tiny walk as a third walk of the day, or a quick walk before going somewhere. There are lots of ducks in the ponds, and I mean really, about 15 ducks for each pond of about 60 square metres.

Much easier to take a photo of a swimming duck than a flying kestrel!

Today there was a cat near the ponds. Looked terribly impressed by (=frightened of) the little puppy! I managed to get a quick snap before it dashed off, even though we were nowhere near it yet, in fact. (Click on the photo to see a bigger version and the intense look in the cat's eyes.)

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Back on the cliff edge

Well, we finally got home in Brighton at about 3 AM this morning. The long wait and journey included a wailing toddler in the seats behind us on the aeroplane. What a night. It took a lot of mind bending to get through it. Actually, I'd bent my mind so well to accept that it's going to be hell and it's going to last forever, that when we finally got home, I couldn't quite believe that it was all over.

I had a revelation today. We went for a walk on Castle Hill with Zebedee (who had grown a lot during last week!) and I just loved feeling the sea breeze on my face, being with Z again, seeing the sea, the cliffs... and I thought "Switzerland was fantastic, but home is pretty damned good, too!"

And the revelation was that I'd never felt like that before in my life; never before been on a holiday, had a great time, and come back home thinking it's fantastic to be back! Then I realised that I have lived in big towns and cities most of my life, places that don't have that much going in the way of beautiful scenery. Hmmm, I did love living in London, the impressive buildings, the buzz, all the things that one could do there, but then again I was working in a corporate environment back then - not exactly something I really really looked forward getting back to from a holiday!

But now it's good to be back - good to be back on the cliff edge! (Especially with little Zebedee!!)

(And if you think I'm only saying this because I have got old and boring, have a look at this and this.)

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Switzerland Day 6

In the morning we drove back to Lausanne. The weather was good again, so we could admire the beautiful landscape this time. These photos are just snapped from the car, as we didn't have time to stop.

(this one taken by Miles)

After dropping Miles off at the university, I went back to Lake Geneva and surroundings.

When we got to the airport, we found out that our flight had been cancelled and we had to wait until the next flight, which was five hours later just before midnight. So we had to kill hours at the airport. Ugh, oh well - the trip had been perfect until then! Luckily we found Montreux Jazz Café where they had comfortable sofa to sit on, at least. And we could have drinks and food while waiting. But it was boring and annoying nevertheless, as it always is at airports.

With the right person marketing them, I bet I could sell those photos for thousands! ;-)

And then, finally - finally! Head for the gate. The airport was almost empty, and our flight was the last one out that day.