Monday, November 20, 2023

Autumn on West Heath

In comments on yesterday's post, some of you expressed astonishment that our freezer isn't frost-free. I'm not sure why that is -- I can only say that we didn't buy it! The fridge and freezer unit is, at this point, the only appliance that was in this apartment when we moved in more than nine years ago. Everything else has been replaced. It has some minor issues but if periodic defrosting is its only real demand, I can live with it.

Maybe Olga and I got a boost of energy from our newly defrosted freezer, because yesterday, we decided to have an adventure. We hadn't been to the West Heath in months -- about seven months, as best I can tell -- and I was missing it. That used to be one of our favorite walks, but these days, I'm hesitant to ask 13- (possibly almost 14-) year-old Olga to walk that far. Sometimes if I turn in that direction, she balks -- her way of telling me she's not up for it.

Yesterday, though, I decided to give it a whirl. Olga was game, the weather was good, and we had all the time in the world. Why not?

As you can see, we got there just fine, and the dog was just as happy as I was.

The autumnal trees had carpeted the forest floor with their rustling leaves. It felt very poignant to have this opportunity to walk around our old stomping grounds once again. I know I've said this before, but I wasn't sure we'd ever get back there, so the day felt like a gift.

We revisited all our favorite landmarks... the Lulu trees, where Olga knows there's always a pool of fresh rainwater in a natural bowl formed by the roots. Can you see the carved "I (heart) Lulu" on the tree?

Then we went to Golder's Hill Park, where I thought I'd sit at the cafe and have a coffee.

Olga, however, had other ideas. In the past, I've always been able to tie her to an outdoor table, duck into the cafe, buy a coffee and then rejoin her. Yesterday, though, she began barking the minute I walked away from her. She didn't like being left even for a few minutes. Out of respect for the other people sitting outside with their much-better-behaved dogs, I gave up. Olga runs my life!

Instead we walked through the Stumpery, one of Olga's favorite destinations. It's always teeming with squirrels. She kept her eyes riveted on them, but she didn't lunge at the fence as she has in the past. (She did make a dash for a squirrel on the Heath, but came nowhere near it. The mind is willing but the body is weak!)

Olga paused to visit Wendy Taylor's sculpture "Gazebo," or as I call it, the pipe joint. (OK, I admit it, I posed her there. Olga couldn't care less about sculpture, unless there's a squirrel climbing around in it.)

Anyway, it felt like a very special day, revisiting our old favorite spots and seeing how well Olga seemingly remembered every log and path. She slept for hours when we came home and I gave her half a paracetamol (as instructed by our vet) at dinner to relieve any aches and pains. She's still asleep next to me as I write this.

Dave, meanwhile, spent the day making chicken stock in our kitchen. I'll save that adventure for another post!


Andrew said...

A walk in the park with Steve and Olga was a good read. She really was transfixed on the squirrels.

Linda Sue said...

Olga in the culvert is such a great shot! Wall worthy. Culvert, pipe joint, whatever it is brilliant! I am loving this autumnal weather and the leaves, the ones you found are the best !

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I love the second picture of Olga rolling on her back in the leaves. I wonder if this was the last trip the two of you will ever make to the western part of the heath together now that winter is just round the corner. It's a shame that you didn't roll around on your back in the leaves too.

Moving with Mitchell said...

I love seeing Olga so happy. She sure is a beauty. I took paracetamol last night, too.

Bob said...

That one of Olga rolling about in the leaves is everything; she looks like she had a fabulous day!

Boud said...

Olga has a burst of youth, rolling about happily. Dogs are so straightforward. It sounds like a good day.

Debby said...

Like Bob, I adore that picture of Olga rolling in the leaves. That is a wall hanger there. Do people even do hang pictures on the wall anymore?

The Bug said...

Olga's such a happy dog - she's a gift to all of us!

gz said...

Lovely to see her enjoying herself!
Beautiful colour in those leaves

Ms. Moon said...

Love the leaves! Such pretty colors and designs. They could not have been painted to look lovelier.
Oh, that picture of Olga rolling in the leaves! "Look, Daddy Steve! It's still so much fun to do this!"
And I know this is cruel but wouldn't it be something if Olga did finally get a squirrel? I doubt she'd know what to do with it but that second of glory would be worth it.

Marcia LaRue said...

The coloring of those two leaves is really spectacular!
Sunday was my day to make chicken stock and a big pot of chicken 🐔 noodle soup 🍲!
Wishing you and Dave a delicious Thanksgiving Day!!!

Ed said...

I have never seen a picture of a leaf like that single one with the spots on it. Do you know what kind of tree it is from?

I'm fairly certain our deep freeze is supposed to be frost free too but it builds up a skim of ice over time anyway. It is never as bad as the one before that wasn't and would build up many inches of ice on all surfaces.

Ellen D. said...

I'm glad you had such a nice walk with Olga and she had so much fun rolling in the leaves and watching the squirrels! Maybe you could get a cart to push her to the West heath so she can still enjoy that park when it gets to be too far to walk there and back.

Sharon said...

What a great post! And, what a great walk in the park you two had. I love how she's stalking the squirrels from behind the fence. It looks like a good day for a long walk.

Red said...

We all have our favorite places to go for good walk.

Kelly said...

Thanks, Steve. This post featuring Olga (and two incredible leaves!) was exactly what I needed today: balm for my soul.

Jim Davis said...

You sir are a really good dog parent! Regarding your question about that monster toy hauler that we photographed for Allison's blog post yesterday, that is exactly what it is for. People that own them use the "garage" in the rear to carry their all terrain vehicles, motorcycles, golf carts, etc, etc. Their "toys" as it were. We've had several RV's the last of which was a really large motorhome (42') and it limited where we could go because of its size. But that monster truly limits that guy's options. To each his own I guess......

Lini said...

I loved everything about this post- what a special walk you had with your longtime companion. All the beauty of autumn surrounding you two was perfect.Thank you for sharing it with us.

Margaret said...

A wonderful walk and that last photo of Olga is frameable! She is such a handsome dog.

Catalyst said...

I think Dave needs his own blog! Loved watching Olga stalk the squirrels but without a single bark. Amazing! Maybe she realized she was outnumbered.

Michael said...

I loved this post. A walk in the park with a dog...there truly is nothing better.

Susan said...

It sounds like you both enjoyed this lovely walk. I loved all the open and forested space featured in your walk. A perfect day. The coffee would have been nice but I, too, would not leave Olga if she preferred not to be left...even for a minute. She is one precious girl.

sparklingmerlot said...

A bittersweet post. I do hope you and Olga can do this walk again.

Jeanie said...

That IS a wonderful Olga day. I love it that she knows her limits and she knows her mind. The posed sculpture pic is great and she looks like she is having the most marvelous time. Cherish those. I know you do.

Pam C said...

Your gift of a walk with Olga was a gift to this dog lover too. I know the time with our older 4 footed friends is special. Olga looks to pretty and happy! As a Floridian, I couldn’t help but feel nervous about the picture with Olga’s face in the roots. Snake or spiders ran through my head at first glance 😅

River said...

I'm happy to see Olga still managing that longer walk and playing in the leaves. I see the squirrels weren't at all fazed by Olga watching them.

Chris and Mike said...

What a treasure of a day, and what a happy Olga. Rolling in those leaves - Life Is Good! And watching her nose work while watching those squirrels (at about 0:50 in the video) - no wonder she slept well after the adventure.

Chris from Boise

jenny_o said...

"How DARE those squirrels be behind a fence!!!" "... oh, Steve, yeah, man, forgot you were there. I guess we can keep walking now ..."

Love seeing Olga, pictures/video/it's all good.

Your leaf finds are always nice. I especially like that one with the green ribs today.

jenny_o said...

And by green I mean yellow, lol

Steve Reed said...

Andrew: You can see she still burns to get at them, but just doesn't have the energy!

Linda Sue: Those were both unusually spectacular leaves!

YP: It's certainly possible, but I know I've said that in the past too, so who knows?

Mitchell: Hey, it's a very useful drug!

Bob: She's such a goofball.

Boud: They really are. No hidden feelings!

Debby: I have one on my wall from a Heath walk we took many years ago, but nowadays I don't even print pictures. I just post them!

Bug: I hope everyone feels that way! :)

GZ: She did have a great time.

Ms Moon: She did get one once, many years ago. She killed it and then had NO IDEA what to do.

Marcia: We are on a similar cooking trajectory! I hope your Thanksgiving is fantastic!

Ed: I think that leaf came from what's called a "smoke bush," or Cotinus. It's the colorful bush behind Olga in the previous shot.

Ellen D: I have considered that cart idea! They make little strollers especially for dogs. We're not to that point yet but someday it may be an option.

Sharon: It was a good walking day, but not as spectacular as the day we had for our London walk!

Red: The Heath is definitely Olga's!

Kelly: I'm glad. :)

Jim: Oh, I see! "Toys" in the adult sense! I was imagining Barbies or GI Joe.

Lini: I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

Margaret: She's a ham when it comes to photos. Or maybe she's always a ham, and I just capture her hammy moments.

Catalyst: I don't think Dave has the patience to keep a blog. (Which he would readily admit.)

Michael: I agree!

Susan: It's just so funny how insistent she was about it. She's never minded before!

Caro: It was bittersweet, that's exactly right.

Jeanie: Absolutely. I'm always aware, as she gets older, that our time is limited.

Pam: That IS a very Floridian reaction! Britain is pretty much devoid of anything dangerous in that sense.

River: Squirrels know when they're threatened, and these squirrels weren't feeling it at all! (They're quite tame because people feed them.)

Chris: She was definitely riveted by those squirrels and their squirrelly smells.

Jenny-O: My presence was purely secondary to that of the squirrels! LOL! Green, yellow, same thing. :)