Monday, February 26, 2024

Back to Parliament Hill

Olga and I set out for an adventure yesterday morning. We hadn't been to Parliament Hill, a scenic overlook on Hampstead Heath, in a long, long time -- possibly since this outing in July 2020. When I walked past it on Tuesday, while crossing the Heath to pick up Dave in the hospital, I thought, "I should bring the dog back here!" So I did.

I didn't want to have her walk the whole way -- I think that's too much for her advanced age. So we took the train from West Hampstead to Hampstead Heath station, and walked up the hill from there. It was slow going because nowadays Olga has to sniff every little thing, a curious habit that seems to develop in older dogs. But we got there in the end.

As you can see, the view was hazy, but that created its own interesting effects.

I was thinking that Parliament Hill is the highest point in London, but apparently that's wrong -- in fact it's not even close. At 322 feet, it's not even the highest point on Hampstead Heath. The view is what makes it so famous.

Olga rolled happily in the mud, and chased her tennis ball...

...before taking a swim in one of the Heath ponds. The swim was inadvertent; she was wading and stepped off an underwater ledge. Fortunately she can swim, and when she came out of the water she was invigorated and wide-eyed, as if saying, "WOW! DID YOU SEE THAT?!" She ran around and shook to work off the adrenaline and get the water out of her ears.

We walked back to the train past the Parliament Hill athletic complex, headed for the station at Gospel Oak. Once again, I couldn't remember exactly where the station was and we had to backtrack a bit. I don't know why, after living here more than a decade, I can never find that bloody station.

Anyway, it was a fun morning out and Olga was none the worse for wear. She slept soundly all afternoon and she got half a paracetamol with her dinner, and now she's bouncing around as usual!


River said...

Olga is such a beautiful happy girl.

Poppy and Me said...

What a lovely trip, Olga certainly enjoyed it all.xVal

Andrew said...

I see what you mean about the views. Seeing Olga swimming is great, even if it was an inadvertent event. Dogs seem to automatically know how to swim. I wonder if as the eyesight of dogs starts to deteriorate, sniffing at things to understand what is there becomes more common? I don't remember extra sniffing with our dogs.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

What is the highest point in Greater London?
ANSWER Westerham Heights, Kent - 245 metres (804 ft)

Moving with Mitchell said...

Great views. Great haze. And wonderful to see Olga enjoying herself like that.

I wonder how many people with face tattoos feel that way. I knew a young guy at UC Santa Barbara who had mutton chop sideburns tattooed on his face. I kept my mouth shut, but I wanted to say, ”You’ll regret that.”

gz said...

Lovely to see a happy Olga! I bet you felt better for the walk as well

Debby said...

What terrific views. I thought the same as Andrew, that Olga's vision is fading and she is relying on her other senses. I could perfectly envision Olga going for her swim. There is a young woman in town who has Maori type tattoos over her entire face. I never understood.

Boud said...

A swim in February! That's a hardy dog. Even if it was unintentional.

Ms. Moon said...

Oh, Olga! You beautiful old girl!
So glad she got a swim.
I love that dogs can ride the train.

Ellen D. said...

Were you worried for a moment that you would have to jump in to save her? I'm glad she enjoyed her swim! What a happy day for you both.

ellen abbott said...

she certainly looks like a happy dog rolling around on her back. When I walk Minnie it's a forced march down to the other end of the street where her dog buddies live and then it's stop and sniff on the way back.

Sharon said...

What a fun day for you and Olga. It looks like the weather was pleasant even if it was hazy.
I think I have to agree with that sticker. A face tattoo is a really bad idea.

The Bug said...

I love that second photo of her on her back, legs akimbo. So joyous!

Red said...

Sometimes it takes more effort to get to a different place but it's worth it.

Ed said...

Was that a particularly bad day or perhaps I've just been away to long. I think it has been 22 years since I've last been there. It seems really smoggy from what I remember.

Jeanie said...

Olga looks so happy. You can see it in that roll and well done on the swim! I love that you can take her on the tube.

Susan said...

A friend that breeds huskies says a dog sniffing around is getting their daily news. I like that thought. With all her walks and chasing the ball, Olga is very fit and this makes her healthy. Her swim in cold water had to be invigorating. Sweet Olga.

Kelly said...

What a wonderful post featuring Olga! I love seeing her enjoy herself like this. Most (but not all) of our dogs have enjoyed swimming. I would have guessed by looking at her that Olga would be fine with it.

Jim Davis said...

That's a happy dog! I will never understand getting a tattoo on the neck, let alone the face.

Jennifer said...

I love seeing Olga and hearing about her fun. Sweet girl!

Tasker Dunham said...

She clearly enjoyed it.
This changes my perception of the area a little, until now shaped by Betjeman's Parliament Hill Fields.

Catalyst said...

I think Olga loved her outing!

Margaret said...

A swim! She's so frisky and puppylike for an older dog. What a great personality! (better than many people's)

Janie Junebug said...

Olga looks so happy! It's wonderful to see her having such a good time. It's nice to see these photos because I've read Sylvia Plath's Parliament Hill Fields.


Steve Reed said...

River: It makes me happy to see her happy.

Val: She had a great day, and I was pleased that she wasn't too sore afterwards!

Andrew: That's an interesting theory, about the eyesight. We haven't noticed Olga's eyesight deteriorating too much, but I'm sure it's not as good as it used to be.

YP: Exactly -- MUCH higher than Parliament Hill!

Mitchell: Oh, God, how horrible. When Aaron Carter died I was stunned by his recent photos with all those awful face tattoos.

GZ: It always feels better to get out!

Debby: Is she Maori? That's the only way I could imagine that making sense!

Boud: I was surprised she even went for a wade, but she loves water.

Ms Moon: She was so excited after the swim -- you could tell it really gave her a boost!

Ellen D: Not really! It all happened very quickly. I happened to be taking pictures of her when she went off the ledge, which is what the picture shows. She swam right to shore and was fine.

Ellen: Olga has always loved rolling in grass! Sometimes the walk is a "forced march," though.

Sharon: Yeah, it wasn't a bad morning. I liked the hazy view.

Bug: Olga is the epitome of joyful!

Red: We all need a change of scene now and then!

Ed: It's not smog -- it's just morning haze and fog. It's been very rainy so there's a lot of moisture in the air.

Jeanie: Dogs are welcome on the tube and on trains, which is great for getting her around!

Susan: I think she is very fit for her age!

Kelly: She's more of a wader than a swimmer, but she CAN swim when she needs to!

Jim: Me either. As my mother would have said, "Not my culture."

Jennifer: A dog post is always uplifting!

Tasker: Sylvia Plath wrote a poem with the same title, which I know better. But I looked up Betjeman's so now I know it too! Thanks for the tip!

Catalyst: It would seem so!

Margaret: She is very puppylike sometimes. Other times, she's moving slow!

Janie: One of my favorite poems, even though it's about a sad subject. I wrote about it here: