Summer is on the way back….


It does seem strange but  encounters on the mornings walkies with Buster produced more than a few comments on how cool it was….25c rising to 27c ! Now that isn’t bad in my book and in a normal summer would be recognised as hot.  Yep, we had a blip in this summer’s heatwave over the weekend, even some rain, not as heavy as some nor as much as some of my gardening friends would have liked.

But it has freshened things up, the woods in particular smell and look fresher….the bracken is standing tall again even if the lower  stems are dry and brittle….autumn may well come sooner this year.

Talking of autumn the weekend winds have brought down some of the weaker branches and lots of dried leaves giving the woodland floor a real autumnal look….


Teasels, another late summer – autumnal indicator have also produced there prickly seed heads and most have lost those purple flowers, that for a short time, add to the attraction for feeding insects…


Nor does the recent wet spell seem to have harmed the Butterfly population. It has been the best year for a great many species. As soon as we got even just a little sun they were out again..

Back in the garden the Pale Whites which seem to have had an explosion this season are still busy on our Lavender…

_DOI8744-qqq So, as another month nears its end, I guess summer still has a great deal to offer us.

31st July

(C) David Oakes 2018


Monday Blues……


Well, after all that hot weather the weekend was mixed. Saturday grey and Sunday wet….. just a shame for all those outdoor event organisers who had been looking forward to, and planning for. a dry and hot day for there event.

Monday today and it looks like a wet outlook for the once traditional ‘Washing Day’.

Forecast is more hopeful for a return to some warmer sunny weather as the week goes along…. I say hopeful, but I know many folk were preying for rain and some cool.

30th July

(C) David Oakes 2018

Silent Sunday….. So Off to Church


Saint Aldhelm’s Chapel, Dorset

Dating old Churches and Chapels is often difficult and not always precise.  In the case of this isolated, yet dramatical located Chapel, it would appear more difficult than usual. Much of its history surrounding this building is either local legends and supported by conflicting records.

_DOI8440_00120-aaa What has always caused confusion and doubt as to the buildings original purpose is the construction of the building itself.  First it is square (only 7.77m square), that in itself is far from usual in a religious building.  Secondly it is that the four corners that are located on the compass points…not the usual East/West orientation of a Christian Religious building.  However step in side the single arched doorway and you are greeted with a fine vaulted ceiling and that rather makes its own statement.

It is suggested that the Chapel was at one time connected to the Chapel at Corfe Castle and some of the first written records refer to dates around 1216. But many believe the construction is much earlier.  One legend that holds much favour is that the Father, of a newly married couple who were drowned, when there boat capsized in a sudden storm in the sea below this headland, instructed the building be erected as a memorial to them. The building was to act as a lookout on this dangerous coastline.

It is also suggested that this  was actually known  a Chantry  where a Priest would say prayers for the safety of sailors. Other stories suggest that this was a place of shelter for hunting parties and used by royalty and local nobility.  As to the dedication to Saint Aldhelm well there is a named saint connection with Lady Saint Marys Church at Wareham (see last Sundays posting).

Over the years the Chapel was used by the residents of the nearby Coastguard Cottages as well as some dedicated locals.  Services are still held every Sunday Evening in August and used by visitors throughout the year and in all weathers as a place for quiet contemplation.

It is a long, dusty and in the summer, hot 2 mile walk to reach St. Aldhelm’s Head and the Chapel… once your have reached it do step inside and be surprised.  Try and interpret the old graffiti carved on the stone pillars.  Pause in on one of the pews…enjoy


Another point that may have some bearing on the legends.  The Cross on top of the roof is relatively modern addition.  It is believed that once a ‘cresset’ was on the roof so that a Beacon Fire could be lit to warn passing sailors of the headlands dangers. Other suggested that at one time a Bell for giving similar warning was located here. Recent repairs suggest that there is some evidence in support of a Beacon Fire.

Today a Coastguard Lookout Post is strategically located on the headland.  During WW2 military radio masters, antennae and early Radar Dishes were erected…..   Today very fitting sculpture has been added to the headland in recognition of those early radar days


St. Aldhelm’s Head in itself is worth the visit.  Expansive views over the English Channel, and on clear horizon days, views of the French Coast.  The coastline is rugged and one soon understand the need of navigational aids for sailors on what can be a very stormy coast….but on a hot sunny day its rather special…


29th July

(C) David Oakes 2018

Looking for shade and a little cool air…


 It might be a heatwave with temperatures today of 33c but Buster and I still need our daily walkies…. so it early morning then later evening to try to avoid the extremes. Starting by the River side was a good idea then over to some woodland for shade.  Butterflies, Bees and insects seem to be loving the current dry spell as are the wild flowers.  Not all is well though, Silver Birch my favourite tree seems to be suffering in the drought, leaves are shrivelled, dry and dropping…not sure the brief spell of rain forecast for the weekend will do very much to help. Still lets make the most of what we have to enjoy…


As for a brief rest…well your choice, a seat in the sun or shade 🙂


27th July

(C) David Oakes 2018