Ellie and Toby

Blue Skies, Red Kites & Brown Adders !


As I write, the sky is a perfect “sleeping beauty turquoise” blue , the sun is shimmering through the pine trees, that sway to a hypnotic breeze, the bluebells are out and the birds are singing. Toby and Ellie never too far from each other are wrestling over an old rugby ball and I’m reclining after a spot of gardening – bliss !

That’s the “Hollywood” version – actually the above is true, but I failed to mention, that there is the constant grinding and chugging of a mini-digger, creating a new foundation trench for a neighbours new conservatory – I am indeed reclining, out of necessity, having over-done the spot of gardening, which actually was hard labour, shifting several barrow loads of soil and gravel , fixing new gravel boards and laying down 10 bags of slate chippings. As regular readers will know I try to be the “glass half-full” type.

Seriously though the weather this April has been stunning in the south and I hope it has been wherever you are too. There has been some quite cheeky breezes with the sun but, so far a stunning start to Summer.

The sun has also brought out of hibernation the “Adders” or “Vipers” that we’re lucky enough to have many of around us here. I know many of you will be surprised at my use of the word ‘lucky’! I genuinely find them fascinating and have spotted 3 already one of which was so sleepy after the winter that he (yes, it was a male) didn’t react when Ellie danced over and around him basking on a pathway – he simply uncoiled himself and casually slid into the bushes, but not before I caught him on my iPhone.


They are of course venomous and can give a very nasty bite. My heart was in my mouth for a second as he coiled himself into a defensive stance, I shouted at her to move as she was oblivious to his presence and I made her stay back whilst I grabbed my photo.

I was also out with Ellie and Toby last Saturday and had taken my camera with me incase we saw any more snakes but they stayed well hidden – I did manage to capture this stunning “Red Kite”. They are magnificent birds and are a celebrated UK conservation success, following their re-introduction in the 90’s. I believe the UK population was down to only a few breeding pairs in Wales. A far cry from their “vermin” status in Elizabethan England, as mentioned by Shakespeare. They are magnificent in flight with a huge wingspan of up to 70”.


They are now seen all over the UK, including the first sighting of a Red Kite in London for over 150 years.

You may have noticed that I’ve been presenting a few “Morning Shows” recently and I’ll hopefully be around a lot more during the day in forthcoming weeks, especially around lunchtime! One of my favourite times of the day !

More about that in my next blog!

Until then take care and don’t dance with any adders !

Ellie and Toby
Dale x

1 Comment

  1. Dale Franklin May 5, 2015 at 12:49 pm -  Reply

    Oh Nooooo! I’ve only just noticed that my copywriter cut off the snakes head !!
    It was there on the left before the photo was cropped – honestly ! :)
    Dale x

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