Tag: poppy

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Abingdon Lock

Living in Abingdon, I’m very lucky to have lots of places to walk Poppy straight from the house. One of the walks I like to do is to walk along the Ock towards Abingdon Lock. The Ock Walk has been perfect this summer, as it’s quite a shady spot so its remained cool in the heat. There’s no where to park if you join it at the Drayton Road entrance, but if you park in town, the nearest car park in on West St Helen Street and is free for 2 hours. We always join it at Drayton Road and it takes you into the centre of Abingdon, where there are quite a few choices from there. Last weekend, we headed to Abingdon Lock. We walked through Abbey Gardens to the lock. It’s a lovely place to walk, but it can be really busy with other dog walkers, cyclists etc so be wary if you have a nervous dog.

Abingdon Lock

It’s a lovely spot to walk along and once you’ve crossed the lock you can go either right or left. I think that it’s part of the Thames Path so again, you can keep going for as long as you want. We went right and walked through the fields by Rye Farm. If you want to head to the lock as your starting point, there are two car parks just off the main road by the bridge. (Note, some of them are free for two hours, some aren’t. Make sure you check!)

Abingdon On Thames

There are plenty of benches along the path to sit and take in the view. Abingdon always looks gorgeous in the sun and there’s something lovely about being near the river. Poppy is always entertained by all the smells about and there are always other dog walkers about to say hello to. It’s not a circular walk so if you do the whole thing, you have to double back. Though, if you parked at the bridge, you could walk through the field, up to the lock, through Abbey Gardens and back across the bridge. The Ock Walk is a lovely walk to do, especially if your dog likes to go for a dip as it’s easy for them to get in and out of the water!

The Walk: Abingdon Lock is on the Thames Path, so you can walk for as long as you like. As it follows the river, it’s quite a flat walk so perfect if you’re looking for something easy.
Cost: Free
Car Park: Free for two hours. (For more information on car parking charges in Abingdon, see the Council website.)
Refreshments: Yes. One thing Abingdon isn’t short of is cafes! Throwing Buns, Java & Co and Costa all have outdoor seats in the sun! A lot of the pubs in the area also have outdoor seating.
Toilets: There are public loos at Hale Meadow car park, as well as in Abbey Meadows.

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Bablock Hythe

There’s something lovely about going for a long walk on a Summer evening. The lighter evenings give you a great excuse to stop what you’re doing and head out somewhere. This is exactly what we did last Saturday evening. It had been a lovely sunny day and it was a great chance to take advantage of the lovely weather. We headed to Bablock Hythe and parked in the car park of The Ferryman Inn. The signs state that the car park is for patrons only, which is fine as we were going there for a drink afterwards.

Bablock Hythe

The walk takes you alongside the Thames and there were a few fishermen still out there trying to get a bite. At the time we went, the fields were empty, but think that there are sometimes sheep in these fields so that might be something to watch out for.

Sunshine clouds

It was a really lovely evening and we got to see the sun come and go. We didn’t walk the whole way, as it’s part of the Thames Pathway so we only walked for about half an hour. This does mean that your walk can be as long or short as you want it to be. There are gates at either ends of the fields, so when we’d walked enough, we just turned back towards the inn.

tree climber

Poppy really enjoyed the walk, as there were a few trees for her to try and climb, as well as lots of smells for her to track. She did try and roll in some fox poo, as well as try to eat some Crayfish that the fishermen had slung out of the river! As the fields were enclosed, and we knew there was no chance she’d head for a dip in the Thames, we let her off the lead for a bit. She loved it!

The Thames

As the walk follows the Thames, it’s an easy, flat walk with great views and people to wave at as they sail up and down the river! A perfect reminder to take life a little bit more slowly.


Upon returning to the car park, we picked up a treat for Poppy from the car and headed to the inn, where we had a drink and a packet of crisps. They’ve got quite a few tables outside and there’s plenty of places to sit along the river too. Poppy enjoyed barking at the ducks, as well as sniffing out their scents – it was the perfect end to a perfect day!

The Walk: The walk is part of the Thames Path, so you can walk for as long as you like. As it follows the river, it’s quite a flat walk so perfect if you’re looking for something easy.
Cost: Free
Car Park: Free, but for patrons of the Inn
Refreshments: Yes, head to the Ferryman Inn
Toilets: Just ask at the bar!

Got a suggestion for a great place to walk Poppy? Just let me know!


Poppy and Harvey – An uneasy alliance

Last week, my mum came and stayed with us here at Crafty Chai towers. Not only that, but she brought Harvey along with her. Harvey is my sisters dog. He is a Welsh Cocker Spaniel and was a puppy when my sister got him, 13 years ago! Harvey is an old man who likes things just so. He’s a little bit grumpy and his health, hearing and eyesight is not what it was. He has no patience for the likes of Poppy! This made for quite an uneasy alliance between the two, with one thing in common – me!

Tolerating dogs

They’ve met a few times now and while they tolerate each other, they are by no means friends. Poppy wants Harvey to run and play with her, but Harvey does not want to do this. Harvey wants to eat and sleep and have a little attention but that’s about it. Harvey also wants to sleep in all the beds and on the sofa, meaning that Poppy spent a lot of time nesting on our bed instead. (Though Poppy isn’t allowed to sleep in his bed!)

Over the few days that Harvey stayed, we learnt that our house is too small to have two dogs in it on a permanent basis. Also, walking them together was difficult too, as Poppy likes to walk fast and chase squirrels, whereas Harvey plods along, barking at anything unfamiliar, having little rests along the way. Poppy also likes to finish off anything from Harvey’s food bowl, something that Harvey did not like and they almost came to blows over this. They also got a bit jealous of each other with me. If I was giving Poppy attention, Harvey would come over to get his share and vice versa.

The one thing they did bond over was cats! One afternoon, while sitting out in the garden, despite his poor eyesight, Harvey spotted a cat strolling along the back wall and sprinted down the garden, barking away, with Poppy hot on his heels! There’s life in the old dog yet!

Things Poppy the Dog likes to eat

Poppy is like a hoover. She will eat almost anything. Whether we’re out walking through town or pottering around at home, you have to have your eyes peeled in case she wolfs something down that she shouldn’t. To look at her, you’d think butter wouldn’t melt, wouldn’t you? But she is a scavenger. She will root through people’s bins, handbags and even snatch the food out of your hand if you’re not careful! She gets fed plenty, we discussed it with the vet when we got her, as she was underweight, so she’s just being a greedy guts.

Sleepy dogHere’s a roundup of just some of the things she’s eaten over the last week – some of which, she shouldn’t!

  • Chewing gum off the street
  • Sick off the street
  • Cat poo (lots)
  • A dead bird, twice. One was recently deceased, one not so much
  • Small mammal bones
  • A strawberry
  • A slice of cucumber
  • A plastic bag containing goodness knows what (I managed to pull it out of her throat)
  • Lots of ‘unknown’ food/animal stuffs off the street
  • Chips off the street
  • Frozen watermelon
  • Skittles off the street
  • Haribo sweets off the street
  • Apples – she’ll eat fresh, half eaten, partially decomposed and little crab apples that fall off trees near our house. She’s not fussy!
  • Pizzle
  • Pig skin roll
  • Her regular food
  • Egg shells – both out of bins and out of trees
  • Possibly a nibble of a small jellyfish
  • Roast Lamb, thanks to my naughty Mum!

Now, we do know that she shouldn’t be eating most of the stuff on this list, but she’s much closer to the food on the ground than I am and she’s a lot quicker! Plus, once she’s got it in her mouth, unless there’s something to grab, like the plastic bag, you do not have a hope in getting it out of her mouth. Believe me, I’ve tried. And no amount of treats, or shouting ‘Leave’ (our drop command) or swearing will get her drop it. Once it’s in, it’s in. Also, the stuff she eats off the street is in very small quantity. I watch her like her hawk so if I see she’s got something past my security, I step up the pace and get her to walk away from it (or drag her away while encouraging her with a treat, all while trying not to gag on whatever gross thing she’s chomping on!)

We are very careful & strict about what Poppy eats. We do not give her treats unless they are natural. We don’t want her to beg for food or be the kind of dog we can’t take to places because she’s a nuisance at the table. She has a bed in the kitchen which she sits in while we’re preparing food and on the whole, she’s really good around food. (She’s only stolen a few things off my OH’s plate!) She has natural treats, as much as possible, and while we might give her human food, such as a strawberry, it won’t be much and it won’t be processed. She doesn’t view food the same way we do. If she deserves a treat, she’ll get one, but it’ll be suitable for a dog.

Now if only I could get the good people of Abingdon not to be such litterbugs, walks with Poppy would be easier!