Hollyhocks growing side by side

If I wore a fur coat all year round I would do this on warm summer days….

It’s cool, it’s muddy and I love it

This dog was called Holly and she worried her owners by not getting out of this muddy puddle.

‘Holly, come on girl’ they called. ‘Come back up here Holly’ they called a little more urgently. ‘Holly are you stuck?’ When the dog didn’t reply the owners stumbled down the bank and through the nettles and reeds in a rescue attempt. I continued to stare. Holly then decided she’d had her fun and staggered out dripping. Everything below her neck was brown but she was grinning. I walked away grinning too.

Saturday 17th July 2021

Walking down to the Quay at Blakeney after parking at the Village Hall

Up in north Norfolk is a village called Blakeney. It’s definitely a place to visit and we do regularly, though it had been well over a year since the last one. Bring family and friends but park at the Village Hall and walk down to the Quay it really does make sense especially on warm summer days. Actually it makes sense on all days – the car park is prone to flooding at high tide.

In front of houses, alongside gateways and walls, down alleys and next to roadsides Hollyhocks bloom here in large numbers. It’s a wonderful picture of cottage gardens at their best and we had timed our visit to perfection.

They don’t need much soil it seems. In fact they seem to prefer it rough and like their own company. So, side by side they reach for the sky and delight visitors.

Side by side they reach for the sky

The cottages here are almost entirely brick and flint stone fronted. Previously lived in by fishermen they are now almost all holiday rentals.

Between the road and the house the Hollyhock grows quite happily
There are only one or two shops – the deli being a favourite
A typical window decoration

We reached the Quay and this is what it looks like at low tide. The temperature was going up and we expected to see scores of children all playing in the water here on our return.

Blakeney Quay at low tide. Looking towards the Blakeney Hotel.
Blakeney Quay – looking in the opposite direction. Children play in the water here all day, these two were joined by at least 30 others by the afternoon!

At the other end of the Quay visitors started to queue for boat trips out to Blakeney Point – to a see a seal colony.

Waiting patiently for the tide – for a boat trip

We headed for a coffee and got the best seats in our opinion. A bit pricey at the Two Magpies but the coffee and Portuguese custard tarts were delicious. It was the first table service we had experienced since before Covid-19.

Best seats in the house at The Two Magpies

We then took a bit more time enjoying Blakeney. Just above from where we had sat the view of the car park on the Quay really comes into view. The tide was coming in by now but the parked cars were safe today!

Looking down over the cafe.
The tide was coming back in

Afterwards we followed the coastal path around to the village of Cley. It’s just under three miles to reach this village – famous for its Mill.

This is how you see it from the coast path. This is where we met Holly the golden retriever.

Cley – so many photos are taken from this spot

It’s a real treat to admire the properties and shops in this small village with its narrow roads.

Cley Smokehouse on the right

Hollyhocks were abundant here to but so were roses.

A typical scene in Cley
The Mill and surrounding buildings are all rented to holidaymakers
It dates back to 1819 and was originally a flour mill

We had our picnic lunch and returned at a sensible pace (taking into consideration the temperature) to Blakeney village.

Once back we had a cool drink and a sit in the shade before driving home. A lovely day.

The following link is to the weekend challenge set by Sue and GC as their Weekly Prompts.

https://weeklyprompts.com/2021/07/17/weekly-prompts-weekend-challenge-side-by-side/

An old canal and a new local walk

I was feeling foolish. This little sign had me crossing a canal to read its polite words and now I had to cross back. Thankfully there wasn’t any water in the canal otherwise I’d been cross. ‘No water in a canal?’, you may well ask. All will be revealed….

A recommendation from a friend had us exploring new territory this weekend. I always love finding unwalked paths and this one included a canal.

The North Walsham & Dilham Canal originally stretched 9 miles from the River Ant at Wayford Bridge near Stalham to Antingham near North Walsham. It passed six mills and had four locks.

Our OS map (Ordnance Survey – Norfolk Coast East) marks the canal as ‘disused’ in several parts, and we’ve ignored it because only a tiny bit had footpath access. However, the area at the southern end of this old waterway isn’t new to us. Infact we’ve enjoyed many walking days alongside it and even hired canoes from Wayford Bridge, a few times on our own and another with visiting family – which was great fun.

Pigneys Wood to Ebridge Mill – OS map image showing the area

Pigneys Wood was our starting point for our walk. A small car park has spaces for about 12 cars and we took the last one! This woodland is owned by Norfolk Wildlife Trust and they seem to be doing a fantastic job of looking after the land here.

Our path through Pigneys Wood

The wood is fairly small and we soon arrived at the canal. Even on a cloudy day everything looked lovely.

First view of the canal

The canal was opened in 1826 and built to be used by Norfolk Wherries. So, it was a sailing canal not one used where horses towed boats and it had to be built wide enough to fit with the Wherries. There were tow paths but these were for humans to drag these large sail boats along if they needed it. People were tough back then.

The growth of rail transport overtook canal transport and the canal stopped being used in 1934. Not being used meant that miles of the canal became neglected, overgrown or just dried up.

Thanks to the work of a voluntary group The North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust, this old waterway is getting a second chance. This has only really been happening very recently and along the way we could see renovations and rebuilding of embankments and locks.

We reached Royston Bridge and crossed a surprisingly busy road by running across! This road comes directly out of the town of North Walsham heading east to the village of Bacton which is on the coast.

Once over the road we were on another grassy path. Next to the road and alongside the bridge was a house that deserved a photograph. It clearly has some age to it – having done a bit of research since the walk I have found out that this was The Old Wherry Inn, so it definitely would have been a place for wherrymen to stop.

There wasn’t any water in the canal on this side of the road, just long grass and flowering weed.

A little way along from here and I spotted the sign on the opposite side. Tim watched me rush down the embankment and brush through the undergrowth to investigate. I looked over to Tim and saw him strolling away – I took a photo of the dry canal and a bored Tim.

I eventually caught him up and said ‘hey guess what that sign said, you won’t believe it’. He said ‘you’re on the wrong side, go back to the one you were on’. How did he know? Really.

I’m on the wrong side, Tim (disappearing out of sight) is on the right side

Next we stopped and had a good look at these locks. Apparently only recently completed/restored in readiness for future use. Very impressive I thought.

Bacton Lock from the dry side

The other side of the lock gates were sitting in water.

Bacton Lock from the watery side

There is a bend in the waterway here. Perhaps the volunteers have been using the sheds in their restoration work? We crossed the bridge in the photo below.

Bacton Wood Mill was glimpsed through overgrown foliage. This place would have benefitted from the transport of wood along the canal.

Heading to Ebridge Mill

Here is Ebridge Mill, a flour mill and granary in a previous life, converted to residential housing in 2015. It still has a grand and commanding appearance. We sat and ate our sandwiches watching families laughing and playing with inflatable canoes and paddle boards. Now that so much work has been done to improve this area it was great to see people having fun.

We started to head back. I’m not sure any footpath continues along the water from here, we will need to keep that for another day.

We passed through a meadow then into Bacton Wood. This wood is quite large – the photo below makes it look like a forest.

Bacton Wood – or is it a Forest?

At the edge of the wood we came across these wonderful foxgloves.

After that we zig zagged our way along quiet lanes and back to the car park. It was an interesting walk this one and we will be back to look for future developments.

Foxgloves

https://weeklyprompts.com/2021/06/19/weekly-prompts-weekend-challenge-old-and-new/

Starting the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path

May 2021 – Pembrokeshire, Wales

It’s a giant fish.  Certainly a fine sculpture and it has a message for all of us.

  
On Sunday 16th May 2021 we started walking the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path from the very beginning. For some its the very end, it really depends how you tackle this 186 mile (299 km) trail in South Wales.  Apparently it can take just 10 to 15 days to complete it – we will take…..well we will take as long as it takes!  Why rush?

It just so happened that our rented cottage was very close to the start (or end) and we could walk to it and complete the first few miles of the trail on day one of our holiday.  After our 400 mile journey the previous day it was a relief to leave our car behind.  The start for us was Amroth, which is a village on the south coast of Pembrokeshire 7 miles east of Tenby.  Here is the plaque that marks the spot.  The sun came out just as we posed for photos.

  
The plaque is at the quieter eastern end of Amroth – it didn’t take too long to walk 1/2 a mile to the other end of the beach.

  
Here we came across Bertie the Sea Bass sculpture and took some time to admire it. The message is that we can all try and take care with litter – in particular plastic before it gets into the sea and into our wildlife.  The sculpture was full of plastic bottles collected from local beaches.  It looked great overlooking the Bay of Carmarthen.

  
From here we walked on to the coastal hamlet of Wisemans Bridge, following a cliff top path (climbing steeply at first) through trees.  Eventually it leads out to the outskirts of Wisemans Bridge.

  
And the beach and generous parking along the front appears.  The parking I think is free here and goodness the Wiseman Bridge Inn was really busy with Sunday visitors.  All sitting outside of course as our restrictions continue in Wales as well as England and Scotland.

  
We walked to the other end and enjoyed our picnic lunch away from the crowds.

Apparently this beach was used to practice D-Day landings for the Second World War. It’s hard to imagine isn’t it?

  
 This was how we began our two week holiday.  It was a great taste of things to come.

More to write about our walks in Pembrokeshire to follow.
Thanks to GC and Sue for their very suitable midweek weekly prompts challenge of ‘Outdoor Artwork’ (linked below) this fitted right in to my blog post.

https://weeklyprompts.com/2021/06/09/weekly-prompts-wednesday-challenge-outdoor-artwork/

St Govans Chapel, Pembrokeshire, Wales

One week ago we were travelling back home from Wales.  

Earlier this year we booked two catering cottages for two weeks in Pembrokeshire, a part of Wales that we’d not been to before. We hoped that by mid-May 2021 we would be able to travel and travel we did.  Our wish came true and we had a great time, enjoying a good mix of weather, some wonderful scenery and a really fantastic coastal path.  

I have so many tales to tell about our walking here but a special moment was experienced at a place called St Govans Head, near Bosherton.  From the coastal path, at the top of a limestone cliff you take about 50-60 steep steps down and right into the tiny building below.  You can then pass through a door way to get a good look at the building from the otherside.  This is where Tim and I enjoyed a picnic lunch in the sun in blissful solitude.  It certainly gave us time to think about the monk St Govan.

  

St Govan apparently found a cave in this cliff after being chased by pirates way back in the 6th century, though there are several legends about how or why he stayed. The chapel is thought to be 13th century and built over the cave.  I hope that my photo, being in black & white gives it a bit of age!

I took another couple of photos and show these in colour – the first being our sideways view.

  

And the second colour photo shows where we sat – in amongst the boulders and shattered rocks.

  

And finally, as we left, another black & white photo taken inside the chapel.  As you can see it’s a building that has seen a fair amount of time and weather but still has a certain air about it.

  

https://weeklyprompts.com/2021/06/05/weekly-prompts-colour-challenge-black-and-white/

Happy Easter 2021

Happy Easter.  

I’m a little late but I’ve been having a few WordPress issues.

For some reason I couldn’t edit posts in the usual way.  I’m writing this post as a test, though I really hope it works!  I think I’ve found a work around.

So, I’m linking into the weekly prompts weekend colour challenge too and hope that works too!

Today, Tuesday 6th April 2021 we’ve had snow, hail and strong winds.  Our poor primroses are suffering.

  

https://weeklyprompts.com/2021/04/03/weekly-prompts-colour-challenge-easter-yellow/

I shall wear purple

There’s a poem called ‘Warning’ by a British poet Jenny Joseph that became her best known work.  It’s a funny poem about getting old and wearing purple clothes.  Seems to me that I am heading (maybe already arrived!) that way with my walking clothes in particular but also walking accessories.  

Socks

Purple walking socks

Fleece

Bird watching along the river Thurne, Norfolk

Hat and jacket

Norwich Cathedral at night

The hat I’m wearing was a long time favourite.  It was woolly and peaked but starting to look a bit tatty.  I lost that hat on a trip to the supermarket just before Christmas as it fell from my lap as I got out of the car in the car park.  I only missed it once I was back home and then quickly returned to find it had been picked up and placed near the entrance.  However someone else must have taken a liking to it as it had disappeared.  I’m still sad about that.  Isn’t it funny how you can get so attached to something like that.

I’m fairly sure this purple thing has come with age.  Or maybe I’m just getting in touch with my birth stone colour (amethyst)? 

Thanks to Sue and GC for this challenge. 

Weekly Prompts Colour Challenge – Purple

 

 

 

Legal eating out in lockdown

2021 birthday picnic

I took the day off work and had a birthday lunch picnic this week.

Tim and I walked up the coast through a snow covered landscape, stopping for leek & potato soup and a ham sandwich in the dunes. It was wonderful. A few days of snowy weather has transformed Norfolk into a winter wonderland.

Some people (probably most people) would think we were a bit mad to want to sit out in all weathers eating.  Most people would prefer to eat pub food and drink.  But for us it’s quite normal, adds to a walk and is very convenient.  It means we can pick a time and place that feels best.  A packed lunch is better than a packed pub ….though of course there isn’t a choice at the moment!

Out of our packs we pull our faithful sandwich boxes and drink bottles. In winter we also have thermos flasks or even a camp stove to heat water but these are relative newcomers to our packs. It’s the same plastic boxes and drinks bottles that have been around for about 20 years or more.

So we celebrated this week with alfresco food & drink and we thank our plastic friends who have travelled with us on just about every walk we do, never letting us down.  

All of the following photos include our picnic boxes and/or bottles.

A quick drink before it snows again!

A very comfortable tree picnic

Somewhere along the south west coast path picnic with a view

A mountain top picnic

A cliff top boat filming picnic

Forest walk bench picnic

An inversion in the Lake District drink

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – Plastic

Green green grass of home

This weekend it’s hard to think of green.  We are being blasted with gales and storms with snow, hail and sleet – from the east.  This weather is coming from the east to us on the east coast of the U.K. and is always coldest – we haven’t ventured far these last two days.  Not that we can go too far anyway being in the midst of lockdown.

So thanks to Sue and GC for their weekend challenge it has been a joy to scroll through my photos for ‘green’ themed shots.  Here are a few photos taken during sunny spring and summer days, something to look forward to.

A view of the marsh near Minsmere, Suffolk

Somewhere along the south west coast path in Devon

East Ruston Gardens, Norfolk

Growing our greens in our garden

 

Weekly Prompts Colour Challenge – Greenery

 

A deer close encounter – our paths crossed

At this time of the year, to avoid slipping and squelching along muddy paths, we often head to the beach.  Luckily we can still enjoy our bracing winter walks and sea air in these lockdown days as we live only a mile away.  I haven’t actually looked it up but I’m sure it’s classed as a local walk.

Sunday 17th January 2021

There were some people way ahead of us in the distance walking along the shore and then there was this animal.  A dog maybe?  Their pet?  It wasn’t far behind them but looking out to sea.  We stopped and squinted and then, to our amazement, realised it was a small deer. 

A deer on the shore

We walked on after seeing it take a direct line to the dunes.  Then it ran back again, to the sea.  Then it returned to the dune, skipping, almost playfully. What on earth was it doing and why was it here?

At the spot where we had seen it we stopped and checked the tracks. Definitely deer.  We crossed many tracks close together.

Deer tracks

I decided to crouch down while Tim walked on and within seconds it appeared. Heading straight to me I could not believe my eyes.  It broke into a trot, ears up, looking at me as if it recognised me. My camera was ready and so was I – I took about six photos as it got closer and closer.  

A deer heading my way

When it got within 10 feet it slowed and I held my breath.  I was looking at a wild animal and I was frightened.  Hard to believe now but it was such a strange experience it unnerved me.  I gradually stood up – really slowly.  The deer stopped, turned and ran.

My last photo before I got scared and stood up

This was a fully grown (probably female Muntjac Deer.  A non native deer species about the size of a large dog.  They are slightly hunched in appearance.  Generally timid they live in shrubbery and woodlands, that sort of area – not on the beach.   I won’t forget crossing paths with that animal.

If anyone can tell me why this animal behaved in this way I would love to know.

 

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – Path

 

 

Early to rise to catch the sun rise

I have never been a good morning person.  I haven’t really been an evening person either so what can I make of that?  I have a tendency to be a bit lazy.

My serious personality had me frowning and grumbling and dragging myself out of bed from as far back as I can remember.  I used to run to school and drive swiftly to work because I’d left myself just enough time to get to where I needed to be.

My Tim, on the other hand, positively bounces out of bed whistling.  A plan to get up before 7am used to have me raising my eyebrows in our early days.  I used to say ‘what, you mean leave before tea and breakfast?’.

As the years have passed I have learnt to love the early hours.  Our weekends, holidays and walks together changed my ways, though it’s still best to not expect too much from me til I’ve had my breakfast.

Just this week I noticed a warm red glow though the bathroom window whilst getting ready for work.  I rushed out mid-way through brushing teeth to grab my camera and, in dressing gown and slippers and wet hair, went out into the garden to stand on a chair and photograph the sky.  

Some things are worth it.

Sunrise over the garden wall

Oh and since our first lockdown in March 2020 I have been making earlier starts for work as I have been working from home and don’t need to travel so I am quite proud of that.

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – Morning