Friday, 29 July 2016

June journeyings part 2

On the first Monday of our holiday we were unsure what the weather was going to be like, we'd had so many showers, so I looked for a National Trust property, where at least we could remain dry.  I came up with Felbrigg Hall. So we set the satnav, and off we went. The route seemed quite convoluted, and we soon found that it takes ages too get anywhere in Norfolk.
Eventually, we found it, and made our way in. We found the cafe in the stables area, and had lunch, then off to do the tour of the open rooms. It was quite interesting, and as with so many of the stately homes, there was one generation that was profligate, and precipitated the family's decline. In  this case, it was the wife of one of the owners, he was considered to be 'mad'. As we toured the rooms the sun came out, typical.
Afterwards we explored the grounds and the secret garden, but didn't have the energy  to walk to the orangery, so we got in the car, and came back following signs rather than satnav. I cooked a Sainsbo's lasagne, then we relaxed, we were getting used to the bed, and I later discovered it was a memory foam mattress, not to bad for turning over on too. There were more aircraft flying around that night.
The first Tuesday, it looked as if it could be a nice day, so we decided to drive around the North coast to see how far we could get. My eventual aim was Cromer, I had been there about 40 years ago. for a day trip.
Inside the hall

Convenient hidey hole in the library 
The Hall
part of secret garden

We set off relatively early, drove past Hunstanton, then on to Brancaster. We drove down towards the sea, but there wasn't much there at all. There was a bit of a shower so we turned around back to the main road and headed for Wells next the sea. We found a car park,and spent a couple of hours browsing round Wells. Last time we went there, I was still expecting twins. It was one of those days when everything went wrong, so I had developed a dislike of Wells. We didn't make the mile or so trek to the beach, just stayed around the harbour and the town. We found a cafe that did crab sandwiches, so that improved things even more. Wells went right up in my estimation.
Wells -next- the -sea
Our car parking time was nearly up, so we returned,and headed off in the general direction of Cromer. However the signposting wasn't aimed at the coast road, and we soon found ourselves in the middle of a moor, with clouds gathering all round us. Earlier we had passed some ruins, but with nowhere to park. Suddenly we spotted some more ruins, much bigger, so we reversed, then drove in the ruined gateway. There was an enormous church building which looked boarded up. We parked the car, and found we were at the ruins of Binham priory. It was obvious from the recent graves, that the church is still in use, so we started off by looking at the ruins. As we did so, thunder began to crash around us, lightning could be seen on the horizon,and as we got closer to the columns which resembled the ruins at Weathertop, and Osgiliath, one could almost imagine Ringwraiths appearing.

However the only thing that did appear was raindrops, large heavy splashing drops, so we hurried to the church entrance, found that they had loos, and then spent a good half hour having a history lesson from the very friendly stewards of Binham. In the mean time the rain hammered relentlessly on the roof. It eventually eased,and we went on our way thankful for the shelter, and with a new appreciation for the history of religion in Norfolk, although why a priory, in the middle of a moor, with never more than 13 monks, remains a mystery.
By the time we reached Blakeney, the sky had cleared. My back was too painful for me to walk out to the point, so we wandered around the village, and found somewhere for a cuppa. Refreshed, we walked to the end of the village, then back to the car. We headed back along the Coast road, past many interesting places, but no sign of the first lot of ruins we had seen.


Friday, 22 July 2016

June Journeyings.

Well I did take a diary of what we did on holiday, but have mislaid it, so will have to try and remember.  A couple of times in early June we looked after Lydia, as she was in between nurseries, but soon got settled in a new one. June started a horrible dull wet month. The antibiotic I'd had didn't fully deal with the problem, so I went to see my own GP, who gave me a super strength one. When the results of the test came, I was told I was now on the correct antibiotic.
The weather became quite blustery, not Summery at all, then suddenly for about 2 days the sun came out and stayed out!! However it didn't last and we were soon back to grey skies and rain.
On June 10th we began to pack for our holiday. My husband spent 3 years at a boarding school in Norfolk, Hunstanton, and Heacham. We had been to the area on a couple of day trips when our Daughter was tiny, probably her first and second Birthdays, and he had found some of the old buildings, but the school hadn't existed for some time. He had always wanted to re - explore the area, so I had decided to indulge him, and booked a cottage in the village of Heacham for 2 weeks.
On the Saturday we loaded up the car, put the bikes on the bike rack, with hopes of cycling a lot as it is flat up there. We were late setting off, stopped at Toddington  with the intention of lunch, husband tried to park in a long space, but then realised he could get fined, so we hit the road again,and stopped for lunch after turning off towards Peterborough. It was a small services, no eating area, so we ate sandwiches in the car, then used the facilities at the travel lodge.
  We arrived at the cottage, at around 5 pm, unloaded the car, inspected the cottage, I used the facilities in the en suite, found out that the flush had broken, then went downstairs to find a note in the kitchen, saying that the plumber was going to call about the en suite toilet......  So I searched for a large jug, and went and poured water down till it cleared. There was another en suite in the second bedroom but with a shower, and a downstairs cloakroom, so we were ok. The en suite from our room had massive wardrobes along one wall, and a jacuzzi bath. Husband deposited his stuff in the shower room, and for some reason, decided to use the wardrobe in the second bedroom.. As the stairs were a bit narrow, we unpacked our clothes and carried them upstairs, rather than struggling up with heavy cases.
Then we found the shopping bags drove into Hunstanton, found the  Sainsbo's, and stocked up for the weekend and a bit more. Then we drove down to the sea front, parked, found a chip shop, and bought dinner, which we ate on a bench facing the sea. There are no cliffs nearby, so very few herring gulls, and we had our meal in peace.
Back at the cottage we unloaded the shopping, packed it all away, then spent time reading, or on the internet, or watching TV. There were 3 TVs, so we could both watch different things, but there was hardly anything worth watching. We decided to retire for the night, and found the bed surprisingly comfortable, the duvet seemed to be feather though, so had to be kept well away from my face. After the thunder stopped crashing around, and the torrent of rain ceased, we both managed to sleep reasonably well.
We got up reasonably early on the Sunday morning, the rain had stopped, we both used the shower in the second bedroom, then after breakfast, as there was a dearth of decent evangelical churches in the area, husband downloaded a sermon and we listened to that. We decided to take a walk down to the north beach. this is about a mile from the cottage. There is at least one large caravan park nearby, but the area is prone to flooding. As we passed the large pond, with ducks, geese and ducklings on it we saw a heron. Suddenly the heron swooped, and grabbed; the ducks set up a loud  very distressed quacking, and the heron could be seen on the island gulping away at its duckling lunch.

We reached the beach, stood for a while watching the families enjoying themselves, then turned around and walked back.
North beach
looking towards Hunstanton
Relics from the old station
peace restored at the pond
Lunch was our usual steak, tomato, mushrooms, wedges, and broccoli. Then we had a dessert of strawberries and cream, and coffee. Husband got the hang of the posh coffee maker for his, I had my usual jar decaff. He loaded the dishwasher, I sat with the Telegraph  G K crossword, and was soon drifting off. Later we walked a different way through the village looking to see what shops there were, and heading for the location of the village church, where husband sang in the choir many years ago.
Back to the cottage for a late tea, Sainsbo's sell Rodda's so I even got my cream tea.  We retired at around 11 pm, for anther reasonable night, though I was disturbed by the number of planes I could hear flying around. 
Hens on the green, free range!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

May meanderings

April ended as a cold month, May however started more promisingly. It was sunny and warm, we didn't do anything special for the Bank Holiday, but our Son and his wife and family visited Mum in Law, so that she could meet the baby. She declared her gorgeous.
The long awaited second series of Hinterland became available on iplayer, so we watched that. There was a lot of emotion in it still some darkness, and a cliffhanger ending, fortunately they are planning a third series, but it's a long while to have to wait. The actor who plays the tortured detective Tom Mathias is also Andrew Blamey in Poldark, so must be rather busy.
We went for a bike ride early in the month, and I had this mad idea to see how far I could ride up a hump backed bridge. I didn't get far, but as I stopped the ground was uneven, so my foot didn't go where I intended,and I ended up in a heap, tangled up with the bike. I felt pretty stupid, so was glad only my husband saw it. We carried on when I had recovered, but then discovered they were working on the towpath to the South, so went north for a short ride.  We witnessed a short skirmish between swans on the canal. A couple of days we were off to the garden centre  stocked up on bedding plants, and various other things to get the garden ready for summer.
Swan skirmish

Look who is back in residence in the garden centre

We received a small box of very expensive chocolates from our energy supplier as a 'thank you' for staying with them. Our Daughter rang us and arranged at trip to the big garden centre. We had lunch there quite early before the rush started, then stocked up on a few things needed for planting out pots. Daughter had to be back in time for school pick up.
The weather was quite warm, so we turned our mattress to the 'summer side', then put on a lighter duvet. however the really hot spell didn't last, and although it stayed warmer than April, we had lots and lots of rain. However on 17th May it was dry enough for us to ride to Berkhamsted, and get lunch at Waitrose, which we ate sitting on an old ornamental lock gate, near the canal.

former boat store, now a posh residence

The babies were out in force

I spent a lot of time redoing my flower pots, husband got rid of the vine completely,and I was able to plant flowers in both beds.
Rather annoyingly, I began to get toothache whenever I ate anything cold, but it is difficult to know which out of 3 teeth it is. One has a crown, so possibly also a root canal filling too. However we have an appointment in July so will try and hang on till then.
It was Mum In Law's Birthday near the end of May, so we went down for a couple of days. As usual spent time in Eastbourne, and we took her out for a meal. She didn't give a good report of Sunday lunch at the pub in the village,and seemed to have taken against the Hydro, so I decided it would have to be the Cooden Beach again. We went at lunchtime, but they don't have a different menu from dinner these days, unless you eat in the bar area. As usual  I had fish, and a cheesecake for dessert. It looked too pretty to eat.In Eastbourne I treated myself to a garden kneeler with handles, so that I can getup  easily. It works a treat.
My dessert

Grandma eats chocolate Birthday cake

Sadly, I returned home with a UTI, which I tried to treat at home, but without success. So on the Saturday morning, I ended up at the 24 hr drop in GP service at what remains of our hospital. I saw a lovely GP, who explained my sample results to me, and wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic, but just a 3 day course.
We also took a short trip to the big family run garden centre, for a certain standard fuchsia, but they were only doing them in bush form this year, so I got one and it was much cheaper.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

April antics

As usual, the newspaper carried jokes and spoof stories, and adverts on April 1st and we had fun spotting them. We had driven down to Bexhill to visit Mum in Law on the Thursday, It was husband's Bitrthday on the Saturday, we went into Eastbourne on the Friday as usual, then Bexhill on the Saturday,  looked around the shops and had lunch, then it rained as we ate ice cream on the promenade.  In the evening we had dinner at the Cooden beach hotel, Husband's birthday treat. I had tried to book Sunday lunch at the inn in the village, but it was closed for refurbishment. So after church on the Sunday, we took Mum in law to the hydro in Eastbourne for Sunday lunch. For some reason, she decided that it was not up to the usual standard, and also decided that the waiter had taken a dislike to her, which was inexplicable to us, as he had gone out of his way to provide something for her for dessert which fitted in with her self diagnosed milk intolerance. Sadly we had to come home in the Sunday afternoon, as I had an appointment with my osteopath on the Monday, which had already been changed once. He doesn't want to see me for 6 months so that was good.
Husband sits eating his ice cream in the rain

Cake and candles in Bexhill

The family came round for late cake and candles. They later went off for a week in Derbyshire, as the Easter school holiday was later than Easter. They had a good time dodging the rain, spending time time at the heights of Abraham. We put their bin out for them, then on the Monday, walked up in the pouring rain to put their bin back, we needed the exercise you see.
On the 14th,it was dry enough for us to go for a  shortish bike ride to a bridge over the canal, then back part way along roads, before rejoining the canal towpath. We had some rare sunshine, and spent some time in the garden one day, I pulled up Spanish bluebells, and we both cleaned the mud from our bikes.

Came under a bridge and there he was!

On the 23rd, we packed up the car, loaded the bikes onto to the bike rack, and set off for a week in North Wales, staying in the bungalow we had stayed in last April. This time I remembered to take the correct mattress topper, which reduced the hardness of the bed. We  arrived fairly late in the Friday evening, and went out and got fish and chips, well I had fishcake, not being keen on battered fish.
On the Saturday, we thought we would go into Prestatyn, we had a browse round the shops, and looked for somewhere to have lunch. Most places were very unimaginative in their lunches, maybe we should have gone to M&S. In the end, I asked for a panini somewhere, and was given what turned out to be a toasted sandwich, ordinary white bread. It's not the first time this has happened. We spent the evening with my sister.
On the Sunday, we got confused as to the time of the church service in Rhuddlan, and would have ended up being late, so listened to a sermon instead. Our Son and his wife came over for Sunday lunch with Ethan and baby Elise, and after lunch I picked up my Sister, and she came to meet the baby. After tea the family went home, and later I took my sister back. We did not see my niece, her husband had had a shock bereavement in the family, and they had to sort matters out.
On the Monday, it was too cold and windy for me to ride my bike, husband didn't want to leave his unattended in Rhyl, so we drove in. He went for a haircut,and we went to our usual place for lunch. Later, he went for a bike ride alone, as it was still windy, and the wind affects my asthma. We spent the evening with my sister, and her potty Jack Russell.
On the Tuesday, we set off  for Llandudno. I hadn't packed gloves, my hands were really cold. we had lunch in the Cottage Loaf, I toured the shops looking for gloves. Everyone had their summer hats and floaty scarves in,  I walked as far as BHS, they were closing down,and I managed to pick up a couple of cheap v neck t shirts, as  M&S are not doing nice ones for the 3rd year running. I did find a mint coloured cardigan and jumper in M&s, which I hadn't been able to find locally. They should go with  a skirt I was sewing. Eventually I found cheap gloves in an outdoor shop. later that evening we ventured out on our bikes round the back roads, less windy, and almost reached Prestatyn station.
 I had said we wouldn't go to Chester, as we had recently been, but the weather did look as if it was going to be slightly better on the Wednesday, so we drove over and used the park and ride. there was a shower, but we were under cover at the time. I spent some time walking round streets away from the shops,and found many changes. Lots of flats near the church where we were married. I managed to find a couple more cheap t shirts in the Chester BHS too, pink and red this time.
Cold walk near Rhyl

Gull in cemetery
The family from Birmingham were unable to visit this time, the Thursday was so cold and dismal, that after I had visited the cemetery to put flowers on my parents grave, we had lunch in the bungalow, then stayed in reading and dozing, and starting our packing, whilst the rain pelted down outside. Thankfully the bungalow was quite snug. We visited my sister for one last evening, the next day were up early, and packed, bikes loaded, and left at 9.40 am.  We didn't stop in Cheshire,and were glad to get home. Not an inspiring week weatherwise.