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Saturday, 24 October 2020

Further afield

Although I enjoy walking near home, I am a bit limited at the moment due to the amount of rain we have had making the fields so muddy.  The farmers have  ploughed  the fields and not reinstated the paths yet so more sticky mud which is hard going. There are places I can walk with wellies such as the tow paths but I really felt I needed a change of scenery so with mask on and bus pass in hand I bravely took the bus to another town. Actually there were only 4 other passengers nearly all the way until one other man alighted. On the way back there were six of us. That was good for the passengers but not very cheering for the bus company. It is a lovely 50 minute journey through pretty Essex villages. 

Although I have been to this town lots of times I have never walked along the river so this was the plan. At first I thought it wasn't as pretty or interesting as our local river but as I left the town behind it improved. It was good to have some socially distanced chats with fellow walkers and some cyclists although not too many people around. It was such a beautiful day, I felt it was too good to waste it indoors. 

 I was particularly pleased to find the boat in the next picture as DB used to build these. They are fibreglass which he had a part in but as a cabinet maker, his chief job was building the interiors. 

I really enjoyed the day and find in these times of restrictions, I get quite excited about small excursions. I have plans to walk more of the river but the longest walk will have to wait until next year when we have more daylight again. 

Monday, 19 October 2020

Today along the river

 It was such a beautiful Autumn day I just had to get out and walked for about two hours. I was watching a kestrel and as it disappeared, I turned around and there was a red kite right overhead being mobbed by crows. There weren't many people about but I did see a man with three dogs and we stopped and had a socially distanced chat about walking and dogs. 

I think this chap has sat here a bit too long!

It is supposed to rain tomorrow so glad I got a good walk in today. DD was supposed to come to stay this week. It would be her first visit back to this town since she moved away last July although we have visited her several times. Due to Essex being put into tier 2 that is now on hold. We wont make plans next time but as soon as we are allowed DS will go and bring her straight back. 

Saturday, 17 October 2020

An Autumn walk

 I love Autumn and although it was dull today and very wet under foot I did enjoy the walk. Lots of berries - snow berries, hips and haws. Reed buntings, a jay and pied wagtails flying about. The bull rushes were so bright and velvety.

The trees are starting to change colour and shed their leaves.

The child in me enjoyed splashing through the puddles.

Lots of interesting fungi

There are plenty of apples around in public areas but I have frozen some and no more room in my downsized fridge freezer. Foraging gives me great pleasure. There is just something sweeter about this fruit. I never did get around to making rosehip syrup as I learnt it was so difficult to process them. I meant to do elderberry syrup this year but while I was deciding which bottles to use and where to get them the moment passed.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

After the rain

I had to wear wellies for a walk along the river but even wellies were no good in the flood meadows now.

British Long horns in the Flood Meadows.

I walked across this field a couple of months ago. I have seen people canoe across it in the winter.

The swan and just one young one came across looking for food but I had none. I don't know where the other youngsters were. It was very peaceful along the river bank due to the heavy rain earlier. No cyclists to dodge. 

This morning I had my second hair cut since lock down. I went very short in case things are shut down again. I felt sorry for the hair dressers as they work hard anyway but now with all the extra cleaning and restrictions its even harder. 

I also went to a friend's for a socially distanced lunch and a chat so a very enjoyable day.

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Darling Baby Mine

 This is the title of a book which I finished reading on holiday. It is by John de st Jorre who has written loads of books but this is probably the only one I would read. I found it in a charity shop before lock down but put off reading it because I thought it might be depressing. Once I did start it, I couldn't put it down. It's a wonderful heart warming story if also sad at times and brilliantly written. 

John and his brother were brought up by their father as they assumed their mother was dead. John had this image in his mind of a laughing woman who he felt sure was his mother. His father didn't talk about her and although plenty of photos of his family there were none of the mother or her relatives. It was as if she had never existed. 

John writes of his life as a child in the war and gradually he gets clues that his mother is alive. It's not until his father dies though that he does anything about it. 

He has quite an amazing life himself. He graduated from Oxford where he was recruited into the secret Intelligence Service better known as MI6, working in Africa for 3 years then becoming a foreign correspondent for the Observer. He covered the Nigerian-Biafran conflict,1973 Arab-Israeli war and the Iranian Revolution amongst many other things. 

I think this is my first book review which gives you some idea of how much I enjoyed it.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

A week away

 We had a week in Clacton so that we could visit DD and DB's family. The weather was wonderful so we made the most of it as we knew it would change towards the end of the week. We took DD to Frinton as although she has lived nearby for over a year this was her first visit. The tide was right in and coming over the prom. It was very busy and lots of people sitting outside the beach huts so we didn't stay there for long and walked back along the greensward which was spacious. It was lovely watching people picnicking and flying kites. 

Another day we went to Brightlingsea which I love and again DD had never seen. She loved it too. The tide was right out so we couldn't swim as it is on the estuary and we didn't want to walk through mud to reach the water. There is a small beach with a natural sort of paddling pool so I had a paddle with surf shoes on as it was muddy but very soothing. 

There was a large car boot sale nearby on the Sunday morning so we went to have a look. I came away with plenty of goodies for little GD including a stack of books, a piggy bank and 2 v-tec first computers. These last two just £1 each and working perfectly. I couldn't resist a jar of home made gooseberry jam in aid of the air ambulance.


I didn't take many photos as usually this is something I do when I am alone. I did take these when we visited DB's niece. In the end we couldn't take DD due to the rule of 6. The niece is an animal lover like the rest of the family and has a French bulldog, a rescued squirrel, 3 pygmy goats and recently acquired 5 runner ducks and 3 blue chickens. This apart from the fish in a 6ft deep pond. Her sister was also visiting with one of her 3 dogs.

The runner ducks moved in a few days previously so were quite shy and hiding in their house. 

It was good to visit but good to get home too especially now the weather has turned so dramatically.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Today's walk and other outings

 Today I set off on a usual route but then decided to take a new footpath which would take me across a field and supposed to come out opposite a lane which would eventually lead me back to the river. The path was signposted but when I climbed up the bank into the field this was the view of the path.

I tried to follow the route indicated on my map but didn't have a compass with me. The path was supposed to go straight across for a while then turn diagonally. It was very hard walking on hard ploughed ground so once I got onto the higher ground I made for the buildings on the main road and came out a bit earlier than I wanted so I had to walk along a verge by the road until I got to the lane. It was a pretty walk along the lane until I reached the next footpath which was signed clearly but again the footpath was not clear. I could see the next footpath sign on the other side of the field so made for that.

This was the sign and the footpath.

It was passable but there were loads of really tall nettles so I was glad of my trousers and trainers. Though I still got stung a few times. I could hardly make out the path in places and was just hoping it wasn't completely blocked when the river came into view.

It was a relief to get onto the tow path which takes me nearly home. I haven't walked this stretch for a long while. Our town is known for it's sculpture collection so here is one beside the river. 

This piece is watermill by Nicola Burrell. 

Then I saw the conservation volunteer cutting the meadow which has been beautiful with different wild flowers all summer. A sign summer is over.

Some of the paths were difficult but I still enjoyed the walk and exploring different routes.

Last week I went with DS and DDIL and little GD to the pet's corner in our local park. It has been closed for months and now we have to book on line to visit although it is still free. It was so lovely to see little GD's excitement with all the animals and being 6 months older than the last visit I think she enjoyed it even more. Then on Saturday I had GD while her mum and dad went out for a day to celebrate their 4th wedding anniversary. After the park we went to the riverside and she found a huge muddy puddle which she happily splashed in for half an hour. I sat on a log and watched her. Of course the water went over the tops of her wellies so thankfully I had wipes and clean clothes as she wasn't too happy when she saw the mud on her legs. Funnily enough she didn't notice it all the time she was splashing. Some things never change. I can remember her dad getting covered in mud on Southend beach digging for crabs.