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Friday, 8 October 2021

Kite surfers

 I was back at Clacton for a few days visiting DD and although one day was very wet the other days had some dry bright weather although windy and cold. We managed the beach 3 times just to walk, no paddling or swimming but still very enjoyable. The kite surfers were out in force in the strong wind. It amazes me how they control the kites and don't get washed out to sea. 

Another day we had the beach to ourselves under a dramatic sky.

One tired out greyhound. In spite of their reputation they need very little walking and 20 minutes is usually enough. 

I am grateful for being able to visit the sea so often as even when it is rough it feels so peaceful. 

Monday, 20 September 2021

A walk with little granddaughter

 I do a lot of walking and once or twice a week our little granddaughter comes with me. She is nearly 4 and loves being outside. So yesterday this was our walk. I only took one photo as we were chatting away and I forgot to take others.

First we walked along the road to the cycle track next to the park. I had empty boxes and bags in my rucksack in case of foraging. I also took the litter picker as the idea was if there was a lot of litter at the pond we would put it in the bin. As we walked along the cycle track toward the hospital there was a lot of litter. Mainly drink cans and used masks so GD was keen to pick them up and as we weren't near a bin, we used one of my carrier bags to collect the rubbish. She has become adept at using the litter picker now and gets quite excited at every bit she gathers. We talk about the damage the litter does to the birds and animals. 

Past the hospital and along the next cycle path toward the pond. This path is in a dip and although it is parallel to a main road, it is out of sight as there is a high bank with trees and bushes between us and the road. I had wanted to go up the bank to investigate the apple and plum trees but I didn't feel I could manage the steep path with a pushchair, small child and bags stuffed under the chair. We reached the pond and GD had a great time feeding the ducks and moorhens with the special duck food I buy at the pet shop. 

After the food was all devoured we continued along the path to a road, past a few houses then turned to walk along the back of the houses, by the allotments and to the community farm. The gates were open and we were admiring the masses of very tall sunflowers.

Some of the volunteers invited us in to look around. One lady showed us the sweetcorn and asked GD if she liked it. GD replied that she loved it and loves all vegetables which is quite true. Then she was presented with a bag of freshly picked veg. I was asked if I liked celeriac which I do and particularly like to make it into soup so I was given several complete with green leafy shoots. These went into a bag as they were very muddy then into my rucksack with the shoots leaning over my head. 

Further along the path is the judo hall and tucked away behind that is a little playground so of cours we had to visit that. Two big girls were larking around here and GD thought it was hilarious when one of them got stuck in the baby swing. Happily she got out with her friends help. They were lovely girls and when the odd shower became more persistant and GD was tucked under the cover in the push chair, they helped me push it up a steep bank as the quickest way home. 

We also examined conkers, sweet chestnuts and the inside of huge rosehips. Flowers and feathers were collected and then mummy and daddy were presented with the vegetables which went down very well for dinner. I am very grateful to be able to spend time with GD and it takes me back to when her daddy and auntie were little and we went on our walks. Very happy times. 

This morning I was busy turning the celeriac into soup. I found that the leafy tops are also edible and can be used in the soup. It was a lot more time consuming than usual clearing up all the mud and chopping the leaves. I now have 8 portions of the soup in the fridge to freeze for colder weather. So very satisfying. 

Monday, 13 September 2021

Heritage open weekend and

scarecrow festival. The heritage open days used to include some weekdays but around here it was only Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday afternoon I took little GD to Scott's Grotto which is in a small town further up the river. I have been several times before but first time for GD. The description of it is a series of interconnected chambers extending 67ft into the chalk hillside. Apart from the entrance and the final chamber, it is completely dark so torches are needed. GD loves torches so she enjoyed flashing the torch into the dark tunnels and recesses. The walls are covered with shells, flints and coloured glass and took about 30 years to build and purported to cost £10,000. We ended up feeding a swan on the river and waving at a wedding boat which pulled up opposite. 

I had planned to take her to Gibberds Garden on the Sunday afternoon. I've been lots of times but GD only once when she was just 1 year old so she couldn't remember it. Then Sunday morning I heard there was a scarecrow festival in the village a couple of miles up the road. She loves scarecrows so as the garden didn't open until 2pm we drove up to the village but in spite of there being parking at 3 sites all spaces were taken. She did spot some as we drove along especially being pleased to see Elsa from Frozen. So we went on to the garden and had a lovely time identifying all the art works. They also had a few little games for children which she loved. I enjoyed my pot of tea with scone and jam.

 About 4pm we decided to try the scarecrow festival again. This time we did get parked in the school playground and were told we had one hour before the gates were locked so here are the photos minus the ones with GD in as I don't put her photos on a public site except the one above in the distance. 

Apparently there was a lot going on apart from the scarecrows such as live music, a tea tent and various other stalls but they were packing up by the time we got parked. Anyway it was an enjoyable if tiring weekend. 

Monday, 30 August 2021

On the ferry

One of the places I like to visit for a day out using my bus pass is Burnham on Crouch. It's a quiet little town on the river with lots of boating activity. There is an on demand ferry which goes across the river to Wallasea Island and I have been saying for years that I will take that trip. Well for the last few years circumstances have stopped me even getting to Burnham. The ferry runs until the end of September and even in season doesn't run on Wednesdays or very bad weather. Last week I had a lot going on every day except Thursday when I should have cleaned my home but I felt a need to get away to clear my mind and relax. So I finally got on the ferry. A cyclist was already waiting and had phoned the boat man and he was on his way over. The journey takes ten minutes as the quay on the opposite bank is a little way down the river. 

 Wallasea is a funny place. The ferry goes into a big marina and seems quite industrial with cranes and big equipment but it is also very rural. I went into the marina cafe first for a cuppa then walked along the river bank until I saw some plastic chairs placed right next to the path so I sat there and ate my salad and watched the river. A bit further on the path turned inland on the other side of a creek which ran along side a caravan site. The path was high up on a bank so I had good views on both sides.

The caravans had really pretty gardens. I couldn't work out what these structures were of rotten wood and rusty metal but decided they must have been a quay at some time. 

Once I was on the road I turned back toward the marina. There was a sign pointing to the RSPB reserve but I thought I wouldn't have time to walk there. Once I was back on the river I started walking the other way but it was obvious not many people had walked that way as it was quite overgrown and the wind was strong. Also a heavy jug had fallen on my foot two days before and it was very painful so I was walking slowly. I could see the ferry coming back up the river so made my way to the quay and went back to Burnham. Everywhere had run out of scones so I ended up with a toasted teacake with Tiptree jam and a pot of tea. It was definitely more crowded than I had ever seen it before even during school holidays so a sign of more people on staycations. 

I had a wander about taking a few more photos. The cinemas building dates back to 1931 and is surprising for such a small town to have one. The clock tower was erected in 1877 in memory of a local oyster merchant and philanthropist. 

There seems to be a very good bus service with the bus to Chelmsford every half hour although most of the time I was the only passenger. From there I took the bus home. I feel after one of these days out that I have had a holiday. 

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Clacton and foraging

I spent some time with dd in Clacton and the first couple of days weather was beautiful so we took the dog to Jaywick beach one day and then to Holland Haven where we sat on the beach with lemon meringue pie from the little tea room. I saw these new notices near the old sign post.

 I don't remember seeing them before but the trail looks interesting. I have walked most of the Tendring coast in segments more than once. I think the only bit left is from Walton Pier to Frinton. Maybe next time. I also explored some new paths near to DD's home and saw peeping over the fence this roof.

The beaches we go to always seem to be empty even when its hot although nearer to the pier is crowded. 

On Saturday I did some wombling and nearly filled a large litter bag in a short time. The next day I decided to fill the bag and then find some blackberries. It was mainly along cycle tracks then down to the pond. 

I was planning to go a bit further for the berries and to check out a mirabelle tree I had noticed last winter. However I thought I would just look at the brambles nearby first and they were disappointing but then I saw the mirabelle tree loaded with plums so I filled my two large icecream boxes instead of the berries. Little GD and I had already picked plenty of berries a couple of days earlier. I made crumble adding some pears to the berries. GD couldn't wait to get home to have hers washed so she could eat them as they were. This photo of the mirabelles has a funny blue reflection as it was taken in the kitchen.

I spent the evening destoning them with the cherry stoner DB bought a few years ago. Some have been frozen. It was an enjoyable satisfying afternoon. 

Friday, 16 July 2021

To Paper Mill Lock

I am walking the river Chelmer in sections as too much for me in one go. Last October I walked from the city centre to Sandford Lock and then back to the city for a bus home. I had intended walking back on the other side of the river but it meant walking through deep muddy water so I just retraced my steps.

A beautiful day was forecast so using my bus pass I took the bus to Chelmsford then another bus for 15 minutes to the road near the Lock I had stopped at previously. I enjoyed walking the footpath across a wheat field with not a soul about and then down the lane to the river.

 Once I started walking along the river though it was not so good. The path was narrow and overgrown with very tall nettles all along the bank so I couldn't even see the river. The noise from a nearby main road was so loud I couldn't hear any birds even if there were any. No flowers, just nettles. I was beginning to think I should have just walked along the river near home which is so interesting with many boats to see.

Then as I got near Boreham things changed and the noise disappeared. I stood and listened to so many birds and there were flowers! No canal boats but quite a few paddle boarders and canoes. Then I saw a lady swimming in the river with her little boy. An old man sat nearby next to a large inflatable canoe. I so wished I had put my swim wear on. The lady said her mum used to bring her when she was a little girl and she still comes often to swim and brings her son. I sat a little bit further along to eat my lunch watching loads of blue mayflies and many different dragon flies. It was so peaceful. 

It wasn't far from there to my destination and more people around here with many paddle boarding or canoeing. Once I was at the lock there were many boats but I found it strange that none of them had been moving along the river. I didn't realise before that you have to have a licence to take any craft on to the river. Even the paddle boarders had to pay but I think a lot had hired them. There was a tea room and in spite of a notice saying there were no toilets at the lock, there were thankfully. Then I enjoyed my cream tea. The icecreams looked tempting but I couldn't manage one after the scone.

Leaving the river behind, I walked up the lane and across a field to the village to get a bus back to the city centre then another bus home. It was a really enjoyable day and I ended up pleased I had been. Just 7 more miles to walk to the Heybridge basin and the end of the river. Something to look forward to on another day. 

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Holland on Sea and Jaywick

A visit to see DD at Clacton. The weather was quite good most of the time and we had a nice time. It was a shame the day we arrived wasn't so good but at least it was dry and little granddaughter was able to make her sandcastles complete with flags. I had a paddle carrying gd as she shouted "its coming" as the sea swept over my feet. We also went in one of the wheels which is on the sea-front so we had some good views. After visiting other family, little gd went home with her mum and dad and I stayed with DD for the week. 

One afternoon when DD was resting I used my bus pass to go to Jaywick then walked back along the coast into town. Jaywick has a bad reputation and it is true there is a rough bit which is a shame as the location of some of the ramshackle bungalows is overlooking a wonderful beach. There does seem to be a lot of renovation work going on though. There was hardly a soul on the beach in spite of the hot weather. Plenty of poppies though.

We took greyhound Freddie to Holland on sea for a walk along the beach much to his delight then DD and I sampled the delicious ice cream. Empty beaches and more poppies.

On the Sunday afternoon some people DD knew were having a cupcake sale in aid of the Alzheimer's society. Sadly they were not allowed to serve tea due to covid restrictions but we sampled the cupcakes and took some home. Well it was for a good cause. Winnie the Pooh and Tigger enjoyed it too. There was a group of cheerleaders doing their stuff. The little girls and one little boy were very cute. We took some of the cupcakes to BIL and SIL the next day to have with coffee.

The day before I came home wasn't so good but we did enjoy a walk on the beach toward Jaywick and met more greyhounds and their owners. Greyhound owning is like being in a big club.