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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. 

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Frugal food and a new gadget

 I was pleased that I had picked lots of blackberries during the hot spell and made bramble jelly because the ones near here seem to have rotted in the rain. Last weekend there were still some so I took a box and my rucksack on my walk. I had to drop something into a friend and there is a cut-through near her house which goes past the community farm. It has been closed for ages but the gate was open and a box of veg and fruit with the message to "help yourself, donations welcome". I didn't have any money on me so hesitated then I saw a bag with cooking apples which I thought would go well with the berries. I saw some people inside and called out that I would donate next time. They were happy with that although actually they are happy for it just to be taken if you need it. I will make sure I have my purse next time.

I found quite a few blackberries at a pleasant spot with benches and a good view. Then I started home via another bramble spot and was doing quite well there. Then I espied apples on the ground. I managed to find 9 good windfalls which went into my rucksack with the others.  I spent a pleasant evening preparing apples and cooking them with the berries. Most have been frozen.

Then a few days ago a friend called and gave me produce from her allotment. 3 large potatoes which were delicious, a large beetroot which has now been cooked, several bulbs of garlic and more apples. These were made into a large apple cake. The garlic was very handy as I was cooking spaghetti bolognese that evening and only had powdered garlic which is fine but fresh is nice. 

Today I had a walk in a village a few miles away and was surprised to see so many good blackberries. So I will go back with a box and collect a few more. I am keeping my eye on an apple tree along the river. I have never seen so much fruit on it but it needs to mature a bit. 

The new gadget is a Danish Whisk which I bought from Amazon and I really like it. 

I have been amazed how easily it mixes ingredients up. Even little GD who is not 3 yet mixed her biscuits up with it. It is much easier to clean than most whisks and less washing up than an electric whisk. It is very solidly made as well. I do love a simple gadget.