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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. 

Sunday, 20 June 2021


 I first visited Maryport about 25 years ago when we had our camper van. We visited a museum but didn't stay long as we spent most time at the lakes. Then friends moved there some years ago and I have visited them lots of times but again I didn't see much of it as they had the car and we drove to other places. The only shops we went into were a couple of small supermarkets which again we drove to. 

I hadn't visited for about 3 years partly due to being unwell then helping daughter move plus my own move and not long after than covid struck. Then about two months ago my friend who is now 91 fell and broke her hip and spent 3 weeks in hospital after an operation then 5 weeks recovering in a care home. I knew she was very down so booked to visit her in the home and made travel plans. Normally most of my holidays are very frugal but as I haven't been able to travel for ages I decided on luxury. Well luxury for me anyway. No airbnb, bunk house or youth hostel but a hotel overlooking the harbour. I usually look out for cheap coach deals but thought in view of the virus numbers going up I would feel safer on a train so that was booked as well. 

I walked through town for the first time from the station to the hotel. I had never seen the main shops before. It felt like going back in time. I wasn't able to see my friend until the next afternoon so I spent the morning walking about and saw the river for the first time. Happily she went home the next morning so I was able to spend the afternoon and evening with them. However I really enjoyed  walking along the coast path in the morning. So here are some of my photos. The view from my bedroom window. The solway firth and the hills of Scotland are on the horizon.

The two sculptures are by the same artist and very interesting. The beach is fascinating.

The Roman museum was closed but in a beautiful spot high above the coast. Nearby was a shelter with a bookcase full of books free to take. I did take one which was called "Feeding the Nation" by Marguerite Patten full of wartime recipes. 

So from thinking Maryport was a boring seedy town I know find it fascinating. Hopefully I will visit my friends again later in the year so there is more to explore. Next time will be planned more leisurely and be frugal. 

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Swans, weeds and litter

 What a beautiful weekend at last. Yesterday I met my friend for a walk and a spot of wombling. It is the start of the Great British Spring Clean but we do it anyway. Since the womble group has been set up in the town there is a great improvement so we only picked half a sack on our little walk then sat on a bench by the lock watching the boats. To our joy the swan family swam up into the lock. It is the first time I've seen them since the eggs hatched. Mum, dad and 8 little ones was such a happy sight.

Then we saw a coot with her two little ones. 

Today I was waiting for a friend to let me know she was home but it was too nice to stay in so I started to walk but got as far as the little park and was horrified at all the litter there so I came back for my litter picker and the half full rubbish bag and ended up clearing from my house all round the park, up the cycle track to the hospital then up to the top of the road to the bus garage. The bag was full but I couldn't have carried any more any way. I do usually pick up a few masks but I was amazed at how many were discarded outside the hospital. We are able to leave the bags next to bins then report the location on the council site and they pick them up the next day. 

As I walked through the park I was pleased to see the mass of cow parsley which appears every year. Only a weed but how beautiful. 

It seems such a shame that in view of such beauty people have to chuck all their rubbish down. I suppose the warm weather has brought them all out. 

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Tim Horton and charity shops

 A Tim Horton coffee shop has opened in the retail park. DDIL was very happy as she is Canadian and so are Tim Hortons. It is 7 years since she has been in one. So I had my first experience of a drive through and I treated us all to a breakfast meal deal with the famous TH coffee and a box of Timbits. I didn't know what they were either. They are the middle of doughnuts! Not my usual diet and I am not a fan of doughnuts. I was impressed with the children's meal as the toy was a packet of crayons and a poster to colour in with Canadian images such as polar bears. No plastic. Also most of the packaging of our meal was recyclable. The coffee was very good too. 

After splurging, its been more frugal with the delivery of a large cube storage unit for the bedroom from a charity shop. When I moved here 18 months ago, I had to leave all my fitted bedroom furniture behind and there was none here so DS who lived here before, left one old wardrobe as they didn't need it. I did get a really nice huge pine wardrobe from a charity shop but was still using the old wardrobe for storage. Then with lockdown all the charity shops closed. So once the new piece was delivered, I dismantled the old wardrobe, including sawing the two long sides in half to get into my little fiesta to take to the dump. I also took a bedside cabinet to the charity shop. Of course while I was there I had to have a little browse. I was looking for jeans and books for our upcoming week away. I found a pair of next jeans that fit so beautifully, 3 books and a game of rapidough. I already had that game bought from a boot sale but there were bits missing so this one is much better. The books look interesting too. I have read Back home before by the same author as goodnight mister Tom. It is a children's book but I find it very interesting about a family reuniting after the war. 

Here are the charity shop buys. £3 the lot.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Bluebell wood

 I suddenly realized I needed to see the bluebells before it was too late.  My friend and her dog met me there and we walked the footpath beside the flowers. On the other side were masses of celandines. We go every year and it always takes my breath away. I'm sure this year is the best ever but that might be the result of being shut in so much for a year.

We sat on a bench for a few hours catching up until we both decided we were cold and needed to warm up.

I think I will try and get there again later this week before they go. 

Monday, 19 April 2021


I have been saying for ages I would like to check my DNA at the company which has a huge data base of other people's DNA. The results came back a couple of weeks ago and the biggest surprise was that I am 81% Scottish. My dad is Scots and my half brother who has the same father as me is 49% Scottish which is what I expected to be. My mum was English but she never knew her father except his name and that he was American. Unless you are native American the ethnicity could be anything so it seems likely my grandfather had Scottish roots. The other possibility of the Scot's background could be my mum's maternal grandfather. After fathering 19 children including triplets and two sets of twins he died before my mum was born. All we know is his surname and the possibility he was called Alfred as the eldest boy and my uncle were named Alfred. 

The only close match which came up was my brother so no surprises there. The most exciting match although not close was a 2nd or 3rd cousin who only shares 2% DNA but has the same surname as my maternal grandfather. I have messaged him but no reply. I have looked on the free site but am thinking I will pay to see all the information. 

My dad was an only child and his mum died when he was 10 years old in 1916 and 2 months later his dad went off to fight in the 1st world war so he was passed around for a couple of years. His dad remarried a younger woman. I never knew them as my granddad died when I was about 3. We lived in Essex and he was in Glasgow. My half sister knew them and during the second world war she was sent to stay with them for safety and that night Glasgow got bombed. Thankfully they survived. The thing is my two sisters are in their 80's so I am getting what information I can now. 

I wish I had asked my parents and my nan for more information when I was younger but I don't think it occured to me.  I think I will need some help finding things on line so will wait until my friend is allowed to come round to help me before I pay to join. Although with the better weather coming and fewer restrictions I probably wont want to be stuck on the laptop for hours. Ah well I will have to consider it.