Monday, 29 January 2007

4. Eye, Suffolk.

Details:- This was a social walk (as vs. a challenge walk), organised by the Long Distance Walkers' Association. Twelve two-leg and two four-leg members set out from Eye on a circular route, mainly along the The Mid Suffolk Footpath and The Angles Way. We passed through Brome, Oakley, Hoxne, Billingford, Diss, Palgrave and Yaxley. Distance;- 19 miles; 6 hours walking, and 30 minutes of rest breaks; avg. speed:- 2.92 mph; Going:- one or two muddy spots; map OS Explorer 230; Progress:- walked 47 - 453 to go. Photographs Hyperlink.

Some Norfolk & Suffolk Long Distance Walkers.

They may look like common or garden ramblers, but don't be deceived. Among those present are several veterans of the hundred mile walk. This is a challenge walk which has to be completed in forty eight hours, with rest breaks of no longer than two hours! Alex on rhs front is off to Wales in May to do his sixth hundred miler; another has done sixteen of them to date.

Brome Hall,

where I got faintly excited by these dilapidated farm buildings, which I thought might be 17th century, and of some status. Pevsner put me in my place though with a brief disinterested comment:- 'mostly late C19th'. So there.

Street Sign in Diss,

where the local authority are rumoured to be naming their next new street 'Letsbe Avenue' in honour of Delia Smith ( pun for Norwich City FC supporters).

Another Diss Pun,

and around the corner is the Able Taxi service, known locally as Diss Able Taxis. Across in Victoria Road is the New Diss Swimming Pool (geddit - nudist), so named after it was rebuilt a few years ago; & et cetera.

Diss Mere,

was formed at the end of the last ice-age i.e. about twelve thousand years ago. As the ice receded it created the collapse of underlying chalk bedrock in which water collected, forming the lake. It is up to 60 feet in depth with a further 40 foot of mud beneath that. During it's 12,000 year history it has provided the town with a water supply, a sewer and a wash place, probably all at once! Now it's a duck pond.


Here's another duck-pond; it's on the green at Thrandeston - one of the more scenic villages of the Waveney Valley.

Monday, 22 January 2007

3. Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.

Details:- Lynne & I set out from Angel Hill, opposite the Great Gate of Bury St Edmunds Abbey, and the route mostly followed St. Edmunds Way; first around and then out of the city in a south easterly direction to the villages of Nowton and Sicklemere, before heading back again into the city centre. Distance:- 9 miles; Time Taken:- two and three quarter hours; Avge Speed;- 3.2 mph; Going:- easy peasy ; Map:- OS Explorer 211; Progress:- walked 28 - 472 to go. Photographs Hyperlink.

Bury St Edmunds Millennium Tower:-

Where was once a stump which gave the cathedral a hunchback-like appearance, is now an immaculately built stone tower; the final piece in the jigsaw that is St. Edmundsbury Cathedral. The tower cost £12 million, and was built of Barnack which is the most famous of the Lincolnshire limestones - the last remaining quarry seam was opened up for this tower. Finally then, this jumped up market town of a city has a landmark other than the brewery chimney! £7m of the above total came from lottery money, and £3.5m was raised by the people of Suffolk. Not bad when you think how little people actually go to church any more.

Greene King:- Are serious beer drinkers sulky old soaks or what?! Looking on the Greene King Brewery website; I see that in recent years they have expanded and bought out the following breweries:-

1. Ruddles (Rutland in 1997); 2. Belhaven (Dunbar, in 2005), 3. Morland (Abingdon, in 2000); and 4. Ridleys (Hartford End Essex, in 2002). Ridleys had previously bought out Tolly Cobbold of Ipswich, who are now effectively controlled by Greene King. 5. Hardy & Hansons (Nottinghamshire, in 2006).

Controversially for the real ale lobby all the acquired breweries except at Belhaven have been shut down, and the brewing moved to Suffolk. CAMRA is accusing Greene King of running a monopoly. Many beer drinkers are unhappy as the following blog exerpt demonstrates.

''A drop of disloyalty from disgruntled drinkers. Regulars at a pub in Lewes, East Sussex have been staying away in droves following the withdrawal of the local beer by the giant brewers, Greene King. Since the last pint of Lewes-brewed Harveys, the most popular beer sold in the pub, was pulled in the Lewes Arms on 10th December, there has been a boycott of the pub by its regulars who have held a vigil outside the pub at peak times during the two busiest drinking weeks of the year.''

C'mon you serious beer drinking fraternity; things move on! So you can't get Old Speckled Hen like you used to; but there's a whole bottle store of new beers out there produced by a new generation of small independent breweries. Vote with your purchase power; not your boycott of the landlord's livelihood.

Sign in Bridewell Lane for the Hyperactive:-

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

2. Caister St Edmund, Norfolk.

Details:- I started at the Roman town of Caister St Edmund south of Norwich, and walked back into the city along Boudica's Way via Arminghall and Trowse to Carrow Road. Distance:- 7 miles Walking Time:- 2 hrs 30 minutes; Average Speed:- 2.8 mph; Going:- mud up to the underside of my undersoles (sounds bad but isn't); Map:- OS Explorer 237; Progress:- walked 19 - 481 to go. Photographs:- none of my own - I forgot the camera!

Oxymoron of the day: - Bus Service! I took the bus from Norwich to the start of this walk. Looking at the timetable both First and Anglian do this route to Poringland every hour, but running within three minutes after each other! I caught the Anglian bus and there were twelve of us aboard. After alighting and setting off down the road the First bus trundled past a couple of minutes later - absolutely empty! Why have a bus every half hour when you can do a full one and an empty one every hour.

Wildlife:- two dead trees blown across the path near Arminghall. There was nix roaming the countryside of South Norfolk to-day.

What Did The Romans Do For Us? Caister St Edmund, or Venta Icenorum, is an old brownfield site, and only one of three Roman towns in the country not buried beneath a modern settlement. But even now the archaeologists know next to nothing about the place. It's raised to the ground and there's nothing to see - perhaps it was demolished in revenge by descendents of Boudica whose tribe, the Iceni, were from around these parts. Indeed they think the town was originally built in AD 60ish after Boudica's revolt to quell the native tribes of East Anglia.

AD 47 Boudica's XI 6 - Romans 0.

Seasonal Image:- A patchwork of gently rolling fields in a livery of winter seeded green and spring seeded brown; and above are fast moving, heavy clouds; dark grey and ominous, as if threating to dump all over us at any moment.

New Word:- for my dictionary - a farlow which is a bungalow pretending to be a farm, not to be confused with a farlowe - or a has been pop star, best known for the single 'Baby Baby You're Out Of Time', inspired by issuing parking tickets in his previous job as a traffic warden.

Bench:- I've not seen this before - a park bench in cast iron and hardwood set on a concrete base in a prominent spot overlooking the Tas valley, and left for the benefit of walkers and inscribed 'Dawne Victoria Hill 1939 - 2004 who loved these footpaths' I approve. Knowing the local authority I bet it was a planning nightmare to organise.

Carrow Road. The walk terminated at Carrow Road, where I watched Norwich City get beaten 3-1 by Plymouth Argyle. (why Argyle? - it's at the other end of the country?) Oh dear! It's been a frustrating time watching Norwich in the last few months; we need a Boudica on our team.

AD 2007 Plymouth Argyle 3 - Norwich City 1.

Monday, 8 January 2007

1. Waldringfield, Suffolk.

Details:- Start and Finish at Woodbridge Station - via Martlesham Creek, Waldringfield, Hemly, Newbourn and Martlesham. Distance - 12 miles; Walking Time - 4hrs 30mins; Avge Speed 2.6mph. Going:- Along Martlesham creek was muddier than a Mississippi mud pie; so I abandoned the river and walked the C roads and villages. Map:- OS Explorer 197. Progress:- Walked 12 - 488 to go. Photographs Link

Wildlife:- Greenshanks? close up; a flock of blackwits flying across my path, and a dead hedgehog on the road outside the RSPCA Animal Home in Martlesham - perhaps an accident waiting to happen.

Refreshments:- It was most refreshing seeing the word 'bugger' on a church notice board!

It's a trubute to John Waller the sporting parson of Hemly, in the form of a framed series of cartoons. In this one he's on his boat, 'Jesus' and casting his net out towards us. On the bank a local sage calls out:'You won't git bugger-all there bor! Why don't you cast your nets on the other ruddy side?!'

Surprise Of The Day:- In Hemly an old red phone box with phone in working order. BUT, it wasn't exactly the same as I remembered because it didn't smell of fags!

Aesthetic Highlight:- In Waldringfield Church and in Newbourn Church, two very good fonts. I think one was Copperplate Gothic and the other Times New Roman. But definateley not Wingdings.

Unrestrained Moment:- Taking a natural break out back in the churchyard at Newbourn. I'm sorry if anyone from the parish reads this, but in my long struggle between the call of god and nature, I find that nature usually wins out.

Most Unusual House Name:- St. Farm, Hemly. Do they pray to him for a good harvest?

Monstrosity of the Month:- The British Telecom Research Laboratories at Martlesham. Whover thought that skewed conning tower would be eye-catching in the pleasant sense of the word was a compleat twat!

BT: Still trying to get in touch with ET. The line's down!

Rant of the day:- Blatant fly tipping on the roadside just outside Newbourn. The Minority Spoiling for the Majority, Type No. 1356. Not high in the order of anti-social behaviour, but irritatingly irresponsible.
Payback Moment:- That first sip of tea and bite of date and nut slice in Notcutt Nursery tea rooms.