Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Finally...A New Post...

Finally a new post...
It's been over two weeks since I last posted an entry here on the blog.....but I do have a good reason.... Anne and I were hit with some kind of bug that knocked us both for six a few days before we left Sandringham.... 
Even now we still both have a bit of a cough.

To complicate our move up here to Woodhall Spa.... on the day we were due to move the car wouldn't start...the battery appeared to be flat. The car hadn't been used for nearly three weeks.. RAC were called but took over four hours to arrive... Battery was checked and although flat was perfectly serviceable so we can only assume something had been left on and drained the said battery... 

Due to this we stayed an extra night at Sandringham and arrived at Woodhall Spa a day late but it was a bit of hassle that we could both have done without feeling so rough....
The first couple of days at our current site were spent in bed trying to throw off the bug....
Mind you it did give me the chance to change the cleats on my cycling shoes for brand new ones... The old cleats were really well over due for changing...

Well worn cleat...Overdue for changing

Brand shiny new cleats fitted
 On my first venture out from the campsite to top up on our supplies what should I see but a nice old petrol pump..... Regular readers to the blog will be only well aware of my interest in these and I always like to post images of these pumps whenever I see them. This one seems to date from the seventies.....
Nice old petrol pump.... possibly from the seventies?
 For the first week and a half of being here at Woodhall Spa we did very little as we both felt so low.... But this past weekend my good friend Peter Calcutt visited us for two nights as a bit of a break during another stage of his British Coastline cycle ride.... For the past couple of years Peter has used part of his holiday to cycle a section. 

The first year he cycled from Bournemouth to Deal in Kent.... Last year he cycled from Deal to Holbeach near the Wash...... This year he started at Holbeach and will be cycling to...... well that's to be seen.

I rode out to meet him and lead him into our campsite on his arrival day and on Monday morning when he set off again I rode out with him for a couple of hours before he headed on North and I turned round and headed back here to the site.....
Peter sorting out his kit during his stay with us.
 While he was here Peter and I went on a bit of a nature trek in the local woods... There is a hide there that was installed back in 1983 and we both spent some time there keeping an eye out for some wildlife.... As it transpired apart from some swallows we didn't really spot anything worth reporting.... mind you bird and wildlife spotting does require a lot of time and patience.....
There is another hide at some other woods at the end of the lane and a couple told us today that they have spotted a couple of Kingfishers there so Anne and I might well spend some time in that hide to see if we can spot them too.....
The small hide in the woods...

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Royal House and Gardens....

Well we couldn't pitch-up at our campsite on the Sandringham Estate without a visit to the house and gardens....

We had originally planned to visit the gardens during the Sandringham flower show last Wednesday but the weather proved to be pretty inclement and we did not fancy trudging around the show in the wet.... Even the attendance of Prince Charles and Camilla couldn't drag us up there in the wet weather.......

Thursday proved to be a much better day so a decision was made and we wandered up to the house and gardens on that day for our visit....

We enjoyed our visit and the museum in the old stable block was very interesting with a number of cars on display that had been used by various members of the Royal Family over the years....

We also visited the church just outside the main gardens where the Queen and other members of the Royal Family attend the service on Christmas morning......

I've posted below just a few of the images I took during our visit.....
Sandringham House

Gilded Bronze Statue of the Buddhist Divinity Kuvera

Close-up Image of Kuvera

Gravestones of Royal Corgis

View of the House from the Gardens

Interior View of the Church

Sunday, 23 July 2017

A Royal Location.....

We have enjoyed some mixed weather over the past week since we have been here at our site on the Sandringham Estate......
Sandringham House is within walking distance of our location being just a mile up the road...
We have walked up to the visitors centre but have not made a proper visit yet.....
There will be a flower show in the grounds of the house on Wednesday this coming week and we are planning to visit the grounds and the church then.....
'The Norfolk Gates' of Sandringham House
We have a nice pitch at the C&CC site situated in amongst the trees..... The site itself is pretty big having over 270 pitches and ten members of staff to run it... It is the largest site that we have stayed on since we started fulltiming nearly two and a half years ago.... 
Our pitch at the Sandringham C&CC site....(Note: Still flying the Devon Flag)
The cycling in the area continues to be good.... Lots of B-roads with very light motorised traffic... The more I have cycled in Suffolk and Norfolk the more I see what a great area it is for cycle touring. I was so lucky to have cycled in these counties all those years ago when the roads were even quieter than they are now.
Since we have been here I have cycled up to the North Norfolk coast a few times and enjoyed each ride...... 
Village sign on one of my rides..
A view along the Groynes at Hunstanton
 We have also visited Hunstanton a traditional small seaside town which I have always thought of as the Swanage of the East Coast.... 
The last time I visited the town was on Boxing Day about forty years ago when I visited a friend who had moved there.... The town certainly seems to have grown a bit since that last visit and doesn't seem as desolate a place as it seemed to be on that day.. Mind you the picture that I have shown here doesn't show the best view of the town so don't judge it by that photograph.

Two things of interest about Hunstanton are:-
1) It's the only East Coast seaside resort where you can watch the sun set directly over the sea .
2) It's also the home to Britains largest joke shop which is packed to the rafters with things like itching powder and whoopie cushions.....

Castle Rising.... The Castle Keep showing just above the mounds of the dry moat.
 A couple of days ago we completed the five mile return walk to Castle Rising another place that I haven't visited for forty plus years....
The main attraction at Castle Rising other than the very nice tea rooms is of course the castle...

It is a 12th century castle that became the home of Queen Isabella, mother of Edward 111, following her part in the brutal murder of her husband, Edward 11 in 1327.
The current owner is a descendant of William D'Albini 11 the Norman Baron who raised the castle.....
Interior view at Castle Rising Keep.

Another interior view of the Castle Keep
 After visiting the Castle a visit to the superb tea rooms was in order for a spot of lunch and as we were leaving the tea rooms we noticed a telephone box on the corner of the road...
We took a double take .... the telephone box was full of books with a notice stating that this was the Castle Rising village library.....
Whether this was the result of financial cuts and needing to move to smaller premises I don't know...but pretty unusual just the same....Dare I say 'a pretty novel idea'
Telephone Box - Home to Castle Rising Village Library
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Sunday, 16 July 2017

More images of Norwich...

With the TDF still running and our move on to the next site on our list timed with the TDF rest day I am not going to write too much in this post....however I will post some additional images taken during our stay in Norwich.......
Norwich Castle

Norwich Cathedral

The cobbles of Elm Hill

The coloured canopies of Norwich Market

The Guildhall
We nearly didn't come here as there were a lot of poor comments on the internet regarding the site.... 

The toilet facilities are dated...straight out of the 1950s in fact and the club really should invest some of our membership fees into a new facilities block...however everything is kept clean and tidy by the Managers and Assistants who are a friendly and helpful bunch and the position of the site has proved just perfect for us..... the comments proved far worse than the reality and we have enjoyed our stay here.....

On Monday we move on to Sandringham......

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Lots to Do....

Well our stop here in Norwich is one of those places where the two weeks that we booked is proving not to be long enough as we are finding lots to do....

Starting with the important thing..... my daily ride on the bike.
I have managed to sort out a really good loop to ride out into the Norfolk countryside...
As with Suffolk I am finding some really quiet lanes and roads to enjoy....although the roads here in East Anglia are not as flat as a lot of people think they are I do miss the really stiff hills that you can find back in Devon and Dorset....

Below is a picture of my bike at Starston Church which is a village about fifteen miles south of Norwich on my daily ride.....
Starston Church about fifteen miles south of Norwich...
 Walking is good here direct from the campsite.....
There are some good walks along the river Wensum which loops around the city...
The River Wensum and part of the old city wall
 As an alternative you can head out of the city...... You can walk out to the village of Trowse where there is a very nice pub where you can enjoy a pint in a very pretty beer garden just full of flowers.....
Trowse village sign
 Apparently the pubs beer garden was a regional winner last year in a pub garden competition....
I think this was my second pint......
 I have also managed to visit some places from the past as well......
The image below is of the alleyway running between the rear gardens of the houses in the street (Marlborough Road) where my Maternal Grandparents used to live.

When I was a small child we would sometimes come to Norwich to visit my Grandparents and I can remember playing in this alleyway.....
It actually seems to be a lot more neat and tidy than I remember it when I was a kid....
The Alleyway at the back of Marlborough Road......
As I said we have found lots to do and on top of that there has been the Tour de France to watch on the TV as well....

This retirement business can be hard work......

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

We just had to pay a visit.........

We have left Suffolk and are now in the county of Norfolk....
We are camped on the southern edge of Norwich but before we left Constable country we just had to pay a visit to Flatford Mill.....

For nearly 100 years from 1742 to 1846 Flatford Mill was owned by the Constable family and it was around the mill that John Constable got inspiration for some of his most famous pictures such as the Haywain or Boatbuilding near Flatford Mill among many others....

I had always wanted to visit the area and stand in the exact spot that Constable had stood when he created his preliminary sketches for his famous picture 'The Haywain'.

Now I am not an Artist but I did manage to take a photo from the spot..... the only thing missing of course is the Haywain itself......
Although the foliage is much thicker and the view not so open as it was in Constable's time you can see that it is the same view with the end of Willie Lotts house visible on the left side of the frame.....

The visit to the area was really enjoyable and was a good place to finish our stay in Suffolk before our move up here to Norfolk....

I've posted my photo of the Haywain view (minus the Haywain of course) below......




Friday, 30 June 2017

Constable Country.....

 For the last couple of weeks we have been camping in Constable Country....
The Polstead Camping and Caravanning Site to be exact....

Sign for a Great Site
 Anne and I really like this site..... 
It is a franchised site and I must say that Karen, Greg and family run a first class C&CC location...
It consists of four different camping areas and our pitch is in the centre section of the site... 
In this area each of the pitches has dividing hedges and our pitch has given us plenty of shade during the very hot weather which we have enjoyed since we have been here....

There our plenty of country walks which are accesible direct from the site and lots of Suffolk lanes for cycling..

Great Suffolk Cycling....
One very good plus for the site is that there is a pub within a ten minute walk.... It serves good food as well as good ale..... A grand place to quench your thirst after a 45 mile spin through the wonderful scenic Suffolk countryside...

A well earned pint after another enjoyable ride,,,,
 I haven't cycled in this area since my youth hostelling ride many years ago and obviously lots of things have changed since then but one thing that hasn't changed is the lovely cycle friendly Suffolk countryside....

The Suffolk country lanes are a bit of a maze but are mainly traffic free and are just made for cycle touring trips......

A short break on another ride....
Even though I don't have the most ideal bike (Felt Z1 Dura Ace) with me for the narrow and winding lanes (my touring bike would be more suitable) I have still enjoyed my rides here very much and this area has produced some of my best rides so far this year.....