Friday photo challenge (week 36) Waterways

When I think of waterways, it’s the Norfolk Broads which spring to mind. This summer, as we have done many times before, we visited the Broads while visiting family members who live near by.

This time though, we got up close and personal with the waterways and explored them by canoe. It was probably the best day of the holiday for me, it was quiet, calm and so beautiful to be able to slow down and take in all the surroundings. There were literally hundreds of dragon flies flitting about close to the surface of the water.

We also visited this stretch of the Broads at Burgh Castle (below), which has history right back to the Roman occupation of the area…

We enjoyed a particularly pretty sunset there from a Broadside pub beer garden!

Next week’s photo challenge is ‘pride’.

Summer Craft Challenge (Week 4)

Things have been a little bit manic since we returned from our holiday, so a little bit later than expected, here’s week 4 of my Summer Craft Challenge, if you’re interested!

Day 22 (Saturday 28th July)

This My Picot pattern for the leaf scarf I’m working on at the minute can be a little trying at times – well only if I don’t concentrate. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have had to unravel a few rows to get the stitches right! Never mind, even if Saturday evening did end with me frogging crochet, at least I was able to pick up this lovely hand dyed yarn skein from Worstead Festival during the day! I can’t wait to make something with it, it feels lovely. (Hopefully a post all about our trip to Worstead will appear before too long).

Day 23 (Sunday 29th July )

Crochet wise, things worked a lot smoother on Sunday. I just love the colour changes in this Scheepjes Whirl. It makes me smile as each new colour variation appears on my hook as I make progress through it.

Day 24 (Monday 30th July)

We had a busy day planned a the shops on Monday buying school uniform to take home to Gibraltar, so I had to plan my crochet time a bit better. I got up before the rest of the family and sat happily with a mug of coffee as everyone else woke up and got busy.

Day 25 (Tuesday 31st July)

You can’t beat a crochet session with a lovely view! An evening pub meal on the Norfolk Broads with crochet for dessert as the sun went down – just the ticket!

Day 26 (Wednesday 1st August)

Yay! The first strand of yellow appeared in my work! It feels almost like I’m on the home straight!

Day 27 (Thursday 2nd August)

On our last full day on holiday, we made one last trip to Southwold Pier for a beer and an alfresco crochet session as the waves did their thing beneath our feet. Sadly the tranquil moment was cut short due to an invasion of wasps, but it was nice while it lasted!

Friday

So Friday was Day 28 of my Summer Craft Challenge and it was a day of traveling, about 11 hours door-to-door. Although I had my crochet in my bag with me on the plane, I wasn’t feeling it, so it stayed in my bag. Therefore no Craft was done at all. However, just before we left on our epic trip, I called into the pottery painting shop to collect our works of art. The Little Postcards painted Pokémon characters, I opted for rainbow dots. Here’s mine, all finished and it survived the trip back to Gibraltar.

That’s me officially half way through the long 8 week school holiday, and I have had my craft challenge to keep me going. I can’t believe we’re halfway through already!!

Sunday Sevens #148 5.8.18

Well, this week we spent most of our time with family in the UK before heading back home to Gibraltar. I have to say that although the temperature at times in England was warmer than on the Rock, the humidity since getting back home has totally wiped me out. On the positive side, we had a wonderful fortnight in leafy Suffolk and Norfolk and we all made it safely back home. Here’s this week’s Sunday Sevens (or Sunday Nines, as they should be this week!):

Stormy weather

Last Sunday we were treated to some rather inclement (though warm) weather in Suffolk. To look at that photo, you would think it was taken in January, not July! Can you believe that someone was actually kite surfing in those rough waves?! We could barely stand upright in the wind and horizontal rain!!

A shopping trip to Norwich

We made the most of the shops on Monday and hid in shopping centres from the monsoon rain we were experiencing. Thankfully by lunchtime the weather cleared up and we were free to wander at will in the sunshine. I just love the art nouveau architecture of the Royal Arcade. Everything about it is delightful right down to it’s resident hare!

Europa’s trip to the races

Do you remember Europa the Unicorn, who came with us on our summer adventures last year? Well she came with us on holiday again. This time though, she only made it to one day out… the horse racing at Great Yarmouth. We had a great day at the races, and she was my lucky charm, I won £46 from a £4 stake on the race going past her in this photo.

The winning horse was Final Rock, who’s father is Rock of Gibraltar, which is owned by Sir Alex Ferguson. I know nothing about racing, I just go off the name, and this one stood out to me with the Gibraltar connection, and it paid off! (I won’t mention the races I lost money on… let’s just say I broke even on the day after buying ice creams and juice!).

Burgh Castle

While we were in Norfolk one day, we took a trip to Burgh Castle. The ruins there were once a Roman castle and stand proud overlooking the Broads close to Great Yarmouth. We have visited many times over the years and this walk across the fields to see the ruins brought back many memories. After the walk, we met some family for a lovely dinner at a nearby pub as the sun went down…

An evening stroll on the dunes

On Wednesday evening we took a walk across town to have a lovely meal at another pub, this time, on the southern side of Southwold. The meal was lovely, and was followed by a fun walk back to our accommodation across the dunes. The Little Postcards scrambled about and played catch as we made our way back home following the light from the Southwold lighthouse.

Whenever I walk through dunes and marram grass I’m reminded of a story book I had as a child called Hannibal the Hamster, about a hamster who escaped from his home to run free in the marram grass! It’s funny how some small things can bring back such vivid memories of childhood…

Under the pier

So on Thursday we said our last goodbyes to Southwold, it was a marvelous host for us for two weeks as we travelled about the place visiting our relatives in this part of the world. So long Southwold, until next time…

Homeward bound

I usually try to take a photo out of the plane window as I head back to Gibraltar. Normally it’s of a patchwork of green fields, this time, though, I looked a tad more golden than green. This was just after take off from Stansted Airport, in normally green Essex. You can clearly see the toll the long spell of dry and hot weather has taken on the countryside.

So there you have it, Sunday Sevens done for another week, I doubt next week’s will be as varied as this one, sadly! Until next time, bye for now, and thanks for stopping by!

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Sunday Sevens #147 28.7.18

Oh it’s been difficult to choose what to put into Sunday Sevens this week! We’ve had a rather busy time of it on our holiday, although it’s been busy in a very good way. Here’s a photo from each of the last seven days, there will be more posts to come though in the coming weeks with more pictures….

Hollyhocks galore

The flower of the moment in this part of the world (Suffolk/Norfolk) seems to be the hollyhock. They are everywhere and are truly beautiful – the epitome of an English country garden.

A woodland walk

Monday was a special day for one member of the Postcard family, celebrating a milestone birthday of 70 years. We went out as a big family group to visit Fairhaven water gardens on the Norfolk Broads before a big family dinner. It was such a beautiful, green, heavenly place and as the sun was rather hot, the dappled shade offered by all the trees was very welcome.

Aldeburgh

We took a drive along the Suffolk Coast on Tuesday, visiting Orford and Aldeburgh (above). The coastline is so beautiful here.

Messing about in canoes

Wednesday saw us repeating something we did on a visit six years ago. Back then, Littlest was too small to join in, so I stayed on dry land with him. This time, we all went canoeing on the Broads. My only previous experience was on a canal in Cheshire when I was a Venture Scout, that didn’t go too well (think hitting the canal bank with such force the sharp front end got embedded in the mud).

This time, though, it was wonderful – so peaceful and slow. There were literally hundred of beautiful dragonflies buzzing about, and I even got pecked by a swan!

A lovely day for a train ride

Thursday saw us heading north to the north Norfolk coastal town of Sheringham. Central to the town is the beautifully restored train station and the start of the North Norfolk Railway (also known as the Poppy Line). We had hoped for a trip on a steam train, but the sustained dry and hot weather made the steam engines a fire risk, and we had to make do with a Diesel engine. It was still a nice trip though…

Summer Storm

Whilst visiting Aldeburgh earlier this week, we were told that this part of the world hasn’t had any rain at all since May 4th. On Thursday night, that changed. A thunderstorm came in off the sea, and before the rain came, I went for a walk onto Southwold Common to watch the lightning. Seconds before this photo was taken, the sky was pretty dark. The sheet lightning lit up all the clouds with a pinky glow.

Wrestling at a summer fete!

Yesterday, we visited not one, but two summer fairs. The first one, in Worstead, will get a bigger mention in a future post, the second one, was at Gorleston in Norfolk. The Gorleston Clifftop Gala is an annual event, with fair rides, stalls by community groups (backwoodsmanship & a local rugby team’s stalls were enjoyed by the Little Postcards) and live music. We attended specifically to see a member of the family perform on stage with his band. Our attention was drawn to something I’ve never seen before in real life…. wrestling! It was quite a sight!

So that’s this week’s Sunday Sevens, I hope you have had a great week.

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

English garden appreciation 

Row of cottage gardens, Greater Manchester

Now I know I’m incredibly lucky to be able to live where I do. The weather is mostly very good, we’re by the sea and surrounded by great friends and a wonderful community. But you know that old chestnut about the grass being greener… I really do wonder what life would be like to live in a house and not an apartment and have a real garden not a balcony & patio.

Echinops

I know, I know, I’m very spoiled but I really miss having a garden (a green one full of grass etc). I’ve been seven years without one now and it’s only when you don’t have something anymore that you really appreciate what you’re missing.

Terraced house front garden in Caversham, Berkshire

When I return to England each summertime I see the gardens in the town I grew up in at their absolute best. Hanging baskets galore, neat lawns, climbers, roses and huge leafy deciduous trees.

A row of hanging baskets in Greater Manchester

During my summer break I took quite a few photos of flowers and shrubs in other folk’s gardens – I hope they didn’t mind!! While speaking to a good friend of mine when I was over, she pointed out the fact that I probably notice nicely planted pots and beds of traditional British bedding plants because they are a novelty to me. Perhaps they are, but it doesn’t make them any less special.

No matter how much or how little your patch of earth is, it doesn’t matter. Just look how glorious these hollyhocks look outside this cottage we drove past:

Cottage in Sonning, Berkshire

I just LOVE these fuchsias which were in a hanging basket in my Mum & Dad’s back garden. They looked so voluptuous and alive – I doubt very much they are looking as glorious now that we’re in November!!

I appreciate that all of the beautiful gardens and plants I have included in this most probably don’t look like this anymore now that Autumn is well and truly underway in the British Isles, but let’s just revel in that glorious colour a little bit longer should we?

 

Cottage garden in Southwold, Suffolk
Thatched Cottage near Ludham on the Norfolk Broads

Clematis
Hydrangea

Ah, that feels better! I just love gardens…

My Mum’s Agapanthus

 

 … thank you for allowing me to indulge in that glorious English summer one more time! 🙂

 

 

 

A Postcard from the Norfolk Broads

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost a month since the end of our summer holiday in England. We packed a lot into our time there both up in the North West and in East Anglia. On our final week, we hired a day boat to cruise the Norfolk Broads, I took quite a few photos, so thought I’d share our day’s cruise with you.

Our first port of call that morning was Potter Heigham, where we collected the keys to our boat and our life jackets and had a quick driving lesson before negotiating our way out of the ‘parking space’ and out onto the water.

Within a few minutes, we were soon on our way and the dark clouds over head began to  get a lot lighter… things were looking good.

Chugging along on the water gives you such a different perspective to things. First of all, you can’t do anything quickly. Even steering the boat takes an inordinately long time – or so it seems when you have a sailing boat bearing down on you at a fair lick.

You also get to see so many diffent things which you miss as you drive around the Broads by car. There were so many lovely houses backing onto the water.

They came in all sorts of shapes and sizes and colours. Some were homes and others holiday rentals.

Of course, this being Norfolk, there were a fair few wind pumps on our route too.

We headed west from Potter Heigham on the River Bure towards Thurne, and then to St Benet’s Abbey.

Most of the other boats on the water were day hires like ours and holiday cruisers but there were some really beautiful wooden sailing boats too. Of course, these didn’t use their engines, just the wind to power them along. This meant that we had to give way to them, which wasn’t always the easiest thing to do, when your boat doesn’t want to slow down, go faster or turn exactly the way you want it to! We had one or two hairy moments trying to avoid collisions!

The wildlife we saw on our trip was varied. The Little Postcards had a list which they made of all the creatures we encountered along the way. This was our first heron.

After rather a lot of maneouvering about, we managed to dock at St Benet’s Abbey – a place I knew absolutely nothing about.

This family of swans soon cottoned onto the fact that we had a picnic lunch and came along to see what we had to spare!

After our refreshments, we followed the sign-posted path towards the ruins of St Benet’s Abbey.

All that really remains of the original Abbey is the gate house, with the addition of a Georgian mill.

The monastery (or what’s left of it) has been a venue of Christian worship for over 1,000 years. It’s thought it was settled by a small group of religious hermits as early as the 9th Century but that the Benedictine Abbey was established in the 1020s. It became a pivotal player in the development of the Broads and became a large land owner.

St Benet’s Abbey is unique in that it was the only one not to be closed by King Henry VIII, when he shut down the rest of the English Monastery’s in the 1530s. Instead, the Abbot at the time, Abbot Rugge, was made Bishop of Norwich and remained Abbot of St Benet’s in exchange for properties given to the Crown.

The Bishop of Norwich still conducts an annual service here on the first Sunday of August.

We were greeted by a very impressive dragon on our arrival at the Abbey. Made by local artists and children out of locally grown willow, yarn, ribbon and cloth, it was created to depict the legend of the Ludham Dragon, or the Ludham Wyrm.

A series of children’s paintings nearby told the story of the dragon, which used to live in tunnels under the church and occasionally came up from below to eat local farm animals and scare the villagers. One day when the dragon was out on the marshes, a local blacksmith blocked the entrance to the tunnel with a large stone. When it returned, it was furious and flew across the marshes to St Benet’s Abbey where it knocked down the walls in it’s fury and then went down into the tunnels beneath the Abbey, legend has it that it still sleeps there to this day.

The dragon project was produced by the Barrington Farm artists and Withy Arts with funding from the National Lottery. If you click on this link you can read all about how the Ludham Dragon was created on the Withy Arts blog, also how the Bishop of Norwich blessed the project on his annual visit to conduct the service at St Benet’s Abbey.

 

On the ‘inside’ of the Abbey walls, you can clearly see what used to be very grand architecture, which has somehow been commandeered into a mill!

It’s a very interesting building none-the-less with what look like bricked up windows up the internal walls.

On the internal side of the archway, some of the original carvings have only just survived the test of time.

There’s also a fair amount of carving of a less ‘professional’ yet no less interesting sort!

The soft stone was covered with ancient and modern graffiti.

It’s hard to imagine what the Abbey must have been like in it’s hey day, huge and dominating the surrounding countryside.

Beyond the gatehouse lay a field with a cross a the end. The cross marks the spot where the original altar would have stood and this is where the annual service takes place at the start of August.

It is a very tranquil place and so atmospheric. Made even more so by the sounds of choral music which can be heard emanating from a ‘talking’ bench nearby.

The Abbey stands in a very prominent position by the river side.

Our wander around the ruinous Abbey came to an end and we headed back to the quayside to pick up our boat again.

After lunch and a nice walk, a spot of crochet was in order as we cast off on our way…

I had no idea that there was a paddle steamer operating on the Broads…

We continued on our journey westward towards Ranworth Broad.

Cormorants were added to the Little Postcards’ list of wildlife which had been spotted.

Ranworth Broad was so pretty with so many beautiful homes backing onto the water.

Never before had I seen an ice-cream boat! It even played the tune to ‘Messing about on the River’ in the usual tinny ice cream van way! The two ladies on it were very jolly and gave us a wave on the way past. I’m not entirely sure how you negotiate buying your strawberry split or 99 flake boat-to-boat, so we decided to give it a miss!

As we only had the boat for the day, the time had come to turn around and retrace our cruise back to our starting point. By now, the clouds which had earlier threatened rain were all gone and we had beautiful blue skies and wispy clouds overhead.

We chugged back past St Benet’s Abbey, seeing it to advantage from the water.


As we approached Potter Heigham again, the traffic on the river got busier.

We got another opportunity to ogle at the many beautiful river front homes…

…small ones and beautiful thatched ones…

…and very grand ones with their own private watery drives near Ludham.

How’s that for an impressive collection of hydrangeas?

Before we knew it, we were approaching our destination.

There were lots of other people at Potter Heigham handing back their boats or mooring up for the night. The swans clearly were in the know it was a great spot to get a snack!

And there we were, back where we had started. Such a lovely day travelling around a little part of the Norfolk Broads. It was a chance for us all to experience a very beautiful part of England up close and it certainly won’t be the last time we do it.

And as for the wildlife spotted by the Little Postcards on our voyage? Here goes: Several dogs, many ducks, multiple swans, half a dozen great crested grebes, a couple of cranes, cormorants, Egyptian geese, hundreds of seagulls, three herons and a wasp. Not bad for a few hours spotting – just as well the Little Postcards had a nature loving Uncle on board to help with identification!

I hope you have enjoyed this Postcard from the Norfolk Broads, thank you for stopping by.

Sunday Sevens #45 21.8.16

An evening stroll up the pier

We were really blessed with perfect British Summer weather last week, even into the evenings. We enjoyed a lovely walk one evening and found ourselves back down at the beach and went for a wander along the lovely pier at Southwold. It’s a very interesting place – unlike any other pier I’ve visited elsewhere. Watch this space, there’ll be more coming up soon about this great venue.

Willow dragon

On Tuesday morning we drove to Potter Heigham and collected a day boat we’d hired to spend the day cruising the Norfolk Broads with four other Postcard family members. We have hired a small boat for a few hours before but this one was a bit bigger (to take 6 adults and 3 children) and we were able to explore a lot more. We moored up at St Benet’s Abbey and had a walk up to the ruins.

I had never heard of St Benet’s before this visit and it was a really beautiful surprise. It was  so peaceful and really picturesque. A local community project had produced this great willow dragon sculpture with yarn, ribbon and fabric woven into the willow body. There’s a local legend that a dragon lives in the tunnels below the Abbey and this was their representation of the mythical creature.

Rainbow cloud at sunset

Can you see the vertical rainbow in the cloud to the right of the biggest mast? I have never seen anything like this before. We had walked along to the harbour on the River Blyth from our little holiday home in Southwold one evening to get dinner at the Harbour Inn. As we sat outside on the picnic tables waiting for our food to arrive, I spotted the rainbow in the sky and thought it was just my sunglasses playing tricks on my eyes so paid it little attention until Mr Postcard spotted it and said he could see it too.

Unfortunately the photo doesn’t do the colours full justice but you can still just make it out. Have you ever seen such a thing before at sunset?

Now that’s a beach…

I’m afraid this section deserves two photos (Sunday Eights again this week…) This is the beautiful wide sandy beach at Gorleston-on-Sea. I know Gibraltar’s very proud of its beaches and rightly so, but come on… that is a BEACH! Also that’s a beach at peak season and there’s still loads of space. It’s even got a small paddling pool for young children and a boating lake (below).

A trip up the lighthouse


After two weeks admiring the lighthouse from below, both at night and during the day, we finally decided to climb it on our final day. It is a really elegant building and our tour guide was excellent, injecting humour into his extensive knowledge about the important role the lighthouse plays (thank you Brad).

I thought it would be a piece of cake to climb the 155 (I think) steps to the top, what with all my Med Steps training. What I hadn’t taken into account was the fact that the handrail on the stairs was a little lower than I would have liked and I had to walk up and down the staircase afraid to look down and pressed like a limpet to the wall! I’m such a wimp. I was very glad to be back on the ground at the end. The view from the top was worth it though.

All good things come to an end

It took 11 hours door-to-door, taxi, plane, taxi – one of the down sides of living so far away from family, but we finally made it home to Gibraltar from our summer holiday in England late on Friday evening. The day began with handing in the keys to our home for the past two weeks in Southwold, then our final Adnam’s breakfast (don’t tell anyone, but we’ve had a few Adnam’s breakfasts during our stay). We then got a taxi to drive us all the way from Southwold to Gatwick Airport.

As we set off the rain started, so I guess it was time for us to leave ;-). We had never seen Dartford Bridge before and the Little Postcards were all very impressed as we crossed the Thames and headed closer to the airport. Then as we flew south, a chance look out of the plane window gave me my last glimpse of the English south coast. So long England, we’ve had a wonderful month… I hope it won’t be too long until next time.

Post holiday blues

I know I’m spoiled, I’ve just had a fab month away in England, and I have returned to our lovely home in Gibraltar but I’m feeling a little blue. I have nothing at all to complain about but I do miss our family back in England and I miss lots of other things about living there. See I told you I was spoiled – how can I say that with this kind of view from our windows? I’m sure I’ll soon snap out of it once the reality of the huge pile of laundry has reduced and we get back into our routines!

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have had a good week.

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series featuring seven photos from the past seven days. It was created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins, pop along to her blog to find out more.


Summer Craft Challenge 2016 Part 6

Day 36 : Saturday 13th August


I know I’d only been working on this blanket for 8 days when I took this photo but there’s an awfully long way still to go!! I have crocheted every day so far and have used a complete ball of white wool edging the circles so far. As one Instagram and blogging friend Wakeymakes pointed out at least I’ll have good memories of the different locations where I’ve made all of the squares 🙂

Day 37 : Sunday 14th August 


Time for a spot of slow Sunday morning stitching at breakfast time…

Day 38 : Monday 15th August


It was the turn of the Little Postcards to be crafty on Monday morning with a pottery painting session at Gallery Thea in Southwold. This effort was a lighthouse, just like the one at Europa Point, by the Littlest.


Did you know that Monday was Granny Square Day 2016? Here’s my contribution to the collage blanket collated by @suregal27 on Instagram. I only had a few colours with me on holiday so I used the colours in my current blanket WIP. 

Day 39 : Tuesday 16th August


A new chunky wool project was begun on a boat on the Norfolk Broads. We hired a day boat and chugged around the Broads for about six hours, it was really lovely. I have run out of my white wool for my blanket WIP (cue : shock, horror, teeth gnashing) so I had to start something new that was portable. Littlest Postcard saw this rainbow wool in a wool shop last week and asked me to buy it and make him something. He’s getting a scarf if the wool lasts long enough…

Day 40 : Wednesday 17th August


We loved it so much at Rendlesham Forest last week that we made a return trip. We had a lovely woodland walk and I enjoyed a quiet few moments of crochet while Littlest Postcard enjoyed the adventure playground. 

I was also able to collect our pottery productions from Gallery Thea, they had rushed our painted bits and bobs through the kiln in time for us to pack them and take them back to Gibraltar with us. Littlest’s lighthouse came out really well 🙂

Day 41 : Thursday 18th August


One last pint of Adnams Spindrift sitting on the South Green in Southwold on the last night of our holiday.  We’ve had a wonderful two weeks here and are sad to be saying goodbye…

Day 42 : Friday 19th August


No craft today I’m afraid, for the first time this summer craft challenge I haven’t picked up a needle, hook or brush. This was our last glimpse of Blighty as we flew home to Gibraltar (I think we were near Southampton when I took it). Eleven hours door to door, we’re a little jaded, normal service will be resumed tomorrow…