Sunrise on a new day
This year so far has been one of going no-where. Staying at home though has given us a chance to literally watch our garden grow and change almost day by day. The pace of life has slowed dramatically, although the time seems to be accelerating as we slide inexorably into Autumn and the years end. We have been able to marvel how nature and the natural world changed day by day. This is a good thing as it has forced us to appreciate what is around us, rather than charging from one thing to the next. The garden has been inundated with visitors; butterflies, bees, dragon flies and many birds.
Vistors to our garden – Butterflies – Clockwise from top left: Cabbage White; Comma; Red Admiral; Peacock.
More visitors: Top: Damsel Fly; Solo Bee
Single Goldfinch – They barely keep still long enough to photograph, hence the quality is not great.
We have started to expand our horizons with visits to the coast and countryside around us, and recently a cycle ride in Suffolk with friends. We have also exchanged visits with friends, enjoying socially distanced coffee and cake, or a takeaway, sat in the sun enjoying the warm weather and our gardens.
View from our patio
At the beginning of August I took myself off to the coast for an evening taking images of the cliffs and beach at Happisburgh (pronounced Haysborough – don’t ask me why, its normal for Norfolk!) It was a sunny and warm evening but with some high cirrus cloud which made the light quite soft. There was also the threat of rain from dark thunder clouds sitting off to the west, but which never materialised, at least whilst I was there.
Happisbugh has often featured in the local news, because of the rapid coastal erosion which the village has suffered over the years. At one point in its history the village was someway inland, separated by the parish of Whimpwell. This area has long since disappeared under the sea. It has been estimated that between the years 1600 and 1850, over 250m of cliff was lost. Erosion is still going on despite efforts to slow the rate and with rising sea levels, more violent storms, all caused by global worming, another 100m of cliff has been lost in the last 10 years. Some of the dwellings in the village sit precariously atop the cliff and earlier this year the access ramp to the beach from the car park was lost to erosion during a storm. The magnet for landscape photographers is the Lighthouse which is getting closer to the cliff edge but still draws many people in for a picture or three. The view from the road across the field is sadly a bit of a cliché image, which is why I chose to photograph it from the beach. Access to the beach is now via Cart Gap, a couple of miles away by road, and a walk back which was quite pleasant, passing more dilapidated wooden sea defences en route.
Happisburgh Lighthouse from the beach. Twenty years ago, where this image was taken from was the edge of the cliff!
Two versions of the same image, one done in mono, the original in colour. I could not make up my mind which I preferred so I included both of them. Note the onrushing tide.
On a lovely warm sunny afternoon we made our way to Morston Quay, a small village on the North Norfolk coast. There are no cliffs on this part of the coastline, just large areas of sea holly growing in the flats, and a series of extensive nature reserves. The Norfolk Coastal path runs through this area and we walked it from Morston to Blakeney, a busy, bustling resort about three miles along the coast. It was a lovely sunny warm day, which brought the tourists out, and the track was busy with walkers. We spent the walk dropping down onto the sand bank trying to dodge people coming the other way. We eventually arrived in Blakeney with the intention of seeking out a quiet coffee shop for some people watching and for Lyn to sketch. There was a long queue to go into the only shop we could find and it was not going to be a pleasant wait, so we left, sat on a bench for a while and watched the hoards at play before heading back.
A typical countryside scene – harvest safely gathered in.
Sea Heather on the flats close to Blakeney.
“Stewkey Blue” and stowaway moored in a channel at Blakeney.
Further up the coast is the village of Stiffkey (known by the locals as Stewkey) which was much quieter, save for a large campsite and a pub and where we are able to walk out across the flats to the beach after a picnic tea. It was deserted, just what we like and we vowed to return.
One of the many inlet channels at Stiffkey
Disused old pipeline at Stiffkey
The tide is out! On the beach at Stiffkey. Beach car park is about 1 mile behind us. Not sure I would want to sit on that beach though…….its a bit muddy in places!
Bridge on the path out to Stiffkey beach.
During lockdown, cycling was easy. Little traffic to worry about, you could be in peace with your bike on the open road. Now, the noise is back, and the busy roads. Nevertheless we joined friends Carol and David on a short tour of the Suffolk countryside on a lovely cycle trip. David had plotted a route, which strangely took in The St Peters Brewery near Bungay in Suffolk. David is a keen appreciator and connoisseur of fine craft ales hence this visit.
Surprisingly, St Peters Brewery is not an ancient historic brew created by monks before the dissolution, but a fairly recent invention. St Peters Brewery was founded in 1996 at the start of the development of craft beer made by small independent breweries. It is based at the site of St Peters Hall, a moated building dating from 1280 in the village of St Peter South Elmham. The hall is now a noted restaurant and popular wedding venue with its garden terrace and lawned beer garden. Sadly we were not able to test the brewery’s products as they were not running tours due to Covid, but it was a pleasant stop en route to our lunch stop in Bungay.
Two views of St Peters Hall, home of the brewery.
Us and our friends Carl and David outside St Peters Brewery
As we move forward into Autumn, life appears to be resuming some sense of normality. But what is normal? We are now told to wear masks when we go into a shop, lockdowns will be localised, rather than national, and schools are re-opening albeit with some confusing guidance about what they can and cannot do! We still can’t go and see our favourite sports teams although we can start playing sport (well some and outdoors). Who knows what the next 12 months will bring, one thing is certain, life is going to be different for many of us.
Finally a set of random images taken whilst we were out and about. Clockwise from top left: Marlingford Mill – an old water mill on the River Yare; River Yare just past Marlingford Mill; Dirty swan, part of a small family on a pond at Runhall; Abstract of a Teasel, seen on a local walk.
Dahlia – variety unknown