Friday, 31 July 2020

Start of the Pickling Season

It has come early this year... we are growing more than chillis! Our first crop of beetroot and glut of courgettes needed using.

Firstly, yesterday, the beetroot. They are meant to be variegated purple and white. Well the stems are, but the tubers not so much.

Roasted for an hour...

...and then pickled.

We'll see what they taste like soon.

And then today, the courgettes. I picked a recipe from my trusty older edition of this Joy of Pickling book for "bread and butter" pickled zucchinis. This is the result.

Don't they look appetising? A taste of some stray bits that didn't make it into the jars was promising. 3 weeks to wait before we can try them. By then we should have a bunch more courgettes to use.

Job for tomorrow... some labels!

Breadman Quick Crossword

Not the easiest of Quick Crosswords today, I think, with quite a range of general knowledge needed including a Japanese healing technique, an anti-ship missile, a medicinal herb, a film director and geography from around the world. 23A was my LOI, correcting my wrong spelling in 4D.  In all it took me just under 6 minutes - about a minute longer than average. Some nice clues - I think 22A is my favourite. So thank-you Breadman. How did you all get on?

Weekend Quick Cryptics. Thanks to all who provided comments on Phil's crossword 2 weeks ago. He has persuaded me that we can continue to provide them on a regular basis, so this week it is my turn. You can find my "Summer Holidays Quick Cryptic" here, if you would like to have a go.

Read all about it... )

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Summer Holidays Quick Cryptic Crossword

Thanks for all the encouraging comments for crosswords previously published here. Now I have a fellow compiler, (thank-you Phil!) we can try and provide a weekend Quick Crossword more regularly. So here is another from me, with one to follow from Phil soon. You can try and solve it interactively here or download a PDF to print here. Alternatively you can copy and print the image below.

You can find the solution and blog explaining the answers here.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Denston Walk

Another walk today... that makes 6 in the last 7 days! This was the invite from Joyce...

"Wednesday 29th July: An afternoon 12-13 mile circular walk from the village of Denston to Wickhambrook. Lots of undulating views along the way and some other interesting features. No pubs/toilets on this walk so pls bring food/drinks. We will park at Denston Village Hall Lower Green Denston CB8 8PN for a 12pm start. Lunch stop at 12.30pm at Denston Church."

Alas I had mis-filed a later email which said...

"Dear all We will have 2 groups walking next Wednesday (5 mins apart). Jane W will lead one group and myself the other group. Pls stick to the group you are in during the whole walk so we 'look' like separate groups. People seem to be very happy with this arrangement. We will meet/park at Denston Village Hall at midday and immediately walk to the church to have our picnic lunch. If you want to skip lunch then join us at 12.45pm at the church as we start the walk from here. The circular walk is 12ish miles (I'll try not to go over) and it will have some lovely Suffolk views. Pls be aware that harvesting may be taking place so those face masks could be useful! We could bump into long grass and hidden nettles too. If the weather remains fine then I'll be heading over to The Queens Head, Hawkedon for a takeaway pizza on the green 6pm. Pls join me/us."

...and hadn't twigged I could arrive at 12:45 instead. So there I was at Denston Village Hall at 11:58 with just Ann there already and we were wondering where everyone was! No matter. Joyce arrived shortly after and explained that some wouldn't be joining us until the start of the walk.

This was our route. When Joyce and Jane did this previously they went clockwise. Today we went the other way round.

Here are a few of my photos...

Our starting point and parking lot was Denston Village Hall....

...but we had lunch and assembled at St. Nicholas, Denston Church. "Begun 1474" says the sign. Can you see the similarity to the bigger church a few miles away at Long Melford?

I loved the gargoyle water spouts.

So here is Joyce giving us our pre-walk briefing.

We were walking in two groups. I was with Jane in the second group. Our plan was simple. Keep the group in front in sight and follow them and we wouldn't need to map-read....

...which was fine until they went wrong and we ended up the wrong side of this hedge!

This bit was familiar - we had walked it 2 weeks ago on this walk.

We saw and heard plenty of birds of prey today. We think this was a kite with its forked tail.

Alongside the road up from Gifford Hall we came across a string of trees laden with damsons. Yum!

We admired this peacock sculpture.... the extensive garden of this house.

Passing through Ashfield Green we gawked at a number of lovely new houses. One even had a swimming pool in the garden.

Heading further north we passed this odd water tower. We wondered why it was clad in white. Very strange.

This is one of a pair or maybe 3 buzzards who flew over us.

Turning south again we passes some amazing sculptures from LCB Sculpture. Look closely and you will see the sculpture is made from horseshoes.

We headed downhill to the outskirts of Wickhambrook....

...and did a little loop around All Saints, Wickhambrook Church....

..passing these topiary birds....

...just before this ford. Most of us used the bridge, but Aidan and Roland showed they could walk on water.

We peeked through the gate of Maynard House to admire the house and garden.

Soon we were approaching Denston Church again.

But before returning to our cars we took a visit to the estate of Denston Hall. Lovely gates... and there was a path that took us around them.

We got a glimpse of the Hall across the lake.

Then it was a brisk stroll back to our cars at the village hall.

Another lovely walk. Thanks, Joyce and Jane for leading us round and everyone else for their company too.

You can see more details of our route here on MapMyWalk and more of my photos here on Flickr.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Laura's New Car

We got a visit today from Laura. She has a new car!

A Volkswagen Up!. Very nice!

Hargrave Walk

The Bury St Edmunds Ramblers have restarted walks with "pop-up" walks of up to 6 walkers. I decided to volunteer a few and this was my first.

This was my listing...
"A Hargrave and Chevington Amble.  Park at Hargrave Village Hall, Bury Road, Hargrave. A circular walk from Hargrave stopping for a drinks break at Chevington church about half way round and passing some lovely cottage gardens and Hargrave church.
Start Place: Hargrave Village Hall
Time: 10am
Distance: 6.5 miles 10.5km"

Due to a communications mix-up I ended up with only two other walkers. No need to wear my hi-vis vest today!

This walk was a repeat of one I had done previously - see here. It is based on is this walk by Roger Medley on the Whickhambrook Village site. Our route today was slightly different - I offered Lisa and Gary an option as we approached Chevington of going across the fields to the church, as the 'official' route has it, or through the village - we chose the latter.

This was our route, which we travelled clockwise.

 Here are a few of my photos today.

There are only a handful of parking spaces at the village hall. Fine for a pop-up walk, though.

This sculpture in a pond in the village is odd.

This lady was not expecting any walkers and had just let her puppy off its lead. It was very friendly!

At Tan Office green we were impressed by this apple tree with its dark red apples. I picked one and tried it when I got home. It was quite sour. Maybe good for cider, though? We wondered what the locals did with them.

Church cottage in Church Rd Chevington is very picturesque and has a lovely garden.

We stopped at All Saints, Chevington Church for our drinks break.

Time for some fun facts...

Chevington was part of the Saxon estate of Britulf and was given over to the Abbey of St. Edmund after the norman conquest.

The Little Domesday Book  describes it as "... a manor of 6 caracutes (about 800 acres)12 villeins (tied tenants), 6 slaves, 140 sheep, 40 goats and 3 hives of bees. 1 soakmen (free tenant) farmed 30 acres."

All Saints, Chevington Church was mentioned in the Domeday book but was replaced by a norman stone building in about the 12th century. The Bell tower was added kin the 16th century.

The top of the tower has no roof. That's because it is an extension... the tower was extended by the 1st Marquess of Bristol Frederick William Hervey so it could be seen from the Ickworth Esate.

We headed on towards Hargrave church over the fields. This one had oil-seed rape earlier, now harvested....

 ...and in this one, the maize was now well over head height tall! At least the path through it was intact. Amaizing! The last time I did that path it was only waist high.

At Hargrave Church we came upon some other walkers. "We are actually two groups of six", explained one of them.

One last field edge and we were back at the village hall.

Once again, a very pleasant walk.Thanks Gary and Lisa for joining me. You can see more of my photos from this walk previously here and here and more details of our route here on MapMyWalk.

Monday, 27 July 2020

Chelsworth Charmer Walk

I wasn't able to do this walk when it was led by Glen recently, as I was busy getting COVID-19 tested, but Joyce offered to run it again...

"Monday 27th July I'll be repeating Glen's recent walk : Chelsworth Charmer for those that didn't make the first date. We will meet at Bildeston war memorial opposite The Crown pub at 1pm for his 10 mile circular walk to these beautiful villages plus Monks Eleigh. Finish time by 4.30pm - short break included but bring your own drink/snacks."

We met as planned but only after exchanging messages about the weather prospects as it rained this morning. We eventually decided to risk it. Fortunately we only had a couple of brief light showers.

This was our route.

Here are a few of my photos.

Not a good start.I'd already come a cross a closed road and been sent back through Stowmarket for a second time and here I had to park down a side street the other side of these road works in Bildeston so I was 5 minutes late to the start. Sorry!

We set off from the centre of Bildeston. The village came into existence over 1100 years ago, according to that article.

And off we went. There was an advert for the forthcoming Scarecrow competition in this window. First prize £50!

Our route took us through a field where the path wasn't obvious, but we found it eventually.

Bildeston Church has a rather unusual tower.  Like many Suffolk churches it is remote from the centre of the village. Simon Knott explains...

"When you find a parish church remote from its village, as you often do in Suffolk, it is pertinent to ask why. More than once I've read accounts in church guides blaming the Black Death, but there's no real evidence to suggest this was the cause of the isolation of any Suffolk churches. But the removal of the village of Bildeston from its parish church is fairly well-documented and researched. Here, beside the church, are traces of a substantial manor house. Until 1960s hedge-removal and deep-ploughing destroyed them, there was also evidence of other dwellings, smallholdings, farmsteads and tenements. 

They were much older than the church, but, of course, this church was built on the site of its predecessor, located for the convenience of the manor house. So, why are there no houses here now? Some time in the 13th century, people from this parish migrated down to the river valley, possibly to be near resources for the budding cloth industry. Soon, this new community was active enough to merit a market, and here, on the main road between Stowmarket and Hadleigh, it became a busy one. Changing patterns of agriculture in the late medieval period meant the disappearance of the remaining community from around the church, and so now St Mary Magdalene stands grand, isolated, and half a mile or so from the large village (almost a small town) of Bildeston. This, conversely, makes Bildeston a rather curious village, since it has a typical Suffolk market place, except for the fact that there isn't a church on it.".

We set off across the fields towards Chelsworth. But that is Monks Eleigh church not Chelsworth, I think.

When we got to Chelworth we took a detour into the Woodland. I'd already lunched before coming out, but others had theirs with them. Joyce suggested I explore the woodland a bit while they ate.

If they were trying to lose me, they failed... I caught up with them back at the gate.

Chelsworth is a very pretty village. As the village site says..

"Chelsworth, formerly known as Ceorleswyrthe and later Chellesworth is first recorded in history in 962 AD, when King Edgar gave the village and its land to his step-mother Aethelflad of Domerham. The charter, written in Latin and witnessed by such notables as Archbishop Dunstan is held by the British Museum. The village boundaries are carefully described in Anglo-Saxon in charter. "

We were impressed by the abundance of hollhocks.

The bridge across the river Brett is very narrow. We watched a van squeeze through with inches to spare.

Now we did a little loop around to the south-east of the village. We weren't sure where to turn right but found a path that got us here, where we should have been, but taking a little shortcut.

We headed on to Monks Eleigh where we found more hollyhocks.

 And another blocked road!

We passed St.Peters, Monks Eleigh Church.

Crossing the River Brett again there was a sign for "lockdown pooh-sticks".

We found a shortcut to avoid a nasty road junction.

We went through Swingleton Green and looped back round to the north of Monks Eleigh, with a view of the church again.

There was still a bit of drizzle about in the air. There is a water tower in the distance.

Back through Chelmsworth where we saw more hollyhocks....

...and All Saints Church, although we didn't have time to visit.

Now we were back to Bildeston, passing the church again.

And here we are back in the village marketplace.

So thanks, Glen for a lovely walk, Joyce for leading us round and Ann, Anna and Roland too for the company.

You can see more details of our walk here on MapMyWalk and more of my photos here on Flickr.