Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Knettishall Heath Walk

It was a bit of a dreary morning, but I wanted to go for a walk. I realised it was almost 2 years since I first led a group walk, for the Ramblers at Knettishall Heath (see here). It's a good place to walk in the late autumn/winter as it doesn't get too muddy, so I thought I'd re-visit it, with a few tweaks.

This was my route today...

I took the path past Nick's Hill I had done on my recce for that walk and missed out the road section. On the Nature reserve I took a detour before the end along the road to where I had seen the ponies as I arrived before returning via the blue walk.

Here are a few of my photos.

The river was running quite high.

I found that part of the path was blocked off...

...but I decided to follow it anyway. Lots of trees had been felled and I could see the soil is very dark.

There were plenty of little birds flitting about and twittering in the remaining trees. I think this is a chaffinch.

There were lots of leaves to rustle by walking through.

Crossing the road on the Icknield Way I came to this post. It looks like the dog-poo fairy has been and taken away any bags that were there.

The green walk enters the heathland part of the reserve here, but I carried straight on as before....

...along the Icknield Way.

My route past Nick's Hill took me over an old landfill site.

These little chimneys are presumably to release any gases generated.

Back on the nature reserve I followed some of the red and green paths.

After finding the main group of ponies at the eastern end (see photo at the top) I returned via the blue path and found the rest of them here.

Then it was just a short stretch back along the river to the start.

A gentle 4.7 miles walk.

On my way home I thought I'd visit the former Knettishall church. It is now a private dwelling (with a fierce guard dog).

I also passed the memorial to the USAAF fliers who were based at Knettishall Airfield.

That was a nice tie in to my related walk proposed for the Suffolk Walking Festival done with just Dawn and Ann this May (see here) which I hope to do for real in 2021.

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

Monday, 23 November 2020

Rattlesden Walk

It was my turn to lead a walk with Jane. I know she enjoys seeing desirable country residences, so I thought I'd take her on my 4 Halls walk from Rattlesden as she had missed that when I led it for the group last September, which you can read about here. I thought I'd add in a bit to make it a bit longer and pass a 5th Hall.

My joining instructions mistakenly referred to the Village Hall, when actually I meant The Pavilion. Sorry Jane. My mistake. But no matter; we were parked just a short distance apart and we met outside the actual Village Hall. 

This was our route today...

Here are a few of my photos.

It was still a bit frosty in the shade at the recreation ground where I parked.

The start of the walk was uphill and directly into the low late-autumn sun.

Our first Hall was Cockerells Hall, complete with swimming pool. You can holiday here.

Nearby, they has this odd signpost. I don't think I believe the direction indicators. The green sign, by the way, says "Happy hour" and points towards the house.

My previous walk didn't go here, but bypassed Mill Green.

Today we went into Mill Green and passed Buxham Mill. We weren't sure it looked lived in, but it is a residential property these days according to this.

We passed the Buxhall Crown. Not open, of course, but it might have been a bit early for a beer there anyway.

Here we had a view of our second Hall, Fenn Hall, but my camera failed to focus. We could also see Buxhall Church...

...and Great Finborough Church.

We visited a fishing pond.

Heading towards Fenn Hall, we got an even better view of Great Finborough church.

And then, as we passed Fenn Hall, I realised we had joined up with another of my walks - from Great Finborough. This one. But after passing the hall we turned left and rejoined the previous Rattlesden walk. We stopped for a drinks break in the sun with a view of Wood Hall.

Jane was unimpressed. In the distance we could see Clopton Hall which we would pass later. We descended to the River Rat and crossed it here to join Gypsy Lane.

Passing Clopton Hall (see photo at the top of the post) we passed though Clopton Green. Previously we had stoppd here for a lunch break, but we would have got wet bottoms sitting on  the grass to do that today.

We headed on towards Drinkstone Green. Here we could see Woolpit church in the distance. And we were overlapping with another walk - this one from Woolpit.

I had hoped we might find a seat for our lunch by the village sign, bit no.

Jane took some of the local honey and, as instructed, wrapped her £5 note in an elastic band before dropping her payment through the tube.

We took a detour back into the village to find somewhere to stop for lunch. Hooray! A playpark with picnic tables. Not before time. I was getting a little peckish (and I guess Jane was too).

Form here it was back on the track and not far back to Rattlesden, emerging at the church.

We passed the Five Bells pub a little frustrated we couldn't stop for a pint of beer. Next time, perhaps.

I left Jane at the Village Hall where she had parked and returned to the Pavilion. One last photo of the lovely village.

So thanks Jane for joining me. I'm not sure I would have done it all without you. A lovely sunny, if a bit chilly, day for a walk and we got to see some lovely countryside. Looking forward to walking with you again soon.

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

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Berliner Raspberry Weisse Beer

Tassel Nanobrewery has time for one more brew for Christmas. I was really impressed by the Mikkeller Ich Bin Berliner Raspberry Wheat Beer I got from Beer52 a little while back. And then I found this limited edition Raspberry Berliner Weisse craft beer kit from Mangrove Jack, so I got some. Time to get brewing! This is the kit..

It uses a yeast specific to wheat beers  that generates those lovely fruity flavours they exude.

The malt has 4% Raspberry juice concentrate and the wort has a lovely pink colour. Sitting in the fermenter in the corner of the kitchen now, it has an OG of 1043 and an expected final alcohol content of 3.6%. It should be light and refreshing, if all goes to plan. Bottling in 8-9 days or so's time. Looking forward to tasting it already!

Times Crossword Championships Online - Attempt 2


I was very surprised when it was announced yesterday that the system had been fixed and the online championship would be rescheduled for this morning. I was able to warm up with the Concise and Sunday Times Cryptic, but, come 10:20, the system stopped working again and I was left with a blank screen.

As the editor said later...

"Crossword Championship Championship
It was the bitterest disappointment that we are going to have to cancel this year's championship. I am sure you all also extremely disappointed and upset too. It seems that the database changes made yesterday were not effective. We desperately wanted to do something special for you this year in particular - and to bridge the gap while we were unable to put on the championship in the usual format. I'm afraid that despite our best efforts, we have failed to deliver this.

All I can do is offer my sincerest apologies for disrupting both days of your weekends. I hope that by this time next year we will be in a position to run the championship as normal, when we can attempt to make it up to you all.

David Parfitt
Puzzles Editor
It did seem most unlikely to me that a database change would fix things. As I said on the forum..
"You can't build scalability into a live system that wasn't designed to be scalable in an afternoon, so I'm not a bit surprised it's not working again."
Well at least we should get to meet and have a few beers at The George next year.

Sloe Gin #2

 On my Stowupland and Gipping walk on Wednesday I collected a load more sloe berries.

I had about twice as much as last time so had enough for 1L of gin. I bought some on Thursday and left my sloes in the freezer overnight so when they thawed they would be mushy, rather than pricking each one again. I mixed the gin, sloes and 250g of sugar and it just fitted into my 2L kilner jar. I've left it on the kitchen table to remind me to shake it every day. It's looking a good red colour already.

On Friday it will join the other jar in the garage. Something brighten up February in the making, I think

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Times Crossword Championships... Not

You may recall from this post that today was to be Times Online Crossword Championship day.

 Early this morning the Times Crossword Club site looked like this...

The contest was due to start at 10:30.... But by 10:10 the page looked like this...

Yes it was unable to cope with the load - as I had predicted on Crossword Central....

No I wasn't being a cynic. They hadn't stress-tested their system. If it hasn't been designed to scale to the number of competitors, they probably wont be able to get it to work. They've rescheduled it for the same time tomorrow. Let's hope they've added enough processing power!

Times Cryptic Jumbo

I thought this was about a middle of the road Jumbo - maybe slightly harder given my time was nearer an hour than my usual 45 minutes. Several clues went over my head at the time, but I was able to resolve all the parsings in the blog. A couple of unknowns as usual, but there was nothing too difficult, I think. I enjoyed the serendipitous reminder of my home town when a boy and reference to my elder daughter.  A MER at the chemical incorrectness at 52D, but grudgingly accepted, otherwise all good stuff. 1A gets the biggest tick on my copy. Sadly a typo on entering online transcribing from my paper copy left my with a pink square. I must check the grid more carefully when submitting in future (as I keep telling myself when it happens). How did everyone else get on?

Read all about it... )

Friday, 20 November 2020

Lavenham Walk

Today I did another of my shorter walks; another of the Suffolk Thread Trails - this time in Lavenham. You can read the brochure for it here.

This was my route, pretty much as per the brochure, but I did wander a bit more along Water Lane.

Here are some of my photos.

I parked in the public Car Park off Church Street by the Cock Inn. It was a chilly day with only watery sunshine at times and I was glad of my hat, coat and gloves,

The walk starts by visiting Tenter Piece, originally an area of ground with wooden frames upon which cloth would be stretched on 'tenterhooks' to dry and be shaped. There's not a lot to see there now but some sheltered accommodation.

I descended Church Street towards the Swan Hotel past several timber-framed houses.

The A1141 was closed some way ahead.

In the marketplace you will find the resplendent 16th Century Guildhall...

...and Toll Cottage.

There was a queue in the marketplace as people waited for the fresh fish van to set up shop.

The Little Hall, built in the 1390s for the Causton family of clothiers is one of the oldest timber-framed buildings in the town. It's a domestic mediaeval hall house and is (ordinarily) open to the  public, but not at the moment, of course.

Going down Barn Street from the marketplace, I passed Molet House, which used to be 4 times its current size.

Further down the hill is the old Grammar School, which John Constable attended.

The most impressive street of buildings is Water Street.

De Vere House is the fictional birthplace of  Harry Potter, featuring in featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, as the house where the young wizard's parents were killed by Lord Voldemort.

I returned to the marketplace via Lady Lane

They were still queuing for their Friday fish.

There are some impressive buildings on the High Street too.

Now it was onto the Lavenham Walk along the old railway line and then back via  the parallel footpath.

The walk doubles back from the bridge on Bridge Street Road.

You get great views of the church.

Passing Lavenham Hall...

I came to the churchyard.

The impressive Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, was open so I went in. It was built in a single, lengthy campaign from the 1480s to the 1520s, and was bankrolled by the wealthy cloth merchant families, particularly the Springs and the De Veres.

Then it was just across the road to the Cock Inn and Car Park to finish the walk.

Well that was a pleasant morning of sightseeing and a gentle countryside walk. In all, it took me about 1 1/2 hours

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