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Billingford Windmill, Waveney Valley, Norfolk



The Enchanting East of England

If you were asked by someone who was thinking about visiting the East of England, ‘What is it like there?’ How would you describe it?


Landscape – The views ‘Ahh’ those magnificent views! No, we don’t have ‘mountains’ but we do have ‘hills’ and these we can use to discover even more depth when we look down upon our enticing surroundings. The ‘wide open skies’ afford us with an enormous amount of distance when we gaze across towns, villages and the countryside.


Architecture – Humphrey Repton 19th Century Landscape Architect has been of great importance in shaping some of this area. A more ‘recent’ figure is the architect Norman Foster. The result of some of his building designs are to be found in some of the cities. You will find Cathedrals,

Churches and lots of stately homes nestled neatly in the land. Also we have brick, flint and thatched cottages.


Amazingly picturesque villages and towns which appear to have been ‘frozen in time’ such as ‘Lavenham, Suffolk’. This town was created around ‘750’ years ago by Henry III. The houses remain pretty much as they were since they were first built many centuries ago. I had seen photographs in the past and I had been informed of what visual wonders to expect, but all that input in no way compared with actually being there.

When you too find yourself in these streets of architectural history I feel sure that the ‘tingle’ of centuries gone by will move through your body as it did through mine.


Relaxing– There is nothing at all about this part of England that would make you feel anything other than ‘relaxed.’ The Cities, towns and villages offer all round charm. Putting your feet up and forgetting your stresses is incredibly easy to do whist you take in the scenery. Undulating countryside, the sea, the beaches all of which are wonderful to absorb and therefore a feeling of calm is instilled in the mind.


Peace – The visitor will find their trip to be one of delight and pleasure because of all the warmth received from the abundance of things that they will be able to do, to see and from the people they will meet whilst here. A very welcoming ‘quietness’ is never far away when you visit the East of England.



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Southwold Beach, Suffolk



Southwold ~ The Jewel in Suffolk’s Crown


The most magical little town on the Suffolk coast. We will begin with Southwold Pier. What a glowing white landmark of a masterpiece this is. The Pier was originally built in 1899. A steam ship called The Belle made daily trips from London to Southwold Pier bringing in the Victorian holidaymakers. Damage in 1934 was followed by renovation which began in 1987 and was completed for the re-opening in 2002. It has a new landing stage and a traditional selection of quirky amusements in the arcade; An example being a device where you can ‘Whack a Banker’.


The beach is sandy and the promenade has an elevated stretch where you can view the coast from a high vantage point.


The town is excellent for shopping, eating out and for evening entertainment. Opposite the Pier is the Boating Lake which is perfect old fashioned fun for everyone.


Georgian and Edwardian architecture, endless green spaces, vibrant and relaxing Southwold will inevitably sow the seed of return within before you have even left.

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Hemley – Kirton Creek, River Deben



The ‘Belief’ Button


Do you know you have one and also, do you know that you can activate it at will?


Just lately I have been reading a fascinating book about belief. It speaks of a persons desire to go for what he wants and to succeed completely in what ever he chooses to do in life. Talking yourself into being a success can sound a bit barmy but it isn’t really, not when you have a good think about it.


There must be something in your life that you truly wanted and you managed to get. You got it because your desire, your want, your need and your passion was so great that it fuelled the fire within you which made you take action. The result of course is that you got what you wanted.


We all want money and lots of it. There are two different kinds of want – Dreamy and Passionate – A ‘dreamy’ want is an enormous distance away from a ‘passionate’ want. With a dreamy thought, you won’t get your hundreds of thousands of dollars because that kind of thinking is just a dream and that is what it will remain. But, a passionate want is something that packs a very strong punch. The feeling comes from your sub-conscious, deep within and this strength drives you along at a million miles an hour with an un-stoppable force. Together with a large amount of practical action, you will be provided with what you truly desire.


This verse, I found a long time ago in a book about Yoga~


To succeed you must have tremendous power, tremendous will,

“I will drink the ocean”, says the persevering soul,

“At my will mountains will crumble”.

Have that sort of energy,

That sort of will,

Work hard and you will reach your goal.


The Belief Button is found within us all. Passion, enthusiasm and a relentless drive will bring astounding results.

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From the “Gooseneck” Isle of Man




Lend Me Your Ear


‘Never a tear bedims the eye

That time and patience will not dry

Never a lip be curved with pain

That can’t be kissed into smiles again’

Bret Harte … American writer and poet (1836-1902)


Philanthropy means the ‘love of human kind.’ I do wonder how aware we all are of how incredibly important it is for us to ‘help’ our fellow man.


The more that time has passed by in my life, the more I felt an over whelming need to look away from myself and turn my attention to other people. Sadness and struggling with our mental state is something that we all have in common. We all do it, whether or not we admit to it is a different matter.


We all need someone to tell, someone to listen and someone to speak back to us with words of encouragement that come to us through kind eyes, a warm smile and a generous heart.


Reaching out to a person who is in need of human interaction is the most self-less act of generosity that any man can give to another.


Life isn’t about money, not really, it’s about being happy with ourselves and one another. You cannot live fully if your mind is in turmoil. We all know what this feels like and armed with that internal knowledge we are ALL able to give some priceless help to anyone that needs it.


Less ‘looking within’ and more ‘looking out’ for those that need to borrow your ear.


‘What goes around comes around’ life works best when ‘balance’ appears.




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Grundisburgh, Suffolk


Love and Hope, Warmth and Trust


Expectations of a ‘Wonderful Christmas’ is something that most of us lean towards. Some people find Christmas to be a time to which they completely enjoy. Decorations in November and even listening to Kings College Choir singing, ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ in October.


Then there are others that dread it for various reasons such as the expense, the stress of spending time with people they mostly avoid, personal grief that fell upon them during the Christmas period, being alone and also the commercialism of Christmas has put some off completely. There are far more reasons that I could add to this list.


For those that love Christmas and thoroughly enjoy it, I say, ‘Good for you and please don’t ever let that feeling go.’ For those that struggle with it all, I have this to tell you~


Several years ago I wrote a poem about Christmas. Many of the words are lovely and when I read it I feel very happy indeed. Above and beyond most of the poem are these two lines that reach out to me, striking an emotional chord deep within.


‘Sadness, regret, unhappiness and fear, magically dissolves this time of year.’


‘Love and hope, warmth and trust, spread around is a must.’


If I feel sad, I read that poem. It isn’t a ‘cure all’, but what it does do is hold your hand and it draws you gently through the festive season. Those words are so easy to believe, because…..they are true.




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Southwold, Suffolk


Life Change……….Begin Again! – ‘Walking Back to Happiness’

……….I wrote this piece several years ago when I ran and led the walks for my group “Norfolkandsuffolkcoastalwalkers.com”


Massive life changes go on all the time at different points in our lives. These can be quite awful. They are a struggle. Seemingly a ‘mountain to climb’ which at the start it is incredibly hard to visualize getting to the top. Our natural instincts kick in and we will all eventually reach the summit. Those of us that do, really need to have a serious think about where we feel we would like to go from here on in. Nowadays it seems that far more of us are suffering the misery of ‘relationship breakdowns’. There are many reasons as to why this is so. One i will mention is ‘incompatibility’.

Incompatibility – This is a big problem in a relationship. When two people do not share like mindedness then a breakdown between them will inevitably follow at some point. You both must be on the same word, in the same line, in the same book. This creates an unbreakable bond that will last forever. Much joy is to be found in the company of a very similar mind. Thoughts are the same, sympathies are the same and laughter is always with you. ‘Easier said than done’ i hear you cry, finding a partner of the ‘like-minded’ variety. Well, my response to that is, it is not impossible!

At the end of July of this year i decided to advertise for people to go on walks with me. It all came about through my pal and i walking together on the North Norfolk coast at weekends. I thought it might be quite nice to have more people joining us. I put an advert on Gumtree and one on a dating site. I knew that both websites would possibly generate quite a bit of interest. Well, they did! As well as those two internet sites i was encouraged by someone in the walking group, to write to various publications in a bid to gain even more members. This too was a success as i have been in ‘lots’ so far, newspapers and magazines.

I have been a keen walker for over 9 years. My passion for this past time began when i went on a Ramblers Association walk. It was something that had been in and out of my head for a while but up until then i had done nothing about it. I didn’t have much confidence at that time so there was no way that i would have gone on a walk with a bunch of strangers. It all started because of a chance meeting with an RA walks leader at a National Trust event at Felbrigg Hall, Cromer. He gave me the details of his next walk and the rest is history.

Walking in groups is a ridiculously easy way to meet people. I am smiling right now because the effort made is completely ‘nil’. It does not matter if you are shy, lack confidence, or are the sort that don’t think that walking is ‘your thing’. I can assure you that once you have been on a group walk, in a great place, with excellent company, your shyness and lack of confidence will be no more. You will find that friends are made quickly and that walking is now on your list as a thoroughly enjoyable thing to do.

Many years ago i saw walking as a joke. ‘Why would anyone walk for fun?’ – I had never done it thats why i ‘didn’t get it’. Now, i fully understand. This WALKING thing is life enhancing. When i do it i can feel the weight of stress escape from my shoulders and is immediately replaced by a pair of smiley faced angels gliding me along the spectacular East Anglian coastline. This could be your ‘thing’ too. You will never ever know, unless you give it a try!

Norfolk&Suffolk Coastal Walkers

This is my group. I am trying to push it forward and push walking forward. This group is free, all i wish to do is spread the word. I am very keen to do this because i am so passionate about waling and communicating with like minded people. It does help mentally. You cannot but be and feel happier as a result of walking in the fresh air, chatting with similar minded people and absorbing the beautiful Norfolk&Suffolk coastline. I know its extremely important for a more happier life. It works. If you are a walker, then you will be in agreeance. If you are not, just try it, you really don’t know what you’re missing!


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Countryside Views


Lavenham ‘Frozen in Time’


There I sat and closed my eyes. I could almost hear the sound of metal from the hoofs of horses upon the cobbled street, the rattle of a cart being pulled along and the sense of simplicity where the land and me were completely connected, bound together as one…..nothing mattered.


Wow, Lavenham what a unique experience that was when I finally made it to that perfectly preserved medieval town.


I have spent a lot of time in north Norfolk, holidays, days out, walking in the coastal and countyside area’s; I know it all very well indeed. Although I was born, brought up and as an adult lived on the Norfolk/Suffolk border for many years, I really didn’t know much about Suffolk.


What had I learnt from the media and friends about what Suffolk, as a tourist attraction had to offer? Well, not a lot actually. So much so was the lack of encouraging information about the county that I hardly ever went there. As far as I was concerned, Southwold was the only place in Suffolk worth visiting.


Lavenham, well I had been told about the town. The content was something like, “Oh haven’t you visited Lavenham? Oh you should go, it’s really nice and it’s very old” I wasn’t sold on it at all. My mind processed those words as ‘ok, it’s nice, old and so are a lot of the towns in Suffolk’.


When I was taken there to do a walk about a year ago, I was astounded by what I saw. Yes, many towns and villages in Suffolk are old; they contain lots of buildings that were erected hundreds of years ago. After this unforgettable experience, my curious mind led me to do some research. I discovered the difference between all those other places and Lavenham. This is what I uncovered.

Lavenham was created around ‘750’ years ago by Henry III. The houses appear to have been ‘frozen in time’ as they remain the same as they were when first built. The reason for this is that in the 15th and 16thc the town grew rich through the wool trade. When the wool trade declined, nothing took its place. What happened is that the people who lived there remained through many generations with the continuing lack of money. This mean’s that they did not have the resources to renovate their houses which is why the architectural design of the houses is the same as when they were built in medieval times. With Lavenham, ‘seeing is believing.’

I have just found another piece of information about the town. ‘Lavenham is possibly the best-preserved medieval town in England’. That I don’t deny.

When you too find yourself in these streets of architectural history I feel sure that the ‘tingle’ of centuries gone by will move through your body as it did through mine.


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Holkham Beach, Norfolk




Location and Contact Information…

OS Grid Reference – TF892438S

OS Explorer Map 251 – Norfolk Coast Central


Holkham Hall

Wells next the Sea


NR23 1AB

Tel – (01328) 710227



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Holkham Lake, Norfolk


Did you know?…

Holkham Hall is a Palladian style mansion that was built between ‘1734-61’ by Thomas Coke, who was the ‘1st’ Earl of Leicester. It was designed by the architect William Kent, with help from the key figure in the Palladian style revival, Lord Burlington. It is currently lived in by the ‘7th’ Earl of Leicester and his family


~Thomas Coke ‘1st’ Earl of Leicester, known as ‘Coke of Norfolk’, was a politician and an agricultural reformer. Also a member of a group called the ‘Holkham Shearings’, which came up with the idea of ‘Crop Rotation’ the farming method that is still in use today


~The Parkland consists of ‘3000’ acres surrounded by a ‘15km’ wall. All of which is set in a ’25,000’ acre Estate. The grounds were designed and laid out in ‘1762’ by the landscape architect, Capability Brown.


~The Parkland is home to Fallow Deer and a small herd of Red Deer


~The sea used to be closer to the Hall than it is today. It was so close that the north end of the Lake was used as an inlet for the sea.


~The original village at Holkham was demolished to make way for the construction of the Holkham Estate.


~The pine woodland was planted during the ‘18th and 19th Century. It is to be found next to the beach at Holkham Gap. The idea behind it was to help prevent coastal erosion.


~The Hall was used in the filming of, ‘The Duchess of Devonshire’


~ Holkham beach was used as a film location for, ‘Shakespeare in Love’. This beach is absolutely stunning. It has a huge amount of depth from land to the sea and the sand is very fine. Naturists are welcome to use part of the beach. This area is clearly marked via sign posts.


Visit and experience…


~Bygones Museum


~Walled Garden


~Boat trip on the Lake


~Cycle hire available from the Hall


~Horse riding on the beach (Bring your own horse)






~Fallow and Red Deer roam the Parkland


~Quercus Ilex commonly known as the Holm Oak or the Holly Oak, are planted on the Estate. This is an evergreen tree and also it can be used to form a hedge


~Three quarters of Holkhams coastline has been designated an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’


~A huge variety of birds can be seen such as Pink Footed Geese, Marsh Harriers, Oystercatchers, Arctic Sku, Snow Bunting, Willow Warbler, Swallows and Finches


~Razor shells are found on the beach



Take in the view…

~Lake side walk. Take path on right from the main East Gate and follow it in an anti-clockwise direction.


~On the Lake side walk you will pass the Church on the right. To the left the landscape will open up providing views across the Lake to the Hall


~Follow path that curves round the back and then side of the Hall. This will take you up hill to the South side of the Estate. At the cattle grid is where you will find an excellent vantage point to view the Hall and the Lake. Great position for a picnic.  Just South of here is the ‘24m’ high Obelisk. Here you will find a good view of the South gates. The Obelisk is in line with the centre of the Hall and the ‘37m’ high Monument to the North.


~Sit next to bronze statues of ‘Coke of Norfolk’ and his dog. Thomas Coke is on a bench which is positioned halfway up a hill facing the front of the Hall. Whilst sitting there you get the feeling that you are next to a real person


Eat and Drink…

~The Victoria Hotel

~Tea shop in the village

~Café next to the Hall

~Refreshment van at Lady Ann’s Drive car park, next to the entrance to Holkham Gap



Interest throughout the year…

~Various events including concerts and outdoor theatre

~Cricket matches

~The Deer in the rutting season

~Autumnal walks

~Snow covered Holkham


Buy before the visit…

~OS Map Explorer 251 – Norfolk Coast Central

~Holkham Hall guide book


~The ’North Norfolk Rambles – 16 Circular Walks with Maps Covering Coast, County and City’ book

ISBN – 1901184889 9781901184884



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Holkham Beach, Norfolk


The Desert Island Beach


It very soon became apparent that my walking group and I had wandered on to the naturist part of Holkham beach.


We walked through the pine trees, then the sand dunes at Burrow Gap which lead us towards that wonderful visual delight of expanding beach and the never ending sea. Just before we climbed the sand dunes to claim this wonderful view, a figure came walking towards us. It was a man although there was something a bit different about him. My mind convinced me that he was ‘Robinson Crusoe’. Unlike Robinson ‘a bit on the lean side’ this person could not compare. This one was a well pumped up beast of the human form.


There before me was a bronzed ‘Adonis’ displaying a well structured six pack, a magnificent head of glossy dark coloured hair and a well matured beard. Oh and one more insignificant detail…He was in the ‘all-together!’


Anyway, I didn’t pay much attention. That very second I spotted him with his cute nose, well defined cheek bones, sparkling azure blue eyes, wearing nothing but a winning smile I instantly averted my gaze. I took my longing, smouldering stare away from the reciprocation of his and dropped them straight down towards his big feet.


My ‘unforgettable’ encounter prompted me to research naturism. My findings were that nudity in England isn’t against the law. There are of course other laws that come into play if you are wandering around in a public area wearing nothing but goose pimples and a cheeky smile. One of these laws is ‘Breach of the Peace’ which was made over ‘600’ years ago. Any disturbance in a ‘normal state of society’ is a ‘Breach of the Peace’ and anyone taken before a court will be prosecuted under the ‘Justices of the Peace Act, 1361’. The ‘normal state of society’ varies from place to place and time to time. An example is – ‘Behaviour acceptable at a football match, would not be acceptable in a churchyard’. The ‘normal state of society’ on a recognised naturist beach is nudity so by being naked you cannot disturb that state. So, there is no ‘Breach of the Peace’. The naturist part of the beach at Holkham is clearly sign posted.


Holkham beach is stunningly beautiful. The custodians of it are to be congratulated for their generosity which allows us all to enjoy Norfolk’s very own ‘Desert Island’ beach in such a huge variety of ways. We are so very lucky indeed.



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Holkham Beach, Norfolk


H2O versus Petrol


On my wanderings in north Norfolk I have come across many beautiful things. When we drive along we see views which are wonderful but very brief due to the swiftness of motorised travel. Another form of movement is by cycle. With this too we get a gorgeous view, we can usually find a spot fairly quickly, away from the road where we can lean against the bike seat and admire the landscape. My favourite form of transport for the absorption of that heavenly coast and countryside of ours are those two legs of mine. The reason? Well, they only clock up ‘2 to 3’ miles per hour and the only extra expense I incur are a few pounds per week for ‘Chocolate’.


The great things about travel via my legs are ~ I don’t have to fill up with petrol ~ I don’t need to be taxed ~ I don’t need insurance ~ I don’t need a license ~ I don’t need a Service, an MOT, or my dipstick inspected ~ I can stop where ever I like without having to fumble around in my dash looking for the hazard lights button ~ I don’t have to pay those hefty car parking charges ~ I can breathe fresh air, feel the sun on my skin and the breeze through my hair ~ I have a ‘360 degree’ view ~ I can move around easily on any terrain ~ I don’t need my wheel arches pressure washed ~ I most certainly do not need to get myself waxed ~ My tyres are always well inflated ~ The only liquid fuel that I use is the cheapest that there is… ‘H2O’.


Let’s face it, car travel is such a costly affair nowadays isn’t it. I know that we have to use this form of transport an amount of the time, but we do not need to use it all the time.


Walking costs nothing. Walking is easy physical exercise. It is social, good for the soul and thoroughly enjoyable. There is SO much beauty that we have on our doorstep. So many visually stunning views that can only be found when you get off the road and on to the many paths and bridleways.


Norfolk has such a lot to offer you, me, everyone of us. Walking is wonderful, it is free and so very important to our well being.


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Cromer, Norfolk



Clement Scott ~ Powerful Words


This is an exert from a notice board which is positioned on the cliff top just East of Cromer…


Here you can “walk and rest amongst the ferns” in the footsteps of the journalist and poet Clement Scott.


…In the Summer of 1883, Scott, pulled on his walking boots and inked his pen, wandering over these hills he wrote of wild flowers, solitude and fine air.” The landscapes he encountered inspired him to write of his idyllic “Poppyland” which when published encouraged the Victorians to travel by train to visit this resort.


At the time of his visit, Cromer was a sleepy fishing village that was flanked by small wooded estates. But these hills were not just a poet’s muse, but are the result of a varied history and home to diverse wildlife…


Above is just one little example of how powerful words can be. Clement Scott fell in love with Cromer, wrote about how great it was, the visitors came and the area flourished. Money was pumped into the town and the buildings you see today are the result of a writer’s passion for this beautiful part of the Norfolk Coast.


Words can do so much good. They can also do the opposite. If you have an encounter with a ‘misery guts’ who speaks of all that is awful, this will result in you feeling miserable yourself. Even if it lasts a few minutes, you will still feel it. If however you bump into a ‘happy Harry’ he will be speaking of all sorts of wonderful things and you will walk away with a smile on your face which will be there for the rest of the day.


The written word paints pictures in the mind; The nicer the words the more pleasant these images will be.


I know we can’t always produce ‘joyous words’ but what we can do is to be more aware of the one’s that we do choose to use. Perhaps it would be better to create far less paintings of the black and white variety. Instead let us get out the brushes, dig out our creative ability and use every colour that ever there was.


If Clement Scott can do it……….then so can you.



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Southwold, Suffolk




Curious County? How about ‘Superlative Suffolk’


Why would anyone want to holiday in Suffolk?


Lets stick with the letter ‘S’ for a moment and add these words to the ‘Description of Suffolk’ list. The county of Suffolk is Stunning, Supreme, Surprising, Sumptuous, Successful, Stylish, Stupendous and stirs the soul.




The most magical little town on the Suffolk coast. We will begin with Southwold Pier. What a glowing white landmark of a masterpiece this is. The Pier was originally built in 1899. A steam ship called The Belle made daily trips from London to Southwold Pier bringing in the Victorian holidaymakers. Damage in 1934 was followed by renovation which began in 1987 and was completed for the re-opening in 2002. It has a new landing stage and a traditional selection of quirky amusements in the arcade; An example being a device where you can ‘Whack a Banker’.


The beach is sandy and the promenade has an elevated stretch where you can view the coast from a high vantage point.


The town is excellent for shopping, eating out and for evening entertainment. Opposite the Pier is the Boating Lake which is perfect old fashioned fun for everyone.


Georgian and Edwardian architecture, endless green spaces, vibrant and relaxing Southwold will inevitably sow the seed of return within before you have even left.




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Finchingfield, Essex

The most photographed village in England



Finchingfield is not only the most beautiful and the most photographed; it is also regarded as a ‘picture-postcard’ village which is situated in the county of Essex.


The village of Finchingfield is a silence maker. It takes away your words leaving you in deep thought and wonderment as to why this scene that you are absorbing is so incomparable to any other that you have had the immeasurable pleasure in experiencing.


Medieval and Georgian cottages adorn the edge of the green. So well placed are these that you get the feeling that what you are looking at was ‘meant to be’. Just like nature where everything falls so effortlessly into place.


I happened upon this utterly and completely magnificent place purely by chance whilst exploring the countryside. On my return I was compelled to do some research to help me to learn more about the village. It came as no surprise that it has appeared in TV programmes and films.


Also, Finchingfield was the home and eventual resting place for the author Dodie Smith who was an English novelist and playwright. The book she was best known for was ‘One Hundred and One Dalmatians’.


Sitting in the warmth of the sun on one of several benches that are dotted around high upon the village green, I can say to you that I experienced a ‘Sensory Overload’. The reason being because this time I was not just looking at the ‘Perfect Village Picture’……..I was actually in it.


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Bluebell Woodland, Sutton Hoo, National Trust, Suffolk


The Bluebell


Inspiration comes from all sorts of places.


On a sunny and warm Spring day I was told through text of an observation that someone had made.


They had just been walking through a street in a coastal town. They happened to glance through a gap between shops. Their eye took them along a dingy Alley.


In this Alley, growing all by itself was a Bluebell.


When I finished reading it, stillness fell down upon me. I then became over whelmed by a great sense of hope.


The dingy Alley that contained a Bluebell . . . “Heaven in Hell”


The Heaven shone through didn’t it.



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Waldringfield, River Deben, Suffolk

The Debin Scallop


“Caw’d a Hell – Thas suffen good!” These are the exact words, Suffolk dialect one presumes, that entered my ears as I wandered along the shore line with my dog Kitsch, making our way to the Maybush Inn at Waldringfield.


In front of me had gathered a sizable crowd of people surrounding what appeared to be a metal sculpture. Out of curiosity I got close to see what all the commotion was about.


Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.


There, crouching next to what can only be described as two welded together “dustbin lids” was the controversial Suffolk artist Ali Rambling. I could not believe my eyes. As bold as brass with her trademark pen projecting from her mouth, in an indignant manner posing for a large group of photographers.


How could this be? I thought, yet another collection of metal, stuck together in the name of British Public Art, planted on the shores of Suffolk.


Everyone quietened as Rambling was approached by a journalist. The one and only question was – “What do you suppose the local people and the visitors to Suffolk will think of your Scallop Sculpture?


She paused for a few moments. With the pen still hanging on her lips the reply was of her usual Ali Rambling style of quotes . . .


“The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.” – Oscar Wilde


“Who dares wins” – Teddy Barbeque


With that the crowd dispersed. Kitsch and I were appalled by this new, platitudinous and humdrum addition to the Suffolk shore line that we went off to the pub. Whilst I sat there, gazing out at the wonderful watery and dream filled landscape of the River Deben I pondered the days events.


Eventually I came up with something that helped me to come to terms with the divided opinions on works of Public Art.


In the 19th Century Waldringfield was a site used for the extraction of an important natural resource. Coprolite.


Coprolites are fossilized dinosaur dung.


I am consoled.


Here is a quote from a play dating back to the 1600’s –


“Laugh on laugh on my friend. Hee who laugheth best that laugheth to the end.



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Aconites, Melford Hall, Long Melford, Suffolk


Aconites, Snowdrops and the Sam Browne Belt


One winter in the grounds of Melford Hall, Suffolk I spotted Snowdrops in bloom and a carpet of Winter Aconites under an old Mulberry bush. What a glorious site to see whist I wandered around the beautifully maintained gardens.


When I returned home I thought I would do some research on Snowdrops to see if I could learn anything I did not already know about them.


The flower height of the Snowdrop ranges from 7 to 30cms. The Latin name for this plant is, ‘Galanthus nivalis’ – Greek gala “milk” and anthos “flower”. Most of these plants flower during the Winter months before the Vernal Equinox ‘20th or 21st March’. Some species will flower early Spring and late Autumn.


“Snowdrops” was the nickname given by the British to the USA military police whilst they were stationed here during the Second World War. The reason being that they wore white helmets, gloves, gaitors and a Sam Brown belt against the dull colour of their olive green uniform.


That led me on to wonder as to what a ‘Sam Browne’ belt actually was.


Sam Browne


Sam Browne lived during the 19th Century and he served as a British Army Officer in India. During the 1800’s officers used to carry a sword into battle, which hung from a clip on their waist belt. This was called a ‘frog’. The problem with this is that the sword would move around a lot whist they were charging the enemy, so it had to be steadied with the left hand before it was drawn.


In one of his battles Captain Sam Browne was cut twice by a sword. The injuries were damage to his knee and the severing of his left arm at the shoulder which led to the loss of his arm.


That injury led him towards thinking about a way to hold his scabbard which would keep it steady in battle. The idea was a second belt, which went over his right shoulder and then hooked into the heavy leather waist belt by ‘D-rings’. These would be used for attaching accessories. It also had a flap holster for a pistol on the right hip and a binocular case with a neck strap.


This idea caught on quickly. It was copied by officers in the Indian Army, also Imperial and Commonwealth troops during the Boer War. Eventually the belt became standard issue.


Now it is used by the military of many countries worldwide. It is not just the military who adopted his idea but also the police, bus drivers and a very common civilian use is that of the reflective Sam Browne belts that are worn by cyclists to increase their visibility.


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Winter Holly


Norfolk is…..


Undulating depth of colour rich land which rises up to meet the vast, wide open and forever fascinating magical sky.


Captivating countryside glides us effortlessly along to the seemingly ceaseless beauty of it’s forever enchanting and life enhancing sea.


Norfolk has a sparkle that is absorbed by your senses, elevating your spirits, filling you with a warming fire of passionate inspiration.


This county reaches out and touches deep within, leaving you with a feeling inside your heart that lights up your eyes and sends you a smile when ever you think of going back.



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Cley, Norfolk

An Eye Witness to Empathy


So, there am I, on the A143 at Billingford, Norfolk, listening to the music of Bob Marley ‘Redemption Song’ as I drove towards a hill. The four cars in front of me, slowed. I then saw the lead vehicle, a massive lorry, pull out to go past something. As ever my mind thought,” It’s a broken down car”.


Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.


No, it wasn’t a motionless car – It was . . . “A Bunny” crossing the road. All the cars in front of me and I curved around that little creature as it made its way to the grassed verge.


My chest began to expand as my whole self sensed a huge feeling of emotion welling up inside me, to the ultimate point where this painful energy set itself free.


Tears ran down my cheeks.


The Rabbit was riddled with Mixomatosis. You could easily observe that the poor thing was muddled and blind. I thought, “Wow, the person in the HGV, the four cars and I, all made the decision to let the animal live”.


When I arrived home, I tried to make sense of what I saw that day.


The Human – Are we all mostly good? Or, Are we all mostly bad? At times I struggle with my answer to that question. Not anymore.


We are all mostly good. We are hard wired with the sense of Empathy. Not only have we got the feeling to imagine ourselves in other peoples shoes – We are also capable of placing ourselves in those of an animal.


We all know pain and suffering.


Heart rending, positively powerful and endlessly inspirational . . .


An Eye Witness to Empathy and all the richer for it.



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Hemley, River Deben, Suffolk


Elevated River View at Hemley


Did you know?



  • Hemley is a small village next to the River Deben, 5 miles south of Woodbridge
  • Was once a port and centre of salt manufacture.
  • All Saints church dates from the 14c. The church was rebuilt in 1889 after falling into disrepair.
  • The village is made up of Hemley Hall, All Saints church and a few houses.
  • Hemley and Waldringfield are both located on an AONB site, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty



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Waldringfield, River Deben, Suffolk


  • The Maybush Inn was a farmhouse dating back to the mid 14th Century and became a public house at around 1745
  • The medieval church at Waldringfield is very similar in design to the church at Hemley
  • Waldringfields history is industrial. During the last half of the 19thC, Coprolite was dug out from the fields and shipped to Ipswich. This was part of the early fertiliser industry.
  • A row of cottages in Cliff Road were called cement cottages, as these used to house the cement workers during the late 19th to the early 20th C when Waldringfield used mud from the Deben and chalk from Medway to make cement.
  • Waldringfield has a yacht club


Description – Circular walk – Villages  Hemley to Waldringfield


Distance – 4 miles


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Hemley, Suffolk

Parking – Free grass car park, over the road from All Saints Church Hemley


Terrain – Tracks, paths, field path, country road, river edge


Landscape – River, marshland, meadows and countryside


Map – OS Explorer Map 197 Ipswich, Felixstowe & Harwich


Sat Nav – Hemley, Suffolk IP12


Comfort Break – During the walk, The Maybush Inn at Waldringfield. Food, drink and toilets. May need to book for meals. After the walk, The Fox public house at Newbourne.

Hemley Walk Directions


1 – Begin from the car park in front of Hemley church. Face the church, walk across the road towards it taking the road on the left of the church. Follow road until it ends at a farm gate.


2 – Walk through the gap to the right of the gate onto a track. Follow this until you reach a sharp bend at a road. Turn immediately right along a tree lined track. When you reach the open field turn left keeping to the path. This will lead you on to a path marked out in the middle of a field.


3 – At the end of the field path walk down into a slightly wooded area and follow the curve of the reservoir that is to your right. You will walk over a tiny wooden stream bridge, through another wooded area to the grounds of the Waldringfield Yacht Club. Follow the path to the edge of the River Deben.


4 – As you walk along you will go past the sailing clubs headquarters on your left and the next building you will see is the Maybush Inn. Take the road next to the pub on the left which goes up hill and has houses on each side. Not too far up you will see a footpath sign to your left. Take this path and continue on it until you reach another footpath sign. You will see the Deben clearly to your left. At this point you can choose your return journey:


– The left turn will take you through the Maybush Inn car park. Keep to your right and at the end take the path on the right which will take you down a hilly path towards the edge of the Deben. At the river take the right path, past the sailing club and continue on by following the earlier directions from 3 to 1, which will take you back to the All Saints church at Hemley.


– The right turn will take you along a field’s edge to the Waldringfield road. Although it is a back road it can be relatively busy, so wearing hi-viz and stay close to the edge is advised. The road will take you past Waldringfield church, up hill to a sharp right hand bend. Keep straight, joining the track in front of you. This is the same track that you walked on earlier to Waldringfield. Follow track which leads you to the road, back to the church at Hemley.


Variety is the Spice of Life


Other things to do…..


  • ‘Katie’s Garden’ plant centre is just up the road at Newbourne, where you will find a wide range of trees, shrubs, perennials, heathers, alpines and herbs.


Why do this walk?


This walk is only 4 miles which isn’t many when you consider that there is a fantastic place to stop half way along it at Waldringfield. The views from the track across towards the Deben are absolutely stunning on the outward and inward bound journey. Heading back towards Hemley church along that track is such a treat as you can see so much of the long stretch of the river Deben and Felixtowe Ferry in the distance. The yachts and the boats at Waldringfield look so beautiful in their watery world that you find yourself wondering why it is that you haven’t got the waves sloshing around your buffed up stern. Such a perfectly peaceful, inspiring and lovely place to be.