, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Yesterday evening E and I went to Lowestoft to attend a stress management course.  Stress in all it manifestations was described, its causes and what keeps it going.  We were told how it affects our thoughts, actions and body and why it affects people in different ways.  We have been given a relaxation CD and a little homework to do for next week.  This is a rolling course; as soon as this one finishes it starts all over again with a different set of people.  There is a day-time course running at the same time as this in Great Yarmouth on a Thursday morning.  There are courses like this being run all over the country all the time.  The room we were in was full of people of different ages – a few had brought companions like me – but most of us there were sufferers from stress of one type or another.  Research done a few years ago states that in this country 4 out of 10 people suffer from stress.  This figure is already out of date – anxiety and stress are on the rise.

Lowestoft is affected, like most British seaside towns, by high unemployment especially in the winter.  The recent down-turn in the economy has made a bad situation worse.   Shops have had to shut and the buildings are still empty or ‘pound shops’ and pawn shops have replaced them.  However, it looks better cared-for than Great Yarmouth and a lot has been done recently to brighten it up and improve the road system.  As well as being a traditional seaside resort Lowestoft developed firstly as a fishing port, mainly herrings, and when that declined it became, with Great Yarmouth, the base of the oil and gas exploitation industry in the southern North Sea.  This has now declined too but Lowestoft has begun to develop as the centre of the renewable energy industry within Eastern England.   Parts of the North Town are very attractive and the old Scores are still there – the steep narrow lanes with steps up from the beach that were used by fishermen and smugglers.  The Scores are now the site of an annual race which raises money for charity.

Lowestoft is the most easterly point in Great Britain and is on the edge of the Broads which is a series of connected rivers and lakes and Britain’s largest protected wetland and 3rd largest inland waterway.  Some of the earliest evidence of settlement in Britain has been found in the town – flint tools dating back 700,000 years.  I will try to make a post about Lowestoft at a future date.

As sunset is now about 4 o’clock in the afternoon we drove there and back in the dark.  We parked on the sea front and, returning to the car at 7.30 pm we could hear the waves crashing on the beach – the tide must have been in.  I was glad to see on our drive back along the Front, with its rows of hotels, bed-and-breakfast establishments and restaurants, that the Beau Thai Restaurant is still open.  I’ve never been in there, but a place with such a terrible name deserves to survive!

Remembrance Day

I looked out of a bedroom window this morning at dawn (about 7.00 am) and saw one of our local Barn Owls flying round the field behind the house.  It perched for a while on a fence post but the photograph I took of it there never came out.  However, I have included the following picture which I took at the same time, strange as it is, as a record of the owl’s presence.

001Barn owl (640x427)

Why this happened I have no idea! I was looking westward and it was fairly bright and cloudy. No pink anywhere! The sun hadn’t risen yet and would be on the other side of the house anyway.

At 11.00 am this morning I listened on the radio to Big Ben striking the hour and I kept the two minutes silence, praying for all those who have lost their lives in war and for those who have been damaged and injured by war and also for their loved ones.  I am finding this more and more affecting as the years go by.

An Afternoon Walk

We have had so much rain recently that the garden and fields are sodden.  R and I were in need of a little exercise and fresh air on Sunday afternoon so we decided to do our circuit walk round the lanes, which were less muddy and wet than the footpaths.

007View to All Saints (640x480)

View from the lane across the field to All Saints church, just visible sticking out of the group of trees in the distance.

008Muddy lane (640x480)

Our lane is fairly muddy as you can see!

009Muddy lane with pond (640x480)

There is a natural pond full of fish just to the right of these bollards. It is so full that it is close to overflowing onto the road.

010Collection of old metal (640x487)

Farmers round here cannot bear to get rid of old implements, tools and scrap metal. I think it gives them a sense of pride to survey this old stuff.  ‘It may come in handy some day! It’s worth a lot of money, scrap metal is!’

011Site of St Nicholas church (640x479)

St Nicholas church was demolished many hundreds of years ago. This is the site where it once stood – the cross is in a garden.

012Lichen covered post box (480x640)

This is our nearest post-box. The lime-green lichen is happy to grow on it.

014Mountain of straw bales (640x478)

Just beyond the low pink barn in the distance is the largest tower of straw bales I have seen so far this year. Not a good picture I’m afraid – the light was already fading.

015Goats (640x480)

The goat on the left is keeping itself dry by lounging on a trampoline!

017Flowing water in ditch (640x480)

Water flowing fast in this ditch.

019Flowing water (640x480)

This is the other side of the bridge.

020Green lane (640x496)

There is still a lot of green about. Many of the leaves have dropped from the trees while still green.

021Field of Rape (640x480)

This is a field of oil-seed rape which is growing very well in our mild, wet autumn. Only a few weeks ago it seems, I was posting photographs of rolls of straw on these fields after the wheat harvest.

023Spindle berries (640x480)

These are beautiful spindle berries.  Only nature could make orange seeds emerge from shocking pink seed cases!

024Spindle berries (640x504)

This is a spindle bush in the hedge. It was glowing in the light of the setting sun.

025Haws (640x480)

These are gorgeous dark-red haws from a hawthorn bush in the hedge.

026Autumn leaves (640x480)

Some leaves are beginning to show some colour.

030Sugar Maple leaves (640x480)

These leaves caught my eye. I think this is a Sugar Maple – not a native tree.

031View across fields (640x480)

Another view across the fields.

034Guelder Rose leaves (2) (480x640)

These are Guelder Rose leaves (Viburnum opulus)….

042Guelder rose with berry drupes (640x480)

…and this is another Guelder Rose with mainly green leaves and also bunches of berries or ‘drupes’.

036Dead oak (480x640)

A dead oak tree. I am pleased that landowners are not in as much of a hurry as they used to be to remove dead wood from fields and hedgerows. A dead tree supports more life than a living one.

038Bryony berries (640x480)

These poisonous bryony berries are like shiny beads.

037Bryony berries (480x640)

They are everywhere to be seen now the leaves are disappearing from the hedges.

044Path through churchyard (640x480)

The path through St Margaret’s churchyard is an attractive one….

045Sheep (640x486)

…especially as one can see these sheep from there.

047Village hall entrance (640x480)

I thought the entrance to the car park outside the village hall was looking inviting.

049View across fields (640x480)

I also liked this entrance to a field further along the lane.

048Leafy puddle (640x480)

A leafy puddle,

050Toadstools (480x640)

some tiny yellow toadstools…

051Autumn leaves (640x480)

and some more autumn shades and our walk was over.