We have had a very wet day indeed today. This is our pond this afternoon with rain-drops stippling its surface. I spent most of the morning away from home visiting the surgery then shopping in Halesworth and then in Bungay. This afternoon was spent doing household chores and then getting soaked to the skin in the garden. I have planted some runner beans for my mother. She said she wanted ten plants so I planted ten in pots a week ago and nine have come up. This afternoon I planted three more which will give her a couple of spares in case she gets slug damage after planting out. I then went round the garden checking on the bird feeders. I have been cleaning and disinfecting all the feeders during the past week; waiting until each one empties and then bringing it in. In that way I don’t have too many to do in one go and the birds still have food to eat outside. I have twelve feeders around the garden as well as a couple of bird tables and a ground feeder. The birds are very hungry and the food is disappearing extremely fast. The feeders have to be heavy-duty ones as our garden is quite exposed and the wind is strong enough to blow them down very often. The rooks also cause damage by swinging on the feeders and shaking the seed out for their friends waiting below. In this rainy weather they cover the feeders with thick mud off their feet too. Squirrels are a real nuisance and can pull a feeder apart very quickly. I always use metal, never plastic, feeders now and try to make it difficult for the squirrel by putting extra wire round the lids and attaching them more securely. I always regret this when I have to re-fill the feeders and especially when I have to take them apart for cleaning as it takes so long to do. I also saw a mouse in one of my squirrel-proof feeders the other day. When I went out this afternoon I found two of my peanut feeders had been taken apart and all the peanuts eaten. One part of one of the feeders is missing so I’m glad I ordered a new one at the weekend.
I managed to take a couple more photos before going indoors to change out of my wet clothes.
Another name for the yellow flag iris is the Sword Flag as its leaves are shaped like a sword and are also sharp enough to cut you.
The Dogwood is about to flower. New stems are dark red and many people cut dogwood back hard just to get the bright coloured stems in early spring. The dogwood’s leaves change to a rich claret in the autumn and are one of the first trees to change colour. The berries are a shiny black and are very bitter. It is called ‘Dog’ wood because ‘dags’ used to be made from its wood. Dags are butcher’s skewers.
Last week E not only had to go to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on Friday but she also had to go to the Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth on Wednesday. As R was off work all week he kindly offered to drive us there. It was one of those grey, fairly still days – not cold but not particularly warm either. The route we take goes through a couple of villages with Viking names – Toft Monks (Toft = curtilage or homestead in old Scandinavian. It was known as Toft when the Domesday Book was written, only getting the Monks bit when the village was taken into the possession of the Norman Abbey of Préaux in the 12thC) – Haddiscoe (wood of a man called Haddr or Haddi). We then go over a very high bridge spanning not only the River Waveney but also a canal cut from here to Reedham a village on the River Yare a little to the north. This is the start of the Norfolk Broads, a large area of marshy reedbeds intersected by canals, rivers and broads (lakes). A half mile further on is another little bridge which only allows one lane of traffic over it. This is at St Olaves, named after the priory that was here.
We then drove through Fritton which has a Country Park with leisure activities – boating, fishing, walking. Also a horse and donkey sanctuary called Redwings. It was a popular place to visit by wild fowlers – people who enjoyed shooting ducks and other water birds. The pub is called the Decoy and the water here, which is a tributary to the Waveney, is called the Fritton Decoy.
We got to Great Yarmouth and E saw her specialist. We then went home. Because I wasn’t driving I was able to look about me as we drove along. Great Yarmouth is not a pretty town. It has a beach, a dock area and associated industries but it is also very run-down and there is high unemployment and poverty here. We saw an apologetic bus. A very rare creature.
One thing I did notice while we were queuing at traffic lights before crossing over the bridge over Breydon Water was this building below.
It was enormous with a thatched roof and an attractive weather-vane. I don’t know what it is/was and need to find out somehow. There is a blue plaque next to those great doors that will give a clue. The iron railings on the bridge are quite nice too.
We decided to stop at St Olaves to look at the Fritton Decoy and the buildings there.
A windmill at the side of the water.
The Chandlery sells everything you might need on your boat while travelling on the Broads or down any of the rivers and out to sea. You can also hire boats and equipment here.
The ancient Bell Inn with its beautiful brickwork on the opposite side of the road to the Chandlery.
The garden at the back of the inn.
A view of the Fritton Decoy and the boats moored there.
The building in this yard is a Pill Box and is another relic from the Second World War. This one has had a shed built on the top of it at some stage. Pill boxes are dug-in guard posts with loopholes through which to fire weapons. They were called Pill Boxes because they looked like old-fashioned pill boxes! According to the website I checked everything against they had a ‘trenchfiring step to protect against small arms fire and grenades and were raised to improve the field of fire’. Well, there you are; now you know. About 28,000 pill boxes and other hardened field fortifications were constructed in 1940 as part of British anti-invasion preparations of World War 2 and about 6,500 still survive. There is one on the edge of the field in Mill Lane near us. It is still known as the Searchlight because of the searchlight that was used there during the war. East Anglia was full of airfields during the war – RAF and USAF – so there was always the danger of bombing raids. The airfield runways are still marked out in the middle of farms and common land.
I’ll end this post with a view over the marshes at St Olaves.