We had a good drive up to Norfolk.  The sun was out and the countryside looked magnificent.  We managed NOT to get lost in Essex as we normally do.  The roads around Chelmsford defeat us every time so we kept well away and didn’t desert the M11 until we were near Bishop’s Stortford.  Beside the road I was fascinated to see the village name, Ugley, and loved the descriptive name of this hostelry:



We passed through the wonderfully named Stansted Mountfitchet which has a very interesting Saxon village (complete with suitably attired “villagers”) and an excellent toy museum.

Stansted Mountfitchet  Stansted Mountfitchet

I wanted to see Saffron Walden and, because of all our mistakes before, never had.  It is a fascinating town with some wonderful buildings, particiularly those with pargetted walls…



Saffron Walden Church

However, no time to linger and we took the turning to the Saxon town of Thaxted, thinking we might as well go through it again as it’s such a perfect town.  I didn’t realise that Saffron Walden was actually several miles north of Thaxted, however, and so we actually went south-east instead of north-west.  Never mind, Thaxted always deserves a detour.


We parked in the centre of the wide Town Street, just outside the house where Gustav Holst had lived, and ate our lunch, watching all the comings and goings in and out of the very individual shops – no chain stores here!  What a delightful place to live.  From here we drove to Ely and I managed to capture a small part of it framed by some autumn leaves.


Soon we were driving through the Fenland villages of Outwell and Upwell with their drainage channels from the River Nene running through the centre.

At Walpole St Andrew we were greeted as old friends at our orchard campsite and settled down for the night amongst the apple trees.

Wednesday 4th October…

Today we indulged in a cooked breakfast for a change and then made our leisurely way up the North Norfolk coast via Heacham to give Alfie a run on the beach.  A breeze had got up but we weren’t really prepared for the strong gusts as we walked beside The Wash.

The best thing was Alfie’s reaction to the sandy beach.  It has been a year since he was last here and he went absolutely bananas – rushing around in complete ecstasy – I don’t think he noticed the wind at all!


Unlike last year, we weren’t lucky with many bird sightings – just a few Oyster Catchers, various Gulls and a lone Grey Plover but anyway it was very difficult to keep a camera still.  Some way out was strange fishing boat sitting in the mud while the crew were digging in the shallow water – presumably for shellfish of some kind (see the header image).


Do I look battered?

We walked along for a while but decided to turn around at the jetty and, heads down and hands in pockets, struggled our way back long the beach and back to Bessie.  I think the only one who really enjoyed the walk was Alfie!  He has done nothing but sleep ever since!_DSC0007

Back in Bessie we decided to drive along the coast to that old favourite, Brancaster Staithe, where the weather was equally rough but of course we can birdwatch from the comfort and warmth of Bessie and there are always the fresh cockles of course!  Just a few of the photos we took, all of which look as though they were taken in black and white or sepia – the tide was low but the waders were enjoying the tit-bits in the mud!

The forecast for tomorrow is pretty good and hopefully our photos will be more colourful…