Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Horsey Gap

Another of our days out whilst on holiday in Norfolk. I'd never heard of Horsey Gap until I read the visitors book in the cottage. The last holidaymakers to leave a comment in there said how they'd seen seals on the beach there so we decided to have a trip out.

It was Monday, we'd spent a couple of hours wandering in the drizzle at Great Yarmouth before deciding to call it a day and head back to the cottage. By late afternoon it was glorious, hazy sunshine, you wouldn't have thought that the day had been a washout. Perfect for an early evening stroll.

We parked in the National Trust car park which involved about a mile walk to reach the beach. There's sand dunes to the left but we decided to stick to the path.

There's signs of late summer around now. These blackberries are still to change colour.

The heather is in full bloom.

This pillbox has been left over from World War II.

I think this bird looks like a female chaffinch but I'm not convinced it is one. Does anyone have any ideas what it might be?

It took us about twenty minutes to walk the mile, I kept stopping to take photos, but eventually we arrived at the beach and it was a Wow! moment. All those seals basking on the shore. We saw the odd one on the beach near the cottage but to see them in this number was just amazing.

We kept well back, we didn't want to disturb the seals at all, and we had Archie with us too, though he was such a good boy. He wasn't interested in the least and didn't make any noise. I'm so pleased now that I bought a camera with a 60X zoom. We had this view to ourselves, there wasn't another soul nearby and it was just magical. I'll leave the narrative for now, there's not a lot I can say about each individual seal, though be warned that there's lots of photos. There's many more which haven't made it on to the blog.

For me, this was the highlight of the holiday. If you get the chance to visit Horsey Gap I would whole heartedly recommend it.

We made it back to the car park as daylight was fading and by the time we got back to the cottage it was pitch black with an almost full moon.

The perfect end to a perfect outing.

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Constant Princess

I'm quite late to the party with Philippa Gregory books, I'd heard good things about them but wasn't sure they were for me. I've come to enjoy history more and more as I've got older but I didn't know if I'd like the mix of fiction and facts, though I've read a few books like this just recently, so when I saw The Constant Princess reduced to 99p for Kindle, I thought it was worth a go.

Although The Constant Princess isn't the first book that Philippa Gregory wrote in The Tudor Court series, it's the first in chronological order so I thought this would be a good one to start with. I've struggled with a few books just lately finding it hard to get into them, I'd already resigned myself to the fact that this would be the same but it wasn't like that at all, I was absolutely hooked from the very first page.

This novel tells the life of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife, right from her childhood in Spain, through to her marriage to Henry's older brother, Arthur, and finally to her life as Queen of England. It's a real page turner and I found myself unable to put it down. I enjoyed the author's style of writing, I found it easy to read, and I enjoyed how the book is written from Catherine's point of view.

This is another book I'd recommend and I shall definitely be reading the next in the series.

If you want to know what else I've been reading lately, you can find a list in the sidebar. This shows all the books I've read this year and there's also lists of the books I've read right back to 2012.

Friday, 15 September 2017


Nearly thirty years ago, I adopted a beautiful white pony called Polly from Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Norfolk. I always said that if I visited Norfolk I would visit the sanctuary and go and see her. Unfortunately, Polly had to be put to sleep in 2006 after living at Redwings for twenty two years and I never got the chance to meet her.

On the Sunday of our holiday, which happened to be my birthday, we decided to visit Redwings. They now have five centres situated around the UK with two of them in their home county of Norfolk. The Aylsham centre was the closest to where we were staying so that's the one we decided to visit.

The first thing that struck me was how big the sanctuary is. The lucky horses which are rescued and come to live at Redwings must live out their days very happy. They've got a great amount of space, company from other horses and are most obviously well looked after. What more could a horse want.

Apples were being thrown into this paddock and it didn't take long for the horses to notice, they all came running hoping to grab a tasty snack.

This is Ronnie, a miniature Shetland. He shares his paddock with Reggie and Baby Face Nelson, and they're known affectionately as The Gangsters. They came to Redwings after their owner died.

I'm not sure why Taz was in his stable rather than out in the fields. He's such a beautiful boy, happy to come to the front of the stable for a cuddle. I'm going to whisper this so that the other horses don't get jealous but he was my favourite if I'm being honest.

The horse on the left is Maya, a black Friesian mare who came to Redwings with six other horses after being found at a site in Essex in a terrible state of neglect. Their owner was found guilty of causing suffering.

Cookie reminds me of a spotty Dalmation dog. She must have a problem with her eyes as she's wearing a hood to keep the flies out of her way.

There's donkeys at Redwings too. These gorgeous animals need company and both Wiggins and Wacko had suffered from loneliness before arriving at the sanctuary. They're now the best of friends.

These Horse Facts, and lots more like them, are fastened to the fences around the paddocks.

You didn't think I'd been to Redwings and not adopted a horse did you? This gorgeous boy is Gulliver. He was rescued by the RSPCA at just a few days old, along with his mother, Cinders. They'd both been abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Cinders became severely malnourished as she was using the little food that she could find to provide milk for Gulliver. They were both given a home at Redwings and as Gulliver is such a friendly chap, he was an ideal candidate for the Adoption Club.

Adopt an animal for charity is number 43 on my 50 before 50 list so that one can now be crossed off.

All in all, Redwings cares for over 1500 horses, ponies, donkeys and mules every single day at one of their sanctuary sites around the UK, with the Aylsham site having 50 residents.

Do take a look at the Redwings website, it's very interesting and informative and if you feel inclined, you're able to adopt a horse online there too.

It was a lovely day out and I was really pleased that I'd chosen to spend my birthday with these beautiful horses.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Apple Day

I've been wanting to visit the Apple Day at Lotherton Hall for the last few years but for one reason or another I've always managed to miss it. Not so this year. It was held on Sunday and we got there nice and early.

The orchard was already filled with people picking the apples off the trees.

Armed with a book, which told us which tree was which variety, and a grabber, which enabled us to pick the uppermost apples, we set off to see which apples took our fancy.

The first ones we picked were Malster, a dual-purpose apple which originated in England and was known to exist in 1830. It's briskly acid when fresh, well adapted for cooking and sometimes used as a dessert apple when matured.

I chose five of these as I decided I'd make them into a crumble.

The next one was picked from a tree which didn't have much fruit on it. I'm not sure if it hadn't produced much or if it had already been stripped by others before us.

This is Edward VII, another dual-purpose apple which was first recorded in 1902, the year of the king's coronation. I only picked one of these, but I made sure that I kept it separate from the five I'd already picked from the other tree as it looked very similar.

The next tree was literally covered in fruit, I think perhaps because the apples don't look quite as attractive as some others.

Ashmead's Kernel is a dessert apple, developed in the 1700s by Dr Ashmead of Gloucester, England and is supposed to have a unique pear drop flavour.

My own Gloster apple tree has produced very well this year, the branches are literally bent by the weight of the fruit.

The apples are a deep red, very attractive to look at. I picked these four to take for my mum and dad but I picked an extra one for myself so that I could taste it and compare it to those I'd picked at Lotherton.

Now the proof is in the pudding, so to speak, so what did they taste like?

Well, the Edward VII was very tart, though it can be used as a cooker too so that's not really surprising. I don't mind a tart apple though. The Ashmead's Kernel was rather tart too, even though it's considered a dessert apple. None of us detected the unique pear drop flavour though. We tried a Gloster from my little tree in the garden alongside the ones we brought home from Lotherton, this was a much sweeter apple, a little like a Golden Delicious at first but with more of a tart aftertaste.

Both Mick and I agreed that we liked the Gloster best, followed by the Ashmead's Kernel and then the Edward VII. Eleanor totally disagreed with us, preferring the Edward VII followed by the Ashmead's Kernel and the Gloster came in last place for her. Another thing to note is that the apples from Lotherton started turning brown almost as soon as they were cut into, the Gloster held it's crisp, white colour, I'm not sure why this would be.

As for the Malster, I bought these with the intention of making a crumble but I haven't got round to that yet. Eleanor wasn't at home for tea on Monday, last night we went out for a meal with Eleanor, her boyfriend and his parents before they both return to uni, and Mick's working in Basingstoke today so he's decided to make the most of being just forty minutes away from where Daniel's now living and he's staying overnight so that he can spend the evening with him.

I'm sure the crumble will get made soon.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Seventh Blog Anniversary Giveaway Winner

It's that time of year again when I choose, at random, a winner for my blog anniversary giveaway. Many thanks to everyone who entered, I don't think I've ever had so many people enter any of my giveaways before, and thank you for all your lovely comments too, they were all very much appreciated.

Without further ado, let me tell you that the name drawn at random from all the entrants is Knitty Nutter from A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of That blog. Can you please let me have your name and address details so that I can get the prize sent out to you. You can find my email address by clicking on my name at the top of the sidebar.

Thanks again to everyone who reads my blog and a special thank you to everyone who comments regularly. I do enjoy writing the posts but it makes it all the more enjoyable when I'm able to connect and make friends with people through the comments. It's been lovely to make so many friends though this little blog.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Norfolk 2017

Thank you for all your lovely comments and good wishes on my last two posts. We're back from our holiday in Norfolk having had a lovely time.

The weather has been mixed but, fortunately, there hasn't been much rain. We arrived on the Friday and the best day of the week by far was Saturday. I'm glad that we decided to make the most of the sunshine that day and spend a good amount of time on the beach.

Our cottage was just a stones throw away from the beach so it was in a perfect location for a seaside holiday, though the village where it was situated was very quiet and didn't have many amenities. That didn't bother us at all though as we enjoyed the peace and quiet.

There's a pathway along the beach which is nice for a walk and the beach itself is divided up by groynes to keep the sand in place. This has the effect of creating lots of little beaches.

We were on our own for most of the day with just the odd dog walker passing by, much to Archie's delight. He does like to make friends.

Mick and Eleanor usually enjoy trying their hands at fishing whilst on holiday and this holiday was no exception, though it was rather different to what they're used to. They usually fish in rivers and lakes so sea fishing was something new. They didn't manage to catch a thing between them, except for seaweed.

I always enjoy watching the wildlife, though I'm not very good at identifying seabirds. I think this may be a sandpiper. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The beach was lovely and sandy, dotted here and there with a few pebbles. I set a challenge right at the start of the holiday to find a pebble with a hole right the way through it and I even promised a little prize to the winner. I've got my eye on a skein of yarn I'd quite like which I'm sure I could have justified buying had a won this competition.

Sadly, the weather went downhill from here, though it wasn't so bad to stop us doing anything. We got the odd shower and it was rather windy but overall it was quite dull. It was nice when there was a break in the clouds though and the sun put in an appearance.

We did some lovely things during our week in Norfolk which I'll tell you about in later posts.

Unfortunately, on our return home, we discovered that my mum has been in hospital and had just arrived home about the same time as we had. She'd had a fall in her bedroom on Tuesday morning and my dad discovered her in a pool of blood, she didn't remember anything about the fall. Fortunately, she hasn't broken anything but she looks as though she's been badly beaten about the face. She was kept in hospital for observation.

Don't forget, if you haven't already entered my giveaway, you've got until midday on Sunday the 10th of September 2017 to do so, just leave a comment on my Seventh Blog Anniversary Giveaway And Another Holiday post.