Wednesday, August 31, 2005


A happy twenty minutes watching three hares enjoying the sunshine just outside the village this morning.

I do realise that it would be a kindness to us all if I treated myself to a telephoto lens....

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Messing about in a boat

Those seals will be getting a lot of attention as a result of these promises!

The whole of the coastline here forms part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) - and with justification, for there are few stretches of coast in England that remain so unspoiled and undeveloped. It is a place to refresh both body and soul. And one of the best ways of experiencing it close to is by getting in a boat and going out on the creeks, navigating through the salt marshes to the sea.

Blakeney National Nature Reserve extends to 1097ha (2711 acres) almost all of which is within the ownership of the National Trust. It includes Blakeney Point, Blakeney Freshes, Morston and Stiffkey Marshes and supports a wide range of coastal plant communities with many nationally important species. Blakeney Point itself is a 3½ml long sand and shingle spit, noted for its colonies of breeding terns and migrant birds passing through. And, of course, famously both common and grey seals live and breed on the end of the spit. The seals are very comfortable with boats which means you can observe them basking on the colony or in the water at very close quarters without disturbing them at all.

The promise is a sail in the Blakeney area in a safe 15ft dingy with a very experienced local sailor who has a wealth of knowledge about the area. Depending on the tides, the journey will last for 2-3 hours and the route and date can be arranged by mutual agreement with the very kind donor.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The hour after dawn...

Us larks may rarely make it to the ten o’clock news but we do get to see the best bit of the day. Stepping out through the village and onto the footpaths at 6.30, it was another breathtaking morning. The only sounds were a cockrel, the wild birds (which thankfully the countryside hereabouts is alive with) and the occasional rustle from a small mammal scurrying at the bottom of the hedgerows.

Soul food.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Over the tracks, over the tracks...

Based at Holt station, the North Norfolk Model Engineering Club (NNMEC) is the place to realise those early ambitions to be a steam engine driver. The track runs for 300ft, parallel to the North Norfolk Poppy Line locos, the little trains pull a passenger as well as the driver. And, as I somehow earned the privilege of a complementary ride on the miniature railway this afternoon, I’m here to say it was going fast!

Blogging reaps some unexpected rewards.

Promise number two is a day’s instruction for one on maintaining, firing and driving a miniature steam locomotive at Holt. For insurance purposes there will be a minimum age limit of 18. North Norfolk Model Engineering Club membership will be included, which will also provide the promisee with a year of NNMEC’s newsletter.

The kind donor is a knowledgeable enthusiast and the owner of two (and possibly more by the time the promise is traded in) coal fired steam engines. One of which will be on display at the auction on November 26th, hopefully to whip the bidding into a frenzy.

Who do you know who has always wanted to get behind the controls of a steam train? Smuts in the eye are an optional extra…

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Look no filters...

The light this close to the coast is so beautiful that sometimes it seems to good to be true. Cross my heart and hope to die, this was just point and click.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Campaigning for the Norfolk Countryside

With well over 1,000 members in the county, Norfolk is one of the healthiest branches of The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) demonstrating how much the protection of our local countryside is something that many people in Norfolk are concerned about.

CPRE have campaigned hard alongside us by gathering evidence and publicising the threat to Guestwick and the surrounding countryside of industrial scale development.

They work to protect the beauty, diversity and tranquillity of the Norfolk countryside and coastline and care deeply about the future of rural landscapes in Norfolk and the quality of life for its inhabitants. For example, one of their current campaigns is tackling the issue of dark skies and aims to reduce the increasing levels of light pollution in the UK. CPRE Norfolk are raising awareness of the issue and campaigning for better lighting controls.

The promise, generously donated by CPRE Norfolk, is a year's membership for two to CPRE. The winning bid will receive a quarterly magazine from CPRE and the Norfolk Countryside Review - which is published three times a year. You will also receive a membership card which gives half price entry to over 200 beautiful and historic houses and gardens in England, including Holkham Hall, Mannington Hall and Wolterton Park in Norfolk. As a member of the Norfolk branch, you will be in touch with their local campaigning activities and be invited to local social events, talks, presentations and conferences. You will also have access to the knowledge and resources of the CPRE Norfolk county-wide team of volunteers who will be happy to help with any concerns you may have in your area.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A summer morning

Out on the bike this morning the peacful lanes were just perfect in the early light. My fellow travellers were a guy driving a pony and trap and a neighbour enjoying the same cycle ride but in the opposite direction.

Skitfield Road

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Pre war motoring

I think we should all hum Larry Adler's theme from Genevieve to get in the right spirit for this!

A drive for one in a pre-war Austin 7
The kind owner, who lives near Foulsham, will take you for a drive, of approx two hours, in one of two cars.
Mavis (left) is an Austin 7 Opal, two seat tourer made in 1937. She has a hood, doors and soft suspension and will give you a genuine taste of pre-war motoring.

The Paxton Austin 7 Special (right), based on original chassis made in 1938, is a tuned fast road car with a Brooklands exhaust and provides an exhilarating ride at speeds up to 70 MPH.

You may choose whichever car you prefer for the drive, which could take in, for example, a visit to the coast or perhaps a nostalgic heritage tour through the timeless North Norfolk country lanes passing Blickling, Holkham or Felbrigg.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

And rest.

No promise added to the list tonight. If the list grew by one every night we'd have about 100 come November....

.... and that would make it a very long evening.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Gone fishin'

The long, thin lake at Bayfield Hall in many ways epitomises the beauty of the lower Glaven valley. It was dug in the late eighteenth century for ornamental purposes. In the late nineteenth century an ‘extravaganza’ tunnel was built into the valley side so that the Glaven could be partly diverted around the lake.

The Georgian style house (rebuilt in the 18th Century from an earlier Tudor house) is sited in one of the most beautiful country parks in Norfolk. The large 500-acre park, designed by Repton, is laid to grass and dotted with ancient oaks and beeches whilst the lake runs serenely through its middle.

You really couldn't wish for a more beautiful setting for a spot of fishing. The promise is one weeks coarse fishing pass on Bayfield Lake, your potential quarry including carp and tench. The date to be arranged at your mutual convenience with the very kind donor.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

See North Norfolk from the sky

Not one but two flights! Either of which could make a fantastic Christmas or Birthday present – or a huge treat for yourself. One flight will be in a Tiger Moth which we are recommended will be best enjoyed once the weather starts to warm up a bit in the Spring and the other in a Cessna, which has a heater, and so can comfortably be taken nearer the time of purchase.

Lot 4 Is a trip for one in a Cessna light aircraft (the plane in the photo below) lasting for approximately 40 minutes. The route can be finalised with your pilot but we suggest a flight over Guestwick and the local villages – which, if you live locally, can include your house!

Lot 6 Is a trip for one in a Tiger Moth (the plane in the photo above) for up to an hour so we suggest the route could be over Guestwick and the surrounding villages (including your house if you live locally) and then on out to the coast. It would be a very stylish way to see the seals!

Your pilot and the very kind donor is an ex- RAF pilot who now works as a flying instructor, so you could not be in safer and more experienced hands. Living in one of the villages adjacent to Guestwick, he memorably captivated those of us on his email list with a truly magical description of early summer flying over the proposed turbine development alongside the buzzards who were peacefully drifting on the thermals. We can’t promise you that experience (unless we manage to have a quiet word with the buzzards first) but we can guarantee it will be a rare opportunity to view the countryside from a unique perspective.

The exact time and day of the flights can be arranged with the pilot at your mutual convenience. If you need to know more or have any questions, please e-mail using the “Contact us” link on the right.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A walk in the woods

Hindolveston Wood is 171 acres of beautiful old woodland which was mentioned in the Doomsday Book. It has been woodland since the wild wood covered England after the last ice age 20,000 years ago and it features in Oliver Rackham’s recent book The History of the Countryside. It is sensitively managed with wildlife very much in mind and uses the ancient techniques of coppicing to produce hazel. The wood is private and so provides an undisturbed habitat for the many animal and bird species that live there. It is very rich in ground flora and contains many of the plants which are used as indicators for ancient woodland. For birds, it is part of a green corridor of woodlands which includes Sennowe Park and Swanton Novers Woods.

The promise is A Guided Tour of Hindolveston Wood for Four People. This will be a particularly attractive lot for anyone (myself included!) who is interested in woodland flora and fauna, silviculture and the history of ancient woodland. The walk has been generously offered and will be guided by the man who best knows the woods and has been looking after them since 1977.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A good start...

Promises for the grand Auction of Promises on November 26th (in order of receipt) to date are:

1. 6 bottles of Claret Chateau Guibon Appellation Controlee 2001

2. Be a train driver for a day!
A days instruction on maintaining, firing and driving a miniature steam locomotive at Holt. For insurance purposes there will be a minimum age limit of 18. North Norfolk Model Engineering Club membership will be included, which will also provide the promisee with a year of NNMEC’s newsletter!

3. A selection of high quality prints signed by internationally known professional photographers.

4. A light aircraft flight over local villages

The beautiful big blue Norfolk sky over Hindolveston Woods....just where the six turbines would tower over the trees. Posted by Picasa