THE GREEN DIARY : Swass-aunty-Nerf!

The Green, Mistley, is in the centre of this aerial shot taken by a drone with the Stour Estuary showing low tide. The Adam Swan Basin and Mistley Towers can clearly be seen. The village dates from the early 17th Century and parts of it are Jacobean. Our terrace, right on The Green, was built around 1736 and is early Georgian.

The buttercups, dandelions and cow parsley have given way to profusions of elderflower, poppies, dog-roses, abundant grasses tame and wild and the full, deep green of midsummer; the fields are ripening and the harvest already beckons.

“June just rains and never stops,

Thirty days and spoils the crops!”

On the 21st June, Midsummer, I wrote : 

“……the temperature is 13˚C and it’s raining. In Scotland this morning there was frost on the ground and today we have had to start self-isolating again would you believe? We’ve been in contact with someone who has proved positive and though we have both had Covid, two vaccine jabs and are showing negative with the lateral flow tests, we still have to hang up our hats for ten days – or until the government officially declare exceptions for those of us who have had the jabs. We’ve had to alert one or two friends; cancel a visitor who would have been with us for three days and abort a trip to Yorkshire, part of a small Staycation Itinerary! It’s a bit of a bugger, Friends!”

But on the 30th day, the anniversary of the Night-of-the-Long Knives, the birth of Susan Hayward, Leonard Whiting, Peter Pollock and a host of famous forgotten names, was my own, Swuss-aunty-Nerf birthday, we made it, with Friend H….. to the Blakeney Hotel in Norfolk for three days under an unseasonable blanket of cloud, drizzle and mid-teen temperatures that chilled but did not discourage us from walks along that magical stretch of coast with its tidal wetlands, huge, sandy beaches, high skies and a bird life that helps you for a second or two to forget the drastic stories of extinctions and climate catastrophes. It all looked very normal-for-Norfolk.

Clay-Next-the-Sea. More grasses and another windmill.

On the way there last Monday, we detoured to check out Winterton-on-Sea:

A Hidden Gem

Bounded by a stunning sandy beach on one side and the Norfolk Broads on the other, Winterton-on-Sea is one of Norfolk’s best kept secrets. Away from the brash bright lights of nearby seaside towns, this ancient fishing village is the perfect get-away-from-it-all destination, whether you want a traditional bucket and spade holiday with the children, a romantic break or a chance to see raw beauty and the wonders of nature. Winterton is also one of the dog friendliest villages in Norfolk…year round.

So says their Blog. We were very taken by the Hermanus Roundhouses, an hotel we were convinced had to be owned by South Africans. There we call them Rondavels and Hermanus is a famous beach destination in The Cape. Hermanus. A good Dutch name. But how wrong we were. At the Winebago Coffee Stall on the beach we were told by a local that it has been in a Norfolk family for generations – without the benefit of any South African or Dutch input.

Of course there was a lot of Dutch help centuries ago when they taught us how to drain polders, build dykes and install windmill pumps around The Broads and the flatlands of East Anglia, to control flooding and drain fields. Hermanus may have come from there, who knows?

Once in Blakeney we fitted into a routine started last August when a small window opened in the run up to the Second Wave. Lots of sunshine then but sadly not this time. Wells-next-the-Sea was pleasingly spruced up and the wonderful walk along the Beach Road dyke onto the beach and around the headland onto that wide, white, empty, sandy beach to Holkham and back through the woods, despite some drizzle, was a delight.

The usual pattern of streaming, walking, reading, cooking and other delightful domestic pursuits make it difficult to say more as we approach the final lockdown date. These past eighteen months have certainly encouraged introspection, don’t you find? I have started writing little stories based on amusing events and thought I’d end with one here as I approach the 35th anniversary of my first visit to Positano in July 1986. Have a little look why don’t you, and tell me what you think? It’s completely free and the usual multiple choice exams will soon be coming up and I would expect you all to have researched well and be au fait with everything on The Green! I am thinking of adding oral tests as well, to give a more three dimensional picture and to make it easier for you to tick the correct boxes and pass the exams!

I’ve called it THE BRICK DROPPER

“In July the sun is hot,

Is it shining? No it’s not!”

5 Replies to “THE GREEN DIARY : Swass-aunty-Nerf!”

  1. Dearest Pedro so sorry to have missed your recent birthday, I shall make a firm note for the significant one next year when you will be swuss-aunty-diss! I hope you had a happy one nevertheless. Perhaps next time I am visiting my more or less wheel chair bound cousin in Stiffkey (near Wells next the Sea and Blakeney) we could coordinate trips ? I might go up again in September. Bisous 💋

  2. I wouldn’t believe what they told you about the rondavels. I’m sure if you dug deeper you would find a Dutch/South African connection.

  3. Wow, what a wonderful post. I specially loved the tales of you dropping bricks with abandon, and the link to the fascinating clip of Zefferelli and Sutherland learning to work together is a gem.

  4. Personally I have found the introspection, or rather the time for introspection forced on one, to be extremely useful. However there is a very delicate line between introspection & obsession! Lots of love to you both, P xxx

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