Monday, 5 January 2015

Making the most of the days...

I'm not really making resolutions or plans for this year. I'm a bit rubbish at keeping them and I'm trying not to give myself any more things to feel guilty about! But there is something about the start of a new year that makes you take stock a bit - it seems to me that the years fly by faster than ever and I have this slightly panicky feeling that time is running out! Every year I think I must sort out the work/life balance thing and every year I fail dismally which makes the prospect of remaining on my own more likely than ever!! So, whilst not making real plans, I am going to try to consciously 'live' the time I have - maybe this year I need to get over myself and go on holiday on my own, eat out on my own etc etc

And in the very short term, do something on my days off. Even if its just a walk, or the cinema or a bit of sewing/crochet/knitting... Of course there are loads of other jobs to be doing but I am going to try to think of those me things as valuable and important too (and definitely not a waste of a day!).

I am probably not going to do any more of this...

Hats off to those out there who are patchwork queens - this was my second attempt at it having promised middle son and girlfriend a quilt ages ago. Granted I left it to the last minute but it took hours, resulted in several very late nights and despite my intention to use scraps from my heap of fabrics, still needed to supplement with several more purchases (which means I have even more scraps now...) plus the wadding and backing fabric, which, frankly, made this anything other than the economic present that it was intended to be! However, they were pleased with it, which made it worthwhile... Just think crochet and knitting more my thing...

Yesterday was one of those bright, crisp winter days so I decided to venture along a bit of the Marriott's Way which is not far from my house. 

I have struggled a bit to find nice places to walk without getting in the car first - the only downside of living so centrally - and this path does go through some pretty built up areas. But it is easy enough to look up and feel you are in the middle of the country. 

Marriott's Way is a 26 mile route along two disused railway lines from Norwich to Aylsham and it starts just a few minutes walk from me, walking away from the city.

There is parkland to the left and housing behind the trees to the right. It was pretty chilly but there was a little warmth in the sunshine and it did brighten the colour everywhere enormously.

Under the first bridge I hit a long stretch that hadn't felt the suns rays and everything was covered with a thick layer of frost...

There were a few people about and I did feel a bit self conscious stopping to snap frosty foliage but I was glad I did because whilst dawdling along here I spotted a tiny goldcrest darting about in the verge. I couldn't catch it on film but I think that's the first time I've seen one 'au nateurel' (don't think on the bird feeders at Center Parcs really counts!). According to the uk garden birds info it is the smallest of our native birds and it really is a tiny thing. 

The ice crystals looked amazing but unfortunately my hands were so cold by this point I could barely work the camera never mind get it properly in focus!

After a couple of miles I headed back along another path that took me back towards the city through open parkland...

The sun was low in the sky, casting long shadows and lighting up the river...

A bridge takes you back into more industrial surroundings, though from this angle you could be forgiven for not believing me...

More sheltered frosty hedgerows - who knew nettles could look so beautiful??!

Then back towards central city buildings, the sun lighting up the gold clockface on the city hall, even from a good distance away...

I took a slightly scenic detour via Elm Hill, one of the oldest streets in Norwich with many Tudor buildings and a cobbled surface (which is a complete killer in heels!)...

Seems funny to think that my house was built around the same time as these and that many of the buildings that currently surround us would not have been there at all. I'd love to get an idea of what it must have looked like, maybe one of these days I'll investigate the historic maps in the library.

From here, its a short walk for me over the river again and past the playhouse and I decide it is rather lovely to be so close to the centre of town after all!

Today, in my effort to get out and 'do', I headed up to the coast. We are lucky to have a huge stretch of coastline around the bulge that is Norfolk and it dawned on me that, even having lived here for over 40 years there are several bits of it I haven't visited. So I thought maybe (just maybe, because it might not happen!) I'd try to visit each beach that can be accessed on foot starting from the Great Yarmouth end and working my way up. I did drive to Yarmouth but wimped out a bit because I do find it such a depressing place (I know some people love it but not me I'm afraid...) so I stopped at the next main resort up which is Hemsby. All my prejudices were out in force as I drove down the beach road lined with amusement arcades and tired looking holiday chalets, like something out of a run down Hi-de-Hi episode. But, in fact, I don't think I have ever got past that to the beach and from the dunes car park it is possible to walk along the land side of the dunes...

...and then down onto the beach, which was virtually deserted bar the odd dogwalker.

In contrast to yesterday it was pretty dull and grey, so looked a bit bleak but you do get a sense of the scale of this stretch of sand.

It was quite late in the day by the time I got there so the light was a bit poor and when I turned back to look at the dunes I realised the sky was already tinged pink as the sun began to set...

We don't have the beautiful clear waters of the Devon and Cornwall coasts but we do have a great sense of space and sky, and wherever you are the sound of the waves on the shore is incredibly calming.

So, Norfolk beach 1, Hemsby - check! Next week Winterton maybe? I reckon there are about 30 beaches around the Norfolk coastline, so this may keep me going for a while...


  1. What a fantastic quilt - I'm sure your son and his girlfriend are thrilled with it. I love all your frosty photos - how lucky you are to live so close to the city centre and yet be able to go on walks like that from your house too. I think visiting the beaches sounds like an excellent plan; I've never visited Norfolk, so I'll enjoy 'going along' with you on your visits. Happy 2015. x

  2. Goodness me, what a fantastic walk. I'd certainly be doing the walks and beaches if I lived by you. Suzy x

  3. I always try to stick to the narrow pavement when going up Elm Hill! As a child, and living in London, we visited Hembsy several times for holidays - the sand seemed to go on forever.
    Like you, I am trying to 'do; something on my days off as they are precious and although housework needs doing it seems a waste of your days off.

    1. I'm sure the path is the sensible solution!! Good luck with your days off plans - I've decided housework can wait, the dust only comes back :)) enjoy!

  4. Two beautiful walks. It must be nice to have such varied places close to you. The quilt is beautiful and I love the afghan under it too.

  5. The beach plan is a good idea. That's a lovely walk right on your doorstep.

  6. I wish I could take your beach challenge! Our closest one is 6 hours away! But I will live vicariously through you and your wonderful pictures. I hope 2015 brings you much happiness and peace. Oh and kudo's on the quilt...great job!

    1. Thanks Robbie, best wishes for 2015 to you too :) having almost always lived less than 1 hour from the beach I cannot imagine being so far from the sea. I really love the mountains and woodland areas of the countryside too but the coast is somehow a bit magical for me - thrilling & peaceful in equal measure at any time of year. I will try to keep it up for you! X


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