Sunday, 19 October 2014

Late Lunch

with TheD after her 37 mile run today.

Garmin tracker at Sandford Lock

The Garmin tracking lost the signal for a huge chunk of the trail, but was OK for the last few miles around Oxford.

I spotted her jogging to Sandford Lock crossing, on the opposite bank of the river from The Four Pillars Hotel.

From there it was a long walk back along the opposite side of the river to the hotel's drive.

She checked in to the hotel just after 15.30 and asked for a pint of ale and a pint of soda water with lime wedges.

We had a leisurely lunch in the bar in front of the fire.

I'd been at the hotel since 14.00 and was ready for some food. While I waited, I'd done a little knitting, checked the Garmin, and wandered the grounds.

They're very beautiful (anywhere near a river is beautiful in my opinion).

There was a wedding ceremony scheduled for 14.00 in the riverside gazebo. The Bride was a little late and it can't have been nice for the guests sitting waiting because there was a very stiff wind blowing up the river.

The Bride finally arrived and the ceremony began.

I'm looking forward to a meal at The Beetle and Wedge tomorrow evening, with TheD, SIL, and MWNN.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Day 1

shadowing TheD on her 184 mile run.

The link to Garmin tracker was in my inbox before I started breakfast at 8am.

By the time I'd finished breakfast and was back in my room, TheD had completed over 7 miles and was navigating her way through the lakes 17 miles west of Lechlade.

SIL took part in a parkrun in Oxford, and, by 11am, we were having morinng tea in The Swan Hotel.

View of Lechlade moorings, from The Thames Path

Just before TheD arrived for a late(ish) lunch, I took a walk in the Riverside Park Lechlade.

The footpath here is part of the Thames Path.

There was a gypsy caravan of the old-fashioned variety in the car park. As I crossed the fields to the footpath, I cam across this poor fellow, tethered and alone apart from a half-full water bucket.


I then set off for the next destination point on the journey, stopping briefly for a light lunch.

By the time I reached my hotel in Oxford, TheD had arrived, muddy, but safe, at the Swan.

After the game

From my hotel window, I can look directly into Oxford United's pitch.

Despite the proximity of the stadium, there was no noise in my room before, during, or after the match

I wonder why the floodlights are on?

Pity I can't see either goalpost.

Tomorrow I am on tracking-duty again. I will have to stay in the hotel as my smartphone isn't able to connect to the website without wifi for some unknown reason. (Yes, I have data-enabled)

Friday, 17 October 2014

Journey down the Thames

I booked into The New Inn, Lechlade earlier this afternoon.

The car park is accessed through the old coach entrance. My room is on the first floor above this entrance, overlooking the  car park and river.

The New Inn is an ancient coaching inn backing on to the banks of The River Thames.

Before settling into my room, I had a quick tour of the Market Place, beginning with the river bank at the rear of the hotel.

I picked up a few things from the supermarket opposite the hotel and read the information board alongside.

Then I made my way into the church tucked away behind Market Place. The alleway alongside leads to Shelley's Walk, through the churchyard.

The church of St Lawrence is lovely, both inside and out.

The church is very welcoming. I like the touch of humour in this notice.

There was an organ practice taking place inside. Judging by the comments in the visitors' book, this is a frequent occurrence.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Another lovely fortnight

in Southwold.

Cottage garden at the front of the house

MWNN and I returned to the holiday cottage we'd sampled in April. It was as lovely as we remembered it, spacious, warn and with a cottage garden that wrapped around three sides.

Checking out the beach Friday evening

We walked the beach on most days. Rain stopped play on only two out of the fourteen. The day we arrived, we picked up the keys and went straight down to our favourite spot on the beach.

Foot spa

On some days, we had a foot spa in the sea. Sea water works wonders on the hard skin on heels.

'nother foot spa

The sea temperature wasn't warm for my first foot spa but it wasn't freezing.

Ron enjoying water play

Ron really enjoys his trips to the beach. Like previous visits, he was sociable with the dogs he met (mostly) and was keen to join in their games.

Ooh look, balls

His interest was captured during one afternoon tea session at the new cafe. It has a putting green and, on Sunday, their were lots of tourist playing, taking things very seriously.

Need a ball boy?

Despite the fact that people were knocking little balls into holes and the balls obviously needed fetching, Ron behaved immaculately and made no sound while watching play.

Fishing boat on River Blyth

We saw lots of wildlife again, including a stoat crossing the road at the RNLI station in the Harbour, and a seal swimming up the River Blyth after the fishing boat.

Feeding time

MWNN was well known to the gulls by the end of the first week. He took our stale bread to feed them on many days.

Mine. No mine!

Jouveniles and adults, little terns, and starlings all jostled for their share and there were many squabbles.

The humans ate out quite often, too. Afternoon tea at the Cafe on the Green.

Two Magpies Bakery provided afternoon tea cakes for eating in the conservatory.

The bakery lost Brownie points, however, as it no longer provides ciabatta bread. MWNN and I find their sour-dough based breads too heavy. However, they still do an award winning wholemeal loaf that is quite wonderful.

View from table in the Sole Bay Inn

We enjoyed lunch at the Sole Bay Inn on three occasions (once with friends of MWNN).

Sole Bay has a lot of regulars there at lunchtime. One very aged man arrives for an after-lunch drink on a mobility scooter and is always escorted in and out by the bar staff or a local.

The food (served all day)  is good, home-cooked pub fare and the best Adnam's on-tap in the town (Adnams Brewery is opposite the pub).

The specials board offered Dover Sole with seasonal vegetables - when in Southwold, opting for the fish special is usually the best choice.


Coasters is another favourite lunch spot. It's dog-friendly and, with parking in the town centre limited to 30 minutes, is an ideal venue for us. The day we ate there, we'd left the car at the car park on Ferry Road. Lunch was a welcome break before the walk (about a mile) back to the car.

Tempura King Prawns

Coasters serves excellent Tempura King Prawns and a good battered cod. The downside is that there is no beer on tap. MWNN tried a Calvors Lodestar Festival Ale. I had a sip and found it reasonably pleasant. Fruity rather than bitter, and very smooth.


So, what did we do for two weeks in Southwold? Not a lot. There was no pressure to do anything. We built up our stamina for walking again and enjoyed some fine beach-combing.

Presents and cards

I had a quiet birthday celebration on 2nd and was surprised and pleased to receive cards and flowers at Goose Corner.

Late afternoon shadows, MWNN and Ron

As with many of our visits to Southwold, the weather was very kind to us.

In the Harbour Car Park

We enjoyed most days at the beach, taking a picnic lunch down at the Harbour Car Park.

Ice-creams on the beach

The first week of our holiday was in The Season and there were lots more people in the town and on the beach, particularly in the sunny weather. The beach cafes were doing a roaring trade. We had to wait for a 'table' to have a bacon roll for lunch on the sunniest of all days, but it was worth the wait.

Most of the beach huts damaged in the winter storms have been replaced or re-furbished.

We noticed that there are more for hire this year. With prices starting at about £220 a week, no matter what the time of year, we decided to stick to our arrangement of holiday cottage + Berlingo.


Some of the houses on the beach at the Harbour end, are also for hire. These were evacuated in the floods, and some are still in need of restoration.

Mandalay seems to have escaped relatively unscathed.

Common Seal Harbour entrance

To say I enjoyed the fortnight would be an understatement.

I love being so close to nature and am looking forward to spending time on our narrowboat when she finally reaches her mooring in Northamptonshire.

Before then, I am preparing to 'ghost' The Daughter on her six-day 184 mile run, starting this weekend.

Friday, 3 October 2014

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare

MWNN and Ron stand and stare

My birthday dawned bright and sunny.

A framed facsimile of my grand-uncle's MM

After opening presents and taking delivery of a beautiful bouquet during  a late breakfast, we headed for the beach.

There we had the third foot-spa (in the cold North Sea) of this holiday.

MWNN wore his Crocks and I wore my swimming shoes to paddle our way from the Harbour to Gun Hill

After a leisurely two-hour stroll, we went back into town and bought a picnic lunch, which we ate on a bench on Gun Hill.

We then headed to Wrentham to buy trousers for me (I need a spare pair for those times I get the bottom of my jeans wet while paddling). There was a sale at the Outlet shop and I ended up buying a pair of Crocks for a fiver and a pair of Sketchers  On the Go - Beam for less than half-price.

Back to Southwold to buy provisions for the birthday dinner (Dingley Dell Pork Chops, new potatoes, petit pois) and collect the DAB radio (my old Phillips died on the second day of the holiday) from Tesco's Click and Collect Service.

Then on to the beach to have birthday afternoon tea at the newly opened Cafe on The Green. Freshly brewed leaf-tea, toasted teacakes with home-made strawberry jam and fresh strawberries - lovely.

By the time we'd recovered from the day, neither of us was keen to eat a large dinner. I opened a bottle of Tesco's Finest Gewurztraminer, and a half bottle of Veuve Emille Blanc de Blancs Champagne, and we 'made do' with a cold collation of pork pie, cheese, tomatoes and salad.

It doesn't get much better than this.