Posted by: digibirder | March 3, 2010


Well, I’ve decided I’ve had enough of the 365 project. It was becoming a bit of a burden to have to take a photograph every day. I missed one day in February, but decided to take a bonus image the next day to make up, but then I missed another one last week and decided that was it.

I was also too involved in the fact that Keith was preparing for his job interview in Cyprus, which he decided to go to in the end, having almost pulled out. We are still not sure whether he has got the job or not. They said they will let the candidates know as soon as possible. Anyway, having been there, he has decided that it would be good to get the opportunity to move there. I think we will manage, as long as we get our redundancy money soon, and sell the house quickly.

Keith was flying out to Cyprus last Thursday, on an early morning flight from Gatwick, for his interview on Friday. To save a four-hour drive both ways, twice, I begged a bed for a couple of nights from Pete, who very kindly offered to put me up, but also decided to invite Tricia along too, and take a day off work and plan a very packed, but enjoyable itinerary.

I arrived at about 5.30 on the Thursday, having spent the day exploring Essex, driving f irstly to Southend-on-sea and then ending up at Hatfield Forest. Tricia had already arrived, and I was welcomed with a glass of wine, to be followed shortly by a welcome hot meal. I managed to stay up longer than expected, having been awake since 1am and on the road since 2am. Sleep was not long in coming that night!

The weather was not great when we finally surfaced on Friday morning, but we headed off to Lynford Arboretum, Norfolk, to catch some Hawfinches and Crossbills. Tricia drove, and on the way we stopped at Walkers Café and had a welcome breakfast of bacon butty and cup of tea. A short walk into the forest and Pete spotted Hawfinch at the top of a tree. He set up the ‘scope and we counted seven of them. Crossbills were conspicuous by their absence, unfortunately.

As it was very damp and miserable, we headed back to the car and then decided to go on to Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire, which is a National Trust establishment. First stop was a scone and cup of tea in the café, and then we had a wander round the amazing gardens. It was very cold and windy, but it did not rain too much. That evening Tricia and I were treated to a splendid meal at The Starr in Great Dunmow. A fine end to an enjoyable day.

On Saturday we rose leisurely, breakfasted, and then set out for Lavenham in Suffolk, where neither Tricia nor myself had been to before. The village is quite remarkable, with many listed buildings, most of which look like they will fall over any minute! We had wander round, taking lots of photos, then stopped off at Munnings Tea Rooms for a scone and a cup of tea/coffee, before ending our trip to Lavenham by visiting the church of St Peter and St Paul – quite a grand church.

As it was still raining on and off, we decided to head over to Long Melford, where we again escaped the rain by visiting Holy Trinity church. Again, this amazed with its elaborate decoration and scale.

We were amazed that, when we emerged from the church, the sun was shining and there was a clear blue sky! We called in at a pub just down the hill, but they had stopped serving food, so we were directed to the village high street where we found a nice little café in which to have a snack.

After this, we headed back to Pete’s in time to relax a little and have a light dinner and then for me to prepare to drive to Gatwick to collect Keith from his flight. This turned out to be about 45 mins late, so Keith and I were quite exhausted by the time we arrived home at 1am Sunday! I don’t know how I managed to stay awake on the drive home – in fact I think I almost didn’t on one or two occasions.

Here are some images from the many taken over the three days.

A tree of two halves in Hatfield Forest

A very overcast view of the lake

An effect that didn’t quite work out – tilting the camera downwards while pressing the shutter

Tricia and Pete at Anglesey Abbey gardens

Witch Hazel

One of the many varieties of Snowdrop in the garden


Gnarly branches (not sure of the name of this)

Silver Birch trees – never seen them quite so white

We were admiring the above trees when this little fella landed at our feet

He continued to delight us by coming really close to have his pic taken

Winter Aconite – lots of this about

Typical Laveham house

The Guildhall, Lavenham

Another wonky house

And another

Ceiling at Lavenham church

One of the impressive stained-glass windows

Ceiling and wall of a small chapel in Long Melford church

We were quite taken by how the light was shining through the stained-glass windows and lighting up this sculpture with different colours

Ceiling at Long Melford church

Yay! Blue sky!!

Door catch detail

So, it was a great break, and thank you again to Pete for the bed and breakfast, and the wonderful dinner at The Starr, and to Tricia for all the driving about. Look forward to meeting up again sometime.

Since coming home, we’ve had the surveyor for the solar panels we applied for a couple of weeks ago. This is a Government scheme called FiTs, whereby the company fits the panels free of charge and the Government pays them for the electricity generated. Meanwhile, the homeowner has free use of the electricity during the day while it is being generated. Apparently household electricity bills can be reduced by 40%-60% and houses with panels fitted sell, on average, 30% quicker than those without and it increases the value of the house. We have now had confirmation that we are eligible, so the panels will be fitted in late June. We’ll see where we are with the whole employment/unemployment/moving to Cyprus business by the time this happens. The deal does pass to the new owner of the house, but I’m not sure how this  works if you sell the house before the panels are fitted.



  1. pleased you enjoyed it!

    was rather typical that the weather has been good so far this week

  2. Was a good couple of days wasn’t it 😀 and in very enjoyable company.. and ah, the weather……..

  3. Don’t fret about the “failure”- it’s tough to do! How exciting, Cyprus! Sounds like a wonderful time with your friends and look at the flowers you saw! It’s spring!

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