Tuesday 2nd July
10.05 Left home and travelled the route we used to use to Oakham. Many more speed restrictions and much more traffic than there used to be. Stamford, Peakirk. Thorney, A47. Lunch in Sandringham House car park and then we bought tickets to go round the house. The rooms are lovely, very bright, light and airy with excellent views over the grounds. The grounds are immaculate. Walked round the parts of the house that were open and then went for a cup of tea. Then we walked round the museum. The most interesting part for me was all of the motor vehicles that were on display. It is here that I learnt the meaning of the term 'Shooting Brake' It was a vehicle designed for shooting parties with a table in the back for six or eight people to sit round and included a gun rack and some storage. The brake part of the name came from the fact that originally cars had brakes only at the back but because these vehicles went over rough ground they had brakes on all four wheels, hence 'Shooting Brake'.
4.40 Left there 5.00 Arrived at The Old Coach House. I went for a drive to explore Thornham, Holme and Hunstanton Cliffs before returning and changing for dinner.
8.30 Out to take photographs just down the road at Thornham Marsh: photographed the tree stumps, some boats, the derelict boat with the coal house in the background. I just missed the double rainbow but caught the last flickers of a small sunset.
Wednesday 3rd July
4.45 I set off southwards to see what I could find. Stopped at Brancaster first.
Noticed a barn owl on my way down to the beach. Photographed the line of groin posts I knew to be there. From there I went on to look at the windmill at Burham Overy but the sky was so grey it wouldn't even have made a decent holiday snap.
Then went on to Burnham Overy Staithe and photographed some boats.
After that I returned via Titchwell where I stopped to look at what the RSPB Reserve had to offer.
Back to the hotel by 6.40.
10.20 Left the hotel on foot and walked through the village, along Ship Lane to The Lifeboat Inn and then out past the coal barn to the coastal path. Walked as far as the hide, turned round and came back again. Chatted to a lady who had a camper van parked at the coal barn. Also chatted to the two men who were environmentalists and who were strimming the grass. One of them explained that there were going to be renovations to the sea defences and that they were moving the wild life to the freshwater marshes. They were doing this by making patch works of close cut grass and slightly longer grass. The natterjack toads like the long grass and the reptiles like the shorter grass and they come along later and collect them up. Chatted to the lady again and then walked on in the rain to the church. Had a look in there, it was huge and only held two services a month.
1.23 Back to our room and lunch.
2.20 Looked a The Orange Tree menu and then went on to The Lifeboat and looked at their menu. Preferred theirs and so booked for the evening. Went back to the Thornham tree stumps but they were not submerged at all...spring tides necessary.
2.45 Went back along the route I had used this morning, this time with B. Stopped at Burnham Overy Staithe and took some more photos.
3.30 Wells Next the Sea to photograph the beach huts. Chatted to the volunteers in the observation post.
4.30 From there we went to Burnham Market and bought a few things.
5.35 Back to our room.
6.47 Arrived at The Lifeboat Inn and had an excellent meal.
7.55 Back at the hotel. Changed back to Rohan clothes and set off for Hunstanton to photograph the cliffs in the sunset.
9.39 Packed up and came back to the hotel.
10.00 Downloaded photos and wrote diary and notes. 335 photographs took over an hour to download and then back up.
11.20 Packed up for the day
Thursday 4th July
6.40 Off to Holme to walk on the Nature Reserve and see what there was to photograph. Because I didn't wear the camera round my neck I missed a pair of swans taking off. However, did see two oystercatchers attacking a bird of prey, a lone ringed plover on the mud and a green woodpecker in one of the gardens along the track.
7.53 Back to the hotel.
9.50 B went for a walk around the village and I made alterations to the Harris diary.
11.05 Left for Houghton Hall and travelled along country lanes.
11.40 Arrived at the ticket kiosk and sorted out our tickets. Walked around the garden which must be one of the best I have ever seen. Fully stocked, interesting and varied and no weeds.
12.40 Took camera and unnecessary stuff back to the car and then went round the exhibition. In a way it was a disappointment because I expected huge paintings by great artists and although there were some great artists there were no stunning pictures except the Nicolas Poussin, 'The Holy Family with SS Elizabeth and John the Baptist'.
Lunch in the park at a picnic table. A guide said how much he would like to join us.
Then drove to Ringstead to have a look. Fascinating place in that there is nothing there except a few cottages but it seemed to be the centre of something. I think there must have been something of importance during Roman times because the straight line of the old route is interrupted there. There was a fascinating planted crop in a field there which looked a bit like a thistle.
From there, following the advice of the two walkers I met there, we went on to Old Hunstanton to try to walk on a path near the church that is only open on a Thursday. Apparently, it is part of an ancient right to gather firewood. We failed to find it. From there we went for a drive round Hunstanton to have a look at the flower displays. The Cornflowers along the ring road were lovely. After that we drove to the junction to turn to Holme and walked the Peddars Way back up to Ringstead. It was a there and back walk and we returned to the car by about 4.50.
From there we went to the Nature Reserve so that I could show B the new walkway across the reserve which offers fantastic views of the marshland and, at times, the beach. I had the thrill of watching a pair of Marsh Harriers performing aerobatic displays. Also saw Pied Wagtails, Skylarks, Greenfinches and lots of gulls and waders I failed to identify. Beautifully warm with strong sunshine. It felt like real holiday weather. Returned to the car at 5.35 and back to the hotel by 5.50.
The Lifeboat Inn for dinner at 6.45. It was busy there.
Friday 5th July
4.45 Left the hotel and went in the direction of Stiffkey. Stopped at Burnham Overy Staithe to photograph the sun over the water, again at the windmill and then drove on the Morston. I have never seen so many pigeons in my life before. I was constantly having to swerve or brake to avoid them. Arrived at Morston. Drove in to the quayside parking place and then spent 50 minutes or so taking photographs.
7.15 Back at the hotel for a cup of tea, downloading the photographs and diary.
8.55 Breakfast and another excellent one.
10.00 Checked out and visited the local Delicatessen. Didn’t find anything particularly local there. Called at the farm shop just along the road where there was lots of local stuff on offer as well as an amazing range of teas and coffee. Enjoyed chatting to the man who runs the shop. Stopped for petrol in Hunstanton and then went on to Norfolk Lavender at Heacham where we stopped to look at the farm animals. We added a sheep new to us to our collection: A Hungarian Screw Horn Racka Sheep. Bought a bottle of wine here to complete the picnic.
11.45 Left Norfolk Lavender and headed for Rutland Water.
1.30 Arrived at the car park by the shore and had our picnic under the trees looking out across the water. It was really pleasant with a group of young mothers with their children nearby, an elderly couple sitting in fold up chairs eating their lunch and another group nearby playing boule.
2.05 Left there and called in at Barnsdale Nursery which is just down the road. Bought the plants I wanted to buy last time we visited.
4.05 Arrived home. We enjoyed it so much we are planning to go back in November.