My write up of yesterday’s tour round Watatunga Wildlife Reserve near Watlington in Norfolk.
Watlington, just down the A10 from King’s Lynn, might seem like an unlikely place to see interesting wildlife, but it harbours a secret, accessed by means of an prepossessing looking gravel track that leads to a carpark and reception centre both of which are within eye- and earshot of the A10…
THE WATATUNGA WILDLIFE RESERVE
This establishment, whose website has the strapline “Conservation Today for Wildlife Tomorrow” is explored by motorized buggy, which means that you need at least one person in your group to have a full driving license (also the walk from Watlington station would take some time and a lot of it is along a busy road with no footpath) and is home to a range of interesting species (birds and herbivorous mammals only).
Yesterday a number of us from NAS West Norfolk got to experience this. We used five four seater buggies and one six seater for our groups, with me sharing a buggy with our branch chair and her son. We had a guide who told us what could be seen. After a stretch along a sand track and then through a tunnel which was ankle deep in water we got to the reserve proper and we were not disappointed – lots of wonderful creatures were indeed on show.
After our arrival back at the reception area I got a lift back to the train station, arriving just in time to catch the 18:23 to King’s Lynn, meaning I was home just before seven.
Even with the difficulties imposed by being in a moving vehicle (with occasional stops, but strictly no getting out of the vehicle at any point) I got some splendid pictures:
I hope you enjoy these pictures of the wonderful wildlife of Watatunga, just as I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the creatures yesterday, even in less than ideal weather.
An account of an outing yesterday, with huge numbers of photographs.
This was an outing arranged by my mother and my aunt which happened yesterday. Binham is a village about ten miles beyond the market town of Fakenham, Holt is a Georgian market town a little beyond Binham (more of this later). Binham is home a to an eponymous blue cheese, and also to the remains of a Benedictine priory (the same order who in the days when they were powerful controlled Ely, where the cathedral still stands). Holt as it is today is almost entirely the product of rebuilding after a huge fire in 1708 reduced the town to ruins, and as such is one the most noteworthy Georgian towns anywhere.
Most of this section will be told by means of the photographs I took while at the priory, starting with some which give you some information about it:
Just before moving on I will note that although this is an English Heritage site they do not charge for admission, clearly not reckoning they would take enough to justify paying someone to work there selling tickets.
INSIDE THE PARISH CHURCH
This is the only part of what was once a construction on an awesome scale that is still standing and usable – the rest was very determinedly destroyed in 1539 (not quite a match for Treebeard and the ents at Isengard, but a fairly thorough piece of destruction!). There are some very interesting exhibits within the church.
Outside the church there is a substantial area covered by ruins:
Having finished at the priory and the shop selling local produce (including raw – i.e. unpasteurised – milk from the local cattle, not available in quantities of less than a litre, which since it only stays good for a maximum of four days is too much to be worth buying) we headed to the village pub for lunch.
The first good sign at the pub was that it had three beers, two decent and one excellent, on tap. The food looked good as well, and while we were waiting for it to arrive there was what I chose to interpret as a further good sign, a delivery from a supplier based in nearby Fakenham. The food turned out to be excellent and we went on our way happy.
We did not spend long in Holt, a few minutes exploring and photographing, ending in the shoe shop, where I bought a pair of what looked like excellent walking shoes (more about them in a later post).
A photographic account of Downham Market, an old market town in Norfolk.
As those of you who read the post I put up earlier today will know I spent part of Saturday in the town of Downham Market. These post showcases everything I saw there other than the Town Hall.
This was my first visit to Downham Market, as opposed to passing through the station en route to further afield destinations. The pictures here were taken at two distinct periods, in the morning immediately post arrival, and in the afternoon when I had rather more time to kill than I would have wished. The only way across the tracks at Downham Market is by way of a level crossing, and the train from London to King’s Lynn arrives just before the one going the other way. The crossing gates close a couple of minutes before the King’s Lynn train arrives and stay closed until the London train has departed, which means that if you are looking to catch the King’s Lynn train, which departs from the far platform from the town centre and the crossing gates close you have missed it, and such was my fate on Saturday. For those affected this also explains both my later than usual arrival at the venue for Musical Keys and the fact that I was a tad breathless when I got there – I had stepped off a train at 15:20 at King’s Lynn and walked straight out to the Scout Hut in something of a hurry.
THE REST OF DOWNHAM MARKET
I start with two pictures to set the scene, a huge pictorial map which can be seen in the town centre and the information board about the railway:
The ‘Downham’ part of Downham Market comes from Anglo-Saxon (afterall, we are in the lands of the North Folk of the East Angles) and literally means ‘homestead on a hill’, and indeed the market town that grew up around that homestead (it has been a market town since Anglo-Saxon times) is slightly elevated from the surrounding countryside, which in Norfolk constitutes being on a hill! These photos are presented in the order in which they were taken.
I realised that there could be only one explanation for a signpost in cengtral Downham Market giving the distance to the town of Civray, namely that the two towns are twinned. Civray for the record is pretty much exactly halfway between Poitiers and Angouleme, due east of La Rochelle. I include a map as well as a close up of the sign.
Producing a photographic wall calendar has become a tradition for this blog, and courtesy of a magnificent offer at Vistaprint (25 calendars plus postage for £129) this year’s are now on order (eta with me October 25th). The rest of this post gives you a preview.
Most of the pictures for this calendar come from my Scottish holiday, so they do no relate to particular months. There are one or two exceptions as you will see.
An account of an educational event about the Gaywood River that took place in the Scout Hut on Beulah Street on Sunday.
I have had a very busy few days, which is why there have been no new posts here since Saturday. I will mention my activities since Monday in later posts, but this post is solely concerned with the activity that dominated (in a good way) my Sunday. At the end of this post I will be including a variety of links related in various ways to its content. Here is a map showing the course of the Gaywood River:
FINDING OUT ABOUT THE EVENT
I got an email from my aunt a few days before the event was due to happen explaining her role in it and asking if I wished to meet her there and go back to hers for sausage and chips or if I would prefer a saturday supper. I decided that the event could be quite interesting, so I opted for the former course of action.
Since the event was taking place at the Scout Hut on Beulah Street, which is on the bank of the Gaywood (Beulah Street ends in a bridge that crosses the Gaywood into the car park that serves the Scout Hut) I was going to walking, and since it was a bright, sunny morning I decided on an extended route. Leaving my flat I headed across Baker Lane Car Park to the bridge over the upper Purfleet, heading across King Street to the north bank of the lower Purfleet. Here are some photos from that early part of the walk:
From there I followed the line of the Great Ouse as far as my favourite cormorant observation point…
…before heading round by way of All Saint’s Church to the Library and entering the parkland area, following the Broadwalk until the path through the Vancouver Garden splits off from it, when I followed that and then the path out of the Vancouver Garden that joins the Tennyson Road end of St John’s Walk, at which point I was back on what would be the officially recommended walking route to Gaywood. There were squirrels about (in King’s Lynn only the grey ‘bushy-tailed rat’ variety as opposed to the red ‘Squirrel Nutkin” variety), though it is not always easy to get good photos of them…
From Tennysod Road I followed the footpath the runs between the King Edward VII Academy and the Lynn Academy to Gaywood Road, which I crossed, then crossing the Gaywood on a pedestrian bridge before following its bank all the way to the Scout Hut.
AT THE SCOUT HUT
Immediately outside the Scout Hut the Gaywood Valley Conservation Group had a gazebo and display boards (it was there that I took the photo that appears in the introduction).
Inside the hut was the Civic Society Stall, a cake stall, and various river related learning activities (colouring in pictures of river creatures for the artistically minded, an A-Z quiz of which more later). Although it was not the first thing I looked at, because it was my aunt’s reason for being there I start with…
THE CIVIC SOCIETY STALL
They were looking for people who knew about the history of the Gaywood river, because information boards will be going up at various points along it. They already had some good stuff, but wanted more.
Now we turn out attention to…
THE REST OF THE INDOOR ACTIVITIES
The cake stand looked awesome but discipline prevailed, and I did not sample any of the products. Although it was not really aimed at people my age I did the quiz, and predictably got all the answers in short order. The colouring proved popular, and many of the coloured creatures were then stuck on to a large picture of a river on the wall of the hut.
That is the inside stuff finished, but there was also plenty going on…
IN THE BACK GARDEN
There were two major centres of activity in the back garden, and I make my first port of call there, as I did on the day, at…
THE NORFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST GAZEBO
The Norfolk Wildlife Trust were showing children how to make portable ‘bug hotels’, and they also had a natural history display including a folder full of photographs of animals, and a stash of leaflets, to which I may return in a later post.
We now come to what was for me the best of all the exhibits, courtesy of…
THE NORFOLK RIVERS TRUST
There were two parts to this exhibit. The minor part was display showing graphically how different treatment of land in the winter affects the soil:
The second part of this display was a living exhibit from the river – two large buckets of river water with creatures that naturally live in it there to be seen (the amount of dissolved sediment in the water, the small size of these creatures and the fact that some of them live on the bottom of the river means that this the only way to make them visible). There was also a small sample dish which the person running the exhibit used to show as very small curiosities…
There was also a story teller outside…
To start this section we look at organisations who were actually involved in some way or other with this event:
I conclude this section by mentioning a couple of bloggers who regularly feature nature in their work:
CindyKnoke – keen photographer and nature lover. Below is the feature image from (and link to) her most recent post:
Anna – her posts about fighting to save nature in her part of the world are always inspiring, and her two recent series of posts “Paradise on Earth” and “Butterflies in Trosa” are both stunning. Below is the feature image from (and link to) her most recent butterfly post.
This was an excellent event and I learned a good deal about the history and nature of the Gaywood River. I have one kvetch which is that the event was poorly publicised – I only found out about it through my aunt and then only a few days before it was happening, meaning that anyone else I might have alerted would almost certainly have had other plans. If half of you have enjoyed this post even half as much as I enjoyed the event I have done a good job. I finish by urging you to take the time to follow up those links.
Some thoughts on round two of the 2017 six nations, and a few Sunday shares.
Yesterday saw the first two matches in round two of the 2017 Six Nations. This afternoon Scotland and France will fight out the final game of the weekend.
ENGLAND SQUEEZE PAST WALES
In the women’s match which preceded this England won 63-0, which gave them 89 unanswered points in their last 120 minutes of rugby (they were 0-13 down at half-time against France last week).
Wales dominated the men’s match for long periods, but too often did not turn pressure into points and eventually a 77th minute try put England in front for the first and only time of the match. England have not been all that impressive in either of their matches to date, but is the mark of champions to find a way to win even when not playing well.
IRELAND THRASH ITALY
Ireland were always in control of this match, with two players (Stander and Gilroy) recording hat tricks of tries. For the first hour the scoreline was semi-respectable but then the floodgates opened and the Irish winning margin mushroomed to over 50 points.
Two matches in to this tournament it is hard to see Italy doing anything other than bring up the rear, a long way adrift of the rest.
SOME SUNDAY SHARES
We start the shares with a couple of public transport related bits…
THE GREED OF THE PRIVATE RAIL COMPANIES
Private operators have creamed of more than £3.5 billion in profits from running Britain’s railways over the last ten years, while services get worse and prices go up. Click on the image below to read in more detail, courtesy of AOL:
AN EXTENSION FOR THE BAKERLOO LINE
The extension, from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham is expected to open in 2028-9. Click on the image below to read the Time Out piece in full. I have already pressed a link on to my London transport themed website and will be writing about it in more detail in due course.
THE WENSUM VALLEY UNDER THREAT
The Wensum Valley is a very beautiful part of Norfolk, but a malign group of ‘planners’ are putting this beauty at risk – they intend to send a big new road through the heart of it. Please watch the video below to see what we are seeking to protect:
A COUPLE OF REGULARS
Another reminder that James and Sons next auction is on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of February, the first two days at our shop, the third at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. Click on the image below, from lot 891, to view a full catalogue…
Finally, the Autism Awareness Cup 2017 will be taking place at Ingoldisthorpe Social Club on June 4th. Click on the image below to visit the website.
An account of today at work and yesterday at Musical keys.
This post has two very disparate strands – yesterday’s Musical Keys event for Autistic People and tody at work.
While I have imaged a wide variety of stuff today at work I am going to concentrate on some commemorative coin lots that were of particular quality…
The 12 years and older session of the Musical Keys workshop run as an NAS West Norfolk activity started at 4:45PM yesterday and ran until 6:15PM. I was there both as participant and as one 0f the two designated committee members to be present at the event (the other was group leader Karan whose younger son was participating). As usual with Musical Keys the main piece of equipment we were using was a miniature computer:
For the first part of the session we were playing computer drums:
After a mid-session break during which a birthday cake which Karan had very kindly made (gluten-free as her son has an adverse reaction to gluten) and which was absolutely delicious, we moved on to the second part of the session, which featured a system whereby lines had to be drawn across the screen so that balls would bounce of them to create sounds. For those of my generation it looks a bit like a very early BBC Micro game!
The basic set up
An arrangement of lines which prevents any of the balls (released from the nozzle you can see top centre) from escaping. I do not know what kind of sound this generates, as at no time while the sound was on did I have this many lines in place.
As anyone who knows what the weather was like in King’s Lynn yesterday early evening will be aware it was not suitable for photography on the way to the Scout Hut, where as so often with NAS West Norfolk events this took place, but I did get this picture on the way home…
Acknowledgements to the Eastern Daily Press for this story of local diversity…
From dusk ‘til dawn, volunteers scoured 25 nature reserves and beauty spots to see how many species they could record there.
And now, with the results all in and analysed, the winners can be revealed: with Norfolk sites in the top two spots. The so-called “Bioblitz” study was carried out by the National Trust at 25 of its coastal sites in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The surveys were carried out over 24 hours, with volunteers scouring their patches for species, to see how many they could find in the time.
The location with the greatest number of species was the Brancaster estate, where 1,018 were recorded. In second place was Blakeney nature reserve, with 934 species. The Brancaster Bioblitz took place in July. Keith Miller, coastal ranger at Brancaster, said: “We only had 24 hours to survey wildlife. I used every single one. From surveying for owls at midnight to leading bat walks for families the following evening.
A combination of sharing a new find of mine and advertising an event that my mother and aunt are involved in.
I am doing two things in this post, related by location. One, I am sharing a new find in the map department (available for free at King’s Lynn Bus Station), and two I am advertising an event that will be taking place at Gresham’s School, Holt at which my mother and my aunt will have a table-top stall.
ACTIVITIES IN THE EAST OF ENGLAND
This is the title given to this double-sided fold out leaflet that I recently spotted in the Information Centre at King’s Lynn Bus Station. I have six pictures to share…
A FUNDRAISER AT GRESHAM’S SCHOOL
Now zooming in on one particular event that will be taking place in the East of England. A table-top sale will be taking place at Gresham’s School on Saturday April 2nd between 10AM and 4PM to raise money for Walking With the Wounded. My mother and my aunt will be running a stall at which fruit prints (I am showing images of 12 out of a substantial collection) and knitted tea cosies (I only have an image of one, but I have seen two others in advanced satges of preparation). I don’t know what the planned prices for the cosies are, but the prints will be sold at £5 for one or 3 for £12.
Some details and images from James and Sons, and another mention of the Positive Autism Awareness Conference.
Imaging for James and Sons’ March Auction (March 30th and probably 31st) is proceeding apace. I imaged the maps that from the bulk of this post a while back, although I am also including something from today.
A BINDER FULL OF ANTIQUE MAPS
These maps form a continuous sequence from lot 391-416 inclusive, and without further ado here are the pictures:
A SPEEDWAY SPREAD
I am concluding this section with the images of a set of speedway badges mounted on canvas which have been divided into 10 lots. Here is a single image of the entire collection:
Here is the gallery of individual images, including some close ups of distinctive badges:
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
The images I have shared above are all for the March Auction, as previously stated, but James and Sons have auctions before that, our main February auction at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich on the 24th, and a smaller auction taking place at our shop on 5 Norwich Street, Fakenham on the 25th. Full catalogues for both auctions are ready for viewing:
The March auction, at the Prince of Wales Suite, Fakenham Racecourse, is likely be a two day sale, on the 30th and 31st.
Since I have a ‘dates for your diary section’ I conclude this post with a reminder of the Postive Autism Awareness Conference taking place at the Dukes Head Hotel, King’s Lynn on April 15th, commencing at 9:30. I am reliably informed that tickets are selling like hot cakes. After the links below, a copy of the official poster is at the bottom of this post.