A Travellerspoint blog

December 2018

Out and about in England

...including London and other places within easy reach

sunny 22 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II on SteveJD's travel map.

A few days after our return to England, we had the annual parade of vintage and veteran cars from Ipswich to Felixstowe. Our nearest vantage point was the High Road in Trimley St Mary. The vehicles range from oldies to quite modern (in our eyes!) cars - and buses, fire engines etc. They end up on the Esplanade in Felixstowe but this year we didn't venture down there, although it was a lovely day - still winding down from our travels.

Old and new

Old and new

Out for a picnic?

Out for a picnic?

20180506_P1150803.jpgA couple more oldies

A couple more oldies

There had to be a Rolls!

There had to be a Rolls!

Family relaxing in the sun watching cars

Family relaxing in the sun watching cars

While we had been in South Africa, we had watched quite a bit of the International Rugby Sevens tournament, so when we saw that it was on in London we bought tickets for the final. We had never been to the stadium at Twickenham and I have to say it was quite an experience with some superb rugby - a great weekend,

We had a good view from high in the stadium

We had a good view from high in the stadium

USA trying to steal lineout from Ireland

USA trying to steal lineout from Ireland

French runner being chased down by Welsh player

French runner being chased down by Welsh player

Ref explaining the rules to an Aussie (in match against England)

Ref explaining the rules to an Aussie (in match against England)

I may have mentioned that I volunteer with the National Trust at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. Through meeting other volunteers there, I learned of and joined the East Anglia National Trust Association (ESNTA). This is a social group who organise regular talks and less regular coach trips. We have made good use of the coach trips which have taken us to some surprising places, such as, in late July, The Postal Museum in London. We were dropped at the Museum of London where we had a welcome cuppa before walking through where postal buildings used to be and arriving at Postman's Park, a lovely little treed park where office workers come for a break. At one end is the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice. This was the idea of George Watts but it was never completed so only 53 of the planned 120 memorial tiles were ever completed. From near the park, we were collected and taken to Exmouth Markets (of which we had never heard) for our lunch break before being taken through the back streets to the museum. This in itself is fascinating but there is also a separate building which houses the underground postal system. This used to whiz post to a number of stations in London for offloading onto mail trains which served the whole of the country. Although this was abandoned as a way of beating London traffic, it remains, at least in part, as a circuit on which we rode in adapted mail train coaches on part of the route.

Sunken garden at the Museum of London

Sunken garden at the Museum of London

Some of the ESNTA folk in Postman's Park

Some of the ESNTA folk in Postman's Park

Some of the tiles on the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

Some of the tiles on the Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

The Exmouth Arms in Exmouth Gardens

The Exmouth Arms in Exmouth Gardens

Methods of postal delivery through the ages

Methods of postal delivery through the ages

Head of statue of Sir Rowland Hill (founder of the Penny Post) peering over the top of a London bus

Head of statue of Sir Rowland Hill (founder of the Penny Post) peering over the top of a London bus

Map of the routes used by the underground postal delivery system

Map of the routes used by the underground postal delivery system

One of the underground postal trains

One of the underground postal trains

One of the trains opened up ready for us to board

One of the trains opened up ready for us to board

20180724_P1150932.jpgTwo examples of images and videos displayed on parts of the tunnel wall at stopping points

Two examples of images and videos displayed on parts of the tunnel wall at stopping points

As mentioned above, we live near Felixstowe and are bracketed by two rivers, the Orwell to the south and the Deben to the north. The latter flows past Sutton Hoo, so I see it quite often. It also runs through the lovely town of Woodbridge and in the summer we took ourselves for a walk along the path by the river to enjoy the sights and sounds of the town and river.

Black-headed Gull

Black-headed Gull

Ladybird on wild fennel

Ladybird on wild fennel

Starlings flocking in bushes near blackberries

Starlings flocking in bushes near blackberries

Windblown Mute Swan

Windblown Mute Swan

A large yacht weaves its way past the Tidemill building

A large yacht weaves its way past the Tidemill building

The yacht weaving through the moored boats with the church on the left

The yacht weaving through the moored boats with the church on the left

Sunlit seedheads

Sunlit seedheads

Shortly after this we went down to Surrey to meet some good friends, Dougal & Gill McTavish from South Africa (we had met them when we lived in what used to be Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe). They run a game reserve and their daughter Lynne, who has taken over the main operations, had been over to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Brighton University so it was a wonderful time to get together. No photos from there but on our way home we stopped to visit Down House and garden, This had been really well done with the upstairs mainly devoted to information panels and small displays with most of the ground floor rooms being set as they would have been in Darwin's day. The gardens were lovely and you could see where Darwin had carried out some of his experiments. Well worth a visit. On or way home we stopped off for a long overdue drop in on an old school friend of mine, Nick Gregory and his wife Mary. As always in the instances, it is as if we only saw them yesterday - strangely, none of us seems to age!

20180807_P1150966.jpgTwo views of Down House

Two views of Down House

White-tailed Bummblebee on, I think, Echinops flower

White-tailed Bummblebee on, I think, Echinops flower

Brimstone butterfly in the garden

Brimstone butterfly in the garden

Begonias in the greenhouse

Begonias in the greenhouse

P1130652.JPGSarracenia and Venus Fly Trap insectivorous plants

Sarracenia and Venus Fly Trap insectivorous plants

Towards the end of August we took a long overdue trip to Lackford Lakes, one of the best Suffolk Wildlife Trust sites. We didn't really give ourselves enough time but still saw a good variety of wildlife and it is definitely on the return list.

Panoramic view over one of the lakes

Panoramic view over one of the lakes

Mating damselflies

Mating damselflies

Cormorants share their island with a heron

Cormorants share their island with a heron

Dragonfly on reed seed head

Dragonfly on reed seed head

Reeds with reflections

Reeds with reflections

Blackberries were just beginning to ripen - yum!

Blackberries were just beginning to ripen - yum!

We picked a nice load of blackberries a few weeks later near Blythburgh to the north of us and have enjoyed these in jams and puddings since then. Must try to be more organised next year and pick more as they are delicious.

Every year, in the summer, Felixstowe hosts Art on the Prom in which crafts and arts of all varieties are displayed along the length of the Esplanade and usually manages to pick a fine day for a day out, as happened this year.

It was quite a busy day

It was quite a busy day

The only shark we are likely to see in Suffolk!

The only shark we are likely to see in Suffolk!

Colourful artwork

Colourful artwork

There was even room for a South African kiosk (food and drink, not art!)

There was even room for a South African kiosk (food and drink, not art!)

Flowers and beach huts along the seafront

Flowers and beach huts along the seafront

I have mentioned Sutton Hoo a few times and during September, I performed my last 'normal' duty before the site was closed for major project works. For the benefit of those who have never heard of Sutton Hoo, it is the site of the richest find of Anglo-Saxon treasure in Britain. Sutton Hoo House, now known as Tranmer House, was the home of Mrs Edith Pretty and in 1938 she invited Basil Brown, a self-taught archaeologist, to investigate the burial mounds on her property (there are about 20 in total). He investigated some and found that one had been a ship burial but all had been robbed, probably in Tudor times. He rather reluctantly came back in 1939 and within a short time found that Mound 1 was intact. The soils are mostly very acidic so almost all organic material had decayed. However, he carefully uncovered row after row of ship bolts and compressed sand making out the shape of the ship. At this stage the British Museum became interested and involved in excavating what they believed was a Viking ship. When the first treasure was found, they realised that it was Anglo-Saxon. The majority of the original finds are in the British Museum but the National Trust, who took the site on in 2000, had beautiful replicas made, in particular the shoulder clasps, belt buckle, sword, shield and helmet. If you go to the British Museum, you will see the jigsaw puzzle results of piecing together the fragments of the helmet but at Sutton Hoo, we have a magnificent replica made by the Royal Armourers - also a magnificent huge helmet sculpture. The following are a few of the photos I have taken on visits to Sutton Hoo, either on duty or as a visitor.

The huge helmet replica that greets visitors

The huge helmet replica that greets visitors

A misty morning

A misty morning

A dragon among the bluebells

A dragon among the bluebells

Spring scene with the Stable Block in the background

Spring scene with the Stable Block in the background

The Gar Seat (don't ask!)

The Gar Seat (don't ask!)

A frosty walk down into the valley with Woodbridge just visible on the other side of the Deben

A frosty walk down into the valley with Woodbridge just visible on the other side of the Deben

Tranmer House

Tranmer House

20161010_160735.jpgTwo views of the replica helmet

Two views of the replica helmet

The Drawing Room in Tranmer House before the major project

The Drawing Room in Tranmer House before the major project

Tranmer House beyond the mounds (the large mound to the right was reconstructed to see how long degradation takes)

Tranmer House beyond the mounds (the large mound to the right was reconstructed to see how long degradation takes)

4bbef8c0-faed-11e8-8b0b-4b78d7c0b010.jpg captopn=The Squash Court and Stable BlcokSkylark by the mounds

Skylark by the mounds

House Martins in nest on Squash Court eaves

House Martins in nest on Squash Court eaves

An Autumn scene

An Autumn scene

Spitfire and Hurricane flypast over Tranmer House during Mrs Pretty's Garden Party recreation

Spitfire and Hurricane flypast over Tranmer House during Mrs Pretty's Garden Party recreation

I think that will do for now and our next blog will probably cover October through to some time before our departure for Australia in April.

Posted by SteveJD 05:55 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged birds london cars suffolk woodbridge felixstowe national_trust down_house lackford_lakes sutton_hoo Comments (1)

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