29 June 2023

U3A Outing

Having recently joined the U3A I've joined a few of their groups - the London group; travel; walking, and the bus pass group. I've only done one outing with the bus pass group but plan to do many more. There's something quite 'Last of the Summer Wine' about a group of pensioners meeting at the bus station for a charabanc! 
A couple of weeks ago we went to Burnham-on-Crouch. I thought it would be like Maldon with lots of interesting shops but I was a bit disappointed, there weren't many.

                        Clock Tower
I meandered along the High St, visiting a couple of charity shops

along the promenade 

The Rio Cinema is a purpose-built, two-screen, 280-seat cinema. The building dates from 1931. The Burnham Rio is one of the cheapest cinemas in the county.

Then on to a pub for a fish'n'chip lunch before catching the bus home. Despite the lack of shops it was a nice day out with glorious weather.

∼ Be safe and well ∼
Polly x

23 June 2023

A Good Read

The Heights by Louise Candlish
The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among warehouses in London. Its roof terrace is so discreet, you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing there. You're glancing around looking at the window of the flat directly opposite and that’s when you see a man - a man you’d recognise anywhere. He may be older now, but it’s definitely him. But that can’t be because he’s been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact - because you’re the one who killed him.
The book opens when Ellen Saint sees Kieran standing on the rooftop terrace of a building. How is this possible? She KNOWS he died two years ago. Seeing Kieran creates a rage in her that can’t be extinguished. How is it possible this monster is still walking the earth and what will she do about it?
The story is told from several points of view. First are the details of the events that destroyed her family. There is a journalist who is sitting in on a writing class that Ellen attends, observing Ellen and the things she writes and comparing them to events in Ellen's life. There is Ellen's side of things, what she has written as her story, full of blind rage and fury that overshadows everything else in her life. There is the point of view of Ellen's ex husband, Vic, then there is the current day. As the story is revealed, we find that things look very different when seen through the eyes of each person.

The writing style is very good, slow burn high tension keeps you agitated. You keep waiting, something sinister is coming, and the introduction of ‘high place phenomenon’ which means a sudden urge to jump when in high places, racks up the tension!

∼ Happy Reading∼ 

Polly x

18 June 2023


Orange and pistachio cake was absolutely delicious. It was bigger than this to start with.
I took a quick photo inbetween snapping the planes, mainly to check the camera was working by listening to it click when I pressed the shoot button! Explanation later....

Yesterday M and I were out for coffee and cake when planes suddenly started flying overhead. At first I thought it was to celebrate the King's official birthday. One of the many perks of being the reigning monarch is having two birthdays each year. The British monarch’s official birthday is celebrated on a Saturday in June, usually the first or second weekend. Why? well mostly because of the weather. Queen Elizabeth was born in April and King Charles was born in November, months when the weather could be chilly for outdoor celebrations. 

This birthday tradition was started by George II in 1748 when his November birthday was too cold for a celebratory parade, 
a celebration of the monarch
as well as the armed forces - the annual Trooping the Colour Military Parade.

M then said that she thought this spectacular flypast across the country was to mark the retirement of one of its most iconic planes. The C-130 Hercules is one
of the RAF's most important aircraft, used for tactical transport.

Who would want to build a stubby turboprop cargo aircraft
at the dawn of the jet age?

It was 1951, and the U.S. Air Force wanted aircraft capable of hauling large bulky equipment, including artillery pieces and tanks, over long distances. It had to land in tight spaces, slow to 125 knots for paratroop drops and fly, if need be, with one engine. What the Air Force wanted, in other words, was a tough, versatile heavylifter with plenty of “trunk” space.

Hall Hibbard, Lockheed’s chief engineer, viewed the request and saw potential. Design genius Kelly Johnson, however, saw potential disaster, a diversion from the high-speed, high-performance jet fighters that were his focus. “If you send that in,” Johnson told his boss, referring to an early proposal for the aircraft, “you’ll destroy the Lockheed Company.”

It’s a good thing Hibbard didn’t listen. When the prototype YC-130 taxied for its inaugural flight on August 23rd 1954, it was clear to all - even Johnson - that the Lockheed engineers had created something timeless.

Later officially nicknamed Hercules, the prototype had a cargo deck that was capable of carrying an astonishing 300 pounds per square foot, lifted into the air after a ground roll of a mere 855 feet, an astoundingly short distance considering most aircraft of that size required 5,000 feet.

Since its first flight in 1954, the Hercules has been everywhere and done just about anything. Aircrews have flown it to both poles, landed or airdropped military supplies to hot spots from Vietnam to Afghanistan and performed countless humanitarian relief operations around the globe. Hercules planes were also used for crucial refuelling pit stops.

There were more planes that I wasn't fast enough to capture, or I wasn't pointing in the right direction! but I did see them all, they were magnificent. I'm really pleased with the ones I did photograph because I couldn't see my phone screen - the light was very bright, I was just pointing and hoping for the best!

∼ Be safe and well ∼
Polly x

16 June 2023

Rufus' Diary

Hello dear reader, I hope you are well and enjoying the glorious weather here in the UK, or coping with colder weather elsewhere. Needless to say Polly is enjoying it. Her daughter in Australia said they had minus 1 degree recently ... brrr I didn't realise it got that cold 😰  
We're going out much earlier for our walks, 7.30 when it's lovely and cool, and going where there is more shade.

I think this is Hawthorn blossom, it's been spectacular this year

Polly loves listening to the birds singing

Unfortunately we haven't seen any Bee Orchids this year.

A new addition to the bonfire area. First there was the car, then the scooter, which has since disappeared

now there is a heron.
Polly always has a look round to see what's new - she's nosey!

In the garden, the gazebo is up, the roses are glorious
and the geraniums are pretty.

This is one of the places Polly goes to get summer plants, it's a small independant chap a few miles down the road. He has lots of lovely old stuff that he was hoping to exhibit in a small museum on his property, but the council wouldn't grant permission.

Polly has been busy making lap quilts. It's usually a winter project. 

She has three on the go at the moment! the bottom one is bees, the middle is Lightning McQueen from the Cars movie, and the top one is Sheriff Woody. 

When he was little Polly's grandson loved the 'Cars' movie. Every time she visited she watched it with him. (She enjoyed it too :-) )

She should be working on her Lake View dolls house!   

I'm going into the garden to lay in the shade and join Polly who is reading on her Kindle.

∼ Be safe and well ∼
Rufus 🐾

11 June 2023

WI Garden Visit

Last week our WI meeting was at a glorious garden in a nearby hamlet. Most of my WI ladies have known our hosts for many years.

The house and gardens are truly picturesque

After a warm welcome from hosts T and L, T gave us a tour of their beautiful gardens. I had visited a few years ago when it was open to the public, but I never tire of visiting delightful gardens.

A well stocked Koi fish pond. At feeding time T taps his foot at the edge of the pond and the fish appear for their food!

Lovely Alpine House

A quiet corner

Fruit and veg

These lovely ladies have a very nice home. Each girl usually lays one egg a day.

Immaculately organised shed to the left, leading to T's mancave,
in the middle is a cabin where they hold their wine evenings!

T's mancave, it has a wall mounted TV on the wall to the left.

Japanese garden

Alexa plays music here

Our lovely afternoon ended with tea and delicious cakes - 
banana and chocolate and peanut flapjacks 😋

∼ Be safe and well ∼
Polly x

6 June 2023

A Nice Walk

This U3A walk was around the lovely picturesque village of Writtle. It was a circular walk starting and finishing at the Rose & Crown pub. 

Past fields. If you zoom in you can just about see some sheep.

Over sturdy bridges

Through the beautifully kept gardens of the College

The weather was glorious

Into the park

There were two horses in the field behind me, a very pretty brown one and a handsome white one. They were curious and friendly, perhaps hoping for some treats, it's not good to feed them though. I don't know why I didn't take a photo.

Back in the village, at the end of this road to the pub where I had made a monumental error. We ordered our food before starting the walk. I thought I had ordered cider braised pork belly, instead I had ordered hickory & maple pork ribs! It was just ok. Must concentrate next time.

∼ Be safe and well ∼
Polly x

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