29 July 2023

A Nice Day Out

Except for the weather, it rained all day :-(

Another U3A bus pass outing, this time to Wivenhoe, a pretty town on the banks of the river Colne, with beautiful townhouses and old pubs. We took a bus from Chelmsford to Colchester, then from there to Wivenhoe.

I don't know about you dear reader, but there is only so much meandering
I can do when the weather is bad. It wasn't cold but the rain just
made it feel miserable.

So we didn't wander around as much as we would have had the weather
been dry and sunny.

I can see myself sitting in this lovely cabin on a hot day with a glass of Asti, looking out enjoying the view.

The very wet High Street

Interesting church spire

After lunch of fish'n'chips

we made our way back to the lovely old fashioned station for the
bus back to Colchester, and then home.

∼ Be safe and well ∼
Polly x

23 July 2023

A Nice Walk

Another nice walk with the U3A was around the coutryside of Little Baddow. Originally it was going to be in open countryside but because the weather had turned hot again our leader decided to go for the woodland option.

I prefer woods, the dappled shade, the soft leaves and soil underfoot, and the coolness. 

As usual we met in a pub car park. The area covered by our walk is very affluent, we passed some beautiful jaw dropping houses. 

Just around the corner from the pub we heard the familiar call of a peacock. We've had one in my village for a few weeks but he's gone now. This beauty above was in someone's drive. I wanted to get a good photo but I didn't want to trespass too far onto their property!

The lady in yellow in the middle of the photo above had mislaid her dog. Some of our party saw it running off in the opposite direction. It was an elderly rescue dog and a bit nervous but the lady was confident it would return, which it did. All was well.

A tranquil resting place

We saw some huge ant hills. It's difficult to see how big this one is because there was nothing to compare it with. It was about four feet wide by about three feet high.

Five miles later we were back at the pub for lunch

In the garden, I'm not sure if these were young peacocks,
the male didn't have the splendid tale. He approached very slowly

and eventually they wandered off together.

∼ Be safe and well ∼
Polly x

19 July 2023

A Good Read

Bone China by Laura Purcell
is an atmospheric gothic tale full of strange characters and whispers of folk lore.

Set in the 18th century consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft's family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. Dr Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment. With Louise’s help, he takes a group of local prisoners who are suffering from the illness and lodges them in a cave beneath the cliffs, where he claims the salty sea air will be good for their health
. Sea bathing and fresh air were recommended treatments for various ailments during the Victorian era, and Purcell’s details on Pinecroft’s research was influenced by real life cases from the time.
Whilst Louise admires her father’s medical reputation and assists in his work, she gets no public recognition as it would not have been possible for her to become a doctor. As well as putting her own health at risk from the disease, she also suspends the notion of marriage, motherhood and femininity.
Forty years later, Hester Why arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralysed and almost entirely mute Louise who spends her time in her cold room staring at her china collection. Hester has fled to Cornwall in an effort to escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers that her new home may be just as dangerous as her last. The other members of the household are a bit strange and taunt Hester with their folk tales and rituals to keep the fairies away. But how much of this is real or the imaginings of Hester and her love of gin and opium?

There’s a definite nod to Du Maurier with the Cornish setting, the house on the cliffs and the gothic nature.
I wondered “What was the point of the china?”. Perhaps it’s an emblem of the realm - tea services were fragile beautiful items used predominantly by ladies of society in social gatherings. Maybe in her later years Louise clung to the china as the nearest she got to being a feminine lady of leisure.

A very well crafted book with good characters. 

∼ Happy Reading∼ 

Polly x

15 July 2023


Well not quite the same as the call from burly lumberjacks!

Still, a bit impressive seeing him up there sawing off the branches and eventually the trunk of the dead eucalyptus tree, killed by last winter's frosts. He left the trunk bit level with the fence because there are some tiny new branches sprouting. His mate collected all the bits and put them through one of those wood chipper machines. He even raked the lawn afterwards. Thank goodness it was done before the high winds that we are now experiencing!

This part of the garden is looking dreary at the moment. A month ago it was splendid with all the roses blooming, red valerian, geum, blue things that I think are technically weeds but are quite nice, and a beautiful sweet smelling climbing shrub that I do know what it is but can't recall it at the moment! I keep telling myself to get better organised with more plants that emerge when others die down, but I forget!! There are some agapanthus, lilies, a pretty mauve shrub and a white shrub growing beyond that bright yellow thing, and the patio and hanging baskets of geraniums, verbena, calibrochia, petunias and lobelia are looking lovely.

∼ Be safe and well ∼
Polly x

11 July 2023

More Bingeing

When I first started watching 'Schitts Creek' the family annoyed me - a voice, an affectation, the ridiculous situation they were in, but before long I was laughing and suffering with them as they struggled through one set back after another, trying to settle into their new lives. I was hooked, I loved them, I binge watched the whole show, I couldn't get enough of  them. And now I mourn the loss of seeing that family. It's still on Netflix so I think I will watch it again at some point.

'Race Across The World' is a BBC programme where five pairs of travellers participate in epic races through many countries. I watched series 1 and 2 some time ago, but forgot who won, so I watched them again along with the latest series 3. I was so pleased with the winners of series 3. The aim of the challenge is to get from A to B, which involves thousands of miles and a number of checkpoints without taking planes. They must leave behind their smartphones and credit cards, and will not have access to the internet. The only money they have is the cash equivalent of their airfare from their starting destination to the finishing line. They must find ways to manage their budget and conduct their journey. If they run out of money, they must work for more to continue the journey. They can ask members of the public for help, including looking up timetables on the internet for them. They don't know the journey until they all meet at the starting point, they don't even know what clothing to pack, so they all packed for hot and cold, which is where their journeys took them. The winning duo win £20,000. Series 3 saw the duos travelling across Canada from the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic ocean, travelling north, south and criss crossing. What a stunning, beautiful country, I want to visit.

I recently watched a film called 'Fall', oh my word, my pulse rate quickened and my palms were sweaty, it was edge of my seat stuff. The story is about two thrill seeking friends Becky and Hunter. After a year of grieving the loss of her husband from a fall off a vertical cliff that the three experienced climbers were navigating, Becky reluctanly decides to confront her fears and join Hunter on a high-risk climb to the top of the abandoned 2,000-foot B67 TV tower in the middle of the Mojave desert. All goes well, they reach the ladder on the last leg, passing weather-beaten rusty metal and rattling rivets, which they should have paid more attention to (but if they had there wouldn't have been a film!) they reach the top, sit a while and then prepare for the climb down. Becky lowers herself down onto the ladder, it gives way.....

I've finally finished watching 'Better Call Saul'. I got a bit fed up with it, Saul became quite horrid, almost feral.

Another one I got fed up with is Stephen King's 'Under The Dome'. There were lots of people running around trying to solve the mystery of the Dome but not actually achieving anything, and the baddies were fooling everyone except me 😂 It did improve and I think there will be another series because of the way it ended.

'Malpratice'. This nail biting thriller was excellent. When the respected Dr. Lucinda Edwards loses an opioid overdose patient, an investigation is started, probing into her conduct on that night.

On Netflix 'The Thing About Pam' is just dreadful. It stars Renee Zellweger as Pam, a thoroughly nasty character with a face that looks like pastry. It's a true crime comedy-drama series based on a murder that took place in Troy, Missouri in 2011, detailing the involvement of Pam in it. I watched the first series utterly flabbergasted that it was based on real life, with most of the townsfolk being so stupid or ignorant. I don't think I will be watching the next series.

I've seen some trailers on channel 5 that look good, so I will start with those soon. 

I'm currently enjoying Wimbledon.

🎾 Be safe and well 🎾
Polly x

6 July 2023

A Good Read

Up: My Life Journey to the Top of Everest by Ben Fogle & Marina Fogle

In April 2018, seasoned adventurer Ben Fogle and Olympic cycling gold medallist Victoria Pendleton, along with mountaineer Kenton Cool, took on their most exhausting challenge yet – climbing Everest for the British Red Cross to highlight the environmental challenges mountains face. It would be harrowing and exhilarating in equal measure as they walked the fine line between life and death 8,000 metres above sea level.

For Ben, the seven-week expedition into the death zone was to become the adventure of a lifetime, as well as a humbling and enlightening journey. For his wife Marina, holding the family together at home, it was an agonising wait for news. Together, they dedicated the experience to their son, Willem Fogle, stillborn at eight months. Cradling little Willem to say goodbye, Ben and Marina made a promise to live brightly. To embrace every day. To always smile. To be positive and to inspire. And from the depths of their grief and dedication, Ben’s Everest dream was born.

Part memoir, part thrilling adventure, Ben and Marina’s account of his ascent to the roof of the world is told with their signature humour and warmth, as well as with profound compassion.

I like Ben Fogle, and the TV programmes he has done.

I enjoyed this, and having trekked to Everest Base Camp I recognised some of his experiences up to Base Camp.

∼ Happy Reading∼ 

Polly x

2 July 2023

BBQ and Scones

BBQ in the village hall on Saturday

I had a beef burger with all the sides, delicious.
It was a good evening with music, table tennis in the hall, a garden to sit in
and children could enjoy the pre-school play equipment.

And this afternoon was cream teas on the church lawn. A good weekend

∼ Be safe and well ∼
Polly x

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