An unexpected treat!

November 23, 2009 at 8:13 pm | Posted in Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 4 Comments
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We’d intended to have a day trip up to Blakeney Point yesterday, on the north Norfolk coast. It’s an area of slightly bleak but beautiful marshland, famous for its bird-life and a sunsets, and a lovely place for a walk. Unfortunately it was pouring when I woke up, and I was as a stiff as a board and in pain, so pretty much my first thought on waking was, ‘We ain’t goin’ nowhere.’ My second thought was, ‘Then again … it is only half-past-five…’

In typical Polly Penguin doing the positive thing fashion I thought, ‘I’m sure if I go to sleep again I’ll be fine when I wake up, and so will the weather.’ I wasn’t. It wasn’t.

But gradually, with some TLC (and perhaps more importantly coffee) from hubby (and some TLC from middle-sized cat too) I started to thaw and bend, and the sun started to come out, so we thought we’d risk it and go.

I’m so glad we did, although our arrival and first few minutes were not auspicious. It’s quite a long drive so we felt the need to avail ourselves of the facilities and then top up on coffee, but although Blakeney is a famous beauty spot it is remarkably unspoiled. This is of course a GOOD THING … until you want coffee and a loo. I remembered seeing a big sign outside the King’s Arms saying ‘Kenco Coffee served here,’ so we trudged down, me still somewhat stiff and pained. There was a girl outside emptying bins who gave us a blank look and then ignored us. I eventually found the door, which didn’t look too inviting, went in and was me by a fellow giving me another blank stare. ‘Are you doing coffees?’ I asked. Blank stare. Then, ‘Nah, we don’t open ’til twelve.’ I pointed out that the big sign outside saying coffee was being served was, in that case a tad misleading. We walked out to the accompaniment of further blank stares.

Things got better after that. We decided to brave the Blakeney Hotel. Nothing outside to say they served coffee – it’s not the kind of place that has notices outside. Far too grand. In fact it’s not the kind of place that a pair of scruffs in walking boots and wellies felt all that comfortable about going in to, but we thought we’d risk it, especially as nobody really goes to Blakeney Point if they aren’t walking boot/wellie brigade. The charming receptionist said yes, they were serving coffees, and where would we like them? We chose the magnificent ‘sun lounge’ looking over the marsh to the sea, and had a very enjoyable coffee there before heading off on our walk. Nicely thawed I felt able to tackle a short potter around on the marsh.

We did even have some sunshine! Then hubby said, quite unexpectedly, that he thought he’d treat me to lunch at the hotel! Yum! I’m sure that melon with lemon sorbet and a port syrup, followed by roast pork with all the trimmings and a rhubarb and ginger trifle would not be what the rheumy would recommend, but hey, it was a treat and it was absolutely delicious! Service was very good too on the whole, although there was some confusion regarding post lunch coffee. (Yes, I know, I drank too much coffee yesterday!) We got it in the end though, and it rounded off a lovely meal very nicely. We sat in the Sun Lounge again and watched the rain lashing down outside!

By sheer amazing luck we’d just decided we’d better wend our weary way when out came the sun again, so we didn’t even get wet walking to the car park. Did get this lovely shot of a boat against the stormy sky, with the sun catching it just right.

Boat at Blakeney

Then home past a lovely rainbow, and even got to see a barn owl drifting along in a field by the side of the road. One of my favourite birds and always a treat to see.

So a day with a very unpromising start certainly turned out to be full of promise after all. And talking of promise, hubby’s promising me one of his Hubby Special Shepherd’s Pies, so I need to go and eat it. (Although you’d think after yesterday’s lunch I wouldn’t need anything for a week!)-


A wonderful weekend

August 8, 2009 at 10:48 am | Posted in Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 4 Comments
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Last weekend was almost perfect … it would have been pretty much perfect if it wasn’t for the dratted hospital … but more of that later!

On Friday I went to stay with a friend on the north Norfolk coast and in the evening we went nightjar watching … or nightjar listening at least. It really was a magical experience – imagine standing in a woodland clearing, near dark, with no one else around (except my friend of course) and hearing something like this recording on the Natural Suffolk blog. And we didn’t just hear them – we saw the male and female, and heard the male’s ‘wing clapping’ display flight. I’m not a bird watcher, even if my friend is proud to be a ‘birder’ and refutes the fact that she’s a ‘twitcher’ although that’s highly debatable, but that was just an unforgettable experience. I have dismally failed to convince either my mother or hubby about how exciting this was … I’ve probably failed to convince you too, but if you have a listen to the recording you might get some feel for what it was like!

It was slightly more successful than our afternoon jaunt to search for black darter dragonflies. Apparently they’re common’s’muck in the area we went and my friend never fails to spot them … with the exception of this time, of course. Clearly they were all shouting ‘Penguin alert, Penguin alert’ and diving for cover in the reads … that’s hubby’s theory, anyway. We still had a very enjoyable walk though, and saw many other dragonflies and damselflies and a number of other interesting things that we totally failed to identify, not helped by the fact that I’d left my camera at my friend’s house so couldn’t take pictures to identify later!

Saturday morning was a rather more successful trip to Holme Dunes, where I took some photos of six spot burnet and common blue butterfly on sea holly that I’m rather pleased with. I’ll post a couple here.

Common Blue Butterfly on Sea Holly

Common Blue Butterfly on Sea Holly

Six-spot Burnet moth, Holme, Norfolk

Six-spot Burnet moth, Holme, Norfolk

Needless to say really, having just described several walks and quite a bit of standing around, the RA is behaving itself rather well … and continues to do so. This weekend the same friend is coming here to go ‘damselfly twitching’ locally to me, where the rare Scarce Emerald Damselfly (Lestes dryas)
can be found. (Interestingly (I think) it’s common as anything in the US and is known as the common spreadwing, but here it’s really quite rare.)

Scarce Emerald Damselfly, Lestes Dryas, The Brecks, Norfolk

Scarce Emerald Damselfly, Lestes Dryas, The Brecks, Norfolk

I know this is an RA blog and not a natural history blog, but I’m celebrating the lack of RA (and the sunshine of course) by indulging in a much more fun interest than my health! One RA related thing though – the aforementioned hospital annoyance. I got back home on Saturday evening to find a letter from them – your appointment <which had been booked since March 2009 incidentally> has been cancelled due to the fact that the health professional you were due to see will be on annual leave. It’s been moved from September 2009 to … wait for it, wait for it … March 2010!! I will be posting separately about this when I have the time! In the meantime I shall just say Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. And bloomin’ good job the RA’s OK right now!

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