Category Archives: Lincolnshire

Magic on the Marshes

The weather was mild this morning, we had nothing pressing to do at home and the coast beckoned. We rose at a leisurely pace, had a late breakfast (with the intention of having fish and chips at Sutton-on-Sea), and pottered off.

So far, so good.

Unfortunately I set off on the wrong road and neither of us noticed because we were talking at the time. Eventually we realised and I adjusted our route to take us to the coast via Gainsborough, which is an interesting town with Viking history. Sweyn Forkbeard and his son Cnut won a kingdom here when they defeated the army of King Ethelred the Unready. The story of Cnut, or Canute as he was known in my younger days, and his attempt to turn back the tide, may have occurred in Gainsborough.

It was also England’s most inland port, being 55 miles from the sea. However, big ships no longer call, so it’s not a proper port these days. The Nottinghamshire Naturalist’s Trust have some interesting records of whales at Gainsborough, and dolphins near Newark.

But enough about Gainsborough, it’s a nice enough town but it is not our destination.

We travelled to Sutton on Sea and enjoyed a bracing stroll along the front, watching the dog walkers and their various styles of dog walking and noticing the tracks across the sand. It was about 1.00 pm by this time. I noticed that if a lot of people had passed that way, turning the sand numerous times, the sand seemed to stay moist, and the tracks showed up as churned sand the same colour as the beach. If only one or two people had gone that way the churned sand seemed to dry in the wind and leave a pale trail across the beach. I hope the photo will demonstrate what I mean.

Tracks on the Beach

Tracks on the Beach

 

I looked for the glasses I lost on our last visit. They were not there. It’s just like being at home, people are always moving things after I put them down.

The fields were full of pheasants, who clearly know that the pheasant season ends on 1st February.

After that we travelled north to Horseshoe Point. We’ve been there before, It is reached by a pot-holed road, which is getting worse due to construction traffic – they are building the onshore bit for one of the offshore wind farms here. There is a car park, some marsh, a few coastal defences left from the war and not much else.

As we parked, three vees of geese flew over, obviously intent on grazing a field before roosting. We didn’t see them later but we did see a big flock of Widgeon on the return trip. Today we had views of ships in the Humber, hazy wind turbines and a Little Egret. I was particularly pleased with that as we’d seen two in roadside fields during the trip but hadn’t been able to stop and watch or photograph them.

Little Egret - Horseshoe Point

Little Egret – Horseshoe Point

It stayed in the distance, but it did do quite a bit of walking about and some short flights. I know they are quite common these days, but it’s always a thrill to see one.

On the way back to Sutton on Sea, and the chip shop, we were lucky enough to see a hunting Barn Owl as the light fell. They are ghostly, pale birds, and suit the light at the end of the day. It flew from one side of the road to the other, banking several times to show off its plumage, which is a lacework pattern of cream, grey and beige. A magic end to a fine day. It was just a shame it was too quick for me to get the camera out.

(To be continued)

 

 

 

God’s Acre

God's Acre

God’s Acre

 

When we visited the church at Sibsey, we noticed a sign about the God’s Acre Project. It seems to be a nature conservation project which manages churchyards for wildlife, in addition to their primary purpose of containing graves.

It seems like a good idea, and after being developed in Lincolnshire has been adopted by some Kent churches too.

It’s difficult to see a downside to the idea, as many churchyards are, to be fair, not kept in a manicured condition. It seems sensible to make a virtue of this and help develop the wildlife potential of the area.

Here are some pictures of the spring flowers at Sibsey. I note that they have nest boxes up too, as they have a number of mature trees, including an avenue of limes. 

The stump of cross is, it seems, a Grade 2 listed and a Scheduled Monument. I know we value our old bits and pieces, but this seems over the top for a bit of broken cross. If it was that important they should have looked after it better.

To be honest with you, I’d rather see some of the gravestones scheduled and looked after, rather than a bit of stone which looks tough enough to look after itself.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Remains of the Churchyard Cross

 

It was just a flying visit on Wednesday, to give me a start on the research for The Talk, as I am beginning to think of it. There is quite a lot more to see, and I’m sure a few leaves on the trees will encourage avian activity around the nest boxes.

Scone Chronicles XXVIII

Cafe Nero, Springfields Outlet Centre, Lincolnshire. A scone-free report.

We hadn’t expected much from the day as we had an electrician coming round to give us a quote and British Gas would only tell us it was between 8.00 and 1.00. Fortunately he texted ahead and arrived just after 9.00. The news was not good – we need to declutter a lot more before they can start ripping floorboards up to rewire.

That left us at a loose end by 10.00 so we set off to look for adventure, This is “adventure” as we now define it, rather than how we used to define it. Standing on one leg to put my trousers on is dangerous enough for me, so we set off to seek lunch and relaxation.

In the car we discussed our spending. Julia is feeling guilty about the amount she spends on herself – which is basically gym membership and hair appointments. She worked it out as £3,000 a year. She really is a bear of very little brain – cute but rubbish at mental arithmetic. The true cost of this spending was, as I pointed out, just £600 a year. Having saved us £2,400 I felt quite good about things. This also diverted attention from my eBay habit, which has been getting out of hand recently.

At Springfields we had a look round The Works and confirmed that the stock situation is woeful, before deciding to have a coffee. Considering our earlier conversation, this ironic as coffee is one of the hidden costs of modern life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Two Coffees

Cafe Nero seemed rather empty, to say it was lunch time.

The coffee – the cheapest they had, was just under £5 for the two of us. If we do that once a week it will cost us £250 in a year, which is a lot of haircuts.

We didn’t have anything to eat. The staff were neither good nor bad. They let dogs in. The one that came in whined a lot then dog and master went to sit outside. Fair enough – better than tying it up outside. Chairs are comfortable. Snacks looked well presented but we were saving our appetites so didn’t have anything.

They now have a vegan range, which seems to be the new fashion. You may be expecting some sarcastic comment about vegans, evolutionary dead ends and modern fashions, but you will be disappointed. I like vegans.

Though I couldn’t eat a whole one.

Cafe Nero Vegan Menu

Cafe Nero Vegan Menu

The sound you hear when viewing the vegan menu is that of a bandwagon being jumped on. Once Gregg’s went for the vegan sausage roll, everyone followed.

All in all, nothing to rave about and nothing to complain about. It’s a more leisurely atmosphere than Costa Coffee further down the centre, and I enjoyed the break.

 

 

Burgers, Shopping & Disappointment

I’ve started spending my first 20 minutes at work typing up my post for the evening. It’s far quicker sitting at a desk with a full-size keyboard than it is sitting at home trying to use something the size of a book. And a slow, steam-powered book at that.

That’s one of the reasons it’s always a day behind.

It’s surprising that I can do as much in 20 minutes at a desk as I can if I spend two hours tapping away whilst chatting, watching TV, playing Candy Crush and shouting at politicians on TV.

We took a trip to Springfields yesterday, had lunch at Frankie and Benny’s and looked for shoes for Julia.

F&B aren’t doing the same lunch deals anymore, though I’m not sure the price is any higher. It’s just that you feel happier after a meal when you think you’ve also saved a couple of quid. Of course, that could just be me.

To be fair, the burgers were juicy, the chips were plentiful but the special sauce wasn’t special. They keep changing the sauce and it’s never been an improvement yet. This latest monstrosity is pink, and has bits in it, a bit like the old-fashioned “sandwich spread” you used to get in jars. Or, to be less subtle, a bit like vomit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lunch

I liked the old, red, sticky, chilli sauce.

In case I’ve been a bit too subtle – I wasn’t keen on the sauce. But the burger and chips were good. I thought I might make this Scone Chronicles XXI, but then I thought about it and decided burgers aren’t really scones. I’ve already sneaked prawn sandwiches and fish and chips in this week so more non-scones could be, I think, a bit too much.

We then discovered that all the decent shops have moved out and there’s a rather dull selection left.  It was a struggle to find the right shoes at the right price. We go to shopping outlets for shopping and recreation (we’re very dull these days) but it’s just like going shopping in town, apart from the air being fresher and the trip taking longer.

We didn’t even find anything particularly exciting in the bookshop – I bought a new set of The Chronicles of Narnia, but I could have bought that in any branch of “The Works”. I didn’t need to drive across Lincolnshire.

This morning I’ve already written to an auction house – part of a seven week saga of lost and badly described goods, plus poor service and lack of urgency. It looks like I might have my money back within days.

I’ve also written to the skip company. That’s only taken two weeks so far…

Why can’t everyone just be efficient and deliver what they are paid for?

Some Photos

Here, courtesy of Julia, are the seal photos that should have been in the last post. She downloaded them onto a flash drive, then added her Pied Wagtail photo. Of course, as soon as I returned from running No2 Son to work I tested the camera again and it worked. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seal at Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seals at Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pied Wagtail at Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seals at Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Seal at Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Redshank at Donna Nook, Lincs

 

 

Promising Much, Delivering Little…

I had so much planned, but it is not to be.

A year ago I delivered a pale shadow of what I promised, when I forgot to take my card and could only take 30 photos.

This year, pockets bulging with cards and batteries, I took several hundred photographs. There are some really good ones there, but unfortunately you’ll have to take my word for it because my camera won’t communicate with the computer and the card reader on the computer is, to say the least, erratic.

For now you will have to look at the ones from last year.

We had a good day out, despite threatened storms, rain, fog, an idiot in a high-vis jacket and a hacking cough.

We also had fish and chips.

As days go, it was pretty good, and it isn’t over yet.

 

Reeling in the Years

I’ve just been looking at the early months of 2017 on the blog. I seem to have had a much more interesting life in those days, though I did have more spare time, which probably helped. Annoyingly, I also seem to have been a better writer and proof reader.

That gave me the idea for the title, and sent me off to You Tube for an hour or two of nostalgia interspersed with cooking, picking Julia up and checking eBay.

That’s the trouble with the internet – always so much distraction.

I have put the leftover curry in the fridge (for my lunch tomorrow), made the tomato and vegetable sauce for the pasta bake and am currently roasting chicken and vegetables. I keep meaning to take photos but I always forget.

We were planning on seeing the seals at Donna Nook this week, but the weather forecast for Wednesday is looking bad – high winds and rain. We may leave it another week. I actually wrote a second post about the seals last year.

Loking at last November I’m struck by how little we are now doing, and, at the same time, how much remains the same.

I also need to know how to search my own site, instead of searching entire months for infornation. Does anyone know?

 

 

 

Chips at the Dolphin

I’ve been going to the Dolphin fish and chip restaurant for around 30 years. When I sold chickens to farmers in Lincolnshire I would make a detour two or three times a year to walk round Sutton and then have lunch at the Dolphin.

We have been most years, either with the kids or just as a couple. It was always OK rather than outstanding, but has always been a pleasant place to eat. Over the years various owners have made improvements, though this has been accompanied by the occasional lapse, and in the last few years, they seem to have been selling off household goods to raise cash. It did start to look a bit like a jumble sale, but when we visited on Wednesday it was a lot tidier.

It has also grown an assortment of notices prohibiting various sorts of behaviour. I can’t give examples as I didn’t really read them. I prefer my food without too many petty rules.

Haddock Special at the Dolphin Fish Bar, Sutton on Sea

Haddock Special at the Dolphin Fish Bar, Sutton on Sea

The Haddock Special was £9.95, not £8.95 as stated in various reviews, and tea is not included in that. The chip portion was sufficient, though not generous, and the peas were also served in a smaller pot than we remember. That wasn’t the worst thing though, they were a bit tasteless too. All in all, not the best “special” we’ve had.

You can’t order at the table now either. It’s not a big thing, but it is a sign of the erosion of standards of service.

Finally, on that subject, when someone asked for tapwater they were told it was 50p a glass. Now, the law states that only places selling alcohol have to provide tapwater free of charge, and they are, it seems, allowed to charge for service and use of the glass. As the Dolphin doesn’t serve alcohol they don’t need to offer free tapwater, but on the other hand, it’s another nail in the coffin of customer service.

However, if you have a dog with you, you are welcome to bring the germ-ridden fleabag into the eating area, where I have no doubt it will be provided with free water, and if that’s not enough you can even buy frozen lactose-free yoghurt for your dog.

Frozen yoghurt for dogs - what next?

Frozen yoghurt for dogs – what next?

The staff were quick, efficient and reasonably cheerful, though they were arguably too efficient in clearing tables. I finished before Julia, as I come from a family of predatory snackers and speed is the best defence against food theft. The way they whipped my plate from the table was undeniably efficient, but felt like they were trying to get rid of me as soon as possible.

So that’s the report – declining portion size and a couple of queries over peas and service. It’s clean and efficient, and the food is generally good, but not so good we can’t find somewhere else equally as good. We will probably do that next time.

p7251269.jpg

Wall tiles – Sutton on Sea

Sutton on Sea – a Pierless Place by the Sea

We went to Sutton on Sea on Wednesday. It doesn’t have a pier, and never has had one, but it’s an excellent place to relax and eat ice cream and fish and chips. Well, that’s what I did, and it worked for me.

We walked along the seafront, had an ice cream, rejected the selection of sunhats on display and looked at the beach chalets.

The sun hats were either pink, pink with decorations or definitely made for women. As if pink ones aren’t for women. I’m trying to be a New Man but there are lines I will not cross. Pink baseball caps with a Playboy logo is well over that line.

The chalets are looking tired, and not a patch on the ones at Southwold. On the other hand, you can buy one for £12,995, though as there’s talk of ground rest it may not be freehold. The estate agents don’t seem to be doing much of a job of selling it. The green grass on the photos compared to the arid wasteland on my photos shows the passage of time. If you can’t sell a beach chalet in summer it must pose a question about your sales skills.

At least one patch of beach looked busy, but that was partly due to everyone being herded in between two flags. To be honest, I think we’re going over the top these days. In the old days we were just told not to swim when the red flags up and drowning was considered a matter of personal choice. Now we have lifeguards and all manner of bureaucracy. No wonder this country is going to the dogs with all this namby-pamby safety stuff.

The town is quite old-fashioned, free parking is available and there are plenty of non-chain shops, including sweets, baked goods and hardware.

This is a picture of the Lifeguard again, this time frightening pedestrians on a cycle.

Life Guard at Sutton on Sea, Lincolnshire

Life Guard at Sutton on Sea, Lincolnshire

Please excuse the 1970’s style postcard colour in the photos, I set it on “Pop Art” to brighten things up a bit and forgot to take it off. It was quite a bright day but my standard setting was making it look grey.

This is where the scooter gang meets

This is where the scooter gang meets

There are a lot of retired people in Sutton, and consequently, a lot of scooters cluttering the place up. If speed kills, some of the residents of Sutton are going to live a long, long time.

And finally, a look at the war memorial. It’s 100 years since the foundation of the RAF and Lincolnshire, having been heavily involved in military aviation from before the founding of the RAF, is making a big effort to commemorate it. For some reason the contributions of the Royal Flying Corps, and Royal Naval Air Service mean nothing, but the founding of an amalgamated air service on 1st April 1918 (who thought of that date?) and a uniform reputedly designed by a chorus girl using leftover material from a cancelled Russian order.

 

Next – a fish and chip review.

Reflections, Shopping and Scent

We went to the doctor his morning as Julia has now been caught up in the excitement of the endless round of blood tests and unwanted health advice. She had two appointments so I waited in the car park and did some paperwork.

After that we had breakfast and headed off for Springfields. I first went there when I was a small child, feeling like I was being punished by being made to walk round ornamental gardens full of tulips. On a really bad day we had to stand and watch an entire tulip festival. It was like a visit to the garden but the tulips drove past, so you didn’t even get the excitement of walking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Fragrance Shop, Springfields

There are clearly big savings to be had if you like scent. However, as I am explaining to Julia, reflected in the window, it still looks expensive to me. Aftershave, as you may gather from looking at my reflection, does not play a big part in my life.

The gardens were looking good in the sun, though the autumn colour has been disappointing this year. I’m sure we will be back in Spring and will take more pictures, which will give a better idea of the gardens and sculptures.

Things don’t change much, even after the passage of fifty years. There’s a large shopping complex and garden centre built on half the gardens now, but as I walk round the shops with Julia I still get the feeling of being punished. Only the presence of a bookshop lightens my load.

And cake. Even the worst pre-Christmas shopping trip can be brightened by the presence of a good slab of clementine drizzle cake.