Monthly Archives: April 2012

walking towards Lisbon

The Manns, Hefina and Les and us spent 5 days walking 100 kilometres (60 miles) in the Vicentina National Park on the Atlantic coast just below Lisbon. I managed all of it which was gratifying especially as some of it was quite hard, particularly the sand dunes. This is the only place in the world to find sea living storks and we saw plenty (and also an ostrich called Linda).

This part of Portugal is very empty and we hardly saw anyone else around. But the scenery was beautiful – quite mediterranean – and the weather OK-ish.

the walkers…….

……the route…….

…..the way……..

……the wreck………


………a stork……..

…… and not a stork – Linda!

See MacJournal for diary and flickr for pix.


bird watch

take a gander at these

manor farm garden & the apple tree with Pushkin's nest

Crocker weekend in Norfolk

A third Crocker family weekend! This time at Manor Farm, a Landmark Trust property  in Pulham Market in Norfolk.

We spend Saturday at Lowestoft, a place we were warned never to visit when we used to stay nearby at Southwold. I now know why this advice was wise and Nelson became a sailor to escape his birth place.

the gang of three huddling together on the Sunrise Coast

a Lowestoft beauty spot

ness point - the most easterly part of Britain

high spots....

We escape from Lowestoft to Somerleyton, ancestral home of the carpet Crossleys. Hugh and Lara live there and have just had a baby girl so Pete’s claim to the lordship becomes more remote.

the church at Somerleyton

some other Crossleys

The next day we continue our culture fest and visit Blickling Hall where Joel had lit the paintings. We had been here previously with the Eckersleys when we stayed at their cottage on the crumbling coast.

one of these is Henry VIII by Holbein

mirror, mirror...

the underside of the huge hedge

Back at the farm we had fun with Pushkin and Matilde poking around the barns and finding nests and a duck’s head. Next morning, Diane popped a hen’s egg in a swallow’s nest that Pushkin had carefully placed in an apple tree near the house. He was excited!

On the way home we stopped for lunch at the Bull in Long Melford and looked in the antique shops. I bought a brass lamp and a book on Borley Rectory, the most haunted house in Britain. The book  features Harry Price whom Thom is using as the main character in the scripts he is writing. I thought this might be a good present for his birthday.

Borley Church - the rectory was opposite before it burned down

What a surprise as we drove off towards home to go through Borley and past the church and site of the old rectory!

web enclosures

Tim Berners-Lee has been reported in the Guardian as a continuing champion of web freedom in the face of the Government’s attempts to control the internet.

Is this similar to the Enclosures of the 19th century and is Tim a modern version of Thomas Willingale and will there be a http://www.LoppingHall to mark the battle for freedom against government big brother?

Additional articles can be found here and there.

a day in town

We start the day by meeting with Louisa, Tove and Harper on Woodford station and then with Thom at Maggs Bros in Berkeley Square reputedly the most haunted house in London. But it wasn’t ghosts we came to see, but an exhibition of photographs of “subterranean London“. I was desperate for a diabetic wee but none of the cafes and restaurants offered toilet facilities; thankfully, Maggs did. Afterwards we had lunch in a non-chain fast food cafe –Katies of Mayfair – which was extraordinarily cheap and very good. It was raining. Just as we had a prolonged summer spell a few weeks ago, now we have a constant deluge. And this at a time of official drought. So we took a taxi to Windmill Street and Adrian Eckersley’s art exhibition at the Framer’s Gallery.

one of Adrian's urban landscapes

Sheila and I then went on to Piccadilly and Tibits to meet the Crockers to celebrate Diane’s 61st birthday. Later we ended up at St. James’ for a London Mayoral hustings featuring Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone, Jenny Jones and Brian Paddick. Boris played the buffoon leaving one with no idea of what he had been talking about; Ken was his slimy self and Jenny was the ‘Loose Woman’ sucking up to both past and present incumbents. Brian was the only ‘straight’ person. Which is ironic as he is gay and frequently says so. Oh, and Roger Chartres was there. Very eminence gris and smarmy.

Thom and Tara get engaged!

Happy Monday becomes Momentous Monday when Thom and Tara unexpectedly text to ask if they can pop in whilst “passing” on their way home from the Cotswolds. They had been staying at The Swan in Minster Lovell where we had lunch with the Crockers when we were exploring Mitford country.

Thom and Tara, too, had been exploring Mitford country and had visited Asthall and Swinburn. And it was during these explorations that Thom “popped” the question and asked Tara to marry him!

the engaged couple!

We celebrated with a bar of Green and Black’s organic 85% dark chocolate and some marzipan fruits left over from Christmas!

teresa’s life drawing class

Would you Adam and Eve what we had to draw this time?

after corel 12

tate a tate with Rog and Jan

Sheila and I meet with Rog and Jan at Tate Britain. The permanent exhibition seems a bit bare and old familiars seem missing. Rog wanted to see Gordale Scar and I was looking out for William Morris’s only oil painting. They both used to be on exhibition but we couldn’t see them. However, there was Echo Lake, a favourite of mine, and a few bits of fun.

fun with chris ofili

mirror mirror

Afterwards we took the boat to Tate Modern.

We ate a late lunch in Gabriel’s Wharf. I had mussels and I’m realising how hard it is to find suitable food in most places.

Finally, we ended up at the National to see “She Stoops to Conquer” in the Olivier Theatre. A dull, predictable farce. “Stella” from Eastenders played Mrs. Hardcastle. The scenery was magnificent and atmospheric but the play very dated and the performances contrived.

St. Ives synchronicity

Thom came round and told us how Jerome Mazandarani, the guy who offered him the internship at Anchor Bay, was talking of his Easter holiday. Turns out that he was staying at the Crocker’s house in St. Ives with Jude and his family because they are friends! What an amazingly small world and a vindication for Kevin Bacon.

Harper’s other birthday

Harper had a second 1st birthday today which, helpfully, coincided with Easter and the hunt for 42 easter eggs around Louisa and Julian’s house. Louisa did her first roast – a chicken a  la Jamie and Julian produced his famous spicy eggs. Other treats included Louisa’s carrot cake and Tara’s gluten free chocolate cake – neither of which I should have eaten.

.......hi thom.......hi nathan.......


the easter egg hunt has been successful