Welcome to our little home on the net. We are Steve & Rosemary and live in Buckinghamshire, UK. This is a blog of our life, sometimes interesting, but mainly boring. It is very picture orientated as Steve loves to take pictures, especially of wildlife. Sometimes he has his arm twisted by Rosemary and takes the odd snap of a weed.
Steve’s Birthday in Southwold
24th October 2022
Rosemary and I set out in Morrison the Campervan for what has become an annual event, Steve’s birthday in Southwold. We set off in the van on the 21st heading for Norwich to stay at Ann & Lizzie’s. We have not visited Unthank Road for lobger than a year, visiting in August 2021 after we had a summer break in West Runton. It was good to see Ann, Liz and Bob and catch up on what last year had brought us.
The next day (23rd) we headed on to Southwold and the Southwold Camping and Caravan campsite. There have been changes since we last visited – a new shower block, and more hard standing areas with electric hook-ups. The new electric hook-ups and shower block were not yet up and running. We assume they will be ready for 2023 There are a couple of problems with the site. When we use the site, we need hard standing, the site can become very waterlogged in October. So, for us it is best to book early and bag a hard standing area. The other major problem now, is the price, The price of off-season hardstanding with electric hook-up is £40 for 2023, and they also want to charge you an extra £8.50 for an awning. The campsite is becoming awfully expensive, unfortunately it is the most convenient campsite in town, with easy walking to Blackshore, Southwold and Walberswick.
We set up the van and headed down to the Sail Loft for lunch. It was wet as you can see from the photographs. We had booked lunch at the but it was not necessary as the restaurant was not very busy for Sunday lunch. We consumed a couple of Espresso Martinis which were on offer.
After lunch, the rain went away, and incy wincy spider came out to play. We took a walk along the harbour pier and then down Blackshore to see if anything had changed.
The sun broke through for my Birthday. The weather though looked stormy with interesting clouds and a choppy sea. It did make for some interesting experiments in photography with my new phone, a Pixel 7 Pro. The handheld pictures of a rough sea using the silky shot setting, no need for tripod or ND filters, and the fast speed action shots of the waves breaking. Then there is the optical zoom for reasonable quality pictures of birds. Yes, the true digital camera can still take better pictures in demanding circumstances, but a phone camera is always with you. If you don’t have your camera with you and ready, then you lose that shot.
We walked along the sand dunes to Southwold, ending up at the Swan Hotel for lunch. The restaurant was not terribly busy, then it was a Monday lunchtime. We ate very well, and then walked back to the campsite. On the way visited the Harbour Quay and watched the sun set over Blythburgh.
Today we visited Walberswick, this is across the river Blyth, a short walk from the campsite. Head towards the Coastal Voyager quay and wait for the rowing boat to come across the river. Unfortunately, in this cashless society they don’t take online payments and we didn’t have any cash. We promised to pay on return and were taken across the river. Our first stop was one of the tea shops for a coffee and a small amount of cash.
We then headed south on the sand dunes looking for birds in the reed area along the river Dunwich. They stayed away. We walked back for lunch to the Bell Inn where it was warm enough for us to sit outside. We did spot a camp site on the other side of the river, which may be a possibility, but I can’t find any information about it on the web, and will the ferry be operating every day?
We headed back across the river, paying both the outward and the return fare. I did use my new Canon camera to take some pictures of Herring Gulls and Geese. I needed some practice at getting the camera to behave and to focus on the object. Out in the reeds it had insisted on focusing on reeds and not birds or insects. I have some learning too do.
This evening I tried my phone camera for night shots. I was quite pleased with some of the results.
The weather has been good to us this year. Today was another bright and sunny day, so we headed out across the marshes to Pumpkin Hell. It is a cafe/restaurant called Old Hall. Definitely a tourist trap, bring on the children, adventure playground, a Maize Maze, and of course at this time of year, the American import of Halloween and pumpkins. I know some of my followers who would steer a million miles from this place, but it is a pleasant walk, and you can get a good coffee and a reasonable quick lunch. Also on the plus side, we noticed one of the waiters boot out a group of visitors who had a misbehaving dog.
Along the way there was a herd of bullocks who were grazing on the path, as we approached, they soon lost their nerve and headed off. There were flocks of starlings flying around. I did grab a practice photo, not sure why, we can have thousands of starlings at home.
We arrived at Old Hall, ate lunch, and headed back on an inland track to take us to Southwold, and then back along the sand dunes to home.
Night Time Photography
I decided to take the phone out for some more Astro photography. On one setting it allows you to take a photograph for over 5 minutes. It is advisable to keep the phone rock steady during this period. No tripod, so I held it against a suitable post for the time. The two pictures of Blackshore are in the gallery above. The first facing west towards boat yards, and the second facing east towards the RNLI and Europe. I do need a tripod and a holder for the phone, then I could select a better place to photograph. I was quite pleased with these, better than the night before.
One other output of the phone camera is a 1 second video condensing the 5 minutes down to a second video. I love it.
We left the next morning, on yet another glorious October day.
Garden Nature – Sparrowhawk
1st January 2023
The New Year brought with it the Sparrowhawk. It spent an exceptionally long time perched in the tree by the bird feeders. Most of the time was spent preening. Needless to say, there were no songbirds in the vicinity. I took several (hundreds) of photographs, which I have trimmed down to this lucky sequence of it emptying out our songbirds in one avian excretion.
Garden Nature – Grey Heron
2nd February 2023
Rosemary spotted a Grey Heron near the field pond. I rushed out to take a photograph. I was far from it, and it was standing down the slope to the pond, so little of the Heron was in sight. I grabbed a few frames from about100 meters away, and then walked towards it. Of course, it flew off.
I looked at the frames I took, not technically good, but you could see it was eating a frog or toad. So worth keeping them. I think it was a Toad, and so does Rosemary.
Our very Own Otter
2nd January 2023
The wildlife camera threw up an interesting find. In between the rabbits, muntjac deer and the foxes, was an Otter. We have seen it only once. Maybe it was exploring the pond. There are several ponds in the immediate vicinity, many with fish. Our pond dries out in the Summer so not suitable for fish. Anyway, nice to see it, a change from Rabbits and Foxes.
Back in the late spring, early summer of 2022, we had a skulk of foxes in the field bringing up four fox cubs. We believe it was two vixens, with a couple of cubs each. Normally we would see two cubs at a time, but on occasion another two cubs would come from the other side of the mound and join in with the play. One set of cubs disappeared during the summer. We assume (hope) they moved on somewhere else. The cubs are now fully grown, and we have seen them since this video was put together.
You can watch the short edition, a little over 5 minutes, or the long two and a quarter hour video. The longer video also stars Badger, Muntjac deer, Squirrels, rabbits, Great spotted woodpecker and various other birds.
Five minutes and 52 seconds showing the highlights of the cubs.
The Full Monty of a Video
Two hours and 19 minutes. The full monty.