Archives for posts with tag: summer

Just a quick one today. Today I spent 6hrs at the allotment and came home with our shallots and garlic. Let’s just say it will probably last us some time!


Start of Summer

This is the time of year when ‘firsts’ and favourites come thick and fast and it is easy to forget to be mindful and take it all for granted. The Japanese natural calendar marks this past season as ‘the beginning of summer’. Britain’s calendar keeps this until the Solstice at the end of June but I am going with now! Maybe I am just impatient. Maybe it is the harbour walks barefoot and the year’s first swim that convince me that it’s close enough. 


In the courtyard the large frogs have been joined by a multitude of tiny frogs. I celebrate them for eating the slugs! The last of the tulips are fading and give way to the plethora of summer. I can see the first heads of allium waiting to take their place. 

Out in the larger gardens the lilacs are in flower followed closely by the never to be out done laburnums. The elderflower a are only just starting but we await them eagerly to start preserving. Even the horse chestnuts are in flower. Their stately blooms remind me of the queen’s hat perched on the grand dame’s head.  


In the wild the Night Jars curr on the heath and look out for the Montagu’s Harrier, they are a rare special sight these days. 

On the allotment things are coming on by leaps and bounds the last two weeks, especially the weeds! In the cutting garden things have diversified from tulips only to ranunculus, white verbascum, iris, cerinthe, and red scabious. 


We also spent a long Saturday digging over and building a windbreak for the tomatoes. We think it looks whimsical using scavenged marsh drift wood to keep costs down. Very pleased to keep things super-local. And super-economical! 

Sharrington strawberries are out! And asparagus! The first true seasonal specialties! What a treat. Can’t wait for our own strawberries to ripen. Well, here’s to the start of the summer season!

 It’s that time of year again! Last year’s visit was all summer and sunshine. This year was more autumnal. “Seasons of mist…” And all. That having been said, some things were the same. Food by the wonderful couple at Oystercatcher Catering with good friends and good  wine. 

  
The raft made another appearance. Grey, windy, and wetsuited up; we pushed and pulled quite a load. The dinner and fire were a welcome site. 

   
  
 
The next several days were grey and misty with breaks of sun. Much fun was had with games, fishing, and BBQ breakfasts! 

   
 
 
   
 
  
   
 
 

   
   
Our last day brightened and it was like summer again for a day. It all started off with freshly caught fish, followed by some rough surf swimming.  

 
   
   
Finally it was time to go home. Coasting in on the rising tide was a dream compared to the ride over.

   
  
 
  
The last leg was aided by our own personal life boat to give us a pull once the tide turned and the trip was complete.

   
 
This year proved that the Watchouse is great fun in all weather. Here’s to another great year!

We’ve been away a lot this summer. But since the beginning of August we have had two main projects. The allotment was lush (and weedy!) after the downpours in July. The squash in particular loved it. It took two weeks to get on top of the weeds but we are almost there. 

   
    
    
    
    
   
I haven’t had much time for the flowers this year but they look ok. That will be an improvement project for next year. 

   
    
   
We have harvested a lot of onions and garlic.

  
All in all we are pretty pleased.

We’ve been living by the sea in Norfolk for two and a bit years. This is the first in a series of four photo essays documenting each of the seasons on this coast. With the glorious summer of 2014 just passing, it seemed the right place to start.

The photographs were mainly shot on camera phones, a discipline with its own challenges.

Summer night sky over Blakeney Cut

I returned home to Blakeney Quay after kayaking the harbour on a warm, still July evening. Turning to look back north and west, the quiet glow of the summer night sky continued long after the sun went down. We see this rainbow of the dusk each night from May to July as we walk up to bed, looking out from the staircase window and framed by the gables of old houses. In June it is still there at midnight.

Picnic at Burnham Deepdale

Purslane and muddy sand, the bright colours of mooring buoys and the blue expanse of the Norfolk sky. Taken as we sat for a quick picnic at Burnham Deepdale, on our way to collect weekend house guests from Kings Lynn station – a recurring theme of summer when your family realises you live in a house by the sea with spare bedrooms!

Mucky paws

Ankle deep in squelching mud from a walk down the harbour at low tide. It’s always fun to see how visitors from the city react to what our little nephew calls ‘The Blakeney Blurgie’.

Black bream

Taken at Cley Beach, cooking locally caught fish over a charcoal grill. Light the barbecue, dive into the waves and swim as the smell of the fire drifts over the water. By the time you’re out, the coals are ready to cook. We love it best on a Sunday evening, when the coast empties of weekenders and there’s still time for an evening on the beach before the working week.

Samphire is at its most tender in early summer. We always pickle some to stow away in jars and eat at Christmas. I love to go early on a summer’s morning to cut a few tips for a breakfast of scrambled eggs and samphire on sour dough bread.

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The summer of 2014 will be remembered for the endless bounty of strawberries. These were some of our own and, once we’d picked all those, we had them for several months from neighbouring Wiveton Hall and Sharrington, a few miles inland.

Picnicking in the church yard at Cley under an impossibly blue sky.

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Taken in the Glaven Valley, between the ford at Glanford and Bayfield Hall. It is a staggeringly beautiful spot and sometimes I’ll just stand on the bridge looking South down the valley, drinking it all in.

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It was one of those special days when the summer sun is high in a blue sky, but little patches of coastal fog hung beside the sea. This was taken at Kelling Quag, a remote pond you pass on the way down a long lane to the deserted beach at Kelling Hard.

It is impossible to sit on one of Norfolk’s pebble beaches and not play with the stones: to throw or collect or build. Cley, after a swim.

Sunset through the fishing pots at Cley

The sun sets over the water at Cley Beach throughout the summer. We will often sit in the lee of an old fishing boat, between the sea and the pots, keeping warm by the charcoal barbecue after an evening swim.

Having lived in Blakeney for two years and three summers we have only just made our first trip to the Watch House! (Half Way House to you Cley residents) What an oversight!! We should have done this every year, and will from here on in. Our adventure started with a vision. A raft. A swimming platform. This dream has taken us all summer. By which, I mean, we have sporadically made a token effort to build said raft. But the trip was upon us and we had no means of transporting our provisions. So a last ditch effort was made and the raft took form. Largely untested I was nervous it would even float and when high tide and sunset on an overcast day coincide, there is little margin for error. Luckily she floated! A gusty north wind and the tide against us we made quite a spectacle on the quay.
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A good while later we arrived and could not have felt more grateful or cozy anywhere else in the world after that ordeal.

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The morning was clear and bright and many adventures were had, including mud racing, skim boarding, swimming in the waves, cub, and most importantly the BBQ!

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As sunset approached our raft became a swimming platform swiftly followed by a kayak with a seal for the boys and wine on the dock for the girls. Dinner mainly consisted of cheese and wine and cards.

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Breakfast BBQ anyone? Bubble and squeak with samphire, sausages, bacon, fried and poached eggs and grilled tomatoes! I always make a point of travelling with a chef!

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All too soon it was time to go. We packed up the raft and dragged it out into the main channel. The return trip could not have been more different to the way out! We casually drifted into Blakeney and arrived in style on the quay.

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What a trip. What a place. A mile from my house we found a little paradise. Holiday is definitely a state of mind. I can only advise annexing a small spit of land like a pirate to everyone to make you forget your problems.

Leads to big tides today…

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It is my favourite time of year in Blakeney. The bunting is out on the quay, and tall spires away in breeze, lining the narrow roads and decorating the cobbled walls. That’s right, it hollyhock season. Bonzo and I took a tour this morning. Here is what we found.

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So, today being the summer solstice I thought I might post some photies of how the courtyard garden is coming along. While everything is a bit late this year, nothing is diminished, and we are ever that much more grateful. So here is a feast for the eyes, and soul.20130621-152051.jpg

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