Quiet time

I returned to St Margaret’s Church in Old Catton today to soak up more of the sunshine and walk quietly round the graveyard.

Here are a few of the pictures I took. Click to see larger versions.

I have mixed feelings about the grass being cut. At this time of year the wildlife thrive on the long grasses and wild flowers, but I understand that people want and need access to the graves.

There does seem to be a nice balance at St Margaret’s with large areas allowed to grow, while access is still maintained for the majority of graves.

If you are ever passing, it really is a lovely place to walk and think about all those stories that lie beneath your feet.

Heading back though Catton Park, I spotted a couple of fine examples of wild flowers.

St Margaret’s Church, Old Catton

St Margaret’s, Old Catton

For this morning’s early walk I headed into Old Catton to visit St Margaret’s Church.

A beautiful church in an equally beautiful setting.

There are some wonderful 18th Century headstones to explore, each with their own story to tell.

But they are for visits to come.

Sadly, like so many, this church is closed because of the pandemic. Not that it would have been open at 6.30 this morning anyway!

All that was to be done was to sit quietly and listen to the birds.

Sit with me now.

Early morning walk

My aim was to leave the house before 6am. I managed it with just seconds to spare and headed to Catton Park.

Early morning in Catton Park

The area known today as Catton Park was originally part of the Catton Estate on the outskirts of Norwich and dates from the 1770s.

Catton Hall, which now houses an uncurated collection of apartments, sits to the side of the park but has no connection to it today other than its history and a rose fence that currently has some aromatic blooms that will later transform into hundreds of plump rose hips.

The park is at its best early morning and again at twilight. The light at both these times is beautiful and you tend to see fewer people.

In the distance I could hear someone calling to their dog, but other than that I had the morning sunshine all to myself. Well, for a little while at least.

By twenty past six more dog walkers had started to arrive, each plotting different directions around the park. I spotted my first jogger who was doing what ever it is joggers do to what ever it is they have on their wrists just prior to running. Yellow shirt. Blue shorts.

Despite the growing numbers of humans, the birds were definitely the dominant species.

I watched a baker’s dozen of starlings gather on the grass before heading into a nearby tree to chatter about the jogger’s wardrobe, before returning to the grass, no doubt to chatter about me, and then back to the tree again.

The wood pigeons seemed to have no interest in the starling’s games or gossip. They just slowly plodded along like ageing beat policemen discussing the weather and food.

In a small glade to the side of the park I spotted a couple of foxglove plants standing very proud. The light wasn’t ideal for taking pictures, but while trying to get as good a shot as I could I was distracted by some rustling in the undergrowth.

A blackbird perhaps, a robin or a wren? Close to my feet I spotted a tiny mouse or vole. I couldn’t get a photograph or a proper look as it quickly beat a retreat when it realised that it had stumbled upon me. Its fur was dark and I don’t recall seeing ears of note, so I’m going to settle for a field vole rather than a field mouse.

Over in the picnic area a gathering of brilliant red poppies drew me. By now the sun light was already starting to be too bright for my phone camera to get a decent picture or for me to stare at too long, so I just stood a while and soaked up everything the park had to offer my other senses.

A large black dog strolled up to me to wish me a good day. I politely returned the greeting and headed home for breakfast.

Little steps

I need to do more walking. Working in the garden and doing jobs around the house are all well and good, but there are parts of my body that are starting to ask if they are needed any more.

Now that we have a little more freedom to get out more I’m planning on a daily pre-breakfast walk.

Apart from the exercise it will also get me back to the nature I enjoy. I went for an hour and half walk today and it was lovely to see all the flowers covered in bees. It was also good to hear the flowers covered in bees. The noise was quite special, all the buzzing and rattling of wings on petals.

I’m very lucky that I live near to a couple of lovely parks and just a short distance from open countryside. I want to explore more of it and share it here.

So to get things started here are a few images from today’s walk.

Stay fit and stay safe.

Physical Exasperation

Physical Education report

I guessing my games teacher based his remarks on my school report that year on the one cricket ball I ever bowled at him.

Football was very much the dominating sport at my school. Sure we had tennis courts and running tracks and the occasional student teacher who wanted to convert everyone to rugby, but basically if you didn’t like football you were were an outcast. I didn’t like football.

I loved cricket though, but because it was a summer game we didn’t get to play it much, so I joined the local county club and trained on a Friday evening.

At school they held trials for the cricket team. I bowled the teacher out first ball with a stunning full toss. I didn’t make the team. Instead he picked the entire footballer team to play.

Just one f***ing thing after another*

History report

Finally, this has to be my best school report comment ever. I’m proud to say that little has changed over the years.

Stay whatever and stay safe.

*The History Boys, Allan Bennett