Norwich…. A Fine City

Took a trip to the city today with her who must be obeyed to pick up a few bits and bobs.  I don’t often visit Norwich (pronounced norridge as in porridge) I much prefer the countryside but when needs must.  However it is a fine city and unlike most cities in the UK is not infested with the glass and steel of modern architecture.  From medieval times to the industrial revolution it was the second largest city in the country after London, and one of the most important due to the wool trade.  It is home to many fine old buildings, two magnificent cathedrals, a Norman castle and a colourful outdoor market.  At one time there was a pub for every day of the year and a church for every week of the year.  We also have the best football team in the country, the Canaries, come on you Yellows!

It was a bit grey today so I left the camera at home.  Back in November 2016 I took a few images, here are a couple of my favourites.

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The box on the hill. Norwich’s Norman castle from Davey Steps. The castle is home to a fantastic museum with everything from art to natural history
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A man with a lot on his mind! Statue of Sir Thomas Browne (1605-82) on Hay Hill
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Reflections. Crystals in the wrought iron fence of St Stephens church
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Wildlife! Not a Norwich Canary but a juvenile Black-headed Gull looking over the market stalls for any stray scraps
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An Anniversary & Upton Fen

Tuesday.  On my notifications wordpress informed me I have been blogging for two years!  Wahey!  Happy birthday to me etc, etc.  I remember so well when I started.  I thought it would be nice to share some of my photos, why keep them to yourself?  Spurred on by the Lemming who has her own blog –  https://crazystupidmusic.wordpress.com/?wref=bif , I searched the internet for advice. The kind man on google said easy, be done in ten minutes!  Don’t make me laugh!  Six hours later and I had somehow managed to cobble together the beginnings of this blog spot.  I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, or the terminology used (still don’t lol) it might as well have been in ancient Greek.  Anyway, we got there and through this medium I have been able to meet some incredible people!  You fellow bloggers inspire me to carry on.  The range of photography out there in wp world is mind blowing.  So a HUGE THANKS to every single one of you!!  12,560 views from 79 Countries WOW!

The day started frosty.  By the time I’d finished the housework (love my days off!) it was warming up nicely to 14c.  Decided to visit a nature reserve about twenty miles away as a recce for the summer and dragonfly potential.  It’s called Upton Fen.  According to my new dragonfly book the Common Hawker can be found there in July.  Common?  not in this part of Britain, anything but!  Found the car park easily enough and set off on a lovely walk through woodland along the banks of a dyke.  This is perfect habitat.  Crossed over the dyke and the path took me through a section of reedbed, through another gate and I was overlooking the Bure Marshes.  The sky was deep blue, no breeze and now about 18c, phew!

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Hello Deer!

I should have taken my binoculars or telescope to scan the wetlands.  I could hear a strange call I just could not place and then realised I was being watched!  About thirty yards away was the motionless head of a Chinese Water Deer (Hydropotes inermis).  Originally introduced to Woburn Park in Bedfordshire in 1896 and later Whipsnade in 1930.  These very small deer, about the size of a retriever dog, inevitably escaped along with their cousins the similar Muntjac and spread through the Country, finding the Broads much to their liking.

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The Marsh Harriers appeared this a near adult male

In the sky above the Marsh Harriers started to appear, soaring up on the thermals emitting their strange squeaky mewing call which doesn’t befit their looks.  In total there were five and a very pale Buzzard.  Mostly these birds were well out of range of my camera.  The Harriers started to display, what we call ‘sky dancing’, where the male rapidly climbs and dives, twisting and calling before spiraling into the reeds.  Later on the pair will continue to perform to each other, bringing nesting material.

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There are pale morph Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo) and then there is this one! I don’t think I’ve seen one quite so white

It’s been a fabulous day out, so warm it could be May and great to be alive.  I had the reserve to myself and shall definitely return in the summer for the dragons.  I will leave you with one last image of a Harrier, a bit of a lucky capture.  Again many thanks for all of you who visit this site, I really appreciate it.

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Come fly with me?

 

Postcard from Cromer

 

Firstly may I wish all my followers and everyone who visits this blog a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

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New years fireworks over Cromer pier

We spent a few days over the new year just around the coast in the seaside town of Cromer.  I still had to go into work but it was nice to be able to go out and celebrate without needing the car (where we live is several miles from anywhere!).  The fireworks were excellent, shame it was blowing a gale straight off the sea!

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Cliff top path to town

Traditionally a fishing town famous for its ‘Cromer Crabs’, it was in the early 19th century that it started to become fashionable as a holiday resort.  This was boosted in the 1880’s when Clement Scott wrote of ‘Poppylands’ combined with the coming of the railways. The church tower (on the left of the image) is the highest in Norfolk.

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I would liked to have got a perfectly symmetrical shot looking straight down the pier, except there is a lamp post on my right stopping me!

The pier as you see it now has stood since 1902.  There have been jetties and wooden piers on this site since the thirteen hundreds all ending up destroyed by the power of the North Sea.  In fact this pier nearly ended up the same way.  In November 1993 a barge broke free of it’s moorings in a storm and cut the pier in half.  Twenty years later and a storm surge caused considerable damage.  It’s always a popular place for visitors.  Beyond the the pavilion theatre is the R.N.L.I lifeboat shed.  Cromer’s lifeboat men are renowned for their bravery, the most famous being Henry Blogg.

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The Henry Blogg memorial

Finally before I go I would like to thank petrel41 for nominating me for their ‘Real Neat Blog Award’  Check out their blog https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/DSC_0218a

 

 

 

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Just cannot think of a title for this image.

 

 

 

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Cantley

If you buy sugar from the UK there is a good chance that it started here.  Standing on the banks of the River Yare, overlooking the Cantley Marshes, this is Cantley sugar beet processing factory.  Every day during the winter period over 8,000 tonnes of beet is cooked to extract the sugar.  Hundreds of huge lorries daily bring the crop from a radius of over forty miles.  The smoke can be seen from quite some distance due to the flatness of our countryside. I live over 20 miles away and if the wind is in the south I can smell it.

On the plus side there is many acres of settlement lagoons where the sludge is deposited.  These are a magnet for waders and wildfowl.  When the factory is not in production you are allowed to go birdwatching there, and it has turned up many rarities.

 

Big City – Manchester Canals

I must admit I’m not very comfortable in big cities.  Coming from the countyside I find them claustrophobic and at times intimidating.  My daughter the ‘Lemming’ is now in her third year at university in Manchester studying music journalism (check out her blog https://crazystupidmusic.wordpress.com).  We have just returned from a visit, she always tells me to leave my camera behind as I could be a target for muggers!  This time I took the old Nikon and sneaked out of the hotel to get some images.

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Rochdale Canal looking west to lock 92

I am always drawn to water and am fascinated by old canals.  These man-made waterways were constructed in the 17 and 1800’s, during the industrial revolution, to provide transport in and out of cities for raw materials and finished goods.  With the coming of the railways they mostly fell into disrepair.  However in recent times most have been brought back to life, providing boating holidays and recreation, a ‘green lung’ in the heart of urban sprawl.

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Castlefield Basin where the Bridgewater Canal meets the River Medlock

It was a lovely walk in the cool early morning sun and no I wasn’t mugged.  People on their way to work ignoring me or perhaps wondering what I was photographing.

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Narrow boats outside ‘The Wharf’ public house
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Duke’s Lock No92. The start/finish of the Rochdale Canal

This section of the Rochdale Canal that I walked was the last to be finished and opened in 1804.  It is called the Deansgate Locks.  The locks, nine in total, are used to raise or lower the barges and narrow boats and must require a fair bit of physical effort to operate.

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A fine old railway bridge, looking east toward the Deansgate Tunnel
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Lock 91 at the end of the Deansgate Tunnel
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Lock 90 looking west. The old railway arches on the right have been transformed into swanky bars and restaurants

Hope you enjoyed this post.  It has been a bit of an indulgence for me, a chance to try a new type of photography.

Ruins

Without doubt the most photographed/painted landmark on the Norfolk Broads, this is my effort.  What you are seeing is virtually all that remains of the Abbey of St Benet’s Hulme, part of the gatehouse, a small section of defensive wall and the shell of a much later mill.

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St Benet’s Abbey near Ludham Norfolk

Built besides the River Bure near the junction with the River Ant, in a very isolated spot, the very earliest monastery is from the 10th century.  In medieval times it was one of the richest and and most powerful in the Country.  They controlled the digging of peat for fuel, it was these peat diggings that flooded forming the shallow lakes known as the Broads.  The Abbey was the only one not dissolved by King Henry VIII but given to the Bishop of Norwich for joining the new protestant Church of England.  The Bishop dismantled the buildings selling off the stone and the last remaining monks left, knowing when they weren’t wanted!

The Abbey fell into ruin, just the gatehouse and a few stones marking the Church.  In the 1700’s an ingenious farmer constructed a mill into the gatehouse building, removing the upper floor so the sails could turn, no need for planning permission in those days!  Initially for grinding rape seed for oil lamps later converted to a drainage pump this is the oldest mill in the Broads.  It was abandoned in the 1860’s after a gale destroyed the cap.

Now owned by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust.  They have stabilised the ruins and tidied the site with paths and interpretation boards and a nice car park,  but on dark nights as mist covers the marshes the ghosts of monks are said to haunt the area.