Tales from a Motorcycle Saddle.

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Abigail's Page 63 



May to August 2020

Date: 12th August 2020

Over three months have past since our last update when I wrote "By now we are well into lockdown." Lockdown is easing but unfortunately we see more non-social distancing, beach & crowd loving covidiots who keep appearing on the news. Us? We're coping with Zooming in lieu of church meetings and even for a prayer course for mum and Dad.

How ever we did have a very enjoyable and hopefully a very safe week away in Thetford Forest, Norfolk.

School finished on 17th July. Hooray! No more staying in my room 23 hours a day either working or sleeping. (Do we believe that? Actually that's not too far from the truth.) Time seems to be flying by and although I'm in contact with friends most days and meeting up occasionally, it will be good to be back at school. It all sounds a bit confusing to me so it's a good job Dad's not returning. Oi!


More of this later....


This time it's Mum's turn to showcase what she's been doing. The railway seat that came with the garden after 15 years is now a comfortable place to sit.

From scratch she made several masks and a complete new dress.


The rocking seat is also a delight to sit on with a choice of pattern. 

The wool jacket you will have seen before, but not the former dresses, now skirts. Clever or what?


She also knitted some dishcloths but I'm not putting a dishcloth on my website or a homemade rotary washing line cover. Dad's gate was bad enough last time.


Holiday time. Thetford is just fifty miles as the crow flies but we chose the the easier seventy mile route on dual carriageways and a motorway.

We were rewarded by a pleasant town and a river side walk which we did in light rain aided by a booklet that Dad printed off of Norfolk health, heritage and biodiversity walks. The main attraction however was Thetford Forest. It covers 47 acres, or 19 hectares if you prefer, with walks and cycle tracks all inside an SSSI (a Site of Special Scientific Interest.)

Dad found a certified location (max 5 vans, no facilities) and for 4 of the 6 days we were on our own - apart from the flies from the nearby piggery. I'm Mum & Dad's human spirit level and can feel a lean which Mum & Dad can't - important when pitching on ground that slopes two ways. Dad still got confused pitching the awning - see below. I was disorientated horizontally. OK?

We took our bikes to High Lodge in the forest and were relieved to find that despite the large numbers of cars, the forest swallowed up the majority of folk. The huge picnic area by the facilities was dotted with family groups so it appeared we made the right decision for a holiday location. 

DAD! You'll lose our waterproofs and lunch! Do your pannier up.
We did a five mile family route first, had lunch and then went onto the intermediate mountain bike route which was great fun, even on our road bikes.


Mum and I have swapped bikes as I'm now taller than her. Now Dad has to buy a new one for Mum. Yeah. Tell me about it.

The full route was 11 miles and the short cut made it 6 miles. Dad turned left and we carried straight on. (On the next visit we all did the full 11 miles.) When we returned to the car we had refreshments and waited for Dad. Don't I look pleased to see him? Mum's not so sure. Dad says he's going to enter this into the Happy Holidaymaker photo competition.

We didn't get punctures when we were riding but my and Mum's bike developed them overnight. Twice. The awning, aka The Conservatory is aka The Bicycle Repair Shop as well now.

The next day we went walking instead. We did a lovely 5 mile walk near the village of Santon Downham.

Come on Mum, keep up! By now the days were getting warmer, one by one. Below is one of Mum's many photos she took. Butterflies and moths were common place in the forest and this is a Large Skipper butterfly.

The following day we were back on our bikes doing the full intermediate track. It was easy but care had to be taken. I picked up a bruise on my leg when a pedal hit a tree stump.

After a late picnic lunch we decided on another walk to see the Future Forest sculptures. There were "Six dramatic art installations by artists Tom Piper MBE and Lisa Wright reflecting the role forests play in protecting our future environment." They also marked the Forestry Commission's 100 years of forestry. They were well spread apart and we haven't got a clue as to what they are supposed to be saying or representing.  Here's just one, called "Two curves, Three Graces" Make your own mind up.

Answers on a postcard please....


Dad was fascinated by this earth core as he called it. On reading about it he was disappointed to find out it was man made, but it was fascinating showing how this area had survived through dramatic changes such as ice ages.

On the final day we visited friends of Mum's whom she has known for 34 years. We sat mostly in the shade around a large table, keeping our distance and enjoying the lunch we brought with us. Such times! On our way to them we made a detour to visit Castle Acre.

A history lesson now thanks to English Heritage: The pictures above and below show Castle Acre Castle which was founded soon after the Battle of Hastings by the first William de Warenne, a close associate of William the Conqueror. It is a superb and well-preserved example of a motte-and-bailey castle, and remains one of the most impressive Norman earthworks in the country.

The Bailey Gate is one of two stone gatehouses added to the settlement's massive earthwork defences in about 1200. The main road into the village still runs between its towers.


Breakfast outside on our last morning.

As usual we try to end on a sunset.


Well, that's it. Nothing dramatic or exciting I'm afraid, not even a cat (Both are well though.) We had thought about going to Scotland but decided to stay local for just one week.
We trust you are all keeping well and safe, especially those in Covid hotspots such as Melbourne.

Until the next update, bye for now.

Love from Abigail.

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