Tales from a Motorcycle Saddle.

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Abigail's Page 66  

March to June 2021

Date: 11th June 2021. The new normal?

Back to school after half term now and I thought we'd update you with what's happened since March. School is nowhere near normal but we are getting used to wearing masks in corridors and marching for miles in one way corridors. Nothing untoward has happened to us but I wish I could say the same for Nanny. To keep you guessing, the key words are  demolition and rats.

Nanny and her neighbours have had to put up with (and it's still on going as I write) the demolition of a 1960s trading estate behind them. These pictures can't hope to show the weeks of noise, dust and damage to their properties caused by the vibrations of the plant equipment as they break up the concrete.

I hope the pictures give you some idea of what Nanny has had to put up with. A video would have been better to capture the horrendous sound, eight hours a day, every working day for many weeks. In her house even one of the mirrors on her dressing table was moving, the vibrations could be felt on the bed, a small potted fern was spotted waving at Mum and one of her neighbour's concrete fence posts have cracked from top to bottom. Nanny would spend time with us some days to get away from it all.

And when we thought it couldn't get worse, it did.

Far, far worse. A rat, in search of water, entered the void between the ceiling and the upper floor and chewed through 12 pipes. Above are a few of them. They included central heating pipes, domestic water pipes and rain water harvesting pipes used for toilet flushing. Dad didn't come home until after 1am one morning as more leaks appeared, once right on top of Nanny. A rat man came three times, the plumber seven times and the electrician three times.

Nanny moved out and stayed with a friend from church for several weeks whilst the repairs were being carried out. Her lounge furniture is still in store, new carpets are due but it's taking ages. Mum is tearing her hair out dealing with a very inefficient insurance company who's name I mustn't say. Poor Nanny. Poor Mum. Poor Uncle Adrian. Dad did his bit by making  the floor good and other hands on stuff.

The rat's entry (now sealed) was via the rain water harvesting reservoir below the lawn.

Just when things were getting resolved her credit card gets cloned, hacked, used or whatever. The same happened to her replacements even before she took them off the letter. Just how much stress does an  octogenarian need?


Every household in the church received an Easter Blessing in the form of knitted daffodils and a message of encouragement from Pastor Chris and his wife. They were hand crafted by Mum and other ladies in the fellowship and looked really good.


Moving on now to a walk Mum & Dad did in April. This time their 50 Essex Walks book took them just a few miles to Great Bardfield. Note the blue skies!

Mum managed to snap this Red Kite as it flew over them. Dad said it was preparing to use them as target practice but thankfully they were spared.

Recognise the chick below? Yes, it's another Red Legged Partridge brought home by Bonzo cat. These birds are ground nesting birds so are easy prey. Luckily Mum and Dad found a lady in a nearby village who took it in.


Whilst on the subject of cats, here's Rosie asleep in Mum's music case.


Bluebell time. One Sunday we drove to a nearby wood just to see the bluebells and very lovely they were too.

Don't worry, no bluebells were crushed in the making of this picture. My glasses by the way, aren't prescription glasses, just anti-glare ones to prevent my eyes from being strained by bright lights such as from my phone and other devices.

In May Nanny celebrated her birthday. This photo needs looking at carefully. With presents at her feet, cards on the arm of the chair to open, Iphone in hand to receive her birthday greetings, birthday cake ready to cut, she certainly was well looked after, which she richly deserves.

Do you see the painting of Mother Theresa behind her? Nanny's father painted it. A very talented family.


During lockdown Mum made some flower arrangements under different themes as suggested by the flower club. Below is "Woodland Parade."

Below is a door wreath which lasted for ages.


Here's an excellent shot of an Orange Tip Butterfly that Mum took in our garden.


At last it's half term so out came the caravan complete with finished solar panel installation and now boasting a hidden led strip light inside at the front. I asked Dad to put some up in my bedroom and he liked them so much he fitted a set in the caravan. We can change the colour and brightness by remote control.

More importantly, where are we? This is another Certified Location that Mum and Dad like to use. No noise, 5 caravans, no facilities, but with a view to the farmer's little business of gas sales. Cute! We were approximately two miles west of Caister on the Norfolk coast amongst the lower Norfolk Broads which you will see later.

On the Sunday Mum asked what I would like to do. I said "a beach walk." Unfortunately I didn't specify how far. It wasn't very long really but walking 4.5 miles on sand is tiring on the legs. Dad was OK until about an hour after we arrived back at the caravan when he suddenly got a severe pain in his upper right leg. It was funny watching him dancing around trying to shake it off. Meany!

We passed California and chose that moment to Zoom into our post-church service "Coffee and Chat" to boast about our beach walk and to say we were in California. A bit further along the coast is the site where homes are falling into the sea due to falling cliffs. One has been towed back from the edge and others are dismantled before falling.

The sun was warm but there was a wicked wind which I had to protect my ears from. Someone during the brief Zoom meeting asked if I was prepared for the arctic!

A couple of miles away from our site was the Caister Castle Car Collection, billed as probably the largest and certainly the best privately owned motor collection open to the public in the UK. We knew that Dad would love to see it even though he said he wasn't going to as this was our holiday. I had some homework to do so we suggested he went by himself. It appears he really enjoyed it, inspecting and reading about 250 cars and motorbikes.

So why did he choose to show us this motorbike without its saddle? Mainly because it  was manufactured in Brussels in 1942 and is electric. One electric car was built in 1903, now that is old. Dad said it had a very long mains lead but I don't believe him.

We had a fairly full last day which involved a lovely ride on a narrow gauge railway from Wroxham to Aylsham; The Bure Valley Railway. The picture below should be entitled "old and young." The picture below that one should be called "young and old." You'll see why.

See why now? At Aylsham we had a good look round, a large lunch sitting outside a cafe and caught the 3pm train back to Wroxham. This allowed for a look around and a sit beside the river before boarding the tourist boat "Belle of the Broads" at 6pm for a 2 hour cruise with commentary.

We sat on the upper deck, just right of the Captain's Bridge. Some seats has been removed to allow for social distancing and the rest had been turned towards the windows so everyone had a good view.

We were afforded good views of peoples' homes. Privacy? What privacy?

1903 was the year that this wherry was built, our Skipper told us. Also, formerly a hard working craft now Pleasure Wherry Solace is lavishly fitted inside with many luxury items. For all of her secluded existence she has been privately owned, with the current owners being only the third family to do so. She is usually found moored in Wroxham Broad in the summer, but is still in sailing order and immaculate condition.

We don't have a sunset to end with this time. Instead, a final shot of the Broads looking over a very still Filby Broad.

P.S. I'm happier than I look!

That's all folks, I'm afraid. I purposely meant to mention Covid as little as possible and I think I achieved it. Meanwhile, stay safe and enjoy summer. Or winter if you are reading this in Australia.

Love from Abigail

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