“There’s a goose on the roof …”

Monday 20th May – Monday 27th May 2019

Another week of minimal rambling I’m afraid due to metatarsal repair!  And not that I’m looking for equal attention or anything but I’m now also suffering from injury – seems like I have a return of bursitis to my knee (oh the delights of running)!  So we’re a couple of poorly little soldiers – having to sit and relax and enjoy the countryside from a horizontal position.  Not that that’s too traumatic – we have stunning views and the birdlife here is keeping us fascinated – we’ve become quite the ‘twitchers!’


This is the view from our garden.


Our bird feeders are very popular


Great spotted woodpecker – a frequent visitor


We’ve had a family of blue tits nesting


A pretty chaffinch in our wood pile


So a huge variety of birds come to feed in the garden and then as the garden overlooks this amazing pond we get to watch ducks, geese, moorhens and cormorants glide around in the water.  And really we can lose hours just spectating this beautifully simple slice of nature.  In the time we’ve been here we’ve already noticed the young ducklings and goslings growing and losing their fluffiness.  And we’ve observed the parents teaching their young to bob down into the water to feed … they seem to enjoy learning this new skill of sticking their bottoms in the air – there’s a lot of splashing goes on.  So as well as twitching, we’re also developing our wildlife photography skills.



Greylag geese


A lesson on diving in to feed


So fluffy!


A large brood




A shelduck enjoying a glide


An Egyptian goose


A family of Egyptian geese


Coming in to land


This one puzzled us – it’s like a mallard but with purple head … we couldn’t find reference to it in the Bird Book!!? There were 3 of them.


Yay – Steve managed to catch 4 ‘bottoms up’ in a row!


On Wednesday we took a trip into King’s Lynn to do a spot of essential chain store shopping – a quick in and out and then we stopped off at Hunstanton on the way back.  This is clearly a popular seaside resort – some amazing Victorian houses but also it’s swamped with amusement arcades and souvenir tackiness!  We stopped off first at the quieter end – Old Hunstanton Beach with its spectacular rock formation.


Old Hunstanton Beach


When we got out of the car, both Steve and I headed for the nearby public toilets.  Even we laughed at ourselves as we crossed the road both hobbling and limping like good’uns!  The onlooking cafe users would never have known we were a Marathon Man and his 5k side-kick!  Our pride wanted to shout out “we’re runners you know!”

Even though it was on the chilly side we found a quiet sheltered spot and settled down with our picnic box and chairs, enjoying the peace and the views.  Very shortly however we were joined by chatty neighbours with two boisterous dogs.  All would have been fine if it hadn’t been for one of the dogs insisting on jumping up at our cool box and sniffing into our beef sandwiches and drinks.  The lady half-heartedly called out “come away Lucky” … but seemed to have no intention of following through on her instruction!

I headed down to the beach for a little walk while Steve packed up the picnic.  In my absence Steve suffered further annoyance from our neighbours!  He had taken out his much treasured travel binoculars (which apparently have great magnification) … only for the chap to sidle up to him with a rather larger pair, saying “now this is what you call binoculars!”  And to make things worse, the wife said “Oh you Boys!!”  I just wish I’d seen Steve’s face!


Hunstanton South Beach


On Saturday, Steve volunteered to do the bar code scanning at the Holkham Hall Parkrun.  As I was also unable to run I went along to spectate and for some photo opportunities – beautiful place.  Hoping I’ll be fit to run it next week.  Before we left we joined hundreds of runners in the very luxurious cafe, for coffee and sausage rolls.


The start of the Parkrun – Holkham Hall


Holkham Hall


The ice-house at Holkham Hall


Barnacle Geese



And so, apart from popping out to a Church book sale in Docking on Sunday, it’s been a very ‘house confined’ time.  The Bank Holiday weather has been grim too.


Stocked up at the Church Book Sale


So not much action to report this week but we are getting ourselves geared up for David Attenborough’s retirement!  Plenty going on without having to leave our post – woodpeckers, chaffinch, swallows, blackbirds, blue tits, jackdaws, pigeons, doves, robins, magpies, swifts and swallows in the garden …. ducks and geese of unusual varieties, red kites impressively gliding overhead, cormorants perching majestically in the trees … and our very own ‘goose on the roof.’



Cormorant’s high perch in the tree


Red kite



A goose on the roof





Out and about in West Norfolk

We’ve managed to tear ourselves away from our chocolate box cottage this week to take a look around some of the nearby towns and villages.  How the other half live … it’s pure escapism up here … escape to the country, literally.  Pretty flint cottages and houses so wonderfully individual and tucked away, often interlinked with village ponds boasting numerous families of ducks and geese of many varieties.  And churches standing proudly at the heart of each community.


Just like being in a Constable painting


Stanhoe Village Church

On Tuesday we took a drive to Brancaster Beach.  Being southerners, and optimistic southerners at that, we took towels, suncream, picnic blankets, beach chairs etc. etc.  Now it’s a stunning beach but not the kind you’d probably swim at … you’d have to walk about a mile just to reach the shore …. and boy was it windy!    As an alternative I had a bracing 2 mile run while Steve sat sensibly resting his foot.  Surprisingly enough I was the only runner on the whole stretch – loads of dog walkers, in fact we were probably the only people without a dog, but no other runners …. the obsession clearly hasn’t reached these parts!   Then we drove on to the Brancaster Harbour area where we discovered the most delicious of crab sandwiches, and we had a little relax in our beach chairs admiring the many different seabirds in the ‘waterless’ harbour.  The life of the retired!!


Brancaster Beach


Our next stop was Wells-Next-the-Sea (seems like they missed a word out)!!  Another pretty little town which I spent a wee time exploring while Steve took another rest.  I left him in the sunshine with ice-cream so it’s not all bad!  Lots of arty shops and classy boutiques – all I bought was a tube of toothpaste!!


Wells-next-the-Sea, harbour area

Drove through lots of other villages that day including Holkham, Burnham Overy Staithe and Burnham Market.  Incredibly narrow roads but it all seems to work – me holding my breath and closing my eyes seems to work particularly well as wider vehicles pass us by!  Lucky I’m not driving!


Burnham Market


Weather-wise it’s been a bit mixed this week.  And of course there’s been lots of cricket on so some days the ‘foot resting’ is more essential than others!  On Saturday though we left the cottage again to take a look around the Holkham Hall estate.  Steve had booked us on a tractor and cart ride – he knows how to treat a lady!  Whilst a few of our friends are travelling around the country and the world abseiling, bungee jumping, white water rafting etc. – this is how we roll.


Our carriage awaits!

What a stunning place though and the ride was excellent – such a great tour guide.  Learnt all about antlers being seasonal and falling off (I never knew this) and also how the males groom themselves by whitening their antlers in order to attract the females.  Also that when you see hares standing up boxing, it’s the female letting the male know in no uncertain terms that she’s just not interested!  Also learnt about the history of Holkham Hall, ice-houses and pre-refrigeration, the estate’s renewable energy system, walled gardens and palladium style architecture.  So impressed – we’ll be back for more.  They even have a Parkrun here every Saturday so no doubt we’ll be visiting again.


Holkham Hall



Steve admiring the cricket pavilion. This was a 50th Birthday present to the Earl of Leicester (Estate owner) from the village folk. Pretty generous neighbours I’d say!


And so the week has flowed.  In between our little trips out we’ve enjoyed the tranquility of our temporary home – two ‘Townies’ learning to be inactive and relax.  We do have our chores which as well as the usual domestics include mowing the lawns, watering the plants, filling the bird feeders, chopping wood (Steve loves this … memories of childhood) and lighting the log burner.  Come to think of it, Steve does all those things …. well, I do have a blog to write!


“Relight my fire” (of Take That fame)


So lovely to snuggle up in front of the log burner after dinner each night whilst watching the latest Netflix Box Set … sometimes we even stay up till 10.00pm!!  So Rock and Roll.


Best foot forward …. we’re off to Norfolk

As I mentioned in the last blog, we’ve been selected to do a house-sit for 3 months in Stanhoe, West Norfolk. This is our first ‘assignment’ since we joined the ‘Trusted House-sitters’ group so we made the journey up with some trepidation, not knowing what to expect. We were met by the friendly house owners, Virginia and Joss, at the garden gate of their stunning property – Honeysuckle Cottage.

After a cup of tea, a get to know each other chat and a quick handover, Virginia and Joss set off on the drive to their other property in the South of France. And Steve and I were left in charge of this absolute dream cottage!

We unloaded the car and unpacked our belongings to make ourselves feel at home, didn’t take long to feel settled. Took a little drive around some local areas – Burnham Market (so gorgeous but expensive looking!) and then into Fakenham – to get our bearings and to do the inevitable food and drink stock up. Bearing in mind our nearest supermarket is 10 miles away, we stocked up big time. Stanhoe is picture perfect but pretty remote – it does have an excellent pub however we’ve been told so all is not lost. And …. we have royal neighbours you know – Sandringham is just 4 miles away.

The driving and loading/unloading of luggage has been pretty arduous for Steve as he has a fractured metatarsal … but he soldiers on. The hospital have provided him with a ‘nice’ walking shoe. I think he decided the agony to his foot in driving was preferable to being a passenger to my driving – I can’t say I blame him! Adding to the pain unfortunately is the fact that the doorways in the cottage are built for midgets – every 5 minutes I hear yelps of pain and find Steve holding a newly grazed bump!


The foot issue also means we will not be able to do the coastal walking as planned – well not for 5 or 6 weeks anyway – hopefully, we’ll still have time towards the end to fit some in. Steve will probably be climbing the walls not being able to run …. and I’ll need to wait on him hand and foot to encourage him to rest up. However, what a perfect place to rest up …. I’m not complaining – and I have my trustee Yoga mat with me to keep me exercised.

We had a great first night’s sleep and woke up to the most perfect morning of sunshine and clear blue sky. Sadly, Steve had managed to bump his head in the night on a beautiful antique cabinet beside his bed, with particularly pointy corners – he had stuck tissue on it to stem the bleeding and it was such a funny spectacle to wake up to. Shouldn’t laugh, his head is getting such a battering.

So it was breakfast in the garden, looking over on to the pond with baby ducks and geese being paraded around the water, carefully watched by their doting parents. There’s some amazing bird life here and the farm next door has an abundance of bunnies running around its field as well as horses. We have been forewarned however that the farmer and his wife are infamously rude, so we’re not to worry if any unpleasant words are exchanged – that could be interesting! And it smells of the country, in a nice way, the country air is so flowery, fresh and clean … and it’s unbelievably quiet. Can you tell I’m smitten!


We’ve managed to spend the first day so far relaxing, reading, blogging, enjoying the scenic views … oh and we’ve lost the internet. When it does appear it’s slow and intermittent – I’m going to have to have the patience of a whole host of saints to keep any sort of blog up on this stay away.

Planning a few easy days now for maximum metatarsal rest and then hopefully get out and about around Norfolk. But for now, ‘best foot forward’ is on hold – it’s all about ‘feet up.’

❤️ Country living