Have just come back from a wonderful few days in Suffolk, staying in beautiful Orford – and with the weather so unseasonably hot, it could almost have been Tuscany! We enjoyed some memorable walks along the lanes and around the harbour of Orford and the stunning village itself, with its castle, medieval church and picturesque cottages, also spending much time popping into the convenience store and cafe that are at the heart of village life there – so self-contained was Orford, in fact, that we didn’t venture anywhere else for 3 days and, only then, fairly reluctantly! Rudi was a favourite with everyone; Ridgebacks really do seem to get people talking and reminiscing, we met one lady who had left 13 of them behind when she was forced to leave Zimbabwe. I’m happy to report that both of the lovely pubs in the village were very welcoming!
One of the most memorable walks provided me with a sight I had never encountered before and will never forget! It was one of the first really hot mornings to hit Suffolk, the weather having followed us from Berkshire, and as the morning sunshine brought its first real warmth to a farmer’s field quite near to the castle, igniting the long grass into strands of greenish-gold, about a dozen brown hares came out of hiding and started running in playful circles around the field.
Having only ever seen two hares before, and one of those was just the week before and at some distance (at Silchester), I was amazed to see so many – and all so apparently confident, nay, cocky in the presence of a biped accompanied by a very large ginger dog! One or two ran right up to the field entrance, where I stood with Rudi on a short leash, and seem to do a little jig right in front of us as if to say “can’t catch me” before haring off again, it was brilliant. Was as much as I could do to keep up with them, with the camera, whilst holding the dog but I managed some shots and may well paint from one or two of them soon.
During the week, we sighted two pairs of lapwings in fields near the marshland and (with fairly amateurish knowledge) think we encountered a reed warbler – well, it was in the reeds and it was warbling in a very distinctive way. (In fact, we recorded it warbling and have just checked it against the RSPB website so are pretty certain now.)
One of the best bits was waking each dawn – in an attic room with three open skylights – to the most full-on and quirky dawn chorus of mixed birdsong I’ve ever heard, it was so loud it felt as though we were sleeping in the tree tops and the interjection of the occasional seagull and a few other oddities made it a joy to wake up to. We also had a particularly lovely owl “twi-twoo”-ing each night as we settled down to our slumbers and who, on one occasion, sounded so loud against the still night that he woke us both up; he could have been sat on the pillow, he sounded so close-by and the slightly Eeyore-esque tone of his “twit-twooo” made us giggle.
Nature spotting aside, I’ve come away with a zillion photos and a good few sketches of our week in Suffolk and with my feel-good tank well and truly topped up.
For more images of our Suffolk week, see the Orford photo gallery at http://www.flickr.com/photos/helenwhitephotos/sets/72157626600814922/.