Tuesday the 19th June – Friday 22nd of June
Chesterfield – Norfolk
We have spent a lovely few days out in the English countryside with my Aunty and Uncle. It has been relaxing and good fun as well. Irene and Dave live on a large property in Plumstead which is in the north east part of England. to get there involves a lot of twisting and turning along one lane roads surrounded by greenery as high as your chest on either side. It is like a road maze!
On the day of travel to get to Plumstead, we had a brief forray into Derbyshire National Park, where we checked out another castle. (Is anyone surprised!) The Peveril Castle has some great views overlooking Castleton town and the valley around it. It would be a great place to picnic – which was what a few people were doing. This one was pretty cool in the sense that it was fairly ruined and it also came with a residentÂ cat – Dennis! Dennis sits on a chair overlooking the valley, getting pats from everyone who is climbing up to the ruins. There are school projects posted in the visitors centre that talk more about the cat then the castle history! I gave him a good pat and a cuddle.
We drove onto find the Chestnut Centre – which is a wildlife park devoted to otters mainly. It has a rehab and release section, as well as a deer park and some more owls. Its a very nice walk through the deer park, followed by a heap of otter enclosures where they are swimming about quite happily. the little Asian clawed otters were my favourite! All the otters were fun to watch though, very active. The foxes were hiding quite well in their enclosure.Â One of the Scottish wildcats was visible but, in a very cat-like fashion sat there cleaning itself while ignoring us completely. I reckon we spotted a newly born fawn in the grass…or a large rabbit..or a hare…or something. If you ever go, take some binoculars so you can spot the shy deer and crafty hiding animals.
We pushed along to arrive at in Plumstead at around 6 or 7 pm. It is a gorgeous old house built originally in the early 1700’s. It is amazing, with a colorful native English garden and meadow to boot. There are a few rose bushes surrounding the house, my favourite was a pink one blooming by the dining room window. Irene and Dave welcomed us, then proceeded to feed us a tasty hot three course meal! Irene made this starter with cheese and salad that was Yummo! (it was all very good though!) We had dinner, chatted and got a little pickled on a few glasses of wine. I’ve really, really enjoyed getting to know my English rellies. We crashed into bed after this, tummy’s full!
Wednesday 20th June
We slept in a little, I got up a little earlier than Greg and had a wander around Irene and Dave’s garden. I found their pet chickens (who no longer lay, but get very nice leftovers to eat every day), quite a few flowers and a pheasant in the meadow section which startled me awake very well! (OK, I cursed at the top of my lungs, but no one heard me!) They also have a resident barn owl nesting in the shed, it flies in and out in the evening – it probably has babies right now – how cool! Greg eventually got up and we all sat down to breaky. It’s very strange to be treated so well as house guests! (But mostly very nice!) After a little discussion a vague plan for the day was formed.
We first headed to Sandringham Estate – which is where the Queen and her family hang out on the holidays. It is open to the public to have a wander around when she isn’t in residence. It is furnished with a lot of very old heirloom furniture. The house is grand, but not over the top. It sits inside some very nice gardens filled with lots of lovely flowers and a pond. I really liked how into the Royals the staff were – they were all very engaging and full of cool history tidbits. There is also a museum in the old stable grounds, it has a bit of family history, some military artifacts and a lot of the cars the Royals have used over the years (including the Queen Mum’s buggy). As you can imagine the cars are very nice, as were the mini electric ones made by Aston Martin and the like for little princes to jet about in. (the School kids loved those!) We had afternoon tea and checked out the gift shop before slowly meandering back to the car. I bought some Diamond Jubilee souvenirs for my Nanny – I honestly have no idea into the Royals she is…still she will probably like them anyway.
We drove back via a few small towns and a very famous stretch of beach in Holkam. Like parts of Australia, when the tide is out (which it was) it is really OUT! The difference is you walk through a pine woodland area to get there and the North Wind blows direct onto the beach – makes it quite chilly! We walked down to the water and checked out the coast, then back up again. It was very stark and beautiful. After stopping at home for awhile, we headed out to a pub in a little town not very far away. It really was a little town though, one street basically. The pub food was nice, but not spectacular. I still thought the pub itself was very cute, tiny and with only a few select beers on tap.
Thursday the 21st
Officially I woke up with a cold – bugger! We had a slow start to the day, spent the morning having a hot breakfast and having quite a lot of tea and coffee. Greg and I didn’t end up getting going until nearly 1pm. It was nice to chill out though, Scotland was pretty hectic and the driving stints are tiring as well. To be far we had a full English breakfast, then later had a morning tea of cake – awesome!
Anyhoo, we headed into Norich the sort of nearest city. It is quite a pretty old place, with of course a castle to explore. this one has been heavily restored and amongst other things was used as a prison later on – there is a section on Australian convicts. It has quite a few interactive exhibits and a nature and history museum section…like you can also learn about the Egyptians and the Romans. (random!) The thing I liked looking at was a very large teapot gallery! Every absurd design you could think of was there. Including things like a teapot in the shape of a army tanker – bizarre.
We ended up having a stroll down the area from the castle, but not sure we made it into the central area of town (which is apparenty quite nice!). We stoppped for an afternoon snack (OK – fine we tried Nandos – just to see what it was like in the UK!)Â then headed home. I was feeling sub-par and not great company. Still, it was nice to go for a little drive.
Out for dinner again, to a newly revamped pub somewhere else I forget the name of! Apparently in the section of country Irene and Dace are in, the pubs change hands a little too frequently, so what is good one time, might not be good when you get back there! Anyhoo, it was good, nice food. Really big serves – no one managed to eat all of their food! We startled a deer out the front of the Irene and Dave’s house on return – can you imagine having deer about the place?! We were due to leave the next day as our time was running out, but it is a very nice area in England to see!