Today though promised good weather and as B. has gone on his annual skiing trip to Austria, I had this whole Sunday to myself. It's funny, a few years ago I hated being alone, but over the years I have really come to cherish those days when I can do exactly as I please. I almost emailed a friend to ask if she fancied coming along for a walk, but then thought 'no, I really want to go on my own'. It's done me the world of good.
It was a very pretty walk, called Chocolate Box Cavendish, and can be found on the AA website (http://www.theaa.com/walks/
We started off in Cavendish and walked through open fields to Clare and then alongside the river Stour (and in Essex!) back to Cavendish. Fancy coming along? Better put on some sturdy walking shoes then, because we've had a lot of rain lately and it's bound to be muddy. O and don't forget a rucksack with a camera and a little snack, it promises to be quite a long walk.
We're starting off on a public footpath alongside the cemetery. Lots of leaves.
Looking up at the very blue sky through bare poplar trees. It is a beautiful day but there is a very cold wind. I hope you brought a hat and gloves? I'm glad I brought mine.
Where's parttime dog? Oh, lots of new smells to discover...
Lots and lots of rosehips. It's been an amazing fruit year.
This first part of the walk has lots of fields and lots of views. It's actually quite hilly too. Never mind, that will warm us up.
Round the corner and we see this lonely farmhouse across the fields.
Another field with a house in the distance. You can walk for miles without seeing anyone, yet still see signs of habitation everywhere.
Sugarbeets! Mountains of them. You see lots of them at this time of year in Suffolk.
Out of the fields, up the little hill. Still some Autumn colour to be found, although the best is over now.
And back into the fields, across a little bridge.
We're going through a really big field now, seeming to stretch all the way to the horizon.
Look, pink berries! Unusual colour for this time of the year.
Now we're heading down the hill towards Clare, which is about halfway on our walk. Not tired yet I hope?
And here we are in Clare itself. You can just make out the church in the distance. Looks like we're not the only ones getting some exercise.
Going into the country park - only for a short stretch, just along the river.
And look what we find when we turn left - two old railway bridges! I can just imagine steam trains chugging along here.
Part of the railway track is still here - maybe this is another one of Dr Beeching's victims? The only good thing you can say about that is that we have lots of nice railway walks now.
We cross the bridge and walk up a steep hill, then turn right to cross the old railway bridge we could see in the distance earlier.
Just a bit further down and look, an old mill house.
And here's the old mill bridge and the mill in the background. Parttime dog is looking longingly at the water. I'm sure we'll find some to splash about in before we get back to the car!
Parttime dog is not keen to get on this bridge. Far too complicated for his elderly brain.
Looking back at the mill in the foreground and the mill house in the background.
O look, he's finally made it.
We just crossed the river Stour, which leads us into Essex.
There must have been a wedding here yesterday. I wonder if we'll find a little church if we go down this path?
Not a church, but a nice river to splash about in for a minute or so. Doesn't matter that it's a really cold day! Good, all that mud from earlier is coming off too.
O look, a swan in the distance, doesn't that look pretty, that snowy white in all the green.
'Enough with all the photos, let's go'
A really large toadstool. Wish I knew if you can eat it.
If you look carefully, you can see the fallen trees. We had some pretty strong winds a few weeks ago, but it looks like they had it worse here than back at home where there is not much damage.
And another huge field with a huge sky. It really is very pretty down here.
See, we really did venture into Essex!
They have some lovely houses down here.
Another fallen down tree. Quite a big one that one. I wouldn't mind the firewood!
And we're back in Suffolk.
Very typical Suffolk cottage. Allegedly the paint is made with pig's blood, although I've heard that it could be cow's blood too. Either way, it's a pretty colour isn't it.
We're back in Cavendish now and just walking along the river back to our starting point. Lovely little Victorian cottage.
Look, sheep! Come on parttime dog, you're a cross Golden Retriever/border collie, you like sheep. But he doesn't bat an eyelid. Too old for all that. The sheep are fascinated by us though and keep running around us.
Two photos from the same spot, but because the wind is blowing the leaves on the tree, the camera keeps focusing on different parts.
And this is one the cottages that the chimneys belong to. If you look carefully, you can see the crochet blanket on the back of the sofa. We'd better be quick though, there's someone watching telly and it's a bit odd to take a photo of someone's house when they're home!
Cavendish is full of pretty houses. I wonder what the roof will look like when it's finished?
Another mill house.
These cottages are so pretty, don't you think? The glass in the left hand one seems to be original, it's not smooth as modern glass.
The old Grammar School - you can't imagine a village this small having a grammar school.
We're back at the car now, but let's just wander to the green and the church to have a quick look.
It could go straight into a picture book, it's that pretty. No wonder the walk is called Chocolate Box Cavendish! The village has a strong link with Sue Ryder but where has the museum gone? I was hoping we could stop there for a cup of tea or hot chocolate.
Walking up the green towards the church
The ceiling of the church, it seems to mimic the floor tiles. Some people don't like Victorian decorations in churches, but I don't mind - I think it tells part of the history of the church. I would enjoy spending a bit more time here, but we've had a bit of a disapproving look (or so it feels) as we came in, so let's leave it for another day.
One last look at the church before we return to the car with muddy boots and tired paws. It was seven and a half miles in the end. A lovely walk though, don't you think? Home now for a well earned shower and cup of coffee!