Adventures in Lockdown; Day tripping and picnicking our way through COVID 19

Hi everyone, how are you all keeping? Well we hope. Sorry for being so quiet recently. The shift to online work has taken a toll on my desire to be online at the weekends – my eyes throb at the end of each week, and for the first time since owning one, I barely pick my iPad or MacBook up on my days off.

Enjoying garden time – a new favourite past time

We’ve been bumbling along ok, despite still having up days and down days like the rest of the world I think, but we’ve settled into this new routine of working Monday – Thursday and then enjoying at least one pre booked day trip over the weekend, which has given us something to look forward to. The reopening of some of our local National Trust sites with prebooked tickets just before May Half term became a lifeline to us, along with our beloved Ruby the – our own home from home bubble.

Dunwich Heath National Trust

Our first trip was a the day before our 5th wedding anniversary at the end of May and was a trip to Felbrigg Hall. We enjoyed a great walk and picnic in the grounds. We felt safe due to the restrictions of numbers and having to pre book our entry time. In fact we barely saw another soul. We sat outside Ruby the Campervan until the car park closed at 5pm, enjoying the views across the estate.

We then realised we were a stones throw away from Cromer so we decided to take a ride to the seafront to see the sea. When we arrived it was empty so we went for a walk on the beach- which was empty and it absolutely did us the world of good.

We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on the 23rd May. We spent the day at home and treated ourselves to a cream tea delivered to us by our local tea rooms. It was delicious. We then had a Chinese for dinner. Despite it not being the day we’d envisaged we had a lovely day. Both Mum and my Dad and Jenny came to visit at a distance and drop us some goodies off. Mum turned up as a surprise in her mother of the bride outfit with some mini bottles of fizz which we enjoyed at a distance in the garden. It was the first time we’d seen her face to face since the beginning of March. I even dug out my wedding dress much to the amusement of our neighbours!

We managed a trip to Wicken Fen National Trust in Cambridgeshire and thoroughly enjoyed a bike ride and picnic. We haven’t visited here for about 8 years and the weather was stunning. We had another delicious picnic along side one of the lodes. Again we felt like we’d gone on a mini break, despite being 50 mins from home and just a day trip.

Our final May half term day trip was a pre booked trip day trip to Dunwich Heath in Suffolk. Was walked a few miles on the pebbly but deserted beach, enjoyed another picnic and sat and stared out at the sea. When the National trust car park closed, we drove a mile or so down the road and continued our sea staring for another hour or so on the public beach at Dunwich. Being at the seaside was liberating and helped our tension enormously. Especially helped by the fact that it was near enough deserted.

We enjoyed an American day where we ate an American meal of brisket, ribs, mac n cheese and pancakes and we loved watching the NASA footage of the dragon shuttle taking off and arriving at the ISS

Then the term restarted and our moods dipped once more. The summer term is always our favourite – it’s filled usually with school concerts, exam days, gigs gigs and more gigs and suddenly our diary was empty with no performance opportunities available at all. We were trying to inspire our students to keep practicing but with no performances lined up it was hard. So I put my energy into some fundraising instead, which I linked up with trying to inspire our students. We organised a Zoo Day for our village and surrounding villages – to raise money for our local zoo, Banham Zoo. It was a huge success and we raised over £2700, had lot of fun.

We became members of Historic Palaces at the end of February, so when we got an email to say Hampton Court Palace gardens were reopening (pre booked timed tickets) we immediately booked our tickets. It was the furthest that we’d driven in months and probably a bit far for a day trip, but we managed it, and more to the point enjoyed our visit hugely. It felt especially good because we’d planned BC (before COVID) to do this trip at this time of year. For a day it felt like we were ticking off a plan for this year!

We enjoyed a picnic in the Palace that was fit for a King. It really was a lovely day out.

Talking of gardens and lovely days out; we visited our local Bressingham Gardens- attached to the popular Steam museum and just 5 miles away from us, we can’t believe we’ve never been been before. It was just stunning! We were getting a dab hand at the pre booking timed entry tickets and absolutely recommend Bressingham Gardens as they are huge. We met Keith’s mum there as she lives very close and enjoyed a glorious couple of hours wandering around the vast and beautiful gardens.

Last weekend, we popped for a day on the beach at Dunwich, Suffolk. I’d had a particularly bad week and needed to unwind. I was really worried about the beach being overcrowded so we packed some food and headed to Dunwich with the promise that if it was busy we would turn round and go for a walk at the heath instead. Luckily – probably because it was raining when we arrived- it was empty again. We set our stall out, and enjoyed the calming of the waves. Mum – who is now part of our support bubble – came to join us after she finished work. It really was a lovely day and again, I felt thankful to be living where we do and we caught the most spectacular Suffolk sunset on our way home.

During our beach time, I got a message from Banham zoo, thanking us for our fundraising efforts and inviting us to a soft reopening of the Zoo a couple of days later along with other fundraisers. We immediately said yes please and on Sunday spent some enjoyable hours wandering around the very very quiet zoo.

Before we knew it, July was upon us and the news that Campsites and pubs/restaurants were going to be reopening. The news of campsites reopening was met by a cheer in our household. Having said that, we’ve decided to wait a week until going on a camping trip. The numbers of deaths and infection still worry us enormously and whilst we’ve certainly been able to enjoy some day adventures, we’ve been very cautious to only do things with as little risk as possible. Keeping ourselves to ourselves, avoiding anywhere where there were lots of people – avoiding shops etc.

So yesterday we took ourselves on another day trip – this time to Sutton Hoo, a very important archeological site in East Anglia. In 1934, archaeologists discovered an Anglo-Saxon Royal Burial site in the farmland here which turned into them finding a 1400 year old, 27 metre boat buried underneath along with a Anglo Saxon King buried inside and his treasure. It’s thought the boat was dragged up the valley from the River Deben and laid to rest here with the king and his treasure inside.

We really enjoyed our walks around the local countryside and our time sat amongst the royal burial site. Keith is a huge history and archeology fan. He was literally in heaven and I couldn’t resist snapping those pics of him. You can almost see his imagination hard at work!

We really enjoyed the day out – and again got satisfaction as we’d planned to revisit here this summer. We will revisit again when their new viewing tower opens as that looks wonderful.

On the way home last night we passed a from shop with the sign “World Famous Sausage rolls”. Regular readers will know we find this sort of sign impossible to ignore, so in we swung. We picked up a number of sausage rolls, including the bad boy! And a scotch egg wrapped in haggis and some local ice cream. For a moment, it felt like our old lives were returning and life was beginning to feel a little more normal again. Perhaps it was that that prompted me to get writing again, I’m not sure. The sausage rolls etc were delicious by the way!

I hope that if you’re out and about this weekend you have a brilliant time and stay safe. We’re not going to be long behind you – we have 2 nights booked for next weekend on an adults only 5 van CL with no facilities. We’ve got some mini breaks lined up for the summer holidays too. We’ve also got a auto tunnel voucher burning away in our pockets so may – if we feel safe enough – use that in August.

Until then, take care, stay safe and happy camping.


3 thoughts on “Adventures in Lockdown; Day tripping and picnicking our way through COVID 19

  1. Amazing photos and really interesting post. Brought back memories for us, as we’ve been to most of the places you visited but not for a very long time. Keep smiling – not long to the end of term!

  2. Enjoyed reading … especially as I know many of the places.
    We di out C-19 Time on a campsite in Turkey … 12 weeks in one place, unheard of for us. But not bad as there were 9 EU vans making our own mini refugee camp!
    Transit through Bulgaria into Serbia, where we became tourists again for 13 days, Now oozing in Hungary. Feeling very relaxed here.
    Take care and enjoy the new freedoms.

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