Well, here we are in August already (how did that happen?) and I still haven’t blogged about places we visited back in May. On our way back from our visit to my brother and his family in the Netherlands via Harwich, we visited some old stamping grounds in Essex. We lived there for a couple of years in the late 1970s – early 80s.
Coggeshall is one of those old English villages with lots of half timbered cottages, but it was Paycocke’s that we particularly wanted to see. This house was saved from being demolished in the 1960s when it was apparently in a very bad state and it now belongs to the National Trust. The house is well worth a visit, has lots of wood panelling and I particularly liked that you can see the scorch marks on the wood lined walls where candles had burned too closely. Maybe the draughts blew the flames too close to the wall.
The garden has pretty cottagey plants, but I was interested in the plane tree growing in it. I’ve often read that plane trees were the only trees tough enough to withstand the pollution of London in the days of pea soup fogs and belching chimneys, but I don’t think I had ever actually knowingly seen a plane tree. I can see how they survived, as they have peeling bark so it would seem they can shed the soot and anything else that clings to them pollution wise. You can see more images of Coggeshall here.
It was a beautiful hot day when we visited in May – what happened to our summer since then?
Well I did have every intention of blogging while we were away but we packed so much into every day that we were too exhausted to do anything in the evenings except turn the TV on and vegetate whilst wondering who would be the next MP to do something crazy, we didn’t have long to wait did we! Over five days we visited:
Moffat (on the way down)
Lincoln (very nice but it chucked it down with rain)
Grantham (the only place we didn’t like much)
Stamford (very pretty with quirky houses and grand buildings)
Cambridge (lovely but smaller than I had imagined)
Newmarket (also worth visiting)
Grantchester (made famous by Rupert Brooke, lots of thatched cottages)
Madingley (very beautiful but sad American war cemetery)
Ely (lovely cathedral and ancient town)
Braintree (where we used to live, all very different in a good way)
Witham (where I used to work)
Silver End (to see art deco buildings)
Coggeshall (a re-visit for us, very chocolate boxy)
Great Dunmow (more ancient quirky buildings )
Thaxted (stopped briefly to snap – amongst other things – Gustav Holst’s house)
Saffron Walden (I really loved this place, very old fashioned)
So you can see why we were exhausted! Very naughtily I bought 15 books from second-hand bookshops, details later. So I hope you enjoy photos of old towns and villages as I’ll be blogging about our travels soon. It’s just as well that Jack still has another week of holiday time left, recovery time!