Herefordshire Week 031: Tuesday 28 July – Monday 03 August 2020

A return to the Sunshine Coast, which lived up to its name.

A week’s holiday – my first of the COVID-19 Year – in sunny Walton on the Naze.

Hipkins Beach
Hipkins Beach

(And yes, I know this one is a week late.)

After Monday’s mega drive from the Herefordshire Hinterlands to the Essex Coast, we took things easy on Tuesday. The LED Trustees Meeting in the early evening (mainly to decide what to do about the Fundraising Weekend in Sept) was preceded by an impromptu glass of wine with Margaret and Richard on their roof terrace. The start of what would prove to be a sociable week.

Wednesday took us to Witham and Wivenhoe – seeing Phil’s folks for take away afternoon tea from a local tea room in their front garden in the former, followed by a lovely evening on the waterfront with my brother in the latter, and featuring my first pub pint since February courtesy of The Black Buoy‘s takeaway service and a takeaway curry from a local Indian restaurant.


A scorcher on Thursday, so we set off for the beach hut and Hipkins Beach. I spent most of the day on a sun lounger out on the Prom, reading and starting to relax more fully. The only fly in the ointment was the discovery that Hipkins cafe isn’t opening this year. I don’t blame them – but it does mean no mega ice creams. On the plus side, it meant our bit of the beach was noticeably quieter.

No 20, Hipkins Beach
No 20, Hipkins Beach

Friday was another scorcher, so back to the beach hut for the day.

August arrived on Saturday, as did Catherine! We all headed up to the beach hut and Catherine and I settled into sun loungers on the Prom for a sunbathe and catch up. Lunch in the hut, a walk up around the Naze and along the beach / estuary opposite Felixstowe, back towards town for ice creams all round from the Colonnade Kiosk. YUM.

Sunday – you guessed it, back at Hipkins and the Hut.  Not so busy today. I celebrated with two sea swims on the morning. High tide was at midday, so you are swimming over sand rather than the slippery clay that’s underfoot at low tide. I would have swum (well, “dipped and floated” is more accurate) earlier in the week except I thought I’d taken my swimming costume back to London… But when I dug deeper into the bag of towels we’d brought back from the hut last autumn, there it was.

The Prom, Hipkins Beach
The Prom, Hipkins Beach

Tom, Jo and Rosa came over in the afternoon. Really nice to see them all in person. Tea at the beach hut first then a stroll up to the Naze as far as the John Weston Nature Reserve. Lots of large caterpillars, green with black stripes and a horn, munching on the thistles, which subsequent Googling revealed were those of the Privet Hawk Moth.

Privet Hawk-moth, The Naze
Privet Hawk-moth, The Naze

Back at the beach hut, a hawk hovered overhead.

Our Walton week was accompanied by the first season of Elena Ferrante‘s My Brilliant Friend. The hype had rather put me off reading the books and if NOW TV hadn’t had the TV adaptation I wouldn’t have sought it out.

But it is as amazing as everyone says.

We drove back on Monday, assisted by Apple Maps, taking the more leisurely cross country route avoiding all the motorways and major A Roads (looking at you M25 and A12). Although it was longer in hours (6) and miles (270-ish), it was much easier driving and featured several Shires:

  • Essex
  • Suffolk
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Hertfordshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Northamptonshire
  • Oxfordshire
  • Gloucestershire
  • Herefordshire

We stopped half way for a lunch break at Ampthill Great Park, a good find (easy parking, cafe and loos), and again in Ross on Wye for a speedy shop, dropping off supplies for the Dinedor Quarantiners before finally making it back to base.

A lovely sunny evening. Sat out on the patio with tea and one of the Walton Bakery cakes…. The bird feeders* refilled and the garden rewalked.

Dad and Jean had visited on Friday, thankfully. Dad mowed and Jean watered and resuscitated the chillis I’d left in the conservatory. A good soaking revived the tomatoes and plumped up the pumpkins.

* The woodpeckers had destroyed one side of the seed feeder trying to get at the bird seed that loiters below the feed hole. We effected a gaffer tape repair and the feeder is back in action, albeit as a one-sided affair.

All in all, a lovely week in WON. Could quite happily have spent another week there.

All the socialising left me feeling a bit out of practice 🙂 – but lovely to see so many people In Person. Zoom’s great, but it’s not the same as a one-to-one, face-to-face (socially distanced faces, of course) chat.

Being “On Holiday” seems to make it harder to remember that we’re still meant to be keeping 2m apart. There are plenty of signs up, but families still walk three or four abreast on the pavements.

PAVEMENTS! Not seen so many of those since February! —

At least Walton on the Naze isn’t getting the crowds that have been invading Bournemouth and Margate.

Photos from Herefordshire week 31. A bit of a misnomer really as they’re all taken in Essex….