Christmas week in Walton on the Naze

We’re back from a lovely warm Christmas week in Walton.

We travelled down on Friday, got the heating on and put up the Christmas cards.

A Gyford Gathering was arranged for Saturday – we rendezvoused with Sue, Janet and John at Frinton train station followed by a mooch around the charity bookshops and a late lunch at The Hat & The Mouse. More mooching before Janet and John caught the train home and Sue, Phil and I walked back via Pole Barn Lane and the fully renovated Round House.

Sunday provided bright blue skies to lure us out for a stroll up along the front to Hipkins Beach and on around the Naze. Lots of energetic waves splashing along the waterfront. Hardly a soul in sight. Not so at Aldi and M&S Food Hall, which were the day’s other main destinations! Christmas food shopping accomplished with (relative) ease thanks to Aldi’s speedy checkout and M&S self service one. Sue still in shock at The Shops.

Splashing waves, Hipkins Beach
Splashing waves, Hipkins Beach

Monday was Christmas Eve, so a quiet day for us, Sue heading “home” after lunch.

Christmas Day dawned crisp and clear a little after 8am, which allowed for a couple of speedy trips to the seafront (and a clamber over the wooden flood barriers) for photos followed by breakfast and presents.

Christmas morning, Walton on the Naze
Christmas morning

It was too nice a morning to stay in, so Phil and I walked along the front and on the beach towards Frinton. Lots of other folk were out and about enjoying the morning too, most of them with dogs.

Christmas dinner for two was cooked without any trauma, accompanied by a glass of sauvignon blanc, some of Jo’s Nibbles and Phil’s Christmas Playlist.

Christmas dinner, Walton on the Naze
Christmas dinner

We had to have a breather between mains and pud – and even then we could only manage a mince pie each. The Christmas Pud will have to wait its turn. Much later on we squeezed in cheese and biscuits. And port.

The rest of the week flew by, and we were tempted to stay longer. Weatherwise it was warmer and cloudier, so less incentive to venture out although we did manage a muddy walk along the flood defences to Hipkins Beach and back on Boxing Day. Reading was the main replacement activity and I finally finished Lonesome Dove and polished off the two library books I took – Y is for Yesterday and A Sweet Obscurity – and still had time to catch up on articles I’d saved to Pocket plus a podcast or two.

Christmas Reading Completions
Christmas Reading Completions

Thursday was the exception with another Frinton train station rendezvous, this time with Tom and Jo. Coffee at Harry’s (nowhere else was open!) and a mooch around Great Danes was followed by a stroll along the prom back to Walton where we paused in The Victory for a pint and some crisps before a last of the leftovers lunch back at the flat.

Train home yesterday, with rail replacement from Ingatestone to Newbury Park. One day GreaterAnglia will finish the engineering works. One day…..

 

Walton weekend

Just home after our first visit of the year where we’ve not needed the night storage heaters on! Three lovely sunny-yet-misty days on the Sunshine Coast. Spring is on its way.

New mug

Ticked off some Residents Association admin on Fri and Sat, and we also masticked above the bedroom window in the hope that that will deter the rain…..

More enjoyably, I installed the Tooting Wilko pillowcases-as-cushion covers on the window seat. The finishing touch, it looks smashing. And Friday’s walk along the Prom to Frinton yielded a promising batch of books and a Cornishware style mug. Very satisfying.

Saturday’s stroll revealed lots of purple violets along the path along the cliff tops near Seacliffe Trailer Park, Walton’s hideaway home of the super posh caravans (“Trailer Park” really creates the wrong impression).

Saturday night saw our first meal at the superb Pearl of Samui since November. Too long!

Sunday was spent more leisurely, reading at home. It has been good reading too – Simon Armitage’s, Walking Away, PD James’ Death Comes To Pemberley and Donna Leon’s By Its Cover. We also finished off the two old packets of washing powder.

"Extra Power" Daz and "Square Deal" Surf - Which would you rather be?

With summer on the horizon, the old Tourist Info office is being converted into an ice cream kiosk and opens on 1st April. I still think it was crazy to relocate the tourist info all the way up to the Naze. Fine for drivers, but in the summer so many people come here by train – and may have no idea where “The Naze” is nor any inclination to go there. The station ticket office is closing too.

And relax!

Welcoming in the New Year in Walton on the Naze

Phil and I spent a lovely week in Walton to say farewell to 2016 and to welcome in 2017.

After finishing off the left overs …

Lots of leftovers!

… and fuelled by daily afternoon doses of Christmas cake and tea and plenty of reading, we fitted in a few walks to Frinton and back and up and around the Naze, spent evenings binging on film and TV – watching Rogue One in Colchester and Peaky Blinders and The Good Wife on other occasions – and finished up last night with a pint at The Victory followed by tasty (fish &) chips from the Tollgate Fisheries.

It wasn’t sunny every day, but it was very relaxing!

Sandcastle, East beach
Sandcastle, East beach

Walton Weekend, October 2016

A surprisingly sunny and warm weekend for late October.

Sand dunes and sea grass, Stone Point beach

Perfect for strolling from Frinton-on-Sea to Walton-on-the-Naze, and then around the Naze going beyond Stone Point for the first time.

Walton beaches and pier, in early evening light

Sunday featured more strolling – this time to the end of the Pier and back, and further along the Prom with an ice cream….

Walton seafront and the Naze from the pier

Walton pier on the National Piers Society website: www.piers.org.uk/pier/walton-on-the-naze/

Walton Weekend

We spent last weekend, Friday to Sunday, in Walton on the Naze – enjoying the second of my non-working Fridays. I stopped teaching at St Paul’s at the end of the Christmas term, freeing up my Thursdays and Fridays to do other things and giving greater flexibility on when I can do my big trips – hence April/May’s Manaslu Circuit and September’s trip to Ladakh.

A cold, sunny trio of days, beautiful weather for being by the seaside, strolling on beaches and photographing beach huts.

Arriving Friday lunchtime under clear blue skies, we spent the afternoon stretching our legs in the direction of Frinton, where we found a pair of daffodils in bloom in Crescent Gardens – that’s Frinton for you! Our return route featured a fabulous Sunshine Coast winter sunset, tinting pink the wind turbines of Gunfleet Sands and turning the skies to the south of Frinton an orange that dwindled as the blue skies darkened to night.

Walton to Frinton along the Promenade

Winter sunset on the Sunshine Coast: Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind Farm

Saturday morning’s low tide tempted us out, and our stroll north along “our beach” took us up past East Terrace and on to Jubilee Beach (aka Hipkins’ Beach to us) – clambering over the rocks at the end of East Terrace Breakwater and onwards to the Hipkins’ Cafe Breakwater, which turns out to have the official name of Mabel Greville Breakwater – Geograph explains how/why. Lots of beach huts, looking resplendent under the cloudless blue skies.

Looking north Looking north from East Terrace Breakwater towards Jubilee Beach (aka Hipkins Beach to us!)

Continuing on up and over the groynes to the north of Mabel Greville we had lovely views of the Naze Tower, the pillboxes that have tumbled down from the cliffs as the coast has eroded, and onwards across Pennyhole Bay (another name learned!) to the cranes and container shops at thePort of Felixstowe (not Harwich!!).

WWII pillboxes, fallen into the sea from the Naze

A mug of tea and a slab of bread pudding served as late elevenses/early lunch – and served as our first encounter with the delights of the Naze Links Cafe…. one to return to. A day full of Viking place names – Naze = Ness, …wich = Wik/Vik, not forgetting Thorpe-le-Soken

Another low tide and more clear skies on Sunday drew us back down the coast towards Frinton, walking under the pier and then on the sea-side of all the breakwaters and groynes. Frinton failed to deliver on the prospect of cake and we didn’t feel like a proper Sunday lunch, so headed back along Pole Barn Lane and the cliff tops, coinciding with the Walton & Frinton Lifeboat returning to its base at the end of the pier.

Beach and Beach Huts, Southcliffe Promenade, Walton: Panorama from Winchester Breakwater, south

Sunday strollers enjoying the beach between Walton and Frinton