Monday, 24 June 2013

Festival Festival Festival!

It's been 6 months since we moved to Colchester and we've seen more of our friends in that short time than we ever did when we were in London. This was a big part of the move for us. If we moved out of London it had to be to somewhere where our chums could stay, and even though we still have a considerable way to go as far as decorating is concerned we have really made the most of our space. It's been really great so far, we've had some awesome weekends and been very lucky that everyone has wanted to come and visit. The only down side to all the entertaining (apart from slightly too much cheese and wine) is that we still haven't really got to explore our new area very much. However, this Sunday, the first in a long time with no visitors, was a great opportunity to jump in the old jalopy and head out down some country roads. Yee har!

First of all, lunch naturally, so we headed to the The Swan Inn in the village of Chappel and Wakes Colne in the Colne Valley. One of the things I like about it round here are the crazy names of the villages. It all sounds very oldy worldy and a tiny bit hobbity.

The Swan Inn really is in a stunning location. To the front of the Inn you have the River Colne. We saw a Kingfisher but my reflexes aren't as sharp as they used to be so no picture I'm afraid, but in the beer garden they have the awesome Chappel Viaduct which I did get a photo of.

The River Colne

The Chappel Viaduct

Wikipedia has told me that the Viaduct was built between 1847 and 1849, cost around £21,000 to build, is 346 metres long and is thought to be the second largest brick built structure in England. So there you go. I'm not sure what the biggest one is, they didn't say. 

As well as being in a beautiful location, The Swan certainly delivered a delicious lunch with very friendly service and a thoughtful pile of colouring pencils for the baby who unfortunately could not use them. He simply can not be trusted yet to not gouge out an eye or pierce a plumptious cheek. Sadly I did not get any pictures of the delicious food (Calamari, Pork Belly, Roast Beef, Sticky Toffee Pudding) as we scoffed it down before I remembered to take any snaps, but rest assured, it was all delicious and served in very generous portions. The other point to note since the UK now has an arctic climate, is that they have refurbished the courtyard area so it now has heaters and blankets (not shown on their website). So it really can be enjoyed in any season of our 2 wonderful seasons. Winter or Winter. The Swan Inn gets a very chubby thumb up.

After we had stuffed ourselves silly we squeezed back into the car and by chance ended up in another pretty village by the name of Mount Bures, where there happened to be a flower festival.

Some blue sky we saw on the way.

Mount Bures is a very small but pretty village between Colchester and Sudbury and the flower festival was being held at Mount Bures Hall, a beautiful old house at the top of the village. As well as flowers for sale, there were also classic cars, books, croquet lessons, face painting, food, a band, crafts and a bus you could go for a ride on. Apparently Loraine Chase was going to open the festival but she cancelled. So The Queen came instead! Please note realistic corgi and rather unflattering ankles.


For Sale

For riding

Croquet lessons

"Do not climb in the Wagon"

Some hay and a dog. Well country

Not sure if the Volvo was part of the show but it certainly ruined this photo

A very nice car

View from the top of the Mount

As we still had a bit of daylight left after the festival we decided we have a quick sniff around Sudbury. It's not far from Colchester despite it being in Suffolk, and we'd not been so thought we may as well. And by jove, I'm glad we did! For Sudbury had a food festival on. It's festival festival festival round here!

A tiny bit more blue sky

A statue of Gainsborough in the town square. 
There is also a Gainsborough museum but it was closed. Boo.

Part of the festival was inside the towns church

You could practice your milking skills on a fake cow should you wish to do so

Fancy flavoured coffee beans

Lovely local veg boxes

South African delights

All in all it was a really great day out and a nice break from cheese and wine.  I'd definitely recommend a visit to all of these places. I'm obviously still getting used to being away from London (I fear it may take some time yet) but a day like this helps me towards thinking we might have done the right thing. We've definitely done the right thing if we ant to open a B+B anyway. We couldn't really have done that in my one bedroom flat in Hackney thats for sure.

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