President: Peter Mitton
Club of Royston
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Walking Group Trip to Tattingstone Suffolk Monday 26 – Thursday 29 September 2022 Welcome to the 2022 issue of The Happy Wanderers Walking Tour! Each year we carefully plan every aspect of the walking trip and every year there is a slight glitch. This year was no exception!! The beautiful manor house (booked by Peter) was available to us from 4pm. However, The A14 at the Orwell Bridge was suddenly closed owing to ‘A Police Incident’ and virtually all of us became totally stranded for a couple of hours. Some ventured the long way round meaning that we arrived nearer 6pm. Soon the cars were unloaded and food unpacked but ---- Oh No !!! Panic set in when we heard that Neil was unfortunately injured and would not be joining us….and he had all the booze! Clarice and John came to rescue, albeit a bit later than the rest of us, carrying the drinks. Phew! Needless to say, we made a huge effort to make the best of our supplies. Ray and Joan had shopped for everyday basic stores and everyone else provided additional meals and cakes. John and Clarice planned our walks and visits. Monday evening we were treated to a delicious Lamb Tagine made by Clarice (John may have been behind the scenes as sous chef) and Lemon cheesecake (Sephrone) and Choc Pots ( Jo). A superb relaxing evening followed, or perhaps not. Table Tennis, Air Hockey and Table Football became highly competitive and everyone joined in. We needed no rocking that night and settled down for a good sleep ready for the next day. Tuesday morning and we were up and running with a few sore heads but all raring to be off to Flatford Mill in Constable Country as our first visit of the day. The famous painting of Flatford Mill (Scene On A Navigable River) is now owned by and exhibited by The Tate Britain Gallery in London. We had plenty of time to wander around the glorious area and take in the views and history of the great artist. Also, coffee time beckoned and we sat out in the late morning sunshine, having changed tables four times to find the warm sun out of the chilly breeze! From here we walked a mile and a half along the River Stour to the village of Dedham where we had a very tasty lunch at the Craft Centre. Some ventured into the rather interesting church and others enjoyed the craft centre itself making a few souvenir purchases before we started back to Flatford Mill. Some chose a slightly longer route and some returned via the shorter route. However, our first injury occurred on the longer route leaving poor Peter Mitton with a sore ankle and back pain causing him to walk with a very strange gait. We now refer to him as Pisa Mitton, as in leaning Tower.. sorry Peter. At the end of the walk, those who were still upright drove along to the Grayson Perry House in Wrabness. This is a very quirky house elaborately decorated with Individual ornate tiles. Grayson Perry collaborated with FAT’s (Fashion- Architecture- Taste Construction Company) Charles Holland to design and decorate this amazing house overlooking the River Stour. If you are interested, it can be hired for accommodation BUT—be prepared to live in a goldfish bowl. Now, back to base for the ever welcome large chunks of cake (Liz, Jo and Barbara) and gallons of tea. The evening started off with the BBQ. (Jonathan and Lyn providing the ingredients). It’s funny how all the men, no matter what the weather, gather around the BBQ, beers in hand. Two chefs Jonathan and Peter, advised by five other assistant chefs, some gathering wood to get the fire started, others just there for their advice!! managed to produce a huge cooked mound of sausages (2 cremated specially for Ray), burgers and lamb chops. Sides of baked potatoes, salad and sweet corn added to the feast followed by the highly requested Bread and Butter Pudding which has now become Sandra’s speciality dish. Gooseberry cake (Barbara) and choc pots also available. Needless to say, it was washed down with lots of alcohol and other delicious liquids. Most of us by now were showing signs of aches and pains and in need of a rest, but dream on, that’s not allowed on this trip. Some crazy folks had a couple of rounds of Pass the Bomb. All of us enjoyed John’s specially prepared picture quiz and only then did we collapse into the lounge for a feet up. Wednesday morning and despite sore knees, ankles, backs and hips and coughs, we headed north to Rendlesham Forest to explore and investigate the very eerie story of a UFO which is said to have landed at 2am on the 27th December 1980 outside the East gate of RAF Woodbridge Airfield. The 3mile walk started out as usual with a happy go lucky band of chatterboxes. We stopped at five different points of interest for a further piece of creepy, spooky information. At each point we became quieter and quieter. Quite an achievement you must admit. The reason? Well…..John relayed the story of unusual lights, a pillar of yellow mist transforming itself into a huge eye with a dark centre, radio contact breaking down, the sight of a conical object the size of a car floating on beams 12 inches above the ground. It was metallic with black markings along its side and suddenly it rose in a flash of light and disappeared. Broken treetops, three triangular depressions on the ground and radiation levels ten times the normal background levels were found the next day. Towards the end of the trail, we were all walking at a snail’s pace, hunting little green men and spaceships. You don’t believe the story?? Well take a look at the photographic proof that we found them. So, what do you think? UFO or 15 crazy walkers of a certain age back on the tipple? If so, how do you explain why Sandra’s fully charged camera spluttered and fizzled out from a video recording of the landing area after just 10 seconds …oooooohh Once we had gathered out senses together again, we went off to visit Sutton Hoo. This is England’s Valley of the Kings. An Anglo- Saxon Burial Ground. If you have seen the film ‘The Dig’ you might think you are about to visit the deep archaeological site. Well, it’s nothing like that. There is no actual ship to see. However, from the viewing Tower, we could see The Ghost of the ancient ship imprinted in the ground alongside several other mounds relating to various other important characters and finds. Other findings and artifacts were on view inside the museum but we could not gain access that day. Our last visit was to the Market and Port town of Woodbridge where the building of a replica of the ship is in progress. Woodbridge is a busy little town at the head of the River Deben with a large safe marina for all kinds of sailing and motor vessels. Apparently, it has plenty of tea shops too. Very important after such an exhausting day out. Our last evening meal was in the super little local pub. The White Horse in Tattingstone provided us with plentiful and tasty dishes and we were made very welcome by the locals themselves who were there just for a pint and a game of dominoes. We decided not to have desserts but to return to base and finish off all our own delicious fayre rather than let it go to waste or be taken home. During our time in Suffolk, the weather had been quite kind to us so we had no drenchings this year. Sunburn didn’t seem to be a problem either. In fact, we had no real issues at all unless you count the number of individual physical complaints which, when you added them up, made you wonder how we all managed to have such a raving brilliant time. But then, that’s what great friends are for and a jolly good time was had by all. Words by Linda Berks, photos by multiple Rotary walkers.