The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

England Tour Summer 2013.(1)

Saturday 10th August

Stockelsdorf to Polstead via the Hook of Holland

We set off in the early hours (02:00) to head for the Hook of Holland, the reason for the early start was Linda not wanting to miss the ferry, and thus we arrived 6 hours before embarkation. We had a cup of Dutch coffee and a fish roll at the small kiosk at the entrance to the Stena Line terminal, my eel was very tasty and Linda said her shrimp one was nice as well, the coffee, well it was wet and hot.

We, being the first in the queue, had a lot of time to spare I decided to get a couple of hours of shut eye, this was one of the pluses of setting off early, others are lack of traffic on the road (only truckers and a very few smaller vehicles), you are able to set your cruise control and listen to good music on the radio. 

We had an uneventful crossing, I even tried the food (I have been rather disparaging of the ferry foods in the past, I must say on Board the Stena Line in this case it was palatable not gourmet but eatable. I had the steak and kidney pie and chips, and I even found a piece of kidney in it. Linda had a packet of sandwiches; she wasn’t over complimentary about those, saying she didn’t know how you could make ham sandwiches without taste.
I decided I would put the time on board to good use and write up the pork pie recipe for my blog (read all about it). We also bought a bottle of Gin (I don’t know why we must have about 4 bottles back in Lübeck but these are in boxes down in the cellar) for our evening sun-downers.

Why is it that no matter what time or in what position one gets into a queue or lane on a ferry (or in a supermarket, post office or football stadium for that matter) that you are in the slowest moving and consequently are the last one through the customs, well I am that person.

Linda had phoned up our first campsite (chosen from the camping and caravanning club guide) as we left the ship, this was a one only about ¾ of an hour from the Port of Harwich well it would have been if we had listened to the nice owner (Karen). Alas our SATNAV wasn’t listening when she said DO NOT go through the village of Polstead, but take the main road! It was dark and the narrow, high hedged; twisting, single tracked lanes are not the optimal route to this camp site in a normal car, so you can imagine I am sure that in a 6 mtr. long mobile home. Linda’s confidence factor was at zero, but I realising that it was impossible to reverse, turn around or take another route carried on, we eventually came to a small cross-road, we saw a car turn into what seemed a drive, Linda said we should go and ask for directions, good idea lass, so we drove to the entrance and would you believe it, it was the entrance to the Polstead Camp Site and Karan was waiting for us, booked in, she walked in front to our pitch, she explained the rules and regulations (there are always rules and regulations on all camp sites) and wished us a pleasant night. Van plug in, we settled down for a good night’s sleep.
Sunday 11th August
Polstead to Blickling Hall and an overnight at the Fox.
I was awake at 05:00 (normal time for me), the dawn chorus was fantastic, I decided to have an early shower, the site facilities are really first class, and the pitches on this mature camp site are all of a very well high standard and well maintained.

I wandered along the lane outside of the campsite, trees fill of crab apples, sloes and even sampled some very sweet tasting blackberries from the bushes along the lane edge.
I turned the corner (about 150mtrs from the campsite entrance) and blow me down here was the main road (A1071) that Karin had explained on the phone, ah well I shall know the next time. There is also a what seemed to be a very nice pub, “The Brewers Arms”  just a little way down the road, it seemed a very nice place to have a pint and a meal at very reasonable prices if the board outside is to be believed.
I returned back at the pitch just as the campsite was coming to life, I set up our table and chairs and started to prepare breakfast, coffee, now good coffee is a must for Linda and I and I had brought ours with me from Germany (Tchibo Gala). Water ready, alas, the gas stove had no piatzo ignition and we no lighter or matches (neither Linda nor I are smokes so normally no need for such things). I noticed that one of the tents (large family affair) had also started to make breakfast, I went across and asked if it would be possible to borrow their lighter, nope they didn’t have a one their gas cooker had a piatzo system, but next doors tent was very helpful and gave us a gas lighter (they are very helpful to each other are the camping fraternity).
So we had our first German (cold sausages, hams and cheeses, ) breakfast on English soil, we sat in the sunshine, savouring life to the full.
We decided that this would be the perfect place to stay on our final evening it being very close to the ferry being only ¾ hour if one listens to Karin and not the SATNAV lady. It is also very close to the home of Thomas Gainsborough, Sudbury, so this will be a place that we shall be visiting on our way home. We had done Constable and Flatford Mill last year, but if we have enough time it is always well worth another visit to East Bergholt.
So having booked our last evening we set off North to the reason for our visit to East Anglia, the “Wildfood Picnic” this has become a regular event on the Wildfood board calendar, last year it was held at the wonderful National Trust property of Blickling Hall and grounds, this had been such a success that it was decided to hold it there again.
We had booked in at a small campsite attached to a pub “The Fox” this is only a short distance from the picnic venue, so we headed there first just to show our faces and say we would be returning early evening.
That done we headed off to Blickling and the “Pirates Picnic”. It had been named as such in honour of one of our board members who had passed away earlier in the year he had been a founding member of the board, taken part in the inaugural picnic 3 years ago. He was a very jovial pirate,(he had a patch over one eye) but was always full of good humour, would go out of his way to help anyone in need, would travel miles to give sufferance to those that needed it, he was a wheeler dealer of the finest sort (Jim had everything, not always in the best of repair, but he would get it going somehow).
We arrived at the Hall car park and being directed to the parking spaces reserved for Campers and busses (very thoughtful of the National Trust) parked up, to be met with our dear friend Carol (she is featured quite a bit in my blog) one of the board members. She informed us that they had taken over two of the tables in the Picnic Area and that some of the other board members had also arrived.

So it was Carol and her husband Bill, Alison and her husband Rob and Mary, also Chinch and her husband with Chinches mother (a wonderful dear old lady, that despite her being wheel chair bound loves a day out). Still to arrive was Sue, Will, Tessa and Partner, but we started to set out the array of food stuffs that everyone had made for the picnic. Pates from Mary, exquisite Eastern Mediterranean salads from Sue, as normal Carol and Bill had been put in charge of liquid refreshments, juices, wines and waters of every hue and flavour (I was driving so it was water with a touch of apple juice for me, alas), Chinch coming from Cromer had supplied us with some wonderful dressed crabs, along with various other fantastic food like her Piermont peppers, Alison had made a fantastic Persillade (enough to feed a regiment). I had made a pork, veal and pistachio pie,
 Tessa had made salads and Heston’s Cheese slices, and Will had made individual Quay lime pies. A very touching event was the toast to Jim at 14:00 hours prompt with Sekt supplied by Linda, a very nice drop my dear!
The smoked fish 

Sues Salads and Mary's pates
Rheda Ham
Piermont Peppers

Savoury Biscuits
Another very nice touch was that it being Mary’s birthday and Gin being her very favourite tipple, Alison baked her a very nice Gin cake adorned with tins of ready mixed gins, a very fine touch indeed. We all sang her a rendering of happy birthday and I do believe I saw her wipe a tear away from her eye.
We said our fond farewells and we shall meet again then we headed back to the fox and our camping pitch for the night, we had arranged to meet Alison, Mary and Rob for (another) bite to eat later that evening. We had a bit of a nap, got ourselves ready and popped into the pub (it isn’t really a pub as they have turned it into a fully-fledged restaurant, with a few seats at the bar for those only wishing to drink. It is I suppose a sign of the times, it is no longer viable to run country pubs and rely on just the regular custom, this is I think even more so since the recession and the no smoking law came into force. The Fox is very well furnished with wonderful old chairs and tables, all matching the décor but not matching each other if you get the cut of my jib.

We ordered a couple of drinks at the bar while waiting and asked if we would be eating, answered to the affirmative, but said we were waiting for friends. We waited what seemed a good while and asked when they finished taking orders; 20:30 was the reply. We thought it was better to take a table and order our meal; they had a very good menu, with the chalk blackboard proclaiming the specials of the day. I settled for lamb shank, with mashed potatoes and a mixed salad, Linda decided on the sea bass filets in a light Thai coconut curry sauce on a rosti (real fusion cooking ). Just as we had ordered the rest of the gang arrived, so they ordered there meals, Alison the same as Linda, Mary ordered the smoked haddock and ham in a cream sauce, Rob ordered the vegetarian option of a caramelised onion tart on a bed of mixed salad leaves. Everyone agreed it was all well cooked and very good value (the bill for the 5 of us including drinks came to under 100 quid. A place to remember for next year.


The actual camping pitches are basic, with no hard-standings, but with electrical hook ups, there is only one combined shower and toilet facility so you either get up early (as in our case) and get first in the queue or wait until there is a lull in the morning toilet usage. There are no wash up facilities, I suppose this is as they are expecting you to eat in the pub. But we had an excellent night’s sleep and arose well refreshed, ready to set off on another leg of our Journey into the unknown.


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