Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Two picnics and memorials

Wasn't the weather amazing this weekend! Forget jokes about wet Bank Holidays – this one was perfect, a two-picnic weekend can't be bad ;-)

Picnic Number One:
Marsham Heath in Norfolk. On our way between visiting Jon and Sarah's Open Studio in Norwich and John Jackson's studio in Briston.

Near to our picnic spot we came upon this memorial . . .

Politicians getting all in a lather about allegations against them – mmmmm sounds familiar! In 1689 Sir Henry Hobart of Blickling Hall and Oliver le Neve sorted out their quarrel by having a duel right here, where the stone urn now stands. You can read all about it here.

Picnic Number Two:
On the footpath to Wratting Common, a short walk from our house.

Where we were treated to a fly-past by the Lancaster from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight . . .

The line of trees marks the line of one of the runways of RAF Wratting Common, a WWII airfield. The two huts were bomb stores. On Sunday there was a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the memorial which commemorates the 3,000 men and women who served there during 18 months in 1943-45 and the 260 who lost their lives. We didn't go to the ceremony, but we took a picnic lunch and walked from our house along a footpath over the fields to a place adjoining the end of the wartime runways. The sky was a vivid clear blue and everything was so still – only the Yellowhammers singing in the hedge and the dozens of Painted Lady butterflies skimming the wheat disturbed the scene. Eventually we heard a low droning sound in the distance and the Lancaster appeared over the trees to circle around three or four times. It's hard to imagine what this tranquil spot was like 65 years ago.

Oh, by the way, the 'picnic' on both occasions was very simple:
Home made sourdough bread (my very first attempt, Jamie Oliver recipe)
A pork pie bought from the butchers at Highgate Country Store (made by DP Meats, Bury St Edmunds)
Chutney and tomatoes.


  1. I get very emotional seeing and hearing the RAF Memorial Flight- they often give us an impromptu fly past(We get the Trooping of the Colour chaps too).

    I simply cant imagine with sufficient clarity what life was like back then. But I do know that I'm glad I've never had to experience anything remotely like it-the hardships,the worry.

  2. Duels are a hoot... or at least, they were. Not many people know that Wellington himself took part in a famous duel. This is a fun list of great duels.

  3. Lovely to see the Lancaster-my dad flew on them in 1944-45, based at Downham Market. When Tom was little we had Airfix models of them all over the house!

  4. Two picnics in one day is amazing in England. The story of the duel was very interesting. One way of sorting out problems but rather final if you were the unlucky one.

  5. Hi MECG - we are very lucky and need to be reminded sometimes.

    Hi Soilman - 'fun list of duels' that could only be said by you!

    Hi Threadspider - East Anglia is scattered with airfields and memories. I'm not a WWII or plane buff at all, but there's something about the Memorial Flight that's very special.

    Hi Cathy - Not in one day, but on Saturday and Sunday - hope we get more al fresco weekends! The present cabinet would be throwing down their gauntlets left right and centre this week ;-)



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