Sunday, July 31, 2005

Gt Barton


9am 9.2 miles in 1hr 20 mins. Year to date mileage 680 miles, Month to date 145 miles, average miles per week this year 22.4 and average per month 98.

Weather was dull and overcast.

Course: A simple out and back course to Gt Barton out on the Fornham Road into the village and return. On the route you pass the old plague stone. This has been moved from its original position where it was set not to far from the old market place. The idea being that any visitor such as a farmer coming into the town would wash their coins in the plague stone . The stone is hollowed out at the top and would have been filled with vinegar. It was falsely believed that bubonic plague could be passed from person to person so the idea was to clean the coins.

The bridge above is known as the Abbots Bridge and is part of the monastery. Once a place of pilgrimage & worship which was second only to Rome.

The old ruined building is the remains of a friary.

The blue buildings are the the site of the old forge at Gt Barton.

There are many medieval buildings in Bury St Edmunds the photo above shows a row I pass on the run.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Ickworth Park


8am 8.5 miles in 1hr 13 mins. Year to date mileage 671 miles, Month to date 136 miles, average miles per week this year 22.3 and average per month 97.

Weather was beautiful and sunny.

Course: Set of towards Horringer over fields towards Lord Hervey's wood and Great Horringer Hall. Along Westley Lane and into Horringer Village. At the Church turn right into Ickworth Park, down to Ickworth House and then do a circuit of Albana Wood before returning on the same route.

Now owned by the National Trust the rotunda shaped house at Ickworth Park was built around 1803 as the home of Frederick Hervey. The Herveys family were the earls and Marquesses of Bristol. The house is 700 feet long and 100 feet high. From the photo you will see lots of boarding this is where the national Trust are carrying out some work to restore the west wing.

During the 18th century Lady Mary Hervey was a famous beauty and is remembered as the only women to whom Voltaire addressed a poem written in English.

Much of the great park was designed by Capability Brown. Here you can see herds of deer, rabbits and lots of woodpeckers. There is a vineyard and several walks. A good website to find out more is

Friday, July 29, 2005

River Lark/Town Centre


6.00pm 5.7 miles approx in 47.49. Year to date 662 miles, July mileage 127 miles.

Weather: warmer thoughnot particularly sunny.

The Course : Out on the Cullum Road through the water meadows head along the River Lark and return over the 1st bridge along the other side of the river. Head back into Town through the cemetary past the Angel Hotel up Abbeygate Street through town centre and home.

The ivy leafed building above is the Angel Hotel which dates back to the 12th century. It has a prominent position on possibly the prettiest georgian square in the country. I used to work here when I was about 16 in the kitchens. Charles Dickens was a regular visitor to Bury and in Pickwick Papers he calls the town a handsome little place of thriving and cleanly appearance. Dickens stayed at The Angel Hotel, where the Dickens Suite is still available to stay in.

The Athenaeum building pictured above was built in 1714 as Assembley Rooms. It has had many uses as a ball room, exhibition centre and during the 2nd world war was used as a canteen for British and Amerian troops. When the Athenaeum closed as a canteen in 1945 it had served a million and a half servicemen and women.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

My Favourite CD's - 2nd in a Series


This is another album I would listen to when out for a run. Ok it provides a bit of a contrast when running in the peace and quiet of leafy Suffolk lanes but it provides great motivation and is guranteed to make you run 10 seconds faster a mile!

One of the great English punk bands. I bought this album in 1977. I saw them twice once up in London and a second time surprisingly in Bury St Edmunds at the Corn Exchange in about 1978-79. This is still my favourite Clash Album it contains more of the energy from their live performances. It is quite a raw guitar album apart from the Police and Thieves reggae track from Junior Marvin which received great aclaim. The front cover is a picture taken from a shot at Camden market.

Track Listing

1. Janie Jones
2. Remote Control
3. Im so bored with the USA
4. White Riot
5. Hate and War
6. Whats my name
7. Deny
8. Londons Burning
9. Career Opportunities
10. Cheat
11. Protext Blues
12. Police and Thieves
13. 48 Hours
14. Garageland

Career Opportunities

The offered me the office, offered me theshopThey said I'd better take anything they'd gotDo you wanna make tea at the BBC?Do you wanna be, do you really wanna be a cop?Career opportunities are the ones that never knockEvery job they offer you is to keep you out the dockCareer opportunity, the ones that never knock.I hate the army an' I hate the R.A.F.I don't wanna go fighting in the tropical heatI hate the civil service rulesAnd I won't open letter bombs for youBus driver....ambulance man....ticket inspectorThey're gonna have to introduce conscriptionThey're gonna have to take away my prescriptionIf they wanna get me making toysIf they wanna get me, well, I got no choice.

The Band - Joe Strummer , Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

27th July West Suffolk Athletics Track

6.30pm 6 miles approx in 49.30. Year to date 657 miles, July mileage 121 miles.

Weather rain and really quite cold for the middle of summer.

Tonights interval work consisted of 5 minutes at 800 metre pace followed by a 300 metre sprint followed by another 5 minutes and a 200 metre sprint . A five minute rest and then repeat the whole set of intervals again.

Despite the weather there was a fair turn out of St Edmunds Pacer members.

I did 5 laps warm up before the session and ran from home for a mile before and after the track session.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

26th July -Great Men and Women of Suffolk No 2 in a Series.

Robert Bloomfield 1776 - 1823 He was born in Honnington, Suffolk. His father was a poor tailor. His mother, a teacher at the village school, taught him to read and write and at 11 he went to work on his Uncle's farm at Sapiston. He proved to be too frail for this, so at 15 he went to join his brothers in London to learn the trade of shoemaker. In his spare time he was inspired to write about the Suffolk countryside. He composed The Farmer’s Boy while making shoes, remembering the lines in his head until he could write them down. Initially it was refused by several publishers but was eventually published by Vernor and Hood in 1800. The work was very popular selling 26,000 copies within two years.

He followed up his success with Rural Tales (1802), Good Tidings (1804) Wild Flowers (1806) and The Banks of the Wye (1811). His success was shortlived and in died in poverty.

The Farmers Boy

On Giles, and such as Giles, the labour falls
To strew the frequent load where hunger calls.
On driving gales sharp hail indignant flies,
And sleet, more irksome still, assails his eyes:
Snow clogs his feet; or if no snow is seen,
The field with all its juicy store to screen,
Deep goes the frost, till every root is found
A rolling mass of ice upon the ground.

His love of Honington came out in this poem

My heart was roused, and Fancy on the wing
Thus heard the language of enchanting spring
"Come to thy native groves and fruitful fields!
Thou knowest the fragrance that the wild flower yields
Inhale the breeze that bends the purple bud
And play along the margin of the wood"

Honington is better known as an RAF base and since 1937 has seen a range of planes fly from here including Wellingtons,Dakotas, Canberra Bombers, Valiants,Victors,Buccaneers and Tornardoes.

Monday, July 25, 2005

25th July Culford to Flempton Out and Back Run


5.30 pm 5 miles in 38. 59. Year to date mileage 651 miles , Month to date 115 miles. Average miles per week for this year is now 22.1.

Weather dull and overcast threatening rain but managed to avoid it on my run.

Course: from Culford Riding Stables set of towards the River lark and then on to the Mildenhall Rd where there is a pathway which takes you through the village of Hengrave and then on to Flempton. Return from the Greyhound pub which is next to St Catherines Church back to Culford.

Culford is about 4 miles from Bury St Edmunds.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

24th July West Stow & the Brecks


9.30 am 9.5 miles in 1 hour 20 mins.

Year to date mileage 646 miles , Month to date 110 miles. Average miles per week for this year is now 22 and average monthly mileage is now 96.

Weather overcast threatening rain but managed to avoid it on my run.

Course: West Stow Country Park is about 4 miles from Bury St Edmunds on the Mildenhall Road. Follow the way marked signs for the Lark Valley Pathway. This takes you past the reconstructed Anglo Saxon Village around the lake and then along by the River Lark. Parts of the Lark Valley Pathway are in fact better known as the Icknield way.

The Icknield Way is one of the oldest roads in Britain said to be over 4,000 years old. It is one of the few long-distance trackways to have existed before the Romans occupied the country. It stretches from Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire to Knettishall Heath in Norfolk approx 128 miles . If you fancy walking it it can be done in about 7 days more details see this link. - 7k

I ran out for 40 minutes into a landscape that is known as the Brecklands. This is an area of Scottish pine trees and sandy heathlands. Surprisingly East Anglia does have some areas of wilderness. The picture top right shows the path I followed which is a very open heathland. I saw nobody on this run. The only sounds were the noise of grass hoppers and the wind through the trees. The Brecklands are a specially protected area due to the unique landscape which provides a home to a number of rare birds and wildflowers.

The one thing that isn't rare in the brecks is Rabbits I saw some large rabbit warrens on this run. Rabbits were introduced apparently to Britain after the Romans arrived in 43AD. In the early days rabbit farming was highly protected by landowners because of their meat and fur. In 1813, one rabbit poacher was sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia for stealing a single rabbit. I gave up counting rabbits today after a hundred or so!

Anglo Saxon Village at West Stow

Stow means special place. West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village lets you explore the way our ancestors lived. The early Anglo-Saxon village (c.420-650AD) has been carefully reconstructed where it was excavated. During this time East Anglia rose to become the Dominant kingdom of England, under King Redwald. - 31k This site is well woth a visit 'Angelcynn - At West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village'

Saturday, July 23, 2005

23rd July Hawstead Church Out and Back Run


8am 8.8 miles in 1 hour 13 mins 20 secs. Year to date mileage 636 and for July 101. Average miles per week for this year is 21.8 and average monthly mileage is now 95.

Weather continues to be overcast

The course: Head out of Bury on the Horsecroft Road, this takes you past Horsecroft Hall and Hardwick House. Keep going straight (as there are no turnings on this course) through Pinford End until you get to All Saints, Hawstead Church. I reached here in 37.30 minutes expecting to return in the same time but surprisingly returned a lot quicker as there are 2 hills to climb on the return.

I hour 13 mins represents my longest run at the moment. I am planning to build up a few minutes each week until the middle of September when I plan to enter a 10 mile race.

Pictures above - All Saints is a big church and has more monuments and memorials than any other church in Suffolk including a memorial to a knight dating from 1271 apparently the oddly named Eustace Fitz-Eustace. There is also apparently medieval stained glass.

The traditional colour for house walls in Suffolk is pink, and nowadays it is at least as common as ever it was in history. This cottage was a good example that I passed on the run . Of course in days gone by they didn't buy their paint at the local DIY store they would have mixed it using a mixture of buttermilk and pig's blood. if you go over the border into Norfolk they have traditional green houses.

Friday, July 22, 2005

22nd July Fornham Circular Run


10am 7.5 miles in 58.24. A personal best time for this course. Year to date 627 miles, July mileage 92 miles.

Weather a bit dull and overcast a hint of drizzle in the air.

The course - head out of Bury on the Beetons Way past Tollgate and through the village of Fornham St Martin. Return to Bury through Fornham All Saints along the A11101 Mildenhall Road , back to Tollgate and return up Beetons Way hill and home.

The church above is that of Fornham All Saints. In the churchyard is the grave of Henrietta Maria Cornwallis who died in 1707. It is inscribed, 'Cross she lived and cross died, cross she was carried, and cross she lies'. Research has shown that the inscription original started 'Horrible Henrietta....', but the horrible was deleted on the orders of the Bishop!

Battle of Fornham

Little is made of a local battle that took place over the Fornham area. It isn't mentioned as far as I am aware at local schools and there isn't a battle site to visit or any kind of marker to indicate exactly where it took place.

The battle took place in 1173 and is the only documented pitched battle to have been fought in Suffolk. The war seems to have been a power struggle between Henry II and his sons. It is said that 10,000 Flemings lost their lives during the battle. Some bones and arrowheads are to be seen in the Moyes Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds. Many of those who survived the battle were starved to death in prison. Various nobles such as the Earl and Countess of Leicester and their main supporters at Fornham were taken to Normandy and imprisoned.

I think much of the battle site is on private land but it would make a good archaeological dig.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

21st July -Great Men and Women of Suffolk No1 in a Series.


John Constable 1776-1837.

East Bergholt in Suffolk is the home of John Constable, the world famous romantic landscape artist. This is a useful link to many of John Constable's famous scenes such as the Haywain, Mill at Dedham, Boatbuilding, Flatford Mill. I particularly like Dedham Vale Morning Scene. To be honest the view today of this scene is largely unchanged.

It must have been a combination of the big Suffolk skies, the winding lanes and thatched houses that gave Constable the inspiration to paint. John Constable was born in 1776, his father was a wealthy miller who owned water mills at Flatford Mill and Dedham. He must have been a bit of a disappointment to his father who must have wanted him to follow in his fathers footsteps and for a short while he did work at one of the water mills but it seems he was easily sidetracked and would end up sketching.

Like many artists Constable wasn't particularly successful during his lifetime,his picture of the Haywain received acclaim in France but he wasn't that popular in England.

Today thousands of people descend upon East Bergholt which struggles at times to receive the volumes of tourists.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My Favourite CD's - 1st in a Series


This is the stuff I would listen to when out running if I had an MP 3 player!

To my mind one of the greatest punk albums every made. I bought this in early 1977 and at the time it was vastly different to anything else on the music scene. At the time bands would spend months and months making an album. Bands such as Rod Stewart , Pink Floyd Elton John, Queen John Travolta and Disco Fever were the in- thing.

Then came the Ramones... the sound was just so different - like an angry wasp or a drill. These guys weren't about five minute guitar solos it was fast, minimalistic, had a great sense of humour and the thing was they were even faster when you saw them live.

Music from the Ramones would be the perfect soundtrack to any future Spiderman film to my mind they would fit like a glove.

Track listing
1. Blitzkreig Bop 2. Beat on the Brat. 3.Judy is a Punk 4. I wanna be your boyfriend 5. Chainsaw 6. Now I wanna sniff some glue 7. I don't wanna go down to the basement 8. Loudmouth 9. havanna affair 10.Listen to my heart 11. 53rd and a 3rd 12. Lets dance 13 I don't wanna walk around with you 14. Today your love tomorrow the world.

Blitzkreig Bop - a kind of anthem, heard it played before the start of the recent Green day concert at Milton Keynes - 65,000 people many of them singing along to the Ramones. So many bands owe a lot to the Ramones and this is often said by Bono of U2.

A must buy album for all you folks out there who buy modern day punk The Ramones were the first, the Godfathers of Punk! Rest in peace Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee only Tommy survives from the original line up. This is a great site to listen to Ramones radio in streaming MP3 audio.

20th July Nowton Park Circular Run


9.30am 8 miles in 1hr 7 mins. Year to date mileage 620 miles July mileage 85 miles. Average weekly rate for the year is 21.6 and per month is 94 miles. Weather sunshine and clouds with a good breeze.

Course: Set out from Bury along the Cullum Rd through the water meadows, straight over the 1st roundabout and Nowton Park is about half a mile along on the left. There are several way marked paths a complete circumference is about 2.5 miles. Nowton Park is about 200 acres in size and is well worth a visit to see beautiful Suffolk countryside landscaped over 100 years ago in typical Victorian style. If you like trees then this park is a must! There is a huge variety so take a tree book with you.

This is a great place to run or go for a walk on the many trails. There is a maze to visit, along with trees from different parts of the world including Asia and America hence wooden carvings of pandas and the the Native American totem pole you will discover.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ipswich Town - Pride of Suffolk


No run rest day -so I thought I would mention Portman Road, Ipswich which has to be one of my favourite places in Suffolk.

Ipswich Town missed out on promotion to the Premier League by failing to win the play offs for the second season running. I will be there again next year as I am a season ticket holder and I have been watching them for 38 years.

It could be quite a tough year and I am not expecting much more than a mid table re building season after the departure of half our best players to clubs in the Premier League.

Monday, July 18, 2005

18th July Bury St Edmunds Town Centre


6pm 5miles in 43.13. Year to date mileage 612, July mileage 77 miles. Weather changed during the course of the run to a heavy short shower.

Course: I didn't follow one other than to run around the town centre, through the Abbey gardens, and besides the Norman Tower.

The original gateway to the abbey churchyard is said to be one of the purest specimens of Norman architecture in England. Built between 1120 and 1148 by Abbot Anselm its walls are 6 feet thick and 86 feet high. You can no longer climb to the top as it is deemed unsafe. I do remember as a schoolchild being fortunate to visit the top and view most of Bury from its top.

The graveyard has many interesting stones including this memorial stone to 17 protestant martyrs who were burned at the stake during the reign of Queen Mary in 1556. Queen Mary I, or as she was later known, "Bloody Mary," was the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

17th July Once Bitten Twice Shy!


8am 8.5 miles in 1 hr 10 minutes. Year to date mileage 607, monthly mileage 71. Hot and Sunny not a cloud in the sky fantastic weather.

Course: I planned to do 35 mins out and back toward Whepstead. At the moment my longest run is just 1 hour. As I want to do a 10 mile race in the middle of September I plan to build up mileage each week with a long run gradually adding 5-10 minutes extra.

Take the Whepstead road from Bury, this is a fairly quiet road with not too many cars, though being as the road is a bit bendy you have to anticipate the worst and switch sides of the road on the bends. After about 20 minutes I had to do a u-turn as I hadn't anticipated a dog on the loose which came charging at my ankles from a driveway at the house above. Not sure what type of dog it was but it wasn't going to let me go past and there was no owner in site to reign it in.

So having had my run messed up I will give this route a miss for a while.Instead I headed out towards Horsecroft. I went over fields quite a bit as the pictures of the wheat show before returning home.

Felt good and comfortable with the extra time and distance.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

16th July Hyde Wood Circular Run


8am, 7 miles in 53.43. Year to date mileage 598, month to date mileage 63 miles. Again hot and sunny wonderful weather.

Course - This run heads out from the County Upper School in Bury towards the Golf course and Westley Road. The Westley Road is always busy and you run for a half mile against the traffic before turning right towards Risby. Go past the crematorium and turn right at Hyde Cottage. You then run round Hyde Wood on a narrow road. Here you hardly see a car though you can see plenty of pheasants.

Not so long ago I was doing this run when I cam across a group of men all walking down one side of Hyde Wood. This part of the run is nearly always deserted and you don't often so another soul. These guys all had large shot guns drooped over their shoulders and I said hello as I usually do when I pass any body. There wasn't a murmur as I went past but I can tell you I did feel a little exposed knowing that I was running in a deserted location with a wood on one side and a group of men behind me with shot guns. I think I understood their slight aggression to me when I run round to the other side of the wood as there was literally hundreds of pheasants. The beaters had been through the wood and had cleared the birds to one end ready for a big shoot. As I ran past the birds shot up in the air many of them making outwards away from the woods - I was kinda pleased!

The course follows in a circle along the Hude Road emerging at Fornham All Saints from here head back to Bury and home.

Friday, July 15, 2005

15th July River Lark / Abbey Gardens Run


5.30pm 5 miles approx in 43.32. Year to date 591 miles, July mileage 56. Weather hot sunshine. An easy end of the week run for a total of 31 miles this week which is good for me as I am averaging 21 miles a week this year.

Course - head out of centre of Bury on the Cullum Rd through the Water meadows. Run past the Rugby Club and the petrol station then turn left following the circular walk sign. The run now follows the course of the River Lark which runs through the back of the Abbey Gardens. Turn left at 'the bridge with a thousand memories' into the park.

Of course the bridge isn't really called that its just that I have so many memories of it from early childhood. One such memory was when when I was about 8 years old. Two or three of us used to go to the local off-licence and ask the landlady for all of her beer bottle caps. She used to be only to please to get rid of them covered as they were with cigarette ash. We would then take them down to the River Lark in the Abbey Gardens and we would then float them upside down in great armadas along the river. We would then take turns at lobbing small sticks at each others ships in a recreation of the Viking invasion. So when I run over that bridge I know there must be literally hundreds if not thousands of beer bottle caps at the bottom of the river.

My route takes me through the Abbey gardens through the main gateway entrance. Turning right and then left up Northgate Street, up Springfield Road then along Risbygate Street and home.
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