Marston Marshes just outside of Norwich is one of our favourite romping grounds. A quick car ride away from the Wensum, and before we know it, we are next to the Yare, romping along, looking out for the gliding barn owl, a hovering Kestrel, or Kingfishers. We are always hopeful we might see an otter too, but so far no luck.
People often stop to tell us about the Parakeets who are to be seen high up in the trees. Everyone you meet at Marston Marshes is, like we are, enthralled by the nature to be seen there.
James stops frequently to photograph wild flowers for his Instagram account, right now, there are many autumnal ones appearing: sloe berries, acorns, elderberries, blackberries, hops, and lords and ladies (which are toxic but pretty). You can also find Ragged Robin and Southern Marsh Orchid.
More recently Longhorn cattle were grazing the marshes – a real treat to see.
It is magical ducking the ancient tree branches hanging over the Yare, their twisted trunks bending with age and weight would have many a tale to tell if they could speak, I am sure. I like to imagine the likes of Kett’s men taking a breather here, but I’ve no idea if Marston Marshes was ever on their route. It feels like you are entering the tunnel of trees into another ancient, mystical world. Sometimes I half expect to see someone dressed in medieval attire coming the other way, perhaps with their lunch in a knapsack…
Marston Marshes is a 64 acre nature reserve on the southern side of Norwich in the flood plain of the River Yare where we have been reliably informed by fishermen there are pike, perch and bream to be found. Swans glide along serenely and this summer it was lovely to watch the Swan’s nest take shape. I am sure there is much more wildlife and nature for us to spot and that is why this place has become so addictive.
Our favourite time to visit is at dusk to watch the barn owl hunt his circuit. It’s peaceful and as you can see from my images the light can be positively dreamlike. I don’t always take my DSLR, all of these were shot on my iPhone.
If you are ever over Marston Marshes way, be sure to visit, like us, you are bound to fall in love with it.
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Norfolk UK is my home, I live in Norwich by the River Wensum where everyday there is something different to see and learn.
I feel a big affinity with the river as I grew up in Cambridge, another great river city. My childhood and teens involved many walks along the Cam where we would watch 'The Bumps,' raft races and as we grew older we enjoyed adventures on our punting pub crawls.
Growing up in a multi cultural university city definitely influenced my reading choices, I am a big fan of Japanese fiction, love French literature and enjoy Shakespeare. As a young teen I entertained myself with Jilly Cooper and Dick Francis and then became quite obsessed with Henri Charriere's Papillon. At school all I cared about was English, Art and French, in that exact order. When I finished with school I went to live and work in Greece for a wonderful year before returning to study English Literature and Sociology. At this point I read more classics like the Wyf of Bath, Wuthering Heights and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man plus poets such as Wilfred Owen.
My first UK full time job was with Heffer's Paperbacks where I devoured several books at a time, excited by the fact I could borrow what I liked. Bizarrely for me I remember reading The Zurich Axioms, I have no interest in the stock markets but it had me gripped. I can't remember why I picked it up but I have never forgotten it. Heffers introduced me to so many authors, via their books and sometimes in person. It was here I learned about all the genres, it fascinated me that science fiction and horror were so popular, I tried reading it all.
Aside from writing letters, it didn't really ever occur to me to write anything myself for many years as I worked my way through a variety of interesting and varied jobs. Then on a visit to the London Aquarium I became struck by an idea so powerful I sat down and wrote my first novel. It went nowhere as really I wrote it because I wanted to. I wrote another novel and again, didn't have the persistance or determination to take it further, I simply enjoyed the process of writing and my characters.
Then years later another idea struck me and during a severe bout of Pleurisy where I couldn't do anything physical for months, I wrote the Eight of Swords and The Putsi. This time I published them as ebooks and they became pretty popular. When I fully recovered, I had to concentrate on my business and looking after my mother who has various health issues and the writing went adrift again for many years until 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the world.
March 2020 I moved to my apartment alongside the Wensum to live alone for the first time ever. During the first lockdown I began to write a diary and then the idea for a new set of short stories came to me and in February 2021 they will be published. The Covid-19 Pandemic is not simply a scary virus, it is a historical time and here we are trying to live through it. To many it will feel like a punishment but to me as a writer, in some ways, it came as a gift.
Please stay as safe and as well as you can. I hope to entertain you with my stories as we all try to get through this together, even though we are apart.
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