Kings, dragons, and picnics


Miles walked 2018: 345 / 1,000 on the 1,000 miles in a year challenge.

Another Bank Holiday weekend came and went. As we are trying to create a pond and seating area in the garden, Saturday and Sunday was spent trying to make some progress on that but, due to the heatwave, it was just to hot to work outside for long.

I also had an appointment at 2am Monday to drive the eldest daughter and grandson to Luton Airport as they were flying out to see our youngest daughter who is living in Iceland for a year, working with the Red Cross.


I’ve been a bit ‘between books’ recently in my reading but took up Bill Bryson’s Road to Little Dribbling again. After reading Notes from a Small Island many years ago – which is laugh out loud funny – I thought I’d laugh as much at Bill’s second travel journal around Britain. But I had struggled with it a bit at the beginning and moved onto something else. But now I was back into his journey and warming again to his description of our eccentricity and, at times, nonsensical approach to life.

As I tried to settle down for a couple of hours sleep, I got to the chapter where Bill Bryson visits East Anglia, where we live. He writes about Sutton Hoo – a place we have visited a couple of times but no for a while.

His take on Sutton Hoo stirred my interest in the story of King Rædwald of East Anglia.

Rædwald reigned from about 599 until his death around 624. Sutton Hoo is of primary importance to early medieval historians because it sheds light on a period of English history that is on the margin between myth, legend, and historical documentation. Use of the site culminated at a time when Rædwald, the ruler of the East Angles, held senior power among the English people and played a dynamic if ambiguous part in the establishment of Christian rulership in England; it is generally thought most likely that he is the person buried in the ship.

I got back from the airport run around 5am and tried to get a bit more sleep.

After breakfast I suggested to Mrs E that we should go out and perhaps visit Sutton Hoo. I knew if we stayed at home it was way to hot to work in the garden and if we stayed in I’d just doze all day in the chair trying to catch up on sleep.

So we packed a picnic (but forgot the picnic blanket!) and headed off to Sutton Hoo.

The place was heaving and we eventually parked in the overflow car park. After showing our NT passes to get in free we took the free map and decided to do a perimeter walk as we hadn’t done that before. Also most people stay near the burial mounds and the museum and don’t venture further afield.

But first, I wanted to see the amazing helmet – or a replica at least – of King Rædwald.


Soon we were on the walk and, sure enough, we had the woodland walk almost to ourselves and escaped the crowds.


We met a dragon and walked through peaceful woodland.


When we got back to the centre we found a couple of free deck chairs and sat in the shade of a tree as we ate our picnic.


The day’s total was 5 miles of walking – not a huge walk but a bit more than my average day, and all eats into the 1,000 mile target for this year.

To date I have walked 416 miles – that’s 6 miles further than the length of the A1 (which is 410 miles long).

416 miles is exactly what I should have walked by the end of May to stay on target so that’s reassuring.

Right, I off now to go and collect daughter and grandson from Luton as they are returning shortly from their Icelandic adventure.

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