Category Archives: maps

Curious – Me?

What would you add?

Suffolk is in the news for the most curious of reasons. [For the ITV news item take a look here] The gist of the story is that Condiment working with Visit Suffolk have come up with the title The Curious County as part of a campaign to attract visitors to the county.  When I first heard about it over the weekend I liked the idea, Suffolk is so much more than Beach Huts, Tractor boys, bucolic scenery and Newmarket racing (not that there is anything wrong with any of those) ~ but you do have to lift up the rug to find what’s under there.  As the battle between the reported views of the MPs ‘Dangerous – got to go – negative, idiotic’ and a significant chunk of the twitter community who are #proudtobecurious I was getting ready to pen a letter to the EADT, the MPs or some other body. Then I decided don’t shout, show.  So if you click the picture above or below it will take you to my particular take on Suffolk The Curious County, an ever growing Pinterest board of the things I find make me curious in Suffolk.

What would you add?


Cakes, Rides, Local Food and Silicone Knickers

The weather has been amazing in the UK; for Easter Bank Holidays it is unparalleled, not surprising then that I haven’t written anything here for ages.  There seem to be pairs of things queuing up; please skip to the bits that interest you most.  In the following order we have:

2 Apps; the 360Panorama and the Moleskine

2 Cakes; a giant Jaffa cake and a sweet, tart, redcurrant tart

2 Fungi;  A Dryad’s Saddle Paper experiment and St George’s Mushroom

2 Foragy bits; Sea Purslane and an experiment with cleavers and milk in an attempt to make cheese

2 Fabulous cycle rides, mapped from Framlingham, one following the Alde and one Green Bagging in Bow and Arrow Country

2 Local Food Discussions; why does Suffolk have a strong local food culture and a new local food festival?

2 Swims – How is my training going? – first sea swim of the season

Two Apps – 360Panorama and Moleskine

I have recently downloaded two apps for the iPhone that I am enjoying immensely. The first I heard about from @ssilvestori  who showed pictures of Lecce using it. Fantastic images; Silvestro is currently cycling around Puglia to generate interest in the small towns of the region.  His website is worth a gander, he offers food and wine courses and much more besides. The 360Panorama app allows you to take 360 degree images that can be shown flat, like the one below, or if you have an iPhone, the images can be uploaded and viewed as interactive 360 images.

The second app that I am enjoying is a digital version of the Moleskine note book.  I think it is going to be great fun for gardening and foraging notes, especially as it allows you to geotag pictures.  Now if it could just capture sounds and smells, and if I could draw a little better….. However I am quite pleased with my cover and a simple gardening note.

Two Cakes – Giant Jaffa Cake and Sweet, Tart, Redcurrant Tart

This being Easter cake baking seems essential. I have been quite pleased with two cakes this holiday so I am recording them here so I don’t lose the recipes. The first is a giant Jaffa Cake. Based on a Guardian recipe designed by Ottolenghi and supplied by the lovely @downatheel, it is a rich almondy, moist cake.  I adapted it by adding a jelly layer. Using 300ml of fresh Clementine juice and gelatine at 1.5 times the normal ratio.  I set the jelly in a soup plate before scooping it onto the cake.  I allowed the chocolate coating to cool as much as I dared before covering.

The second cake is described as a tart but is somewhere between a cheesecake, meringue and a desert sponge. It is sweet-sour and just plain lush. I used frozen currants which worked well but makes the meringue very tricky to apply as it part freezes as you mix them in. The whole cake is gloriously messy to make, but well worth the effort.  The recipe can be found on Catalina Bakes.

Two Fungi – Dryad’s Saddle and St George’s Mushroom

Spring is a joyous time for mushrooming, mostly because the spring ones are a bit easier to identify.  A friend brought me a Dryad’s saddle.  Not many commentators declare this to be edible, but it is supposed to be able to be used to make paper. I cooked it for hours, smushed it, strained it and ended up with some thing crispy stuff – nothing to write home about or on…. but it had an interesting transulcence so it might be useful added to other materials.

Much more exciting was the early appearance of the St George’s mushroom. One thing I have learnt is the earlier it arrives the less likelihood of worm damage.  This year there were far fewer, so I only picked two, but they were in tip-top condition. For the record, this year’s photograph April 18th whereas last year they didn’t appear until May 8th – what a difference a year makes. This year I sliced them and placed them with trout and Jack by the hedge, wrapped in foil and cooked on the barbecue.

Two Foragy bits – Sea Purslane and using cleavers to make cheese

Spring is a great time for foraging on salads, two of my favourites at the coast are samphire and sea purslane.  The samphire was not much in evidence this week but there were some lovely snacks of crisp, salty, purslane to be had.

Another favourite of mine is cleavers, a fresh pea-pod taste that makes weeding a pleasure.  I had read that it was used in the past as a rennet for cheese making.  I found a recipe for feta cheese and bought some goats milk.  I heated the milk, added the yogurt and then decided to squeeze a massive handful of cleavers into the milk mixture.  I left it and left it for days at room temperature.  After two days I had remarkably fresh smelling yoghurt, no goaty smell, no cheese though. I think that cleavers other title of ‘milk sweet’ might be interesting to explore further.

Two fabulous cycle rides – Orford/Iken/Alde and ‘Green Bagging’

This spectacular weather has been a great excuse for some serious cycling. Regular readers will know I am hoping to take part in the Dunwich Dynamo so I am steadily increasing my distances.  I don’t seem to be able to increase my average speeds though so I think I will be on the bike for in  excess of 10 hours.  Several chums have asked me how I manage, especially now I have a bike with a more racing style seat.  The seat is quite comfortable, I am naturally ‘well upholstered’ and I have recently invested in silicone knickers, with thick padding they are supposed to be good for up to three hours – so do I need to wear four pairs?

Two great rides though.  I have remapped these from Framlingham for you, parking in Framlingham is good at the Elms car park.  Both rides are mostly on very low traffic routes.  The first takes you to Orford, where there are plenty of pubs and the wonderful Pump Street Bakery, I also include a slight side track to High House Fruit Farm where they have fresh apple juice and Asparagus.  Points to watch out for on this route too Adders! on the Iken lanes, basking on the tarmac.  It is worth stopping and strolling down to the river for a spot of foraging (see above), you may also see Alpacas between Blaxhall and Farnham.  Click on the image below to go to the full map at MapMyRide.

The second ride was my Suffolk version of Munroe bagging.  I recently downloaded an app called Hill Lists, needless to say Suffolk doesn’t feature.  However, if someone would like to create the antidote I think it could be used for bagging greens, bottoms or castles all of which abound round here.  In this ride I count nine Greens, it goes over two commons, the one at Wingfield complete with tethered cattle.  It is worth checking the Wingfield website before you leave, if you have time to stop they have magnificent arts exhibitions and can offer tea and coffee.  There are plenty of pub stop-offs, if your timings suit;  The De la Pole at Wingfield, the Low House at Laxfield (actually named the Kings Head, but called the Low House) and the Queen at Dennington (actually named the Queens Head but known as Dennington Queen) all have solid reputations for food and ale.  If you just want quick supermarket fayre there is a shop in Laxfield and Framlingham has a full range of shops, coffee houses, pubs and a cycle repair shop.  This journey is largely traffic free and you will find miles of Bow and Arrow country – remember too the #bowandarrowtweetup if you are interested in joining a few of us for drinks or to watch The Social Network on 25th May 2011 at Wingfield Barns.  As before click on the map below to go to the MapMyRide site.

Two Food Discussions – Why does Suffolk have a strong local food culture and a new local food festival?

One of the features of  Twitter is that it is not a forum or a place for lengthy discussions; until one breaks out.  A few comments and before long a group of us were involved in a discussion about why Suffolk and Norfolk have a strong local food culture, as opposed to other areas which seem to feel a bit adrift.  You can read and add to the full conversation synopsis here.  It ranges from great products and producers, through sympathetic media and a relative absence of the ‘big stores’, but covers much more besides.

Pride in local food is important in so many ways.  There has been a food, craft and music festival at Framlingham College over the last three days.  The pre-publicity did not give many clues about who the exhibitors and demonstrators would be and I knew that a couple of local food related people were not involved so I wondered what the outcome would be.  Framlingham has a bit of a reputation for events being called off due to appalling weather, with the Gala rained off, fireworks not even making it to the stage of damp squibs etc.  However, the setting could not have looked better in glorious sunshine, looking at the castle across from the college green was a rural scene befitting of Midsommer Murders.  There were a few local food suppliers, notably the Chilli Company, Jimmy’s Farm, Suffolk Cup Cakes and local chef Emma Crowhurst was providing demonstrations.  There were also suppliers from further afield so it had the air of the food stalls at a county show.  It will be interesting to see if the event is run again and grows to include more local suppliers, they certainly had the best possible of weathers and things looked reasonably busy, with plenty of cars in the car parks and people wandering the grounds and at the demonstration.  I bought chilli sauces, curry sauces, sausages and enjoyed Emma’s demonstration, not least because real time demos are so much better than edited TV for things like sugar work.

Two Swims – How’s my training going?

I think I’m on track for the Grethathalon two swims; one the Great East Open Water Mile and the other a dip at Dunwich Beach preceded by the 120 mile overnight Dunwich Dynamo bike ride.  I am gradually increasing my miles on the bike. I have been doing more reading around the subject and beginning to understand why the training plans also focus on shorter, faster rides.  I hope this will make me try and ride faster, to build up the relevant muscles, mitochondria etc to improve my overall performance.  It has to be said I am a bit sedentary at the moment.   

Yesterday I did my first sea swim of the season, at Dunwich Beach; no way was I going to attempt crawl or put my face in the water though, so back to the old chestnut of controlling the drowning reflex.

If you would like to make a donation, I am supporting Diabetes UK this year.  My Just Giving page is here.

Eighth Day – the maids are on their break

Happy New Year

It was a bit of a heavy night last night and the poor maids had to be up early milking.  So they are off on their break now. Assuming everyone is also hung over, what they need is comfort food; something that goes right to their roots, home spun and soothing.

I wish to create a map of local delicacies, those things that just don’t exist elsewhere.  Here in this bit of Suffolk I guess it would be rusks.  Where I grew up it would be lardy cake.  So what food and where did it originate from would you recommend for the milk maids?  I will create a map, lets see if we can cover it with comfort eating.

The playlist for today is here

Your game of the day is deceptively simple yet…… well try it and you’ll see here

And finally the Russian Roulette Question:

Sarah Nelmes milked Blossom – why were they important?

If you are new to this, a brief explanation.  The #12DCP is a virtual Christmas party.  A post a day will appear on the Grethica.  You respond by way of comments.  Each comment creates an entry into my prize draw, for a money can’t buy prize (because it’s mostly stuff that’s been given away by others).  The Russian Roulette questions are quiz style questions, the comments you leave to those will be posted at the end of the 12 DCP.  However the danger with a Russian roulette quiz is that if you answer a question wrong – all of your answers become null and void.  The good news is though you have time to go back and post answers to previous days, right up to the end of the 12th day.

Enjoy – thanks to those that have taken part so far… keep up the good work

Spent – Over the Rainbow – Illustration Friday

The topic for Illustration Friday last week was ‘Spent’, I was away so have only just completed the IF. The little figures are cut outs from copies of English ten and twenty pound notes. Don’t worry no money was harmed in the making of this picture. I had in mind the spent athlete at the end of a long run, but also that we as a nation and others seem to be spent at the moment; chasing for the pot of gold at the end of the mythical rainbow has left nothing in our reserves. So like athletes are we exhausted yet exhilarated, or will this be our last marathon?

The picture also links to a Twitter discussion about mnemonics and how people remember the colours of the rainbow. I learnt “Richard of York Gained Battles in Vain” and never questioned that there were other versions. It seems many learned that Richard ‘gave battle’.  Others learnt the ‘I can sing a rainbow song’; this is a worry as it has pink and no indigo.  Top marks go to John Peel via @martincampbell2: who apparently learnt “Virgin in bed get your organ ready”.

Click on the map below to go to the version with detailed tags

And HERE is a Spotify playlist to go with this post, including the dreaded rainbow song, guaranteed to help you unlearn the colours of the rainbow.


There is a new craze doing the rounds of Twitter; daily papers created from the links people tweet to your account.  You create the paper at a site called  At first I wasn’t very inspired by the concept, but then I received a link to Nick Shore’s Suffolk paper and quite liked the idea.  So turn on your Spotify, turn up the sounds on the playlist and sit down to my version of the Sundailies.  The Sundailies are all the Sunday supplements in one place, updated daily.  For me an easy was to summarise hat has been going on in my bit of the Twitterverse whilst my back has been turned.  As these are links they will update each day.

First the Vivia daily – the top news stories across the whole of my timeline today

Then local news in the Suffolk Daily – I hold great hope that one day Felixstowe Port will tweet ”

QUINQUIREME of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine


A little sports news from the Swimmy-types and the Cyclists

Then on to lighter topics The clebs are all in the-A-Z-list section

A bit from the arty-crafty and foodie types

News from abroad in the Italy section and then the mostly-green-gardens

For the moment I can not create; news-sport-tech, maps-and-that, writerly or news from the librarians as the limit is 10 papers, but I will as soon as the limit is increased.

In the meantime I leave you with the dfaolbilts section – it is likely to be quite random -dfaolbilts stands for “don’t fit any other lists but I like their style”- enjoy


Missing presumed lost ……. without a map

Following yesterday’s move to the brave new world of WordPress I have encountered a few problems.  The first is that the maps I had created during the 12 Days of Christmas have not travelled over.  Despite going back in and re-entering the html code they still do not appear. At the moment this is the best I can do:

The Pub Cricket Map

The Dap Map

The Sixth Day of Christmas – Wither Shall I Wander, Up Tyley’s Bottom? – I would like a Dap Map

On the sixth day of Christmas we have six geese a laying. My thoughts went to goosy, goosy gander and wandering. One of my fascinations is anything to do with maps and walking, discovering, treasure hunting and map related puzzles. My present to you this sixth day is a collection of links to map related quests, so arm yourself with your post code, map co-ordinates or GPS info and see what you learn about your area: (Health warning, if you are easily distracted, make a cup of tea now and if you have Spotify click here for the playlist, you may be here some time)

MapZone – breaking you in gently, this is an interactive resource aimed at children from Ordnance Survey but so fabulous, map jigsaws to match county and country maps; the squirrel’s nuts (takes me back to Day 1), crosswords and so much more.

Ordnance Survey select – create your own paper map with your home at its centre.

Geograph – The Geograph British Isles project aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland and you can be part of it.  Take a photo, submit it and if they like it, your photo will become part of the database.  Beware their standards can be quite exacting.
Ordnance Survey Explore – find routes, create and share routes. Here is a special present from me, a walk for anyone with strong legs and time in the Cotswolds. Called ‘Up Tyley’s Bottom’, which is funny enough, but for some who read this might be even funnier.

Bench – Marks – now if ever a geek award was to be offered for things map related this would have to be a suitable candidate. Small brackets attached to buildings such as schools and churches, find them, log them, their condition etc. At the time of writing The database contains13,000 non-pillar flush brackets, consisting of 2,947 2GL brackets, 5,143 S-series,4,893 G-series, 16 L-series, and 1 other

Geocaching – The hiding of small boxes, marking them with GPS co-ordinates, setting clues and tracking their contents as they move around the globe. I love this stuff, really anoraky, embarrasses the children; ticks all the boxes actually.

Land Registry – Not so much a game of hide and seek, unless of course you are interested in arguing about ownership, boundaries etc. It is amazing how much information is held and publically available at little or no price.

Then of course there are a host of others for example Weather maps, Flood Maps, Public Health

For the iphone there are a huge range of map related Apps, my favourites so far are geocaching, MapMyRide GBLocate and PhotoOverlay.

Adding maps to blogs and websites – I have yet to perfect this but you can use Get-a-map and OSOpenspace – one of my New Year’s Resolutions will be about mastering that lot.

By the way the most ‘boring square’ in the UK maps is at Ousefleet, in the 1:50 000 scale map, just below the word Ousefleet is a square with just a tiny bit of pylon line. Here it is:

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

All of this and I haven’t even touched on Google Maps and mashables; if you’ve got the rest of your life to do nothing else, work your way through this lot…..

And if you are stuck in 20 feet of snow and want a little something to read I recommend Map Addict by Mike Parker

My quest for you all, in the last 24 hours I have been much exercised by those little black or white shoes; with or without laces that were essential wear for PE at school. I would quite like to map what they are called in different parts of the country. I went to school in the South Cotswolds and called them daps. Where did you go and what were they called? I would like to create a Dap Map!

Oh and one other thing, would you like to add yourself to the visitors map on the right there? Thanks.

For those that are still following the legs quest another 32 arrived today; so far 92 have been delivered.

And……. drum roll……… here it is so far…The Dap Map

The North Wind Doth Blow – The World in the Middle of December – White Wine in the Sun anyone?

When I started my blog back in Mid May, I wasn’t sure if I would a) keep it up and b) find a voice. In the meantime I have wittered on about all sorts of things, quite a lot of food, but all sorts of other stuff too, see the index of sorts on the right. The common theme tends to be the passing of the seasons. This time of year always finds me reflective, probably writing the Christmas letter has something to do with it. Certainly when I wrote the 2008 letter I did not expect to decide on a complete job change; a lot has happened this year. One of the pleasing sides of blogging is seeing that people choose to view the blog from around the globe. The map above is the analytics for the blog since it started. Not surprisingly mostly from English speaking countries and parts of Europe where I already have friends or family; but plenty of other places too. The one thing I haven’t written much about is my love of all things map related, so one of my 12 days of Christmas blogs will redress that. In the meantime if you are keen on maps, mapping and cycling this is your official invite to join the 12 Days of Christmas Party #12DCP.

The wind is whistling around our house at the moment driving icy blasts from the North and we have had intermittent slow flurries today and yesterday with a severe weather warning for tonight and tomorrow. The complete opposite to the Tim Minchin White Wine in the Sun Christmas, he is attempting to challenge the x factor et al songs for the top spot – see what you think.

Spotify link for the post (doesn’t include the Minchin) here – list in words in first comment.

Pub Quiz – Round 3, Seek and Ye Shall Find, in which……

..the questions are based on maps, mapping and directions. Remember this quiz was set for Saxtead Old Mill House, a pub in Suffolk. For the last three questions people were given a printed picture, I will try to set up links to the original sites; which will make your job very easy!


What do the letters GPS stand for?


An international treasure seeking game where participants track down hidden treasures based on their GPS co-ordinates is known by what name taken from the words for earth and a hidden storage space


What is the name for the medieval map kept in Hereford Cathedral?


Harry Beck designed a simplified topographical map of where?


Dava Sobel wrote a book with the sub title The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time; what was it called?


This hobby is reputed to have begun in South West England in 1854 when a Victorian gentleman named James Perrott hid his calling card in a jar in a remote area by Cranmere Pool on the moors of Dartmoor


There are nearly 13,000 flush brackets around the country all logged on the ordnance survey database. What is the term used for them, which is also used for any standard by which something can be measured or judged?


The Geograph British Isles project aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland, and you can be part of it.

Where are these stocks and whipping post?


Where are these roof tops?


Where is this iconic image?

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