Archive for the ‘Stretham’ Tag
Inspired by (linked to the London map):
Stretham (2009) gets auto-corrected to the London neighbourhood of Streatham. If you defer to it as “Ely is” then it get’s changed to Eli.
Further back, we have 2006-2009:
Good question. Answer here.
My sleepy little village is all over the news, lately. Primarily, we have been watched because of the just ended trial, conviction, and sentencing of a mom that stabbed her two teenage daughters to death here two years ago:
Then, just last Sunday morning an 81-year-old childrens book author (who has sold more than 21 million copies of her Topsy and Tim series) was mugged by a teenager as she left the village store:
The weather has been absolutely gorgeous except for the times when it has been completely shit. Above, there was a nice day in the village, so I shot the house (above) on my way to catch the bus to work.
Then, I noticed that the neighbourhood kids must have been bored the night before, having stacked what appear to be some concrete structures on the northbound bus shelter:
I shaved at the halfway point of my marathon training regimen, a few weeks ago. I was planning to let it go wild until the marathon in a couple of months then clear the brush after the race but I had to get a new i.d. card to have access to the lab at Oxford and figured it would be better if it matched my passport photo. I have noticed that I get better service at uppity places but not quite so good at dive bars since shaving…here it is after a morning run the day it went down the drain:
Jackie injured her knee and has been reduced to walking for outdoor exercise. Even then we managed to really over do the effort on a hike around Wicken Fen. On another run this month I spotted my first native ferret, but the only unusual wildlife we saw on our hike was this herd of wild horses:
Saffron Walden, Felixstowe, Wisbech, and Bury St Edmunds have emerged as some of my favourite towns in East Anglia over the course of this month’s travels. Saffron Walden has a few of these houses around with patterned surfaces; while these are pretty attractive, it seems that you see a lot more of these deeper into Essex (a trip back through Thaxted is planned in the not too distant future where nearly every old house has some of this sort of masonry):
To get to work today, I left the house at 6 am and ran from Stretham to the Newmarket Rd/East Rd roundabout in Cambridge. It rained last night so the trail was especially damp but the morning was beautiful. I can see this becoming a regular method of commuting into work as long as the daylight holds up.
After a short 2 miles on the A1123 avoiding traffic, it was all sunrise, World War II bunkers (above) and wildlife (and loads of cow shit–sorry, Fatty, no mushroom growth yet). Since finding this brick on a walk through the Grunty Fen last Sunday, I have also been scanning the trails for other fun souvenirs:
Coming to Europe from Atlanta Georgia (by way of a number of other violent-crime ridden American shit holes), it is easy to get lost in the bucolic simplicity and utter safety of small town England. But, it’s not all tea cozies and Women’s Institute meetings, here, no sir indeed. The complete disrespect for order and the rule of law here in the fens is illustrated here in this photo lifted from the Ely Weekly News (16 April 2009) showing the depths to which the village of Stretham has sunk:
It is getting too warm to use the iron stove for supplemental heating, but the Americans out there tend not to be familiar with how it falls out over here. You can get firewood, sure, but it is actually far cheaper to use coal. Yep, our carbon footprint is reduced the rest of the year so that we can pump this sulfurous carbon rich smoke into the sky when it gets a bit nippy. They actually sell this at every petrol station in the land and you can get this relatively smoke free stuff.
We bus ride alone
If it’s at all possible
To shun other souls.
Three days a week we get milk, juice, and yoghurt delivered (bread on Mondays). Don’t know how this will be when the warm weather hits (ha!), but for now this is really convenient.
I left out the Fish and Duck parking lot and over the pedestrian bridge. The last bit of the run ended at the Lazy Otter Pub and Restaurant 3 miles away. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=2577053
I caught Jamie about a quarter mile before the bridge and took a photo that didn’t come out. Shit. The front of the pub came out okay, though:
The pub was larger than either of us thought it would be and included and large restaurant area (we left out the back and the kitchen smelled great). The dining room had wrap-around windows on the marina, but we were both muddy-shoed and I was way underdressed. We ordered a large red wine and a pint of Highwayman and found some comfy seats near the entrance where we could keep and eye on the bar happenings.
The pub is kind of off the A10 a couple miles south of the Stretham roundabout, but it is behind a clump of trees and pretty far off the main road. Being so close to the house by path, though, we’ll probably have dinner here from time-to-time when the daylight lasts longer.
Walked back to Stretham and had a couple at the Red Lion. They are excited about the big 70′s Disco Fancy Dress BBQ next week. We might have to crash that one.
From the Stretham Engine to the Fish and Duck Pub is another 1.6 miles on this run:
You follow a pedestrian right-of-way along the River Great Ouse and through farmland.
Eventually, you find your way to the mooring for a large number of house boats out in the middle of nowhere. This is pretty cool, or it would be if the pub was open (you can see it to the left of the bridge in the distance):
The Fish and Duck apparently has some structural problems that are keeping it under construction for a wee bit longer. Pity, I had planned on a half pint before returning to the Engine then continuing onto the Lazy Otter to have a drink with Jamie.
The run today was 5.9 miles and the weather was fantastic…roughly 12 deg C and sunny. Jamie headed toward the Lazy Otter, walking, and the run took me to the Fish and Duck then turned around to catch her up. The first segment was 1.3 miles and went by the Stretham Engine (link to
Before running, there was a letter to post and the church and post office offered some nice views of the town on my block. The Church is Anglican, but I really don’t have any info on it beyond that, at present.
The Post Office is also our local shop and an off-license (ie, liquor store). The post in front of it is also in front of the Red Lion pub and is a medieval cross (without the cross bits).
Heading to the Engine, you go down this long, one-lane road through the alotments (these little garden patches the council rents out for would-be farmers) and then some real farmland. Here’s a shot of Stretham looking back over the alotments:
The Engine is an old coal fired pump that used to drain the fens. It replaced the system of windmill pumps copied from the dutch, and was in operation from 1831. It has since been replaced by modern motor driven pumps, but is kept in working shape for the sake of history and tourism. It will be open for tours after Easter, so I’ll have more to report then.
Our local pub is gorgeous and has been in continuous operation since 1735 when the Ely-Cambridge Road opened (someone finally had built a bridge over the River Great Ouse); the road is now the A10. The parking lot behind the beer garden is where horses and carriages used to park or be stabled. There’s an inn involved in the building. There’s a really nice dining room. And, you can get drinks (the important part) in the bar or the lounge. I’ve been working my way through the selection of bitters, but they even have pressurized taps with Fosters and Coors Light (bizarre). The best deal in the house seems to be the large glass of wine which is about a pound more than a regular glass and easily twice as much…two of these is the better part of a whole bottle.
The Public Bar tends to be more lively, though smaller. Here you’ll find folks, dogs, kids all crammed together. The Lounge is much more roomy, with comfy chairs and such, and backs up to the restaurant dining room. For my money, the bar is the better choice.
Update, for food this time (9 March 2009):
For the sake of running errands in the rented van, we missed our regular Friday drinks at the Red Lion but planned to make it there for Sunday lunch. The two course set meal for £12.95 was pretty good.
Jackie started with prawn cocktail, rich with shrimp and drenched in a pink, mayonaise based sauce and served atop some spring greens. I can’t abide mayo and opted for the farm house terrine, a loaf of offal with enough of it made up of liver to give it a pate like flavour. Jackie’s came with some nice rye bread, mine with some crusty french bread, butter, and a chutney of leeks in reduced red wine and savory spices, plus a big handful of spring greens. The terrine was yummy.
The main courses were similar. Jackie got roast chicken (breast and leg), and I got roast leg of lamb with a delicate mint sauce on it. Unfortunately, there was a pushy gravy poured over the whole plate which completely overpowered the mint but was tasty on its own. Each plate had a big portion of rubbery Yorkshire pudding (I make an airy and fragile Yorkshire, so maybe I’m a snob), and a bigger portion of herbed potatoes roasted in goose fat. We had a big bowl of crisp, steamed vegetables to share including cauliflour, broccoli, green beans, parsnips and carrots. Bottle of red wine was £10.45.
Too much food, but most of it makes me want to try it again. Maybe in a month or two.
Porn stars belabor their choice of name to reflect physical attributes or athletic specialities they hope will tantalize the jaded viewing public to release their credit card information. The results are almost always amusing, but manufactured and synthetic (as, indeed, they should seem).
Lately, though, while waiting in Stretham on the bus to Cambridge, I’ve noticed a perfectly job related name. A small work van for a fencing company drives by every morning; the proprieter is Les Yardy.
“Yes, madam, how can we be of service today?”
“Oh, I need some fencing in my garden, innit? It’s too vast, and I’d like it to be, oh how shall I put it, ‘less yardy.’”
There is some catching up to do on this journal. Essentially, we arrived at Heathrow Airport from Phoenix, Arizona the afternoon of 14 January. We immediately picked up a rental car and drove–very badly since there were roundabouts to learn and mirror image cars and traffic to contend with–to pick up our cats at the Animal Reception Center.
Right, so there are two future posts: bringing animals into the UK and driving in the UK.
After a minor bureaucratic runaround, we were all safely in the car stuck in traffic on the M25 heading, eventually, to our new, little village north of Cambridge. We rented an 18th century farmhouse there and were excited to move in. That is, until we found there was no heat…for the next two days, we suffered in the cold until the furnace/boiler controller could be replaced.
Here we are freezing our asses off in front of the dining room fireplace before bedding down on the inflatable mattresses we brought along:
Oh, yeah. The photo suggests another future post: where to buy booze, which is particularly expensive, here.
Here are some more photos of the wreckage:
Okay, that should hold folks until I can get some other photos, take some video, and transfer some of my observations on life and the landscape.
The plan is to update this mostly with the oddities, the not-so-oddities but still things that make it special here, and also keep a pub listing updated. Until then…