Day 210 York to Colchester, England

York to Colchester is a good 4 hour drive so we were keen to get on the road asap.  A friend in Australia (hi Jenny) had given us some vouchers to get a 15 pound discount at YHAs.  I was determined to use them but when I booked York over the phone I forgot to mention it.  After talking with the manager at York he was happy for us to redeem it in some other way so we were able to enjoy the full buffet breakfast at the hostel this morning.  We all filled up on bacon, eggs, toast, cereal, yogurt and a little bit of black pudding.  I certainly don’t think I need to try black pudding again, although I think this one was maybe a little overcooked.

Out the door and on the road; our programmed destination … Nottingham. Whilst the majority of people go to Nottingham to see all things Robin Hood, this was not on our agenda. Rather, we needed to find the Victoria Shopping Centre and the John Lewis department store for a wheeled duffle bag I’d seen online.  I’d been researching duffle bags and knew that this store had the largest selection and that the store in Nottingham was the most convenient one to get to in our day of driving.  With a new bag bought we ducked into Tesco for bread and drinks and ate jam sandwiches standing in the car park, as you do!  Back on the road and heading to THE SOUTH as the road signs announce; just in case you were totally clueless and starting heading to THE NORTH.

Finally we started to see signs for Colchester – hooray, too many hours in the car with two boys!  I had organised to stay the night with my sister’s friend Karen and her little family.  It was wonderful to finally arrive at Karen’s house and meet her two children, Sarah aged 4 and Jacob 5 ½.  Once we got settled Karen announced that we were going to go down to the local river to take the kids crabbing.  Excellent!  Hopefully we would have have more luck than Patrick and I did in Appin, Scotland.  Karen drove the car there with the 4 kids and Steve and I had a leisurely 15 minute walk to meet them.  When we arrived crabbing was well under way.  Karen certainly had much better equipment and technique than we did.  For crabbing you need one hand line, one old lingerie laundry bag filled with bacon rashers!  The crabs go wild!

Every time we pulled the bags out of the water there would be one and up to 8 crabs attached.  The next challenge was then lifting the bag up to the jetty so that someone could put the net under the bag before all the crabs dropped off into the water again.  Sometimes we managed to net a crab and many times they got away.  They were all lovingly released back into the wild again and the 4 kids took turns dropping (gently) the crabs back onto the mud flats. It was an absolutely glorious afternoon – it must have been because I don’t recall using that word about any of the weather we have had in the UK at all.  After we had tired of catching and releasing the crab population of Wivenhoe we headed to the small pub along the water and bought a drink. 

Karen suggested we eat out but when she returned home to pick up her husband Tony,  he had already cooked dinner and put our clean clothes into the dryer.  What a catch – a husband that cooks and cleans.

We were more than happy to eat Tony’s dinner, a traditional bangers and mash meal.  He did a good job too.  The kids enjoyed playing the Nintendo wii in the evening whilst the adults got to drink port and talk. Win win situation for all and we all had an enjoyable evening. Thanks Cakebread Family of Wivenhoe (that would be Wiv-ven-hoe rather than the Australian version of Why-ven-hoe).


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