After last years excuse for a summer we were hoping for some drier settled weather this year especially as the Meteorological Office predicted a warmer drier summer this year. Since our last trip to Houghton at the beginning of the month we’ve been waiting for a weather forecast which would give us at least four to five days of reasonable weather (what the weather forecasters laughingly call ‘Sunny Spells’) and we’re still waiting. We have even reduced our requirements to three days (two nights away) and we’re still waiting.

We have had some sun – and cloud, and rain. The weather seems to be so unsettled and unpredictable with the weather forecasts changing even on the same day. Yesterday the weather was cloudy and rainy and today was forecast to be better with some sun and indeed when we woke up it was to a clear blue sky so we decided to have a short trip out.

When Marie was over here we went to Nayland and Stoke-by-Nayland for a brief visit at the end of one of the days and I had wanted to go back again to try and get some more photographs, particularly in Nayland, in the hope that some of the streets wouldn’t be quite so choked with park cars. That previous visit was on a Sunday and my reasoning was that more residents would be home at the weekend so more parked cars. Perhaps during the week when a lot of the residents would be at work there would be fewer parked cars? Wrong! In Nayland there were at least as many as before and possibly in some places even more so we didn’t stop but went on to Stoke-by-Nayland.

When we were in Stoke-by-Nayland before I was able to get a nice photograph of one of the ancient timber-framed buildings with the light being just right but I didn’t photograph the church because I would have been shooting directly towards the sun. This time, however, we arrived in the morning with the sun in a much better position.

So we get out of the car, the sun goes in and we feel a few spots of rain. We head for the church and arrive at the porch just in time to miss the start of a very heavy shower which then turned in to a thunderstorm. Looking out of the porch door towards the direction from which whis weather approached there are dark clouds as far as the eye can see with no sign of a break. However after about ten minutes there were signs of the clouds breaking up and soon I was able to get a good photograph of the church.

We headed further north for about a mile and a half to the village of Polstead which turned out to be a pleasant enough village but nothing special. Amanda wanted to look at the church before we moved on so we drove to a point nearby and walked up to the church gate. At first sight we both thought that it must be victorian because it was small and oddly proportioned with a very short tower surmounted by an odd little stone steeple.

Well we were both wrong and it turned out to be Norman! That was a surprise. There was quite a nice view from the churchyard with the tower of Stoke-by-Nayland church showing on the horizon to the right (you can just about see it).

This funny little church was built during the reign of Henry II around 1160 and there is a Norman archway to add to its authenticity.

Just as we were leaving we noticed that a number of sheep had gathered in the shade under a tree, laying on the grass, since we’d arrived. I don’t know why. It certainly wasn’t to shelter from the sun, it wasn’t especially warm, and it wasn’t raining. One of those mysteries of life.

Another four miles onward and we arrived in Boxford. A pleasant little village with a number of interesting buildings including these timber-framed houses stuffed into this narrow little lane called Butchers Lane.

Looking out of Butchers Lane we can see the church in the distance.

Quite an imposing church when seen up close and with an imposing South Porch.

From inside the churchyard, close to the porch, the ancient dark ochre coloured timber-framed house in Bridge Street shows up quite nicely.

Inside the church there were two, that we could see, medieval wall paintings of which this, above the Chancel Arch, was one.

We decided that it was now time for a ‘smackerel’ of something (apologies to Pooh Bear) and went into The Fleece for lunch. The Fleece is the cream coloured building just beyond the bright salmon pink building. Having had lunch, and bearing in mind that the weather forecast said that the weather would deteriorate this afternoon, we went home.

We are still waiting, and hoping, for at least three consecutive days with a good amount of sunshine (Sunny Spells remember?) and we may still be waiting at Christmas.