Berry-picking, walks to the pub and a day fishing

We’re six weeks into our UK and Europe trip, so we’ve decided it’s time to keep things fairly close to home. 

When we’re travelling for longer periods of time, Christina and I have to watch for burn out. It can happen so easily, and all it takes is budgeting some time to relax and not move around too much.

This week, we’re getting back to nature with some berry picking at a nearby fruit farm, a walk through the fields of East Anglia to get to a little hidden gem of a pub and I’m getting my tackle out for a spot of fishing!

We hope you enjoy this chilled out Weekly Edition.

Cheers – Jim & Christina xx

McClaughlin's Fruit Farm

Around this time of year in the UK, finding farms that offer a pick-your-own service aren’t hard to find. But choosing ones that have good crops and good prices can be tricky.

Thankfully, the village of Boxted on the Essex/Suffolk border is home to McClaughlin’s Fruit Farm, which ticks both fruit boxes… or should that be punnets? Sorry.

At McClaughlin’s, you collect your container (they offer biodegradable ones for free or plastic ones at a cost) then head into the fields to find the finest fruit.

McClaughlin's Fruit Farm

On the way to the orchards, there are signs to deter consumption of the berries you pick pre-purchase. It says two berries, but the staff are lovely here.

I think as long as you’re not being silly about it and turning up at the farm shop with bright red smudges all round your mouth and clearly fatter than when you started, you’ll be ok.

Not that we intend to eat more than two berries each of course!

McClaughlin's Fruit Farm

McClaughlin's Fruit Farm

This is the first time Christina’s picked berries like this. She’s pretty excited. Raspberries are incredibly expensive in Sydney and the quality’s never that great.

Being able to take them straight from the bush is probably something we tend to take for granted in the UK.

McClaughlin's Fruit Farm

We found someone who is probably trying her best to eat the two-berry limit but probably won’t make it!

This ladybird is having the best time ever on this delicious-looking raspberry.

This afternoon, the six of us – our friends Clare and Dave plus their two excellent dogs, and Christina and I – are off to the pub.

It’s the perfect evening for a good beer garden, and where we’re going is one of the best. Got to get there first though…

It’s a lovely walk through fields and along the famed English hedgerows to this particular pub. The distance justifies the beer we’re about to indulge in!

Beehive Pub Colchester

The pub we’re heading to is the Beehive on the eastern edge of Colchester. It’s one of those great pubs that still has a sense of humour and keeps its beer really well.

I love this sign they have up at the bar.

Beehive Pub Colchester

We’re all very impressed with the food here too. Out in the beer garden, we’re fending off the dogs as we plough into our dinners. The steak pie, chips, peas, carrots and cabbage is about as classic a pub plate as you can think of. And it’s all made in house.

Dave has the sense to ask for extra gravy, which is thick and delicious, though I think this photo’s about as English as it comes with the Colman’s mustard pot in the background.

Christina took this amazing shot – the sun flair is coming from the shine of Dave’s knife as he gets stuck into his pie.

I think we’ll be back here before the trip’s over!

Tymperley's Cafe, Colchester

This morning, I’ve popped into Colchester with my mum and dad to help with their current phone woes. Dad managed to drop his brand new mobile in the lake on a recent fishing trip and Mum had hers run over in a car park.

Thankfully all’s sorted now though, and we’re in Tymperley’s for a coffee stop. This beautiful cafe restaurant is through an archway and is part of this amazing Tudor house.

Tymperley's Cafe, Colchester

It’s warm enough to sit outside for our drink, and it looks like we’re not the only people with this good idea.

Service here at Tymperley’s is really stand-out. Friendly, fast and attentive. The coffee’s pretty good too.

Cafe 21, Colchester

We move on, feeling enlivened by the caffeine and stroll around town. Finally we come to rest in another cafe round the corner. Cafe Twenty-One has a very European feel – especially in its little leafy courtyard.

Halloumi burger at Cafe 21, Colchester

Service here is also excellent, though the food is an added trump card. Dad and I have the halloumi burger, which really hits the spot. Love the little chipped potatoes too.

Goldfinches at the feeder

Tonight I’m staying at Mum and Dad’s for an early start in the morning. They have an amazing bird feeder setup in their garden that attracts so much wildlife. I’ve set my GoPro up on the fence to try and get some close-ups.

This one of an adult and adolescent goldfinch on one of the feeders is our favourite.

Mum tempted me over with promises of ‘picky bits’ and a film – just like when I was a kid. But ‘picky bits’ has turned into this! We’re using tonight as an opportunity to road test some of the snacks for an upcoming family barbecue.

I didn’t know we had this many people in our family!

It’s not too much of an early start this morning, but it’s early enough!

Dad and I are here for a day’s fishing. The lakes around Suffolk are absolutely stunning – especially on days like today – and brimming with fish. Let’s see if we can get some.

Bream-roach hybrid

Dad’s catch of the day – a bream-roach hybrid


Dad’s prettiest catch – a perfect little perch


My bream – the first and possibly biggest fish of the day… but who’s counting?


My best-in-show fish from the day – this pretty little roach

It’s a pretty good day’s work – though this is course fishing, which means everything we catch, we put back. plus I don’t think any of those are big enough to eat anyway!

It’s a lovely way for Dad and I to spend some quality time together. Love it.


I come home to the smell of Dave cooking up a storm – or whatever storm is in Spanish. The paella pan we bought Clare and Dave last year was the best and most savvy present I think we’ve ever thought of.

We are absolutely reaping the rewards!

McClaughlin's Fruit Farm

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Weekly Edition and are feeling as chilled out as we are!

Cheers – Jim & Christina xx


  • Reply July 26, 2019


    Excellent work chaps. Lovely to have you here. In fact we’ve cancelled your flights home.

    • Reply July 27, 2019

      Mr Romance

      Thanks Pa. Saved us the bother of doing it! X

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