Savvy Diary 39: Borley Mill

Disclaimer: This post contains image links for books available at Amazon, for which I do not receive any commission.


It’s Sunday. I’m on the move along Northern Road and I have to say that my dainty ballerina’s arthritic feet look rather sweet when intermingled with so many pink flowers. And just take a look at my sexy-white ankles; forget all that fake-tan nonsense!

My sexy-booted feet and ankles manage to make it as far as Tesco, before they decide to mount themselves in stirrups to trot along the bridleway. If I’d selected my red dancing shoes – I’d now been in to the Tesco’s confectionery aisle, selecting a large bar of 70% cocoa dark chocolate! If only! Still, without all that extra sugar and fat, at least I can still mobilise my feet enough to dismount and take a tootsie selfie with a clump of daisies.


Amazing, the wildlife that can be found (not identified) alongside all that is man-made by Tesco. There’s even a three-petalled flower posing as a bug of some sort! And can I really see that rare species – the buttercup?


It is, I admit, questionable whether – at my time of life – I’ve even made the correct identification for a buttercup. All I know is that they are yellow and that, if one holds one under one’s chin and one’s chin-chin looks jaundiced, then one is a big fan of butter. I do like butter, but there’s no way I’m picking this buttercup; I might be destroying the last of an endangered species. And, no, neither will I, Jay Cool, be bending myself down to converse with it on the same level. Having arthritic feet is bad enough – I’m not about to add an arthritic back to the equation!

Besides which, then I’m rather taken by this pair of tree trunks. Why, I wonder, has one split itself into two, whilst the other has held its own? This is my theory. Left tree fancied right tree, but right tree wasn’t interested, so left tree, being a gentleman, backed off. Left tree, however, had an id that was unable to control its desires. The id branched off and edged itself a little closer to its attractive neighbour, in a bid to take the high-ground with the left tree’s superego. The right tree, though, knew its own mind and still insisted on its independence, backing further and further away from the left tree’s id. With me? No! Well look up Freud’s theory for yourself! Yes, I know I said it was my theory, but Freud didn’t apply it to trees – did he? Even Peter Wohlleben didn’t go that far! It is official, therefore, that Jay Cool (my id) is a genius!


Freud may have talked as much nonsense as Jay Cool but, even so, I decide that I prefer the reality of the ground than the surreal experience of riding a horse’s hump. I tether said mount to the trumped-up id of the left tree, and continue on my way.

There’s something about a dog rose that makes a mid-lifer feel like they’ve lost a few years, giving them the confidence to smile away with the wild folk. It especially helps when the mid-lifer can disguise her laughter lines with a pair of tinted glasses from Boots.


Wow. Did I really just identify a flower? This has got to be a first. Now, I’m definitely on a roll. Look out Sir Ghillean Prance! Think you’re the only expert? The competition’s hotting up!


On my return home, to my cave, I must order that wild flower book from Amazon.

First, though, I need to learn about trees that are gobbled up from the inside out, until they are hollow and topless; and wild mushrooms that might (or might not) make a fine ingredient for Hassan‘s Indian cuisine (Hassan is the main character in ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’).


Can’t believe it! Not only is this stroll bringing to mind the fungi from some of my favourite non-fiction books, I am now coming to the realisation that David Walliams, far from being crazy and other-wordly, is actually a naturalist with the expertise to give David Attenborough a run for his money. Because, it’s only thanks to David that I am now able to educate you, my very special reader, about the identification of the fluffy animal I’ve just spotted hanging from a Twiglet. This fluffy-ball-shaped thing is none other than a ‘Fing’‘ The Fing is an endangered species, and so rare, that I really had – until now – been content in the belief that the Fing was nothing more than a figment of David’s over-active imagination. Sorry, David! I, Jay Cool, apologise (now that is rare).

Being mindful of the fact that the Fing is partial to a bit of human finger, I keep my distance whilst taking the snap, and move on – swiftly. If it’s that hungry, it can check out the horsemeat. Now, don’t be hypocritical and feign your disdain; we’ve all chomped on a bit of horse when visiting our French friends, haven’t we? Why shouldn’t the poor little Fing give it a go? Anyway, as I said, moving swifly on …

Making it to the end of the bridleway (fingers still intact), I pass through Newman’s Green (and very green it is too), and cross over the Melford bypass, reaching Rodbridge Corner. A rather large bee startles me into thinking that perhaps I have passed through this world and into another. Am I one of the little redheaded people in Mary Norton’s world of ‘The Borrowers’? Perhaps I should abandon this nightmare and get back under the floorboards!


Not only is the bee terrifying – it also seems to have the power to turn the daylight into darkness. The calm baby-blue sky, turns a deeper shade of about-to-be-royal blue. A storm is imminent.



Keep moving, Jay Cool – keep moving! Yes, you are too round to be able to climb through that broken window, and that old barn is haunted – not to mention, covered in crumbling roof material! Asbestos? Don’t risk it! Move on …

Finally, I get a break in the traffic, and make it across from Rodbridge Corner to the ultimate of fantastic locations.

I’m in a carpark.


Although the carpark’s choc-a-bloc with desirable vehicles, I decide its probably best to take a photo of some roses (rather than a number plate). And, in the meantime, my feet make the decision to dance me into the nearest shelter. The sun’s out again – seems the storm was just showing off a bit, before being called back in for dinner. But, as I’m here now, in the bosom of The Nethergate Brewery, I order a pint of Aspall’s. Yes, I probably ought to be going for the Stour Valley Gold, but beer’s really not my thing. Tastes like ear-wax. (Don’t lie! We’ve all stuck our fingers in our ears to scratch an itch at some point in our lives!)


Suitably refreshed and raring to go again, I decline a second pint (reluctantly), and continue on through the Rodbridge Picnic Area, towards Borley Mill. The River Stour’s looking as stunning as I feel.

I pass by a pillbox and, momentarily, wonder whether it would be any good to house a family of five, if my redundancy money runs out? Some of my Salopian ancestors did, after all, raise their families in tiny caves, and still pulled off passing some of their genes down the line to moi!

Within minutes, the daydream changes. And, I conclude that a family such as mine, with its royal ancestry, really ought to live in a style, although still modest, a lot more dignified. Once my bestseller is published, buying Borley Mill will be like making a tiny dent in a piece of chocolate-sponge cake. No problem!


Full of the joys of spring (in July), I bounce along further, leaping over any barriers and helping myself to pastures new. For some unknown reason, my horse appears to have survived the Fing, untethered itself from the Freudian twins, made a reappearance. There it is! Waiting for me!

I’m not stupid, though (well, just a bit), and I know that living in a pillbox is preferable to being locked up in a prison cell, so I leave the horse to the flies – and leg it as far as the Melford Hotel. Pint of Aspall’s? I’m out of luck. The Melford Hotel was partly destroyed in a fire, quite some years ago, and is only now in the process of a renovation project.


It matters not. Sudbury has plenty of pubs to choose from in the town centre, and there are flowers aplenty to photograph en route along Melford Road. Unfortunately, my feet take control of me, tell me I’ve had enough cider already, and force me into taking a short cut back to my cliff-top home in Chilton, through some very genteel residential areas.


I turn a corner, to hear the sound of terror, and to witness a cloud of pigeon feathers rising up from a grass verge. A pigeon toddles off, it’s head barely staying on as a massive hole in the back of its neck is exposed to the elements, and comes to a standstill – or, rather, a sitdown. I try to persuade it to toddle just a bit further, to move on into the surrounding shrubbery – but its having none of it. It’s going nowhere, and neither is the cat, that lurks behind someone’s back-garden fence, awaiting a second chance. As soon as I’m gone, it’ll finish the pigeon off for good. I linger awhile, but eventually have to accept the inevitable. If the pigeon is past helping itself, there’s not a lot that I can do.

My sadness lifts a little when, some yards on, I spot a very large caterpillar crossing the footpath. Will it make it? Or, will it too, become an intake of protein – perhaps for the dying pigeon’s heartbroken cousin?

Home. Settee. Crash. Sleep. Dream.

And my dream is satisfyingly tasty.

I am a caterpillar and I metamorphose into a giant cat. I eat the pigeon!


Copyright owned by Jay Cool, Sunday 16th June 2019


Published by The Silly-Savvy Salopian

Freelance writer and descendant of the cave dweller and outlaw, Humphrey Kynaston. Banished from Shropshire for my eccentricity, I have made my home in Suffolk. I write poetry, short stories, travel journals, comedy gig reviews and non-fiction articles. My wish is to write my way back into the heart of my birth land. All writing commissions (and free holidays in Shropshire!) considered.

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