We’d booked the lifeboat at the end of our stay here last year, the beginning of his 88 year on this earth. We had two dogs then without a thought of a third, and before our hiatus. A good measurement of water under our bridges.
Started with food naturally – black dog halesworth for a Sourdough avocado. Surrender, I said to myself!
Aylsham, where the memories started. GA keyes signs still around. I can see the face and hear the Norfolk voice of the old man who’d made it good, and ran the auction house where another michael of another time, and i would go religiously once a month in search of a Dutch master.
Buckinghamshire arms, Blickling I suggested, my past returning. Moules delicious, the place much smalller than I recalled. This was the first place that put in s sofa to make the lounge a living room lounge, the height of sophistication in my 20 year old mind.
The pinnacle of Jacobean says pevsner: It is one of the major Jacobean houses in England, in scale and otherwise. While M explored the gardens, I found the back entrance to the park, perfect for off lead dogs, and a magnificent twisting sweet chestnut, a human plant form.
Next stop Salle. Perfect perpendicular.
Checked into our friend the Thornham life boat. We are in Richardson, a ground floor room, all rooms named after life boat crews.
Champagne and mediocre food. sausages and garlic mash.
Evening dog walk to the coal barn, Jupiter and Venus in the sky.
I tried to have just fruit, but It’s impossible – well feels impossible to watch another eat and just sup water. So it is eggs florentine and crème brûlée, neither needed, both fillers.
In search of a charging point we found one at the end of lady Anne’s drive, which after a few attempts and a phone call to a very helpful remote support, we charged for free! (Later I sent him the view on email, here it is
The warden began the conversation (so you managed the charge) and I asked him with brazen innocence, so what are those birds over there and why are they disturbed? Tall with greying longish hair, he had a kind observing face. “It’ll be some raptor, perhaps a marsh harrier or red kit, both of which we have around here. And they will be disturbing the flock of pink footed geese. Last week we had 50,000 of here, which have left to fly north. They come to feast on the sugar beat”. So many questions, like how do you count. He liked the dogs, had boarders himself, and I’d have liked to dally with him, but michael awaited in the lookout. Hundreds of twitchers in their dark green uniform, and most dogs on leads I notice, unlike mine.
The look out was not opened last year as far as I recall. Built in 2019 It’s a sympathetic addition to this landscape, build under the lee of the Scott’s pine, and overlooking the marshes, part inside part outside, in the round. A simple, circular plan, the exterior was glazed and faced with vertical timber slats, which provide sufficient visual masking to allow people to move around within the centre without distracting and worrying the birds.
While michael had coffee and did a few phone calls, I walked the dogs down. Over the board walk, down to the sword of sand that is imprinted on me from so many past visits, times full of dreams, fears and hopes, with and without people, mothers, lovers, dogs, they all arrived in a jumble as we walk. I lost the dogs to other owners, who look around to find the irresponsible one. With luck I find an old ball, and recall someone told me of a gift of balls at brancaster left in a legacy. The tide is out. The beach today tide edged with millions of razed shells, crunching under foot.
The strangers gift of a restaurant in burnham market, Socius, the unusual name which michael recognised straight away – companion, in fact male companion. In a newly converted built foundary place, the building was an open barn, with working kitchen along the long side, which provided the theatre for the whole evening. What is it liked to be watched all the time? Spotted the owner manager straight away, a calm quiet ease, supporting and talking to staff, 10 in total. Dynamic young people. Food was tasty, unusual and nicely sized. Started with Thai raw tuna, yum, ending with succulent beef, accompanied by beef Cheak with celeriac cream on top. Rich and so tasty. Next door table had been more modest, and just had the beef, which would have been quite adequate, as complex as it was , I forgot to mention the sweet carrots. Turned out they are from peasenhall. Staying at the Hoste arms, where we walked passed with the dogs later, looking distinctly fuddy and boring in comparison . Half way through two of m comments. Is there pudding? And if I lived here I’d come every day to taste the whole menu.
Michael had booked a rover ticket which meant we could get any train, and with luck and snxuios speed we arrived with 6 minutes to spare. The north Norfolk railway revived the year it was demolished, 1958, and completed the purchase from eager demolished inn1964. We hardly had time to absorb the experience by the time of landing in Sheringham, , where young Edmund was there to meet us. T
He burden of three dogs, down Sherringhsm high street was challenging. Leaving the two stick men, michael and Edmund, behind, the dogs ploughed their way ahead until released on the stone beach. lead trained they are not. Brow chewed his lead again. L
Over lunch at the crown (terrible food, nice people) Edmund relayed some family news. Jo had settle back in Spain, with his Spanish wife Maria, and their son, where he works in an Afro business, mainly translating but also a amazingly involved in the plantation of actual seedseed potato. Plant seed.
Ioni is in a darker place. Having given up her training as a psychiatrist, she is dependent on here partner, a good man involved in AI . Lydia continues to work at the bodlean in Oxford.
As michael oberved, Edmund has such expressive always smiling eyes. With the handicap of his hip, he is more sedentary, researching the life of his moss father, a pioneer air plan architect. I think he should also record his early life. Born in Australia where Edmund and margaret had emigrated to to find work, they found work in PNG, and fro there to Yemen, finally settling in Botswana
Thursford I was born
So do you recall an artist alan Aldridge living in foulsham who had two wives who did not know of each other ?
Yes I recall that story
We’re you one of the wives? They laugh.
Dogs far too restless and I short on temper, humphed and resigned to rising so it was we set off at just before 8, remarkably good time. In time to greet the local man on his bicycle 3rd morning running. Not so cold today he manages to impart, he must have my same philosophy to engage with a stranger where ever a chink of light.
Up to the pines, the RSPB cafe not opened, we followed the boardwalk, two dogs on lead until surrendered and cut to the beach where all could go free. It was here we met our first gifted encounter, another stranger I will never see again. Walking strongly I saw him catch us up, and when he stopped to take a photo of a gaggle of birds on a sand spit, I asked what are they? I have no idea he said, I was hoping you would know! Turns out he’d been bivowaking the night near near, and often does, having discover3 the joy of spending he night out during Covid. With Covid, he started, isolating sleeping out, he discovered a place 10 minutes from where he lived in long Milford (who is buddied there with a glorious time s Roman lettering one tomb? That was my gift to him. He was in his way for br3akfsst at the lighthouse. His second gift to me.
The Hunstanton cliffs were extraordinary, sharp striations of bright white chalk on top of red-brown carstone. Both the red and white chalk are made of limestone. The red rock is actually chalk – the red colour comes from iron pigment, which would have been formed much later after the carstone and it contains the most fossils. The white stripe that marks the top of the cliffs is also chalk, laid in the late Cretaceous period around 66 million years ago.
Kids with young mothers and fathers looking for fossils. I found the lighthouse cafe above the cliff. The stranger was not there, but they had a tick tack shop of dog balls and throwers, which proved invaluable from then on and a perfect bacon sandwich and my second gift. A Golden retriever man, with Scottish accent, who retired fromRAF down here in 89. Told me that the white chalk as once the sea bed, so full of fossils. And what he’d once thought of as dirty oil spills was in fact prehistoric tree stumps, like the kind found in sea henge, so named, at Holme, where I had passed earlier that day.
Nearing the habitations had proofed challenging with the dogs, as all the world and their dog was out this Sunday noon, and many seemed to have sensitivity to other dogs, people shouting at me to keep my dogs away, easy with bob and brow, but not with Kali, and no point shouting. He should be on a lead them, they advised me, sternly. A few tall groins to climb challenged my unfit body, I watched a young family cavort over them as I heaved my full body and found I lacked strength. I must redeem the old bod.
After the roller coasters, spirals, pleasure ground thrills, the walk was easier, the light stunning, as the sea and sky merged in milky off white grey. Dogs enjoying the new ball throw. Oyster catchers on zig zag sea groynes. A cuppa and pee break at the ski cafe, Hunstanton. Michael meanwhile had driven to tescos to find a charge, and some lunch.