Posts Tagged ‘beach’

O, I do like to be beside the sea

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to Danda!
Happy birthday to you!

Hip hip hooray and all that.

As you’ve probably guessed, it was Danda’s birthday yesterday so, in true birthday style, we ran off to the beach for the day. And it was glorious. The weather stayed warm enough to spend all day walking around but breezy enough to not be uncomfortable.

The day started with fancy lunch. I love a fancy lunch, as some of you may already know. I love fancy lunching. I love Michelin stars. I love pretty food.

This lunch did not disappoint.

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It started with bread, after which we were presented with calf’s tongue with piccalilli. Did I ever mention how much I love the free extras at nice restaurants?
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We had the same starter, a leek and potato soup with white truffle cream. My goodness, do I love a truffle! I love a truffle. I went crazy for this soup. It was really really good with some of the fresh bread dipped into it.
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Next up, Danda’s main was mackerel with mashed potatoes, spinach and tomatoes.
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Mine was a confit duck leg on a bed of lentils and bacon with cavolo nero and thinly cut, fried potatoes.
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It was easily the best duck I’ve ever eaten. It was so soft and fell off the bone without any resistance at all. The skin, which I worried about because it can be quite fatty and disappointing, was crispy and beautiful. The jus was fantastic too. I just ate and ate and hoped it would never end. Sadly, it did so off we went, out into the daylight, to seek our next adventure.

We found it on the Brighton Wheel, looking down at the seaside town from the sky.
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We then went for the longest walk ever in search of the Naturist Beach. O, what? Wait. I mean. I meant. I didn’t mean we went looking for it. I meant we were walking and then we saw it. By accident.

There was one bloke with a cap on chatting to a fully dressed couple and that was it. Disappointing.

We headed out to the marina to see what fun could be had there.
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There were a lot of generic could-be-anywhere shops near the marina so we decided to wander back to the beach but not after spotting an amazing ‘5D’ ride thing that we just had to go on. It was one of those rollercoaster simulator things and it was really good. We got given 3D glasses and were splashed with water or blown with wind. It was fast and furious and I yelped quite a lot!

We finished the day by splashing about in the water and lying on the beach looking at the sky.
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S is for….

SUN, SEA AND SAND! (actually pebbles, rather than sand but you catch my drift)

Yesterday was fabulous. Breakfast in the hotel was fresh and healthy and typically Mediterranean. We then headed down to the Marina Grande on the funicolare to take a boat trip around the island.

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The boat dipped up and down on the small waves and the water splashed in my face and it felt wonderful. I felt a million miles away from everything familiar. I was on a boat next to an outcrop of rock in the Mediterranean Sea and I could have been anywhere. It felt how you want holidays to feel. Different and exotic and exciting.

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After this, we headed out of tourist central, teeming with day trippers from Napoli, back up the hill on the funicolare to ‘our’ part of town, for some lunch. A panini type thing, with a typical Capri filling – tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil.

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We then headed to the pebble beach at the Marina Piccola to write postcards and lie about pretending we were the only people in the world.

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After a quick stop for cappuccino, we went back to the hotel and went for a quick swim to cool off from our heart-attack-inducing climb back up the hill.

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Staying on a mountain is tough on the legs! I’m very glad we brought walking boots.

We then went for dinner but the evening was rather eventful so I’ll save that for tomorrow’s post.

P.S. We’ve decided that this is our new holiday home, by the way.

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Are you going to Scarborough Fair? – No!

It’s Wednesday so it’s over to the guest blogger again for a visit to Scarborough…

I suppose the title gives it away. Yep, I visited Scarborough. I didn’t go to the fair and I didn’t see one. I didn’t see any parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme and no-one lives there who’s a true love of mine!

Let’s start with the accommodation: a Youth Hostel (means any age allowed, in fact). Here’s the approach road (lane?) and the hostel at the far end.
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Arriving somewhat hungrily around 5pm, I decided to go for the full monty and booked an evening meal and a breakfast for the morning to go along with my plush bunk bed. Both were well cooked and I enjoyed someone else cooking for me. There were two of us for evening meal; the rest self-catered or went to the nearby pub. My co-eater, it turned out, was a cyclist down from Tyneside to do some trips out on the Moors. This 70 year old had cycled over 35 miles up hill and down dale that day!

So if I didn’t go to the fair, had I found it, and I didn’t get any spices, why was I there?

It’s a story that goes back over 200 years. I’m doing some family history research and have traced a set of great-great-great grandparents to an address in Scarborough. Now just so you get the idea on these relatives think of this: biologically, we each have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 great-great grandparents & 32 great-great-great grandparents. So I’ve found 2 of those 32! I had an address from the Census of 1841 and I wanted to see if anything remained of the area or even the street. Also I wondered if there might be any other local info about the time when they lived there.

My research day started with a walk from the Youth Hostel up the hill to the bus stop. I arrived in plenty of time and checked with the local who was already there that I was on the correct side of the road for where I wanted to go. The bus route was a circular one so I wanted to make sure I was not going to go the long way round. Then surprise, surprise we just started talking and ended up talking the whole time we were waiting for the bus to arrive. Seems like a friendly place I thought.

Once I’d arrived in the town centre, my first stop was the library for the academic research. I gave the lady in the library the name I was looking for and told her that I’d rung about 18 months ago to make some inquiries. She said she remembered the call! When I sounded surprised she said the name I’d asked about was very unusual for the town and that’s why she remembered it. I had a good 3 hours digging about in the old records and then set off for some sight-seeing looking for some of the places which would have been familiar to my distant relatives.

First stop was street where the folks from long ago lived. It was still there although the original housing has gone. However some features are still there and it was interesting to see that the steps leading to the upper part of town and to the church where they got married are still there. They must have walked them many times. It somehow felt as if I had some connection although I’d never been there before and no-one in the family knew of this link to Scarborough all those years ago.
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This picture is Edwardian so is about 60 years later than when my ancestors were there but it gives a feel for the place. This upper part of the street is called Church Stairs St. for obvious reasons. The original flight of steps dates back to the 14th cent but they were replaced later with stone and there are 199 of them. Why didn’t they make one more? Just off the bottom of the picture the street crosses a junction and on the other side becomes St Mary’s St which is the street where my far off ancestors lived for a while. Here’s a present day view of the lower part of the street.
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Using the birth records of their children, I know they moved out of this street to London some time between 1841-1846. It seems they moved there to find work and settled on the western side of Isle of Dogs. The street they lived in there is described as “a narrow way with a lay-by to enable two carts to pass each other; it was little more than an access to the iron works on either side.” That has to be narrow if they had to make a lay-by for carts to pass each other. And it has to be for very poor families. I looked on an old map of the area and it looked like living on an industrial estate between two factories. Anyway I stood in St Mary’s St for a few minutes just thinking about the conditions they left and what they thought they were going to and what I know they might have found in such an industrial area. I saw this plaque on the wall of a far newer property in the street where they had lived. I wondered if their parents had possibly heard the man himself preach.
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John Wesley had preached at a chapel on the site 14 times between 1759-1790. It means he must have visited the town a number of times as he travelled extensively about the country on horseback. Sometimes he preached in the fields outside of towns because some churches would not let him into their pulpits and sometimes because there were just too many people to fit inside one building.

I went up to St Mary’s Church at the top of the steps, in the old pic, and made my way to the grave yard where I sat down on a bench seat to take in the view across the bay. I ate my sandwiches and looked at the grave I’d sat next to.
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And here’s the transcription as the original gravestone was badly decayed
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As you can see by the correction on the plain slate version, the original stone mason actually carved the wrong age for Anne. She was born 17.1.1820 & died 28.5.1849 so was definitely 29 years old not 28 as on the original stone. Interesting. Anne wrote the two novels Agnes Grey (which I’ve not read) & The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (which I have, and it’s good).

The Brontës endured tragedy after tragedy. Look below at the ages at death of their mother Maria and all six children:

Maria, mother of 6 Brontë children, aged 38 (Sep 1821)
Maria, aged 11 (6th June 1825)
Elizabeth, aged 10 (15th June 1825)
Branwell, aged 31 (Sep 1848)
Emily, aged 30 (Dec 1848)
Anne, aged 29 (May 1849)
Charlotte, aged almost 39 (Mar 1855)

So in the space of 8 short months Charlotte, having already lost her mother in 1821 & 2 sisters in the space of 10 days in 1825, lost two more of her sisters and brother in the period 1848-9; she survived them by just 6 years. Charlotte’s husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls, lived to 3rd Dec 1906 surviving Charlotte by 51 years!
In this next pic, look at where the church decided to put the refreshments notice. Yep, that’s right, next to the most visited grave of the most famous person in the graveyard! I couldn’t help feeling it looked out of place and perhaps shouldn’t have been there.
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I did, though, go and look inside the church, where my ancestors married, and then ended up buying a cup of tea and scone and chatting to the two ladies serving. I wondered if some kind of subliminal message had reached me from that notice in the graveyard! It was here that I got my old photo postcard. As I walked back down the hill I came to this scene and fully expected the sea gulls to fly away as I approached. They didn’t. It meant I got close enough for this photo. As I went into the shop just to the left of the blue car, I was surprised to hear a voice say, “I hope you’re not disturbing my friends.”

Friends? Yes apparently the lady who owns the shop has been feeding one of these birds since he was a baby! He comes every day, sometimes with a friend, to get some food from her. She calls them her “boys”. I’m not that good on determining the gender of gulls so I didn’t know if they were “boys” or “girls”. I’ll bet she shop lady is not popular with the car owners. Remember the post about bird droppings; the birds are standing on a silver car and silver formed only 3% of car colours which get hit. They appear to have ignored the blue one and yet blue comes second in the table of colours most hit. Perhaps my photo disproves the theory although when I looked at the roofs they hadn’t done any droppings so I wasn’t sure what to conclude.
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As I walked back towards the town centre I saw this little alleyway with its name carved into the stone arch. I’ve not seen that done before. Didn’t seem like a route to be taken during the hours of darkness even today. Despite its name implying some delusion of grandeur (palace) I did wonder just what kind of life existed in alleyways like this 200 years ago.
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A little bit further back into the town centre, at the top of the cliffs overlooking the beach was this.
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To the right of the pic is the steeply-angled railway down to the beach and here is one of the carriages. It’s called a cliff railway or funicular railway.
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Here’s the entrance just to the right of the picture above. Thanks to Wikipedia for this one as mine didn’t come out.
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And so it was time to hit the road. I had to return to the Youth Hostel to pick up my gear and drive home. It had been a good day. I liked Scarborough. I will go back.

A walk with mad dogs and Englishmen….

I’m handing over to the guest blogger today, for his last post about his holiday walks.

This was my 3rd and last holiday walk. It was overcast. I packed my rain gear. I began by heading north through the village. What I witnessed next seemed somewhat ominous.
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It looked a bit like that scene from the Hitchcock film and I looked behind just in case I was going to turn into Tippi Hedren II. (Tippi, by the way, is Melanie Griffith’s mother.)
However just 15 mins later the sky began to clear a bit and I came across this.
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As I was walking through the next village I saw this little chap
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One of those horses with little legs. I didn’t have my tape measure with me to see if it qualified as a miniature horse but I thought it should be one. Apparently it would have to be 34-38ins (86-97cms) to the last hairs of the mane in order to be called a miniature horse.
A bit further on and I was down another one of those narrow pathways.
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Through the gap in the trees in the distance, across a golf course and a bit further on I came to this
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It was one of those things that there is always a waiting list for here in the UK – a beach hut! This one is about 15ft (4.57m) x 10ft (3.05m). The gentleman told me he’d bought his in the 1960s for a few hundred pounds and that recently one was sold for £22,000 ($34,500). Sounds a big increase but I suppose you have to bear in mind it’s probably a 50 year gap. Had he bought it from the council? No, from the LeStrange Estate which owns the land. The family can trace their ancestry back to around 1100AD when the first LeStrange, a Breton who emigrated from northern France, inherited the land through marriage. The name, not unsurprisingly, means ‘the foreigner’ or ‘the stranger’. There are no service facilities to the huts. Water is available via a tap nearby. When offered a cup of tea I was asked to fill the kettle. “The tap’s behind the hut near the path,” he said. Off I went. Unable to locate the tap I returned and he showed me where it was. Can you see it? It’s near the fence post in the grass!
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A barrier of sand dunes means that this is the view from the hut.
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The sea is over the other side and a long walk out. I didn’t.
I set off continuing my exploration and in a mile or so came to the local lifeboat station. Because of the nature of the coast, the sand dunes and the fact that the water could be a long way out a conventional “launch” down a slipway is not possible. The lifeboat is not really a lifeboat – it’s a “lifehovercraft” – Problem solved! I’ve never seen one of those before.
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After an ice-cream stop it was time to return to the cottage and as with many routes around there it was off across the fields again for another couple of miles. Then through the Downs area and back along the road. As you can see by this pic the day which had begun overcast now had bright sunshine. Time to mop that brow again as the heat really rose. I was the Englishman out with the “mad dogs”!
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Fancy having this as your walk home from the office each day? Summer yes! Winter, maybe not.
Just before arriving back at the cottage I passed the sign I mentioned a couple of weeks ago by the duck pond:
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Welcome to Blognor Regis

I spent quite a while thinking up the witty title to this post, which is going to be about my day at the seaside, in a little town called Bognor Regis…. Writing about Bognor…. In my blog…. Blog… Bognor…. BLOGNOR! Blognor Regis. I was quite impressed with myself for thinking this up so just humour me, ok?

Spending a day in Bognor Regis was rather a spare of the moment thing. Had I forward-planned, I probably wouldn’t have chosen to go there. It doesn’t sound particularly attractive, does it? Bognor. I’d heard good things though so took the plunge and decided to go for the first time.

The first thing I did was marvel at this cutesy little food stall.

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Cockles and whelks! Amazing! I doubled checked that I was still in 2012 and had not accidentally stepped back in time to the 1950s. I was indeed still in the present but the town itself was pleasantly somewhere back in the 1900s.

The next thing I reached was crazy golf. I obviously had to have a go. Obviously. I love a bit of crazy golf. It’s one of those things that I’m very rubbish at but insist on playing anyway (same with table tennis).

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The euphoria of a round of crazy golf reached new heights when I spotted the amusements on the other side of the road. Omygoodness! 2p machines! I hadn’t played on a 2p machine in years. I was VERY excited. If you’re not sure what a 2p machine is, I will explain briefly. There are slots for you to put your 2p into. They slide down onto a drawer full of coins, which is moving back and forth. If you’re lucky, your 2p will push a coin or two off the drawer and onto the section below which has loads more coins on it and, should any coins fall from this section, they come out into a little tray and are your winnings.

Clutching my pound coin, I found a change machine and got me fifty 2 pence coins. Inevitably, I pumped all the coins into one machine, the logic being that the more I put in, the more would come out. This logic failed me, as it always had. My pound disappeared rapidly, plus any winnings, which I put straight back in.

While leaving, though, I heard a sound that made the coolness factor of my day increase by 200%. I heard the unmistakable song of a dance mat machine! Now I don’t mean to boast, but I have dancematted in Asia against a local dancematting expert and won. Considering Asia is the part of the world which is thought of as the dancematting home, I’m still quite proud of this fact. I spent most of my first year at university with blisters on my toes and legs that were constantly sore in my mission to be good at dance mat.

So of course, when I heard the dance mat machine, I was right there, pound coin in hand, selecting my favourite tune. I started out by getting an A on my first go. Of course I got an A. Second song, another A. Last song, I made a foolish choice and came out with a miserable E. I had chosen one which was much too fast.

Defeated, I left the amusements and went and sat on the beach. I had a really great magazine with me full of really great facts about stuff and sat marvelling. For example, Christopher Columbus was a Knight of Christ, an organisation which was the reincarnation of the Knights Templar after they were destroyed and a few escaped to Portugal. Also, dragonflies can see 175 images per second (humans can see 16).

After my being-amazed session, the sea was calling…

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…so I had me a little (freezing cold) swim. I could hear loud splashes every so often and couldn’t work out what it was. It was like the sound of people hitting water at speed. Intrigued, I went exploring and found a group of teenagers hurling themselves off the end of the pier!

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One girl had a cut on one foot and after jumping they would all climb up the rusty poles underneath to get back on top and jump again and it all seemed a little bit dangerous. They were having fun though and it was nice to see proof that young people still know how to have fun outside. I’ve never doubted it but there are a lot of grumpy people, who like moaning, who talk about how ‘kids these days’ don’t know how to have fun anymore and they just stay inside on Facebook all the time.

Next, I went to have a look round the town. There was a lovely little market, which consisted of clothes aimed at 60+ ladies, sunglasses stalls and sticks of Bognor Regis rock. Past this market there was a lovely old cinema which has been there for over 50 years. The sign outside let me know that ‘We Ar Emore Than Justa Cinema’ and I wondered if the person proofreading the signs had been there the same amount of time. ‘Yeh, there are loads of mistakes but I’m so bored, I don’t care….’

While walking back to the beach, I saw a bowling green and had to have a game. This is bowls, as opposed to bowling, which is played inside, in a lane, with skittle things that you knock down. Bowls is played on a green and you first roll a little white ball until it stops then try to get as close to it as possible with your four balls. Here’s a picture of me taking the game really seriously and concentrating hard.

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After bowls, evening was setting in and there was only one thing for it – fish and chips on the beach. The sky changed from clear blue, to yellowy orange to pale pink and grey until most of the colour had faded and it was hometime.

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Signs of the times?

It’s that time in the week again, time for the guest blogger to take over….

“Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woeful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.”
(Keep reading to find out where these lines are from if you don’t already know.)
I went on holiday recently; it turned out to be a real assignment. Congratulations to the weather which had been very wet for many weeks but which gave me a rain-free, hot, sun-filled week. I visited Norfolk, in a part of the UK called East Anglia, and stayed in a cottage in a small village called Ringstead: it’s a few miles inland from the seaside town of Hunstanton popular with traditional holiday makers. I soon became aware that there are many signs which are meant to give info but sometimes don’t actually say what they mean or don’t say it correctly. On day one (actually a Friday), I took a walk round the seafront there and, in the fairground which had closed because of earlier bad weather, I was surprised to find the following:
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Can you see the mistake? Go on, look again if you missed it.
A short distance away was this one:

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Apart from the obvious danger of getting into a barrel, can you see the (4) mistakes in this one? Not too hard, eh? Easy to see how kids pick up the bad habits when they do their own writing.
By the way, did you know there is an Apostrophe Protection Society in the UK? It’s actually been featured in a prog on TV some years ago. Here is a quote from their site:
“We are aware of the way the English language is evolving during use, and do not intend any direct criticism of those who have made mistakes, but are just reminding all writers of English text, whether on notices or in documents of any type, of the correct usage of the apostrophe should you wish to put right mistakes you may have inadvertently made.”
Although I am not a member I do think they’re making a very valid point and if they don’t highlight the issue who else will? Check out the “Examples” tab on their site (www.apostrophe.org.uk) and look at some of the howlers – including stuff written by teachers!
Back to the pics. Well, clearly I was on a roll. I’d been going for only 10 mins and had two signs bagged already. I could see another one on a fence in the distance so ran over to see what it said:

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Doh! No mistakes and after me eagerly running all the way over.
Then further along the Promenade was this one:

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Now I know some people might say you should beware of Cliff Richard but after asking the locals it seems no-one knew who this Cliff Falls guy was. Anyway we had a lovely walk along the beach under the overhanging red rocks and we waved back at all the people who were shouting and waving at us from over on the promenade. We couldn’t tell what they were saying but we thought – this seems to be a really friendly town.
A couple of days later I was in a Craft Centre and came across this one:

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Pointing to the sign, I suggested to the Craft Centre lady that perhaps Harry could help. She was not amused. Oh well…
However, was wondering if LLM might want to apply. Why? Well, it seems she might be good at it. If you read her blogs regularly you will have come across the following examples (there are more):
31.7.12 – An Admission – “I pottered over, friendly mission face on….”
27.7.12 – I came, I saw, I passed – “After work, I pottered off home….”
20.7.12 – To Aslan’s Mountain with a wisdom stick – “As we pottered along, admiring the views….”
13.7.12 – Searching For Agatha – “…and potter about in the countryside for a while.”
I like that expression “to potter” or “potter about”. It gives a real sense of relaxed meandering; while others frantically push and shove or drive manically you are in no rush, plenty of time to look around and take in the landscape (or townscape). It speaks of a detached air, of being happy in oneself, unconcerned with the normal daily grind. Yes, pottering about is good. I must have a go at it.
Just across the road was this:
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You know what happened? I went in and…… that’s right, there were no ancient mariners! Fancy having a pub just for ancient mariners. I reckon they’re probably a dying breed! (By the way the verse at the start of this post, if you hadn’t guessed, is from Coleridge’s The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner.)
On the Sunday, we went to a Flower Festival in a nearby village. At the entrance to the church we saw this sign:

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Yep, you’ve guessed it…….. inside there were no guide dogs….. just loads of people!
There were a number of historical displays inside. This one was about the Norman Conquest. I approached with caution believing it might be one of those things which when people get close it suddenly jumps out at you (and shouts something scary) because there’s a real human being inside who was just keeping very still. There wasn’t……so it didn’t. (I suppose if a person had had an arrow stuck in his eye it would have been quite hard to stand still):
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Now apparently the idea that King Harold II (Harold Godwinson) was killed (1066) by an arrow in the eye comes from the pictures on the famous Bayeux Tapestry. However, it also shows what some believe to be another figure also representing Harold being killed by a sword. So it might have been arrow, might have been sword or could have been both.
Another display sign was this one:

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Can you spot the mistakes this time? (I count three. Did you get them all?)
Towards the refreshment area and other stalls was this one:

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Just one this time. (Apologies to American readers who, I know, do spell it this way).

On Tuesday we went on the Wells to Walsingham Light Railway. The sign told me this amazing fact:

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I was impressed – the longest 10¼” gauge in the world! Where did the idea for that width come from? You might think it must be one of those Victorian oddities from long ago but surprisingly this one was built only very recently (1982). You probably won’t be surprised to know that there is actually a Ten and a Quarter Inch Gauge Railway Society and there is a website if you’re really interested.
Thanks to the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway for permission to use the following two photos from their website (as mine didn’t really come out that well).
We travelled on the blue engine. It was called the Norfolk Hero (began in service in 1987 & named in honour of Admiral Lord (Horatio) Nelson. He was born in 1758 in Burnham Thorpe, just 5½ miles west of where the railway starts & 9½ miles east of the village where I stayed):

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There is a second engine (new in 2011) called Norfolk Heroine. It is named in honour of Edith Cavell, a British nurse who worked in Belgium during WW1, born 1865 in Swardeston near Norwich in Norfolk. She was shot, in Oct 1915, by the occupying German forces, for helping prisoners escape.

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Also nearby was the following warning sign:
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You might have to enlarge it but it’s typical of the signs organisations like this have to put up because of the (blame and) claim culture which infects everything these days. It’s a steam train, it runs on coal, it puffs out smoke – what do people expect? However what I didn’t expect was to get hit by one of “the smuts” in a very painful place. Just 15 mins into the journey I suddenly found myself blinking like mad as a piece of smut (prob coal dust) blew into my eye causing me to rub like mad to try and get it to the corner where I thought it wouldn’t hurt as much. Apart from that it was a really enjoyable day out on the little train.
Here’s another ‘spot the mistake one’:

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Easy that one? Hope the art was going to be better than the spelling. (I wouldn’t still be there to find out though.)
I like this one because it’s a good pun-like trade name:

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Check out the barber’s name in line 4. Hair salons and barber often do call themselves distinctive names. An unusual one I remember from some years ago was called – “Curl up and Dye”.
I’ll finish with one from the main road in the village where I was staying:

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It gave me a good laugh anyway. Again you’ll need to enlarge it to see the small text but noteworthy bits are: the price – one quacker, published by – Eggsactly Newspapers and the motto (top right) – “Out for a duck, not run down”. And there are two of them near to the pond. What wags these local rustics are, eh?
I’ve decided – I like signs, especially when sometimes they DON’T say what they mean, sometimes when they’re just fun to read and sometimes when your response is tongue-in-cheek. I didn’t intend to take pics like this but, after the initial spots on day 1, looking for more just became routine. You’re probably asking yourself what assignment was he on about at the beginning of this post? He’s not mentioned it at all. Can you see it now? What assignment? (Do you see what I did there? What a sign meant – haha).