A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk’

Norfolk Holiday – Day 5 – Norwich

Posted by Alan on October 10, 2010

 

Ready for home

Ready for home

 

With a 4pm train from Norwich to London we were really not in a rush.  A final full breakfast and a gentle roll down to the station put us on the 1046 out of Sheringham.  A much posher train than before –  we could even use our first class tickets! (Yes, I know. The cuts are going to suck.) The cycle stowage area was a bit strange – quite well secured, though you’d struggle to fit a really large framed bike in there and it was probably also the wheelchair space. Still, we retired to the reclining seats of first class and hoped our bikes would still be there when we got off.

 


Well secured

Well secured

 

Thankfully they were.  Arriving into Norwich around 12pm gave us a little time to explore.  Norwich seems to be quite a strange place, some cycling infrastructure but a lot of signs making sure you knew not to cycle on the pavement.  Pretty soon we got bored of being routed on the ring road, found the town square and locked up.  On Pottergate, we found a coffee shop where we picked up the middle bit of the Grauniad with an article featuring ‘the gods of science’. Next stop, The Belgian Monk for some lunch.  We had a go at al fresco dining until the weather rolled in – still the beer was excellent.

 


Beer fit for gods

Beer, fit for gods

 

From here we headed back towards the station ready for early boarding (still no reservations!) encountering some cycle rage.   Still, we made it back safely.  Getting back into London, the railway line skirts the edge of the Olympics site – an unexpected stop allowed a few photos from afar – the work is coming along nicely. It won’t be long before everything is finished – I hope!

 


Olympic Stadium

Olympic stadium

 

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Norfolk Holiday – Day 4 – Is Wells-next-to-the-sea?

Posted by Alan on October 9, 2010

 

Looking towards Wells

I beg to differ

 

We awoke to rain so very quickly abandoned any plans for cycling. Yes, it’s true we are still fair-weather cyclists! So, instead we opted for the coast-hopper bus for the 20 mile journey to Wells-next-to-the-sea.  A lovely ride through some very picturesque villages, including some so narrow it felt as if our bus had to breathe in to squeeze though.  We arrived into Wells at low tide, so it was very much Wells-about-a-mile-and-a-half-from-the-sea – see above! Down by the harbour (in shot above, but so far away you won’t make it out!) we managed to find a café for a cream tea, a favourite holiday treat.

 


Cream Tea, Norfolk style

Cream tea, Norfolk style

 

Anyone from Cornwall reading? I’d fully recommend you apply for Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). Unlike a real cream tea, the clotted cream was swapped for whipped. It’ s wrong, no two ways about it.  It probably didn’t help the girl serving behind the counter felt the need to put on a false voice/giggle every time someone ordered something yet talk normally to the other staff. Bit strange to say the least! From here we went for a walk to find the sea after about 1.5 mi (2.5 km) we eventually found this:

 


Beach huts, Wells

Beach huts

 

The actual sea was at least another mile away on the other side of a deep shipping canal carved into the sand!  It did at least look like at high tide this area became sea. Back into Wells again we trawled the charity shops looking for Tugs. No luck! We then took the bus back to Sheringham for fear of being stranded in Wells – being in the countryside proper here, all public transport stops at 6pm (the public don’t want to go anywhere after 6pm apparently). This gave us chance to wander around ‘The Mo’, Sheringham’s new lifeboat and fishing boat museum.

 


The Mo, Sheringham

The Mo

 

A stunning building with some interesting facts and figures (especially if you like boats). Friday night’s tea was provided by The Crown, a fairly large bog standard pub close to the sea front.  A full range of Greene King beers and for the price fairly average food.  (Note, before you accuse me of beer snobbery: I’d much rather live in a world dominated by a large brewery like GK than live in one devoid of ale, OK?).

We popped back to the Windham Arms for the 3rd and final time, this time managing to sample Woodforde’s Nog – something I tried to brew as a student. Needless to say, Woodforde’s version was much better. A proper ‘old ale’, dark but with a real sourness that is more like the Belgian lambics than a modern English bitter. Fantastic stuff.

And with the pint finished, it was time to wander home and pack for our final adventure.  Norwich and home.

Posted in 2010 North Norfolk Holiday, Transport Rant | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Norfolk Holiday – Day 3 – Weybourne

Posted by Alan on September 27, 2010

Day 3 started a bit saddle sore, so we decided to have a much easier ride.  After the full breakfast, we took to the coastal road (A149) to Weybourne around 3 miles from Sheringham. Here we found a beach to relax on.


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Weybourne Beach

But that didn’t last long – I am not really a beachy person and I wasn’t really in the mood to just stop.  So I left Ruth on the picnic blanket reading and cycled on up the coastal path a short way, where I came across these houses, very much epitome of Norfolk isolation.


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Isolation

I bet you could easily loose yourself  in the peaceful surroundings, though I can’t imagine it will be much longer before the sea claims these. Further to the left there was a windmill that had been converted to a house – good call, definitely somewhere to be envious of! We had tea in the garden of sort of house/shop/cafe on the road back into the Village before grabbing a quick half pint in the Ship. We’d been convinced by the cafe owner to try cycling back along the coastal path – much less busy – though I’m not sure Ruth’s bike was too suited to the job!


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Ruth bearing the strain of off road cycling

It was nice to cycle alfresco as well.  I’m not going to take sides in the ‘great helmet debate’ but travelling along the coastal path slightly faster than walking speed (probably around 6 or 7 mph) it was nice to really feel the wind in your hair. The coastal path clings to the cliffs above the beaches and eventually we gave way to the temptation and went down to the pebbles. I know beaches and bikes are probably best kept apart, but I couldn’t help belting along the sand until we reached the busier beach at Sheringham!


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Trek a la pebbles

Ruth, sensibly kept her bike off the sand.  Well, I figure mine probably needs replacing with something more useful next time the cycle to work scheme comes around.  Ruth pitched up on Sheringham beach with our bikes and I strolled up to the High St to find a garlic chip butty that Ruth had been hankering for since we had booked to visit Sheringham. And then unusually for me I went for a paddle in the sea.  All elements of a seaside holiday were now successfully ticked off.


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Feet!

This whole coast is very famous for seafood – and here’s one before it becomes someone’s dinner…


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Sheringham (not Cromer) crab!

After the beach we headed back to the B&B taking a picnic home rather than eat out again – nice to slob about a bit and watch some TV with some tasty treats!

Total cycling distance – c. 6 miles (c. 9.5km)

Posted in 2010 North Norfolk Holiday, Cycling | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Norfolk Holiday – Day 2 – Holt, Cromer

Posted by Alan on September 22, 2010

Breakfast in the B&B at a very leisurely 10 to 9. Mmm full breakfast. At 1030 we boarded the steam train to Holt around 5 miles around the coast from Sheringham. Apparently there was a lot of space in the 1950s for things like bikes!


Bike space on the steam train

Bike space on the steam train


The current Holt station is on the edge of town – about 1.25 miles (2km) so only a short hop by bike. We found ourselves a lovely brew in a cafe called Byfords. Pretty damn good and with an excellent deli on the site – here I picked up the local “Yetman’s stout” to try sometime. Brew supped, we headed back out on the main road past Holt station and picked up the sustran’s regional route 30. This took us through the countryside – mostly fields – along quiet single track roads all the way to Cromer.

Ruth, cycling through Gresham

Ruth, cycling through Gresham


The Norfolk countryside around here is actually rather undulating – not quite the flat plain we had imagined! Still, I’d be very surprised if we topped 200″ (60m) above sea level all day.

Cromer is a busy little town. On our visit it was hosting some steam cars – a little bit strange – chuffing slowly along the promenade and with the occasional loud bang. Picking up some provisions in the Morrisons (complete with bike stands) we grabbed some chips on the sea front (as one must) before going for a half in the Dolphin. Woodforde’s wherry was very tasty!


Cromer from the pier

Cromer from the pier


The final leg of our cycling adventure took us out of Cromer onto the A149 – the coastal road – over the steep cliffs above towards the north west. But after a further 2.14 miles (3.4km) spotting a sign for West Runton station we decided to give up and take the train back to Sherringham (just 1 stop and £1.25 each!). Back in Sheringham and it was time for tea. Tonight, The Lobster was the venue. Sadly, disappointing. In 5 words: overcooked food and flat beer. Shame, it was a promising pub from the outside. So, back to the Windham arms for a good beer!


Wolf: howling' good beer

Wolf: howling' good beer

And with that off to bed!

Trip Miles Kilometres
Holt Station – Holt 1.25mi 2km
Holt – Holt Station 1.25mi 2km
Holt Station – Cromer via sustrans RCN 30 11.14mi 17.82km
Cromer – West Runton via coast road (A149) 2.14mi 3.42km
Total: 15.78mi 25.25km

Summary

Date: 08/09/2010

Posted in 2010 North Norfolk Holiday, Cycling | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A quick rest

Posted by Alan on September 21, 2010



A quick rest, originally uploaded by Alan Perryman.

There’s a proper blog post on the way tomorrow, but for now, here’s another Cromer shot with Ruth enjoying a breather and a time to put her feet up having cycled the 12½ miles from Holt…

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Cromer Pier, Silhouette Ruth

Posted by Alan on September 20, 2010



Cromer Pier, Silhouette Ruth, originally uploaded by Alan Perryman.

Having a play with the camera from time to time, though I still have rather a lot to learn.

This is inside ‘the Dolphin’ at Cromer, with the Cromer Pier behind Ruth. It was rather a grey day so I went with the monochrome to totally blank off the sky and really extol the bland weather.

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Norfolk Holiday – Day 1

Posted by Alan on September 15, 2010

Got up a bit later than was really helpful. That’s pretty normal for me though. The alarm goes off, I snooze and a 10 minute blink later maybe I get up. Still, we did manage to make the train at Wood St. And it wasn’t too stressful, thought I’d forgotten that we’d have to push the bikes up a long steep flight of stairs onto the platform!


Our bikes at Wood St

Our bikes at Wood St, loaded and ready to go

We got into the Liverpool St around 11AM – to a scene of chaos – more so than usual, because this was the Tuesday of the TSSA/RMT tube strike. I have to admit, I did feel a bit smug as I wandered into M&S to buy a picnic for lunch on the train… For getting the bike onto the train National Express East Anglia were a bit of a shambles. Both of us had tried in advance to reserve bike space and both been turned away. It was not to be 3rd time lucky as we were then told you have to reserve at least 3 hours in advance! But, it was OK to just show up an hope that there weren’t other cyclists travelling… We arrived at Sheringham around 3pm and rode the few hundred metres to the B&B. After a brew we rode down into town and had a cycle around to learn the centre.


Cycling on the promenade

Cycling on the promenade

There were a few hardy souls braving the wind – at least it wasn’t raining though! Seeing rain approaching from inland we raced back to the B&B to unpack and hide from the elements. It wasn’t long though before we were out again and down to the Windham Arms, probably the best pub in Sheringham. Food was pretty good and a great selection of beer was on offer. After tea there was time to wander about again and see the rest of the town.


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The bright lights of the small town

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Are electric bikes cheating?

Posted by Alan on September 13, 2010

Spotted in the centre of Holt, given the topography of Norfolk, is electric assistance really necessary?

It was ridden away by a more mature rider like, but surely half the point of riding a bike is keeping fit? (As well as being able to go anywhere whenever…)

Posted in 2010 North Norfolk Holiday, Cycling | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Pointless sign?

Posted by Alan on September 13, 2010

Pointless sign?, originally uploaded by Alan Perryman.

I wonder how many people actually refer to any of these vehicles using these names any more, or when this sign was put here. Looks like it’s been a while…

And why is it Pedal cycles, not pedal cycles?

And. Why. The. Full. Stops?

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Cycle Rage

Posted by Alan on September 11, 2010

I am angry.

Pretty livid in fact, when really I should be calm and happy.  Moments ago I got back from a short break in Sheringham on the North Norfolk coast where we went cycling. (Naturally the netbook and some milk were the first things unpacked – priorities!) It was lovely. I should be happy. But I am not.

First off, in Norwich I encountered my first anti-cyclist rage. Sworn at by a motorist because I happened to cross her path – she happened to be indicating to turn left into the ‘no entry’ street we were in and as she appeared to be slowing I figured I should get out of the way. Never quite sure about these motorists and if they will obey the rules.  This got me an earful of abuse. Never mind, get to the station onto the London train all would be fine.

Sadly the last leg of the journey on the Chingford train up to the ‘stow was utter hell.  We got on as soon as it was announced and tried our best not to be in the way, as much as you can with two adult sized bikes and fully laden pannier bags. As the train filled up, people piled in and managed to find seats around where we had our bikes. It didn’t help much that 2 families with huge prams also chose our section of the train to travel in – but we all managed to fit in.

By the time we got to Clapton, a couple with the man leading pipe up “she’s got to pass” and then proceed to argue about the fact that we are in the way. I protest that there is nowhere for me to go in a polite way but that still gets me called an arsehole and when the bloke decides to do the ‘gentlemanly thing’ and lift his significant other’s bag around my front wheel (which coincidently was twisted in such away not to block the gangway allowing people to walk past – but sadly, not enough space for wheely shopping bags) he deliberately swings it towards me in attempt to hit me. He missed me but felt the need to shout arsehole again much to the disgust of the families around me.

Next at St James’ St, a more mature (probably in their 60s) couple get on. I move my wheel round to allow them into the next bay of seats which are free. When they sit down, I overhear “tut, tut, bicycles – shouldn’t be allowed”.  Luckily my better self did not rise to the bait. I noticed they were carrying Christian bookshop bags. Am I misled in believing that religious dogma usually carries with it understanding and tolerance?

Sure, the local trains around here are not designed for bikes.  They don’t have spaces – that I’ve noticed in the few times I have used them before I wanted to take my bike places.  It’s best guess when you get on as to whether that carriage might fill up. But come on people of London, is it really so hard to walk up one carriage if you see a compartment with bikes and prams in it? Surely that would be easier than just cramming on because you know door is where the exit is at your stop…

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