THE FRAME IS OUT OF GLASGOW THE TECH IS BALINESE
Why do people drive in Britain nowadays ? Is your trip really necessary ? I only ask as I have spent a quarter of the last 24 hours stuck in traffic jams, crawling between bizarrely spaced, badly phased traffic lights, intimidated by signs telling what to do and what not to do, endangered by other road users going either dangerously fast or deathly slow. And don’t get me started on caravans. Even when I wasn’t driving my perambulations were threatened by behemoths from London (aka Chelsea Tractors). Sheesh. Happily the other three quarters of that 24 were much more enjoyable.
I had been invited for the weekend to a cottage in Blakeney in North Norfolk cottage. Unbelievably, I'd never been to Norfolk before, indeed most of the East coast of the UK below Hornsea was all a bit of a mystery to me. As I passed into Norfolk I seemed to go through a ‘Life on Mars’ type time warp. This is a world bereft of chain coffee stores, where the word Fayre is used with nary a hint of irony and people of colour don't exist (except for that nice Mr Ahmed who runs Light of the Raj on the High Street). Weird.
When I eventually got to my destination the Sun came out and I was treated to some sandwiches made with extremely fresh Crab, crayfish tails and yet more Crab (Crab is big around these parts), all washed down with lashings of the local cider. Then a quick tour of the area.
I have to say I really took to the area apart from those 4x4s and the numerous hoorays that walk around as if they own the place (thankfully, it's not become Rock yet). Blakeney is a small village with an incredibly unspoiled and attractive harbour. The village dates back to Domesday and was once an important port and fishing centre. Now it relies on the tourist trade who come to see the large variety of birds and the grey seals and collect samphire. After a bracing walk along Blakeney Point we headed to Brancaster Beach. A beautiful expanse of clean sand littered with the shells of razor clams and mussels (Mr Stein must have been in town).
Nearby is Cley, a tiny village but home to Cley Smokehouse where we scored Buckling (Hot smoked herring sans head and guts), a brace of kippers, some sirloin and the ever essential pork scratchings.
From Picnic Fayre (sic) some local cheese, bread and some very sweet Norfolk blueberries.
All this fresh air made us very tired so returned to the cottage for a little rest before cracking open the Nyetimber Champagne for an apero. We had our tea at the nearby White Horse pub. The starters were the stars - a pile of tiny fried whitebait and a beautiful mackerel pate on samphire. For our mains we had Crab cocktail and a well cooked hunk of haddock on a buttery mash. I wimped out a bit on dessert by going for the fruit option although this was local strawberries and raspberries so I didn’t do too bad.
For breakfast the following morning I had one of the kippers grilled with brown bread and butter and some coffee although a strong cup of tea would be the traditional accompaniment. Suitably refreshed I set out for home. Unfortunately, I tried to finesse the journey by taking a different route. Of course it misfired big time and my return journey was longer and more tedious than the outward one.
As I took the Suffolk route home I quite missed the little Norfolk villages with their fayres and fetes and markets that make Brick Lane look like the Grand Bazaar. Mmm I thought, maybe that would be a good place to retire. I must be getting old.....