Sunday, September 23, 2007

Grandpa Cliff and Sheringham

Bit nippy first thing on Sheringham seafront..

Next morning, we’re up early for our taxi at 9am to go to see Grandpa Cliff. Apparently he didn’t actually expect us to arrive at 9:30, but we’re on time (of course), and find him reading the paper in the conservatory.

Swinging chair in Grandpa’s garden

We enjoy tea together and chat, and have the tour of the house, before heading out for a walk.

Gazing to the North Pole

We’re a bit peckish, as we skipped breakfast, so soon find ourselves at Dave’s Fish and Chips, a place which has won awards for its food. The smell of vinegar is a bit overpowering at first, but one soon gets used to it.


We get a table and tuck in. I have the seafood platter which consists of assorted things from the sea battered and fried with an unhealthy portion of chips, washed down by a nice small pot of tea.

After lunch, we go for coffee in the Theatre Café, the best in Sheringham (the coffee according to Grandpa, not necessarily the theatre, though that is supposed to be good too), and walk along to the putting green near the old station.

Thuzar claims that higher scores are better

We have a single round as Grandpa snoozes in the warm sunshine. Putting is one of those Sheringham childhood holiday traditions for me, and this is one of the standard courses. Visits to this course would be combined with the second-hand bookshop round the corner, where I would buy a dozen books to chew through, usually cheap spy thrillers like Ludlum. The other good course is up on the cliffs the other side of town, and is much more challenging as it’s far from flat, and there are holes where unless you get the shot close to perfect, the ball ends up back at your feet. Finally there’s a silly putting course somewhere, and how English can you get, trying to putt the ball through windmills, down miniature helter-skelters and around other creative obstacles. Marvellous fun!

And in a few minutes we’ll join him

After we get to see the steam engine manoeuvring at the old station opposite the course.

The current (modern) trains from Norwich terminate in Sheringham, next to the main road. There isn’t much of a station, the trains just stop for a couple of minutes and reverse. There used to be a crossing, and it would carry on, but these days there’s no crossing, but instead a steam engine uses the old line to Holt, a beautiful market town and a good day trip from here.

The old station

Flintstone abounds in Sheringham

Most of the older buildings in Sheringham are dressed with flint stone. I notice some have the whole stone mounted on the wall, and others have the stones halved and the insides facing out. Grandpa says the correct term for this is knapped.

Next we potter along to the Lifeboat on the sea front, where the building is closed for renovation, but the new (first of this design in the UK) lifeboat, just an inflatable mind, is out for display at the front.

Some brave it..

There are perhaps half a dozen people swimming, though those who do so seem better equipped for the cold than most!

Back along the sea wall, we end up at a pub, where I corrupt Grandpa into enjoying a half of Abbott Ale and some whisky. Thuzar tries Twiglets, the small crunchy crisps coated with Marmite (or is it?) and doesn’t enjoy the experience. Ah well, more for me then!

It’s only a half on the other side, honestly, that’s perspective.

He tells us about his adventures after the war. Grandpa Cliff was in the navy, and at the end of the war was assigned to a merchant ship which had naval guns fitted to it. He had to dispose of the ammunition in water no less deep than 200 fathoms.

The ship sailed around the world, from Asia, around Cape Town, across the Atlantic then heading up the South American east coast, from Rio to Buenos Aires, Montevideo, New York, Boston, playing the piano wherever he stopped, and getting bought beers in return. Effectively Grandpa was doing a Round the World trip years before they became fashionable!

Unfortunately, just as he was having the time of his life, his mother wrote to the Admiralty asking where her son was 6 months after the end of the war, so an officer boarded the ship at the next port and he was sent home! He hopped on a ship back to Scotland then down to Chatham where he was based.

Home for a short while (now, not Grandpa in the war), we head out to a Thai restaurant which Grandpa hasn’t visited before, Tonsai. I’m reminded of Tonsai Bay that Yumi and I visited, but apparently it’s named after a small tree.

Tonight unfortunately they only have an eat-as-much-as-you-like buffet. We’re still not that hungry after lunch, but the kind lady agrees to only charge us for 2 buffets for the three of us, which was nice. The food isn’t bad either, and Grandpa resolves to return. We have some good Australian wine before heading home again, then taking the Aldborough taxi back from next to the clock tower. Back at Fox Cottage, I inspect the Woodford’s Ale Selection which has been carelessly left unguarded in the kitchen. Dad has the place kitted out with wireless broadband, so there’s no excuse for not being here really. How different from India. Soon it’s bed time, I’m tired!

Down to Whitstable
Next morning, whilst Thuzar showers, I pop to the shop for bacon, bread and other bits and bobs. We pack bags, and Thuzar tells me how fed up she is with travelling! It has to be said that being on the move all the time is tiring, and even I get fed up with it. We taxi to Sheringham, and it looks like it’ll be another fine day. We find Grandpa reading the paper again, and leave our bags (and washing drying in his lovely garden) before heading out.

First we go to Marmalade, Dad’s choice, which we find closed Wednesdays.

Instead, Crofters, which is dark inside, has quite stern and generously-proportioned old ladies running it, and has quite nice home-made food.

Back via the sea front for one last look at the beautiful sea.

We pIck up our bags and Grandpa takes us to the station, passing a pet salon which Thuzar cannot believe exist! Grandpa sends us off, then we have a nice snooze on the train to Norwich.

Our train to Liverpool Street arrives at 16:50pm. Rush hour on the tube in London with our big bags, great!!

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