This mornings breakfast rather re-enforced my developing view that the proprietress of my hotel for the night must be a descendant of Peggorty. Here she is again stooping over my shoulder and peering into my note book ‘more tea dear?’
Time to go I feel!
Having heard the forecast might reach a whopping great 26 degrees I pop into the local co-op for some sun cream. The customer service assistant laughed at me when I ask, as if to suggest there is not much call for that round here. Does the sun never shine on Norfolk’s golden sands?
Most of Sunday was taken up by the Norfolk Coast Cycleway (route 30 http://www.norfolkcoastaonb.org.uk/pages/pspage.php?PageID=388 ), 45 or so miles from Great Yarmouth through to Sherringham.
Curiously it starts and ends with wind farms. The Scroby Sands wind farm in Yarmouth was one of the UK’s first commercial offshore wind farms whilst the farm viewable from the Sheringham shore is more recent ( http://www.scira.co.uk) . In between I passed numerous solo turbines and one group of ten, five on either side of the road standing bolt upright like a guard of honour, Triffid style. I mention this as in Essex and Suffolk I saw far more ‘say no to the turbines’ posters than I did turbines themselves.
Once you are away from Great Yarmouth the route is lovely. The bulk of it is on really quiet roads (in North Norfolk quiet lanes are signposted as such!) though there are some sections on busier roads which would be less family friendly. With the sea breeze keeping you cool and no real climbs to speak of its a really pleasant cycle. And with Norfolk going in for ‘soft verges’ (essentially the field coming right up to the edge of the road without fences or hedgerows) you can see for miles around.
Although not always visible the sea is a permanent pillion passenger for the ride. Today, in summer mode, she appeared as calm as a sleeping child, glinting absent mindedly in the sun and gurgling away contentedly to itself. But the Henry Blogg lifeboat museum at Cromer ( http://www.rnli.org/aboutus/historyandheritage/museums/Pages/Henry-Blogg-Museum.aspx) and the lighthouse (the oldest working lighthouse in East Anglia) at Happisburgh ( http://www.happisburgh.org/lighthouse) , together with memories of Dunwich tell another story. Even on a quiet day like today when cycling alongside the sea wall you cant but help sense her power.
Not all was well on the ride though. Less than an hour in I heard that same metallic ping which had so perplexed me in Elmstead Market ( https://matthewlinley.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/ea-hairy-biker-day-3/)
Sure enough I begin to feel my back wheel dragging. Another spoke had gone, the wheel warping instantly. Knowing that I had no chance of a bike shop until Monday I took the only action I considered open to me (parents, bike mechanics and health and safety fanatics look away now) – I removed the back wheel brakes, thus leaving the back wheel freer to wobble. It certainly made for an interesting (and far more uncomfortable ride) especially as the back wheel spent the journey wanting to go in any direction but straight! My cycling speed as a result was barely above walking pace – yesterdays dash to Beccles a dim and distant memory ( https://matthewlinley.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/hairy-biker-day-6/)
But I was determined to crack on (except when I was distracted by the beauty spots on route – Horsey wind pump for example [ http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/horsey-windpump/] , the beach at Sea Palling or the views at Mundesley).
After some five hours on the road Cromer looms into view. Its at that point I head off route 30 and drop down into Overstrand, arriving twenty minutes behind schedule, in the vain hope that Father Brown might still be waiting for me.
In 1992/3 GK Chesterton’s beloved cleric cum detective came to Cromer and Overstrand on holiday (at least in EA world he did). Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on the way you look at it) bringing with him typical Easter Angles Christmas fun and frolics ( http://www.easternangles.co.uk/show/FB/description.html) . After ten minutes sat in the vergers chair, thumbing the book of common prayer, I give up. I reckon the good Father has probably had enough of North Norfolk, so I head onto Cromer.
Cromer was the setting for Message from Neptune ( http://www.easternangles.co.uk/show/MFN/description.html) – a story of love, lust and fluffy science. In one of the many turrets that adorn Cromers buildings a mad scientist worked, whilst down below a colonic irragationist works . Weird as it may seem its a story which seems very plausible in Cromer.
After a quick pick-me in the Old Red Lion, which itself has a tower incorporated into its design, I head towards my final destination of the day. My route takes me not through the fields of corn, potatoes, pigs and sheep that I’ve become accustomed to but through a sea of caravans, literally as far as the eye can see. Such is my entrance to Sheringham.
After the pretence of cheap hotels the plain simplicity of Sherringham Youth Hostel is wonderfully reassuring. There is a lock up for my bike, and, at last somewhere to properly dry my clothes from day 5. Mind we didn’t get off to a great start. The five quid wi-fi charge (essential for writing these updates) only covered one device, and not my phone and tablet. Then having been advised food was being served till 2030 I come down showered and hungry at 1950 to find service has stopped. Bang goes my plans for working through dinner…
There is always a silver lining of course. I head down to the Two Lifeboats (where I cant use my five quid wifi, I hurumph) for dinner and watch as the sun sets into the sea. A rather fitting end to the day.
Tomorrow (the penultimate day) I head towards Kings Lynn via Cley (Bluethroat), Blakeney (Bluebeard), Walsingham (The Walsingham Organ) and onto Kings Lynn. To date I’ve covered some 340 miles, passed through or by some 30 Eastern Angles venues and visited sites specific to some 35 shows. And with two days left there is still some 100 miles to go…
..but first I have a bike to fix!