The EA Hairy Biker ride is a 9 day cycle through East Anglia and the venues that Eastern Angles have played, as well as the places the plays have been about.
I’m pretty sure my rear has moulded itself into a saddle shape and my legs have forgotten how to walk. And my knees – well the least said about my knees the better!!! Today also happened to be one of the longest days in the saddle as my average speed dropped alarmingly – the stretch from Wells to Kings Lynn in late afternoon / early evening almost finished me off!
The day started in Sheringham, the setting for Eastern Angles 2005 show Beyond the Breakers but of more urgency was a visit to http://www.black-bikes.co.uk Black Bikes to repair what turned out to be the same spoke that had gone on day 3.
Whilst the bike was being sorted I stopped for breakfast in the railway refreshment rooms of the North Norfolk Railway http://www.nnrailway.co.uk, thus allowing me to indulge in a diversion via one of my favourite eccentric Norfolk characters (there is another to come a little later on!)
Mad Windham was the last of the Windham’s to own Felbrigg Hall not far from Sheringham. His utterly eccentric and legally significant life story is worth looking up (heres one link, there are many!). It’s Windham’s obsession with trains and dressing up as railway staff causing all manner of problems that allows me this little diversion!
Bike fixed and some 75 minutes behind schedule I’m back in the saddle following the coast road. Despite the traffic and cycling into a head wind the scenery here is breathtaking.
I’m heading out to Cley next to the Sea, a bird watchers paradise (the RSPB centre is just before it) and settting for Eastern Angles 1998 play The Bluethroat. I find no bodies in the rushes (thankfully) and my untrained eye doesn’t spot a Bluethroat secretly scurrying around the undergrowth so on I push.
From Cley its just a short hop to Blakeney, sometimes cruelly referred to as Chelsea by the Sea. It being Monday h advthere is no hint of Chelsea today, just a busy water front with seal trip signs competing with folk in the harbour room.
Next I take an unplanned stop at the Church of St John the Baptist, Stiffkey. The vicar here was once one Harold Davidson – whose life story is a rival to Mad Windham’s any day. In 1932 he was found guilty by the Bishop of Norwich of ‘systematically misbehaving himself with young women’ having spent increasingly more and more time rescuing ‘poor’ girls forced into prostitution. Disgraced he tried a number of careers (including an unsuccessful application to be manager of Blackpool Football Club) he eventually ended up playing ‘Daniel in the Lions Den’ in a circus style end of the pier show. Not unlike the demise of Albert (in Stanley Holloway’s comic monologue, my childhood party piece) the lions had the last laugh – Davidson being mauled by Freddie the Lion in Skegness. And so ended the life of the one time rector of a sleepy North Norfolk town.
I raised a glass of Stiffkey Ale in his memory at the Red Lion before, with increased religious vigour, heading onto Walsingham. But thats for part II of the day 8 blog!