Well folks it’s time for another outing.
I start off by going down to London for a couple of nights whilst I do some work with an evenings trip as usual to Greenwich. This is followed by a drive up to Norwich and an evenings wild camp followed by a days work and a stop over night in Carrow Fire Station yard. This was arranged by my mate Les who whilst still living in my home town of Bingham he actually works as a senior officer in Norwich. We spent the evening in a nice curry house followed by a couple of pints in a couple of local pubs and then I returned to the Fire Station.
Thursday 10 March
So today we start the actual adventure. I wander up from the Fire Station into the city visiting firstly part of the old 12th century walls and then having a gentle stroll along the very pretty Riverside walk. There was England’s only surviving Swan Pit which thankfully is not in fact in use today as it was used to keep swans in whilst they fattened them up for the Sunday Roast !! ( Who wants a Leg ? )
The weather is beautiful and sunny and the trees are beginning to blossom and many daffodils and crocuses are starting to bloom. I have a good wander around the city which is a lot prettier than I thought with lots of little alleyways and lanes especially around the Cathedral.
After wandering around for about 3 hours armed with my trusty camera and doing David Bailey impressions, I go to the train station to meet up with Jane who has put her faith in East Midlands trains to come to meet me and we are now going to spend the next 4 nights having a quick jaunt around Norfolk and Suffolk.
We continue our look around Norwich which was the largest city in England after London in the 11th century. It is famous for Delia Smith, Stephen Fry, Colmans Mustard and of course.. Alan Partridge !
We had lunch in the Adam and Eve pub which is Norwich’s oldest pub being built in 1249 ( not as old as Nottinghamshire Trip to Jerusalem 1189 ). After lunch we continue our shufty around Norwich before heading down to Thurston near Bury St Edmunds. We stop at the Dell campsite which is a small but very neat site with lovely shower blocks and surrounded by green fields. The only downside is it’s quite near the A14 Road which is quite noisy whilst trying to sleep at night. ( ear plugs to the rescue ! )
Having settled “Cis” in, we wander about a mile to one of the pubs in the village called the Fox and Hounds. Thursday is Steak night which It would be rude not to take advantage of, and I have a decent slab of Ribeye whilst Jane opts for a lovely piece of Salmon. Having stuffed ourselves with food ( no room for pudding ! ) and suitably washed down with a couple of decent real ales or glasses of wine for Jane we venture back to the campsite. This is easier said than done because by now it’s dark and we have to navigate our way back by torchlight ( lucky things mobile phones) along the fairly busy road with no footpath. We spent half the time jumping up the grass verges to ensure we didn’t get squashed by any unobservant halfwit drivers too busy texting on their mobile phones to notice the two over fed muppets coming out of the dark at them imitating rabbits caught in the headlights !
Safely reaching our destination we snuggled down in the warm underbelly of “Cis” watched a movie and hit the sack in anticipation of a day out tomorrow in Bury St Edmunds.
Friday 11 March
We had a slow start this morning enjoying the warmth of the Duvet with a cuppa whilst “Cis” thawed out from the overnight frostiness. After showering & dressing etc we stood outside the campsite awaiting the 11.30 Bus into Bury St Edmunds. It did come and was only about 10 minutes late which was not too bad but was followed by a torturous route through the local village arriving in Bury some 30 minutes later for what is a 4 and a half mile route on the main road.
So having eventually hopped off the bus in the centre of town, we first checked the bus stop opposite to confirm the bus does pick up there and the times I had noted matched those posted on the bus stop ( like to be organised and confident of my travel arrangements me ! )
Moving on we decided as it was now past the noon day yardarm we’d slake our thirsts with a quick visit to the local Wetherspoons which was inside the old Corn Exchange and was spookily named The Corn Exchange ! Fancy that !. The building was really nice inside which many of the Wetherspoons pubs are and we admired the stone sculptures and glass barrel roof. Another great reason to visit, was the fact that it was the first day of the Wetherspoons Beer Festival. Result !
We then had a good stroll around the town with a quick visit to the Cathedral and then a saunter in the sunshine through the old ruined Abbey gardens seeing the beautiful flower beds and the aviaries with a selection of Parrots, Budgerigars etc.
By this time we decided on lunch and popped in the M & S cafe for a quick bite and a hot drink. I left Jane to do a bit of food shopping whilst I chose a more exciting shop called Beautiful Beers where I managed to get two English, One Dutch & Three Belgium beers of my infamous list. Excellent !
Time was moving on and having pretty much exhausted our exploration of Bury we decided to finish off the afternoon with another visit to Wetherspoons for a last drink before catching the 16.10 bus back to the campsite
WARNING ! SEVERE RANT AHEAD !!!!
The first rant is that I have just spent the last 30 minutes writing today’s Blog and my poxy computer has decided to freeze necessitating me having to disconnect the mains lead and battery to be able to come out of the page. Luckily Chrome managed to save what I have written so not necessitating me having to do it all over again ! GRRR !! Time for a new laptop methinks !
The second rant concerns the ~@*# ing Suffolk buses which I believe I have vented my spleen about before. We arrived at 16.00 to await the 16.10 bus which I had checked before remember. We waited for 40 minutes, 30 minutes after the bus was supposed to have arrived before I asked a bus driver on another numbered bus where the chuff it was. He told me that the 16.10 differently to all the others throughout the day went a different way back and didn’t come to that stop. He then very cheerfully told me that it was only a further hour until the next bus would be at that stop ! Cheers mate, that’s alright then !
By this time it was getting chilly as the sunshine had lost its heat and so not wanting to go back to the pub or hang around for a further hour allowed ourselves to be captured by one of the local bandits masquerading as a Taxi driver who on releasing us at the campsite demanded the Kings Ransom for driving the 4 and a half miles back. I think he mistakenly charged us to go via Norwich !! This is of course on top of the RETURN bus tickets that I had paid for before. ( I’m on pension you know ! ) ( does anyone want an used return ticket from Bury, I’m selling at half price !!. Email to Tight Bas**** @ Gmail.com )
So having enjoyed the day in Bury ( My Wallet says otherwise ! ) we entered the cosy bosom of “Cis” where the heating had kept it nice and toasty and we settled down for the evening with a couple of drinks and a very nice piece of fillet steak cooked to perfection by Madame Chef. Yum Yum !
Saturday 12 March
We set off from the Dell campsite and head East towards Aldeburgh. We drove through Framlingham where we had a quick glimpse of the castle there but being Saturday and the market being on we were struggling to park so just tipped our hats at it and continued on with our drive through Suffolk.
Next stop was Sutton Hoo which is a range of burial mounds investigated by archeologists in 1939. They discovered about 20 burial mounds including the main one which was where a man had been buried with a stash of valuables and mask in a large boat. This is thought to be an Anglo Saxon king called Redwald who is estimated to have died in 639 AD. Very interesting visit and well worth a trip to see the mounds and the very informative exhibition there.
From Sutton Hoo we drove to Aldeburgh which we have visited before but is quite pretty and well worth another look. Unfortunately Suffolk County Council are not as enthusiastic about having us to visit as we were. All the car parks are pay & display which is no problem but none will allow anyone to park overnight.
We parked in a small lay-by about half way between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness a small village just a couple of miles north. From here we walked along the coast path back into Aldeburgh and had a little wander around the streets and shops with a brief stop for Jane to have a beer whilst I had a lemonade ( honest ! ). You can tell its posh in Suffolk as the public toilets are graffiti free, the loos have lids and there is an abundance of soft variety toilet paper handy !
After an hour or so we wandered back to “Cis” and drove through to Thorpeness where we found a little spot to park in a quiet street just around the corner from a very nice pub called the Dolphin. Thorpeness is very quaint with a nice boating lake, and several interesting buildings including a windmill and a house which looks like it’s built on stilts. ( unfortunately I lost about 6 photos around here ! )
After having a little wander around it was time for dinner and we managed to get a table at 6.00 provided we were done with it by 8.00 which for us was not a problem. I had several pints of Adnams broadside which was 4.7 % and hit the the spot perfectly.
The food in the Dolphin was excellent and we could highly recommend it to anyone who may be along this way at sometime in the future.
So having to relinquish our table we wandered back and chilled for the rest of the evening before it was time for lights out.
Sunday 13 March
We kicked off the day with an excellent ” Belly Buster ” breakfast cooked once more by Madame Gordon Blu whilst I took a few snaps around the village. After which we drove back south for a few miles to the quaint village of Orford for a look at the Castle followed by the Quay which was about 10 degrees cooler than up the village due to the wind coming off the estuary Brrr !
On arriving back at “Cis” I jumped out of the cab to see if I could drive her forward without the need for reversing and like a great numpty ran headlong into a metal bollard in the grass creating a great gash in my leg which is still bleeding now whilst writing this some 5 hours later and there is a great lump on it and it throbs like a B*#€$#. What a Muppet !!
Moving on we took a steady drive north passing through Lowestoft, into Norfolk again and then driving through Great Yarmouth, Caister and a few other villages before arriving at the Pleasure Boat Inn at Hickling where we are going to spend the night. This is situated on the side of Hickling Broad which is of course one of the famous Norfolk Broads and jolly pretty too.
So after Jane had done her Florence Nightingale impersonation on my leg we went for dinner which was not Cordon Bleu but it was ok. The only problem is that we were the only diners there and we ended up sharing the room with 3 very inebriated gentlemen playing pool which didn’t do much for the romantic ambience. The only other problem with the place was that the gents toilet was out of action due to what looked like a flood. I was instead shown up to the private bathroom of the landlord upstairs. This in itself was an adventure because although I don’t regularly frequent strangers bathrooms ( not that I’d admit ! ), this one looked like it has been hit by a typhoon shortly before my arrival. We ate our food fairly sharpish and then returned to “Cis” post haste where we spent the rest of the evening chilling once more before climbing the old stairs to the Land of Nod.
Monday 14 March
After a reasonable night except the Ducks quacking and the cables pinging on the Yacht masts we set off back home. This took a while because of the slow roads through Norfolk. It is one of the few counties which doesn’t have a motorway running through it. We had a slight break for a couple of hours as I once more visited the UK’s biggest Beer store just outside Kings Lynn to pick up a few boxes of beers from around the world that are on my list. Hic !
So that’s it for now, next trip is up to Scotland at the end of April for a brief troll round and a wedding at the famous Brig a’Doon. Hoots Mon !.
See you soon Pat & Jane xx