As I complain so much about bad weather, I thought it only right to balance that, by reporting on some very good weather instead.
This weekend, we were fortunate to have visitors, a rare event here in Beetley. Two of my cousins were coming to stay overnight, and it was their first time in the area, and also their first sight of our house, since we moved here, in 2012. After the rain and cloud that I had moaned about recently, we were a little concerned that the conditions for their visit would be miserable. When people make the effort to drive over four hours from London, we obviously want to show them around, and take them somewhere pleasant. And that is best done in good weather, naturally.
This time, the signs were promising. Saturday morning started off sunny and warm, and a quick check on the TV news promised no rain for the best part of two days. They arrived in good time, and after showing them around the house and garden, followed by a light lunch, we set off. Generally, we avoid the popular coastal resorts and favoured tourist spots at this time of year. It is peak holiday season, and everywhere is also crammed with children. We tend to wait until the school holidays are over, when the traffic has returned to normal, and only locals are out and about. But Saturday would have to be different, as we had both guests, and blue skies.
One of the better things about living here, is the proximity to the coast. Wells-Next-The-Sea is only twenty miles away, and on usually clear roads, is easily reached in twenty-five minutes by car. I told my cousins the intended destination, and with Ollie in his spot in the back, we set off; windows down, and sunglasses on. It finally felt as if summer had arrived. The journey was uneventful, and we got there remarkably quickly. But our luck didn’t last. Turning into the town, we discovered an unusually long queue of traffic. The streets there are narrow, and once a few cars are stuck, it becomes almost impossible for anyone to move, in any direction. After a few minutes, we got to a junction where we could see down towards the quay. The traffic was backed up as far as the eye could see. Still over a mile from the beach car park, they were queuing to get onto the road that eventually leads to the road that goes to the car park.
I made the only sensible decision, and got out of there at the next junction, heading for Holkham instead. The beach at Holkham is huge, and one of the best beaches I have ever seen in England. It is so large, it is over a mile, from the car park to the sea. And as it is devoid of facilities of any kind, it also feels totally unspoilt. Mind you, I had never seen it this busy. We had a slight delay getting into the already crowded overflow car park, but once we had bought our ticket, and got Ollie out, we were happily heading off into the warm afternoon, along with crowds of others, doing exactly the same thing.
The path runs through some pleasant pine woods, before opening out to the amazing vista of the beach fringed by sand dunes. Despite the amount of space available there, the visitors had made a good effort at almost filling it up, at least close to the water’s edge. We went into the sea, which was not cold at all, and even Ollie, who is not fond of salt water, followed me into the shallows. There were families enjoying traditional beach pursuits; swimming, building sand castles, and sitting inside wind-breaks. Plenty of other dogs were running around for Ollie to look at, and the coastal breeze made it all feel incredibly pleasant. After our spell of paddling, we retired to a vacant dune, to relax and watch the world go by for a while.
One of my cousins mentioned the nearby Holkham Hall, a stately home and deer park. She said that she would like to have seen it. But it was already 4.30, so we suggested returning on Sunday morning, when we could allow more time. I drove back along the coast road to Cromer, to show my relatives the best of the area. We got home in time to get ready to go out to eat at the local Thai restaurant. During the meal, we all agreed that it had been a great afternoon out.
Today, we went to Holkham Hall, as promised. That will be a different post, with photos