Breakfast, coffee and a chat this morning Costa Coffee 9am: will keep a seat for you
Hi, pull up a chair and sit down, coffee’s on its way. Why breakfast in Costa’s? Well, primarily because we’ve run out of everything in our holiday cottage food-wise and don’t want to buy any more as we’re heading home tomorrow. Costa’s was the first place we found that served food and I was hungry – I don’t do hungry very well. We’d already tried one of those places attached to the likes of Premier Inns or Travel Lodges on the way in, but it was totally locked up – lights on and no-one at home! Thought we’d stop off here then make our way into King’s Lynn as we want to see the reconstruction of the Sea Henge at Lynn Museum. We had a good look round Lynn on Wednesday, found our way to the quay and walked along, took lots of photos (almost all of them concerning buildings), and completely forgot about the museum.
12.30am: Another coffee break
Well that was very interesting. The Henge exhibition was very well done with lots of information and discussions about what it was created for. One of the ideas was that it had been created to honour some important person’s death. At the middle of the henge (c4000 years old), had been placed the incredibly large upturned stump of an oak tree, its roots maybe providing the altar on which the dead person lay whilst his/her bones were stripped clean by carrion. However, more interesting to me, was the 19th century display concerning local trade history. My great great grandfather lived in King’s Lynn at the time of the 1871 census, making sewing machines. It seems that his business went downhill because by 1881 he was living in the then small village of Swaffham and died in poverty a few years later. I’ve always broken out in an itchy rash whenever anyone mentions sewing to me. I think my genes must know more of my family history than I’ve yet been able to find out!
There is no mention of him at the museum but we went to the library to see if I could find out where he lived at the time. It took about an hour or so to find him, but when I did I followed the information up in the trade directories and pinpointed where he lived. Then we popped round and had a look.
He was apparently the owner of a small iron works situated behind his shop (he and his family lived above it), and had a depot in London according to the 1868 trade directory. There’s nothing left of any iron works, but the shop and flat still exist. I can’t imagine how he, his wife and seven children all managed to live in such a tiny space. Then, when his business failed, the house they moved into in Swaffham was even smaller. I had managed to find that on Monday. Enough of the family research for today – are you free for lunch? We’re off to Castle Acre and the Ostrich Inn before having a look at the medieval priory.
Fancy something to eat? The menu doesn’t look bad. Pity its pouring down outside, we could be here for a while. Still there’s a huge walk in fireplace right behind me, it must be about 10ft across and it’s stuffed full of logs ready for the colder weather. I think they’re going to need them soon as it’s turned much cooler over the past couple of days. Dogs seem to be welcome everywhere in north Norfolk, which makes a lovely change from most places these days. Dogs are rarely allowed into pubs now and it makes it difficult to take your dog with you when you go out. There are a couple of men whose voices are booming away in the corner, but they’re not saying anything at all really. They just seem to like the sound of their own voices – everyone else is talking quietly and adding to that lovely comforting feeling you often get when you walk into established pubs.
Still wet outside. Looks set in for the day. Walkers have just come in through the door, their two dogs soaking wet. One is very nervous and jumped a mile when another dog barked at her. What a shame. The dogs’ ‘mum’ had, at least, packed a towel for the furry babies so she could dry them off before they settled themselves down – they’re obviously well loved dogs. The walkers themselves are appropriately dressed for the weather, with top to toe waterproofs on and proper walking boots. Unlike us, wearing jeans and sweatshirts!
The food’s been a bit of a disappointment to be honest, we expected more from an area which can boast so much fresh shellfish. It’s all been much of a muchness though and it’s a tad annoying to be charged top whack prices when we can cook it far better for ourselves at home. I’m moaning – I think it’s the weather. It’s still raining…
Out of the window beside me I can see the village green with the houses spread out on the opposite side. Some of them are built with the same materials as the lovely cottage we’re staying in – chunks of flint set into cement and locked into place with a brickwork surround. They look so comfortable and timeless. In fact the whole area seems stuck in some kind of a time warp – the 1970s or 1980s. Is that a criticism? Somewhat I’m afraid. I’ve no problem with trying to maintain the character of a place but I do feel that food should be more appetising, and brown and dark red paint should surely be banned in pubs – it just makes the place look dingy. I’ll let you into a secret – I love the cottage we’re staying in. I could happily live here. It has a lovely garden, just the right size, and a fantastic kitchen with French doors opening onto said garden. The village we’re staying in is very quiet – no road noise at all at night. Not many street lights either, but it does have a couple of pubs, ditto shops and is right next to the Sandringham estate. We haven’t been – no dog. There are miles of tracks and woodland to walk around though, should we feel so inclined. We haven’t so far, simply not had the time. The Queen has not, apparently, realised that we’re here as we’ve received no invitation to coffee
Still raining outside. The hum of chatter is so comfortable – the two men having left some time ago – it’s very soporific. I mentioned dogs earlier. We’ve seen quite a lot on this holiday, but only one cat. No idea why that is. A group of women have just left and each one got into their own cars – I wonder why they didn’t car share? Maybe they live in completely different directions and just meet up every now and then for a meal. Very civilised. The weather looks as though it’s clearing now, though the ground will be far too wet to traipse around looking at a medieval priory. Shame – we’ll just have to come back again sometime.
Cheese and biscuits washed down with a bottle of wine is what we’ve decided for our evening meal tonight – want to join us?