Solemn Witness of the Passing of Time

CCC#67

Sloping smock, no longer bright

Timbers faded, and reduced in height

Your sails and cap now a thing of lore

Wind shall not drive your gears anymore

Solemn witness of the passing of time

Gone the gentle sweep of your turning sublime

 

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #67

 

Padre

 

 

The Pilgrim’s Quest

CCC #63

The Shire of the North-Folk was one of the first settled by the Anglo-Saxon tribes.  They found flat, fertile land there, with slow flowing waterways, and spiritual traditions which preceded even the Roman conquest.  Many Stowe places were found – sites of gathering -and these often had supernatural connections.

In the Christian era, Walsingham in the county’s north, was the site of an apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Lady Richeldis.  Elsewhere in the Norfolk, the mystic Julian of Norwich inspired faith.  So, it was not surprising that word spread of the arrival of a newcomer in the county offering a new source of peace.

Always ones to seek spiritual guidance, Thomas and Helen Landry traveled from their home in Glastonbury to Norfolk, hoping that this pilgrimage would offer them enlightenment.  Unfortunately the message had become muddled.  No, they didn’t find a Lama providing peace, but a llama providing new fleece.

(150 words)

Padre

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #63

 

 

The Portal

CCC#55

There has been a lot of controversy over Santa’s ability to transit the entire world in a single night.  While the distances are immense, they are not as great as you might imagine.  You see, Mr. Claus does not have to cross oceans.  Instead, there are a series of portals located near coasts which allow him to short cut the distances.

One of these is located in the Burlingham Woods in the English county of Norfolk.  This brightly decorated ring keeps well with the perpetual Christmas spirit of the place.  The one down-side of its presence there is that the cold drafts from Santa’s North Pole headquarters keep the majestic tree at its centre always in winter form, even when those around it are in full summer green.

(129 words)

Padre

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #55

Afternoon Tea for a Travel Tuesday

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I have to admit that I still occasionally cringe when I hear American (and some other) visitors describe England as “quaint.”  It seems that the image of Bertie Wooster, Bowler hats, and Downton Abbey still prevail.  But one area where this nostalgic England still does have a foothold is High Tea.

Okay, let’s get this straight the country does not stop at 3 pm and the entire populous settle down to crumpets and gooseberry jam.  In fact, in the modern UK it is more likely that a ready-made supermarket sandwich will be wolfed down on the run, washed down with a Starbuck’s coffee.  But sometimes, especially on special occasions it is nice to slow down and enjoy some luxury.

Afternoon tea, is a real treat, and in recent years we have marked my wife’s birthday with the indulgence.

The top photo is of a High Tea we enjoyed at the Cliff Hotel in Gorleston, Norfolk last year, to celebrate my wife’s birthday.   We booked the tea (and High Teas often need pre-bookings) there as we have stayed at this hotel before, and it is a favourite venue for us.   We ate on the terrace overlooking the sea, and it made a pleasant back drop with a clear sunny sky, and the beach and sea below us.

The tea was well brewed, and came in a generous sized pot.  It was accompanied by finger sandwiches (salmon and cream cheese, ham and cheese, prawn with mayonnaise,  and cheese and pickle).  A portion of sharp cress was provided that could be used to enhance the sandwiches as well.  Two warm scones, with clotted cream and jam were next.  This was followed by an assortment of macaroons, mini cream cakes, and a chocolate and an apple tart. The portions were sufficient to leave us both satisfied.

The price is reasonable for the experience at £15 per person with tea or coffee (2019 updated price) and a £10 booking fee is required.  The service was very friendly and attentive, and it made for a lovely afternoon together.

Link:  Cliff Hotel High Tea

Another nice venue is Harriets Cafe Tea Rooms in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.  This venue offers a step back into time, with marble-topped tables, chandeliers, and big band music all to enjoy.  The service was on our professional and friendly (and the retro uniforms helped the ambiance as well). There was no sense of rush, and it was a time to just savour the drinks and take in the experience.

When we arrived we were offered chilled water with lemon wedges (another blast from the past, as most places don’t offer this these days). We had ample time to review the menu and to take in the atmosphere.  We ordered cream teas to our own tastes, a lovely chai blend for me, and Rooibos for my wife.  The tea was loose leaf, and individual strainers, and additional hot water were provided to make the most of the brews.  The scones were fairly large, and had a good balance of moistness without feeling underdone.  I far prefer this to those that crumple at the first attempt to cut them.  All in all is was a lovely spread with nice presentation.  At about £21 per it is a bit more dear, but the nostalgia and atmosphere are worth the price for the experience.

Link: Harriet’s

This year we made our High Tea visit to The Swan in Lavenham, Suffolk.  This Medieval Inn with its timber frame construction is wonderful to behold.  Inside there are still the beams, but also modern luxury.

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Gallery

The Gallery dining room is overlooked by a grand piano, and the gardens are just beyond period windows. We sat near a huge inglenook fireplace, and the atmosphere was a perfect as the meal.

We had our choices of teas, which were served – “on fine Royal Worcester Crockery specifically created for The Swan by Walpole of Stoke-on-Trent, whose prestigious special commissions are found in many of Britain’s Royal palaces – the perfect crockery then upon which to savour our delicious treats (Swans’ quote).”  I had the English breakfast tea and my wife, Redbush.   Both were loose leaf, and served with strainers, and it was fitting with surrounding luxury.

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Royal Worcester

Unlike some venues where the entire meal is served on a stacked “High Tea Tray”, the Swan served in courses, rather than all at once. The tray does make its appearance during the dessert course however.

 

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Finger Sandwiches

The sandwiches, were a nice mix with salmon, egg, ham, and cucumber. The scones were light and flavourful. The cakes were luxurious and the chocolate one was absolutely rich.

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Cakes and Scones

The service was attentive, and the server even offered to take pictures for us.

At £22.50 per person, it is the most dear, but the price is exceeded by the measure of luxury and service.
Happy travels, and I hope you find your perfect breaks.
Padre

 

 

Golden Mile

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“But it isn’t,” eleven-year-old David said, shoving the brochure back into the display case at the Sea Life Centre.

“Isn’t what?” his grandmother asked.

“A Golden Mile,” David said matter-of-factly.

“But Great Yarmouth is the Golden Mile,” she said.

“First of all,” David began, “Google says the beach here is over a mile long.  Secondly, it is hardly golden.  It’s just sand.”

“So at least a mile is gold coloured,” Grandmum suggested.

“Then they should say come to Great Yarmouth with its approximately one mile of yellowish sand,” he said defiantly.

Seeing she wasn’t going to win this, she said, “Why don’t we get an ice cream and go over to the beach at Gorleston?

 

Padre

115 Words

What Pegman Saw: Great Yarmouth, UK

Birthday in Great Yarmouth (My Turn)

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Last August we celebrated my wife’s birthday in Great Yarmouth.  This year we revisited Great Yarmouth as part of my birthday celebration.  We again stayed at the Nelson Hotel, and took in the early summer beach and seaside activities.

One of the first things we noticed was that Yarmouth in the early evening on a Monday was “closed.”  Unbeknownst to us our arrival corresponded to the very time when food is least available along the seafront.  Looking for someplace for a meal, we happened onto Harry Ramsden’s.  We had passsed at least three other fish and chip shops between the hotel and Ramsden’s and it too looked to be closed.   But the sign on the pavement indicated otherwise.

On entering the server took a couple of minutes to notice me, it being a slow night, and I asked if they were open. He responded that they were but it would be a few minutes while he finished the task he was on. He then took my order, and I went to wait. The fish batter was dark, and the haddock a bit grey looking, but the flavour and texture were okay. The onion rings were a little greasy, but that was excused as they were the real thing, not just the minced pulp of onions like some places serve. The price was a little dear for what I got, but all in all it was adequate. So much for “world famous” however.

On returning to the hotel I was able to take in the sounds of the gulls, and to relax a bit.  The Nelson is rated as a three star hotel.  It is a Georgian/Regency building, and has a mixed 1970s decor, but it is clean (if not a little tired) and the staff are wonderfully helpful.

A note to those with mobility issues is that the upper floors do have occasional stairs in the hallways, and there is only one small lift.

We had a sea view room on the second floor, almost exactly under the room we had on our previous stay, so the view was almost exactly the same with the Sea Life Centre and Wellington Pier as the features along with the sea of course.

The room had plenty of hot water though the tub was narrow, and the mattress on this occasion was hard, and a little uneven.  The room as a whole was comfortable however and very quiet being isolated along with its neighbouring room from the main hall way by a fire door.

Breakfast was included in the price, and hot items were ordered through table service, with toast and accompanying items were available in a buffet in an annex to the dining room.

Again, staff make this place.  They took a weary three star establishment, and made it a place worth staying in.

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Sorry for blurred pic of a wonderful seafood platter

The high point of the visit was the birthday meal at the Ocean Spray Seafood & Steakhouse.   The decor is maritime (fishing nets, shells, etc) and the atmosphere is calm and the service friendly.   All customers are greeted warmly and regulars fawned over by the staff.  

On this occasion we had a “Dips” starter with warm pita bread served with olives, hummus, taramasalata, and tzatziki.  To be honest, this starter can make a meal in itself, and though intended for a two person sharer, it would easily accommodate three.

We then had the seafood platter with Greek salad, and a half lobster to share.  There was the aforementioned lobster, grilled king prawns, a cod and haddock fillet, shell on shrimp, whitebait, scampy, and calamori served in a garlic butter sauce.  This was surrounded with portions of feta cheese and black olives.  New potatoes rounded out the meal.  Excellent does not begin to describe the meal.  The platter easily fed the two of us, especially after the generous dips course.

This is a must try seafood establishment if in Yarmouth.

It was a wonderful birthday, and we are booked to visit again when hers comes around.

Padre

Nanny’s Rules

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Pixabay

Jack Hardwick was the youngest of four children.  His childhood in Acle, Norfolk was less than ideal.  His father had run off shortly before his third birthday, and his mother relied on a series of part time jobs in order to make ends meet.

The family had moved in with his grandmother who became the principal adult in the children’s lives.  Susan, Jack’s eldest sister was constantly at odds with their “Nan,” as she could not make any sense of her “outdated” rules.  It was 1971 after all.

 

One rule in particular irked her.  No girl in the family was allowed to go out after dark on a new moon evening unless accompanied by a male of the family.  This seemed totally arbitrary.

 

“Nan, we can go out any other evening, so why not tonight?” she challenged on the night of a dance at the school.  “I am fifteen, not a baby.”

 

“It is the way we do things in this family,” her grandmother said bluntly.  “Your mother didn’t go out on ‘dark night,’ nor did Great Nan, or I.”

 

“It’s just stupid,” Susan screamed and went to her room and slammed the door.

 

Most of this didn’t went over Jack’s head.

 

A month later he was surprised when Susan came into his room a little before the then four-year-old’s bedtime.

 

“Jackie, put your shoes on she said.”

 

“Why?” he asked with a puzzled expression.

 

“Because you are going to go with me into town,” she said.

 

Jack put on his shoes, and was led out the back door by his sister.  She held his hand, they went to the corner in the centre of the small town where Susan met three other teenaged girls.

“Why did you bring the baby?” Jenny said lighting a cigarette, and handing it to Susan.

 

“I’m not a baby, I am nearly five,” Jack objected.

 

“It’s a stupid family rule,” she replied.  “Girls can’t be out without a “man” with them on moonless nights.”  She took a long drag on the cigarette, then said, “No one ever said how old the man has to be.”

 

“Genius,” Cristina and Jenny said together.

 

The girls hung out on the corner for another half an hour or so when Jack became impatient.

 

“Can we go home now?” he kept saying to his sister.

 

“Five more minutes,” she said.

 

It was just about then that Steve Miller passed by.  All four girls smiled as he altered his course to come stand with them.

 

He reached out and put his arm around Susan’s shoulder and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

 

“I thought we were leaving,” Jack said and gave Susan a shove.

 

“Damn it, Jack,” she said stamping out her third cigarette.

 

“Sorry everybody,” she said. “I have to take the baby home.”

 

***

“Where in the hell have you been?” their grandmother bellowed as they came back in the kitchen door.

 

“In town,” Susan said in an assured tone.

 

“You know the rules,” her Nan scolded.

 

“Yes, and I followed them.  I had a male with me!” she said smugly.

 

“Don’t you know that new moons are dangerous?” Nan stressed.  “You have no idea what could happen!”

 

Though Jack didn’t fully understand what the fuss was about, he knew that it was wrong for Susan it be out in the dark without a “grown up man.”

 

Susan never tried the stunt again, but as soon as she turned sixteen she announced that she was leaving Norfolk for London.

 

Jack never saw his sister again.  He wasn’t sure if she just didn’t want to talk to any of them again, or if something bad had happened to her.  Maybe something bad happened on a moonless night.  Whatever the case, he set his mind on becoming a policeman.  He was going to keep people safe.

 

Padre

The Red-Faced Field-Furrower

Atilla the tractor 1

CCC#30

 

Above is a rare photo of a Red-faced Field-Furrower in its natural Norfolk habitat. Norfolk is known for these beasts who are not only seen to leave tell-tale groves in the ground, but have been known to snarl traffic for miles at a time.

[With my apologies to David Attenborough]

Padre

Visitor in the Night: Part Three

Norfolk Chronicle

D. I. Hardwick was incandescent in rage.  Somehow the press had gotten hold of the vampire angle. The tabloids were having a field-day with it, and the broadsheets were set on using the story to illustrate the shortcomings of Tory policing cuts.  In his mind, however, he was becoming a laughing stock, and surely the soon to be scapegoat if this case didn’t get a break.

Later that afternoon, Constable Williams brought him a brown envelope which had arrived by post.  In it was a handwritten note from a local author and historian.

“Dear Detective Inspector Hardwick,” the letter began.  “I am sure that the recent events are pressing upon your time, but I would like to forward you some documents for consideration.  The present spate of disappearances are not without precedence in the area.  You will see in the attached photocopies of the Norfolk Chronicle from 1888 that in that year five young women disappeared in South Walsham and Ranworth under similar circumstances.  It was only because of the notoriety of the Whitechapel Killings, that the Norfolk disappearances didn’t receive national attention.   Document Two is a transcribed account of  the disappearance of three young women who were in service in the Yarmouth Denes area near Yarmouth’s Naval Hospital in 1814.  It has long been believed that they had run away with men from the fleet, but as you can see from the testimony of a neighbouring housekeeper that one the missing girls, Agatha Brown, was seen wandering down the road towards the white windmill in only her shift, immediately before her disappearance.  I do trust these documents will provide you with some useful insights.  Sincerely C. Kemp.”

“More dazed women wandering off into the dark.  Just what I need,” Hardwick reflected.  He read a few of the circled newspaper accounts, and they did come across as frighteningly similar to his own case.  The 1814 document was harder to read owing to the handwriting, but it too seemed all too familiar.

There was another know on his door, and Sergeant Warby stuck his head around the door.  “Sir, Mrs. Murphy says she can’t be certain, but the umbrella she thinks is the same one Dunn had when she saw her.   Oh, we also had a call from the Southern Comfort folks over in Horning.  They found a red woman’s shoe caught in their paddle-wheel.  I sent Clover to fetch it.”

[To be continued]

 

Padre

Visitor in the Night: Part 1

Visitor in the Night: Part 2

[Thank you to my fellow blogger Crispina at Crimsonprose for graciously allowing me to include her in my tale.]

 

Visitor in the Night: Part 2

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Image: Reddit

Hardwick was unsure as to why he had just accepted the man’s word that there was a vampire loose in the Broads.   Surely his superiors in Norwich were going to drum him out, or at least sideline him.

But there was something about the call.  Was it the man’s own conviction, or was their something barely perceptible that her heard in the background?  What ever the case, he had sent Williams and Clover to revisit each of the young women’s houses.  Was there anything that might shed some more light on the matter?

*  *  *

“What did the D. I. mean, look for what’s not there?” Williams asked.

“I guess we are looking for crosses, and stuff,” Clover rejoined.

They returned to the station later that afternoon.

“What did you find out?” Hardwick asked.

“Well Sir,” Clover began. “The third missing woman, Miss Rothman was of the Jewish persuasion, and had one of those multi-candlestick things, but not much else along that line.  The others had no crosses in their houses, though Miss Dunn was some kind of author, and had a Bible on her shelf, but it still had the sticker on it from the P.A.C.T. charity shop in Hethersett.”

“Anything else?” the Detective Inspector asked.

“Well there was an empty bottle of garlic salt in Miss Taylor’s bin.  It had been thoroughly rinsed out before being tossed though.  I then checked, none of the women had any garlic anywhere in their houses.  You did say to look for what was not there,” Williams added.

“So no garlic and no crosses.  This is crazy,” Hardwick reflected out loud.  “How can we call this policing?”

Just then Sergeant Warby and Constable Harper returned with some of evidence bags.

“What do you have Warby?” Hardwick asked.

“We found a red umbrella, and a red woman’s shoe in an abandoned boathouse near Wroxham.  There was also a pair of old Victorian ankle boots in the floorboards, but they seem to have been there a long time,” Warby reported.

“Ring the Murphy woman, and see if she can come in and identify the umbrella,” the D. I. instructed. “Did anyone come up with anything else?”

“Sorry Sir, nothing.”

“Warby, make sure someone keeps an eye on that boathouse,” Hardwick instructed.

“Yes Sir,” the Sergeant responded.

“How can I tell the Chief Superintendent that a vampire is still our best lead?” Hardwick said under his breath.

Padre

[To be continued]

 

Visitor in the Night: Part 1

Haunted Wordsmith Prompts

Sunday Writing Prompt “The Vampire”