It’s the time of year to blow away those cobwebs and get out to the seaside.
I love to head to the coast over the Christmas/New Year holiday period and take in some of that fresh sea air and make plans for the coming year.
One of my favourite beaches on the Norfolk coast is Happisburgh. There’s a nice car park there with posh toilets, which, on a cold winter’s day, is very handy.
While people in the nearby car battled with the pronunciation of Happisburgh – and they are not the only ones – I headed down the slope to the beach.
Rather fittingly it was a bit hazy (see pronunciation story link above). The sea was relatively calm and the weather much milder than it has been over the Christmas period. The foggy haze suggested little or no wind and the walk along the shoreline turned out to be rather pleasant.
It’s not long before I encountered my first dog of the day. A King Charles Spaniel who’s sole purpose in life was to transfer the sand from the beach onto my neatly pressed chinos. The dog was one of a small pack that seemed to be enjoying their expedition a damn sight more than all the other strangers who also appeared to be brushing off their trousers and jeans. Everybody was laughing and smiling and saying what fun everyone seemed to be having – while deep inside harbouring thoughts on why on earth they’d taken the time to wash and iron their trousers or jeans in the first place.
I suspect that the ring leader was ‘Eric’ as the people carrying the various dog accessories frantically called his name with a variety of inflection ranging from “oh he’s just playing” to “just you wait till I get you home you mangy beast”. At one point they resorted to using a whistle which only seemed to encourage more dogs to join the party.
Half way towards the Happisburgh Lifeboat Station, I came across an interesting ‘sculpture’. It looked like a variety of washed ashore debris had been arranged over some old wood posts. Like the rag trees I’ve seen in various places, it looked like people were adding bits to it as they found them. See video.
At the Lifeboat Station the volunteer in the shop was struggling to get the ‘Sale’ poster up in the window. It sparked a conversation about the damp air and that inevitably got round to talk about the weather and how cold it has been and how much more mild it was today. I bought a calendar for next year, some fudge and a jar of Lifeboat Mango Chutney. I don;t think any of it was in the sale.
As I headed back along the shoreline to the car park I passed the pack of dogs which seemed to have swelled in numbers. Eric was testing the patience of his handler who was suggesting to another dog owner that perhaps the best way to discourage him form “doing that” would be to give him a quick kick “you know where”.
I popped a piece of Lifeboat Fudge in my mouth and climbed the steep slope back up to the car park and headed home to get my trousers on to wash.