Saturday, August 22, 2009

The coast is my oyster

Before I get too settled in my elegant room I have some missions along the coast and avail myself of the Coasthopper - the handy local little bus service. In my preparations for this trip I considered most contingencies, rain (I packed a raincoat and umbrella) lots of layers and devices to entertain during the inevitable wet and inclement weather. But I didn't count on the days of huge blue skies with the occasional little white fluffy. In fact I'd not considered North Norfolk skies at all and I've been bowled over by their vastness and majesty. I can so see why they refer to the 'big blue sky' here, it really is mesmerising and I taken reams of photographs. The beaches, the fields and the skies have even encouraged ne to capture them artistically (does drawing on the iPhone count?) I love the flatness here, that's why the sky seems endless - there are no towering tall buildings, hills and other impediments to vie for your attention and hinder the view. Despite being such a city girl I did spend many years in the shadow of the Pennines and had the Peak District almost on my doorstep. I'm used to more rugged terrain and the looming hills that often held onto their snow long after ours had melted away into our memories. On an expedition in search of suitable rocks to grace our new rockery I was so surprised to find them still snow capped when I couldn't recall when I'd last seen snow in our garden Here in Norfolk you feel that you've gained a vantage point if you're sat in a people carrier or indeed the Coasthopper. And it's a great way to explore all the local villages. My only niggle is they finish too early to avail of their transportation after dining out.

The hopper conveniently stops at all the places we've also found ourselves at in the last week - the Orange Tree in Thornham, the Jolly Sailors at Brancaster Staithe, Burnham Market, the Cley Smokehouse, the Victoria Inn at Hockham and Wells-next-the-Sea. There's even a stop near The Big Blue Sky which is one of my destinations today. The airy shop is full of objects made in Norfolk and has books about the history of the villages along the coast which I would if I could, pictures of those endless blue skies again, driftwood hewn serving board (also enormously tempting), wooden puffins that D has an eye on, intricate jewellery and one particular piece of shell art I've been hankering for and it's a heart shaped sculpture that will just be perfect for my bathroom. It seems to capture my falling in love with this patch of English countryside and coast and how it caught me unawares when I had a big hole to fill. And I do so adore heart-shaped things.

After my purchase I wonder off back in search of the bus stop but curiously can't find one on the opposite side of the road to where I got off and whilst I'm dithering I see the hopper approaching me and wonder how to make it stop knowing it's half an hour until the next. Almost as if the driver has read my mind he brakes to a stop next to me and asks if he can be of service explaining that there isn't always bustops in these parts. I'm very impressed, that doesn't happen where I come from!

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