Why am I showing you a seaside pier, when this blog is all about North Bucks, a part of England many miles from the sea?
Two reasons. The first is that as a boy, I was often told that Stoke Mandeville, just South of Aylesbury, is as far away as you can get from the sea in England. That seems about right; it’s in the broadest part of the country.
But much as I love this part of the world, I also love the seaside, but it’s a fair old journey to get there from North Bucks; it’s too far really for a relaxing day trip. This means that if I go to the seaside it’s for several days, at least.
Secondly, I’ve been on holiday. This is Cromer pier, on the North coast of Norfolk. I’ve been staying at the Forest Park campsite there for the second time, and I took the bus into town to explore the town on Saturday. Cromer is famous for its crabs, and when I walked along the pier holidaymakers were dangling lines into the sea from the wooden decking, to catch them.
I saw that the painted rails round the pier were worn through to the metal where hundreds of crab lines have been paid out into the water. A couple of little girls walked by me carrying a small clear bucket with crabs and seaweed floating in it.
I walked back to the land and went down to the beach to paddle in the sea, next to the pier. It was very pleasant.
When I’d had enough I sat on a groyne brace and took photos while I waited for my feet to dry. The tide was coming in and it wasn't long before I had to move up the beach to the next brace, until my feet were dry enough to put my shoes back on.
I’d had a good day, and I had been happy not to be, for a change, clumping around in my bike boots and wearing my heavy leather jacket. It was past six in the evening and I’d missed the last bus, so I walked up to the cab rank behind the church and shared a cab back to Forest Park.
I rode the 135 miles home from Cromer on Tuesday. I had been there since Thursday evening. It was well worth the journey, and I’ll be going again. I think next time I’ll explore the local area in more detail, rather than go further afield in Norfolk like I did this year.
As usual after I’ve been away, now I’m home I’m looking at my familiar surroundings with new eyes:
“It's a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes.
Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same.
You realize what's changed, is you.”
from his script for the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.