diamond geezer

 Friday, December 28, 2012

Keep driving north across East Anglia and you'll eventually reach (any one of a number of Norfolk coastal settlements, but for the purposes of today's post let's assume) Cromer. A clifftop town, and a long-standing seaside resort, you'd more than likely prefer to visit Cromer in the summer. I visited in the off-season between Christmas and New Year, for four hours before my Dad's car park ticket ran out, and the place was busier than you might have expected. [photo]

The Esplanade: Author A C Swinburne described Cromer as "an esplanady sort of place" which, if nothing else, gives you a new word to use when playing Scrabble. The Esplanade runs for about a mile beneath the cliffs, accessible from the main town via zigzag ramps, vertiginous staircases or a steep slipway. At this time of year the ice cream shop is very closed, but you can buy burgers and candy floss from Starvin Marvin's trailer or nip into an illuminated shed that acts as an amusement arcade. Swinburne's words are etched into the paving beneath the clifftop, along with a rather less positive quote from a young Winston Churchill - "I am not enjoying myself very much". Perhaps he visited in December. [photo]

The beach: Cromer's beach is rather good - mostly sand but with a wide assortment of variegated pebbles dumped above the high tide mark. Dogs, and their owners, make the most of this damp playground during the off-season, splashing through the wavelets and leaping over the wooden groynes. The fishing industry lives on, although there's no harbour so the few small boats have to be pulled down to the sea by decrepit vintage tractors [photo]. No crabs emerged yesterday, but two fishermen laid their haul of open-mouthed fish on the quayside before returning to throw any small fry back into the water. A row of 60-or-so primary-coloured beach huts stretches off beneath the eastern cliffs, not a single one of them occupied, more likely sealed by a weatherproof padlock until Easter comes round again.

Cromer Pier: An abnormal pier, this, and relatively short, but much loved. At the landward end is Tides restaurant, which aims above the usual fish and chips but isn't quite cordon bleu. Opposite is the Footprints gift shop, the sort of place where you can buy gift mugs featuring your favourite breed of dog or a pink pinboard in the shape of a cupcake. The middle section of the pier is fairly empty, though an ideal place to dangle a line if the tide's in and the sun's out. And then the legendary Pavilion Theatre, one of Britain's very few offshore places of entertainment, which still reels in thousands of punters to its variety shows. The Christmas Seaside Special has been running all month, twice daily, to what I suspect is an audience of mostly coachloaded pensioners. There's still time to catch Olly Day and Jo Little (and the children from Cromer's own Marlene's School of Dancing) in their sparkly medley of wit and music before the curtain falls on Sunday. [nothing to see here] [photo]

The Lifeboat Station: The RNLI raises more money in Cromer than anywhere else in Britain, which may be because they have two separate lifeboats and a museum. The offshore lifeboat is based at the end of the pier, beyond the theatre, while the inshore lifeboat runs from a boathouse on the beach. Alongside this is a tapering building erected six years ago to house the Henry Blogg Museum, a tribute to Cromer's George-Cross-winning coxswain. Obviously I was raring to visit, but opening hours are limited in December so I had to make do with a hot chocolate from the excellent Rocket House Cafe upstairs instead. The place was packed, as befits a contemporary locally-sourced venue, and my Dad recommends the curried parsnip soup (if it's ever on the menu again).

Xmas decorations: The few lights draped across the main shopping streets are nothing special. But outside the parish church stands an impressive-looking Christmas tree made of piled-up lobster pots and decorated with orange buoys. Only in Cromer.

Cromer Museum: It was shut.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream