Wha’d’ya know, a bright morning, though cold, of course.
I’m losing count of the times I’ve wandered along the river with the big lens hoping for a second chance at one of the resident Marsh Harriers (we’ve seen at least two). All to no avail. This time one did put in an appearance but it chose to stick doggedly to the far side of the marsh it was harrying.
Welcome brightness continued through the morning and Francine wanted to see the sea so we drove off to Happisburgh [pronounced “Hayz-br’h”, the the double-p being silent for some bizarre reason]. We paid-and-displayed in a car park at the top of the cliffs, between Hyz-br’h’s well known red and white lighthouse and an imposing church. We donned wellies and sauntered down a coarse sand ramp to the beach to get well and truly braced by the wind.
Now, about those cliffs. Despite a mixture of wooden, metal and concrete coastal defences, the cliffs are eroding and seemingly at a considerable rate. We didn’t notice the alarming signs at the foot of our sand ramp but then we began walking northwards into the wind. We were now on the beach opposite the position of the church. Taking your eyes off the beach and glancing up, this is the surreal spectacle that meats your gaze: long lengths of 4-inch soil pipes protrude from the cliff face for some distance into mid-air. Looking a little more closely, you then see narrower black pipes flexible enough to simply hang down the cliff face, some of them reaching all the way to the bottom. Some of these had fitments that made them look like water supply pipes, though some may have been electricity cables. What we couldn’t see was very much in the way of rubble at the foot of the cliff.
The truth became clear looking at a notice board bearing and old representation of the scene. In between the church and the edge of the cliff as was, was one of those dreadful mobile home/static caravan parks. What a place to site it, beside an otherwise impressive church. Nature to the rescue. Once the cliff erosion reached a critical stage, the static caravans had been moved to a new site further inland to blight another piece of landscape. The underground utility connections needed by the vans, of course, remained and now protrude from the revised-by-erosion cliff edge. It’s an intriguing sight in an untidy, macabre sort of way.
We left Hayz’br’h and its aerial plumbing in search of a pub lunch. Yikes! I can’t remember the last time I went to a pub, even before this bloody pandemic, but we felt like doing something to support a local business. The novelty and logistics of eating outside at a social distance wearing facemasks needed to be tried to get the full pandemic experience. We found space at the Lighthouse Inn at Walcott in some breezy coastal effect sunshine. Further inland the customary dark clouds could be seen gathering, some of which were clearly falling to earth. It was Friday, after all, so it seemed silly not to order the traditional fish’n’chips complete with mushy peas. It was a huge and excellent plateful (I told them I hadn’t tasted better), and went down very well with the aid of some Woodforde’s Wherry bitter.
We’d timed our lunch perfectly; soon after we’d paid and left, the dark clouds managed to overcome the coastal effect sunshine and it began raining, just for a change.
I had bought some fillet steak from our well-hung butcher – sorry, make that, “bought some well-hung fillet steak from our butcher” – intent on making an evening beef stroganoff but, really, who could face another meal after that mega-lunch? Cheese and biscuits it would be, then.