Gorleston felt along way away, and I’d only do it for a computer. With some sheepish shame and genuine surprise I discovered without it working how much time I spent on it, and relied on it. Evening – turn on the computer, check emails, get lost in Facebook. After a fleeting thought – live without it – I found Mark in Gorleston, who repaired Macs. He diagnosed failure and expense and I easily accepted an exchange with a smaller screened but working Mac for £450.
Can you come back in 2-3 hours and I’ll transfer the data for free, he asked.
This way I discovered the great beach in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth unexpectedly, and the joy of travel and looking out into the world , of being curious, even if it was just around the corner. The dogs lucked out with multiple walks.
Parking near TIme and Tide, we walked along South Yarmouth Docks, away from the Georgian fronted solicitors houses into the semi abandoned industrial landscape. The area is called the Denes, and the road we walked was South Deenes Road, straight as a dye, passed the stunningly beautiful BARRACK ROAD gasometer on turning the corner until forced to turn back – blocked by security. To cut to the east side, we went down Hartman road, and came across an incongruousl Britannia Monument, huge Doric column with a figure of Nelson just visible at the very top. Surrounding it are simple single skined single story factories, abandoned astro turf, closed up night clubs. And here the proud doric column rises, with descriptions of the great battes on the four sides and things for children (or adults) to look out for (can you see the Elephant? No i could’t find it. The Nile, Copenhagen, St Vincent and Trafalgar.
Designed by architect William Wilkins, it was raised in the period 1817-1819 from money raised by a committee of local magnates. The first custodian of the monument was former Able Seaman James Sharman, a member of the crew of the Victory from Norfolk and one of those who carried Nelson below decks after he was shot.
The planning mind began planning this walk for Pauline’s walking group.
Walking north we (dogs ahead) entered the familiar Great Yarmouth sea front of neon signs, penny pushers, one arm bandits, fish and chips. And Sea World. I entered, and as no one was around walked it scot free. Mesmerised to see the sea bass so close, watch the water filter through it’s gills and remember back all the way to SM John and a biology lesson when I first learned about this system.
‘You’re in time for the feeding of the Humbodlt penguins’ said a man passing me. Humbodlt, a name a few weeks ago that would have meant nothing, now means so much more, and here they were his name sakes. The penguin is named after the Humboldt cold water current it swims in. I ask the ebulliant man talking through his microphone to us children, if he knew of Humbolt. ‘Not a fucking idea!’ he said. So i recommended this book, and he looked happy to have learned something today.
‘Is there a place near here where the stage becomes a swimming pool’ I asked.
‘Yes the Hypodrome – just down the road’ the man selling plastic sharks told me.
It was. The last performance was the next evening, how could i not go?
On the way back from Norwich, dogs in the car, I got 2nd row seats, sitting next to a young mum with her daughter.
‘I came here as a child every year, and now I bring my daughter every year. It’s different each time, but there is always a water feature’.
Young girls in flesh fish net tights, nubile, pure, unblemished, legs kicking high, mouths in permanent professional smile, young kids to inspire those watching to become one, in glittering leotards. Some East European muscle men, a fire eater, a jester, a spot of audience participation. We were all gripped. But it was the 2nd half, during a fire bonanza, that the stage began sinking and the young girls as synchronised swimmers arrived, kicked, somersaulted, lifted and lowered arms, made a few splashes.
Drove back that night, full of images, and all unexpected. I must get out more!