Sunday, May 16, 2010

oh what a lovely seaside holiday

I forgot to post this picture when I wrote about mowing the lawn...

On Sunday, Jan and Jack and I went to Hillsong. It was big and loud. But I don’t mind big and loud. I like it when I can feel the music vibrating inside me. The message was excellent, although I still don’t think I approve of women preaching to men. I got a lot out of it, though.

After church, we drove for a long time and I fell asleep and then we stopped at a service plaza for lunch and went to Pizza Hut. They sold french fries with the pizza, and called them french fries, which I thought was strange. Jack’s theory is that chips are thicker than fries, which seems reasonable, although he said that he just made it up on the spot.

We were all dead tired when we got home, especially since Jan and I had both gone from a week of non-stop activity into the conference. So when we got home we pretty much crashed.

I spent pretty much all of Monday and most of Tuesday blogging.

On Monday night, Jack went to a meeting, and Jan and I watched three episodes of Doctor Who in a row – all the ones I’d missed while I was gone. We were only going to watch two, but the second one ended with a cliff-hanger…

I could never watch actual scary movies. After Doctor Who I had to work really really hard to not think about it so that I wouldn’t be too terrified to sleep. I just barely succeeded.

On Tuesday I endeavored to help Jack with the ironing, but upon finding that if the iron was too hot it melted Jan’s blouses and if it was too cold it dripped mineral deposits, I surrendered after doing the pillow cases and Jack’s shirts and left the delicate task of ironing Jan’s blouses to Jack. I was bound to ruin at least one of them if I tried it.

That afternoon, I went for a very nice bicycle ride up to Sutton St. James. It was nice and sunny and a good temperature for cycling. Everything felt odd and dreamy and unreal, probably because I had spent most of two days on the computer after spending a week going non-stop and never getting enough sleep, but the world was very pretty. There was one little road that forked off from the main road and went between two pink-blossomed trees and then off into blue sky and greenness, and sort of seemed as though it wandered off into dreamland, so I went that way. And I came back via Tydd St. Giles which was very nice because there is a little bit of woods there, and I love cycling under the greenness of trees.

I went by the daffodil field but it is all done now, which is too bad.

When I got back Jack was just finishing up making supper, so it worked out very well. It was chicken and noodles and vegetables all mixed up together. I like shallots very much, but I can’t decide if my siblings would like them or not.

Wednesday was a nice peaceful sort of day. In the morning Jack sent me up to buy a pork pie for lunch, and that was a nice walk to the butcher’s as it was bright and sunny. On the way back the primary school children were out for recess, and I said hello to a couple of them who were near the fence. After that they followed me all along the fence, saying “Hello! Hello!” every time they appeared from behind the bushes.

“Let us out of he’e! We’re in jail!” pleaded one mischievous boy dramatically. I just grinned at him.

That afternoon I cycled to Wisbech to buy postcards and presents.

I didn’t have much luck. They didn’t have any London postcards, and the Wisbech ones were all black and white and old pictures and not of what I see here now. I did manage to buy stamps, though, after I convinced the post office lady to swipe my credit card in her machine. UK credit cards have this little chip that makes it so you insert one end in the machine to make it work, but of course mine doesn’t have that and has to be swiped, but there wasn’t a swiping spot on the machine that faces the customer.

I wandered about the shops looking for presents, and found two, so that was good. I talked myself out of buying shoes. They didn’t quite fit me properly anyhow.

On the way back I took some pictures. There's a place where the path branches off from the road and goes along the river for a little while, so I went down there. It's pretty.

And this place was soooo pretty...

This is the "rabbit roundabout" in Wisbech.

That night they talked incessantly on the news about the election, and we figured out how to send me to the seaside.

On Thursday I went to the seaside. Jan gave me money for a coast-hopper ticket from King’s Lynn, and Jack took me to Wisbech to catch the bus to King’s Lynn.

When I got there, there was a bus with a bunch of 9th-grade-ish girls standing about outside it, and everyone was saying the bus was broken and there wouldn’t be another one until “half nine” (nine-thirty). It was about 8:15 at the time.

“Is this the bus for King’s Lynn?” I asked the driver. He said yes it was. Rats. I texted Jack and Jan to tell them, and then suddenly there was Jack, come to get me to take me to King’s Lynn. (We realized today that the bus that was broken wasn’t actually the King’s Lynn bus that I was supposed to take… but oh well.)

As we were driving, we could see a line far off where the cloud cover ended, with sunshine beyond it.

I arrived at King’s Lynn a good while before the coasthopper bus was due to arrive, so I went into the Sainsbury’s that was right there and wandered around so that I wouldn’t be cold. I also bought a little container of yogurt to have with the cereal I’d packed, since I’d woken up late and didn’t have time for breakfast.

I was glad when the bus came and I could settle in. I ate my yogurt and cereal and looked at the schedule of stops to figure out where I should go. Jack had mentioned a place that had a good trail to walk along the coast, so I texted him to ask where that was, which was Holkam, about a third of the way through the route.

The land was just lovely, and it was so exciting to watch the edge of the could get closer and closer until we finally shot out into the brilliant sunshine. About that time my camera suddenly decided to stop working again, which was very unfortunate, because I don’t have any pictures of the rest of the lovely day.

When we got there to Holkam, I got off and figured out how to walk to the beach. It was down a sunny dirt road with a row of trees on either side, and past the trees on the right was a field, and past the trees on the left was marsh. It was windy, and I was almost too cold but not quite.

At the end of the road it turned to a sandy path that went up a hill and through a wood. It reminded me very much of Hoffmaster.

The path came out on a perfectly enormous stretch of sand, with the ocean a long way off. My shoes were long since off, but I put them on again – sockless – for part of the beach where the sand was gicky.

The beach was huge and wild-ish and almost empty. There were about five other people there, but I could never see more than two or three at a time, and they were mostly a long way off. The sand was perfectly lovely, and the tide was coming in and washing up pretty shells. I waded into the water and it felt so, so wonderful. Every year I forget how much I love the feeling of cool water around my feet and ankles. I walked up and down a little stretch of beach, looking for nice shells. At one point the waves came up and got my stuff wet because I didn’t realize how fast the tide was coming in… no damage done, though.

I stayed until time to catch the hour later bus (the coasthoppers run every half-hour) and then continued on, because although that beach was very nice, I wanted a beach with some place to eat. I made it back to the stop just in time.

I looked around at every place, but nothing seemed quite right – Wells-next-the-sea sounded pretty, but the beach was a very long way from the bus stop. I asked a man about a good place that had a nice beach with a place to eat near it, and he seemed a bit cranky about answering but recommended Sherringham. Another lady told me that if I went on to Cromer, there was a restaurant right on the beach. Jack had said that Cromer was a pretty typical English seaside resort town, so I decided to continue on to there. When we went through Sherringham, it did look very pretty – very seaside-like, and it had a railway station which made me think of the Thomas episode where an engine takes people to the seaside.

I got off at Cromer, and walked down to the pier. But the beach didn’t look very nice – the sand looked gicky and there was lots of washed up stuff. So I went back to the bus stop to take it the other way to Sherringham.

I had a while to wait, but not really long enough to bother going around the town. There was a little café at that stop, but the food seemed to cost more than it was worth, and I wanted to eat at the beach. So I just sat at a picnic table. The road was on a steep slant, but where the café was it was built up to be level, so that the sidewalk by the bus stop was right below the table where I sat.

A lady was wondering about the coasthopper bus, and I startled several people by suddenly saying from above,

“The next one comes at 2:08, in about fifteen minutes.”

A man asked if I was the tour guide and said I’d forgotten my hat. I didn’t have any reply to that. I never do have replies to that sort of thing. I wish I could be cleverer on the spot. But it was nice to be the knowledgeable voice from the sky.

I was greatly encouraged in my resolution to go to Sherringham, because a lady waiting for the bus was from there, and told me about how nice it was. She said the beach was very nice when it was low tide but when it was high tide it was all rocks.

So I took the bus back the other way to Sherringham.

Sherringham is, indeed, a nice little town. Loads of little shops selling anything and everything, and cafes and ice cream places. I walked down to the shore, and found that it was high tide, but there were some nice big boulders with flat tops that would make a nice place to sit and eat. So I walked along until I found a café with suitably cheap prices, and bought a pork and applesauce sandwich – all the sandwiches were labeled “baps”, which was awkward because I didn’t know how to say it or if people really call it that, so I just pointed to the sign that told about the special...

I took my sandwich down to the edge of the water and found a good rock to sit on, and got out little women, and had a very pleasant lunch. I was cold until I remembered my leg warmers and took them out and put them on. They are a little too big on me and fall down when I walk, but they work when I am sitting still. They’re currently in the dryer and I am hoping they will have shrunk. Which reminds me, I need to get my clothes out of the dryer… be right back.

Okay, they’re fluffing. Remind me to get them in fifteen minutes, okay?

Now, then, where was I? Ah yes, lunch. As soon as I took out my sandwich, birds surrounded me. There were several gulls flying about, which was just annoying, but there was also an adorable sandpiper who hopped up quite close to me, cocking his head and jumping about interestedly. I would have liked to have given him something, but as the seagulls would certainly attack if the slightest morsel of food left my possession, I had to forbear. Much to my relief, by the time I was halfway through my sandwich all the birds but two or three had given up, and the ones that remained just sat on the rocks a little way away and didn’t keep flying over my head.

After I finished my sandwich, I sat there for along time and talked aloud and got my thoughts unmuddled. Sitting by water is good for that for me, I find.

Then I waded in the water, which was really cold, and the rocks kept eating my feet because they were so round and marble-sized and smooth and they slide over each other and my feet go into them. Despite this, however, I enjoyed the water – all the more because I suddenly noticed that a young couple who were about thirty yards from me, and had been standing by the edge for some time, now also had their shoes and socks off and were wading in the water with shrieks at the cold.

After a little bit of wading, I put my shoes and socks back on – as much nicer as sand is, marble-sized rocks do have an advantage in that they don’t stick to your feet – and walked back up into the town. I was on a quest for ice cream. There were ice cream shops with many types of ice cream cones, but for some reason I was in the mood for boughten ice cream – probably because I’d been planning on getting one at some point since I first arrived in England. So I bought myself a Magnum ice cream bar, and enjoyed it thoroughly as I made my way back to the bus stop.

I had caught the 5:40 bus, which would get me back to King’s Lynn at 7:55. But when I looked at the schedule, it turned out that the bus to Wisbech left at 7:50 and 8:50! Well, there was no point in waiting around King’s Lynn for an hour when I could spend the time at one of the seaside stops, since getting off and then getting the next bus would put me back at King’s Lynn at 8:42.

I decided to get off at Wells-next-the-sea, since it was a pretty name for a place. I wanted to find a shore with sand because I had a shovel I bought at Sherringham that I couldn’t use in the rocks.

Unfortunately, the beach at Wells-next-the-sea was a very long walk from the bus stop. And it was really cold, and my phone was out of batteries so I didn’t know the time. So I played a bit at a playground that was there. They had a cool boat play structure with lots of ropes to climb, and an obstacle course sort of thing. There were other people on the swings the whole time.

After a while when I asked a boy passing by who had a watch what time it was – it was about fifteen minutes before the bus was supposed to come, so I went to the picnic tables that were next to the bus stop and sat and read until the bus came.

There was one disappointment, which was that when the bus passed Hunstanton, I saw a lovely beach laid out, sand and beauty and a little food stand – just like I pictured when I first imagined the seaside. So I wished that I’d gotten off there instead of at Wells. But I didn’t know because when we went by the first time, it was high tide and it just looked like a pier and water and no beach.

I hate things where I have to make decisions because I never make them right… ah well.

I arrived back in Wisbech and re-turned on the phone and fortunately it stayed alive long enough to text Jack that I was there, so he came and got me. And I was glad when he came because I was freezing and exhausted and starving.

And he brought me home, and we were going to stop for fish and chips, but then the place was closing, and I didn’t really want fish and chips because I had gotten a little car sick on the bus. So when we got home he made me toast and fried eggs and it was just exactly the thing, and we watched the election results happening very slowly and all the politicians saying the same things and nobody answering the questions that anyone else asked, and eventually we gave up and went to bed.


jane said...

what a lovely seaside holiday, indeed. i like that you used the word "gicky."

*tee hee*