A Love Story

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A Love Story

Postby Paul » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:29 pm

For a number of years now I have had the thought that I should like to write down my reminiscences of a lifetimes holidays spent in Norfolk, on and around the Broads, a place which I came to love very much. So here goes. It has not escaped my notice that this site is, to all effects dead, that nobody might ever read this, perhaps the odd cyberspace traveler might happen upon it by accident. If you are one such, hello, and welcome. It really doesn't matter much who reads it. In truth, if there were a thousand active members looking in every day I doubt anyone would bother with it past the first couple of posts. It's the writing of it that counts, and so this is perhaps the perfect place for it. I don't know how long this lasts, nor how long it might take. This is not a holiday tale, nor is it a diary of events. Nothing more than the inane ramblings of a grumpy old git.

It is hard to believe that those halcyon days of endless summer where my tale begins are now the best part of a lifetime ago. I might have reached that point where I sometimes struggle to remember what I had for lunch yesterday or what I need from the supermarket tomorrow but I can still close my eyes and recall those days as if they were just yesterday. I can hardly remember the names of some of the people I work with, yet the names and faces from those times long past burn as brightly now as they did then. Growing up in the East Midlands of England meant that the East Coast was our closest holiday destination and whilst many of my friends headed off to Skegness for their summer holidays for our family it was always Oulton Broad. Father was a keen fisherman, coarse fishing that is, in the days before the king carp became the catch of choice. He was only ever really happy sat on the river bank, rod by his side testing his wits against what to me were just dumb animals doing there best to avoid his bait. I never shared his love for angling though I tried, and that was a great disappointment to him. Holidays in those days for a working class family such as ours were always taken in the "factory fortnight", an institution which died years ago with the factories they served. The works would close down completely for two weeks each year and in our area that was the first two weeks of July.

Going on holiday in those days was quite a major undertaking. In late sixties and early seventies Britain's working class people did not own motor cars and Beeching had closed many of the local railway lines including that which served our town. So a car was borrowed or hired and that in itself was a real treat. Neither was getting from A to B the simple job it is today. There might have been less traffic on the roads then, but the roads the traffic was on were noting like we enjoy today. Much is still made of the lack of motorways in Norfolk but back then the only road east from Leicester was the A47 whose single carriageway wound it's way through every town and village between here and there as well as up and down the series of hills which lay between the Soar Valley in Leicestershire and the Vale of Catmose in Rutland. It was because of this that our journey invariably began on a Friday evening, it was home from the last day of school term and straight into the back of the car along with my two sisters, rather large dog and that luggage which would not fit into the boot of the likes of an Austin 1100 or Mark 1 Ford Escort. Father's fishing tackle was strapped to the roof via a vintage roof rack which had been in the family since arriving in Britain in the early days of the "common era" strapped I'm sure to the back of a Roman chariot. Still, it did the job, and was a godsend in more than one way, more of which later.

And so it would be, with the car I have no doubt well overloaded and challenging the fifty or so horse power of the 1100 engine we set out, firstly for Leicester. Our route took us along what was then the A50 which, prior to the opening of the M1 was a major route from London to the North West because of which it enjoyed one of the countries earliest bypasses, around the small village of Groby meaning a few short miles of dual carriageway Ironically, so close to the beginning of our journey this would be the best road we would travel along. Leicester has never been an easy city to drive through, it wasn't then and it isn't now. Still it was the location of the first landmark along our route which suggested holiday to us, the the Humberstone Road roundabout which led us on to the A47 Humberstone Road, then Uppingham Road. We only ever came this way once a year, on the way to Norfolk and so sighting the typical sixties metal sculptures which adorned the roundabout was always cause for excitement. Leaving Leicester heading east the next point of note on our route was the infamous Wardley Hill......
If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea.”

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill
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Re: A Love Story

Postby roya » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:27 am

Hi Paul,

nice tale,i also remember when hiring a car to travel was an adventure in its self {blimey}

keep it coming mate.
just old and knackered.

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