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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Old Hunstanton 2

If you are inspired by my photographs of beach hut doors in Norfolk, I would recommend that you pay a visit to two other places. Go to the Sandringham Estate, to walk in the wonderful woods, and have a meal in the visitor centre (roast dinners on Sundays). Then call in at Snettisham on the coast, where the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has some hides on brackish lagoons and overlooking the Wash. Check the tide tables so you can time your visit to see the waders being pushed into the muddy shoreline by the incoming tide.

The beach hut tradition is not dying. There are new huts being built and old huts being repaired.

I like watching police dramas on TV, so I was interested in this pistol found at the base of the stairs, obviously a “throw down” – an untraceable gun, dropped at the crime scene by an officer who needs to justify a “bad squirting”.

And I was caught in the act, too

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Life

Thursday Doors in Old Hunstanton

In the 9th Century, St Edmund landed on the Norfolk coast at Hunstanton; I drove there on 29th July. It was blowing a gale, with low grey clouds scudding across the sky.

There is a standard “Atlantic” lifeboat and a hovercraft stationed here

There are lots of beach huts among the sand dunes. Perhaps not as quirky as the huts in Cromer, most are painted in blue and white or pastel shades.

A few huts are higher up the beach, close to the trees.

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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Cromer Town

The Hotel de Paris is the best restaurant in town. It was constructed in 1820 for Lord Suffield, as his coastal retreat. Ten years later, Pierre le Francois converted it into a hotel. Hence the name.

Stephen Fry worked as a waiter there in his youth.

Drop in for a beer, dip into a book, and weigh up your options

Does anyone recall a similar notice about noticing that you noticed, from Embu in Kenya? I can’t find my post, but it was in 2018.

Or if it is too early in the day for a pint of beer, take a cup of tea at Buttercups
This hairdresser purports to be the “Kutting Edge” in hair design, Ladies & Gents.
After quenching your thirst and being fleeced, try a thick milk shake and an ice cream at Parravani’s Beach Hut. Unfortunately, it was closed.
Pretty terrace of coloured cottages, just up from the seafront.

Across the Gangway from this row, the Rocket House Cafe does great lunches (try the Ploughman’s with local Norfolk Dapple and Binham Blue cheese, bread and a pickled onion) and even better views. When a ship was in difficulties, a rocket would be fired from this spot to alert all the volunteer lifeboatmen. Nowadays, they just send out an SMS text message.

Under the cafe is the Royal National Lifeboat Institute Museum, dedicated (very appropriately) to Henry Blogg. He served the RNLI for 53 years and is credited with saving 873 lives from drowning in the North Sea. The lifeboat covers a huge area of coast, 40 miles either side of Cromer.

Lemon Pizza? I don’t think it will catch on – but there again, what about Hawaiian?

Set in stone on the promenade above the pier, there are some quotations about Cromer. My favourite was from a young Winston Churchill, “I am not enjoying it much.” That was in 1888.

“Whenever I’m on the Norfolk coast and it’s a bit grim, I console myself with remembering that at least I’m not in Yarmouth.”

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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Bathing Huts

More delightful doors from the Norfolk coast at Cromer.

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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Cromer

Cromer is a pretty town on the north-east coast of Norfolk, famous for its dressed crab, its pier and its glorious beach. There has been a jetty, poking out into the North Sea, for centuries but the present pier was constructed in 1902. It houses the pavilion theatre and a lifeboat station. But I came to walk on the sand at low tide. At the foot of the low cliffs there are dozens of bathing huts, providing me with an opportunity to record their colourful doors.

“In the doghouse” means you are in disgrace

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Life Thursday Doors Venice

Thursday Doors – Death in the time of Corona

People “go to Venice to expire”. Especially famous people. Wagner died in a building which is now the casino. Diaghilev, Ezra Pound, Albinoni, Titian and Dante all died in Venice.

It is also a wonderful location for films. Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, Casanova, Casino Royale, The Tourist, and many others.

Luchino Visconte’s film Death in Venice (1971) opens with a long shot of a ferryboat steaming across the lagoon, accompanied the sad adagietto from Mahler’s 5th symphony. Aschenbach (played by Dirk Bogarde) dies from cholera, seated in a deckchair on the lido in the final scene.

I kept an eye out for a small child wearing a blood-red raincoat, scurrying across a bridge, but I didn’t even see a funeral barge on the Grand Canal unlike Donald Sutherland in Nicolas Roeg’s film, “Don’t Look Now“.

There are ten churches facing the Grand Canal. Here are a few:

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (Mary the deliverer of health), built by the citizens who survived the plague of 1630. The interior decoration refers to the Black Death. Four other churches were built in thanksgiving following plagues – St Job, St Sebastian, St Rocco and the Redentore. I wonder if they will build another following this pandemic?
San Simeone Piccolo, St Simon the Lesser
Santa Maria di Nazareth, next to the Scalzi Bridge and the railway station
Church of San Stae, a Baroque Masterpiece

Not everyone is as fond of Venetian churches as I am. The Victorian art critic, Ruskin, described one famous church, San Giorgio Maggiore, thus: “it was impossible to conceive a design more gross, more barbarous, more childish in conception, more servile in plagiarism, more inspid in result, more contemptible under every point of rational regard”. He didn’t like it much, did he?

Some of the churches were open, but none that I entered permitted photography. I would have liked to photograph the message in one church which said that the celebration of mass could be joined online, for a contribution of 1.50 Euros. I wonder how many people would log on, and drop off during the sermon?

I think that churches in Italy will open this weekend, subject to social distancing measures.

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Life

Thursday Doors – Love in the time of Corona 9

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Life

Thursday Doors – Love in the time of Corona 8

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Life

Thursday Doors – Love in the time of Corona 7

It is very difficult to take a bad photograph in Venice, although I managed a few during this short trip. The light can be wondrous, the atmosphere is magical and wherever you point the camera, there is a picture.

Barbershop
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Life

Thursday Doors – Love in the time of Corona 6

Gobbo was a servant for Shylock, then Bassiano, in Shakespeare’s play, Merchant of Venice.
Right-wing grafitti in the ghetto