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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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:
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.
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.