Saturday 1st April

All Fools’ Day

Collect Jolly Mollie from Northampton. “I’m 83 you know, and doing very well!” Leave Northampton at 12:30 – arrive at “The Springs” at 3:30.

This was not going to be a repeat of the “epic journeys” I suffered in my childhood. The annual holiday factory fortnight of my childhood was to Norfolk. All day in an immaculate Austin 16 black saloon just to travel 100 miles. Oh no! Crossing the Great North Road was always the big moment - the whole family instructed to remain in silence for this manoeuvre. We survived.

Anyway the VW Passat Synchro managed with ease – the Great North Road was un-dramatically negotiated via a roundabout near Peterbourgh.

We had music playing at about –20dB. The rendition of Terrence and Phillip’s ditty from the South Park Movie amused me. Jolly Mollie couldn’t quite hear the words.

We find ”The Springs” – a former hotel - now a large house with several annexes for guests. Rooms were warm and clean. A friendly welcome from the hostess, Mrs Pinnington, and her menagerie of 2 cats (Brian, and Max), and rabbits (Maud, Nelson and Hardy). Being welcomed by a rabbit is a bit frightening.

“Rooms were warm and clean” I wrote above… this was a time warp experience. Norfolk is a nice enough county, blah blah.. BUT you do go back in time about 30 years. I mean saying: “I went to the Travelodge” and then “The rooms were warm and clean” you would think I’d dropped a bit! This is not a real problem. (Plastic cards are not used, they use “folding stuff” promissory notes on bits of paper – quaint!) Jolly Mollie’s idea of fun is austerity dinners for the troops – that was 50 years ago! She was at home here - I was in for some mental torture.

Where is “The Springs”? Here’s the OS Grid Reference: TG 117 418. A mile inland of the North Norfolk Coast, near Weybourne.

Jolly unpacks. I don’t know why this should take her 3 hours. I must still be in student mode: dump bags down in corner and go.

I inspect the local town of Sheringham. This is a retro town. Different products are sold in different establishments. Fruit and vegetables from one shop, photographic film from the chemists, meat from a butcher and dresser. (What's a dresser?)

I’m not used to this. Food is normally collected from rows of shelving displays in one large “shed” or supermarket.

Dressing is the final process a crab experiences on its transitional arc of life: it becomes tasty food.

The Jolly Mollie Mission: “get some nice fish and chips for supper, dear”. I interrogated a few locals. “If in doubt, ask” is a motto I like to misapply. “Well it depends if you like your chips soggy and lots of them, m’duck, or dry and crisp?” The consensual recommendation was “Pegs”. Dry, firm and fresh.

After supper, my plan was to usurp any “Mothering Sunday” problems. Feed Jolly Mollie a nice dinner. (That is lunch, the meal taken at midday.) The local “Red Loin” at Upper Sheringham announced they were serving Sunday Lunches. They were fully booked. I said we would be happy to sit in the corner, leave early, and not to be a nuisance. “OK 12:30 sharp, and don’t linger!“

Another recommendation for them: this local serves Wherry bitter from Woodforde's of Norwich, and Greene King IPA. Very good!

Jolly Mollie does like her routine. Watch the BBC national news at 9:00, then bed. Bed at 9:30! That’s before pubs shut!

I retired with Jeff Buckley - a young dead American that can (could) sing a ditty well.

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