I cannot imagine not waking to the scent of a sea breeze, all my life has been lived in this costal village of mine and although I enjoy leaving it now and again I think it would always call me back. In my mind I think yes, I would love to escape but in reality although I might not admit it often I do love this part of Norfolk.
As a child my most precious memories are all tied to the beach and the times I spent down there with my father. he adored the sea and was never happier than when he was setting out his nets. I can see him now, riding his bicycle, a barrel full of fishing net perched on the crossbar. legs spayed to avoid catching his flared trousers in the chain.. This was the mid Seventies and flares were de rigueur after all…
In the summer mother would bundle us children up with a picnic and we would all go with him. My brother and I and then later on my baby sister too.. Away from the beach huts and caravans the coastline is unspoilt and so very beautiful, the area behind the dunes full of rabbit burrows and the old natural harbour now long gone part of a stretch of tidal river that is still home to pairs of Swans and of course numerous sea birds.
We would play hide and seek around the ‘Rifle Butts’ a hummock of land riddled with fox holes and to us everything from an imaginary castle to a treasure island.. My father would hide pennies and half pennies in the sand at the foot of this hill.. ‘Treasure’ for us to find..
We never had much money but we ate so well in the summer with catches of Sea Trout and flat fish. Indeed I learned to gut and clean a fish before I was ten.. There is nothing as wonderful as a large trout cooked to perfection and dressed on a platter with a fresh salad. Something I haven’t had for over thirty years since my father died.
When Dad brought the nets home to lay out and mend he would spread them over the front lawn. I would sit and watch him cross legged on the grass with his needle tying the knots and fixing any tears.. I used to love to get into the big barrel as it lay on it’s side with my felt pens and colouring book..When I think about it now I must have spent most of the summer smelling of sea, sand and fishing nets.. To me at least most wonderful smell….