Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The best laid plans…

My Mum has always been a keen gardener growing both flowers and vegetables. At one time our back garden of around an acre was used for fruit and vegetables. When we moved there, when I was around 4 or 5 it was a bit of a wilderness of brambles, columbine and rubbish however over the years she tamed it. My Dad’s role was more one of gadgets than digging or planting although he did do a bit early on before back problems halted play!

I do remember him borrowing a flamethrower weed burner, it looked nothing like the one in the picture link. It was fuelled by paraffin and had an air tank you had to pump up before started. It ran on wheels and as young lads, my brother and I were fascinated by it – I can’t remember it being that effective though. My Mum did get it under control and we grew up with a supply of fresh vegetables and fruit. One year we had so many strawberries we got sick of them and gave away big bowls of them to neighbours.

My Mum used to pop round to get some digging done and take my sister with her before she was old enough to go to school.  She would happily play away and feed worms to the next-door neighbours chickens and eat snails shells! One thing my Mum did like was having a fire though – she would pile up the weeds and start a slow smouldering fire that could last for a few days.

Nowadays (having moved) she has given up the vegetable growing, but still maintains her flower garden along with a few herbs and tomatoes. It is a lot smaller – but absolutely packed. So a couple of trips have been out to see local Garden centres. My wife is also a keen gardener and plant hoarder so they can quite happily spend ageeeeessss in a Garden Centre.

We visited one near Coton – Polhill. I’ve cycled past it many times but never been in. They had a great time – although stopping at every single plant to discuss the merits seems a little over the top to me, but I was on my best behaviour with both my wife and Mum. unlike many garden centres it still has plenty of plants – although I was also able to buy some stamps as they have a Post Office as well. As we were having a trip out we also enjoyed a very pleasant lunch there. We also seemed to buy loads of plants as well.

So that was a long way of introducing this trip out.  My wife had gone to London to see the Queen Duchess of Cambridge’s Wedding Dress, a long-standing arrangement with friends. So I looked on the Web for Gardens in Cambridgeshire and we had a look to see where to visit. It was a sunny pleasant day and I was under orders from my sister not to make my Mum walk too much so I suggested either Peckover House & Garden in Wisbech or the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge.  She has been to the Botanical gardens a few times so we chose Peckover House, first checking the opening times and months, it is an NT place and I’ve been caught out with odd opening hours before.

We had a pleasant drive up to Wisbech. Although I have cycled though Wisbech a few times I only know the cycle routes really, but the SatNav got us there and we parked very close the House on North Brink.

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The trouble is although I checked which months it was open and what hours it was open I’d not looked to see which days it was open – well not Fridays I can tell you now. Which is how we ended up in King’s Lynn. Although on the way over we did visit an African Violet and Garden Centre.

I’ve also cycled through King’s Lynn a fair number of times – there are several wonderful routes from Cambridge to Kings Lynn along quiet roads, I generally then cheat and catch the train back, often at Ely to cycle back to Cambridge.

I do know King’s Lynn slightly better than I know Wisbech, although as I discovered not that well. We cyclists tend to be fairly smug when it comes to combining transport and sight-seeing. Oh yes I say the great thing about cycling is that you get to see far more – well you do – but you still miss a lot it would seem. Or at least I do.

King’s Lynn is a sea port and market town, we parked in the Tuesday Market Place and had a walk around. We set of past Ferry Lane – or rather we went down Ferry Lane and back again – I was hoping to be able to walk alongside the river from there but not quite. It is where the King’s Lynn Ferry lands – although it looks like the Ferry owners just after investing in the business have had a kick in the teeth from the County Council with the withdrawal of a subsidy. A service has been operating for over 700 years.

Like this website I couldn’t find a website for the Ferry – they give some clues as to the crossing times though.

We did pass the statue to Captain George Vancouver (who lived in King’s Lynn) – who founded Vancouver and carried on down alongside the River Great Ouse along South Quay. Where we saw this  - the “Dead Fish” Sculpture next to the Green Quay Centre. I must be getting slow at this Google searching lark – it took ages to find a link.

AIf you look closely there aren’t just fish – there is a mine and a cheeky mermaid’s bra – although how they knew she was cheeky I am not sure. It was commissioned as part of the Hanse Festival held every year in King’s Lynn.

This gull presides over the lot -  don’t stand to close though!

I did think that this board would have an explanation but it didn’t it was older than the Sculpture.

We had lunch in the Green Quay Centre – which seemed to attract office workers and pensioners alike. The lunch was good – so good we could eat much tea when we got home.  I am not quite sure why there was a pirate presiding over things. Although I imagine that smuggling was not uncommon.

Although fishing (in King’s Lynn) is perhaps not as important as it once was there is still a fleet that sails from Kings Lynn.

As we headed down a little alley, which turned out to be Devil’s Alley we passed Devil’s Cottage.

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And here is the sign for Devil’s Cottage – missed the sign the the alley. Apparently the alley is marked.

The alley came out on Nelson Street, passing St Margaret’s Church and then onto this building – the Town Hall and Trinity Guildhall. I have never been down this way before and was most surprised to see it.

I rather like the chequered pattern.

The windows were pretty good as well!

All in all I really like King’s Lynn  - there is more to it than meets the eye.

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