Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Saunter at the Seaside

Thursday, 6th June 2013: We decided to have a day at the seaside to take advantage of the nice weather that seems to have come our way. The trouble is Summer seems so uncertain nowadays that if you are not careful you end up missing it. Also as my daughter is home fresh from exams we took her along as well.

When the kids were small we used to keep a few plastic boxes packed with out camping gear and we would just pop up to either the Norfolk or Suffolk coasts for a weekend camping on the spur of the moment. After a tough week at work (when I used to commute in) there is nothing like the freedom of camping.  We have also rented holiday lets along both coasts as well in the past from Weybourne to Walberswick.  I certainly can recommend them as places to go with the kids. Mind you I can also recommend the Lake District as well.  Scotland is good – but quite a long way to drive with kids – “are we there yet” and just as you pull onto the motorway – “I need the loo” being two common refrains.

The weather was supposed to be pretty good although less sunny on the coast so our plan was to drive up to Holt and then use the North Norfolk Railway as a Park & Ride to Sheringham and then play it by ear. My original plan was to take a picnic but we decided to find a place to eat when we got there. Fish and chips was suggested – well it would be rude not to at the seaside.

Now we could have gone by train from Cambridge to Sheringham, the rail journey time is 2.5 hours though with hourly trains it was easier to drive.  When we got there we also changed our plan. We drove to Sheringham and used the train as a P&R to Holt. That way we could eat in Holt, do some window shopping (not my choice, not that I had a choice), and then head back to Sheringham once the cloud had burnt off.

(One thing we like to do is visit Picnic Fayre, Cley-next-the-sea and buy things for an ad-hoc picnic. The only problem is there are too many things to choose from and so choosing can be tricky. According to the Internet the business is up for sale - £795,000.)

Forgive me but most of the pictures are to do with trains and things as we didn’t really spend a lot of time in other scenic places. There was lots we could have done – a picnic on Weybourne beach with a walk back to Sheringham or a visit to the NT at Felbrigg or Sheringham Park to name a few.

As luck would have it we parked in the car park next to the Sheringham Station to see the train departing for Holt. It gave us time to buy our tickets and stretch out legs and work up an appetite for lunch.

There are two stations in Sheringham the old one – now part of the North Norfolk Railway and it looks like my expectation of a railway station. There is also the National Rail Network Station which looks like a bus shelter, except it is next to a railway line. After being disconnected for 46 years they got reconnected in March 2010 for occasional use. The North Norfolk line is sometimes called the Poppy Line and the line from Norwich to Cromer is known as  the Bittern Line.

There is also a movement trying to create a North Norfolk Orbital Railway but as you might imagine it will need a lot of support and money.

Back to the old station – it has a lot of items around to set the scene.

North Norfolk Railway – luggage

There is a sign of a bygone era – the era of film cameras. Yes I know they still exist but you have to look under Digital Camera Accessories on the Boots website to find film for sale – they have three offerings – how things have changed. I have plenty of space on my memory cards though thank you.

North Norfolk Railway – luggage and trolleys

I didn’t know what this was until I looked it up – Malt extract. I do remember my Mum giving us some sort of sweet treacly like stuff when I was younger though.

Virol Sign (Malt Extract)

Another sign of the times – fire buckets. When working in an office I once took up the role of fire marshal – it was great fun. We used to learn how to put out various types of fires by, well,  putting them out.

Fire Buckets – Sheringham

Fire Buckets – Sheringham

We strolled into town, unlike many of the old stations this one is conveniently close. We bumped into a Dalek, but managed to escape.

Sheringham Dalek

The NNR has different timetables during the year, we were in luck they had both a Diesel (Diseasel) and Steam train running. I was hoping to get to ride on both. Just for the record I this is as far as my interest in trains goes – honest.

Look how well they have dressed up this Diesel to look like tried-old British Rail rolling stock. It is apparently a Class 101 Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU).

NNR – Class 101 DMU

Whilst they keep the rolling stock rolling I am not so sure that they pay the same attention to the bicycle rolling stock. These b9ikes could do with a bit of TLC.

NNR – Bicycles

They all have bells. That one has a pushrod brake as well.

NNR – Bicycles

After reaching Holt and strolling into town past Gresham’s School (ah Grasshopper) and strolling around in the Sun we had lunch (fish and chips and in my case scampi and chips). I discovered that the window-shopping plan had been revised to visiting shops and buying things shopping. I stood out in the sunshine for what seemed like an impossible amount of time to browse. In the end two purchases were made. We then had a pleasant stroll back to the Holt Station to wait for our train back to Sheringham.

Holt Railway Station – where’s the train!

I was surprised not to see more people waiting for the train, when we watched the stream train depart in the morning it was pretty full. Although Holt Station is only about a mile or so (actually 2Km) from the town centre I guess that it is enough to encourage some passengers to either not get off at Holt or to get off on some of the more scenic stops along the way.

We heard a whistle, saw some smoke and the train appeared.

LNER B12 8572 arriving at Holt

In this shot you can also see the water feed to the right of the picture.

LNER B12 8572 arriving at Holt

The driver pops his head out to check that he is right distance away from the platform as it comes in – no embarrassing “mind the gaps” here.

LNER B12 8572 arriving at Holt

And then train came to rest, briefly so that the locomotive could be uncoupled at make its way to the other end. Here is a link to some more info on the locomotive.

LNER B12 8572 arrived at Holt

The Loco will pop up the line and reverse down the other side. They don’t have a turntable so it pulls the train backwards.

LNER B12 8572 arriving at Holt

My news Phone (Samsung Galaxy S4) which I chose because of the camera has a bunch of features, some look more useful than others. It will make animated gif recordings (no sound) and still pictures with sound. I have not worked out how to use the stills with sound yet in my blog.

As you can see, I hope this is the animated gif. The version downloaded from the camera goes backwards and forwards. I ended up downloading GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) to edit it. It seemed to be the simplest approach. I chopped it up and was also able to reduce the image size. The original was 15Mb, which is  around 5only around twice as big as one of the image files I create for the other pictures.  The next picture is 7Mb.

The real problem is that if I use Picasa to download the picture it gets converted from an animated gif to a jpeg picture – no animation. I have to download the picture using Picasaweb instead.

LNER B12 8572 heading off to reverse down the track

If you want a sure-fire insomnia cure then my recommendation would be to walk around Holt and then catch the steam train back – it ambles along at a gentle pace, puffing along. The carriage rocks gently – it was all I could do not to fall asleep.

When you get back to Sheringham then the Loco decouples and heads to the other end of the carriages. Here it is having reversed down the track and is waiting for the points to be changed.

In the background you can see the gates which open to allow the train onto the main line.

LNER B12 8572 back in Sheringham

LNER B12 8572 back in Sheringham ready to roll

We then had a stroll around Sheringham and an ice-cream – the place we stopped at was trying to bring in some new flavours to help differentiate themselves against the competition. I had Jaffa-cake ice cream and  Turkish delight flavour ice cream. They worked for me.

We then headed home;

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