Sunday, January 15, 2017

Friday The 13th


  Hat's proximity alarm bell started to ring.
  Bloody people! You pick a nice cold, dark, blustery evening to go out - in conditions that once seen out of their window, any normal person would have shaken their head at, ignored the dog's plaintive whine for a walk, and sat down with a nice cup of tea in front of a repeat of Downton Abbey - and people turn up to ruin it.
  I looked along the promenade, but couldn't see anyone anywhere. In fact, the prom appeared strangely spacious and desolate, as if there was something missing. Something I couldn't quite put my long, bendy finger on.
  I pursed my lips as Hat clung even more tightly to my head in the rising wind, its proximity bell ringing manically. I resolved myself to either getting Hat's instruction manual out when I got home, or smashing that bell to bits with a lump hamme-

* C R A S H *

"Yaaarrgh!"  I almost jumped out of my skin as an explosion of wood, glass and ghastly Laura Ashley curtains suddenly went off not two feet from my nose (from which I removed a large, blue-painted splinter). Someone tried to drop a house on me! (Again. And again.)

* blingle glingle glingle *

  That bloody bell again!

* S M A S H *

  Another explosion. From a few feet behind me. This time, as well as the wood and glass, I was peppered with cheap plastic cutlery and a damp box of firelighters*.
  Bugger this for a lark, I thought, and ran off down the promenade, clutching Hat to my head, dodging falling beach huts.

::

  The next morning, I sent The Host down to the seafront with Camera. This is what he came back with:







 
  It transpired that no one was trying to kill me. Instead, a storm surge had decided to get a little free and easy with some of Cromer's beach huts, and other seafront furnishings.

  At least this one was no where near as destructive as the 2013 storm surge.

 

* Note for Americans and other city-dwelling life-forms. The rural British having eschewed central heating as being far too complicated and in any case weakening moral fibre, prefer a system of piling small pieces of wood and lumps of coal, topped by large, wet logs, possibly made of asbestos into smouldering heaps , known as ‘There’s nothing like a roaring open fire is there?’
  Since none of these ingredients are naturally inclined to burn, underneath all this they apply a small, rectangular, waxy white lump, which burns cheerfully until the weight of the fire puts it out. These little blocks are called firelighters. No one knows why.
- Explanation/description from Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

19 comments:

  1. I love that potted description of the British non-"roaring fire"...

    Those photos are quite remarkable. They serve to remind me why "living by the sea-side" is not such a good idea after all. I lived in Plymouth for two years, and the lido and waterside buildings were forever being repaired - which was a good thing since much of the Hoe area was actually a great cruising ground, and one would not want to break a heel, would one?

    Jx

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    1. Pratchett and Gaiman are a match made in Heaven! Their (but especially Sir Terry's) observances and frank explanations are so on the nose.

      Was the Hoe area named that before or after the cruising ground was established, I wonder?

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    2. Apparently it derives from the Anglo-Saxon word Hoe, "a sloping ridge shaped like an inverted foot and heel" [my observation was not so far off, it seems!] and "until the early 17th century large outline images of the giants Gog and Magog were cut into the turf of the Hoe exposing the white limestone beneath"...

      White limestone, or some other white substance, I wonder? Jx

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    3. That is what I love about this blog.

      It is both entertaining AND educational.

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  2. In the spirit of "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade," the wreckage from those huts would make a nice roaring fire. Just saying.

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    1. Drat! I threw those firelighters away.

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  3. Isn't Friday the thirteenth a holiday for you? Wonderful pictures, must have been a huge storm. A sacrifice to live by the sea.

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    1. It is, but I inexplicably found myself at work during the day. I'll have to celebrate the next one twice as hard. Or do half as much work?

      I've just discovered the nex Friday the 13th isn't until October! I don't know if I can wait that long...?

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  4. I was going to say something pithy about Sir Francis Drake dallying on the Hoe when the Spanish were coming...Jon got in first and pithier.

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    1. Ah, but Jon's comment didn't have Sir Francis Drake. Your comment has inserted such images into my mind!

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  5. I am delighted to find Mrs Ashley still reigns supreme there and the omnipresent Cath Kidston hasn't made inroads yet.
    Actually you may have rid me of my ongoing fantasy of living in a dear little beach hut...I'd hate to be blown away in it!

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    1. Cath Kidston's tendrils are slowly making their way into the depths of Norfolk, but I think it will take the passing of a couple of generations before Laura Ashley is usurped from her place as Queen of the Interior!

      If you must have a beach hut, have it in the woods. I know it defies the point, but there wouldn't be so many irritating people around, and you may live to use it again the next year!

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  6. That 2013 storm looked disastrous and catastrophic! One of the perils of living on the coast is dealing with storms and flooding (and hurricanes in my part of the world). The recent storm surge looks terrible, and I hope the losses were minimal and that no one was hurt. After living most of my life near the coast, I'm a big believer in wave breakers, retaining walls, and living within walking distance of (and Not on) the beach. If you can't live at least forty feet above sea level, then live at least a mile or so inland, in case of tidal surges and tsunamis.

    I hope the storm damage is minimal and there is now a good excuse to paint the beach huts and boardwalk into spectacular colors or designs--perhaps create a rainbow effect by arranging the beach huts side by side using the color wheel!

    And now the important question: Is the seal ok? Or has the storm driven the seal away? And are the fish and chips shops safe?

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    1. Yes, the 2013 storm certainly was rather vexing. However it was nothing compared to some of the things you have to put up with across the pond. Compared to elsewhere in the world, Great Britain's weather can at best be described as: "It's a bit windy today, isn't it?", or "Hang on. Let me just put my Wellys on.", or, very occasionally "Has anyone got any Factor 30?".

      I haven't seen the seal for a month or two, but I expect he/she is a little further along the coast with the rest of the randy lot for mating season! As for the fish n chip shops - yes, they're all safe. Chips all round!

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  7. It is probably a good thing that you discarded the firelighters... they always smelt of kerosene when i was a kid and where used to light the pressed coal "briquettes" for the heater that were delivered in large hessian bags and stored outside under the tank stand. It was one of the chores that myself and my brother shared... We would always end up looking like a couple of chimney sweeps after filling the Briquette bucket. Dirty dusty things. The beach huts look so sad and forlorene after the storm. I hope their owners can refurbish them to their former glory....

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    1. Great Photos once again darling...

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    2. I am now imagining you as one of Dick van Dykes chimney urchins in Mary Poppins. Step in Time, Princess!

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  8. Firelighters are for wimps in any case.
    Where have I been? I seem to be chasing up blog posts....
    Sx

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    1. Have you been gallavanting around the place with Mary Poppins? I'd forgotten that I left a Poppins-themed reply to Prinny when I was replying to you using the same theme in the next post.

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