Overstrand Life - Janet's Diaries

December 1st - 15th 2011

Sunday 4th December - Never Underestimate and On the Countdown

Following the high tide and strong winds last Sunday, I took a few photographs to show some of the resulting damage. These can be found under the Photo Galleries tab. With the concrete path leading westwards onto the beach area behind the sea defences broken, it really does demonstrate that we should never underestimate the sheer force and power of the sea. Further along, the flints and shingles deposited behind the defences in an earlier high tide, have been taken back again by the sea. East along the promenade to the beach hut area photographs show some of the huts have been moved on their bases with plinths moved to the end. The original beach huts used to be ‘flat packed’ (no not from MFI!) and of a different style to those we normally associate with beach huts; these were removed each year and taken out of harm’s way. A couple of these original styles still remain but had not been removed prior to the high tide.

The beginning of December signals the time for serious preparations for the Christmas period and the countdown starts with Advent Calendars, with children opening doors each morning in expectation. Here in the village of Overstrand individual households are hanging their exterior lights and the Overstrand Millenium Group have erected a tree on the village sign garden, for the enjoyment of all and to get us all in the festive mood. There are various events in the village during the lead up to Christmas and I have listed those I am aware of on the Calendar 2011 page.

The weather has been mild for the time of year, unlike this time last year when the first falls of snow had descended on the village and icicles hung from shed roofs. Determined not to be complacent with our current temperatures we drove to Aylsham on Saturday morning for the last but one Farmers Markets prior to Christmas; I wanted to make sure I had enough Mutton in the freezer to make a Stifado and a Tagine to eat over the Christmas period. On our way back home we stopped off at Emm’s Stems in Southrepps, to collect the door wreath I ordered last week. Emma had incorporated all the decorations I asked for (reds and golds) and with a mix of holly, ivy and other evergreens I am delighted to have my own individually designed wreath. Wreaths have been a favourite form of decoration ever since the ancient Greeks honoured their heroes with crowns of Laurel. More recently we’ve adopted the wreath as a traditional symbol of welcome during the Christmas holiday period.

In addition to buying Mutton to eat over the Christmas period I also purchased a half leg for Sunday evening’s dinner. I am trying a different method of cooking in the oven; I picked this up from the Mundesley butcher a few weeks ago. So before we went out with Barney, just before 7.00 a.m., I set the oven to slow cook and put in the mutton on a bed of root vegetables in a roasting pan, adding a little water before covering in foil. This will be left for just about 12 hours, although I will have a peak after about 10 hours, before removing the meat to rest and extracting some of the juices to make the gravy.

My mind is in a pre-Christmas buzz of things to buy, things to do, things to make. Ahh ‘tis the season of lists, well it is for me anyway. I don’t think I could survive without them!

Sunday 11th December - Winds Pick Up, First Real Frost and Two Weeks to Go

During Thursday the winds picked up, it was rather blustery walking round Cromer town in the morning; we did not linger. Here in Overstrand with the wind coming over the land and out to sea, we missed the worst but as we walked up to Northrepps in the afternoon it hit us full in the face at the top of the hill – yes, we do have hills in Norfolk!

Saturday morning we awoke to the first real frost this winter. We have had a couple of light frosts on the car roof but not enough to whiten the grass. Out first thing, to open up the chicken’s coop and still fairly dark, the grass crunched as I went to put their food and grit containers in their run. The water in their font was surface frozen; I must remember to put this in Peter’s workshop at night from now onwards. The lane outside was slippery in places and care was needed walking down the zigzag towards the beach and promenade. With a clear sky the moon was dipping down towards the end of Cromer Pier; I had left my camera at home so I am not able to share the scene – a spectacle indeed.

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