Overstrand Life - Janet's Diaries

December 16th-31st 2010

Friday 17th December - Night Out, a Sprinkling of Snow and 'Hot Water Bottles'

The weather was mild and damp throughout Wednesday but enough time between showers to put the lights on the Christmas tree in the garden and hang the door wreath. A slight change of plan, the tree bought earlier this month originally to stand outside is in the conservatory; it’s now a case of waiting to see if our cats approve or decide to try to re-arrange or remove the decorations!

Thursday another wet day; in the evening, we went to the Foundry Arms in Northrepps for a pre-Christmas treat. Along with Barney we sat in the bar, selected dishes from their seasonal menu and enjoyed a drink and a chat. Later the bar filled, it was pool night for locals and a challenging team from Sheringham. Leaving just after 21.30 - it was snowing.

How low will the temperatures drop tonight? The forecast is for -3°C but of course it could get colder still. I have concerns for my chickens, last winter Cate really suffered in the particularly cold nights, so I placed two plastic drink bottles filled with hot water in their coop in the hope that, for at least part of the night, the ‘hot water bottles’ will help relieve the chill. When I shut them in at dusk, I could hear the pink footed geese as they flew overhead towards the salt marshes but it was impossible to see them, the skies were grey and heavy and my fleece was speckled with icy snow. I guess there is more to follow - a relief we are not going out this evening.

Tuesday 21st December - Winter Walk, Christmas Raffle & Sing-along and Sea Icicles


to see if our family will be able to join us, far better for them to stay in their homes rather than take risks getting to Overstrand.

Tuesday 28th December - Safe Arrival, Eggstra Present, Boxing Day Swim and Farewells

We were thankful that our eldest son and his partner had a good journey here on Thursday, or as they remarked – just the usual hold-ups! Christmas Eve, grey, frosty, cold but dry; we all walked (including Barney, of course) along the cliff top path to Cromer. The path was extremely icy; the snow packed by walkers had frozen solid, it required concentration and careful placing of feet to keep upright. We decided to divert at the lighthouse, down the side of the golf course, rather than ‘sliding’ down into Happy Valley. A quiet afternoon, followed by dinner in the evening at the White Horse, we sat in the Barn and enjoyed good well-presented dishes with atmosphere to complement. The total of the fundraising for the White Horse’s charity of the year, Motor Neurone Disease, has been announced, over £6,500 – an impressive sum for a public house in a small coastal village.

Early in the week Peter had developed a cough; then it was my turn, accompanied with headache and congestion not really what we wanted for Christmas. Extra care taken in the kitchen with washing hands etc., fingers crossed we have not passed it on. A sunny Christmas Day; breakfast, opening of gifts, family telephone calls followed by a pre-lunch walk with Barney. I stayed behind to prepare lunch and keep an eye on our joint of Beef in the oven. I must not forget my ‘eggstra’ Christmas present, Cate who has been in the moult produced her first egg since the middle of October, clever hen, such good timing too. The Beef was delicious and the Christmas pudding, I made from an old Mrs Beeton’s recipe without sugar in the ingredients, was a success, much lighter and not as heavy as other recipes - second helpings followed.

Boxing Day, another sunny day, bringing out an impressive number of spectators to watch the annual Boxing Day swim but most important; the swimmers, I counted 14 brave souls who walked down the ramp to face a very grey cold looking sea. There was a possibility the event would be called off; a high tide, no beach to step on and with waves buffeting, all presented potential dangers but as the coastguard and inshore lifeboat kept a watchful eye; they took the plunge! Congratulations to all 14 – see you same time, same date, same place in 2011? I have included a couple of photographs, the rest appear in the Photo Gallery. Peter shot a video, see my Links page, this shows better than any photograph the conditions the swimmers faced.

Down the ramp!

Thursday 30th December - Fog, Poor Poppy and Happy New Year Wishes

Temperatures have increased, no longer sub-zero, a respectable 5-7°C but of course there has to be a downside – fog. Not a particular problem here, right on the coast; generally misty out to sea with a definite grey dampness in the air. However, along the coast road towards Mundesley early Wednesday evening, we heard the fog reduced vehicular speeds to 15 mph.

Poor Poppy, (our little rescue cat, adopted in September this year), managed somehow to get herself shut in the porch overnight. We always check for the whereabouts of both cats before going to bed but on occasions they cannot be found and have to be assumed, out and about. After we had gone up to bed I had to come down a couple of times, I could hear noises and assumed it was Tim having a spurt of geriatric exuberance, playing with the draft excluder. I think he was actually trying to alert us to Poppy’s predicament. First thing, I came down to let out the chickens and Peter to take Barney for a walk along the beach, this was then we found Poppy, she does not seem distressed or any the worse for her ordeal.

Later, a trip to Morisson’s supermarket in Cromer, it was extremely busy, fortunately we just needed a few ‘top up’ items but by the time we reached the checkouts the queues were increasing and the car park full by the time we left. Next stop was Groveland, some meat for tonight and next week plus 10 pheasants for the freezer. The pheasants are on offer, singly they are £3 each, a brace £5 and for 10, £20 – excellent value.

There seems to be mud everywhere, the roads are filthy, verges splattered it must be worse further inland where the snow was deeper. I was quite proud of our garden, at the beginning of December, with pansies, primroses, chrysanthemums, cyclamens, roses and bellis in flower and even a few of the pot marigolds still retained their blooms of summer. It all looks quite sad now and I cannot wait for the ground to dry to a stage when I can get out and have a good tidy.

Happy New Year One and All, especially to Peter who tirelessly checks and proof-reads my ramblings!

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