Overstrand Life - Janet's Diaries

November 16th - 30th 2011

Wednesday 16th November - Harbour Porpoises, Binham Priory and Freedom

We just missed seeing the Harbour Porpoises on Saturday afternoon; we were told they were not far off the foreshore, swimming in the calm seas. A more frequent visitor to our waters is a sizeable seal, whom we see fairly regularly; judging by its size I think it is a male.

We did our regular monthly trip to Southrepps Farmers market on Sunday morning which by the way was a delightful sunny autumn day. There were a couple of empty tables, no fish or rapeseed oil, but still plenty of variety and we came away with granary bread, a tray of pig’s liver, a gammon joint, a steak and shallot pie, sausage rolls, lemon cheesecake and some gingerbread men.

With such a brilliant day on Sunday we made plans for a trip out on Monday. Needless to say it had clouded over during the night but it was a dry and relatively mild November day so we were not deterred. Taking the coast road through Sheringham and on to Blakeney, we turned off and carried on through to Langham and then Binham. Here, are the remains of a Priory, founded in 1091 by the Norman Baron, Peter des Valoines. Although the bulk of the Priory is in ruins the Nave remains and is used as the local village church. A new annexe has been built to the side of the Nave; this houses artefacts, public conveniences as well as providing access into the Church I shall say little about its history as full details can be found on the Priory's website. I was impressed by the number of information boards around the site providing impressions of what the Priory looked like and life within its walls for the Benedictine Monks. I found it helpful with each of the rooms and areas marked with a name plate; in the winter months I imagine the warming house would have proven quite popular or maybe even peeling potatoes in the kitchen! Between us we took a number of photographs which I have included in a separate page under the Photo Galleries.

I sat down yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon to write up my Diaries but then I lost concentration. The reason for my distraction; Peter had picked up a programme on i-player about the life of former Beatle, George Harrison. Okay, in the past I was a fan of the group but this was not the reason why I was ‘glued’. Admirably directed by Martin Scorsese, it bought out many facets of his life but there was one particular aspect that for me came to the forefront; freedom. This is something I take for granted; the ability to walk out and about without hindrance. This was not the case for the Beatles and must be the same for any other major public figure come to that. Fans whose well-meant idolatry, bordering on worship, made this the simplest of day to day activities impossible. Money and fame, probably something we have all dreamt about at some time in our lives, you can keep it. I would far rather walk through the village, along the beach and up through the paths and tracks, just me, Peter and Barney.

Saturday 19th November - WI Annual Meeting, Season's Finish, Mild Weather and Cromer on ITV1

Wednesday 23rd November - Mist, Confused Gulls and Time for Warming Dishes

We walked along the beach early Sunday morning in the mists, the sea still gently lapping as it has done for about the past week or so, with outlines of gulls on the sands at the water’s edge. In places it was difficult to see the tops of the cliffs and Cromer Pier was completely obliterated from view. Returning home with hair damp from the mists we stopped to observe two gulls on the deserted car park. I mentioned in my last diary entry about plants in spring mode well these two gulls certainly were. In ceremonious courtship with the males tail splayed, his wings held away from his body along with accompanying vocals, mmm… I think he was totally confused!

The sun finally burnt off the mists and from about midday we had a good three hours of sunshine; enough time to take Barney for a walk up to Northrepps, before the mists returned again. Since then it has been dull and grey with the odd shower on Tuesday; the dampness has made us feel cold. Remaining, for the most part, indoors I have taken the opportunity to catch up on some emails and also progressed further with my book. I am now a good way through the first section, covering starters, salads and vegetables – still a long way to go though, it’s slow work.

By the time we returned from the Quiz Night at the Conservative Club on Tuesday evening, the mists lifted leaving a clear sky. With little pollution the stars are spectacular, they seem to escalate layer upon layer. I can imagine the Ancient Greeks observing the heavens, maybe lying flat out on their backs on a warm summers evening taking in the full aura. Certainly not a pursuit for a November night here though!

With the passing of the mists we have seen a drop in temperature; 3°C just before 9.00 a.m., when driving into Cromer on Wednesday morning. Thoughts now turn to cooking more casseroles, tagines and warming dishes. For Wednesday, Spetsofai (Sausage & Peppers Casserole - see Recipe pages) made with some Moroccan sausages we bought from the butchers in Mundesley last week and for later in the week I am making a simple Chilli, which I will serve with grilled peppers, rice, soured cream and tortilla chips.

To wind up this entry; most households will have received a copy of Outlook through their letterboxes this week. For those outside the area, Outlook is a publication issued three times a year by North Norfolk District Council; current and back editions can be accessed through the following link http://www.northnorfolk.org/council/outlook.asp  Outlook covers a number of different topics and notably in the Winter 2011-12 edition, details the ‘£2.4m boost to North Norfolk’s fishing industry’, ‘New Coastal Trail Underway’, ‘North Norfolk to feature on London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Route’ and of particular interest to visitors the ‘North Norfolk Holiday Guide 2012’.

Saturday 26th November - WI Campaigns, Chilly Wind, Looking for Walks and Emm's Stems

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