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8 September: 32 miles in God’s own County

This was a day we had all been looking forward to, a ride around God’s own County – Norfolk – but it had a sad end when John Tarrington unfortunately fell off his bike and broke his wrist, which required a speedy transfer by a paramedic to a hospital in Kings Lynn. We all wish John a speedy recovery and hope it won’t be too long before he can join us again. Accidents are few and far between, luckily, but this just shows that our rides are not devoid of risk, even on a warm sunny afternoon on a quiet country lane, and so we should all take greater care particularly as the days get shorter and the nights draw in.

Until John’s accident the other seven Puffs (the communal name for Windmill Club members) had completed about 90% of Maurice’s planned circuit from Fakenham, taking in sleepy Great Snoring, Wells next-the-Sea, Holkham, Burnham Market, Burnham Thorpe and Great / Little Walsingham en route, the Puffs comprising Maurice, Andrew, John B, Keith, Ken, Brian and Martin. We kept more or less to Maurice’s route but at times split up into a daredevil off-road group of two, John B and Ken, and a narrow gauge railway appreciation group (the others) but we all met up on the quayside at Wells for large helpings of shrimps, whelks and seafood as a mid-morning snack.

The planned route:

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…………and the actual:

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…..the main difference being a wonderful off-road stretch behind the beach at Wells as far as Holkham and a different route back after lunch.

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Great Snoring on a sleepy hot day
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Heard it but missed the train!
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Missed it again! The Wells terminus of the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway
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Three weasels
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One of the two specially built Garratt steam engines

train

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Sharks on the quayside at Wells
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Keith’s B&B accommodation – Captain Pugwash’s cabin no less – with one of John B’s property developments high up in the background
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Looking out to sea

After Holkham there was a busy stretch of the main coast road for a couple of miles (impatient drivers in God’s own County!) before turning off to peaceful and picturesque Burnham Market (also known as Chelsea-on-Sea), where John B showed us a cottage he was once tempted to acquire.

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John B’s might-have-been cottage overlooking the green at Burnham Market
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Where to next?

Next was actually Station Street, Burnham Market where Martin stopped off to say hello to a former colleague who he knew would be opening a can of Speckled Hen on the dot of noon………….. The others rode on to the lunchtime stop at the historic Lord Nelson pub in nearby Burnham Thorpe where Martin caught them up for a delicious lunch in the garden.

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Seaman Staines, centre front, and his fellow cabin boys at the Lord Nelson

John T told us how Nelson had his last meal on English soil with his midshipman upstairs in the pub before setting off to fight at Trafalgar. Sadly, the table where they sat which had his initials carved in it appears to have gone missing since the room was converted to accommodation for kitchen staff just a few years ago……………. Nelson learnt to sail at nearby Burnham Overy Staite – it’s said that if you can sail there you can sail anywhere.

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What a victory!

So, after a good lunch it was then back via Little and Great Walsingham but there was no sign of Our Lady of Walsingham – she probably knew we were coming and had gone shopping for the day in Norwich. And soon after that, John’s accident happened which took the edge off what had been a wonderful day up to that point. But the team worked well in organising an ambulance and looking after John until the paramedic arrived.Meanwhile Maurice and Andrew collected John’s car and loaded his bike for Andrew to drive home whilst John was swept off to hospital in Kings Lynn by the paramedic.

Thanks once again to Maurice and his Deputy Dawg Andrew for planning the ride and organising the lunch stop.

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