Monday, 5 April 2010

An Unlikely Travel Writer

Traveller? Me? I don't think so!

I can’t ride a bike. I tip over sideways. I think it’s got something to do with my centre of gravity.

Flying scares me so much that I’d really rather stay at home.

And I don’t do walking. I’m the one who’s always trailing at the back of a group of walkers thereby allowing them time to sit and rest while they wait for me to catch up... and then when I’ve caught up they start walking again... until I trail behind and they sit and rest and so it goes on until I end up in tears, have to be escorted home and vow never ever to go walking again.

I don’t much like car travel either. It’s not that I get car-sick. It’s more of a ‘car-ache’. Two hours is about the limit of my endurance which means that most of our holidays, until recently, have been spent in North Norfolk in a small village called Blakeney.

The first time we ever saw Blakeney it was getting dark, the tide was out, we had nowhere to stay and The Blakeney Hotel overlooking mudflats was as good a place as any. In the morning I drew back the bedroom curtains and was overwhelmed by the glittering scene. Yachts and dinghies dotted the sea. Gulls swooped across waving salt marsh grasses. Children sat on the quayside, legs dangling, nets scooping unsuspecting gilly crabs from the creek. A row of boards advertised boat trips to Blakeney Point to see the seals. People were sitting at an open-fronted caravan drinking mugs of tea and eating freshly prepared breakfast baps. I couldn’t wait to get out there.

Pedlars Way stretches along most of the North Norfolk coastline. It crosses the quay at Blakeney where it becomes a raised pathway leading out to Blakeney Point. I know I said I don’t do walking but Blakeney is exceptional. In Blakeney I walk. The path passes between the car park and the duck pond and I don’t just mean any old duck pond. This duck pond is home to wigeons, shovelers, teals, pintails, mallards and what’s more they sound exactly like laughing Donald Ducks. The car park soon becomes a boat park. Duck laughter is replaced with clinking masts and the screeches and calls from the gulls, terns and avocets. One winter we even saw a flock of Brent geese from Siberia swooping over our heads. Those big birds are impressive but personally I prefer the tiny reed buntings that hop and twitter around the marshes, hiding in the masses of samphire, known locally as ‘poor man’s asparagus’.

As for accommodation, The Kings Arms is the most dog-friendly pub I know. It’s a Grade II listed inn and Josh-the-dog has spent many happy holidays with us there. They cook a mean fish and chip supper, larger than any plate can ever contain. They serve locally smoked fish and there’s even a dog biscuit box behind the bar. The pub sits just off the quay within minutes of salt marshes and shingle walks, nature reserves and bird hides. What more could a travel-phobe like myself ask for?

...until we discovered Eurostar but that’s another blog-story.

15 comments:

  1. Blakeney sounds absolutely lovely - a great place to relax :)

    I like to travel - but we rarely do - other things always eat up the cash :)

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  2. Hi Jemi, I know what you mean. I can always find a good reason for not going, money, other commitments, but we're trying to book a few extra holidays this summer. Once they're booked I can't back out and there's guaranteed to be one in Blakeney so I'll be happy and so will Josh.

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  3. This looks like a great place to chill out, Rosalind! I may have to take a trip there (when the weather's warmer, if it ever gets that way...).

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  4. Hi Talli, you don't need to wait until it gets warmer. It has a certain charm all year round. We've even been there when the wind has prevented us from opening the car doors and we've still enjoyed it!

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  5. Blakeney sounds simply gorgeous. A place I would love to visit someday. Money permitting.

    Thoroughly enjoyed my visit. You have a great blog here :)

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  6. Thank you, Wendy, for your kind words about my blog and I hope you get to Blakeney someday too.

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  7. I'll have to add this to my list of places to visit some day. I love the seaside and there are so many great places still to discover round Britain.

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  8. There are indeed lots of lovely places around Britain, Miriam, but I can't pretend that I'm not just a little curious to know if I would have the courage to fly off to the Crimea like you're about to do or to visit the Arctic. You truly are a traveller :-)

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  9. And your vivid, beautiful description of Blakeney just goes to show that you don't have to travel far to be a great travel writer - it's the writing not the travelling that counts.

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  10. Thank you for those kind words, Ann, although one day I hope to pluck up the courage to fly out and meet up with you... maybe... if I'm really, really brave.

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  11. This post really struck a chord. In fact it could have been written by me! I can ride a bike (or at least I can remember when I did!), but walking, driving and flying? No! I’m with you on that one Rosalind …

    As far as I’m concerned travel is necessary evil. It should only be undertaken if there is some serious reward at the other end. And yes, I’ve spent a lot of time on the North Norfolk coast too. Now cruising, that’s another matter altogether …

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  12. Thanks for the comment, Joy. I'm glad you understand my dilemma. I've never tried cruising. Need to think about that one!

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  13. Hi Rosalind,

    Visiting from Talli's blog. I am a hopeless Anglophile. Loved this post!

    KarenG

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  14. Welcome, Karen. Glad you enjoyed the blog and all things UK. We've got some lovely countryside here but I've been told that so have you!

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  15. Prowlingin from Downunder. Thankyou for coming to visit me. Could I suggest a tricycle? You should not tip off that. Of course you will need to invest in wet weather gear if it has not stopped raining and you do not want to get your fur wet!

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