Merlin Weekend

September 21st & 22nd 2002

Ten adults and one child attended the weekend meeting. They were Barry and Anita Jones, David Famm and Sandy, Mark, Amanda and Nadia Dean, John and Margaret Ellis and Ian and Gill McEwan. 'Me weather forecast was unpromising - Cloudy and cool.

Saturday morning. - 7.00a.m.

Pouring with rain, dark and gloomy. It was even gloomier in the McEwan household, as they had organised this tour of the North Norfolk countryside. By 9.00a.m. however, the sun was shining, with blue skies all around. It stayed that way for the rest of the day, luckily! That was the good news! Our first visit was to a working water-mill 'Me bad news? The Miller had mistaken the dates of his holiday so the Mill was closed Thus a rearrangement of our morning schedule was urgently needed.

The telephone rang - More bad news, The radiator cap on John Ellis's car was missing. 'Me A.A. had been called and were attempting to obtain a replacement. John was hoping to meet up with us at lunchtime. 10.00a.m. Saturday morning saw two Merlins and two clone cars leave the Norwich Sport Village Hotel and set off for our first port of call. TW was to be a Windmill at Gt. Bircham and we would be passing en route through the Walsingbams where there is a famous Shrine. Rather appropriately, just after passing the Shrine I espied a Cardinal in all his robes, walking down the road. ( Well he looked like a Cardinal anyway )

As we passed the villages of Little and Great Snoring, some very unkind comments were overheard about the noises that some partners had been malting the night previously.

On to Burnham Thorpe which was one of the birthplaces of Lord Nelson! Unfortunately, not a single person had congregated at the site to witness our posing run! It was at this stage that I became aware of a strange noise, which was becoming more obtrusive by the minute I eventually located the sound as coming from the Merlin behind us. I pulled up to see if the A.A. should come to our aid, as I was getting a little concerned about the increasing sound. As I did so, the noise recurred. It sounded something like "What about a cup of WW' Poor Barry, he was obviously suffering withdrawal symptoms.

On through the countryside to Gt Bircham windmill, down some very narrow and winding roads, which made driving rather interesting. One of the roads was only the width of a car, with no passing places. We had been following another car down this road for quite a considerable distance, when suddenly the car stopped and started to reverse rapidly towards our convoy. We slammed on the anchors and eventually so did the other car!

The consensus of our opinions, later on, was that it must have been a woman driver who had got tired of the scenery and decided to change it! It's their hormones that make them do this sort of thing. This is why we males are so understanding and supportive. The windmill, though no longer a working mill had all the original equipment in place. The climb up to the cap was well worth the effort as the view from there was spectacular. Barry at last got his cup of tea As by this time we had driven some fifty miles it was well and truly earned by us all. The drive over to Heacham Lavendar Farm was but a short hop. We had just arrived when, to our joy, John and Margaret Ellis arrived in their Merlin. The farm holds the National collection of some 150 varieties of lavendar. It was a pity, though, that we were just too late to see the distillation of the lavendar oil as the harvesting finished at the end of August. Following lunch, three Merlins and two clone cars joined the coast road to our next destination - Blakency. Here Barry got another cup of tea and Nadia, who by now had managed to wheedle a crabbing line from her parents, joined all the other children on the quay and was busy catching crabs.

When it was time to return to the cars, Mark claimed that Nadia had caught a plaice. By the look of triumph on Mark's face I wondered if it really was Nadia's catch? Perhaps father had a hand in it somewhere! Furthermore, as time went on and the size of the plaice gradually got bigger and bigger, I began to have doubts as to whether it was a plaice at all, or something much larger! Now I have never seen or heard of a Manta Ray being caught at Blakeney, but with global warming - possibly, just possibly!!!!!

A short drive to Morston Quay saw us parked up and assemble, for the boat trip to Blakeney Point, to see the seals. The creek was just mud when we arrived but half an hour later, we were afloat on the equinoctial spring tide, which flooded in at a pace that surprised us all. These tides are some of the highest of the year. Some drivers have found it to their cost, when, having parked on the Quay, they eventually return to their car to find it full of sea water. It didn't happen to us. En route to the Point, the skipper of the boat pointed out and identified all the various birds on the shore. Balcony Point is a bird sanctuary as wen as a home to the seals. 'Me seals looked in good condition, with no signs of the distemper, which is decimating the colonies. It was dark by the time we returned to Norwich.

'Mere we adjourned to a local fish restaurant. Whitebait was on the menu as a starter. David was heard asking the waitress if he could have his whitebait filleted! Her reply was very diplomatic. The meal was delightful, despite the Chef having left the day before. The total distance that we had travelled during the day was some 150 miles.

Sunday. Weather forecast - Cold and wet. 8.00a.m. Bright blue sky and sunshine.

Put the hood down. 8.20am. Pouring with rain. Put the hood back up! Today was going to be educational!! Early start 9.00a.m. up to the hotel to couect the troops. Blue sky and bright sunshine.

Barry put his hood down. 9.20a.m. Torrential rain but a spectacular rainbow. Barry put his hood back up!

Off we all go to Blickling Hall, for a walk through the woods, with an expert on Fungi. Sunshine for the rest of the day. The walk lasted for about 21/2 hours during which we saw many different sorts of fungi, such as the Woody Woolllyfoot, the Parasol, the Stinkhorn, the sulphur top and many others, even some that the expert couldn't identify. During the walk, Nadia was delighted to make a discovery, whilst searching for mushrooms. It wasn't edible though, as it was made of metal and turned out to be a horseshoe. Dad is going to get it shot blasted for her.

After lunch. David and Sandy and the Deans took their leave of us, to return home. Barry was keen to carry on with the weekend adventure. An hour later, after more bumpy and winding roads, we were on the coast at Winterton. Whenever I have visited Wmterton, it has always been windy and cool It was on Sunday. If you ever need anything sandblasted, take it to Winterton!

Barry, brave chap, donned his shorts for the walk along the beach. He started off with very hairy legs and finished with the smoothest skin any woman would be proud of' We watched in awe at the antics of the windsurfers. They must be raving mad. So ended an enjoyable weekend with excellent company.

My thanks to all for making it so.

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