We decided to go trainriding which is something I really love.Trains are so comfortable compared with cars and they give you the wonderful opportunity to look into people’s back gardens! You can also get a round ticket and stay on a train all day, without spending a fortune, although it must be said that tickets are quite expensive in England.
Well, you know me, I just love the flat English countryside in East Anglia which of course gives way to BIG skies.” If you live and work in the fens, you can’t keep your eyes on the ground: as soon as you glance up, there’s the horizon and above it the infinite dome of the sky” (1) There are neolithic treasures buried under there somewhere: “Waterlogging preserves organic materials, which on an archeological site will include wooden objects…..not to mention fabrics and textiles, wool and hair, even food and drink” (2). And place names which are better than a history book! We passed by Newmarket, one of the most famous horsebreeding places in England, through Bury St Edmunds home of Greene King brewers for the last 300 years. We changed trains again and saw Wroxham where you can hire boats to sail on the famous Norfolk Broads.
Eventually we got to the seaside. Sheringham. We walked down through these rather squalid streets lined with charity shops ,tiny souvenir shops and lots of places selling cooked crabs the speciality of the place, until we got to the sea wall. Rocks, rocks and more rocks, very dangerous to walk on because they were slippery with seaweed. It was cloudy with a hint of rain ,waves crashing on the rocks and a wonderful smell of fresh sea air and bladderwrack. A tonic for your lungs! But it was quite chilly so we walked back past the fish smells to have a look at the steam train and old fashioned signal box. We couldn’t take a ride on the line because it isn’t always pulled by the steam engine, sometimes it’s just a diesel that pulls the train. But we saw one coming in breathing clouds of smoke and I couldn’t help remembering Walt Whitman :”Thy long,pale,floating vapor pennants, tinged with delicate purple,/The dense and murky clouds outbelching from thy smoke-stack”.
1.The Fens, Francis Pryor (one of the best books I’ve ever read)