Monday, 24 March 2014
Stealing Time on the Beach in Norfolk
It's not often that work takes me to the seaside.
As you know, I had a couple of events just outside Norwich last week. I knew the work would be fun, but it's still a 4 hour drive. Which was why we decided to book an extra night's B&B on the nearby coast at Cromer, to make better use of all the travelling.
It's not a part of the country I know, but a librarian I worked with in Leeds recently was born nearby, so she recommended a great guesthouse with a perfect sea view. Not only could we watch the crashing waves, but I had this view down over the pier:
We got up at 5am on Monday morning (ugh) so we could get to Cromer for 10.00 and have a full day to play. We took pot luck with the weather, but it turned out sunny and dry all day. We pottered and ambled along the sand, ate a picnic lunch on the cliff and wandered back across the top, chilling out with the sun on our faces and the wind in our hair (jealous yet?). By 3pm though, John was flagging from the early start and all his driving so, while he went to recuperate, I sat on the pier and sketched.
By then the wind was up. I had to cling onto my book for dear life, to stop it being snatched out of my hands and into the sea. I was also very aware of the pencil-sized gaps between the wooden boards at my feet!
All along the coast they are hard at work, repairing the storm damage. I did a really quick sketch of one of the many diggers on the beach. I was sketching to a soundtrack of sawing and banging. All the pier boarding was being replaced - the sea rose up underneath and simply lifted them all off. It lifted the buildings at the pier gateway too, so they all need rebuilding. So much work, but they are really getting on with it.
The next day was cooler but still nice and we didn't need to get to my event until late afternoon, so we headed the other way down the beach. I did some more sketching, wrapped up in my big coat:
Unfortunately, the rain eventually caught up with us. I was half way through trying to capture all the patterns in the eroded sandy cliff when it started to spit. I held out as it got heavier and heavier, until my sketchbook was starting to get quite wet (as well as me, of course). You can see the rain marks in the paint:
We headed inland to dry off at our next B&B, which turned out to be even lovelier. When I booked White House Farm in Hindolvston, I had no idea it was such an old and beautiful house. A lovely garden too, with lots of different kinds of chickens and a pond full of big frogs. Inside, there was a big soppy dog to greet us, plus lots of cake.
The Book Group talk went really well and it was nice to show everyone the drawings I'd done that very day. People were all really friendly and interested. I stopped and chatted to them afterwards and signed lots of books.
Next morning, my chauffeur dropped me at Reepham School, where I had a brilliant day with the children and got them all drawing too. The time shot by and, before I knew it, John was back to pick me up. We drove back via the coast and grabbed one more brief walk on the marshes with the sea birds, before starting the long drive back.
Good fun, good company, good weather and good sketching in a beautiful part of the world - I think we can call that a great success!