No ride report - been crabbing in Cromer, Norfolk.

Sorry Dear Reader,

I do realise that you've logged on expecting to find a stunning report on the adventures of AD and MG here at Muddy Ground, but instead MG has been away in Cromer all week. I would have gone out for a spin, but my rear wheel is away for repair [three weeks now and counting.....].

So, Cromer, what gives? Well it took me some time to get into the place. Quite frankly initially I found it a tad boring. Just too quiet and clean for my South London tastes. However I soon relaxed into it and kind of miss the place now. I'd not want to live there you understand; having to go through Norwich to get anywhere grates a bit. Imagine every journey you make having to involve traversing South London and you'll get the picture. Actually that's wrong. In London people have a healthy disrespect for silly speed limits, yet drivers in Norfolk will happily trundle along at 29mph along an open road in the countryside becasue they remembered once seeing a 30mph speed limit posted a few months back when they visited Aunt Matilda in Great Yarmouth. Indeed I should be surprised if we'd ever go back simply because of this, which in a sense would be a pity as it is such a lovely area. Just speed up a bit please and stop dawdling - like the guy who just stopped along an A-road when the crocodile was doing 50mph. He literally just stopped for no reason, then trundled along again at 45mph in a 60 zone. He didn't half look surprised when I overtook him, as if that was never an option he'd ever encountered in life. Dithering is the norm for drivers up there.

Norfolk folk are a proud bunch and I've never been anywhere where local produce is advertised and used so prevalently. I think that attitude is brilliant. Many shops and restaurants along the coast would only stock goods made in Norfolk. And I don't mean that in a trendy London "farmer's" or "French" maket where everything originates from Waitrose and has been repackaged to suit. Goods really were local in origin, and they are proud of that.

Cromer is a nice enough place, and didn't seem to get busy. We stopped for a week and wanted for nothing. But then our kids are under ten years old and are still happy playing on a beach; crabbing, looking for stuff or building dams. If these activities don't fill your kids with joy I'd imagine a bit of a strop each morning! There didn't seem much to interest a teenager, or indeed a 40 year old man if I was honest. I'm a cyclist and mountain biking in the area was none existant. Sure you can go on YouTube and see some guy in body armour playing on a surprisingly tame trail in some local woods, but I'm not about to haul my bike near 200 miles to play on a dog walkers path for ten minutes now am I? If I lived in Norfolk, I'd not own a bike at all. There'd be no point.

Even on the beaches a surprising number of activities are banned. Kites seem to find little favour, and in Wells the list of banned activities would fill a small book. But then it is a nature reserve, so possibly fair play prevails there!

So given the extensive list of "Dont's!" why is it so nice a place? Why did I like it in the end? Well for a start if you actually do anything other than wonder around aimlessly, people will approach you and ask what you are doing, or make a positive comment. [Ha ha! But not the twat of a beach fisherman who set up his stand right underneath our dam. He was obvioulsy a twat as he was wearing jeans and trainers to go beach fishing. Anyway, we built a huge dam, then bust it to flood the sand town we'd built. The look on his face when a few thousand litres of water engulfed him and his kit made my day. If I say that the dam was 45cm deep and 20m width you may get some idea as to water volume. It REALLY engulfed him, and even now makes me smile.]

Crab fishing; people would stop and chat. Build a dam, they'd chat. Collect stuff in a bucket they'd stop and chat. Eat fish and chips on the prom, they'd.... Well you get the picture. And it wouldn't be a polite "Good morning" either. Some of them you got to the stage of almost inviting them home for lunch or tea. Even buying stuff in shops took time as you explained away your life from birth to present. And they have such good memories. In one cafe they had perhaps 30 covers and were busy, busy, busy. The girl on the counter may have served 200 people that day. She only spoke to me to take my order. Yet the next day she asked if we wanted the same again! Even walking around people would enquire as to the crab fishing that morning. I couldn't remember these people at all, yet here they were greeting us as if we were long-standing residents of note.