A Walk to Cley

A Walk to the Beach at Cley

We looked at a map (why did no one think of doing this before?) and realised that it is pretty much impossible to walk to the sea from Blakeney. I received feedback about my ‘by the sea’ cottage. The best way to reach the sea, is to walk along the road to Cley Next the Sea.

We set off with the dog and a supply of overly thin nappy-sacks that Husband had bought instead of doggy bags. Road was horribly busy. The dog always poops at inconvenient times, and the walk along the busy road was enhanced no end by also carrying flimsy bag of dog excrement.

Cley Next the Sea (I still cannot cope with the lack of preposition) is a pretty town with a windmill, tiny shops, and a narrow road that winds through the centre. The narrow road was very busy on Easter Saturday.

We stopped for ice-creams at what is possibly the slowest place ever to buy an ice-cream (very nice ice-creams though, if you have 3 hours to spare). While we waited, a small white VW approached the bend in the road, made a weird noise, and died. Instant traffic-jam.

Jay went and spoke to the driver, offering to push the car to a safer spot. A bolshy woman in large Range Rover behind the VW, honked loudly on her horn (perhaps she thought the VW driver had simply stopped for a chat). I went to speak to the Range Rover driver, to explain the VW was broken rather than incompetent. Driver of Range Rover rather rude to me. I slipped into ‘school-teacher-very-posh-you don’t mess-with-me’ voice (you never lose the ability) and very politely ground her to mincemeat. Family impressed by my telling-off abilities, even when holding flimsy pink bag of poop. (Actually, to be strictly honest, I think I had binned the poop by this point.)

I then went to save Bea, who was attempting to stop traffic from whizzing round blind bend where males were pushing car, whilst also holding 3 ice-cream cones, and a German Shepherd dog intent on snarling at a small white poodle.

Eventually, small VW was safely positioned in a side road, dog was back with me, ice-creams returned to owners, and bolshy Range Rover had driven off. As we left, we saw a coach approach the bend, which it couldn’t navigate due to a small VW being in the way…and all the traffic ground to a halt again. We left—someone else could solve that one.

We found the path to the beach. The beach is shingle, has a shipwreck in the sea, and has heaps of lobster pots and a few fishing boats. We walked towards Blakeney, but there wasn’t time to walk all the way to where the seals were—maybe next time.

Thanks for reading about our Easter trip, it was rather sad to leave Norfolk and drive home. Hope you have a lovely day.
Take care,
Love, Anne x

If you enjoyed this, why not read my travel book: The Sarcastic Mother’s Holiday Diary? Available from an Amazon near you, UK link is below (you can read it for free if you have a kindle).

Anne E Thompson has written several novels, available from bookshops and Amazon. She also writes a weekly blog — describing her travels, her animals, and life in general — why not sign up to follow her blog today?

Lazy Days in Norfolk

Continuing our Easter holiday diary…


After attempting (and failing) to walk to the coast from Blakeney, we decided to drive to Wells-Next-the-Sea—another name with no preposition, but we coped. We parked amongst pine trees and walked over the hill to the sea.

There was a row of pretty beach huts, and we borrowed the porch of one to eat our picnic, while looking at the beach. Wells-Next-the-Sea has a lot of beach—miles of it.

Dogs are allowed on the beach to the left of the steps, so we left mother dozing on the beach hut steps, and wandered off towards the dunes. In the distance, we could see a digger, dredging the river (family commented that in Norfolk, people take their sandcastles very seriously, and perhaps we should invest in a digger too, to keep up).

We walked for a long way. After a while, we stopped to rest in the sand-dunes, feeling the warm sun, listening to the waves. Two seconds later, Emm was bored, so took the dog into the distance for a walk. We wanted to leave, so sent Jay after him. Jay never came back (probably forgot what he had gone for). Husband then decided to go and tell them to come back – but he got side-tracked too, so I left him and walked back to sleepy mother.

Wells-Next-the-Sea is a lovely beach if you like lots of sand, but you need determination if you plan to reach the sea. It has a very nice car-park, with toilets and cafes and a shop selling clothes you will never wear except on holiday. Some people danced in the car-park. It was a lovely place to visit (I cannot explain the dancing).


Tea in Cromer

When I was child, we visited Cromer most weekends in the summer. We camped, so I pretty much hated Cromer. However, now I’m all grown up, I can see that it is actually a very nice town, and the sort of place where I too might choose to take children. (Not to camp though, I have promised myself I will never have to sleep in a tent, ever again.)

We booked afternoon tea at The Grove guesthouse in Overstrand Road. It costs £14 per person, and is a very generous tea, with sandwiches and cakes and scones. The fruit cake was my favourite. They also provide boxes, so you can take home the leftovers (trust me, you will have leftovers).

After tea, we walked down the steps by the lighthouse to the beach. The lighthouse is short and fat, and very disappointing if you are a child and expect lighthouses to be tall and slender and standing on rocks with the waves crashing. Cromer lighthouse is on a grassy cliff, and not even particularly near the sea. (As I said, there was a lot about Cromer that disappointed me as a child.)

We walked, past bright beach huts and wooden breakwaters, past rusty tractors attached to fishing boats, towards the setting sun. The tall church tower looms above the town. We walked to the pier, and stood, looking up at the cliffs and wondering why the dominant hotel facing the sea is called the ‘Paris Hotel’.

The beach at Cromer is lovely. So too is the town (if you’re not camping). I stole some snippets of the town for my book, Counting Stars—why not read a copy? The link is below.

Hope you have a nice day.
Take care,
Love, Anne x

Counting Stars is an exciting novel, set in the near-future. One of the children (a bolshy teenager) pretty much sums up my own childhood feelings towards Cromer…You can buy a copy from an Amazon near you, UK link below:

Morston Seal Trip

Morston Seal Trip

We’re staying in a house in Blakeney, and at the pretty quayside, there are advertisements for boat trips to see the seals. We phoned the number displayed, and booked a trip. We were then told that we needed to be at Blakeney Quay an hour prior to departure to pay, and then drive to Morston (a couple of miles away) where the boat departs from. I felt the posters in Blakeney were rather misleading, as they imply that the boats leave from Blakeney quay, but they don’t.

We followed the instructions, and arrived at Morston quay in good time (not easy with six people). We then took longer than expected to find our boat, as several different companies depart from Morston. Our boat—Bishops—was a muddy walk away. The boats can only leave on certain tides, so the times change about an hour every day.

We climbed aboard the boat, leaving a trail of muddy footsteps. The skipper was mopping as we walked—which meant that all the seats were wet—but we pretended we didn’t mind having wet bottoms, as this seemed like a fishermen thing to do.

The boat was wet and windy, but it was a lovely sunny day. Unattractive beany hats which had been shoved into pockets were pulled out and jammed onto heads as we drew near to the sea and the breeze became a wind. The estuary was studded with a thousand colourful buoys, and water birds stalked the sand dunes. People were holding onto the sides, and staring across the water, everyone unsure if we would actually see seals.

We rounded Blakeney Point, and there they were, like fat boulders lying in the sunshine. There were grey seals (the most common) and common seals (which are, bizarrely, less common). Every so often a seal would move, humping its body awkwardly to a new position. They were unperturbed by the queue of boats full of tourists snatching photos on their phones—they didn’t even look at us.

The most exciting views (I thought) were the glimpses of seals in the water—the flash of a Labrador-like head, the lazy dive under the waves. There was a long line of tourist boats, and we circled a few times, watching, before going back to the quay.

The trips can be booked in various places (though they all leave from Morston). It cost £13 for adults for a one-hour trip. It was worth it. Wear old clothes.

Hope you have a good day.
Take care,
Love, Anne x

If you enjoyed this, why not read my new book?: The Sarcastic Mother’s Holiday Diary (You can read it for free if you have a kindle.)
Available from an Amazon near you, UK link below:

Walk to Cley Next the Sea

Walk to Cley Next the Sea

We were staying in Blakeney for a week. Mostly, this was lovely, though a couple of things were unexpected.

The quay at Blakeney is very pretty, with a few boats, and views of the river meandering through the salt marshes. It’s a wonderful place for watching birds, and even has a duck pond (my kind of place). The duck pond is surrounded by a tall electric fence, which keeps the ducks safe from foxes. The pond was full of exotic ducks (much prettier than the ducks on my own pond) but also had a lot of wild mallards who flew in for a holiday. There were ducklings too—but not for long, as the seagulls swooped in and ate them.

Anyway, next to this, leading away from the quay, is a footpath, which looks as if it’s heading for the sea. When I booked the house, I thought Blakeney was next to the sea. Every day, a long line of hikers set off to walk this footpath, complete with woolly hats and leather boots and binoculars (for bird spotting). We decided to join them (though we don’t own binoculars, and my family is way too noisy for bird-spotting).

The pathway bends towards the coast, tantalising you with sand dunes in the distance. You walk along the raised footpaths, above the boggy salt marshes, and then, just as you feel you’re almost at the sea, the pathway curves back, away from the beach. You can see dunes, and fishing boats, and hear the whoosh of waves, but you never actually reach the beach because a river winds alongside the path, cutting between the town and the beach.

Instead, you pass acres of rushes, golden brown and hissing in the breeze, tall as a man; and fields of cattle grazing, and the river—green brown and sluggish, sitting in a valley of mud with long-legged birds busy on the banks.

Eventually, the pathway takes you to Cley Next the Sea. (People in Norfolk have an aversion to prepositions, which I don’t really understand.) As you approach the town, there is a windmill. You can admire the scenery, and breathe the salty air, and discuss (at length) why there is no ‘to’ in the name, and what it is like to sleep in “a coffin” (see previous blog, Bea was not impressed with her bunk-bedded child’s room…)

We had drinks in the garden of The George, and then we walked back to Blakeney. But we never actually saw the sea.

As we returned to the house, we noticed several signs on Blakeney quay, advertising boat trips to see the seals. We decided to book one, and hoped that unlike our walk to the sea, we might actually see some—though if I’m honest, I expected to see tiny black dots in the distance which someone would tell me were seals. I’ll tell you about the trip tomorrow.

Thank you for reading. Hope your day is not disappointing.

Take care,
Love, Anne x

Anne E Thompson has written several novels, available from bookshops and Amazon. She also writes a weekly blog — describing her travels, her animals, and life in general — why not sign up to follow her blog today?