Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Coldham Hall: the carnser

AND TALKING of Coldham Hall, this picture shows the road to the pub yesterday afternoon. I say road. The pub's address is "Coldham Hall, Coldham Hall Carnser, Surlingham".
Carnser is the Norfolk word for a causeway. Because Coldham Hall is virtually an island; bounded by the Yare on one side and a combination of marshy meadow and swampy carr on the other. It's this raised carnser that keeps the pub connected to the rest of Surlingham. And yesterday - after the thaw - it was only just doing its job.

Monday, 28 December 2009

A warm February welcome at Coldham Hall

THE COLDHAM Hall pub on the Yare at Surlingham will reopen in February after an extensive refit. Already this beautiful thatched building has been re-wired and re-plumbed. Peer inside the freshly-cleaned windows and you can see they've now moved on to the fixtures and furnishings. The pub's own website talks of a new kitchen, a complete makeover and "improvements made to the bar to accommodate a range of ales poured directly from the cask". Well doesn't that sound promising? The gardens have been tidied up and an A4 laminated notice flaps in the wind advertising a planning application to improve the quay headings. Clearly these guys mean business. The website also quotes manager Natalie Linder: "Our vision has always been to return Coldham Hall to its glory days when it was one of the most visited and popular pubs on the Norfolk Broads..... We hope that Coldham Hall will break the trend of many seasonal riverside pubs, and become an all year round attraction through our excellent food and drink and comfortable and inviting bar and restaurant areas benefiting from the riverside views." Here's to all that becoming a reality in 2010.
* See one of several Coldham Hall posts here, or use the search box in the top left corner.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Loddon's new Ice Age

SNOW descended on Loddon almost a week ago now. But since then a continuous deep freeze has led to a steady ice invasion too. Head down to the marshy meadows next to the Chet and you start to understand how the eskimoes could have so many words for something as simple as frozen water. The River Chet remains overwhelmingly liquid of course. But for the field-draining dykes it's a different story. There's transparent thin ice. There's thick frosty stuff tesselated into irregular triangles, (pictured). But my eye is constantly drawn to a gravity-defying layer of what my kids call "cardboard ice" because of its thickness and the way that it bends undulatingly across and through the reeds. It often exists half-way up a reed - with fresh air both above and below. There is no doubt a simple scientific explanation - enlighten me someone please. For cardboard ice pictures and more visit this set on flickr.

Monday, 21 December 2009

The Ferry Boat: another blow

BAD NEWS for the Ferry Boat pub in Norwich.
A deal to buy the building was close, but now it may have been scuppered by what the Evening News describes as a "freak accident". This photo (copyright: Evening News) tells the story.
Estate agents Savills told the newspaper they had wanted to complete by Christmas, but now they think the cost of the repairs might put the mystery buyers off.
Another sentence from the Savills man rings alarm bells too:
"He said the new owners, who did not wish to be named, intend to use the former pub for a related use, but did not say what that use would be."
I've banged on before about why any fan of river history has to want the Ferry Boat to remain a pub. Let's hope this isn't the final nail in the coffin.
* Read the paper's full story here.

Friday, 18 December 2009

The Yule Blog: Happy Christmas

OVERNIGHT snow has left at least the Loddon section of the Wherryman's Way under three inches of beautiful powdery snow this morning. The meadows next to the River Chet (pictured) are covered with a mixture of white stuff and frozen floodwater. Birds are noisily everywhere, no doubt desperately hunting for sustenance and Loddon's resident harnser* was on patrol as ever. Meanwhile I've just had an early Christmas present from the publishers Halsgrove. It's official! My book on the Wherryman's Way will be published in May - the truly keen can see the schedule here.All in all it seems the right time to say Happy Christmas to you select band of readers out there - whoever and wherever. Thanks for collectively racking up more than 3000 hits since the blog kicked off in March. I'll be back posting in 2010.
* harnser - the Norfolk word for a heron

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

For Sale - a new life in Wherryman's Way

FANCY a new life on Wherryman's Way? No, not the Wherryman's Way but a new estate in Martham near Great Yarmouth, some distance from err, the Wherryman's Way.
This picture shows Plot 32, no doubt a snip at £174,995. For more details contact Becky Fox & Paula Stone on 0845 375 0835 Ask them if Billy Bluelight lives nearby.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Give this website a try

LITERARY Norfolk is a great website getting better all the time. It's written by the poet Cameron Self and you can home in on either people or locations. You won't get a more thorough summary of Reedham's literary claims to fame for example than this. And away from the Yare he leads you down lots of interesting Flickr byways too. Deserted churches, the Norfolk dialect even The Singing Postman, this site has got the lot. And the skull? Well it belonged to Sir Thomas Browne. There's a good bit on him too.