Wednesday, 28 April 2010

LOWESTOFT


For those that know Plymouth the only way I can really describe Lowestoft is to say its like Plymouth, but without the post war regeneration.

Poor old Benjamin Britten was born in Lowestoft but escaped to Aldeburgh as soon as he had a chance and Charles Dickens once popped in for a short visit.

Nowadays you are more likely to spot the hundreds of real life Vicky Pollards.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

GREAT YARMOUTH



Caesars Palace, Pink Flamingo – what a place!

Biggest stretch of sand in Europe, more arcades than anywhere else in the world and more chips eaten per capita than anywhere in Europe – welcome to Yarmouth – home of the teenage pregnancy.

Even out of season the pier still blasts out Destinys Child mixed up with the theme from Blakes 7.

Just ate the worst fish n chips ever to have been put into a polystyrene container. Ate them sitting in the hale.

Other than that I reckon you could spend all day 24 hrs walking up and down the main parade and not get bored.

My fingers smell of stale fish now…Cadburys Cr√®me egg to take the taste away…

…just found the ‘other half’ of Great Yarmouth – it’s excellent – big harbour, cranes, huge tugs, industry, Elizabethan and Georgian buildings, very historic streets.

What a town of two halves – excellent!

Monday, 19 April 2010

CROMER


Cromer – fantastic – out of season, faded, but with a pier!
I walked out to the lifeboat slip at the end – bloody cold with the stormy North Sea under you.
Nice little town – very olde streets.
Couple of mental old fishermen out on the pier with their enormous rods.
This North Sea really is grey/brown – a nice colour for a period front door – it looks like the sea has been made by Farrow and Ball.

WALCOTT
Very, very exposed and isolated – almost looks as if should be in the Mid West or the Outback except for the climate.
Boats in the windswept gardens of ramshackle bungalows, separated from the North sea that wants to eat them whole by a long, straight road – wonder how long that will last?

CAISTER ON SEA
From the beach (again, impossibly soft sand) you can see the huge wind farm off Great Yarmouth.
Chains, small boats, lobster pots and tat.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

WELLS NEXT THE SEA


Again, very quiet and peaceful – and again very paintable – superb restored boat.

Everywhere is flint and red roofs, also literally on every doorstep is ‘Uncle Bob’s’, ‘Old Jim’, ‘Nifty Nicks’ mussels, they are everywhere, in carrier bags with an honesty box beside.

Saltmarsh, creeks, dingy sailors, mussel gatherers, seals and seabirds.

The wind bites shrewder than any place in Britain.

Iciest of cold air, geese flighting in.

Monday, 12 April 2010

BLAKENEY


Very painterly, if you love chains and cranes – rusted chain, engine oil, mud, ducks everywhere.

Curious ducks watching me working.

Very pretty and well used.

Flint cottages and red roofs everywhere.

Slimy posts so beloved of Constable. Wharfs, jetties, lights and markers.

Flint and brick buildings catch the evening sun and glow.

Muddy, complicated approach channels winding through salt marsh – the whole area veined with innumerable creeks.

Friday, 9 April 2010

BRANCASTER



Very exposed, salt marsh dunes, stinging hale – a party of school kids on the beach – millions of razor shells, whelks, mussels etc in the impossibly soft sand. The dark gravy grey wild North sea seems as though it will swallow you!

Arctic shore – birds, ducks and geese flighting in on the Arctic winds.

Nothing between the North Norfolk shore and the polar icepack.

Bleak isolation.

The wind is made of water and ice, grey/brown and creamy froth.

The sea looks menacing.

Only the ducks and geese can tell you what its like out there.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

HUNSTANTON


Sunny Hunny, you’ve got to love it! – Everything you imagine about an out of season, faded seaside resort, everything closed except – Tesco’s!

Sunny Hunny is an east coast town that faces west and so becomes the only east coast town to claim a sunset over the sea each evening.

Chips and burgers, dodgems and chips, whirly rides and ice cream, groynes and chips...

The North sea off Norfolk is far colder than anything that I have experienced and the sea wind feels as if its peeled the skin from your fingers.

Cold, grey, faded peeling signs – PERFECT – stripy red and white Cretaceous cliffs too, n’ chips…

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

KINGS LYNN


KINGS LYNN - On the banks of the River Ouse faces the mighty and bleak Wash.
I really struggled to find anything that attracted me to paint in the town, let alone write about.
Nothing funny, scary, curious or even remotely interesting seems to have happened in Kings Lynn.
So, eermm, thats all I have to say about the 3rd biggest town in Norfolk.
But tomorrows location is Hunstanton and I have loads to say about that...!

Monday, 5 April 2010

SKEGNESS


Skeg, Skeggy, Costa del Skeg or Skegvegas... whatever you call it, you spot Skegness from about 96 miles away across the flat Lincolnshire landscape due to the enormous rollercoasters and big wheels on the shimmering horizon.

Skegness was primarily a fishing village until the arrival of the railway in 1875. In 1908, Great Northern Railways commissioned a poster to advertise the resort, the 'Skegness is so Bracing' poster featuring The Jolly Fisherman helped to put Skegness on the map and is now world famous.
The poster, from an oil painting by John Hassall, was purchased by the railway company for just 12 guineas.
John Hassall died penniless.

The first Butlins holiday resort was opened in Skegness in 1936 and is still one of the areas biggest draws, together with the main strip along the beach where a kaleidoscope of neon, advertising, arcades, slot machines, fairground rides, crazy golf, fish n chip shops and dodgy looking bars service the hundreds of thousands of pleasure seekers.

In 2005, Skegness was voted the best retirement town in the UK. It has also been described by Lonely Planet's Great Britain guide as "everything you could want" in a seaside resort.
However in 2008 the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, declared "Stuff Skegness, my trunks and I are off to the sun", bless him.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

CLEETHORPES


While known as a seaside resort, Cleethorpes actually sits on the Humber estuary.
The 'sea' (shipping filled estuary water) at Cleethorpes is actually the mouth of the Humber. This means that bathers are separated from the 'sea' by several hundred yards of 'sand' (mud) at low tide.
The sea front provides beautiful views of the shipping traffic entering and leaving the Humber for the ports of Grimsby and Hull.

Having said all that, Cleethorpes looks great to me – enormous beach – absolutely huge.

Typical fish n chips, rock, arcade place with a small but perfectly formed pier and a squeaky clean beach. Immaculate fresh North sea air, well Humber estuary air and joggers.

All the good bits suddenly take a back seat though when an automatic announcement comes from the car park ticket machine “this is a warning, thieves operate in this area, do not leave valuables on display in your car”

The local council empolys great grass cutters – very neat indeed...

Friday, 2 April 2010

GRIMSBY


The name Grimsby supposedly originated from the Grim's by, or "Grim's Village".
This is based on Grim the Danish Viking, supposedly the founder of the town, but it really came about due to the fact that the town is just pretty grim.

Today, Grimsby is home to over 500 food related companies making it one of the largest concentrations of food manufacturing, research, storage and distribution in Europe.

As a result the local council has promoted the town as Europe's Food Town for nearly twenty years.

Europe's Food Town sounds great in a farmers market kind of way, unfortunately when you arrive you are greeted by the Findus headquarters, the Youngs Seafood headquarters and every other pre-packed, frozen, boxed, polystyrene, convenience manufacturer that you can think of.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

HUMBER BRIDGE & HULL


An awesome bridge - no unnecessary adornments, just a simple, plain suspension bridge, it is breathtaking.

Cue my nerdy bridge bit...

...With a centre span of 4,626 ft and a total length of 7,283 ft, the Humber Bridge was the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world for 16 years, and there is enough wire in the suspension cables to circle the Earth twice.

The views from the bridge down to the Humber estuary and Hull are amazing, the entire area sparkles with light as far as you can see.

Hulls port, coupled with its close proximity to Europe, led to extremely widespread damage by bombing raids during World War II, much of Hull was completely destroyed.
95% of its houses were damaged or destroyed, making it the most severely bombed British city or town, apart from London, during World War II.
Most of the city centre was rebuilt after the war, but as recently as 2006 researchers found documents in the local archives that suggested an unexploded wartime bomb may be buried beneath a major new redevelopment, the appropriately named 'The Boom', in Hull.

Mick Ronson of the Hull band Rats was David Bowie's lead guitarist during the Ziggy Stardust/Diamond Dogs years and Mick also recorded with Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and my old mate Morrissey!