Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Red bike and blue

Unwanted bikes make for colourful flower displays (eventually) or so says Hunstanton. I'm supposed to be stuck in a house a hundred and more miles away so my view rightly doesn't count for much.

Monday, 30 March 2020


I mentioned at the start of this month how Henry Le Strange built a very successful railway to get folk from King's Lynn to Hunstanton, well thanks to 1960s profligacy that line no longer exists. You'll have to find other means of escape that's if the CovidNazis will ever let you out of your house again. Above we have the neatly decorated KL station still pretending it is run by British Rail (Queenie regularly uses this place and they haven't told her about denationalisation) and below all that's left of Hunstanton station where the trains ran into the sea...

Here's a little something extra, a relatively young John Betjeman (younger than me, let us say) taking us on a day trip from Lynn to Hunstanton. Look, listen and learn not least how to pronounce Hunstanton and Snettisham. A different country in so many ways.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Triple tattoosies

On the first Sunday of Operation Domestic Internment I thought that, for want of anything better, some tattoo parlours might fill the gap until tomorrow. Above from Hunstanton has a fine pun and skull. Below from King's Lynn is just showing off but somehow does not overcome the sleaze, I mean a red door off a side street off London Road... definitely as it should be done.

And finally who has the bad luck to open up just days before the current outbreak of stupidity? Good job he hadn't got too settled in. But "Angry Badger"?  What's that all about? This one is just down the road in Hull and was the site of the short lived "Killer Kitchens" enterprise ("Kitchens to die for at slashed prices"!) ... some might say places have a doom on them.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Only our rivers run free

How sweet is life but we're crying, how mellow the wine but we're dry,
How fragrant the rose but it's dying, how gentle the wind but it sighs,
What good is in youth when it's ageing, what joy is in eyes that can't see,
When there's sorrow in sunshine and flowers, and still only our rivers run free. 

                                                                                              Michael McConnell

It seems you can be fined for taking your dog for a walk, going to the shop more than once a day. Don't think for one minute of putting the kids in a car and going to the wildest most empty spaces as far from any other person as you can imagine because your journey is deemed unnecessary by your unelected Chief Constable and he's spying on you with his drones. The police and the media invite us to inform of breaches of the new way of repression, I wouldn't tell the police the time of day ... 
Our liberties, once considered sacred and worth fighting wars over, are now in a bag marked "unnecessary" and "a danger to public health" (there is , of course, no such thing as public health; it's a myth used to cow the timid and ignorant) and there they will stay until unelected civil servants or idiots from Imperial College dictate. Our ancient rights to go about our lawful business without let or hindrance swept aside in a couple of days with the blessing of a rancid (and hopefully fatally infected) Parliament... 
We, the imprisoned, were urged the other night to go out at 8pm of an evening and applaud our imprisonment, to thank the NHS (what for? for doing the job we pay them for? ) and as you might guess many did. Sweet, intoxicating stuff that Kool Aid. Well, if my neighbours are assholes it's not my problem.

Friday, 27 March 2020

"Is Everybody Happy?"

  "It's funny 'cos it's true"
                           Homer Simpson

Just look what joy Hull had to look forward to this autumn, being entertained by others' misery. This was before the dreamy happy times began and we all sat comfortably at home obeying the Fat Controller and being entertained by own wretchedness; running sweepstakes on the mounting but quite normal deaths from pneumonia, diabetes, old age and so on being twisted into something so deadly serious we simply must collapse the entire economic/politcial/civic system. I see the FC has caught the WuFlu (along with the Health Secretary, you really can't make this stuff up!)... serves the fat bastard right, should have washed his hands more though I doubt all the perfumes of Arabia would sweeten his podgy paws.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

"... the nave is not St Margaret's best feature"

I hadn't intended to revisit this magnificent old thing but Margot had some personal business to attend to here so in I went to get out of the wind if nothing else. Is this place always empty? This was well before the current nonsense struck the world. I hear that all churches are closed now following government dictat, clearly they care more for their mortal bodies than their immortal souls but 'twas ever thus. Here's the nave which I find rather impressive but a guide says "be patient, the nave is not St Margaret's best feature". Well everyone's a critic these days.

The east rose widow is 15th century but restored in the 19th.

The west window over the front door is also 15th century and is a little bit of a stunner.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Take a pew

It was the fashion at one time to carve grotesque figures in churches, you'll find them supporting the roof, hidden on screens but quite often you'll find them on the ends of seats. So here's a couple from St Margaret's. I don't know their age, possibly not as old as they are pretending since the place was renovated back in the 19th century; they might be Victorian projections of medieval fantasy.

And below is the tout ensemble. Weird, eh? These were supposed to ward off evil, they scare the devil as it were, though just what the devil might be doing in a church in King's Lynn I cannot imagine despite the local legend. You could, if you wished, see this a sexual thing, the hare (or is it a rabbit?)  symbolising prostitution and licentiousness, or maybe that devilish figure has too much of a caricature Jewish face for modern comfort? You can read what you like into them like since whoever made them is long gone and past caring. Personally I think they were a bit of fun, permitted silliness that no-one took seriously,  they were a distraction through the tedious enforced sermonising of the medieval church. Nowadays we have grotesque figures beamed into our homes and we call them celebrities or worse.

 The weekend in black and white is here.

All pictures by Margot K Juby.

Monday, 23 March 2020

St Peter's Church, West Lynn

This little church made a brief appearance in a post sometime back (here) without any comment. So today here's St Peter's over in West Lynn from the King's Lynn side and below a little bit closer. The building dates from Norman times and has had bits added over the years including the tower in the 14th century with the last renovation in the 20th century.

The Government has decreed this evening that we shall not leave our homes save for essential shopping, medical needs and exercise once a day. Meh! I usually only ever leave my house for essential shopping, medical needs and exercise once a day in any case so this don't impress me much. Non-essential shops are being closed (*gallic shrug*) and bus services are being cut back but then they never ran on time  so I doubt we'll notice. All should be well unless tell-tales, nosy neighbours and the police decide to play silly buggers in which case all will be far from well. It's hardly the end of the world, yet. It's weird how many folk want their liberties taken away from them ("Please lock us up for our good"!). Oddly (or perhaps not) the most vociferous are those on the left who, well you might have thought they'd know better... I might write to my MP or then again I might not... I am bored by all this tedious nonsense as I'm sure most folk are and will try not to mention it again. You will not find me writing a diary of the "lockdown" (God forbid!) I shall just muddle on here as I always do. Oh before I go, never forget in all this no matter what you do or how you play it ... mors vincit omnia!

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Say it with flowers

Florists across the country have been trying to cash in on Mothering Sunday (or Mother's Day as we call it here to confuse our American friends, I doubt if many know why it is even a thing on the calendar but I digress) possibly their last opportunity to make a bit of money for some time (except maybe for funerals though even they will no doubt be banned if the ordure really hits the fan). These polyanthus primula "Silver Lace" were at the Plant Pot on Greenwood Avenue. 
The advice from our increasingly floundering Premier is not to visit mama today, indeed aged maters and paters should both be locked up tight and not allowed out (smothering Sunday, perhaps?) ... since I've been a poor orphan these many years it's not really an issue.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Sheer bloody madness

 “Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”

So, at last, the Government decides to close the pubs and clubs along with the schools. Monday will see legislation put before Parliament that could take away our civil liberties for a period of two years. It will only be a matter of time before they lock us all up in our homes like Italy, France and Spain. This is all for our own good you understand, it always is. Two years!!! We're sleepwalking into a trap, gliding peacefully down the slope that inevitably leads to  tyranny; with the decoy of a supposed pandemic (the annual flu has killed more this winter and does so every winter and no-one said a thing) and a willfully crashed economy (the Government is giving away money like they stole it which they have, I suppose) small businesses closing and shops that cannot cope with panic demand (shortages of staples bread, meat and milk, I can, however, still buy the newspapers it is not total barbarity out there, yet). In all this there seems no voice defending reason, no voice saying this is completely wrong, nobody questioning or doubting the official line, nobody at all ... It is collective insanity, sheer bloody madness. It will not end well.

Friday, 20 March 2020

March Hares

For the first day of the new season I thought I'd post these from a jewellery shop on Chapel Street. I won't call them mad March hares, madness is confined to much larger, two-legged hairless failed apes ...

Thursday, 19 March 2020

I'm a hairin’ scarin’ fisherman...

‘I’m a hairin’ scarin’ fisherman and I hail from Kings Lynn town,
And in this old life I’ve seen many an up and down.
And when we’ve spent our stocker bait and had a jolly spree
Away we’ll crack, on board the smack, and plough the angry sea.’

To watch her and trigger and pipe her as she goes,
Give her the sea and let her rip we're the boys to pull her through
You want to see our Ally when the wind is blowin' through
Sailing from the Dogger bank to Great Grimsby.

I find that is a variation of an old song "Dogger Bank" ( which is in turn probably from another Music Hall song ) given to us by the grandly nicknamed Trunky Bunn of King's Lynn. Quite how it ended up engraved on a granite boulder in a playground on Loke Road I really don't know but there it lies, a gift to future generations, what they'll make of it I can't imagine.

On a similar theme I can include this little plaque on a former pub down the road and around the corner mentioning Ralph Vaughan Williams' dalliances with the natives of North End. If you listen to old RVW long enough you find yourself thinking I know that tune it's such and such ... well he's only gone and nicked it hasn't he ... plagiarism, as somebody once said, is basic to all culture.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

The Butcher and the Baker

Back to Hunstanton for a rare scene these days, high street bakers (Mr Bun the Baker!) and butchers shops. I hope the current madness doesn't push them into oblivion like so many other small businesses; it's not possible for these guys to "work from home" or "self isolate".

The Hovis trademark derives from the Latin phrase hominis vis, the strength of man something which is being sorely tested by collective not to say global numptiness.  This is a bit of an antique sign, I haven't seen one like this for years.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

The New Walk

Early in the 18th century someone had the bright idea to construct a walk or mall from the town eastwards across uncultivated, vacant and I'm guessing somewhat swampy land to the Guannock Gate then part of the town walls. It was hardly a long slog being just some three hundred or so yards long but then maybe folk had not made a fetish out of walking as essential to a healthy body and mind but as a means of getting from A to B if you didn't have a horse and cart to help you. Here if you had stuff to strut was where it could be strutted outwith the grime of the town, with ruined walls and meandering Gaywood River to view it was akin to a country park in an urban setting. Anyhow it was the start of something as the New Walk was improved, lined with fine trees, and later a second walk crossed it and then more walks were added as the thing spread out beyond the now demolished town walls. I write all this trivia because I wondered why the place wasn't called something like Le Strange Park or Losinga Gardens or after some other notable local bigwig, it's called the Walks because, though now it may look like a park and walk like a park it is, historically, a collection of walks. So now you know.
By way of comparison Hull when it finally spilled out of its walls in the late 18th century it dug a big hole and filled it with water; it was the biggest dock in the country, the Queen's Dock. Hull did not get a public park until the 1860s courtesy of gun-running property developer Zach Pearson. However the Queen's Dock is now Queen's Gardens ... with walks.

The Walks are lined with lime trees and horse chestnuts. Somebody has carved this out of a dead one.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Framingham's Hospital, King's Lynn

First sight I thought this looks a veritable old building but doing this blog has taught me nothing is ever quite what it seems. A wee plaque, so often my source of information, explains how the expansion of the cattle market drove the building of these replacement Tudor style almshouses in 1848.  Despite, or perhaps because of, being at the cutting edge of the Industrial Revolution our Victorians were seemingly so backward looking stylistically. 
Anyhow here it is close by the entrance to the Walks, opposite the Library and near where the town mill would have stood that I mentioned yesterday. A cattle market in the centre of town may have had a certain financial appeal to overcome the obvious odorous downside but it closed down long ago; that space is now the bus station in the modern-Elizabethan style.

Those twiddly bits and fancy windows could have paid for a building twice the size ... but reason not the need, eh!

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Millfleet, King's Lynn

This completes the trio of fleets that run through and around the old town of King's Lynn, the Fisher Fleet, Purfleet and now this delightful burbling brook on what was then the southern edge of town, known as the Millfleet. It will come as no surprise to learn that it was used to drive a corn mill, though apparently the flow of water, being tidal, was, at times, so low it wasn't much use. In an early case of protectionist measures all the good folk of 15th century Lynn had to have their corn milled at the town mill or they would "forfeit the grain or the flour produced outside town, which may be confiscated by the common sergeant or someone else and put to the use of the community. " The image of the jolly miller of old is, of course,  a myth. The mill seems not to have been a tremendous success and was cleared away to make room for London Road in the early 1800s.

This wild vegetation is hiding the site of long demolished grain silos and warehouses near to Devil's Alley.

And that I'm afraid is all there is to see of the once much longer Millfleet since Victorian noses and sensibilities had had enough of what, at low tide, was a stinking sewer and at a cost of £12,846 they covered it up in the 1890s to everyone's delight. It now runs under a road called Millfleet unsurprisingly.
This has been by necessity a briefest of brief passing glances at this site which has a history going back to Saxon times, at least, the stream then was known as Sewoldsfled. Boal Street, on the left of this picture was extremely important to the medieval port of Lynn. There's loads more; you could write books about it but that's not my job ... Here's a link to some more about Millfleet and its history.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Marriot's Warehouse, King's Lynn

How does a sculpture on the subject of the medieval practice of drying cod grab you? Hmm? Well outside this late 16th century warehouse they've put up a  grey metallic thing with a little plaque telling us that dried fish was imported into King's Lynn back in the days before Beko fridge-freezers and this is so we don't forget how barrel loads of the stuff were transported inland from here ... *yawn, stretch...*  I liked the squawking gull but found the rest was a bit "so-whatish" but maybe others will find it fascinating.

Here's the front of the building (or is it the back?), it seems from what I read that the place was used for storing salt, wine, beer and building materials. Ships apparently moored inside the place which indicates the river has been pushed back a few dozen yards since those days. It's reckoned the stone base comes from demolished Friary which was just behind here. The building is now a restaurant and exhibition space and is run by a trust to keep it open to the public.

I'd like to see this "rain barrel" in a downpour ...

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Up before the Beak

This fine weather vane is, I've since found, on the magistrates court's rear, riverside end. Clearly, despite looking like a common cormorant or shag, it's an attempt at the that old, medieval pelican in its piety motif that runs through King's Lynn.

Doing the minimal amount of due diligence that I always do for this work I find that the ancient slang term "Beak" meaning a magistrate has an uncertain etymology (maybe Dutch, maybe Saxon beag a gold collar, maybe this, maybe that ...) and is, in fact somewhat dated and out of fashion, being used only by old folk (like me) and limited to the London area. It seems "Stipe" as in stipendiary magistrate is very much the mot juste among the classes that need a word for a magistrate. Well, all I can say is that I've never heard anyone say "Stipe" in my 63 years but then I've led such a sheltered life.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020


No doubt in a few days time we'll all be keeping our distance from each other, eyeing those with minor colds and sniffles with the deepest suspicion, blaming innocents for all our woes as the civilised world (or at least the shops) grind to a virus addled halt all for our own good don't you know ... These measures (whatever they turn out to be) make the Government look like it is, at least, doing something and the last thing a Government wants to be doing is looking on helpless (as it is) and unable to prevent a catastrophe (which it is) ...

But catastrophe? Nah! Not going to happen, we'll muddle on, as we always do. I'm a great believer in the benefits of muddling on; complaining and moaning, but buggering on regardless. It'll all pass, these things do, the next story will come along to worry the worrymongers, and what doesn't kill you only makes you bronchitic (and possibly cyanotic) but life goes on or not as the case may be; and if not then it doesn't matter and you can tell them I've had a wonderful life ...

Now you'll maybe want to wash your hands after reading this ... and keep your distance, go on, back off!

Monday, 9 March 2020

Guannock Gate, The Walks, King's Lynn

If you spin around from where yesterday's post was taken you'll come across this handsome arch cum folly cum historical reconstruction that I showed before at night.

I'll post again a link to more about this here.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Bandstand, The Walks, King's Lynn

Wouldn't you know it, you post one bandstand and along comes another; this one in the Walks. This is on what looks like an island surrounded by the much abused Gaywood River, a special place given a special name: Vancouver Garden after George Vancouver who, well why not let the plaque do the talking ...

From what I gather this place in the Walks is the site of an open air swimming pool now long gone.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Nelson Street and Devil's Alley, King's Lynn

I guess all towns have their stories to keep the visitor wondering if his hosts are quite as sane as they appear. So it should not come as a surprise to hear that the Devil himself once came ashore here, at the back of Nelson Street, to collect souls or whatever a devil collects (maybe toilet paper and hand sanitizer, who knows?). Anyhow being as well known as he was (he face was in  every church and chapel, in those days) he was spotted by a priest and told to get himself gone and given a shower of holy water for his pains. Such an unfriendly reception displeased the old devil and he stamped his cloven foot leaving a mark which you can see to this day ... or so it is said.
Devil's Alley, which leads down to the river, is where all this happened and the tale must be true as a familiar of the devil still haunts old Nelson Street to this day.


Friday, 6 March 2020

Bandstand, Hunstanton

I've said it before that no place with any sort of get up and go can afford to be without a bandstand. So what if it sits (or is that stands?) there empty for 99.9% of its miserable existence; it is a testament to where a town wants to be ... a bandstanded kind of place. And so what if when it is actually being used for it is intended (and not as trysting place for malfeasance)  no-one stops to listen; they just think a band playing on the prom by the seaside on that one warm day in July (Tiddely-om-pom-pom!) is just so right and fitting that they float on by in a nostalgic revery.

The weekend in black and white is here.