“Let’s meet at Thornham Deli at 11:00am” enthuse our friends, newly arrived at their static caravan – to find the police knocking on their neighbour’s door. (We didn’t dob him in after our cycle-based ‘conversation’ with self-same neighbour the day before, honest!)
OK, sounds like a plan, so Chief Navigating Officer checks the map and Thornham is some way distant in a westerly direction from our current position. Cycles? Bit too far on busy, narrow roads solely occupied and wholly dominated by the entire high-end, four-wheel-drive output of Jaguar Land Rover’s Solihull plant for the 2020-2021 fiscal year; all finished in a menacing shark grey (with gills down the side for added threatenability) and an entry-level price tag (new – which they all were) just north of £83k. All were sporting the latest line in personalised registration plates neatly affixed below giant, shiny, cyclist-consuming radiator grilles. Maybe not then.
Bus? The Norfolk Coastliner departs nearby Burnham Market every hour, we note – and what a childish thrill if we were to board one of those – kites, buckets, spades, towels all tucked chaotically under our arms. The prospect of a return journey, well after-hours and probably well drunk, minus all our possessions (including the van keys) with little idea of where (or how) to get off – all served to downgrade our sylvan expectations and we pondered some more.
Taxi? Imbued with a lifetime of parental influence, that was certainly not an option for the likes of us – the fares will inevitably cost almost as much as a Range Rover (admittedly used and in an unattractive colour.) And each way. Move on.
Then, out of a rising transportation despondency, we distil a moment’s inspiration: Why don’t we just go in the Knumptywagen? Well, I’ll tell you why. 1) We’ve paid for our campsite pitch and we’re damn well going to get our money’s worth. 2) We’ve already – at some significant effort – already deployed our steadies, for goodness sake. 3) One end of the windbreak is attached to the cycle rack (with a bunjee cord, I’ll have you know, what do you take us for – idiots?) 4) It’s August Bank Holiday Saturday, ferchrissake, it’ll be BEDLAM out there and parking will be a NIGHTMARE. And then, finally, 5) Although there is no 5.
So, up sticks, and off we jolly well go.
Our Thornham Deli brunch was just bloody delightful – fulsome, flavoursome, extensive and smilingly served. A half-empty car-park welcomed us, having bowled along a similarly unpopulated A149 as if we owned it. Friends arrived almost simultaneously and – somehow – already knew that a Bank Holiday table for the six of us was ready and waiting, even though the café took no bookings. Mightily impressed, we swept in like royalty, proud of our association with temporary residents, who not only knew a thing or two, but also owned a nearby static caravan that hadn’t been visited by the Police.