Food, Food, Food

Don’t get the wrong idea from the title. We haven’t eaten any seals, OK?

It’s a pleasing human trait that most of us are driven by our desire and liking for food. Despite the media’s continuing interest in the so-called obesity crisis, at least those of us who are enthusiastic about eating stuff don’t feel compelled to discuss our fixations in group therapy sessions. So it is that as we trundle our way around Knumptydom, we enjoy the prospect of good breakfasts, lunches or dinners, each of which should preferably not be accompanied by the ubiquitous ‘ping’ of a microwave.

So where is this taking us? Well, it’s taking us to a magnificent seafood paella, expertly home-prepared, cooked and presented in the luxurious open-plan dining area of one static caravan, with an unimpeded view of the still-distant sea. Following this gastronomic extravaganza (and a surfeit of liquid refreshments, whaddyaknow), we are encouraged to stay the night, yet again in the capacious surroundings of this three-bedroomed, twin-toileted establishment, which – whilst admittedly not enjoying the manoeuvrability of a Knumptywagen – did seem the perfect place to spend quality holiday time.

The following morning, however, despite the previous night’s excesses, an anticipated in-house breakfast was withheld, replaced instead by a healthy hike along the Coast Path. With this unprecedented activity, we arrived at the White Horse pub at Brancaster, where we were instead proffered a wide choice of breakfast goods, provided they could be contained within the confines of a fresh English muffin. Game on!

More striding the Coast Path ensued, fuelled by our ambition to return to our campsite at Burnham Breck, whence the six seat-belted Knumptywagen would retain and return our entire party back from whence we came.

However, with Burnham Market’s Bank Holiday Sunday attractions providing too much interim intrigue, we wandered into the village to find an incongruous party of gentlemen all dressed for the afternoon in black tie, gathered outside the Hoste Arms, apparently awaiting the arrival of their slowly-dressing partners. Successfully attired and clearly well-refreshed, the whole entourage then embarked two double-decker London buses parked on the village green and disappeared eastwards – presumably to a wedding celebration in a layby somewhere along the A149.

A nearby pop-up oyster stall proved a further attraction, with one guy busily shucking to a small admiring audience; another guy laying out the freshly opened oysters on an impressively massive bed of ice while the finale was delivered by the salesman of the team, a gentleman of considerable girth. With Dickensian charm, he managed to extol the delights of the raw shellfish, while also freely admitting that they can occasionally cause digestive discomfort; that it normally takes seven years to recover your willingness to try another after a bad episode, and that he himself had been proudly hospitalised after a dodgy session with the otherwise acclaimed bivalve molluscs.

We moved on. As did several other innocent bystanders who – up until that point – had seemed fully willing to partake.

To round off the day, we successfully navigated to a very agreeable parking spot where the Knumptywagen came to rest. We disembarked; ate cake then walked onto Brancaster Beach – a vast expanse of sand with still very little sign of anything sea-like. Our guides (the ones who know stuff) led us some distance along the beach where we were rewarded with a private grandstand view of at least a dozen wild seals, besporting in a small estuary, and seemingly willing to perform a number of circus tricks for our entertainment. (No, alright, they weren’t exactly balancing balls; clapping their flippers or blowing a tune on an array of horns, but they did manage a few back-flips and some spectacular leaps from the water.) Watching them transform from seemingly disabled, lumbering grey lumps into sleek, streamlined, sinuous streaks swimming effortlessly at speed through the semi-clear water, we remained transfixed and fulfilled by the experience.

And then, as a final gesture to the day and to herald our return hike along the beach, we launched a rarely-used stunt kite which a goodly breeze kept aloft for almost three percent of our walk, gathering sand and marram grass for the other ninety-seven as it crashed, skidded and was dragged ignominiously alongside us, marking the end of a thoroughly wonderful August Bank Holiday Sunday.

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