Monday, 24 August 2009

Greetings from Sunny Hunny

On Saturday, after requesting an outing to the coast, Chumley suggested a day trip to Hunstanton, or "Sunny Hunny," as it's called. It was an hour's drive on a lovely day, but Chumley listened to cricket on longwave radio the entire cartrip there. I managed to avoid the temptation of a hearty nap by playing, "Name That Vegetable" with the passing fields. So, as we arrived, the call of seagulls was like music to my ears.

Hunstanton is the only west-facing sea resort in its county of Norfolk. It's a bit faded from its heydey in Victorian times, when it was apparently therapeutic for those with anemia and rheumatism. We arrived at low tide, which meant the sea had recessed more than a mile out, leaving almost a desert of damp sand lined with channels where the water had gone back to sea, or tiny dunes. The shore is just that flat. There were a good number of tide pools left, occasionally full of little fish, among other organic deposits. Chumley and I had a healthy round of "Is it Dead Yet" as we meandered through the rusty or sea-grass covered rocks to get to flat sand. The stripey cliffs were red and white chalk on top of what looked like sandstone, and were very popular with the local pigeons.

Of course, lunch during a day at the beach should be a healthy dose of fresh fish and chips. I have yet to have bad fish and chips in the UK. In fact, I saw an employee throw a 10-gallon bucket of cut chips into the cooker as we waited, so I know lunch was not loitering under heat lamps. I am an aficionado of mushy peas, so Chumley obliged and bought me a vegetable to stave off some my deep-fried dietetic guilt.

The weather was breezy and warm, which led us to a park bench with the Saturday Times. A young man asked me the time. I told him, and he replied, "Nice one! Cheers!" I haven't been told "nice one" since the days where my kid brother was paying me a sarcastic comment after I had deftly fallen down on no apparent hazard or some other mystical pratfall. If my deed was extra dopey, he might upgrade his commentary to, "Nice one, shortstop." Based on my prior life's experience, I had no choice but to interpret this young man's comment as sarcastic congratulations for being able to read my watch. Perhaps he was especially impressed because it's analog. "Cheers" I knew as the all-purpose form of "thanks," but I cracked myself up just after he left.

Chumley looked at me as if I had sprouted another head, but came to the rescue as usual as my cultural guide. "It's as if he's saying, 'Thanks for taking the time to help me,'" Chumley helpfully explained. "You got all that out of, 'Nice one?'" I wondered. "Maybe I looked lobotomized." Maybe I sported the same look that prompted a random jogger my dad stopped for driving directions years ago to peer into our car and assume out loud that we needed to know how to get to the Special Olympics. But, lobotomized people don't read the Times, do they?

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