Today the sky is overcast and there is fog dimming the distance and shrouding the tops of tall buildings. Will it clear later or turn to rain?
We took a long walk through town on the way to the bus station and encountered another example of shameful neglect and waste.
This handsome building was once the College of Art and Design and Arts Centre. It closed in 1996, apparently because of falling student recruitment. Fair enough, but why has this handsome and potentially useful building been left to rot and be vandalized? What a disgrace.
The plan is to go for a boat ride but we have to go via Lowestoft to find a service that runs today, because, for some strange reason, none of the others operate on Fridays.
At Lowestoft there was some confusion as to the bus to take. We were told the 102 went to our destination by the driver denied it. We checked again and were then told which stop to ask for. Drivers apparently know the names of their stops but not necessarily the names of the places where these stops are.
At the second attempt we caught the 102 and asked for the Commodore Mission in Hall Road, the stop for Oulton Broad and the Waveney River Tours.
Having stopped for a snack lunch at Crispies cafe, we found we still had a while to wait until the time of the tour but we weren’t displeased because the harbour presents a beautiful aspect, enhanced by the sun that had finally appeared. The place abounds with water fowl—swans, ducks, geese and others—which are always active and interesting to watch (see top picture). I was particularly taken by this pretty goose, though I don’t know what species it is. (See Note added later below.)
The River tour takes you along part of the Oulton Broad, turns back and branches off along the Waveney River, turns again and follows its path back to the mooring. This takes about 2 hours and is quite enjoyable, taking you at a sedate pace through beautiful scenery with water fowl, dragon flies and riverine birds to add interest.
When we landed, we had a drink in The Wherry, a quayside hotel with a restaurant and bar open to the public. We had a J2O and a double espresso for which they managed to charge us £6.20, which I think is exorbitant.
It turned out to be harder to get away from Oulton Broad than it had been to get there. I won’t go into boring details but simply say that when a bus turned up that was going to Carlton Colville, we took it, on the basis that it was at least going somewhere. Even the bus driver found it hard to believe we really wanted to go there.
“Carlton Colville? There’s nothing there…”
When I realized the bus went to Lowestoft first, I was all for getting off there but Tigger wanted to see Carlton Colville, so to Carlton Colville we went.
The bus driver was right: there’s nothing there. Well, to be precise, there are two pubs, The Bell and the Old Red House. The bus driver kindly took us to the latter and dropped us off and we waited there for the next bus out.
This took us back to a virtually deserted Lowestoft bus station where we had a half-hour wait for the 19:48 King’s Lynn bus which would deposit us at the bus station in Great Yarmouth.
We had our evening mail in the Alexandra restaurant in Regent Street. We also had a long and pleasant conversation with the young woman who served us, the daughter of the proprietors.
It has been a long day and the heat was a factor because after a grey start the sun came out and then shone all day, although it remained humid.
Tomorrow we shall pass over some of the ground covered today, although our destination and main visit will not be the same.
Note added later
My “pretty goose” turns out to be an Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus). For more information, see here.