The reception at breakfast went a long way to improving my feelings about The Horseshoes. Our table was already laid for us. We were greeted by a very friendly woman who cooked us a Full English to perfection. At the same time she was single-handedly preparing mounds of Sunday lunch for the general public. The bars were very clean, although the upholstery showed signs of wear. We speculated that the owners were having to economise, and were doing well to remain open when pubs throughout the land are closing at such a rate.
After breakfast Jackie drove us to Great Yarmouth where we sought the internet and found it in Starbucks in Gates Market shopping mall. Wandering around this vast holiday town we had the feeling that we were on a casting set of the television sitcom ‘Benidorm’. There is something dispiriting about swarms of people wandering vacantly or with bored expressions filling the cheap stores and amusement arcades that line the streets. Other activities included the Great Yarmouth bowls festival. Most players of this national sport are, like my Grandmother Annie Hunter, who played for Durham, beyond their first youth. There was, however, at least one young lad on the green. The idea, I understand, is to roll the bowls down the sward, getting them to finish as near the much smaller jack as possible. Having played a little in my teens, I can vouch for the considerable skill that is involved.
Aiming for Cromer on the A149 as a slight diversion en route to the correct Billingford we were diverted onto the coast road because of an accident. The diversion was therefore somewhat less slight. When we arrived in the beautiful sunshine that had displaced yesterday’s rain we discovered we were not the only people who had fallen foul of the two Billingfords.
On a beautiful afternoon we had a very enjoyable time with Don’s family and friends. It was especially good to meet his daughters Carol and Sue and their husbands, as I had known them a little when they were in their teens. Stepson Roddy, his wife Hayley, and their sons were other welcome guests. Roddy, too, I had known in his teens. Don was in great form, belying his great age. A jazz band completed the atmosphere. Don is a great fan. He also likes real ale, so there was a plentiful supply of that, to go with the excellent barbecue, managed by son-in-law John.
We set off back to the wrong Billingford soon after seven. The band played on.