Pier Hunting- Cromer
Cromer has one of the most perfect piers. Sturdy and broad without a hint of an amusement arcade or a fair ground ride. Instead it has the most wonderful Pavilion Theatre with “its last in the world end of the pier show”. That is variety, the pot pouri of light entertainment long since derided as not the spice of life.
The walk down from my hotel to the theatre was dramatic with the sun beginning to set and the tide going out. At the interval the sun had gone but dramatic storm clouds were beginning to gather over the North Sea. Later there would be thunder and lightning.
I had come to sneer at middle to low brow England. Its lack of ambition,juggling and camp jokes, surely they died with Jimmy Tarbuck, I knew what to expect. But I was won over. The 12 member cast produced great dancing, some musical hits (Oklahoma, Les Mis, Dirty Dancing, LA LA Land ), very good audience interplay, a bit of opera, juggling with humour, some good and some excruciating comedy . “When I was a lad you paid six pence to see the fat lady with the tattoos, now you just walk along the beach.”
The energy and enthusiasm alone guaranteed an all round feel good factor. Typically after the show the cast mingled with the audience , all part of the end of pier experience. Part musical, part panto, pure sea side, how’s your father, all good wholesome fun, I loved it.
Oh,oh,oh….Oh what a lovely pier. I made my excuses and went in search of a good malt, difficult in a town with 35 care homes which likes to be tucked up by 10.
Cromer itself is so dinky , with its pier and dominant church that you wonder why it isnt put in a box so you can take it home to play with. This is not a kiss me quick resort, there is no Weatherspoons, it bills itself “The Gem of the Norfolk Coast.” Its been around for some time, Oscar Wilde stayed in the brooding Hotel de Paris, Stephen Fry was a waiter there, Elizabeth Gaskell and Jane Austen both wrote of the resort. The pier one of the last to be built dates from 1901. The town from 1262. The name from “lake frequented by crows”.
On the morning I was there I walked the sands and cliffs to nearby Overstrand. A village with pre war Churchill connections. Few others were on the long and wide sands, the breeze was my friend, the oyster catchers my companions. The waves and the endless Norfolk sky part of life everlasting. Don’t call a man happy until he has walked alone along a beach. Or been to an end of pier show.