Attendance at a wide variety of events is routine for provincial journalists but throughout my decades in the profession, I never went to a soirée! Evening gatherings a-plenty, yes, but none had that French word on the invitation.
That Scottish burr, perfect enunciation and expert timing were the trademarks of James Alexander Gordon, the BBC radio announcer whose voice on Saturday teatimes was familiar to listeners for decades as they listened to him reading out the classified football results.
You can spot it from miles away across the flat-lands of the east Norfolk marshes at this time of the year – white smoke puffing from the chimney at the sugar-beet factory at Cantley, signifying that the so-called season is in full swing.
It could be my imagination, with no basis in fact, but if someone is asked to pick a number, the chances are that it will be an odd one, not even. Limit the choice to a single figure, and my bet is that seven will prove a favourite.
The power of music cannot be over-emphasised. Everybody has their favourite, and hearing it evokes memories of past occasions, family, friends, pleasures, places... Sometimes it transports us through the decades.
No qualification in architecture is required, only down-to-earth common sense, to stroll along the main section of Hall Quay in Great Yarmouth and be able accurately to pick which of its dozen or so properties were built as banks.
Perhaps it would not have worked in a conventional theatre or a dance hall, but Great Yarmouth’s open-air Marina amphitheatre seemed tailor-made for Neville Bishop and his Wolves, stalwarts there for long summers post-war.
Although we are probably too embarrassed to admit it, most of us over-eat despite all those pledges to reduce the size of our platefuls and be sensible about our choice of food. Being careful most days lessens the guilty conscience when we pile up our plates with a traditional Sunday roast or relish the indulgence of crispy batter on a large shop-fried cod – with chips, of course.
Good riddance, I say, in response to the recent news that the traditional seaside deckchair has fallen out of favour with hirers and, consequently, is being widely withdrawn by coastal councils after perhaps a century and more of being a familiar staple of beach holidays and day trips.
Mrs Peggotty and I went to the Theatre Royal recently – the one in Norwich, of course, because Great Yarmouth’s Theatre Royal was demolished in 1929 to make way for the construction of the much-lamented and long-demolished Regal Cinema.
After a period in the dockside doldrums, the tide of success appears to be flowing into the port of Great Yarmouth. The public can catch only glimpses of sea-level activity in the Outer Harbour, but there are some fascinating high-rise structures visible for miles, a welcome sight for the many interested observers as well as the port’s owner.
So often one thing leads to another, the latest example being my feature a fortnight ago about the Duchess of Bedford, an ardent pilot who died when her aircraft inexplicably flew over the North Sea and crashed in 1937.
There will be no fanfare of trumpets, no civic reception, no pomp and ceremony, no bouquets and garlands, no reminiscing about memorable moments and star appearances. The 150th anniversary of Great Yarmouth’s Regent Hall will pass unnoticed.
The schools have now broken up for the summer holidays but, forever the spoilsport, my theme today is... education! It results from a reader’s letter informing me that one local school is celebrating its golden jubilee this year.
Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.