The Hoste Arms and canoeing on the Norfolk BroadsPosted by Ellee on Aug 18, 2010 in updates | 3 comments
I’m been winding down this week and enjoying some of Norfolk’s stunning locations.
I have very happy memories of our family summer holidays spent in Burnham Market in North Norfolk. Those years are now behind me as my independent sons now prefer to spend their carefree days playing golf or with a special girlfriend. So I took my mother there at the weekend and found it hadn’t changed, that it was as popular as ever and heaving with tourists.
No visit to Burnham Market is complete without calling in at The Hoste Arms. It was a nostalgic visit because I have spent many happy hours there with my dear friend Sue, who could not fight her demons, and it was my first visit there since the death of its inspirational owner Paul Whittome whose death shocked us all last month when he died of cancer aged 55.
I am thrilled I have managed to order a couple of fabulous books he wrote describing his passion for his hotel where his favourite Elvis music still plays in the loos, and another with his reviews of restaurants around the world, when no doubt he was seeking ideas for his own hotel. I wish I had known Paul better as he had such a remarkable life. He was born on a farm near Peterborough and became an art and furniture dealer at 14, a gangmaster at agricultural college, a bouncer in Australia, then back to the UK where he worked as a potato and fruit merchant and became the youngest councillor in the UK, and later a hotelier and property developer with the golden touch. He left an amazing legacy behind in Burnham Market. Thank you Paul. You will always be remembered.
*I spent yesterday paddling away in a canoe on the Norfolk Broads and it was a complete coincidence that fellow blogger Maalie planned a trip there too, so we doubled up for our guided tour with The Canoe Man. It was a while since I had last canoed in Centre Parcs, which seemed like a puddle compared to the vast expanse of the Broads. But I took to it like a duck to water and knew I was in safe hands as Maalie told me he had impressively steered a canoe through the Everglades while alligators swam in the water. Impressive stuff. While these waters lacked reptiles, they made up for it with stunning birdlife, including cormorants and a beauty of a long legged graceful heron perched high on a branch as we gently paddled by.
The best part of this trip was leaving the main Broad and manoeuvering our way through the narrowest waterways where we had to duck under overhanging branches and glide across tall grasses, reeds and lily pads. The biggest challenge was having to then having to turn around and go back when the width of the inlet was just a fraction bigger than the canoe.
We had set off from Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden which was another reason I chose to do this trip as I have long wanted to see the garden. Richard Ayres, the former head gardener of Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge, had often sung its praises to me. I was not disappointed. My jaw dropped repeatedly as I turned corner after corner and saw another lush vista. It was stunningly beautiful, with miles of narrow waterways, many lined with pink laced hydrangeas. The gigantic Gunnera was a popular backdrop for photos, as well as a gnarled 950 year-old oak tree. I cannot imagine a more beautiful water garden anywhere in the world.
I hope to visit another county later this week as I plan to put on my walking shoes and head to Flatford Mill, Suffolk and explore Constable Country which I also adore; then it will be time to pack my bags for my visit to Wales next week.