Clive Hayward – @Byehorse
Clive chats about his away day at King’s Lynn
I’m so pleased that I decided to go to Kings Lynn this weekend. Similar in a way to seasons when teams like Lewes have got into the league, it felt like it was now or never to visit this isolated, historic town.
I’d have been happy to make the trek on my own but I did manage to persuade my old mate The Mechanic to join me and we set off stupidly early on Saturday from Torquay.
As luck would have it, we needed every minute of the extra time because a fatal incident in the Cambridge area meant our scheduled train from King’s Cross to King’s Lynn was cancelled. We de-camped to the always gorgeous St Pancras where we caught a rather less sumptuous service up to Cambridge via Stevenage.
Oh Reidy, surely it’s time to come home? We do bouncing and everything now, and we miss you so much!
Anyway, we managed to locate a King’s Lynn train at Cambridge, and all went well for a while. Ely cathedral looked beautiful in the March sunshine. There were river boats aplenty and it was all good fun until we hit a single track section out in the sticks, at a place called Littleport. The increasingly frustrated guard gave us updates on malfunctioning level crossings and signallers who were failing to keep him informed.
The train went nowhere for 30 minutes, which we spent perusing the depot of Mil-Ken transport. Oh my goodness. What an impressive outfit. According to their website they’ve got coaches with air conditioning, seatbelts and most of them can take you down to that London for the day (because their engines are new enough to comply with that “low emission zone” thingy). They say that they provide executive travel solutions with an exceptional level of professional service, and who are we to argue?
Roy and I pondered what “Ken” is up to nowadays. He reckon he founded the firm in 1974 and after handing over the reins to his sons in the 1990s he now splits his time between Lanzarote and duties as President of Downham Market Golf Club.
After waiting for a 22 wagon freight train to come through, we finally arrived at King’s Lynn just after two o’clock.
I know Wetherspoons divides opinions. Personally, I find them reliable for breakfasts and when I saw that their King’s Lynn pub had hotel rooms I didn’t hesitate to get us booked in.
Making our way from there to The Walks, we ambled through some crocus-dappled parkland before happening across The Linnets ‘ home. It’ s one of those grounds where you can probably get a reasonable view without paying to get in. There is a slightly raised pathway running behind the home end but interestingly the foot traffic along there was steady all afternoon but nobody was interested enough to stop! The view from the away end was awful though. At a flat angle and nowhere near the goal it wasn’t great so we went for the slightly more elevated terrace along the side.
This was the sort of away win which for good teams would be described as: “Routine”. We made sure it was nothing of the sort of course, despite twice going two goals up.
Danny Wright did what he used to do more often, we pretended and sang that we all dreamed of a team of Ali Omars and thankfully three points were secured.
We had an enjoyable night on the beer. Three of us told some old stories, enjoyed each others’ company and generally had a good stab at supporting the recovery of the West Norfolk night time economy.
After a reasonable but, frankly, sweaty sleep, we made another early start on Sunday.
The plan for the day was to consume our bodyweight in fried food and then locate King’s Lynn bus station for a morning jaunt to the seaside at Hunstanton, overlooking The Wash.
For some bizarre reason I had always wanted to have a look at The Wash. It’s one of those places that draws your attention if you look at a map. An inlet of the North Sea, it is actually quite a big expanse of water, with Lincolnshire on the far shore.
We walked past Kings Lynn’s rather incongruous statue of King John. King John? One of worst rulers in English history? Lost most of the Crown Jewels in said Wash? The very same!
Hunstanton is a Victorian resort. Let’s be honest, a bucket and spade town that far north is never going to compete with the Mediterranean, but it’s a cheerful little place with a long promenade looking out over a sea populated by windsurfers and an array of offshore windmills. It also has Norfolk’s Third Best Helterskelter. We didn’t stay long enough to watch the sunset. This was a missed opportunity because Hunstanton, facing west, is apparently one of the very few places on the North Sea coast that you can watch the orb dip away into the sea. But we needed to get home and the weather forecast was cloudy anyway so we probably called that right.
The return train journey was smoother but not without incident. They seemed to be making up the timetable as they went along with unscheduled stops at Stevenage (again) and Finsbury Park (to let East Anglian Gooners out at The Emirates). The stopper from Paddington included brief visits to Chippenham (now fully recovered from the yellow pyro promotion party), Nailsea and “give it a” Worle. Pulling in at Weston super Mare gave me a rare Wash and Bristol Channel double. Happy to report no bins out of place.
If I may, I will finish on a personal note. Yesterday (Saturday), we learned of the death of Brian Faulkner. Brian was father to two very good friends of mine. He was a lovely fella, evacuated during the war to Paignton from West London. He was originally a Brentford fan but he grew to love the Yellows. When he got the chance to move his family down here permanently he did so, and for nearly 40 years I knew him as a kind, friendly man with a wealth of stories about his National Service in the army in 1950s Germany, and then laying floors for the rich and powerful. Prince Phillip once told him to “Keep that bloody noise down!” RIP Brian. We love you.
COYY – Clive
THE GULLS WEEK 14th – 20th MAR by Danny Burnell
TALKING POINTS – King’s Lynn (a) by Alan Wills
PROUD AWAY SPONSOR OF KLAIDI LOLOS