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news that the traditional seaside deckchair has fallen out of favour with hirers and, consequently, is being widely withdrawn by coastal councils after perhaps a century and more of being a familiar staple of beach holidays and day trips.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.
Architects and builders, gold and silversmiths, artists and authors, furniture designers and sculptors ...they are among the many professionals whose achievements can leave a legacy for future generations.
It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing! Forgive the bad grammar, please, but Duke Ellington’s classic title sums up the attitude of big band fans, most of us pensioners who rue the day when teenagers’ scrubbing board skiffle and guitars ousted our favourite kind of music.
Air, land and sea - well, river, to be exact - come together today, with feedback from recent columns. First, a virtual flight to Buckinghamshire, home of a daughter of Great Yarmouth airfield pioneer “Wilbur” Wright.
Those Norwich bigwigs were a threatening bossy bunch, forever harping on about their superiority over Yarmouth and demanding this, that and the other. Frankly, it used to stick in our craw, but needed resolution by negotiation, not threats or force.
Outings have long been a popular part of a seaside resort’s programme, whether they have brought visitors into town to enjoy its facilities and amenities, or taking staying guests by charabanc to see nearby places of interest.
The idiom “a bridge too far”, meaning to over-reach, entered common usage three decades ago with the release of the star-studded film of that name. The movie, based on a Cornelius Ryan book with similar title, chronicled Operation Market Garden - the Allies’ gallant but failed Arnhem airborne operation in 1944.
It was the proverbial last straw when Caister Road’s airfield and heliport flew off to Norwich in 2015, adding to the long-ago loss of the refuse destructor, then the Bure Hotel and Smiths Crisps factory in 1985.
Nowadays we call them tracksuits or onesies. In my wartime childhood, we knew them as siren suits, a hooded warm and cosy zip-up garment to provide us with that extra comfort we needed when anxiously hiding in our Anderson air-raid shelters out in the garden or back yard, listening to the drone of German raiders overhead and waiting for the sounds of bombs exploding.
As I so often rely on friends and fellow nostalgia buffs for help with fact, figures, dates and photographs when compiling this weekly column, it comes as a pleasant surprise when one of them seeks my assistance.