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Nostalgia

Tales of the Unexpected was a popular television series between 1979 and 1988. But a few years later, Great Yarmouth experienced its own tale of the unexpected - but for real, not for fireside entertainment.

Where have they all gone? Our heritage has evaporated. Everything has changed. Only memories survive.

Half a century after the unforgettable North Sea drama involving a blow-out on a gas rig and the capsize of a rescue ship, recalled here recently, I have had the pleasure of talking to one of the final five survivors to be evacuated from the stricken Hewett A.

Nellie the Elephant might well have packed her trunk and gone to work in a circus while another ditty urged listeners to “Be a clown!”, but the Big Top has limited appeal for job-seekers.

She was no stranger to fearsome weather, having once sailed in the unpredictable Antarctic waters carrying explorers hoping to reach the South Pole.

Although it is still “In the bleak mid-winter”, we can start thinking about our summer holidays.

The year marking the centenary of the 1918 Armistice ends next Monday, but I doubt that it will bring final closure.

There is seldom a spring in the step when heading to our James Paget Hospital for a visit, however routine it might be, but my spirits were lifted recently by a surprise discovery.

We grumbled about long queues in post offices like the Regent Street premises in Great Yarmouth, but the fickle public probably misses them since the privatised service decamped to shops.

As an ardent film fan, my first reaction was envy. Fancy being paid to watch movies for a living! However, second thoughts swiftly prevailed.

Elegant homes, apartments, hotels, schools, playing fields, cemeteries...

Surely, somewhere out there lurks a millionaire philanthropist eager to help worthwhile causes in that good old Norfolk tradition of “du-different”.

A kids’ game? Well, this was anything but.

Of the pictures adorning the walls of my maternal Grandma’s terrace cottage in Harley Road, Newtown, when I was young, two particularly attracted my attention.

With residential developments springing up across the borough, their roads need naming.

Great Yarmouth

Is spotting blue heritage plaques on buildings the 2018 adult version of the “I spy, with my little eye” children’s game?

It was simple but effective, eliminating the “so near but so far” agony of shipwrecked mariners perishing only yards from the safety of the shore.

If you enjoy a drink down at your local, it is time to raise your glass and drink a toast to “absent friends” - not people but pubs in the Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and neighbouring villages that have survived despite the sharp decline in recent years as leisure habits have changed.

The sun beamed warmly down from an azure cloudless sky as Mrs Peggotty and I strolled along the clifftop at Gorleston recently, enjoying the views of a gentle sea, busy beach and happy visitors and locals.

Our Haven Bridge spans the Yare...and this column spans the North Atlantic, reaching expatriates Danny and Marjorie Daniels, long resident in Canada where they read this weekly offering on-line.

Wales

As Britain’s prize curmudgeon - television’s irascible Victor Meldrew - would have exclaimed: “I don’t believe it!”

Royal Navy

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