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A fond farewell to Peggotty

Monday, December 30, 2019

For me it all began in 1955 with two items: a sole-lump - a fish also called a lump-sucker - and a small fun balloon released in Germany being found on Great Yarmouth's North Beach.

Time was when it would have seemed like the end of my world.

Oh no he isn't! Oh yes he is!

A provincial journalist's life is not as high-octane as many imagine.

In days long past, late November and into December would have been seen the Scottish drifters sailing home after another autumn herring fishery.

Because this weekly column often delves into Great Yarmouth and Gorleston's past, dates are all-important.

Long gone are the days when nationally-acclaimed stars headlined at Great Yarmouth's several theatres, attracting regular "House full!" notices as holidaymakers and locals clamoured to see their summer shows.

In my teenage years postwar, pocket money was a pittance - half-a-crown a week if you were lucky.

A bold claim to be "The Resorts that have Everything" served Great Yarmouth and Gorleston well as a publicity slogan in our sixties heydays.

Popular opinion claims that good things come in threes. So, to underline the point, here is a trio - of coincidences!

Despite possessing a journalist's thick skin, I must admit to suffering an inferiority complex over... mobile telephones!

Here we are into October, and it is safe to say that many of the older residents of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston will cast their minds back to those halcyon days when the annual autumn fishery was in full swing here.

For more than eight decades traffic on Hall Quay and across the Haven Bridge, and activity in the River Yare, have been "monitored" through unblinking eyes... that see nothing.

Older readers with long memories will readily recall the era when the borough of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston had two general hospitals, one on either side of the river.

It was only recently that I mentioned here the famous Peggotty's Hut, a fictional dwelling created from an upturned boat on Great Yarmouth beach in the 19th century.

It's not cricket, football fans might grumble, because recently we reflected on the summer game in the Great Yarmouth neighbourhood. So to redress the balance, today we feature soccer.

We all have souvenirs, perhaps of holidays, family, pets, memorable occasions... American songstress Connie Francis had a best-selling record with "Among My Souvenirs" in the 1950s.

It looks nothing more than a square of unkempt land between Gorleston's riverside and the sloping cliffs below houses, but it has history... and might well have a future.

At first, I thought that thrilling Cricket World Cup victory by England would stimulate public interest at grass-root levels, only for a crushing defeat in the first Ashes Test against Australia slogging euphoria for six.

As anybody drawing an old-age pension will confirm, it is hard to change the habits of a lifetime.

Trains and Boats and Planes... This travel trio was the title of a Dionne Warwick 1966 hit song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

VE Day and VJ Day in 1945, celebrating the end of the wars in Europe and the Far East, are still recalled annually although nearly three-quarters of a century has passed.

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