Archive for May, 2012

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

            So if you’re down Cambridge way in June or July and somewhere near the River Cam just downstream from the city, you might want to watch how they do competitive rowing on that narrow waterway. The Bumps – or bumping races – involve crews starting line astern and one and a half lengths apart, each trying to make physical contact with the crew in front while avoiding contact with the crew behind, all of which avoids the oar clashing which would inevitably come with side-by-side racing. It’s all descended from student jolly japes and alcohol has been known to be involved. Read all about it in the latest Anglia Afloat.

Wherein you will also find a progress report on the Baden Powell, the double-ended cockler which was the first boat built in King’s Lynn by Walter Worfolk when he moved to Norfolk (with a sort of poetic inevitability, perhaps) from Yorkshire in 1899. She worked the Wash cockles right up until the 1990s before languishing for a year or two in the mud of the Fisher Fleet from where she was eventually extracted by   True’s Yard museum and associated enthusiasts and moved to a Fenland farm yard where refurbishment began tentatively according to availability of money, materials and expertise. But the whole endeavour could soon accelerate if a funding application is successful.

 And still on matters aquatic, latest progress on restoration work on an upper section of the North Walshamand Dilham will shortly be the subject of a feature in The Countryman. At the beginning of May, the East Anglian Waterways Association www.eawa.co.uk, which for several years has been clearing trees and doing other damage limitation work on various stretches of the canal, organised a 200th anniversary celebration of the granting of the original act of parliament which made the canal possible. That’s just three lifetimes ago which is not long when you say it quickly but it was still before the railways arrived.

 Meanwhile, Cromer last weekend was awash with real ale because it was Folk on The Pier, with the Pavilion Theatre more or less sold out and the new venue – a marquee on North Lodge lawn – having been pretty much full up for most of the time. Miscellaneous strummings were to be heard, too, at various points around the town. And the sun shone. It was said to be the best one yet in a series which goes back 15 years or so.

 And this weekend, it was crabs, lobsters and associated entertainments which have also become a refined science in the form of the third annual Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival – now Crabster in the local vernacular. With celebrity chefs, crab pot making, loads of crafts stands and the World Pier Crabbing Championships, it was so much fun you had to pinch yourself. If you’re quick, you can still get the flavour in the May edition of Suffolk/Norfolk Life.