Tag Archives: Chip Shop

Hunstanton

For quite a while now, Sue and I have been talking about finding time for a ride over to Hunstanton on the North Norfolk coast, which has itself become something of a mecca for bikers. I believe that Sunday is the biggest day for bikes, but as I am off work at the moment and Sue had a day off as well, we decided to go yesterday (Monday). The weather forecast was for isolated showers, so we packed our waterproofs (always a sensible precaution when riding in the UK in any case).  The rest of our advanced planning consisted of a decision to call in at Peckover House in Wisbech, a wonderful 18th century house that was once owned by a Quaker family who became quite big in the world of banking. The house is now owned by the National Trust.

Anyway, I am jumping ahead a little. We set off on the Heritage Softail through our fair, but congested city heading south-west towards Melton Mowbray. It was warm although  overcast, but when the sun came out, it was a glorious morning. We got to Melton in good time and continued out through Oakham, passing the large expanse of Rutland Water. We crossed the A1 and entered the town of Stamford where we managed to lose our way for a few minutes, but a stop in a side street and a quick consult of the map showed that a little more planning could have helped as we didn’t need to be in Stamford at all; we should have by-passed the town by taking the A1 south towards Peterborough.  I am not keen on retracing my route, mainly because it is an admission that my navigation was not 100%, so we continued along the A16 towards Market Deeping but swung left before this town towards Peterborough where we stopped for a coffee (getting one of our lattes free with a completed loyalty card) and a Chicken and Cheese Deli of the Dayat McDonalds before we picked up our semi-planned route for the final 20 mile run into Wisbech.

The centre of Wisbech is a wonderfully preserved Georgian port town, although there seems to be very little maritime activity on the River Nene these days. Parking was free in every car park we saw, and we easily found a space a short walk from the centre and, as it turned out, just behind Peckover House. Like most of the National Trust houses that we have visited, Peckover House was very well signposted and it was a short walk from the bike to the house. We arrived there a few minutes before the house was due to open at 1pm, so by the time we had obtained our tickets, the door was open and we were welcomed by a knowledgeable and friendly steward.

We were both very impressed with the house and its gardens. The Peckover family were obviously well-to-do, but in keeping with their Quaker beliefs, had a social conscience and were benefactors to the town. Unlike many of the big, grand country houses now in the care of the National Trust, this was a town house that felt like it could have been lived in by a real family. It had a very human scale, although the library is a big, and very impressive room. We were also very impressed that nothing was roped off in the way that much of the furniture in some rooms in other NT places are.

The gardens were also really well cared for and we enjoyed our walk through them to a building at the far end of the garden known as the Reed Barn. This is now a large tea room and a small second-hand book store. We enjoyed our tea and cake and, of course, came away with a couple of books.

Back on the bike and after a brief detour round the centre of Wisbech, we found the road towards Kings Lynn where the by-pass was far less busy than it had been on previous summer weekend trips to the area. We were soon clear of the town and heading north towards Hunstanton.

The last time we were in Hunstanton, we found a parking area just behind the south promenade, but the gate was locked, so we ended up on the sea front in an area where there were just two other machines, a Honda bike and a scooter. While we were there we spotted just one of two more bikes in this area, but Monday afternoon is clearly not a great time for a bike meet.

Hunstanton, although on the east coast of England, actually faces west onto the Wash. This meant that the view out to sea was actually of the south Lincolnshire coast, although we could not identify any specific places.

It struck both Sue and I while we were there was the fact that last time we had visited Hunstanton, there seemed to be huge numbers of very overweight people there. Now I’m the first to admit that I’m not the exactly small myself, so for this to have made such an impression, we must be talking BIG! Anyway, on this visit, we didn’t really see anyone who could have been called very obese.

There were a few spots of rain while we were eating our obligatory seaside ice cream, but it didn’t amount to much. We had a walk around the town and looked in a few of the shops before the main reason for our visit to the place – fish and chips.

We went into Bears Fish And Chips and were greeted by a friendly guy behind the counter who reminded both of us of Owen Newitt from the Vicar of Dibley. He certainly had some physical resemblance to Roger Lloyd Pack, the actor who played Owen, but his voice was pure Owen. The fish and chips were very good and there was plenty of them. There was a good mug of tea as well. If you visit Hunstanton,  Bears Fish and Chip Shop is at 26 Le Strange Terrace, Hunstanton, Norfolk, PE36 5AJ.

With the inner biker satisfied, we had a walk along the South Promenade and through the funfair. We weren’t tempted by the rides and as we walked back towards the bike, we decided to kit up and head for home.

The ride home meant retracing our steps to Kings Lynn before diverging from our ride out to head along the A17 towards Boston. In fact, I followed rather too many signs for Boston and ened up off our direct route (again) and in the middle of that town. Although this put a few extra miles on, it also gave us another opportunity for coffee stop which very fortuitously coincided with a brief shower of rain.

The ride back along the A52 was uneventful, although my confidence in cornering seemed to have settled into  a groove and I enjoyed this part of the ride.

I still feel pretty good and I wonder whether the day out on the bike with Sue has done some good for my depression as well.

Ride Safe
Dave

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Ride Planning and Communication Between Rider & Pillion

This ride report is ostensibly about a ride that we did on Saturday during the only reasonable weather of the Spring Bank Holiday weekend. We set out to visit Bikers’ Gearbox at Matlock Bath to buy some new summer gloves to replace my old and very worn ones. We took our familiar route up the M1, along the A38 and A610 to the A6 from Ambergate into Matlock Bath. We parked a little further along the main street than we normally do and reversed the Heritage into the kerb at the side of a couple of other bikes outside a cafe and bar called “Charles”.  I believe that this must be fairly new as it had never previously registered on my radar, although a cafe in Matlock Bath is nothing out of the ordinary; there are lots of them.

As we pulled up, one of the staff from “Charles” spoke to us, encouraging us to try his place, but we were on a mission to visit the two bikers shops and were not going to be diverted. After a look round Adrian Peach’s shop, we went next door to Bikers’ Gearbox. With the help of the friendly staff there, we quickly found a suitable pair of gloves and Sue spotted an Oxford Tailpack hanging up in the shop. On asking the price, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that it was £24.99. We looked at another tailpack that the staff went out the back to fetch, but settled for the Oxford pack. This will come into its own when we head for Somerset in just a few weeks time.

With our purchases secured and packed into one of the panniers on the Heritage, our thoughts turned to lunch and we went into “Charles” (for which I can’t find a web link at the moment). We ordered that bikers’ staple of fish, chips and mushy peas with a couple of slices of bread on the side and a two teas. The tea turned up moments later in teapots with cups and saucers, followed by doorsteps of bread. Our meals were excellent and we were very happy with the food and the friendly service.

With the inner bikers satisfied, I was up for a ride and suggested to Sue that we head northwards rather than retrace the southerly route home. She agreed, although later may have come to regret this a little.

To be fair to Sue, she was a little “fragile” on Saturday because she had been out for a meal and team celebration the afternoon and early evening before with some work colleagues and had apparently made a heroic contribution to wine consumption.

Anyway, we headed north on the A6 and turned off just beyond Bakewell towards Monsal Head. After crawling up the road behind a low loader carrying an excavator, we spent a while on a bench looking over the amazing view of the valley and the old railway viaduct. (Take a look at Andy Savage‘s great pictures of this area.)

We spotted a road along the valley floor and I suggested to Sue that we could follow this and find a way back around towards Bakewell via the lanes. So we set off via the villages of Cressbrook and Litton. It was somewhere around here that I went wrong because I turned right at a main road where I should have gone left to circle back towards Bakewell. It was when we reached the Ladybower Dam (of Dambusters fame) that I realised that we were slightly off our (un)planned route.

The sign gave us a choice of heading for Manchester or Sheffield and I chose the latter as the least worst option, hoping for a turn off to get us back south. This was not to be and we found ourselves in the city centre before long where I picked up signs for Chesterfield. I was riding along, minding my own business, when a tap came on my shoulder and a hand pointing to the right ahead of us. “Great”, I thought, “she’s spotted a sign for Chesterfield that I had missed”. So I took the right fork at the traffic lights right in front of us.

This later proved to be my undoing because this helpful gesture from the pillion seat wasn’t a direction to a road, but a signal to look at the twin minarets on a large and very impressive mosque.

Some time later, on the road towards Bakewell, I realised the my mistake. Eventually we left Sheffield behind us and pulled up for coffee at a pub in the hills, on a roundabout where a road to Baslow and Chesterfield was signed. I think this was the Peacock.

After refreshment and recriminations, we headed down to Baslow and on to Chesterfield and to the M1 south and back home. I can say that neither of us enjoyed Sheffield very much, but the ride through the spectacular countryside scenery of Derbyshire and South Yorkshire was great. This was a route of a little over 100 miles in all and was a good one.

Ride Safe
Dave

Chips in Chapel

After the marathon ride which was the Blackpool trip, I spent two hours in the sunshine of Friday cleaning the Heritage until it gleamed. Most of Saturday was spent either pottering about at home or catching up on some of the Sherwood Chapter membership tasks. By about 4 o’clock we had finished and decided to have a run out. Sue first suggested the Snake Pass, but then a much shorter ride to Matlock Bath for chips.

So we got ready and set off at about half past four in the afternoon heading northwards out of Nottingham and up the M1 with every intention of coming off at Junction 28 and heading along the A38. As we approached the junction, I had one of those “Oh sod it” moments and carried on up to the next junction and retraced the route that I described in my previous post as far as Calver crossroads where we arrived at 5:35pm. Unfortunatley the cafe closed at 5:30. We continued north on the A623 across the Peak District as far as the A6 roundabout where we went into the centre of Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Chapel-en’le-Frith is probably not the liveliest of towns at any time, but half past six on a Saturday evening may not have been the best time to visit.  However, we soon spotted what we were looking for, a chip shop.

High Street Fish and Chips at 20 High Street, Chapel-en-le Frith provided us with two excellent trays of chips, musy peas and curry. I was very impressed that we were offered a choice of spicy or fruity curry. We both went for the fruity curry and it proved an excellent choice to go with the very tasty chips.

Sue was very impressed with both the al-fresco meal and with Derbyshire’s scenery, and even though we were two hours away from home by then, neither of us were feeling any “numb bum” syndrome. The Heritage is proving a great touring machine.

With the chips polished off in the evening sunshine, we decided to ride back down the A6 via Buxton. This road has speed limits and a liberal scattering of cameras all the way through to Derby. This meant that our journey was rarely faster than 50 miles per hour, but many of the bends on this road made that feel fast enough for me for most of the time, although I did move over several times to let faster sports bikes come past on several occasions.

We decided to pay a visit to my mum, who lives in Long Eaton, so followed the A6 all the way to the Derby Ring Road before a quick blast along the A52. As usual, we were welcomed with mugs of tea and good conversation before making our way home in the gathering dusk.

After about four hours riding we had still not used a full tank of increasingly precious four star petrol and I was very pleased that we had both enjoyed our late afternoon and evening excursion. I am looking forward to more of them in the coming months.

Ride Safe
Dave