Winterton even today bears strong links with the sea
One year ago yesterday I arrived here in Norfolk all the way from distant Panama - emergency evacuated by the British embassy because of the deadly Zandam
cruise-ship incident and the vicious virus pandemic. It was stipulated that I went immediately into fourteen-day quarantine - hence I was delivered triumphantly into the small, traditional backwater fishing village of Winterton-on-Sea.
Of course, the locals were universally appalled. Into their midsts came a coronavirus covid-ridden overseas traveller carrying the dreadful contagious disease not unlike the Black Death that swept through the village back in the sixteen-hundreds that is still talked about to this day - along with the lone German bomber that offloaded its cargo in 1943 when chased by an intercepting spitfire, forcing the sausage-eating pilot to turn back out to sea minus its deadly bomb load. One of those bombs took the roof off the house I write this blog from now - another bomb unashamedly destroyed the local pub. Two local women, Mrs Kate Brown and Mrs Edna Hodds died when ten village homes were bombed. The rogue bomber never did survive, after the spitfire's victory roll three of the unfortunate crew were buried in the nearby churchyard which is where many of today's locals said I myself would soon be interned along with a good number of their own.
It's difficult to blame the people of Winterton for their nervous disposition. The whole world back then was in the process of falling off a cliff. Emergency laws said I should not be in the village or using the holiday-home for my quarantine - but I had been given a vital letter of safe passage by our embassy in Panama requesting hassle-free assistance in both Spanish and English that was to prove its worth during my two-month stay in this quaint fisherman's cottage - even today the locals talk knowledgeably about its 'new' roof. I was visited by the police on three occasions, asking why I was contravening emergency travel laws using a holiday-home against strict government decrees ratified by parliament. My embassy letter once more worked a treat - except the police pointed out that it was intended for the army police in Panama, not themselves in Norfolk. When I asked them to point out where it specifically said this in my letter they demurred then agreed, I made them a cup of tea then chatted about all things Norfolk - never-high crime rates were down, one of their wives was expecting a baby.
For those of you who are not familiar, Norfolk is a curious backcountry shire located on the extreme east-coast of England right on the shores of the tempestuous North Sea. The flat East Anglian wetlands are remote, with old traditional English villages dotted throughout and thatched-roof cottages built in the style of little fishermen houses. The blue-eyed girls here still wear their flaxen hair in pigtails reminiscent of their ancient Anglo-Saxon and Viking heritage - with occasional flashes of Spanish blood from when remnants of the defeated Spanish Armada were washed ashore to find an unwelcome pitchfork greeting that's still not uncommon to this day.
Of course, Norfolk is Nelson's own personal shire. It's where the greatest of English fighting admirals was born, where many of the local pubs still bear his name with reverence. The Woodfords brewery's 'Nelsons Revenge' is easily my favourite tipple, although you foreigners never quite get your heads around room-temperature flat-brown English beer. A fine upstanding German friend of ours who once stayed with us in Winterton suggested there was a good reason one of their bombs landed in the beer cellar of the local Fishermans Arms.
So, today, I find myself back here in this most wonderful of Norfolk backwaters. Sänna
is still left moored forlornly in Panama after her near-sinking experience and the Chinese pandemic rages. Over one-hundred and twenty thousand of us have died - we're battered and confused, as a nation we're bruised and bitter though these fantastic British created Astra/Zeneca Oxford vaccines are giving us a rapid way out of this murderous virus the Chinese have launched upon us. The government right now allows us limited travel, I am here to rejuvenate both Henrys Cottage and the state of my tumbling upside-down mind. Not much has changed here one year on, when I open our small five-foot fisherman's door I'm once more confronted by pitchfork-wielding locals demanding to see the English version of my embassy letter, when I point to our new roof they immediately put down their three-pronged forks to tell me where those poor German bastards were buried. The Germans, they tell me, got the pub, now it's closed again because of these global-economy bat-eating people from the far-east. Never did the people of Norfolk like troubling foreigners which, I'm told, includes letter-wielding Englishmen of dubious descent who can't pronounce their 'r's in the same way they do.
They tell me here our greatest seafaring admiral Horatio Nelson would never have stood for it. Nelson would have seen off this virus in his own inimitable style, in the same way he saw off those Napoleonic frog-eating French. The Spanish... well, there's one or two Norfolk girls with brown eyes who tell me the Spanish aren't so bad, so I show them my letter in which it states clearly in Spanish that English girls from Norfolk will always have easy passage, letter-wielding Spanish-looking girls are free, that they can go wherever whenever they please...
Note: Winterton is the old Anglo-Saxon name for winter town, meaning the settlement 'Ton' where the original Saxon and Viking settlers would have moved their grazing cattle during the winter months for higher, drier ground. During these colder days the Saxons would fish from the sea rather than grow their summer crops. Nearby, more inland, is the small equally quaint village of Somerton, or summer town, where cattle could find more succulent summer grasses. The Saxons would move from their winter dwellings to their summer homesteads during these warmer months. Other well-known Saxon derivative settlements include Brighton and Luton, though 'Ham' and 'Burgh' are also common place-names that date back to our marauding Nordic and Germanic cousins.
Vice-Admiral, 1st Viscount Horatio Nelson
, 1st Duke of Bronté (1758 - 1805), known simply as Admiral Nelson, was a British officer in the Royal Navy. His inspirational leadership, grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics inspired a large number of decisive British naval victories during the Napoleonic Wars.
Sir Francis Drake
(1540 - 1596) was an English explorer, sea captain, slave trader, pirate privateer, naval officer, and politician. Drake is best known for his circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition, from 1577 to 1580 before his defeat of the invading Spanish Armada in 1588.
If you would like more information about Henry's Cottage, a fine traditional Norfolk pitchfork welcome and wonderful Winterton-on-Sea, please click here
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Read more about the mishaps and mayhem of Nellie, The Ship's Cat