MUNDESLEY

On entering Mundesley from Bacton  on the coast road, this mill is the first thing you see.

On entering Mundesley from Bacton on the coast road, this mill is the first thing you see.

Mundesley is a small seaside town on the north-east corner of Norfolk. It is twenty miles from Norwich. The first visit to Mundesley that I remember quite clearly was in 1964, and I went by railway. I must have been there before that, but I do not remember it.  Because the line to the town was under imminent  threat of closure there was an air of doom about the station. It closed in October of that year, and my visit there was that summer, so it was my one chance to experience the line before it closed. I was fifteen. I was travelling from Norwich via North Walsham where I would have changed from the train to Cromer. By 1964 the passenger traffic on Norfolk branch lines was all hauled by diesel (dmus). The  thing I remember most vividly was the waiting room at Mundesley station, which was still open. There was a huge mahogany table in the middle of the room (built in typically 19th century railway style). The line from Mundesley to North Walsham opened in 1898, so it didn’t even make it to 70. The coastal part of the line through Overstand and Trimingham had already closed ten years before. The trackbed of the line from Mundesley to North Walsham is still used, for beneath it is the pipeline taking the petroleum condensate from Bacton gas terminal to the nearest railhead from which trains take the tankers to Harwich.

My next memory of Mundesley comes from five or six years later when my Aunt Olive had just retired from full-time work as the matron of the care home at Mulbarton. She then did holiday cover for homes around Norfolk, and one week was spent at Mundhaven, then almost brand new and run, as nearly all care homes were, by the county council. Me and my family visited  Aunt Olive where the residents were having some kind of entertainment, in which we participated.

Moving another four or five years we com to my WEEKEND AT MUNDESLEY, as part of my Block Release Diploma in Management Studies course, run by Norwich City College.

Friday. 1st -3rd FEB 1974.    We stayed at the Manor Hotel on the cliff.

I drove to Mundesley listening to the radio. Most of the course members were already there. I had a room with Steve. At 2 p.m. we all met in the lounge for a briefing. When the Esso business game started  our company (Graham. Eric, Tony, Alan and me) stayed in the lounge. We were all competing to buy freezers. This first afternoon went at a slow pace. While awaiting the controller’s decision s our company took a walk on the beach. We had tea and sandwiches, cakes and biscuits brought to us while we were working.

At 7 we stopped and had a drink before dinner – and over it Brian and I shared a bottle of wine. In the evening we walked round to the Royal and had several more drinks there. When we returned after 10’30 we found some faults in the accounts which were rectified before we went to bed at about 1 o’clock.

Saturday. Fine again. Plenty of vessels on the sea. I phoned home at midday. (Purchase tax was levied on our freezers during p.m.)

The tea arrived as ordered at 7. Steve had the radio on, listening to the farming programme, then got dressed and went for a walk by the sea. Later he locked the key in the room! I went straight down to breakfast of fruit juice, bacon and egg, toast etc. The meals were rather too lavish for so sedentary an occupation. A short walk for some sea air and then down to work at 9. We had biscuits at coffee time and broke for lunch at 12.30. Our company was doing well up to the 7th quarter when demand levelled off. For lunch had salami salad, plaice and sherry trifle. The game restarted at 2 with tea brought in to us during the afternoon as before. Things were moving faster by now, although the decisions by the controllers were also taking longer.  As no timetable was fixed we could not take another stroll by the sea.  Alan passed the time telling us jokes, and then became sore that Charles was making the game go against us. Dinner was fruit juice, turkey, and gateau. After that we spent some time preparing facts and figures for our company report. Then out to the Royal again with most of our colleagues. Brian was busy correcting their accounts on his calculator. When I got back to the Manor I had another drink as the bar stayed open till 2. Six of us played ha’penny brag. I came out about even at 1.30 when Brian took over my hand.  Steve came to bed at 3. We made out our tea order for 7.30.

Sunday.  Lovely sunny day. Snowdrops are out.  Phoned Tig at 2.30, she says Guernsey may have petrol rationing. Tea arrived at 7.45.

Steve had a bath and I came down to breakfast at 8, grapefruit, sausage and bacon and toast. We assembled at 9.30 for company reports and de-briefing. It was surprising to me that only our company had  any policy on market research. Company F which had begun by selling at the very low price of £80 and averaged selling at £105, did not bother to cost their stock. At £80 they were selling at a £20 loss. I read out our company report – with some interesting explanations from Geoff. The course ended at 12.15. I had already loaded my case into the car, and drove straight home.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

THE BLOG FOR MEMORIES OF EAST ANGLIAN LIFE

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