Yes, today is our last full day here. We have to be out by 10am in the morning, so that will mean an early start!
This morning started out reasonably bright, but the clouds looked threatening, so we made an early start, going into Cromer to begin with to pick up a few bits and bobs that we had seen earlier in the week.
We also investigated probably the only street we had yet to go down, and found a craft shop there that had some bargain priced balls of wool, so Sally stocked up on colours that she liked. We also found a tiny bakery that makes all it's own products on site, and bought a couple of freshly baked Chelsea buns that looked rather nice.
As we walked back to the car along the seafront, taking our last look at the pier and bidding Cromer a fond farewell, it started to gently spit with rain. Making our way along the coast road, we went through Sheringham and carried on to Cley on Marsh, which has a Norfolk Nature Trust shop and cafe overlooking the marshes and out to sea.
They also have a shop there selling binoculars and telescopes, which was my main reason for wanting to visit it. I was a bit disappointed to discover that they didn't have any Leica binoculars in stock, as I was really hoping to have a play with some, but instead had to settle for a go with a pair of Zeiss ones. The large viewing window allows you to really try them out, and I have to say, they were rather good - a significant improvement over mine.
As I handed them to Sally to try, I said "don't drop them", and I'm glad to report that she didn't. At this point, I knew the price of them, but she hadn't seen the tag just yet. She tried them, and was very impressed with them. Then when she looked at the tag, I'm not sure whether she almost dropped them in shock or held onto them as though her life depended on it! They were £1,220!!! (mind you, that was a special offer price, they should have been over £1,300!)
The very friendly and helpful chap in the shop then passed over another pair to try, this time by a company called "Meade" I think they were. These were £299, and you know what, there really wasn't that much difference in the quality of the optics, and certainly not a grands worth of difference. He then let us try some Minox ones at less than £200, but for me, these were definitely not as good.
We left him to go to the cafe to "have a talk about it", saying that we would see him later. Sally was quite happy for me to have them, but I have to confess that I really don't see the point - it's not as though I get much use out of the ones I have, (less than £50 from eBay!), and unless I do take up bird watching or suchlike, I am happy to make do with my cheapo ones. It was certainly an experience though, and it was very interesting to compare various products at such extreme prices.
We had a drink in the cafe and spent some time admiring the view. It was pretty busy in there, and I can imagine that it does get quite crowded with bird watchers when the weather is not so kind - the view from inside the warm dry cafe is almost as good as being on the marshes themselves.
The drive back to Sheringham saw a bit more drizzle, but this had stopped by the time we got to the car park. A quick wander around later, and we had picked up a few more bits that we had spotted earlier in the week, and also had spotted a few alternatives for our last dinner on the coast.
By the time we got back to the van, it was raining heavily, and this continued for quite a few hours. We made a start on packing our bags to make for a quicker get away in the morning, and I had a little doze on the sofa while Sally carried on with her crocheting.
It was still raining very heavily when we went back to Sheringham in the early evening. The roads had large puddles in them, and there were very few people out and about. We found the chip shop called "Dave's", and I nipped out of the car and got us both cod and chips. We parked up in the cliff top carpark, and ate the large and delicious portions. The rain continued to hammer against the windscreen, doing its best to spoil our view of the sea.
Driving back to the van, there was no let up in the rain, and I did wonder if someone had forgotten that we are not actually in a tent this year. It always seemed to rain on our last night when we were camping, making packing the tent away a real pain, and getting it dry once we were home almost impossible.
So, here we are now, warm and dry inside the caravan as the rain patters away against the roof, a mug of black coffee in front of me. Most of our things are packed away, and all that remains is for us to have one last sleep in the cramped bed, one last shower in the tiny cubicle, one last breakfast in the kitchenette, to cram all our bags into the car and head off home, back to our "real" life and our "real" home.
Yet again, we have proven that you don't necessarily miss all the home comforts (not that we have roughed it yet again this year), you don't need all those clothes that cram the wardrobes to bursting point, all those "things" that clutter shelves and cupboards. You don't even really need a television. Yes, we have watched some things while we have been away, but very little that I would have minded missing. Radio 4 has been our companion for most of the time, certainly while in the car and during the early evenings and in bed. Are we showing our age or just growing up? I will let you decide that one.
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