Scratching And Suckling

Sue W’s post reminded me of a story from before my WP days, which I thought should be told.

Sometime in the late 1970s I travelled to King’s Lynn on the Norfolk coast in order to deliver a speech about Social Work to the nuns of a convent about ten miles away. From London this involved a lengthy train journey and cab rides. The town was etched in my memory because it had suffered from the North Sea flooding of 1953.

The last passenger train was, as far as I remember, about 6.30 p.m. This was confirmed by the sole station staff member. I arrived in such good time that I went for a walk, returning to see a train departing.

I became further perturbed when I saw the single employee pedalling away. I caught up with him and asked if that had been my train. With a look of terror he informed me that there was only the night train to come and cycled off in haste.

There was a long wait ahead of me. No dining establishments were open. There was a cinema – showing ‘Stand Up Virgin Soldiers’. I bought a large cup of popcorn and settled into my seat – one of three now occupied.

The film was meant to be funny, but I wasn’t in the mood.

The night train got me home in the small hours of the morning.

Fast forward to this morning, when Jackie and I visited Milford on Sea Pharmacy for repeat prescriptions, after which we did not linger on the coast,

the car parks of which were fast filling up with older visitors watching the sun glinting on the waves against a backdrop of Hurst Castle, and those

entertaining pre-school age children at the seaside.

Leaving Milford, cyclamen continue to decorate the roadside verges.

It was donkeys, some quite young, that dominated the roads like Jordan’s Lane at Pilley, where they indulged in suckling and scratching on any available surface.

We both spent some time watering pots and Hanging baskets.

This evening we dined on roast pork, parsnips, and potatoes; crunchy carrots; tender cabbage and green beans, with tasty, meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.


  1. The donkeys gave you some humorous poses to work with today!!

    I just read a message from Lavinia Ross. Salmon Brooks Farms has been put on alert because of the forest fires raging out in that part of the country. She says she has the cat cages ready.

      1. Thank you, I’ll stay connected to it and keep a lookout.
        I put a comment over at Derrick’s blog to let him know what’s going on at Salmon Brook.

          1. I hope you all will be safe, Lavinia. I will keep you in my thoughts.
            We’ve experienced that a couple of times ourselves…much less so than what you are experiencing, but it was still scary.

  2. I love those donkey’s, Derrick and Jackie!

    So sorry to hear about that missed train many years ago. The flood of 1953 was devastating. Too much water there as opposed to too little just as destructive.

      1. We are still at Level 1 and holding. We are lucky to be in this location, we’ll see how long that holds up. Smoke is worse today. Level 3 evacuation zone 10 minutes from here to the south. I’ll be going offline for a while after I catch up with people.

        Sad news from here. Abby cat was euthanized yesterday morning amid all the chaos of the fires out here. She had been losing muscle mass and weight over the summer, and was staying very close to me. Although her kidneys were doing very well, and the rest of her blood work they did last Friday was very good for an 18 1/2 yer old cat, diabetes was discovered. She was put on insulin, and monitored carefully, but there was something else going on as well. She collapsed yesterday morning, and I rushed her in. A large mass was discovered in her abdomen, which was quite likely cancer of some sort. She was dying on the table, and we gave authorization to let her pass on peacefully. We buried her yesterday in the garden under my office window, where I can watch over her. She was a dear old kitty.

  3. Now I know why you had the interest in the bookcase. I’m sorry to hear of your very long wait for the train, if it’s any consolation I couldn’t get into the book either!

    You have reminded me that I too have a prescription waiting at the chemist.

    I do love the donkeys, what a great natural life they have.

  4. What a memorable memory tied to a book, it’s movie, and a train. Well, I’m not sure waiting is any fun under most circumstances…but, sometimes for reasons unknown to us, there might be some good in the waiting sometimes. At least the cinema still had popcorn! Ha. (BTW: I read all the titles of the books in the photo Sue put up on her post. πŸ™‚ Wanted to see if I had read any of them, what books they were, etc. πŸ™‚ )

    LOVE the donkeys! Sweet faces! Sweet behinds, even! πŸ™‚ You take THE bestest donkey photos! πŸ™‚

    Beautiful photos of entertaining kids by the sea. We lived by the Pacific Ocean for many years, when the kids were under the age 12, and we spent a LOT of time at the beach. Our station wagon always had sand in it. πŸ˜€ Great memories! πŸ™‚

    The sun makes the waves look silvery and glittery! So beautiful! πŸ™‚
    HUGS and hope you and Jackie have a great rest of your day!!! πŸ™‚

  5. Interesting post. I love your train tale.

    I must have sleep still in my eyes. I had to reread your last paragraph…I read it all the way through like this: “This evening we dined on roast pork, parsnips, and potatoes; crunchy carrots; tender cabbage and green beans, with nasty, meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019. ( oh dear ) I just stared at it for a few seconds before it dawned on me.

    I wondered about the “nasty” then wondered if Jackie drank more than her usual Hoegaarden. πŸ˜‰

    All sorted now and I’ve decided to come back and read your whole post over again…after my morning cup of coffee. πŸ™‚

    1. Your misreading made me smile. I thought the song for the Opal Fruits advert said ‘fresh with the tang of sixpence’ for ages, until asking a friend how they could get away with that when they were more expensive. It was actually ‘citrus’.

  6. Some memories remain as clear as ever. I’m glad you made it home safely. The roadside cyclamen look like beautiful butterfly angels or fairies, and the donkeys look sturdy and handsome.

  7. I had to read both yours and Sue’s posts twice to make the connection – but I got there in the end. I saw the earlier film “The Virgin Soldiers (1969)”. Quite racy for a thirteen-year-old πŸ™‚ I can still remember part of the dialogue . . .

  8. You should have taken a walk around the town centre and the market place, it is rather grand!
    Stand Up Virgin Soldiers was a dreadful film but it had a very big cast of British comedy stars of the 1970s.
    It scores 4.7 out of 10 on IMDB.

  9. Oooh! Wild cyclamen, what a wonderful sight. Those donkeys are amusing. I love their faces that appear to be so expressive. More amusing is your tale of being stranded, after being assured that the train would not come for a long time. I love how you caught up to the station attendant, who knew you had missed your train, and knew he had assured you that you wouldn’t… ha ha ha.

  10. The trip down the memory lane to 1970s is interesting; it invoked many images in my mind, recalling many stories of the last train missed. Those donkeys are handsome, but it takes the assiduousness of someone like you to prove that to me. But I am surely biased, for the donkeys I have seen have been mostly underfed, exploited and thrashed by their keepers and therefore haters of humans.

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