PEOPLE & PLACES: A Year In Sheringham

It’s New Year’s Day and brave people in fancy dress run into the sea. The RNLI lifeboat and crew form a perimeter in the sea, stopping swimmers from wading into deeper water. The North Sea is freezing, blue skies are deceptive. A circling drone films the event.

There are rumours of snowdrops in Walsingham abbey and sightings of seals on Horsey Sands.
We celebrate Anti-Valentine’s Day with a pub dinner, drinks and at The Two Lifeboats.
Walking home after Midnight, the sea is roaring and the wind gusts up the High Street.

Shrove Tuesday and Chinese New Year pass.

A severed head of a Viking warlord appears on top of the Town Clock. A Viking longboat appears in the town centre during February half term. Vikings parade through town with shields and torches. The longboat is carried over the West-End bridge and onto the pebbles. It is set alight and the crowd cheers.

The purple crocuses and yellow daffodils appear in thick swathes along the Cromer Road.
Lambing season begins and Mother’s Day brings families into town to ride the steam train.

The cross appears on Beeston Hill and bakeries prepare Hot-Cross Buns. The town smells of cinnamon. Sea Gulls wheel in the wide blue sky.

After Easter there is a succession of festivals and Bank Holidays. The Crab and Lobster Festival, The Lobster Potty Festival, The Harley Davidson weekend and The Vintage Car weekend. The summer plays and performances are advertised on billboards around the town.

Asparagus and strawberries are sold on the roadside. The fields are yellow with Oil-Seed Rape. Crabs are in season, tasting their best.

During Carnival week there is a fairground, live music, a parade, fireworks and competitions. Thousands of visitors come to town and take part in beach sports.

In September 1940s weekend takes over the town. Being dressed head-to-toe in 1940s costume becomes the norm. Military vehicles, the steam trains and old buses chug around the town. There are bands, parades and a fly-past from a Spitfire.

The town’s Twinning groups enjoy exchanges with their European towns and suppers, wine tastings and presentations at venues around the town.

Into autumn and ramblers, bird-watchers and coaches of daytrippers come to town. The seaweed on the beach is thick and purple and some enjoy end-of-season beach-combing. We always pick blackberries on the field beneath Beeston Hill. Mussels and Mackerel are in season.

Rumours of Christmas begin talk about which local town will be the first to switch on their lights. Wreathes are sold at the Saturday market on the car park.

In late November a crowd gathers at the Town Clock to see the lights switched on. The shop windows have their Christmas windows in place. The Christmas festival in the church is bright with decorated trees. A succession of carol concerts take place around the town. The butchers shop has braces of pheasants hung outside.

Christmas Day is quiet. Not a single car on the road. We walk along the cliff tops. Ships are anchored in-shore today. On Boxing Day we walk in the woods. A clear, sunny day and bitterly cold. Deer graze peacefully in hidden in the heathlands.

New Year’s Eve at The Crown, with rock music and a disco to see in the New Year.

Sheringham is a town on the North Norfolk coast in England. Every season it attracts thousands of tourists with its quirky weekend events and festivals. These illustrations were inspired by some of the themed weekends. Limited edition prints of these illustrations were on exhibition at Sheringham Youth Hostel in September 2014 and 2016.

The YHA website mentions my work with Sheringham Youth Hostel.Natalie Knowles


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