As the town is slowly recovering from last week’s flooding, stories are reaching the Lynn News of the many volunteers that manfully tried to keep the water at bay during the night of devastation. Our lead picture shows a group of locals from the Jolly Anchor public house, who braved the flood to help sandbag local businesses.
I don’t think I realized at the time just how badly the night shift affected my body, but for the first six weeks after losing my job in the factory, I slept almost non-stop. When I started to feel more human again, I took stock of where I was and what my options were.
I was 31, (although I only admitted to 28) with no job, a big mortgage after buying Judy out of the flat, and no real prospects. On the other hand, I was relatively healthy, had a certain way with people, and had a place to live and a car to drive. I just needed enough money to pay the bills and give me a chance to get out and about. But what was I to do? There were the casual jobs in Hunstanton that had got me started when I was younger, but it would seem like going backward to look for work there. I could maybe get a job in a bar, but that didn’t pay too well unless you were in management, and that would bring back too many memories. After my experience working in a factory, I didn’t want to do that anymore, and I never wanted to work a night shift again. So I was kind of aimless as another New Year came around.
I was sitting at the Anchor one lunchtime towards the end of January when the new owner of High Street News came in to see if the bar could let him have any change. I was aware that Dorothy, the owner when I’d had my flat above the shop, had passed away, and that John Wiggins had taken over the place in the middle of the year. He was a young chap, probably my age and seemed, from the few times our paths had crossed, to be a great guy. I offered to buy him a drink, and we chatted for a bit. He mentioned that he’d never been to Lynn Town Mart, so I suggested we went together to the opening on Saturday. It would, at least, take my mind off my financial situation to show off my knowledge of the town to a newcomer like John.
That Friday it snowed a cold, wet snow that never got to the lovely stage, but made all the roads slippery with slush. On Saturday, it was overcast, with a bitterly cold North East wind coming off the sea. I was bundled up in all the clothes I could manage to fit under my leather jacket as I went to the shop to pick up John, and he seemed equally wrapped up. We decided to stop for a warming drink before heading to the marketplace and then walked up High Street towards the marketplace.
It was crowded with a good-humored group of people, all out to have fun. I regaled John with stories of the Town Fair from years gone by and the changes that there had been. It always seemed to be cold and wet during Mart week, but the townspeople came out anyway. The food stands all had queues by them, and I spotted among them the unmistakable shape of “Grahams Food Truck”. I stopped for a moment to talk with Graham, who was running the truck himself that day, and introduced John to him.
We watched the opening ceremony, and then I suggested we go to the Lattice House for another drink before heading back. John was happy to find that I knew all the warmest pubs in town, and we were soon chatting with the locals as we kept the winter wind away. I always have liked the buzz of a bar, and bumping into people that you’d not otherwise meet, and I made sure to introduce John to as many of the locals as I could.
As the evening got later, the crowd was started to thin out. John mentioned the food truck which Graham owned, and I told him about my time running the operation out by the roundabout. He seemed really interested in my food experience, so I went on to talk about my days managing the Anchor, and the food we did there.
We carried on talking as we went back along the High Street. When we reached High Street News, John invited me in for a drink before I went home, and I gladly accepted. It had been a day when I’d actually felt like I was part of the town again, and talking to John and sharing some of my histories had been a big part of it.