My first port of call, which was on the way to Beccles, was Redwings horse sanctuary. Back in March I'd had a letter from there telling me that Rusty, my adopted horse, had become ill and sadly died; another horse had been suggested for me to adopt but first I wanted to see the others which were available. From the information board in reception I picked out two I was interested in, checked to see which paddocks they were in, then went to find them. It was difficult to choose between Cauli and Muffin but I thought Cauli's story was particularly sad; she had been abandoned in a cauliflower field - hence her name - and was found standing over the dead body of her companion. She also had a severe eye injury which meant her right eye had to be removed, but she had recovered well and looking at her grazing peacefully just a few feet away it was hard to tell that she only had one eye. So the decision was made; I chose Cauli, and went back to reception to sort out the adoption details. With that done I returned to the van, released the dogs and took them for a walk down the long private driveway.
Redwings shared the driveway with a private golf and country club, with the entrances to both establishments close together; I'd never previously taken much notice of the entrance to the golf club grounds but this time I could hardly miss it; it was now more open than it once was, with well-mown grass verges and bright flower beds bordering the driveway - well worth a photo or two even with the cloudy sky.
After apologizing for disturbing her I got back in the van and drove down the lane to where I could park up safely then phoned my friend. I expected that she would probably be at her caravan but it was a fair distance to drive so I wanted to be sure before going over there - and it was a good thing I did phone her as she wasn't there; she was spending some time with her daughter until she found a new house. We chatted for a while, during which she said she'll send me her new address when she has one, then I moved on to my next port of call, Bungay and my friends Jane, Ady, Andy and Sue.
Jane's house was first, and though I knocked several times I got no answer so I drove round to Ady's place - and the first thing that struck me was that he'd got pink and silver glittery curtains at his bedroom window. Now that definitely wasn't Ady's style, and after getting no answer to my knock I spoke to one of his neighbours who told me that he'd moved out a while ago, though she didn't know where he'd moved to. So it was on to Andy and Sue's place, they would be able to tell me where Ady was, but there was no answer from them either - now they were always in on Sundays, even if they didn't know I would be calling, so where were they? This was definitely third time unlucky, so I decided to go back to Jane's to see if she had returned - and this time I saw her next-door neighbour who told me that Jane had gone out to a family meal in a restaurant somewhere, which explained why none of them were home.
So with two friends who'd upped and moved, and three who just weren't in, I wasn't having a very good afternoon, so to make the journey worthwhile I went to the Buttercross Tea Rooms and treated myself to a meal and a coffee before setting off back in the general direction of California. As I approached Yarmouth I decided to stop off at Asda and top up the van with diesel in readiness for my drive home in two days time, but just as I pulled into the petrol station an assistant blocked the entrance to the pumps with cones then went and pulled down the shutters at the pay kiosk - the place had just closed! It was only 3.30pm and the store itself was still open - what the heck was going on?? The petrol station at my local Asda doesn't close until later than that on Sundays so what was so different about this one?
Feeling ever-so-slightly miffed I decided to try and salvage something from the afternoon and go to Caister beach. In all the years I've been holidaying at California I'd never actually been to Caister beach even though it was less than two miles away, so it would be interesting to see what, if anything, was there. And the answer to that was - not a lot. The aptly-named Beach Road, which was more of a lane than a road, ran from the main road through Caister down to the beach itself and at the end, behind a row of cottages, was a large gravel-surfaced car park, a grassy picnic area near the dunes, and the two large modern buildings of Caister lifeboat station. It took me less than ten minutes to look round and take just three shots - it wasn't a particularly interesting place and now I'd seen it I wouldn't ever need to go back again.
Back at the tent I fed the dogs and put them on their line for a while then when the heat finally went out of the sun the three of us retreated inside and the evening was spent reading and watching a bit of tv. It had been an odd and rather frustrating day in more ways than one and other than choosing another adopted pony I felt as if I hadn't really achieved anything worthwhile; I didn't know what the following day would bring but it was my last full one so whatever I did I would be sure to make the most of it.