There was something up in the tree close to the entrance; it could have been a black bin bag, blown there in the weekend's wind, but when I looked I saw a large cat perched between the branches. I spent several minutes talking to it to try and entice it down but although it shifted its position it didn't seem to want to leave its perch, so not being sure if it was actually stuck or just sitting up there for the fun of it I left it where it was and got back in the van.
My first port of call was a brief stop at Ormesby Broad, down a lane off the main road through Ormesby village. I'd only been there once before and there was nothing there only a closed-up pub, the Eel's Foot Inn, and a boring stretch of water, but having recently seen a sign pointing down the lane to The Boathouse I decided to take another look. The old Eel's Foot Inn had undergone a drastic make-over and was now a smart modern-looking B&B, restaurant and wedding venue with a large decked terrace and summerhouse overlooking the water and tables set out on the grass. It looked a whole lot nicer than when I'd previously been down there but with no boats anywhere the water still looked boring.
The next place on my list was Sutton, a fifteen minute drive up the A149. Last year I'd been searching for an old windmill but hadn't managed to find it, so now after a good long study of the map book I was making another attempt - and this time I was successful. Driving through the village and out again I rounded a bend and saw it not too far away across a field, and a nearby lane, significantly called Mill Lane, took me straight to it, although it was set in the grounds of a private house and partially surrounded by tall trees.
Just off the lane was a section of the Weaver's Way public footpath and an open gate with a notice on it 'No access to the mill', which I interpreted as 'come down here and you'll find the mill' - so I did, and only fifty yards away there it was, all nine derelict storeys of it. It was set back off the path and the land had been closed off by large sections of steel fencing though a couple of these had been pushed over so it was perfectly possible to walk right up to the old building, but I didn't. The land was overgrown with brambles and there was discarded rubble and timber all over the place, also I never 'trespass' anywhere unless I'm reasonably sure I can't be seen doing it and there was a house overlooking the path. I had an excellent view of the mill from the path anyway so I got the shots I wanted and returned to the van happy that I'd finally found what I'd been looking for.
From Sutton I drove the short distance to Hickling and paid my usual annual visit to FAITH animal sanctuary then headed over to Sea Palling on the coast, but as I drove round the lanes a 'clunking' noise started towards the back of the van and every time I went round a bend it seemed like there was something rubbing on the wheel arch. Thinking I may have run over a tree branch which had got stuck I got out and had a quick look under the back but I couldn't see anything; whatever it was I wasn't going to let it worry me though so I carried on to Sea Palling, found a space in the car park and took the dogs for a walk along the beach.
Sea Palling beach is vast, and with most beach lovers settled around the Gap area I saw very few people anywhere else and I walked for quite a distance before retracing my steps back to the van and heading for my next stop. As I drove along the clunking and grating noise coming from under the van got worse and I did start to get a teeny little bit worried, but if there was any chance of it breaking down then it could do it at the end of my day out, not before.