Diss, the Wensum and Swaffham, Saturday 13 June 2015
“Godzilla eats Diss” – Let’s Not
“On Reaching the Wensum”
“I wanna fly my biplane low over Swaffham” On Reaching the Wensum
Though our map of destinations bagged is starting to look healthier (not too far off the half-way point now) a cursory glance reveals that we’ve previously neglected the East of England. This weekend we firmly aim to set that straight – our bags are packed and we’re leaving in a minute.
We begin our East Anglian odyssey at Bury St Edmunds (henceforth referred to as Bury Noel Edmunds or BNE) to see the band play at the Apex. It’s the first HMHB gig we’ve been to for over a year and it’s good to spot a few familiar faces, although due to a stop-off for burgers on the way to the venue, we just miss Chris Rand, mastermind behind the legendary HMHB lyrics site.
In the wake of the death of Christopher Lee, Blackwell et al come on stage to the strains of ‘Sumer is Icumen In’, prompting the more cinema-literate audience members to shout out quotes from ‘The Wicker Man’. Nick chides me for being baffled by all of these, as well as failing to identify Joy Division’s ‘Shadowplay’ during the encore.
Between songs there are musings on the East of England Tank Museum in (“It’s not like there are tank museums in the North, West or the South of England”); the pros and cons of wearing two jumpers at a Dead Kennedys gig; and a frisbee-share arrangement with Duncan Welch from school. We learn that Welch is yet to return the frisbee.
The following morning we leave BNE by the A-141, riding straight into the torrential downpour predicted by Blackwell, who’d seen the weather forecast on Countryfile. It’s no fun – all white vans speeding past, and overshoes filling up with lukewarm rainwater. After we bag Diss, things start looking up, with the rain easing off, and the roads becoming more bucolic – you can barely move for signs promising asparagus next left.
On reaching the Wensum, we bear west towards the day’s final destination. We’re disappointed at the lack of a decent sign to provide photographic evidence of our arrival (something along the lines of “Welcome to Swaffham, home to low-flying bi-planes” would have been nice) but decide that the ‘Swaffham Kebab & Pizza House’ will suffice.
Striking our usual winsome poses, we’re taken aback when a disgruntled junior employee with a vaguely threatening manner marches across the road and asks us why we we’re taking photographs of his establishment. We decide against explaining the Biscuit Tour, or pointing out to him that we’re not in Belarus, North Korea or any other regime with a poor human rights record, but in East Anglia, where freedom of the press is generally respected, and instead mumble something about needing to show we’re in Swaffham. He scuttles away moodily, saying nothing, and we reflect on the possibility that we might just have been mistaken for lycra-clad immigration officers. Sadly this episode of bizarre paranoia means we’re unable to recommend a visit to the Swaffham Kebab & Pizza House. Heaven knows what they’ll do if they ever find out they’re on Google Streetview.