Tag Archives: Cromer

The Sally Book of Pets – a review

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this from Mr F after spotting it in a pub in Cromer.

The Sally Book of Pets was I believe the debut book by Sally, published in 1970. The book revolves around a series of chapters the majority told from the viewpoint of Sally and her take on the animals in question.

As well as having a chapter on each pet and its merits, we also get to see from the viewpoint of Winnie and her Wacky Zoo. In these chapters we learn about the consequences of introducing a new lion to the zoo which upsets Leo. Leo runs away, and straight into the middle of a bank robbery. Leo has to call on all his friends to help catch the culprits.

This was an excellent book that kept me gripped to the end. The writing was great, and the story flows well from Budgerigars, as the most popular pet in Great Britain in the 70’s through to Dolphins and Donkeys. The twists and turns keep you guessing and the ending was not one I saw coming. Whilst I always try to ensure I don’t give spoilers let’s just say it includes Kangeroos, and ‘The Stately Deer’.

Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed this book, my only slight criticism is I do think that some of the story is a little unbelievable. For example Sally insists ‘that a young calf is a delightful animal and can make an affectionate pet’ I’m sure that cows do make great pets in the right circumstances (such as on a farm) I’m really not sure you want one in your house, curled up on the sofa. I do like the aspirational elements within the book though. For example Peacocks as pets, which are apparently only kept by those with a great deal of money. It’s nice to think that this might inspire children to give up their hamsters and rabbits and save up for a peacock.*

One of the great things with this book is the way it incorporates history into the story, with the stories of dogs such as Greyfriars Bobby and ducks that went to visit the Queen. There is even an appearance by the PG Tip chimps.

Thanks to Mr F for tracking down a copy online. The one in the pub had missing pages and I couldn’t wait to find out how it ended. The Sally Book of Pets is a superb book that I would heartily recommend to all. 




*Just in case there is any confusion this is sarcasm, it’s not a suggestion that people really should keep peacocks, (or indeed any wild animal) as a pet or as entertainment.



*Just in case there is any confusion this is sarcasm, its not a suggestion that people really should keep peacocks, (or indeed any wild animal) as a pet or as entertainment.


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Death at the Seaside

I recently went on a little trip to Norfolk, a place I had spent a few years living as a child. It was only a short trip, with one night in Norwich and then one night in Cromer, as a visit here was one on my list of 40 things to do. Norwich was an interesting city, although unfortunately I made the mistake of going on a Monday night. Just in case anyone is planning on a holiday there, Norwich is shut on a Monday.

20170411_150025Tuesday night was spent in Cromer. One of my main memories from my Cromer childhood was obviously crab fishing off the pier. Many a weekend and evening were spent hanging over the pier barriers dangling a length of orange baler twine into the sea with a piece of fish on the end. Inevitably either a scary seagull would swipe the fish before it hit the sea, or the hook would get caught on the pier, never to be retrieved again. This would lead to us being ushered home in disgust for loosing yet another piece of fishing equipment. Very occasionally the line would make it down to the sea and an actual crab would be stupid enough to think a piece of Iceland’s frozen fish would be a tasty snack. All eyes would then be on the Father as he slowly winched up the line with the crab dangling off. Just when our waiting bucket might actually see a crab in it, said crab would let go of the fish and wave at us all as he made his way back down to the sea.

Nowadays of course everything is done very differently. Everyone uses nets on the end of the lines so that the crab just crawls its way in and gets hauled out whilst tucking into its fish. No skill needed whatsoever. What’s the betting all the grown up crabs are sat around drinking seaweed and liquorice tea, telling the kid crabs how health and safety has gone mad. They used to have to negotiate a bungee jump every time they wanted a bit of Iceland’s best, today’s crabs have got it easy.

My other main memory of our move to the coastal town is of staying in the Hotel du Paris on the seafront, and eating a prawn cocktail. This was the first prawn cocktail I ever ate. It had been deemed that as we were not footing the bill for this particular stay I could choose anything I wanted off the menu even though I might not like it (we are not a family known for our adventurous ways!) I remember really enjoying this particular prawn cocktail, although it was probably also the last ever prawn cocktail I had as I became a vegetarian not long after. Sadly even if I had decided I would give up the values I’ve had for the past 30 years and start eating fish again, we were there on a Tuesday. Prawn Cocktails are only served on a Thursday. Looking at the average age of those around us in the hotel I suspect that this might be because Friday is the day that the denture fixture cream arrives, so by Thursday they can only serve soft food.

We were put on the top floor which was probably also due to the age of those staying. With no working lift all the zimmer frames would have struggled to get up the stairs without at least a few of the owners not making it. The view from the room however couldn’t be faulted as we looked out across the sea and pier. We would have had an amazing view of the sunrise that we got up at 5am to watch, if a load of clouds hadn’t descended just as the sun started to rise.

For a trip back in time I would definitely recommend a visit to Cromer, as 25 years since I was last there very little had changed. Cromer is still a beautiful place. Plus it was yet another tick of the list of 40 things to do, and a visit to a National Trust house on the way out knocked off another one.


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