Saturday, 13 November 2010

Tea’s up on the Yare


PHOTOGRAPHS of wherries in their heyday have an instant romance to them, but this one is particular good. For a start it instantly transports you back 100 years by its sheer location. Very few people go to Postwick Grove any more – largely because you have to skirt a dredging tip to get there. But a century ago (the stamp on the rear of the postcard is of Edward VII) Postwick was the fashionable place for a stroll or for picnics – witness the  onlooker(s) next to the gate. Then there’s relative absence of trees. In the intervening 100 years trees have self-seeded along the entire bank here – you simply can’t get to the riverside for long stretches.  That wouldn’t have been allowed to happen then, for the very simple reason that trees got in the way of good wind. I love the smoke from the stove in the cuddy too. Read Black-Sailed Traders and you’ll know how important a constant supply of good tea was to wherrymen. And finally look at the direction of the smoke – straight up. There wasn’t much wind around, so actually the tranquil setting belies a hard journey downriver for the two, or is it three, people on board.

* To explore Postwick Grove, start from Boundary Lane, Thorpe St Andrew. Follow the footpath once the road runs out and cross the railway line. Continue walking and you eventually emerge next to the River Yare. Walk far enough and you see the Woods End pub tantalisingly out of reach on the southern bank.

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