Downham Market

It’s late morning and I’m driving through The Fens in Norfolk, making my way to the small town of Littleport.  Having left plenty of time for the journey there is time to linger and I meander along the A1101 at a gentle pace, savouring the fresh Fen winter air gushing through the partially opened window whilst looking out at the vast expanse of fields either side of the road.  I am accelerating over The Old Bedford River Bridge in the picturesque historical Fenland town of Wenley when I am met by the sight of water covering the road (see picture 1) and am forced to break hard, coming to a halt in the shallows.

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On getting out the car and inspecting the severity of the flooding, it is apparent that it is too deep to attempt to drive through.

Though the Welney area is liable to flooding in the winter I have never seen the road covered or such extensive flooding along The Old Bedford (see below).

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With my plans scuppered I head back on the route from which I came and with little to do I decide to make a stop for an early lunch in the Fenland market town of Downham Market, a place that I have visited periodically throughout my life.  Overlooking the market area is the town’s most famous landmark, the black and white clock tower (see picture), which was erected in 1878.

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The only other site that I can conceive of being of potential interest is St. Edmund’s church (see picture).

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Diagonally opposite the church is Downham Tandoori (see below), my favourite Downham eatery, though admittedly the only place I’ve dined in the town in recent years.  Downham Tandoori has a picture of the iconic clock on its menu.  As I will be dining here this evening I decide to find alternative arrangements for lunch.

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The next eatery I stumble across is the Chinese take-away Tasty House (see picture), a name which is supposed to whet the appetite but with premises that certainly do not.

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Virtually next door to Tasty House is Millennium Pizza & Kebab, which utilises an abundance of colour in its depictions of the food items presented on its exterior (see picture).  They are so bright however as to be virtually luminous, evoking thoughts of chemicals and radiation.  At any rate the darkened exterior shows little sign of life and I move on.

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In the pedestrianised shopping area near the town centre, I come across this Greggs (see picture), by far the largest member of the chain I have ever seen.  Typically and until this moment I assumed universally that Greggs were always small establishments catering only for take-away, but this Greggs has a large dining area attached.

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For those not familiar with the baking behemoth, Greggs are located throughout the land and offer an abundance of sandwiches and baked items, including but not limited to sausage rolls, steak bakes and tuna melts.  I enter the bakery and purchase two sausage rolls, a packet of salt & vinegar crisps and a coca-cola, which I plan to eat in the dining area, but after discovering that the dining area is a place that hope deserted a long time ago, I make the decision to eat the items on-route to the car.

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