"Stew, you really don't want to catch this, dude."
If I'd used the term 'dude' I would've felt that it put me squarely in the Woodstock generation and, coming from the mouth of good cycling buddy a generation younger, it sounded somewhat incongruous. But then I'm sufficiently old not to have noticed if the word had possibly re-entered fashionable usage.
Whether the word was fashionable or unfashionable, incongruous or not, that message from early spring in 2020 was perfectly understandable, coming as it did not just from a good cycling buddy but from a good cycling buddy who just happened to be a respiratory consultant. A good cycling buddy who just happened to be a respiratory consultant who offered to accompany me when I visited my own consultant who was treating the lungs left ravaged by the little virus I succumbed to whilst cycling in Spain in the autumn of 2017.
Now this dude was quite happy to take the advice of a dude who was actually dealing with the effects of this new global threat, and for a good couple years was successful. Then came Wednesday morning.
The slight tickle in the throat I put down to the high pollen level, especially as my now permanently inflamed tight chest eased with a couple of puffs of salbutamol. Then came Wednesday evening.
Stonking headache, shivers, muscle aches, fever. It felt just like the autumn of 2017 had returned. Then Thursday morning produced this.
Oh well! The dreaded double red. I've always been aware that it was virtually bound to happen sometime. As a result there's been no travelling, by bike or otherwise, to snap a bygone boozer so we will just have to continue on that virtual bus journey that we left at the Greyhound in this earlier post.
As mentioned then, the journey home would follow one of two paths from here. Either we'd turn left along High Road or continue along what used to be the A12 into Beccles Road. We'll take the latter option, as if we were on a number 9 bus. Or on a 'B' or a 'C' if you're a local and of an age, as I am, to remember those.
Ding! Ding! I rise from my seat and press the bell as we pass the Wheelwright's Arms. This has been closed since last year and is currently on the market. If you've a spare £345k and fancy buying it you can get a peek at it by clicking here. Hopefully it'll reopen. If not then I'll have to retrace my steps sometime in the future for Ding! Ding! Move Along the Bus Please. #6.5.
In response to the bell the bus slows, firstly to enable it to negotiate the roundabout and then to stop, allowing me to alight outside the White Horse. Except the White Horse is no longer there. Even its name seems to have disappeared.
Officially on Burnt Lane, the White Horse stood on the corner of the roundabout – can roundabouts have corners? – where Beccles Road, Burnt Lane, Church Road, Burgh Road and Suffolk Road all converged. Of course, roundabouts, with or without corners, did not exist in the mid-1800s when the pub was built on the site of a house where Bridget Ireton, Oliver Cromwell's granddaughter, had lived.
Once owned by Gorleston brewers Bells, the pub was first leased, in 1845, and then sold, in 1865, to Norwich brewers Steward & Patteson.
The takeover of S&P by Watney's in 1963 led to it selling the produce of the latter branded with the Norwich Brewery tag and it was in its Norwich Brewery days, in the mid-'70s, that I entered through its doors for the only time.
It was a Saturday evening and I'd been in Yarmouth with Dave. We hadn't bumped into anybody else we knew and so had decided to come home early. Rather than allow our respective homeward paths to diverge immediately we got off the bus we popped into the White Horse for one last pint.
It was a typical Norwich Brewery place – Norwich Mild, Norwich Bitter, Watney's Special – and was being run at the time by former Aston Villa/Crystal Palace/Cambridge United defender Bryan Boggis and his wife Pat. Bryan ran a number of hostelries in and around Great Yarmouth after he'd hung up his boots. Well, his boots had sort of been hung up, for the pub had a football team in which, I've heard, the landlord did make an appearance.
Whilst I believe that Bryan is still with us, sadly Dave no longer is. And neither is the White Horse. It closed in 2009...
...with planning permission given for its demolition and the construction of flats and houses on the site. I remember that it was still standing in 2012 but had been flattened and replaced by 2014, when I last had cause to return to Gorleston.
The pub was the White Horse. You'd ask the bus conductor for a ticket to the White Horse. The roundabout was referred to as the White Horse Roundabout. The White Horse, for some reason, has been replaced by a Stone Cross. The building which now stands where the White Horse once did goes by the name of Stone Cross Court and the roundabout is now Stone Cross Roundabout. Where's this stone cross come from? Where is it? I can't see one. I don't recall ever seeing one in the vicinity either.
It seems that there used to be an old stone cross where all these roads converge. Seemingly it's marked on an old map. It wasn't there at all in my lifetime, nor my father's. It wasn't there when his grandfather lived a few yards away from the White Horse in Burnt Lane before he took on the Lifeboat Tavern. Everyone had forgotten about the old stone cross. Now everyone will forget that the White Horse ever existed. It's already happened with the Halfway House. Get on a bus and ask for a ticket to alight there and you just get a blank stare back.
It's bad enough that they're getting rid of the pubs. They could at least leave the local history alone when they do it. That's my life they're playing with. Whilst it appears that Covid is no longer likely to take my life away, it seems that, little by little, local planners and developers are doing just that.
You want to go where? The White Horse? Sorry mate. Never heard of it.
If you've read this far, then thank you. Possibly, like me, you may have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. Clicking here will take you to a searchable/sortable index which you can use to see if I've already featured any lost locals from your locality. You can also subscribe to ensure that you don't miss any future posts. Simply click here to return to the home page (opens in a new tab), follow the 'Subscribe' link and complete the form to receive an email notification of any future post. Or you could simply follow the link at the top of this page.