Let's get the warnings out of the way. Firstly this post will probably end up being rather rambling and, secondly, if it's the bygone boozer that you're interested in it will appear at some stage. If you're that impatient just scroll down until you come across its picture.
Now, back to the beginning. The seeds of this post were sown a little bit ago when I just happened to be in Sweden. Settling down for an evening in front of the TV, with a sample of Östersunds Nya Ångbryggeri's wares in a glass, (Warning! – beer post approaching.) when it was announced that the next programme would be Gubbar bakom flötet. Translated as Blokes Behind the Float it transpired that it was the first episode of the BBC's Gone Fishing with Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse. The pair were to be fishing for tench, or sutare as I discovered from the subtitles, in a lake in Norfolk. I couldn't help wondering if it was to be Fritton Lake where I drowned the odd maggot or two in my youth to little effect other than increasing the size of Lord Somerleyton's coffers.
It turned out not to be Fritton after all, but it had set a train of thought in motion one of whose stations on the journey was the time when I last passed through Fritton. It was on a bike. A bike called Isaac. A bike called Isaac because it was an Isaac. I've never been one for imagination.
Now back to the beginning, for what's gone before wasn't really the beginning. If this is starting to sound a little like the Star Wars franchise with its prequels and pre-prequels it's can't be to blame as I must be one of the seven folks on the planet who has never watched a single film. The beginning goes back to the summer of 2013 when I rode my last 100 mile time trial. I vowed at the time that it would be my last and so far I've been a man of my word.
On that summer's day I managed to reduce my personal best by over forty minutes and to reward myself I thought that I'd attempt to resolve the existing n+1 situation. For those of you who are unaware of this paradox, insoluble equation or whatever it is, it boils down to the expression which describes the optimum number of bikes that a cyclist should own.
The optimum number of cycles a cyclist should own is determined by this expression:-
C = n + 1
where C = the optimum number of bikes, and n = the number of bikes currently owned.
The equation told me that I needed another bike. The maths could not be faulted. Another machine it was to be then. But what?
A proper time trial frame. That's what I needed. Instead of struggling in time trials with a nice carbon-framed Giant a time trail specific speed machine was what was called for. Not a state of the art brand new flier though. I didn't what to cut the picture of someone with all the gear and no idea. A nice used one in good condition would fit the bill. Lo, I found one the very next day. Advertised on an internet forum. And therein lies a tale in itself.
Now, I won't be offended if you don't give a monkey's about the bike and just want to read the bit on the lost pub. As suggested above, just scroll down until you come to the picture of the bygone boozer. Go on. I honestly won't mind.
For the rest of you, I'd found an Isaac Joule frameset for sale along with a mobile number which belonged to someone called Chris. I gave Chris a call and said that I'd buy it. I asked for his surname. Hmmm!? I asked where he and the bike were located. Hmmm!!? He told me a little of Isaac's history, how he'd acquired it and why he was selling. Hmmm!!!?
“Did you used to play rugby for Lowestoft & Yarmouth?”, I asked.
“Yes.” came the reply.
“Did you used to have a canary yellow Mk.3 Cortina GT?”
“Did its back windows used to pop open when you slammed the driver's door?”
By some strange coincidence I was buying a bike frame from somebody with whom I used to play rugby forty years earlier. By another coincidence my brother was in Great Yarmouth at the time and could collect Isaac for me and he happened to have been at school with Chris's brother. It's a small world – unless you have to paint it.
Isaac was built up over the following winter and made his racing debut with me acting as the motor in March 2014. Strangely, his first serious event was back in Norfolk, in Great Yarmouth CC's open 25 mile time trial. Isaac's original motor was powerful enough to get him to cover 25 miles in 48 minutes and 46 seconds. His motor on that day in 2014 was nowhere near as powerful but Isaac still managed to finish the event in a comfortable mid-field position, passing as he did so this post's bygone boozer. Passing it twice as it happens.
The Angel was a beerhouse that used to sit at the side of the A143 in Fritton, Norfolk. That's the Fritton in Norfolk near to St. Olaves, not the Fritton in Norfolk that's not quite so near to St. Olaves. And yes, it's the Fritton that was once in Suffolk.
I first came across the Angel whilst studying the 1884 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey map of the area. Just along the road from what is currently the Decoy Tavern, but then known as the Pot in Hand Inn, was marked the Angel Inn. I had no memory of it being a pub. It turns out that I was unlikely to, as it closed before I was born.
The earliest record of it that I've managed to find is in the 1841 census when William Rivett is the innkeeper. It was acquired by Steward & Patteson from Ferrier & Co. in 1884 and was still an S&P house when it served its final pint in 1952. It is now a private residence.
At some point the Angel changed its name to the Jolly Anglers. At first I thought that this might be linked to the poet Jessie Pope who moved to Fritton village after her marriage in 1929. Some reference to her collection of verses entitled Three Jolly Anglers, published in 1913, maybe. However, it seems that this isn't the case as it looks as if the change occurred between the 1901 and 1911 censuses, possibly coinciding with a change in landlord.
Which brings me back to those jolly anglers Messrs. Mortimer and Whitehouse. I can't help but wonder just what the Swedes make of them.
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