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Author’s Cromer signing session for book revealing highs and lows of running a north Norfolk guest house

PUBLISHED: 15:00 28 November 2011

Samphire Coast by Robert Greenfield

Samphire Coast by Robert Greenfield

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The highs and lows of running a north Norfolk guest house are candidly revealed in a new book.

A rollercoaster of emotions from winning top awards to enduring guests from hell is charted by Robert Greenfield in Samphire Coast.

It tells the story of Robert and partner Michael uprooting from their London lives as a fashion designer and hairdresser to take on the challenge of putting their stamp on a two star B&B Holly Lodge at Thursford Green.

The warts and all story includes the trials and tribulations of buying and converting the property.

Setbacks including a powercut during a hotel inspector visit, which tested their initiative.

Triumphs were a string of awards culminating in winning a national B&B “Oscar” in 2004 after rocketing from two stars to five.

Anecdotes about guests recall helping a tearful trans-sexual escape the clutches of a TV documentary crew, and a wedding party of “hooligans” who caused untold devastation to a series of rooms, paying a cheque for damages without apology before leaving.

A tipsy and demanding woman was the first to go into the blacklist book, and a far from judicious judge was the first to be thrown out.

The debut book by Mr Greenfield, laced with insight and humour, ends with the couple selling up when they were at the pinnacle of their fame.

He said: “Winning the awards was the icing on a cake having set out on a new career in Norfolk, which was a big risk and a complete adventure.

“Most of the guests were fine - brilliant people from all walks of life. The bad ones were part of a rogues gallery, who were not fun at the time, but in hindsight you can smile,” said Mr Greenfield, from Stiffkey, who now runs an interior design business and holiday cottages at Stiffkey and Salthouse.

● Robert Greenfield is signing copies of Samphire Coast (Vanguard Press £9.99) at Jarrold’s store in Cromer this Saturday December 3 from 11am to 1pm.

21 comments

  • Julsy, to have a case you have to make one. That you have failed to do.Norfolk Living is completely irrelevant to real life in Norfolk but touts him as a well known Norfolk figure! The rest of the world awaits if you dont find as as up to date as you'd like but thats why people come here, we arent all in a rush to make our next profit!

    Report this comment

    Mr Majika

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

  • So Mr Majika would you prefer the entrepreneurial amongst us to stay away? Not to bring prosperity & jobs into the area? 'Leave our Norfolk alone' I hear the cries. That's what I read when I read your comments. Our media is full of doom and gloom these days and when a success story comes along all some folk can do is simply moan about it! I wasn't alive during the war but i'm fairly sure that this wasn't the attitude that won it (I'm suggesting that perhaps Mr Majika was alive then so context is everything). What does book signing have to do with being a celebrity? People who enjoy a book make a connection with the author. What better way to connect than to meet the man himself at a local bookshop? Good on Robert, good on Jarrolds and good on north Norfolk.

    Report this comment

    Gary Dickenson

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

  • I love a lively discussion.

    Report this comment

    Blogg House Boy

    Monday, December 5, 2011

  • Hats-off to Jarrold in Cromer for supporting a local author (well-qualified) to pen this inspirational, highly entertaining, and heartfelt page-turner: Samphire Coast - and sharing his amazing experiences and mind-blowing success in a new venture: Compelling twists and turns all the way. This chap (the author) very-well known in his field and ex-famous fashion designerinterior designer risks all for an adventure of a lifetime. I will certainly be buying signed copies this Saturday as Xmas stocking-fillers. No wonder it's the fastest selling paperback in Norfolk! A must-read...

    Report this comment

    Bill

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

  • And levelling accusations like that on the flimsiest of imagined pretexts Gary makes you morally superior? I don't think so. I think. You rant; my opinion is you're a fool.

    Report this comment

    Mr Majika

    Friday, December 2, 2011

  • JD; what makes you think they shouldnt be able to run a B&B without experience. Good for them in trying something new. Thats the difference between people in Norfolk and the rest of the country. Others realise there is another world out there instead of their own little village.

    Report this comment

    julsy

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

  • It amazes me how people with no experience of the hospitality industry think they can run a B&B or hotel, immediately.

    Report this comment

    j.dewsbury

    Monday, November 28, 2011

  • Hmmm I rest my case..........stuck in the past.

    Report this comment

    julsy

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

  • Another one who assumes & thereby become an ass.I am not, as you like to believe and dismiss in your ageist way some Norfolk pensioner & that comment merely illustrates why so many of us born & bred here are tired of patronising metropolitans coming along and assuming you know best about Norfolk.

    Report this comment

    Mr Majika

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

  • Another ass making an assumption. And revealing himself as ageist. I'm under fifty, old darling, but not so old as to despise patronising incomers! Welcome to Norfolk if you want to contribute. If you want to tell us where we are all going wrong, stay in London!

    Report this comment

    Mr Majika

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

  • BTW David, many of those who join us are of the age you just attacked, sensible folk who want to retire somewhere beautiful. I'm not against entrepreneurs or businessmen;just the patronising ones like you.

    Report this comment

    Mr Majika

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

  • Hmmm... Mr Majika, you sound so judgemental... I risked everything selling-up for a new life in Norfolk, and worked really hard to make my new venture (a career I never tried before) into a success. It brought rewards beyond my wildest dreams! I wrote Samphire Coast to share my amazing experiences with other in the hope they'd be inspired, because sometimes a little naivety can go a long long way... I hear my book is the fastest selling paperback in N. Norfolk! Hats-off to Jarrold in Cromer for supporting a (local) author!! I consider Norfolk my home now, and find the people of this beautiful county very welcoming... Yours truly the author of Samphire Coast.

    Report this comment

    Robert Greenfield

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

  • I love a lively discussion.

    Report this comment

    Blogg House Boy

    Monday, December 5, 2011

  • As I said Robert (obviously your book is better read than my comments) good luck to you. I applaud your sense in joining us up here. I just decry the easy cult of celebrity that seems to be pervading even here these days!

    Report this comment

    Mr Majika

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

  • JD, Samphire Coast is a terrific, well written and very candid book - how can you comment if you haven't read his story, and incidentally their B&B won all the top national awards - not forgetting bringing-in lots of extra tourism to the County, because people from all over the country wanted to stay in their unique boutique establishment. Norfolk welcomes all! And is not for the myopic few... BTW... the author is very well-known in his field and his descriptions of places in the county are second to none. He must be commended for breathtaking success achieved in a new career from scratch. BTW... there are so many more surprises in Samphire Coast than meets the eye. It's a corker of story - very well crafted and it looks like Mr Greenfield is going to be a very successful author too. A credit to the county!

    Report this comment

    Bill

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

  • He lives in north Norfolk. He's got a business in north Norfolk. He's contributing to the local economy and written a book about it. If that's not roots in and local I don't know what is. What's the depth got to do with it? Your comments are borderline fascist.

    Report this comment

    Gary Dickenson

    Friday, December 2, 2011

  • Julsy;good luck to em.But is every small businessman in North Norfolk going to get a book signing in Jarrolds Cromer? Dont think so. & You'll notice they dont run the B &B anymore. Shame some GENUINE North Norfolk characters cant get such consideration, some real stories of North Norfolk life, not the tales of folk who retire here;I applaud their sense in coming here, shows good judgement, but hardly deep rooted in Norfolk. Norfolk is Keith Skipper, Shrimp Davies, the Singing Postman, a horde of stuff , not Amanda Holden, nice interior designers on a career change & ANYTHING from North Norfolk Living magazine!

    Report this comment

    Mr Majika

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

  • For all I know it's probably a very good book, but why does it justify a signing session at Jarrolds in Cromer? The author is hardly a celebrity! Huckerby is signing his book there the day before;are they looking to get their moneys worth on the pen & table they're using?

    Report this comment

    Mr Majika

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

  • Deary me Gary, you do seem good at reading between the lines and finding stuff that isn't there. I merely asked the question why celebrity seems so easy to come by? I'm all for jobs in N Norfolk, and also greatly in favour of allowing our communities to thrive & evolve. Something a lot of our newer residents oppose (QV the new Tesco at Sheringham, the new LIDL at Cromer) But five minutes in the press, an appearance on Big Brother? I dont object to people coming to Norfolk (read my comments properly) I object to be told that people with Norfolk roots as deep as a stick of celerys are local characters.

    Report this comment

    Mr Majika

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

  • Well What can I say, its threads like this that make me proud to me be norfolk born and bred (NOT). Get a life guys people come to Norfolk to Live and work and why not its one of the most beautiful places in the country. Dont penalise people that can be bothered to get of their bums, work hard and make a success of a project, that contribute to this fragile economy and pay their way, oh and probably contribute towards Mr Majikas winter heating allowance. Well said Gary Dikenson for talking sense and using your real name!

    Report this comment

    David Hobart

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

  • Well Mr Majika, old darling, you might be a wizard but you don't impress me. You do seem to have some really strong opinions about incomers - a bit rich coming from a blow-in from Walpurgis! Norfolk is all about Keith Skipper, Shrimp Davies and the Singing Postman is it? God help us! Very nice people of course but two of them did pass away many years ago - keep you a troshin' Keith. I say, good luck to Mr Greenfield and anyone else that wants to come and contribute to the cultural and business life of our beautiful county. P.S. There is a rumour going around that Jeremy Clarkson is at present negotiating to buy a holiday home at Burnham Market. I bet he will buy all his groceries from Waitrose before he leaves London.

    Report this comment

    Blogg House Boy

    Monday, December 5, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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