'I'd start car free Sunday' - Q&A with Robert Paul

The Falcon, a Victorian steam boat from the Museum of the Broads, one of the boats in the flotilla c

A Victorian steam boat from the Museum of the Broads out on the water. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

We're featuring people who live or work in north Norfolk as part of a series of Q&As. This week, we speak to Robert Paul, 72, who lives in Aldborough, is a former chairman of the Broads Society and is director of the Museum of the Broads at Stalham.

How would you best describe your job or role in the community?​

Helping to create pride and interest in our shared unique culture and heritage.

Norwich is 'my' city having been born and raised there and proud that it is known as a 'City of Sanctuary'.  

Robert Paul, member and past chairman of the  Broads Society.

Robert Paul, member and past chairman of the Broads Society. - Credit: Supplied by Robert Paul

I take part in voluntary work welcoming all newcomers to the County and helping them with learning English. I had six in my 'class' last week all of different nationalities - wonderful.

How long have you lived in Aldborough?

Fourteen years here in Aldborough/Thurgarton and Wickmere, and 72 in Norfolk.

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I was so lucky to have had a wonderful childhood growing up near Eaton village on the outskirts of Norwich.

My father opened the first 'Wimpy Bar' in Norwich, on Prince of Wales Road, and instead of school lunches, I was allowed out of school, to have my lunch at the restaurant every weekday. I had many envious school friends.

What would you do if you were mayor for a day?

I would ban all vehicles with internal combustion engines on Sundays and make the whole of Aldborough, including the famous 'green' pedestrianised and cyclists only, and call it  -  'Car Free Sunday'.

Going Bats in Norfolk: True Cricketing Tales from Keith Skipper. Pictured: Aldborough Green 1947

Alborough's village green has been a centre of activity for generations. Pictured is a cricket game in 1947. - Credit: Submitted

I would encourage more local services and facilities to reduce car use throughout Norfolk. I would make it compulsory to use a vastly improved public transport system.

Finally I would order the return of the Aldborough Community Bus, volunteer to drive it, and take all our 'older' residents on a 'grand day out'.

What is your favourite landmark in north Norfolk?

The view of Cromer Pier and church from the cliffs. Also, not exactly a landmark, but watching geese fly in to north Norfolk and the Broads in a vee formation and hearing their calls on the wing, with the sun setting across water and the sound of swans flying. 

The Falcon, a Victorian steam boat from the Museum of the Broads, one of the boats in the flotilla c

A Victorian steam boat from the Museum of the Broads out on the water. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

What is your favourite pub?

​My local - The Black Boys in Aldborough. In my younger days, there was what was known as 'the hole in the wall' on Barton Turf Staithe on The Broads.

Beer and soft drinks were served from the publican's sitting room literally through a hole in his exterior wall.

Aldborough VillageSandra Wright, landlady of the Black BoysByline: Sonya Duncan

Aldborough Village Sandra Wright, landlady of the Black Boys. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Which shops do you rely on?

Our wonderful local Post Office Store on the Green in Aldborough. And, not North Norfolk, but Thorns Hardware shop in Exchange Street, Norwich. Please may it never close. 

What is your favourite place to eat out?

'Again my local pub, The Black Boys. But also fish and chips at 'Number One' in Cromer.  And Lenny's mobile catering van on the A149 near Stalham - amazing bacon rolls.

What is a perfect day in north Norfolk for you?

​A long walk with our dogs on Overstrand beach followed by a cappuccino and chocolate brownie in the beach cafe then buy a fresh crab at the little black shed for a salad dinner later with new potatoes and a crisp glass of pinot while watching a live concert in the grounds of Blickling Hall.

Which places would you recommend to visitors?

The Museum of the Broads at Stalham with a steamboat trip - a hidden jewel. A walk on Holkham Beach. A wildlife boat trip on Hickling Broad to see the marsh harriers and cranes.  ​

Who is your north Norfolk hero?

It has to be Admiral Lord Nelson.  Followed by Henry 'Shrimp' Davies - past coxswain of the Cromer Lifeboat and more recent, Sir Norman Lamb - he did so much for the inhabitants of North Norfolk and beyond.

One final hero for me would be Sir Timothy Colman who sadly died last September. A past Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, he did so much in so many areas of Norfolk life. He was a keen, passionate and skilled sailor and held the world sailing speed record for six years in the 1980s on is boat ‘Crossbow’. One achievement among so many.

Former Cromer lifeboat coxswain Henry 'Shrimp' Davies always had a salty reply ready for those dari

Former Cromer lifeboat coxswain Henry 'Shrimp' Davies, who always had a salty reply ready for those daring to take Norfolk's name in vain - Credit: Archant Library

What do you most love about north Norfolk?

​The wide skies, sunsets and the varied  landscapes. The beaches at Holkham, the woods and walks in Sheringham Park, the rivers of the Broads.

*Would you like to be featured in our weekly Q&A? Email stuart.anderson@archant.co.uk