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The last day of week one was a very hot and busy with a number of old customers popping in and not really liking the place while other locals loving it; many interesting conversations around technology, delivery of plants and excellent photographic book full of images of Great Yarmouth over the past 20 years by local photographer Mark Cator.


Paget Garden Harvesting Begins

Day began by shifting and watering a whole new batch of plants for the Paget garden and harvesting the first tomatoes and courgettes.

First Tomato Harvest from Paget Garden

Mark Cator Photography

Local photographer Mark Cator (aka UtterBooks) popped in with two books of his I have purchased for Portal B, Hinterland and Marshland, which documents Great Yarmouth and Norfolk over the past 20 years plus. He also delivered some of his Utterbook journals for free and we had an inspiring short conversation about both our journeys to date before he rushed off.

Photography of Great Yarmouth and Norfolk county

New Comparison Site Assistance

A regular customer of the previous owner was not happy that there was no draft lager available only to find that he very much liked Estrella from Barcelona**. He enquired after several aspects that he previously liked about the old pub only to be disappointed by the response. Despite this, he liked the beer enough to order a second and the conversation moved on to why he could not work. Like many older men he has a damaged back from previously working in the building industry at time when safety was not even a secondary concern. Unable to do lifting he has decided to create a comparison website based on his own experiences and was considering engaging a guy in Norwich to help him. When he explained what he intended, and what the guy was suggesting, I outlined how much of what he wants to do in this early learning stage is available for free and he does not need to pay anyone anything at this point. As he listened to what I was saying he became more upbeat and animated and left to spend the weekend going through all the free templates available online. We will see if he returns with his computer next week to discuss the template he has chosen.

**The intention is to source as much as possible from local suppliers, however there are some excellent international beer brands that have very strong local roots where they are made. It is also good and important to support community focused business of all size both in UK and abroad, which is why Portal B is stocking Estrella Damm, Birra Moretti and Budweiser Budvar (not to be confused with the American namesake).

Old Customers and New | Kind Dislike and Love

A large group of old customers arrived in the early evening, many part of one family. Mum and Dad, who were clearly the ones everyone looked to, arrived first. Mum found the photography book by Mark Cator fascinating and tried without success to persuade others to look at it when they arrived. Dad has an allotment, which he loves although cannot dig easily because of the arthritis, another victim of poor work practises up until the 1990s.

Overall they did not like the changes I have made, yet their criticism were not nasty, rude nor aggressive, just honest and open. Yet despite the shock of the changes, for example the pool table going, there were plenty of positives from the conversation. One of the younger men took a chance on the Panther lager and found it strange tasting. He spoke honestly about the different taste he was used to without saying the beer was bad, which is a very fair review. Dad said it was not their kind of place however left the door open for an excuse to return as he was interested in the purple bean flowers that were growing and he had not seen before. They all returned their glasses and cleaned up after themselves and all wished me well before heading off to another pub for the evening.

Violet Podded Climbing Beans

Turns out the beans were ones a friend planted from seed and gave me a couple of plants during the spring and came from Wilcos in a £1.50 packet.

Seed Packet: Climbing Beans Violet Podded

No sooner had I wiped over the surfaces in this Covid world two more local men with very striking trendy haircuts and clothes beelined from across the street. One had grown up in Gorleston (neighbouring area) and came across as possible actors or performers by very clear voices. They tried the Wildcraft Brewery Pineapple IPA and sat in the garden. Soon they were back for more and full of praise and really loving the whole vibe. Leaving they announced they will return soon and bring friends.

End of Week One

A very long week, fascinating and full of interest, however very tiring but happily successful in many ways. I am happy with the reaction and the place is a ahead of where I thought it would be at this stage in terms of conversations and interest, particularly as we are having a marvellous heatwave and most people are on holiday or on the beach side of town.

John M

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