Between the devil and the deep blue sea suggests two equally undesirable, even dangerous alternatives but there is little that’s devilish about Cromer on this June morning and the sea, not blue at all but a delicate shade of khaki fading to palest mushy pea and then to a very dilute milk chocolate, keeps up its hypnotically soothing motion. The place’s other colours are predominantly primary, plastic blue and yellow buckets, the seductive array of sherbet fruits and pineapple chunks, liquorice torpedoes and dolly mixtures (and remember cherry lips?!) in the jars in Amy’s Sweet Shop window on West Street (the shop boasts over 200 types of sweet), the crimson of the beach huts replicated in sun-reddened skin.
It’s not just recent gentrification, though. My visit to the deli (eat your heart out Burnham Market in terms of size alone!) has me excitedly choosing from an impressive range of local teas – I go for Norfolk White Lady, a blend of Pai Mu Tan white tea with pomegranate and cranberry. I’m surprised to learn that the business has been there for 13 years. On my last evening I stumble upon three second-hand bookshops, two of them at least clearly also long-established. I really wish I’d found them sooner.