Pensthorpe 2023 – The Explorer

The penultimate post in my Pensthorpe series, dealing with the Explorer ride.

This is the fourth post in my series about my part in the West Norfolk Autism Group excursion to Pensthorpe on Saturday. This one looks at the trip on the explorer which showed as the stuff we could not get on foot.


With the explorer due to leave at 12:00 I was ready for it by 11:50, and I got an excellent seat, at the front left of the trailer (most of the really interesting sights are off to the left as one travels, so sitting on the left side of the vehicle is a good idea). Our driver/guide gave us extraordinarily wide ranging information of everything from present arrangements at Pensthorpe, to the effects of WWII on the land (food shortages meant that every last ounce of crop had to be extracted from the land, which meant that the soil was hugely overworked and took a long time to recover), to the history of human settlement at Pensthorpe, to details of Pensthorpe’s position at the southern edge of the northern ice-sheet during the last era of glaciation and the effect that that had on the local landscape. There were also details about oak trees, and how the three survivors of the great storm of 1987 could be proven to be such (oaks don’t produce acorns until they are 40 years old or more, which means that an acorn bearing oak dates from 1983 at the earliest, and all three trees are acorn bearing), nesting boxes of various kinds (three different species of owl were catered for, plus bats (specifically pipistrelles, a tiny species about the size of a human thumb) whose boxes were organized in a group of three at different angles, as bats don’t like to be warm, so need to be able to move out of the sun), and other nesting platforms. The ecological importance of the Wensum, as a chalk river, was also stressed. One part of our route had once been a railway line, transporting goods (it never had a passenger service), which fell victim to Dr Beeching 60 years ago.

It was a cold journey due to the weather, which is one reason why I did not go round a second time, but it was very enjoyable in spite of the conditions.

The Case of the Crooked Camera Repairers

The story that is the raison d’etre for this post is already in the hands of Adam Lazzari, the EDPs chief reporter for Fakenham and Dereham. It concerns the situation with my Nikon Coolpix P520, and the plain text version is here:


This is the story of the fate of my Nikon Coolpix P520 up to today, when I uncovered evidence that admits of no interpretation other than serious criminality on the part of Messrs Christopher Robert Simpson and Mark Gregory formerly of The Camera Repair Company, Dereham.

The significant milestones are as follows:

  • October 27th took camera in for repairs, handed over a deposit and was told I would be contacted as soon as they had identified the fault.
  • A week and a half later I was told that the fault was a damaged USB port and associated damage to the motherboard. I was assured that they could fix it in approximately ten working days, so although I was going to have to pay for the privilege I agreed to the deal.
  • Three full weeks (i.e 15 working days, since there were no public holidays in the period concerned) later I phoned them to ask what was going on and was told that they just needed to perform quality checks and would then be able to return the repaired camera to me.
  • On the Saturday following having mean time heard nothing I phoned them to find out what was going on, and was told it should be ready by Monday.
  • Thus on the Monday following that I went to Dereham expecting to pick up the camera and was told that one of them was doing a job in King’s Lynn the following evening and that they would return the camera to me then.
  • That following evening no one showed up, so…
  • On the Wednesday I made another trip to Dereham expecting to return with a functioning Coolpix P520. I was then told that the replacement board had malfunctioned and that they needed another which they were waiting for. They also said that as soon as it was ready they would deliver it to me. So I waited, and waited and waited some more, hearing nothing until…
  • I decided that today, with them having had three full working weeks since Christmas to get things sorted I was going over to Dereham one more time and come hell or high water would return with a camera, which brings us to what I as a classical music lover call…


I arrived at the shop to find it shut and locked, and with a notice from Brown & Co Estate Agents attached to the door, explaining that the shop had been repossessed and that more information could be obtained from them. Therefore, I travelled on to Norwich (no extra cost – on First Eastern Counties one gets a day pass rather than a return ticket) to find the branch indicated (I wanted to do this face to face, not over the phone). There I found out that I was far from being the only person in this situation and that the repossession had been because they owed the estate agents a large amount of money. Additionally, I was informed that when the agents went to repossess the shop and change the locks they found it already stripped bare, and they have not been able to make contact with the individuals who ran it.

Additionally to what is mentioned above in the word document (attached below), the website is still active, but I have not bothered to attempt to contact them by that means as I do not consider it worthwhile.

Article ???????????????????????? THE CASE OF THE CROOKED CAMERA REPAIRERS

This major issue apart, I am in decent fettle, and I will finish by sharing some of my more usual type of picture (taken with older and lesser camera, a Samsung) with you…

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Here for your information is a photo of the repossession notice taken with old Samsung…