The mystery of Littlehampton’s Norfolk Gardens cafe

A rose by any other name...? SUS-181112-092945003
A rose by any other name...? SUS-181112-092945003

It is known locally as the Putting Green Café. Some refer to it as the Bowling Green or Norfolk Gardens Café.

I have heard it called the Miniature Railway Café as it is situated at the end of the line between Mewsbrook Park and Norfolk Gardens.

However, I have never heard it referred to as the Lifestyle in the Gardens Café. What on earth sort of name is that for a tearoom cum café? ‘Hi, Sally, I will meet you in the Lifestyle in the Gardens…’

It lacks that certain something and in no way conveys to the public its location or the fact that it a warm and friendly all the year-round establishment, dog welcoming and cheerfully staffed.

If you don’t believe me then ask the smiling, elderly Geordie who turns up most mornings in his buggy, receives a warm greeting, a full English at a reasonable price and a graceful start to his day.

My house is definitely haunted –not by white-sheeted spectres, but I am not alone here. Shadows seen from the corner of my eye, passing and even entering my living room while I watch TV in the late evening.

Things are often not where I left them and lost items somewhat mysteriously turn up. Some of these things may be down to me of course, but certainly not all.

The cat staring endlessly at something on the middle landing and reluctant to descend the stairs unless I am with her.

One night my bedroom door was rattling so noisily I jammed a sturdy Lloyd Loom chair under the handle in order to return to an interrupted sweet dream.

When I relate this event to my son, he gives me that sad, tired look that bright youngsters save for aged parents, and tells me if it was a malevolent force, a green wicker armchair which had at one time been a commode, would not deter it.

He also told me that both he and his sister had, at one time or another, seen a grizzled, grey bearded old man sitting in a corner of the spare bedroom (I really am not making this up!).

I returned the weary look he had earlier given me and asked what time of the year would that have been? He answered that, if it was who I was suggesting it was, he was either six months early or six months late because it was in mid-June. I asked him why he had not mentioned it before, and was told quite firmly it was probably a simple case of sleep paralysis.

|Also in the news - the new year will mark the start of £14.8million improvements to the A259 around Littlehampton; a Marks & Spencer foodhall and Toby Carvery pub will still be coming to Angmering, despite a planning application for the site being rejected; and one Littlehampton family has decided spending time together is more important to them than presents|

Not convinced, I recently asked a friend who looks into these sorts of things to come around for a glass of port and to bring his kit with him. After about an hour wandering around the house, talking to the cat and downing a port or two, he told me the house was ‘very lively’ but there was nothing to worry about. So, I don’t worry about it.

I live with my shadows and they live with me, either way they are company, they don’t chatter, dictate what to watch on TV, complain about the volume, moan about the central heating being on full or drink my port.

• If you would like to get in touch with Whispering Smith, please email: whisperingsmith1@gmail.com

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