Welcome to the first stage of putting Walsingham and relevant, up-to-date information about it on the web. Although the start is already different to what you will find elsewhere, the follow up will be quite different again. Time is always the enemy, and I have yet to contact many advertisers whose colourful information will enhance the site considerably. Then there's the matter of better technology: when that's in place (shortly) there will be scope for other improvements. However, this is never going to be a flashy pop-style site. It's a classic information site where graphics are important but kept to a minimum.
On the subject of graphics, you may find the photos for the [incomplete] winter tour to be rather gloomy and dark. That's because they show just how threatening the skies were on that particular day. Also, the snaps were taken with a standard basic pocket camera then scanned: it was some time before the advent of affordable digital cameras, and there was no way of knowing if the shots were going to come out.
One of the best things about the digital camera (for incompetents like me) is that you can see exactly what you're getting as it happens. So you know if a shot isn't working, if the lighting is wrong, etc. Best of all, though, the digi-cam can take shots that others can't, such as low light without flash.
I'd be most interested to hear from you regarding the project so far. Bearing in mind that things will look different soon, I'd be keen to hear any ideas about how to improve the 'visit', what sort of things you'd like to see, what you'd like more information about, whether or not you think the format works. Everything is flexible, and the intention is to turn this into the most interesting and informative site anywhere.
From the point of view of the Walsingham-based businesses, they suffer a very low period from October - March (especially in January and February). Partly that's a good thing as the 'season' implies working non-stop all hours, and there has to be a resting point. In the case of the Anglican Hostel it's a chance to strip the rooms, do essential maintenance, painting, etc, and prepare for another year's deluge of visitors (as you would notice if you walk past at that time of year). However, it is really quite difficult to survive when you're so far off the beaten track, and the 'trade' is not consistent through the year: the bills are!
There are several highly organised shops operating mail-order in the village, and that's something to even out the cash flows during leaner times. There are also people offering accommodation all year round. Part of the purpose of the 'winter site' was to show that, -if you're into peace, quiet and tranquility, there's no better place to get away from it all. Walsingham in winter has a unique character, and it's almost like a different village to the one that summer pilgrims and tourists know.
You may not be enthralled by the thought of turning betroot-coloured on the beach at Marbella, sipping cocktails on a cruiser at Boca Raton, sitting in a deck-chair at Brighton, -or battling with the crowds at DisneyLand and Universal Studios. There's a chance that this unusual village is for you! The temperatures may be low beyond Christmas, but there's a warm welcome awaiting the intrepid pilgrim.
Pages in this tour are scripted with Netscape browsers in mind: there seem to be far fewer problems than with Explorer (where many of these tables will be very badly displayed (centering of images and logos, for instance)). If images appear to be of even lower quality than I've indicated it could be because your computer only runs 256 colours. I was shocked to learn that many of the apparent bargain PCs that you see on sale in the high street stores are cheap -partly- because they don't have the VideoRam capacity to show thousands or millions of colours. Many monitors sold are of such a low standard that small text in these browsers is almost unreadable. As a Mac user I hadn't come across any of these problems: instead, the Mac users normally suffer not being able to get software or CDs for their format, but at least quality doesn't usually come into it.
Please drop a line if you spot anything missing, if dates are wrong, history incorrect, spellings up the creek....