Monday, 25 July 2011

Normal for Norfolk

I am back from North Norfolk but fairly dopey, so I am closing my giveaway tomorrow because I don’t trust myself to be able to draw a number out of an electronic hat until another day has elapsed (I know that’s feeble). So if anyone wants to enter my giveaway for a spellbook you have 23 more hours (give or take) to do it! Hooray!
Have you ever noticed how bees have fuzzy white bottoms?
Has anyone ever been to North Norfolk? It is one and a half hours and a whole lifetime away from Cambridge. I love it, even though for some reason we kept getting caught up in tour buses of octogenarians and having to queue for cups of tea. Norfolk Lavender is apparently the place to be on a Wednesday as it does special meals for the Over 65s and let me tell you, there was so much demand, they couldn’t cope. It was like McDonalds on Oxford Street but with more bees. By the time we got to the front of the queue my mother had done a trenchant and fearless time-and-motion analysis of the queueing system and was about to submit a revised plan for maximising the efficiency of predicted footfall. Then she had a baguette and it took her mind off it.
Next time I am expecting Partner to find the lion lying down with the lamb
We saw wonders. This was in Houghton Hall. Partner appeared excitedly while I was looking at a plant, insisting he had seen water and fire together. Sometimes Partner is right in his interpretation of things he has seen, and sometimes he is not. However this time he was and I took a photograph to prove it.
Hmm, suddenly I feel the need to stock up on buckets and novelty tea towels

These cliffs had some Very Loud Birds nesting in them
This is Hunstanton. If you are coming to Cambridge as a tourist, I really would not, and I would go to Hunstanton instead as it is quite an experience and is a combination of kitsch and unspoilt. Also if you come to Cambridge as a tourist, be warned that on the evidence of what I saw earlier when I popped in for some potatoes, they seem to make you all wear matching shell suits in a fetching shade of grass green, I do not think that would add to your experience of walking round in a long tourist crocodile past the fascinating historical Boots and Accessorise and being unable to find a seat at Starbucks.
Please admire my restraint in not doing a Shop Local Boycott Tesco!!! post although I do feel one brewing
Samphire in Burnham Market. I spent the holiday explaining to my mother what samphire was but when I thought I had nailed it she would forget again and there we were, back at the beginning. For the uninitiated: samphire is some kind of a green vegetable which grows in the salt marshes, you have it in fairly small quantities (because it is salty) with fish. Our fishmonger sells it and it is cheap only he spells it ‘Samfa’ because presumably that is how you are supposed to pronounce it, I pronounce it though to rhyme with Vampire because that is how they say it on Hairy Bikers.

Here is the touristy bit: if you are in North Norfolk, you should go to Cley Next The Sea, because it is my favourite place and it is very pretty. They do tea in the old windmill, Partner says it is not as good as it used to be when it was in a different room but Partner always thinks things have gone off so don’t listen. There are very few shops but there is a bookshop so that keeps my dad happy. Also, as we were driving into Cley, we saw these alpacas being taken for a walk by a family with two teenage girls. Now, I do not have teenagers but I hear family holidays with them can sometimes be a challenge, so I pass on the information to you that the expression on these girls’ faces as they clutched their alpacas was pure joy. Pure joy. So my traveller’s tip is, if you find yourself on holiday near the salt marshes and perhaps there is a bit of an atmosphere – perhaps some in your party were expecting nightlife closer than in the next county, perhaps there have been arguments over how long to cook the samphire – sneak out of your holiday cottage, get out the hip flask, light up a fag, and ring the Norfolk Trekking Alpacas. ‘Harness up Machu and Pichu’ you can say, grimly. ‘Give Pedro a good brush. We’ll be there in half an hour with our chopped apples’. And all will be well.


Vivianne said...

I love Hunstanton ! The old posh hotel does a fab line in cream teas & smoked salmon. Norfolk Lavender was great too. Did you visit the African Violet centre ?

Marushka C. said...

We've done some odd stuff in the name of family peace while on vacation, but no alpacas were involved. (Hmmm... business venture? Perhaps I could bring alpaca trekking to the American South?)

Gracey is not my name.... said...

Brilliant!!! Trekking alpacas!!! I really wish I could visit England....

Alittlebitsheepish said...

That sounds brilliant, although I suspect if someone handed me an alpaca to trek with I would refuse to give it back

Vivianne said...

I thought the alpacas was a lead in to some fabulous yarn she found and brought back with her ....:-)

Rachel said...

Samphire is also delicious with plain, sweet biscuits.

Your title made me laugh. My sister's a vet and when she was studying, the two weeks devoted to 'exotics' were mostly the lecturer showing pictures and saying, "This is normal." I've heard that "NFN" in doctors' notes has much the same meaning. I'm guessing you've heard this too, but were too polite to say so ;-)

Susie said...

I never thought of samphire with sweet biscuits, I will have to try it! Vivianne, I never even knew there was an old posh Hunstanton hotel and an African Violet Centre, clearly I am going to have to go back to Norfolk.

I just wish I had an alpaca called Pedro. I find it incomprehensible that I do not.