Friday, 7 September 2012

Home and Away

Hi there! After a pre-clearing adventure in Dorset last month, we opted for a mid-clearing break in Norfolk over the August bank holiday weekend. We almost didn’t go at all though, because I had booked our Norfolk expedition as a camping holiday back in early February before a certain medical condition of mine became apparent (nothing to worry about blog readers, I will tell you about it when I am good and ready).

As went the months by, I became less and less mobile. I also became increasingly worried both about firstly; how I would manage the camping and secondly that I had promised ‘Mini S’ an adventure. That was until ‘Knight in Shining Armour P’ came to the rescue and found us a caravan to rent for the weekend, with proper beds, plumbing and a little kitchen! I’m usually the one grumbling about caravans holding up the traffic on the motorway, but I promise here and now, never ever to say a bad word about them ever again!

We set off early-ish on Saturday morning, and decided to stop at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk for lunch and a look around. We last went there about five years ago, and since then not much has changed at the Saxon burial site (obviously!), but the National Trust have built a very swanky café with a nice terrace overlooking the valley.

We had a guided tour of the mounds, which was great as it really helped make sense of the site, where there were Saxon burials, medieval gibbets & burials and World War 2 antiaircraft earthworks. I felt sorry for our poor embarrassed guide who, when mentioning the 1930’s Sutton Hoo archaeologist, kept referring to him as ‘Basil Brush’ instead of Basil Brown. It rather reminded me of an embarrassing time for myself, demonstrating for a micropalaeontology lab session… When instead of describing a diatom as a living organism, I described it as something rather more intimate!

We were very lucky that on the day of our visit there was a Saxon ‘living history village’ set up. ‘Mini S’ seemed to enjoy this part most, as there were examples of Saxon cooking going on, a slave market, weaponry demonstrations and the opportunity to construct your own clay bead necklace. There was also a second hand book sale, which ‘Knight in Shining Armour P’ immersed himself in for quite a while and an acoustic folk band, playing on the lawn which I really enjoyed.

After a further hour’s drive to Norfolk, we arrived at our campsite at six o’ clock. Just in time to settle in, have dinner at the pub then snuggle down in those comfy caravan beds – we were exhausted!

On Sunday we got up nice and early to have a swim in the campsite pool, then after a pancake breakfast back at the caravan, headed off to Happisburgh (pronounced ‘Haysborough’). It was a beautiful drive across the broads – we counted 32 old windmills along the way, including the rather amusingly named ‘Horsey Wind Pump.’

At Happisburgh, we found an atmospheric sandy beach with huge rolling waves, and a beautiful lighthouse. We all spent a pleasant afternoon building sandcastles, paddling and admiring the view, plus I was very happy to find a belemnite (see Dorset blog) fossil.

I won’t go into too much detail about the signs of coastal erosion we noticed (this Geographer was on holiday after all!), but a seawater corroded domestic door catch was a poignant reminder of some of the houses that had previously slipped into the sea.
In the evening, we decided to head into Great Yarmouth for dinner and a few fairground rides for ‘Mini S.’ All I can say is it was like the Las Vegas of Norfolk… I don’t think I had ever seen so much neon!

Packing up on Monday morning, we all felt quite sad that the weekend was nearly over. To cheer ourselves up, we made time for a round of mini golf before we set off (I came last, but not least), followed by a picnic at Dunwich Heath on the way home.

Garden update:
Do you remember those pictures of my containerised veggie from earlier in the year? I was amazed at how well the plants grew in such a small space…

A day or two after arriving home, we decided to have a veggie harvest and cook up all the lovely things that had been growing. Those Ikea bag potatoes were especially yummy!

J’s record of the week:
Blue moon
Richard Rodgers &
Lorenz Hart

Last week, ‘Mini S’ came over to me with a regretful look on her face and announced that she had ‘missed the blue moon,’ going on to tell me how much she had wanted to see the moon turn blue. When I explained that the phrase ‘blue moon’ means to have two full moons in a month, she was quite relieved that she hadn’t missed a chance to see the moon turn blue! I told ‘Knight in Shining Armour P’ this story, and his immediate response was to burst into song… Although the song was originally written by Rodgers & Hart, so many have recorded it over the years (Mel Torme, Cliff Richard and Billie Holiday to name but a few), that it has been absorbed into popular culture.

As I quite like a bit of ‘Doo Wop’ now and again though, I thought I would choose the 1961 version by ‘The Marcels’ for my record of the week. Enjoy ! Jerushah X

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