This week we went down to Norfolk for a few days, to Cromer, which we haven’t visited in years. It’s a little old fashioned town on the east coast and, because we were staying in a small apartment, we decided to self cater. In spite of only going for three nights; in spite of having every intention of eating lunches out and at least one evening meal too; in spite of knowing that we would be in a town that DID have shops – we took enough food to feed an army. It looked as though we were setting up for a siege.
One suitcase to share for clothes, one bag for my drawing things, tablet and Kindle and four bags/boxes of food. I mean, come on.
We arrived, checked in and unpacked, then walked down the coastal path into town. We were near the lighthouse but the strong winds meant no fog and therefore no foghorn, which was something of a relief. It was a bit chilly. (You can assume very British understatement there.) The breeze (gale) was blowing in off the sea and, joy of joys, it started to rain.
Anyway, we had a look round the town centre and seafront, which are both very attractive and went into a pub for a drink and to warm up. We picked the only pub in town, I hope, with no customers. You know in the films when a stranger walks in; the piano stops playing… well it was even quieter than that. There wasn’t any tumbleweed but you get the idea. We finished our shockingly overpriced drinks (No wonder the place was empty) as quickly as possibly and made a run for it.
In view of the weather and our forethought in bringing a huge pan of stew, we stayed in for the evening watching DVD’s. (And drawing, of course.)
Well it couldn’t have got any greyer. Overnight, we had discovered two things; firstly, that the soundproofing was less than perfect and, secondly, that our neighbours above snored, argued at 3 a.m. and went out for a smoke, being not particularly careful about quietness.
We also discovered that I had not packed the charger for my tablet. Arrrggghhhh! That’s it, end of the world. All that free WiFi and no way to take advantage of it. NOOOoooo!!!! Is it possible to survive three days in a tablet free universe? How could we/I go on?
Bravely, I did not ask the loved one to go home and fetch a charger. (Four hours drive each way.) I did not even suggest finding a supermarket and buying a spare one. “I’ll be ok, ” I said, biting back the tears, ” don’t worry about me. ” “I wasn’t.” he said, and turned on the TV. Dammit.
Being National Trust members, we had a look to see what there was in the area and found Fellbrigg Hall. It’s a very attractive 17th century stately home, in the middle of nowhere. (There’s a lot of nowhere in Norfolk to be in the middle of.) I didn’t take any pictures outside because there wasn’t enough light and my hands couldn’t grip the camera. Well, attractive it may be; cold it most certainly is. Being built several hundred years ago, it doesn’t have central heating. (I did suggest piling up the furniture in the middle of the room and setting fire to it but the suggestion wasn’t kindly received.)
On the ground floor, the floors are all stone flagged, which means the rooms are very very cold and the place is staffed by National Trust volunteers who stand there all day, wrapped up as much as possible, there to offer information to the public at the drop of a hat, or, in this case, the drop of an icicle. Poor devils, they aren’t even paid to do it and they were SOOOO friendly and helpful and knowledgeable. In spite of the cold and damp, it was a very interesting visit, rounded off by tea and scones in the cafe, which might well have been the high point of the trip.
Defeated by the pouring rain and driving winds, we retreated to the central heated apartment and lunch. The loved one watched TV and I did last week’s diva Challenge before we decided to risk another foray into the wild weather to go to the cinema. We went to see “Hail Caesar”, which was something of a disappointment. I feel that, by the time we had watched to trailers, we had seen the best of the film. Ah well.
We awoke to better weather, which immediately raised our mood and we set off after the compulsory muesli, to Blickling Hall, another National Trust house about 20 miles away. What a difference a day makes.
The place itself is bigger and grander than Felbrigg and the weather made it possible to take a walk in the gardens before an invigorating coffee and an extended tour of the house.
The place has been left exactly as it was when the last owner, Lord Lothian, British ambassador to the united states in 1940, left it when he died. He willed it to the National Trust, partly so that his heirs would not be saddled with horrendous death duties and partly as a gift to the nation. As a result, you find yourself walking around an eminently habitable property, rather than a museum. There are even articles of clothing left in the bedrooms, place names on the dining table and instructions about who will want to drink what at dinner.
It is a wonderful combination of the majestic and domestic and we spent much longer there than we had expected. This was partly because of the National Trust Volunteers again. As at Felbrigg, they were friendly, well informed and managed the middle ground between eagerness to offer information and tactfully leaving us to look at things in our own time.
And, and, and…
There were patterns. Everywhere. There was wood panelling and carved fireplace surrounds. there were plaster ceilings and beautifully painted beams. It was fine to take photographs, as long as we didn’t use flash, so…
So here we have my next set of challenges, to deconstruct some of these as tangle patterns. What with that and finishing my February swap tiles for Facebook, I didn’t miss my tablet at all. Yes, the world still turned, even though I was lost in a world without internet. Who’d have thought it?
And now I await the Diva challenge, eager as always…
And, of course, we are nearing St Patrick’s Day, so she challenges us to bring a bit of Irish into our lives. Since my mum’s birthday was March 17th, it’s a special day for me, but not because it’s St Patrick’s Day. I had all sorts of ideas but none of them good and then coincidentally, I was clearing out a box of old costume jewellery – we are talking plastic beads and leather thongs from 1970 or so – and I found a brooch of hers from years ago. So my touch of Irish is a Celtic Cross brooch that used to belong to my mum. So that’s it for this week, goodbye world, see you next week. Be good -ish.