Monday, 11 April 2011

A Flirtation with the Norfolk Summer

It was with a heavy heart and a pouty bottom lip that I agreed to get into the car on friday evening.  Whilst I was very excited about a sunny weekend in Norfolk, I did not at all fancy the two hour journey it would take to get there,  especially not in a stuffy car with windows that looked out onto the beautiful weather we would be missing. 

Mollified by the prospect of what awaited us (and a large cappuccino),we set-off. Actually, the journey was very pleasant. Thanks to ridiculous levels of friday-traffic, we were forced to take a roundabout route along country lanes, flanked by neatly ploughed fields and blossoming hedges. 

We excitedly looked about us for glimpses of sunlit village churches and listened to some absolute gems on the radio; including a fantastic big band concert and an introduction to my new heroine, Florence Foster Jenkins; a lady who loved to sing, even though perhaps she wasn't at all good it. 

Anyway, we made it in the end and were greeted with family hugs and a delicious home-cooked meal. I immediately sank into a state of happy contentment in which I remained, all weekend. 

Saturday was spent at Oxburgh Hall; a perfect, Tudor haven of red brick walls, barleytwist chimney stacks and heavenly gardens. I was particularly excited by the kitchen garden and newly planted orchard. How I long for one of my own!

We had a very civilised picnic lunch. Home-cooked ham sandwiches with ripe tomatoes and early British asparagus, all washed down with a cool glass of local apple juice and a slightly warmer one of ale. We even ate at a table. With chairs. I didn't know what to do with myself. It was a world away from the picnics of my heathen childhood, when we would merrily munch away, cross-legged on the ground. 
There was a lovely woodland walk, where I spied lots of pretty flowers and awesome insects.  
There was even a little ruined church, just outside of the grounds. It was magical and all the more beautiful in its downfall. I could have daydreamed there for hours.  
After we got home, Andy and I went for a little wander up the road, to another ruined church. I very excitedly recognised it as the church at which the author of one of my favourite blogs, Wellies and Vogue, had her incredible wedding. 

 There is something so wonderful about an old church. I love imagining the lives that have been lived there. The love, the loss, the hope, the longing and the joy of the timeless community that has worshipped there, at one time or another. 
We did lots of other lovely things, like sitting out in the garden, reading in the sun and eating delicious King's Lynn shrimp by the riverside. We even finished the weekend with a trip to see the Queen, at Sandringham, although sadly we couldn't stay for tea.

Before I met Andy, I had never been to Norfolk. Now, I am completely in love with the place and I simply cannot wait to go back. 

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