Blogs from Norwich, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom, Europe


Europe » United Kingdom » England » Norfolk » Norwich September 28th 2018

Unbelievably, my month at Lilac Cottage is drawing to a close. Friend Fae joined me this week, and I’ve been showing her the local sights - it’s funny to notice my sense of pride, bordering on ownership.... I do get a kick out of arranging for friends to see and experience what I’ve found “the best” (beautiful, tasty, comfortable and enjoyable). Perhaps I should have been a tour guide or cruise director.... We have strolled around old town Norwich and - because Fae is such a people person and animal lover - had some fun encounters and conversations with polsters, buskers, church wardens and a Bobbie! The weather has been glorious (that may not last), making our paddle-wheeler boat trip on the Dure River in the Norfolk Broads even more enjoyable. We’ve dined al fresco as ... read more
A fine flint house in  Norwich
Norwich busker
Enjoying the moment

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Norfolk » Norwich September 23rd 2018

With Storm Ali (which I heard as “Storm Alley”) blowing through, the weather’s been a bit of a challenge this week. However, I’ve been trying (and succeeding) to maximize my solo time before Fae, my longtime friend from Virginia, arrives Tuesday to ramble with me for a few weeks. I’ve enjoyed my solo time, but look forward to her fun (and funny) companionship as we explore Yorkshire, Scotland, the Lake District and Paris(!) In the waning of September, I have: had a flu shot ($13) taken a coach trip to a windmill and “The Wash“ (a coastal bay) with local pensioners gotten a haircut ($15 Groupon!) done a “City of Centuries” walking tour of Norwich (with perhaps the most animated guide I’ve ever witnessed) All good stuff - but despite the constant activity, I’m sorry to ... read more
Bircham Windmill (interior)
Bircham Windmill byproducts
29 pensioners

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Norfolk » Norwich September 19th 2018

British television deserves some “ink.” Yes, we get wonderful British programs in America, but believe me, there is some puerile stuff on the airwaves here, just as at home. One frustration is that many channels seem to carry a mix of shows, as opposed to having a “brand” (sit-coms, sports, news, food, etc.) So, a channel showing the news or a (stale American) movie can then proceed to host an hour of teleshopping, followed by a cooking/quiz/real estate show, then Brooklyn 99 (or King of Queens). Also, the same series (but not the same episode) can be airing on several different channels simultaneously. Add to all this the fact that one can’t see a menu or guide for more than an hour or two ahead, AND that often a show starts when the commericials are done ... read more
Plantation Gardens Norwich
Norwich Plantation Gardens
Norwich Plantation Gardens

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Norfolk » Norwich September 12th 2018

A couple of cool, drizzly days have encouraged me to focus on the smaller, local scenes - although Wednesday I started out with modest intentions and ended up rambling all over Norfolk‘s famous ”Broads,” a flat, marshy region threaded with streams and small rivers. (Think tidewater Virginia or the Caolinas’ low country, both of which lie within the menacing reach of Florence, we fear). My target was tiny Horning in the Bure Marshes National Reserve, purportedly a half-hour drive; I left at 10 a.m., returned at 4 p.m...! It was simply a case of “Hmmm, since I’m already here, I might as well...” that led me over to Horsey‘s wind mill and then up to the coast of the North Sea for more of that tasty Cromer crab (even though it was raining). A word here ... read more
Houseboats swarm the Bure River
Looking east
Fancy brickwork

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Norfolk » Norwich September 8th 2018

Silver Lining Dept.: being ill was actually a great gift; it got me out of tourist mode and into ”residence” sooner than I might have otherwise done. I am inhabiting this space and place, not merely perching here. I shop, I cook, I wash up. I watch TV (WAY too many vet and animal rescue shows!), I do laundry, iron, clean house, nap, read, water plants and sit in the sun watching the cat prowl the garden. If I can my dial my judgey mind back a few notches (“You SHOULD be maximizing this opportunity - go to the coast! Get over to xxxx!), I’m quite happy going with the flow. When traffic is bad, I go someplace else, even stay home. After all, I LIVE here, and can pick a better day, a better time. ... read more
Morning Prayer
Hell of a devil
St. John’s College gate

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Norfolk » Norwich September 5th 2018

Thanks to all for the expressed good wishes regarding my annoying little head cold. It’s nothing, really, and if I’ve been a bit of a - um - guy about it... it’s just that it’s been so long since I’ve been sick that I’m quite nonplused. I feel better each day, and then - without warning - I have a sneezing/coughing attack that makes my eyes water, my nose bleed, and sounds like I’m going to hurl body parts. I’ve cleared whole supermarket aisles with this performance for the past few days. Sigh! ? Whoever believes the Brittish are standoffish hasn’t been to Bawburgh (“Bo’brro”). No sooner had I failed to show up to a Historical Society meeting in the village than I got a call asking about my health, and inquiring whether I might need ... read more
Veggies and vino
Salad and pork pie
Banana milk

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Norfolk » Norwich September 3rd 2018

Gradually expanding my automotive comfort zone, on Sunday I puttered over to the small town of Wymondham (“Wind’um”) and poked around in the early hours (great light, scant traffic.) And the next day, it took me two circuits of only three of the four freeway interchange roundabouts to reach the Thickthorn Park and Ride to take a bus into the vaunted Norwich, capital of Norfolk County (and once capital of England!) Locals take the bus because parking is such a trial (just as I do in Portland). It costs about $5 “return” (round trip), which is what one would pay to park, and the ride is much more pleasant. Happy to say, Norwich does not disappoint! It’s a great little city (pop. 250K) with a rich past; a market town that became a cathedral city a ... read more
Wymondham Abbey

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Norfolk » Norwich September 1st 2018

And on to the downside of staying in someone’s home... Every place has its quirks, and - no matter how complete the owner’s instructions (and Christina is quite thorough and well-organized) - every guest will find the tender spot. The prize for doing so ranges from inconvenience to terror, depending on how much electricity is involved. I got a good dose of both (inconvenience and terror, not electricity) when I took my first shower. The cottage features an on-demand water heater for the shower, which we will call the Blue-Eyed Monster, or BEM for brevity (too late, I fear). So, to alert the BEM that hot water will be required, one must pull a ceiling cord hanging nearby. The blue eye lights up to indicate readiness, and one can then step into a (deep, narrow) antique ... read more
Ceiling cord
“Darling” Dean the handyman
Switching switches

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Norfolk » Norwich August 31st 2018

After cooking my first breakfast (traditIonal English tomato and egg, accompanied by some tasty rhubarb bread that Christina made for me...yum!), my big accomplishment today was driving the narrow twisting country lanes (and navigating three BUSY roundabouts each way) to get groceries. Whew! No animals were harmed in the filming of this epic (two mile) journey; in fact there’s no photo evidence at all... If I get another good night’s sleep, tomorrow I might be able to face the single-lane, humped bridge in Bawburgh, or the single-lane TUNNEL on the alternate road to drive into Norwich (where, apparently, there is no parking to be found...?) With practice (and deep breathing), think I can handle the left-hand driving pretty well. It’s getting into the correct side of the car to drive that I need to master. I’ve ... read more
The first, big shopping
Lunch al fresco

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Norfolk » Norwich April 17th 2018

Norwich is pretty, but boring.... read more

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