Continuing along The Fens to Norwich

7 Jun

The Fens, Norfolk

I love it that ramblers are authorised to go almost everywhere. Here the farmer has had to provide a walking track through his rapeseed crop

We tried the English delicacy of Fish and Chips again at Hunstanton, further up the coast from King’s Lynn.   Dennis only has a short memory (?), and thought I was being unkind and negative when I reminded him of the sad results we’d had in previous attempts.  Once more, the fish was beautiful, once you had peeled off the dripping batter.  Being a fishing village this  F&C  shop had its own fishing vessel and it certainly was true that the fish was only a couple of hours old.  Sweet and juicy, lovely, it’s fair to say better than at home,  but the chips were inedible!  The gulls loved them even if we couldn’t eat them due to them not being drained at all!  Straight out of  

Still travelling along The Fens

the cooking vat and tipped into a polystyrene container, that has NO absorbent function.

Generally, each village uses their own local stone for building

These stones were quite distinctive and beautiful

How clever, taking your own forklift along

Sometimes these narrow lanes can’t handle the heavy trucks. This concrete truck has fallen through the edge of the tarmac and almost tipped over

We stopped at another seaside town complete with pier and amusement parlour and visited the Cromer Lifeboat Museum.  Another really interesting history lesson.  Such a cute little town.  All these small places that we either drive through or stop and wander the streets

Good to see they now use modern windmills

are so busy!  It’s surprising to see so many people all the time, even in small coastal villages quite some distance from major metropolitan centres.

Looking up to the ceiling in a Cromer Church

The list of Rectors and Vicars of Cromer Church since 1337!

                                                                                Our next

The canals are still a modern thoroughfare

house sitting job was in Norwich and was unusual in that the clients wanted us to come the night before they left and stay the night when they returned.  They were planning to leave at 5a.m. and return at 10p.m. and wanted someone in the house basically all the time.  So we spent the evening together  the first and last night.  They had a beautiful golden lab/collie cross named Rrrisky.  The woman was Dutch and had such a strong Dutch accent, even though she had lived in Norwich for a few decades!   She had in fact spent eight years living in ‘s-Gravenzande when she was 5 – 13 years old!  This is where both of my parents came from and four of my siblings were born there and is the first time I have spoken to anybody outside of the extended family who knows the place well.  I couldn’t help smiling to myself listening to her, she was so typically Dutch, reminding me of relations and friends back in NZ!  She was a great talker, non-stop, is an excellent seamstress, knitter and gardener.  The garden was actually fabulous and it turned out that she opened it to the public each year.  They had bought this particular house for the section, not the dwelling and it had just a scrappy lawn which she has transformed.  Years later they bought another block off the neighbour and this is now converted into a fruit and vegetable garden, complete with hothouse.  Every fruit tree and vegetable you can think of was growing.  Unfortunately for us it was just the beginning of spring so we missed the vibrant colours of summer, but still it was a joy.  They also had three cats, Janneke, Tina and Snap.  Snap was so named because that was what she did, she was well-known for her bad temper, but she took a shine to Dennis and he even managed to give her a cuddle now and then.  Rrrrisky is 18 months old and full of beans.  She needed two hours walking everyday to use up some of that energy.  We enjoyed her company.  Oh, and one more thing about Mrs Client, she spent a good deal of the first evening telling me how disappointed she was in the last house sitters.  It was the first time that they had left their animals, garden and house in the care of someone else, and had paid good money for the privilege!  Upon her return she was horrified to find that 1) Risky had not been brushed in the two weeks they were away(!) and 2) the oak floor panels in the lounge had spots of discolouration.  Apparently, the sitter had used neat cleaning solution and it had bleached the wood.  In the end, the floor needed to be replaced in places, at the expense of the Housesitting Company!  It was only due to the fast, efficient and satisfying compensation from the Agency that they had agreed to give it one more try.    And I was the “one more try”!  No pressure or anything….  We had a good stay and on the final afternoon I was very particular in my cleaning regime, remembering everything my Dutch mother had taught me about moving furniture before vacuuming, dusting with a wet cloth along the skirting boards, etc, etc.  The final room was the lounge and while vacuuming I noticed three or four oil spots soaked into the aforementioned oak floor panels right by where we had sat eating our dinner in front of the evening TV news!!  I had not seen these marks before and I felt sick!!  Dennis’ first solution was for me to rub it thoroughly with a wet cloth, which I took a strong exception to thinking that I may end up with the same result as the previous house sitter.  His second suggestion was to ignore it all together!  I couldn’t honestly do that so told myself that I was going to own up.  A couple of hours before they were due to return I brushed Risky (this was not the first time, I might add) as good as I could, which was difficult as she hated it!    When the travellers returned we sat and chatted for a bit over a cup of tea, telling lovely stories about how wonderful their animals were while they were away.  Mrs Client was very  quiet, not her chatty self at all and that only made me feel even worse, had she noticed?  I had begun to consider Dennis’ idea of ignorance but my conscience was working overtime.  I bravely told her what I had found while vacuuming that afternoon and her eyes nearly popped out of her head!  She certainly woke up at that point!  Thankfully, once I pointed to the offending stains she calmly told me that they were there all along and they had done that themselves some time back!  Thanks very much, NOT!  She was back to her talkative self the following morning so I put down the quietness to fatigue.  



Risky and Tina – great mates

and Snap

Norwich home, back view

Just a hint of Spring

The veggie and fruiting patch

She had created an elaborate water feature with two waterfalls, a pond with a circulating stream connecting them all

The back fence is built of flint stones, strategically placed mirrors all down that wall looked brilliant

Even the snails are beautiful!!

After a bit of research on the net we joined with the Reformed Baptist Church of Norwich that Sunday.  They were a small congregation of 22 including ourselves, but we enjoyed the singing of familiar hymns and the preaching was great too.  We’ll visit them again when we come back in a couple of weeks for another job in the Norwich region.
Norwich is an extremely old city, with iconic buildings, narrow cobbled streets and a  1000 years of history. 

Risky looking for the goldfish in the pond. Only black ones are left by the hungry birds


Who knows what this is? It looks lethal even though it is only the size of a bee

To learn more about all this we took a guided tour, with a very odd little man in his very old truck.  We were the only two on the tour and so Dennis was able to test his knowledge on many levels and he was brilliant!  He did spend a lot of time, whilst driving these very narrow lanes, turning his head to speak directly to us rather than watching the road!  It probably was just as well as although he had an extendable microphone turned on, he hadn’t extended it, so when he was watching the road, we only heard every fourth or fifth word of what he was explaining, as he needed to stretch his neck forward, leaning right over the steering wheel, for his mouth to be in the correct position for the microphone to pick up his voice!   He had a rather beaky nose with one single hair that shot out at a 90 degree angle right on the end!  He managed to knock into two temporary road signs, hard enough to dent the truck and at one time he parked in front of car on a slight rise and hopped into the back tray with us.  Dennis let out a yell as he realised we were rolling down the hill, and the driver shot between the front seats to apply the hand brake!  The woman, whose car he very nearly bumped into, was horrified but he wasn’t at all repentant as “She shouldn’t have been parked there in the first place!  It is a No Parking Area!”  Although he drove us to view 12 of the iconic buildings, we didn’t get to go inside any on this trip but he filled us in with all the history associated with them.

Our touring truck in Norwich City

This was the frequent view of our driver, while he is driving!

Dragon Hall so named because upstairs in the Great Hall there are dragons carved into the spandrels. Built in 1427

Having a tour guide is great because they give you so much information. This is an example of a small graveyard, piled higher than the fence, behind the church that has 1000 bodies buried there, the terrible result of The Plague. At that time one of the town’s pumps was situated just where the bikes are parked!

Norwich Castle

So many old, old buildings

Apparently during the war, the Germans concentrated their bombing to the industrial areas and that is why there are so many of the old buildings still standing.

Narrow lanes flanked by history

more and more

Later on, in our own time we chose two of them and were suitably impressed.  At the Norwich Cathedral there was a little tent, with a display table, and two people with cameras with large lens trained at the steeple.  Upon enquiry, it turns out that there is a pair of Peregrine Falcons, flying to and fro, up to their nest situated on a small platform beneath a window half way up the steeple.  Their eggs were due to hatch that week and members of

Norwich Cathedral

the “Save our

Peregrine Falcon Society” were there to document each flight.  They planned to stay there for the duration, until the young flew away as well.
Surrey House is the historic home of Aviva, formerly the Norwich Union Insurance Society.  The building looked impressive from the outside, complete with Palladian columns, but once you enter the large Entrance Hall, it takes your breath away!   There are 40 magnificent columns in the main hall, all made of different coloured marble, which form a colonnade around the perimeter of the room.  These columns were originally destined for Westminster Cathedral, but proved too expensive for them, so they came here and compliment the marble wall panels.  The Insurance Company wanted to reassure their policy holders, when they came to pay their

Bishop Bridge 1340, the only surviving medieval bridge in Norwich

premiums, of the Society’s strength and prosperity, with all this opulence.  It is still in use today, as Aviva’s Head Office but has been enlarged by cleverly adding various air bridges to more conventional high-rise buildings surrounding this building.

Marble everywhere

Beautiful details outside Surrey House

Surrey House

Inside Surrey House, head office of Aviva. That odd thing is the middle is an ingenious air conditioning unit developed in 1905, called an air fountain


3 Responses to “Continuing along The Fens to Norwich”

  1. James Bartlett June 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    Hey ma, thanks for that, I really enjoyed it.
    Can we have a picture of the bridge? It doesn’t show.

    • dennisandjanettegowalkabout June 11, 2012 at 7:49 am #

      When I checked from my end the photo came up perfectly!

      • kathy June 12, 2012 at 7:50 am #

        I can see the bridge too…

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