Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Blame the season

“Sir, Sunday morning, although recurring at regular and well foreseen intervals, always seems to take this railway by surprise.” W S Gilbert

A different look at the Lord's Prayer

My husband is looking today at resources for use during Lent. This year, the Diocese of Norwich is focusing its Lenten thoughts on Papua New Guinea. Among the items in the resources pack on the website, he's found the following.

I find it delightful to see the most familiar prayer in the English language expressed in this way. I especially enjoy the idea of untying wrongdoings.

English translation interlined

Papa bilong mipela,
Our Father
Yu i stap long heven,
You are in heaven,
Nem bilong yu i mas stap holi.
Your name must be holy.
Kingdom bilong yu i mas i kam.
Your Kingdom must come.
Mipela i mas bihainim laik bilong yu long graun
We must follow your wish on earth
Olsem ol i mas bihainim long heven.
Just as all must follow (your wish) in heaven.
Nau yu ken givim mipela kaikai inap long dispela de:
Now you can give us enough food for today:
Na yu lusim ol rong bilong mipela
And you untie our wrongdoings
Olsem mipela i lusim ol rong ol man i mekim long mipela.
Jus as we untie the wrongdoings people make towards us.
Na yu no bringim mipela long traim,
And do not bring us to trial,
Tasol tekewe mipela long samting nogut;
But take us away from bad things;
Kingdom, na strong, na biknem
Kingdom, and strength, and honour
I bilong yu tasol
Belong to you only
Oltaim, oltaim. Amen.
All time, all time. Amen.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Pork pies, and other good things

We said farewell to the Retreat on Friday morning, but still had the rest of the day to ourselves. Our first port of call was the little village shop and art gallery in Itteringham: the former well-stocked, including a tiny book corner with sunny table by window, the latter (St Jude's Gallery) containing beautiful woodcuts, prints and cards.

We then made a long-anticipated trip to see the lovely girls of Bray's Cottage Pork Pies in the beautiful location of Bayfield Becks (having found them on Twitter). We simply followed our noses across the yard to find them... The pies weren't quite ready, so we dropped in to their neighbours at the fascinating Berber Interiors to browse around. If we'd had a spare £500, we'd have had that beautiful leather long footstool like a shot. As it was, we restrained ourselves, and then exercised further self-control by not diving into the bag containing six pork pies - four for us, two for mum and dad - which smell permeated the car temptingly for the rest of the day!

We'd mentioned to Sarah and Fee that we would be making for Wells-next-the-sea, and they mentioned a seafood cafe that might be worth a look. We found it, at the bottom of the high street, next to the Golden Fleece pub: serving very simply seafood sandwiches or chowder, it was a real find. Our chowder was completely delicious.

Finally, it was on to Aylsham to spend the evening with mum & dad - and get in the fish and chips!

We'd had a lovely break, seeing more of the county than we usually have the opportunity for, and chilled out - ready for the next mad flurry of activity. We'd also seen several beautiful small businesses, serving their small communities and beyond, dedicated to the products they make and the services they provide, and that was truly inspirational.

We like living in Norfolk.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The Retreat and nearby

Here are a few views around 'our' cottage. We woke on Thursday to the beautiful sight of winter sun through the blind, casting the shadow of the just-opening hyacinth on the windowsill.

Gill the tabby loved to have visitors, and I would sit in the garden, in the sun, with the laptop, and have my left elbow gently head-butted by a bunch of grey fluff!

Jane (the owner) invited us to pop over and let her know how we'd found the place during our stay, so we went and chatted after our Thursday wanders. As we walked down the lane, the light on the fields beyond The Loke was beautiful.


Heading north today to this very pleasant little town. Like much of the North Norfolk area, it has a reputation for a certain exclusivity, arising from the number of wealthy Londoners who either have holiday homes in the area, or have retired here; nearby Burnham Market is often referred to as Chelsea-on-Sea. Still, it means there are plenty of lovely things to look at, if not to buy!

However, there's plenty that is affordable too. We much enjoyed our visits to Great to be Green, with its lovely homewares and soft furnishings; to the lovely Bird Ventures, with every supply for garden birds and other wildlife; and finishing with excellent tea and cake and the "higgledy-piggledy" (their phrase) Byfords of Holt.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


We chose well: today's weather was rather grey and uninteresting, so we spent our time with the paperwork and line-learning that was our main purpose in taking this break. Curled up in front of the little woodburner, we were, as a previous guest had put it, "happy little hermits".

However, in the evening we went out for a meal, this being the sixteenth anniversary of our first date. 3rd March 1994 had seen us in an Italian restaurant in Surbiton; in 2010 we chose from several highly-recommended pubs-with-great-food, and finished up at The Walpole Arms in Itteringham. Superb food (Moroccan lamb with couscous for us both) and a delicious bottle of the wonderfully-named Arrogant Frog red wine; lovely atmosphere; and the weekly quiz evening began at 9pm, which we were happy to join in with (but didn't do terribly well at!).

We'll go back and try out the other local eateries another time...

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Beautiful graffiti, great coffee

Looking for tea and a snack before going back to the cottage, we stopped in the small town of Stalham. Sitting patiently in the high street was a cheerful shopfront, filled with artifacts and fairy lights; when we walked in, we found the walls covered with neatly-written graffiti, provided by both the owners and the customers, reflections for others to find.

Excellent coffee, tea and teacakes were much appreciated; the customers laughed and talked to total strangers. Visit Reads Coffee House. It's great.

The town that fell into the sea

... or is on its way there, anyway.

It's a beautiful piece of coastline, and especially on a bright day like today.

However, look closely. Standing on the coast, looking over the eroding cliffs at collapsed items of masonry, is a sobering experience.

We'd previously visited Happisburgh about three years ago. On that occasion, we'd had tea in a B&B-cum-cafe in the worst hit part of the village, and the owner told us then that they wouldn't be open next year. We're not certain whether anybody still lives there, but certainly the houses along that small road have a feeling of desolation. Somehow, I couldn't bring myself to take photographs of them.

We looked from the end of the road across to the great red-and-white lighthouse. Whether that stands far enough from the vanishing cliffs to remain there - only time will tell.

Move along with us for tea in Stalham.

The round tower of Witton

After a lazy morning (we were tired!) and a practical early afternoon gathering supplies, we had an excellent lunch (posh welsh rarebit) at The Cockerel in North Walsham. Lovely food in a friendly place, and they seem to host great events, too.

Then, in the late afternoon, we drove east towards the coast. On a beautiful day, the sun descending but still bright and clear, we stopped off at Witton, with its beautiful round tower (we weren't able to go inside, but details can be found here on Simon Knott's excellent website). It makes an impressive sight against the skyline, and especially on a clear blue March day.

One of our parishioners is the writer Rory Clements, and he had mentioned that he takes names for some of his characters from ancient gravestones. We think he might find this one useful.

From the back of the churchyard, the horizon displays at least three churches, plus the bright red-and-white lighthouse that points us towards Happisburgh. Pronounced Haseborough. Don't ask us why - we've only been living in Norfolk for five years.

Follow us to Happisburgh.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Norfolk retreat: a few days out

I'd just completed the run of a show (Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean at the Sewell Barn), complete with long blonde wig, lots of leg and very high heels...

... yup, that's me on the right with the understated wig... we felt that a few days out was a sensible idea before jumping back into the fray.

We didn't need to go far, and in the event, the place we found was just fifteen miles from home: The Retreat, near Itteringham. Jane's wonderful little cottage is the perfect hidey-hole, with tiny but beautifully equipped kitchen, shower room and cosy bed-sitting room, with excellent wood-burner, and a beautifully sunny outlook over the garden. You can see the exact location here.

During our visit, we were fortunate enough to have some beautiful (albeit very cold) weather, and exploring time around some corners of our lovely county that, despite location, we don't get to see very often. So follow us through a few little well-kept secrets that deserve to be better known... (click on Newer Post to see the next instalment)