Back in 2009, one of my friends decided that she really wanted a ‘holiday in a cottage’ that summer. Several discussions, numerous e-mails and some serious planning later we wound up with a week in Somerset in the legendary Clocktower Cottage and the White Car of Peril. The four of us, having not killed each other over the week, decided to go away again the following year and found ourselves in Norfolk where we visited many churches. Last year we went to Dorset and this year we thought we’d go back to Norfolk – to the other side of it this year, staying in a cottage which was essentially in the middle of a field. Back in 2010 I kept a log of all things Norfolk: where we went, hilarious things we said, what we had for dinner… So here we go again!
Day 1: Saturday 9 June. We left London in (shock horror) a normal sized car! For the first time in our holiday going history, L and I did not have to be packed into the back of the car! We had space! All our bags went in the boot! It was some kind of tiny miracle. So packed in we departed, having a debate before we’d even left SE London as to whether H’s National Trust blanket was ugly or not (this kind of sets the standard for our holidays…) which concluded with L asking “can someone remind me why we bring H on holiday?”. A hundred years on the South Circ/A12 later we were finally on a motorway and MOVING as K gleefully announced: “Everyone, I’m engaging fourth gear! Ooh it is nice to MOVE” and, for some reason, L declared: “I am the motorway whisperer”. Two years ago, H announced an irrational fear of Suffolk so it was with much relief that we passed through Suffolk and arrived triumphantly into Norfolk. Well, until we got a bit lost in the village trying to find the field the cottage was in – but it all worked out in the end and we got directions from the pub. Found the cottage, K went to fetch the keys prompting H to point out that “we don’t want to look like murderers”. I’m really not sure what prompted that quote, I don’t think we were looking particularly dodgy… We had dinner, K and I went off for a stroll through the fields and saw some pheasants then we all opted for an early bed. Zzzzzzz!
Day 2: Sunday 10 June. I awoke to glorious sunshine streaming in through the curtains, had a little ‘Stretch with Darcey’ then headed outside and sat in the garden perched on a tree stump like a gnome with a cup of tea and my chocolate buttons. It was beautiful and peaceful and really rather nice, then K got up and went for a run. We breakfasted in the garden once L and H had eventually bothered to get up then we all piled into the car and headed off for a brief stop at Asda en route to Felbrigg Hall for a spot of National Trusting. I’d like to tell you things about the Hall but it was such a glorious day I couldn’t bear to waste it indoors and went for a walk round the grounds whilst the others went round the hall. On the way back we saw a sign for a flamingo zoo at which H reminded us of the perils of the southern hemisphere (another of her irrational fears, don’t ask) and a trip to there was firmly vetoed. We saw three dead creatures and two dead birds on our travels (L: it’s one more bird in paradise, as opposed to a bird of paradise/H: I was thinking of all the dead animals and my soul was reborn). We were back at the cottage at a relatively early point of the evening so K and I walked into the village and went to the pub, read all the leaflets and drank all the gin before returning for dinner. Somehow conversation turned to quails eggs, to wit L to K: “of course you’ve had a quail’s egg, EVERYONE’S had a quail’s egg” and also snoring, K: “no snoring is cute, people just say that to make you feel better”.
Day 3: Monday 11 June. Woke to drizzle and grey so we found ourselves Norwich bound but not until after K and I had played a hilarious egg related prank on L (essentially serving her an empty boiled egg, oh what larks!). We spent some time mooching around Norwich – the cathedral, the shops, the market, lunch in Pizza Express, which was all quite jolly really. K told a big fat lie with “only the Pope is closer to God than I” and L told a similar one with “I am God’s conduit on earth”. Norwich exhausted, we headed back to the cottage via Asda once more whereupon K and L disconcerted the checkout girl by accusing me of shoplifting at which I laughed so hard I almost hacked up a lung. We spent the evening laughing quite hard about various things in our shared past and bunting. Don’t mention the bunting!
Day 4: Tuesday 12 June. Today I was a fool and left the log at home so the log notes are transcribed from scrawl in the back of my diary. We headed coastwards today, starting out in Cley to visit the smokehouse and ‘garlic pickle shop’ then on to Cromer via the coast road. L described Cley windmill as “it’s like the English equivalent of Florida”. By the time we arrived in Cromer the sun had come out, which was glorious and prompted me to spend large parts of the afternoon singing ‘oh the sun’ll come out in Cromer’. We went to the chippy and lunched on the sea front then had ice cream (K: “N’s got a melting ice cream phobia”, H: “THEN LICK IT HARDER”). H and L’s yellow car game took on a new turn with ‘man in a yellow jacket’ being added to the rules (presumably along with gold car, purple car and ‘seven yellow cars in a dream someone once had’). L also declared that she wasn’t spending any more money this holiday and promptly bought ALL THE BARBARA CARTLAND. We discovered the Norwich rush hour on the way back and debated the relative merits of visiting a bathroom showroom over McDonalds. L almost expired from excitement on discovering the existence of banana flavoured marshmallows and we were all traumatised to discover H had never had a pink wafer, fortunately K rectified the situation immediately. K described the later Chalet School books as being strung out “like an episode of Sunset Beach”. We were forced to concur. I also had my first paddle of the holiday in Cromer.
Day 5: Wednesday 13 June. Once more to the National Trust, dear friends! This time we found ourselves at Blickling Hall, again I turned down going round the house in favour of walking a good six or so miles around the grounds which were fabulous. L, despite her insistence that she wasn’t spending any more money, bought a set of WWII song CDs from the shop which included the VERY ANNOYING Siegfried line song. L: I like songs that begin with an aeroplane, K: They’re usually by R Kelly or something [R Kelly, the well known WWII hero]. The perils of Yellow Car were exposed – H: don’t punch me in the head, L: don’t drive into a ditch. H claimed to have made the side salad with dinner until it transpired that K had done the chopping, made the dressing etc and H had just placed everything on plates. H’s theory of driving transpired to be ‘dominance’. I’ve also got a couple of half scrawled quotes which are largely illegible (I suspect owing to various beakers of the Frozen North) about K’s A-level in physics and the perils of being H’s sister-in-law.
Day 6: Thursday 14 June. L and H opted to be utterly lazy today and stayed at the cottage which meant K and I went out for our DAY OF FUN. We headed over to Great Yarmouth and had awesome times. We visited the Elizabethan House Museum which had *the* best selection of dressing up clothes EVER! I dressed up as a Victorian servant, a Cavalier (complete with armour!) and an Elizabethan lady (with stays and padding!). We looked at other things then went to the beach and walked down the Street of Tat. We stopped en route home for a good long walk using the walk book we’d bought in Cromer and did a good five and a half miles around Acle and the Broads before returning home.
Day 7: Friday 15 June. Today we just left L behind and H, K and I headed for the coast to visit the bits between Cromer and Great Yarmouth. We started out paddling in Walcott but were thwarted by the ice cream van which had no ice cream. Our faces were sad. From there it was down the coast to Happisburgh to see the lighthouse that was done up on Challenge Anneka a million years ago. We had a picnic lunch outside the lighthouse but then the heavens opened and we were forced to flee back to the car! Next stop was Horsey windpump where K and I braved the onslaught of rain to go and look round. We stopped briefly in Hemsby where H purchased a Father’s Day card for 25p. Our last stop was Caister where we sat on the beach and visited a Roman fort in the middle of a 1950s housing estate. Over dinner L was conducting along with Beethoven on the radio and lobbed a carrot at K which was jolly hilarious. H came out with the classic quote of “alone, meaning without me”. Then somehow we got on to the subject of ‘Tena for men’ and the brilliant exchange of K “you’d be no good in a Tampax ad”, H “I can’t rollerskate”.
Day 8: Saturday 16 June. A last breakfast, a quick clean round, a hasty finish to the packing and it was time to shove everything back in the car then bid farewell to our cottage in a field and drive back to London. Sad times. And I never did fashion a poking stick for turning out the light from my top bunk…