18.03.2016 - 22.03.2016 8 °C
After welcoming Juliet and Sam back to their own home on Friday, it was time for us to embark on a little bit of a roadtrip. It was a fairly unremarkable journey, apart from the iPad telling us to drive through a bus depot and onto a non-existent road. Nothing we couldn’t handle. I particularly enjoyed the addition of a spray painted ‘O’ onto the ‘Thetford Ranges’ sign, effectively changing hills into citrus fruit. Well-played, person with paint.
We found our next housesitting assignment in Runham by thinking we were lost, and then realising we had, in fact, pulled up at the front door. Buccheri magic at work. Caroline and Steven greeted us with bubbly and an interrogation of our surname – which quickly turned into a discussion of personal pronouns. Because Caroline teaches Italian. Because that’s exactly what you expect in a teeny tiny village in the east of England. Of course. Dinner was the best Italian meal I’ve had since Nonna last cooked for me – and was well washed down with expensive French red wine, and then a Coonawarra cab sav (Axis 251 – never heard of it, hope to encounter it again) that was considerably cheaper. Australia – 1, France – 0.
Once Caroline and Steven had packed their car the next morning and headed off to one of three possible hotels, we set to housesitting to the best of our abilities. Puppy and Winnie the collies took us for a walk to see the windpumps, and Cookie the Cat (obviously a strong feline name) tested the comfort levels of our laps. Maizy was a bit more reserved, only appearing briefly to glare at us ominously. Acle provided us with grocery shopping opportunities, and Dan Brown proved to be an excellent baby sitter for Simon for the day. And I learned that when you are making carrot soup, chicken cup-a-soup and broken spaghetti makes an excellent substitute for chicken noodle soup mix. Creative cooking at its best.
Sunday was an excellent day to go to the beach, assuming you did not want to immerse yourself in water. Thankfully, we didn’t – we just wanted to see the seals! Horsey Gap did not disappoint, and provided plenty of seal-based entertainment. One particularly small and pale seal was being photographed by a Seal Warden (whatever that is), and then two moderately-sized Australians were being educated by a Seal Warden. Poor baby seals only get looked after by their mothers for three weeks before being left to their own devices!
On Monday morning, the sun was shining, which made our walk with the dogs along The Broads rather pleasant indeed. We had thought that maybe we could make it to the nearest pub, but that turned out to be a little optimistic. We tried again in the car that afternoon – much more successful! The Bridge Inn was a warm, cosy, thatched roof pub which was just the right location to try some of the local Adnams brews before heading home to be warm and cosy in a non-thatched way.
Today we farewelled Runham and greeted Norwich – it was a balmy eleven degrees, practically bikini weather. Norwich had a selection of beautiful buildings to admire, strategically placed amongst pubs, free houses and breweries. And op shops. The Norwich Cathedral was the first destination, and there we met a fellow Australian – she had taught in Wodonga, Sunshine West, and Broadmeadows, and had holidayed in Warrnambool before coming to England in 1974. And here she stayed, ready to greet Australian tourists in Norwich. While the world is, indeed a small place, the cathedral was anything but small. Grandiose would be a better word for it. Originally built in the 11th century, it seemed to be holding up very well indeed. Unfortunately for me, the awe and wonder of such a magnificent building is cut through by my cynicism that reminds me how many people could have been fed/watered/housed/educated with the money and materials that would have gone into its building… but nevertheless, I acknowledge its beauty.
My training in the art of Appreciating Beauty and Excellence continued with a riverside walk, which not only provided me with plenty of opportunities to A B&E, but provided Simon with opportunities to Appreciate Boats & Waterways. Everyone’s a winner. And as spring has now officially sprung, there were daffodils all along the walk. It is much harder to be grumpy when the sun is shining and the daffodils are… daffodilling. The Norwich Castle was viewed from the outside, but the Colman's Mustard Shop and Museum was viewed from the inside. Priorities. I was fairly amused to see an ‘emergency relief’ type centre thingamy that offered ‘flip flops and plasters’ amongst its list of services. Housing and food very important, but flip flops? Maybe for heart-broken Australian travellers who have had a blow-out of their double pluggers…
Anyway – our footwear remains intact, and hopefully will continue to do so this evening when we head into Lowestoft to catch up with Elise and Pete for dinner. Strayans unite!