On the whole the week went well. I was pleased to get my article about Cley Next the Sea published and, in the research, finding out that one of my fave singers James Blunt has his roots there! I'm now trying to decide where to go next - history behind another local village, biography of local gal or bor (Norfolk for boy!), or maybe something a little more gruesome?!! I shall probably ponder the point at length while I'm doing my housework later on today. I have quite an interesting Tudor murder lined up so might have a stab at that - no it wasn't by stabbing but rather an unusual method. I'll leave you hanging on that one - no it wasn't hanging either!!! I also want to try and get down some amusing notes about my childhood which I hope will turn out to be more of a 'short story' - and then perhaps, George, I can feel confident enough to get to grips with your novel idea.
The week was pretty hectic so far as work was concerned but I took Wednesday off to visit my mother who can be a trifle difficult to deal with these days. As I mentioned last weekend, my days with Mother can be quite eventful and last Wednesday was no exception. I had my itinerary set - catch the No 10 bus at 9.15 to get me from Spixworth to Norwich; arrival 9.45; go to the Bank and pay in some cheques I'd had hanging around for a bit; get the No 210 bus at 10.10 to take me from Norwich to North Walsham, where my mother lives; ETA 11.20. I'd then arranged to meet my mother in the market place, go into QD, Boots and the local greengrocer, go back to hers for lunch and then catch the 210 back to Spixworth at 4.20.
The day started well - for once the bus turned up on time and it was a nice new one rather than the usual old banger that we have at 9.15 which has something wrong with brakes - every time the bus stops it sounds as if the Queen Mary is coming into port!! We got about halfway into Norwich and suddenly the bus driver pulled into the side of the road, leaped out and ran back from whence we came. He returned with something in his hand - he announced that his front indicator which should have been on the front left hand corner of the bus had dropped off. He then announced that the next bus would be along in about 10 minutes. More than his job was worth to travel without that indicator as it was against health and safety regulations.
That wouldn't have allowed me enough time to catch my bus out to North Walsham so I then had to hike back a mile in order to catch the 210 bus. I'd been having a 'turf out' in the garden the previous weekend and had managed to dig up some day lilies, gladioli and perennial lobelias which I'd shoved in pots to take over to my mum's as she was complaining that her garden looked bare. I'd found that one of the houses I passed on my jolly jaunt back to the bus stop was obviously inhabited by either a non-gardener or a 'natural' one as there were all sorts of things growing over the path. I duly arrived back at the bus stop with my jungle still intact and waited for the bus to arrive. It was then I noticed that I was covered in greenfly. I knew it wasn't from my plants so it must have come from the jardin au naturel!!
The bus arrived and I sat down for the leisurely (although somewhat itchy - due to my infestation) ride through all the little villages via the back roads to North Walsham. The countryside is absolutely stunning this time of year and I just wished I could have asked the driver to stop the bus so I could take some photos, but no worries, I'll just drag poor old Adam out over the next couple of weeks so I can return with my digital camera!
I arrived in North Walsham on time but Phase 1 of the plan to pay in the cheques had had to be relegated to the bottom drawer. I alighted still with mini jungle intact despite the twisty bends of the back roads and Mum was waiting for me. Now to have a good old gander round QD, Boots, etc, etc. As soon as I got off the bus I could see that Mum had two full bags of something. Having said hello to each other she announced that she'd been to Sainsbury's, the Post Office and the greengrocer so we could head straight home. She said that her shoulder was now beginning to ache and she was feeling tired due to the humid weather so we should head straight back to hers. So, Phase 2 out of the window!!!
We got back to Mum's and I told her I'd remembered what she'd said about wanting some perennial plants to fill up the gaps in her garden and proudly presented my cuttings (now with the added bonus of greenfly!). As I said previously, she's getting a bit tetchy in her old age and doesn't believe in beating about the bush. I handed her the day lily and she immediately said, "oh no, not another one of those! You gave me one of those a couple of years ago and it's a damned nuisance. I keep meaning to ask Robin (her 'gardening man') to get rid of the one I've got out there now as it's too big". I bit my tongue and resisted the urge to tell her that she'd told me she didn't have enough plants to fill the garden so I just, very meekly, said, "well, you'll have to see if you can find a neighbour that'd like it". She, rather ungratefully, said I could 'shove them outside'. I suspect that they'll end up in the compost bin. So much for my good turn!
Despite this setback though, we had quite a good day and Mum, as she so often does these days, regaled me with stories of her childhood in Coltishall and some of Dad's tales of his war years. I duly recorded all the salient points in my limited memory so I can write them up later!!
And so it came to the journey home - bus late, but at least it turned up. All in all not too stressful but could have been better. I'd give it 8 out 10. (Can anyone remember what the TV programme was called back in the 1960s with that lovely lady who used to 'give it foive'?) Was it Pick of the Pops or something like that?
The rest of the week went relatively well - I got a bargain from Suttons Seeds online. 20 garden ready perennial plants for £25. I'm now an avid 'shop online' girl and Adam's amazed at the speed I can find comparable prices - everything from flowers to electrical goods! And I've got some wonderful websites that give me cashback if I connect through them. I've even signed up to a charity cashback site - every time I go through them to purchase something online, the PAWS centre (the local RSPCA shelter where Cleo came from) they get a percentage of what I paid.
I checked out the Woolies website on Friday and ordered Adam's brother-in-law a bag of pick-n-mix which I've had sent to him down in Essex. He was forced to retire early from the company he'd worked for for 47 years so thought we'd send him a little bag of treats to help him celebrate, although it sounds as if he's already getting into the swing of things. Adam's sister phoned us during the week (she's recently given up her job as a child welfare worker with the local council), and announced that she and Ray were sitting in the garden with their dog enjoying a Chelsea bun and a cup of coffee!
This morning we were up again fairly early, had a cuppa and took our little weekly jaunt to the local Co-op and couldn't believe our eyes! At the checkout next door were a couple, Stephen and Laura, who'd been neighbours of ours when we lived in Norwich. They'd both been teachers in Ethiopia and had bought a house in Norwich so that they and their two young sons could come home during the summer hols to catch up with old friends and relatives. When Adam and I had moved out to Spixworth we'd somehow lost touch with them but apparently they were now living in Spixworth themselves! Their youngest son, Tim, was with them - home from University for the weekend. He'd been 9 when we left Norwich and, as you can imagine, was unrecognisable from the little Timmy who enjoyed poking around our perennials looking for ladybirds! His older brother, Jonathan, must now be about 21 or 22 and apparently he was at University too. Stephen's now a lecturer in Norwich and Laura decided to give up teaching and is now doing a course at the University of East Anglia. Strange old world - full of coincidences!!!
Now, what to do today? Looks like a thunderstorm's a-brewin' so I might just indulge in a cup of tea and a piece of fruit cake (Mum gave me one when I was over at hers on Wednesday and it'd be a shame if we left it to go stale - well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it). As it's so humid neither Adam nor I really fancy eating much so I'll probably stick some chicken portions in the oven to cook during the afternoon and then we can have chicken salad tonight or, if the weather turns cooler, we can take the chicken off the bone and use it in a stir fry. In the meantime, I'll probably catch up on a bit of CSI or Corrie or maybe do a bit more research into another article.
Before I end though, a message for George. You asked about the footpath in Coltishall. The footpath itself is still there but its just not as 'prettily presented' as it was when I lived in the village. You no longer have access to the whole of the meadow as it's been fenced off and the crooked wooden five bar gate has been replaced with a metal one. I suspect it's because the people who use the footpath no longer respect the 'laws of the countryside' and probably demolish wooden gates and chase the cattle that graze on the meadow. I can well remember taking walks through there with Mum, Dad, my older sister and our cat and the cattle used to love coming up to us and being stroked but these days they're liable to be set upon by yobs!!! Such is life, as they say!!!!
Speak to you next week.