Last week was one of those doubly manic weeks. You know the sort, you’re busy anyway and are looking forward to a much needed break, but that much needed break brings with it the compulsion to get things done that you’d normally do if you weren’t having that much needed break. So it short, it’s a week where things have come to a head (simmering, not explosive) and one that almost broke me (but didn’t).
And because i refuse to let it break me - I can be stubborn like that - I needed to find another way to deal with it, and that’s been compromise, prioritising and useful. And what needed to be done, got done and so we escaped to Norfolk, for that much needed break.
I’m sure that you have your Valentines traditions and recently ours has also included cheese, and most often from the cheese shop in Greenwich. However this year my cheese exploits were thwarted as I discovered the shop shuts at 1pm on Thursdays. Knowing that we were heading to Norfolk, I wasn’t too worried as the deli in Hunstanton also has a good cheese selection.
However as I was standing outside it I discovered that too shut at 1pm on the day I visited. I was beginning to think there was a cheese shop conspiracy, but one I knew we’d overcome, even if it was a little later than usual. And so after a visit to the farm shop and Norfolk Lavender and later at Creake Abbey, we had our cheese.
Not any old cheese either, both are local. The Binham Blue is made just up the road in Wighton from where we bought it, and the Baron Bigod has had a slightly longer journey over the border in Suffolk. In fact we’ve had a truffled version of this before at our most recent trip to the Gravetye Manor, and it’s been on our radar ever since, so it was nice to spot it relatively close to its home.
And it was great to try them both along with some Gurney Gold and some goats cheese we’d brought from our local farmers’ market too, even if it was a few days afterwards. Actually this year I think we probably had the least romantic Valentine’s Day ever. If it’s a weeknight we’ll usually open a bottle of red, but not this year. This year we ate out, at McDonalds! We tried KFC first, at the Ely retail park on the way to Norfolk, but they were only doing takeaways, and I didn’t want the car smelling for the last hour or so of our journey. Romantic hey?!
So I’ve had a chilled few days in Norfolk, with some time for pottering, some for craft and still not enough to catch up with everything I want to. We’ve found cheese (yay!) and eaten local venison, which we roasted with locally grown potatoes and vegetables. We’ve been out for cake, wandered around villages and towns and shops and the week has ended in a much less frantic state than it started.
i even forgot my phone, and was without it for the whole day. It was quite liberating, but then often there’s not much signal up here anyway, but also a little restrictive as there were many photos I wanted to take. MOH had managed to bring his phone along and so that was commandeered at times for a photo or two, and completely relinquished by the time we got to the shops at Creake Abbey!
I’d been following the progress of the new arts centre at Wells Maltings and I was keen to see it for myself - it’s billing itself as “North Norfolk’s Cultural Landmark” and certainly had much on its programme. It’s here that we wandered around the local art exhibition, re-learning that we have different tastes in art. It looks a great place, there’s a cafe, activities and classes as well as a heritage centre (which we didn’t go into, as it was only a flying visit and £3.50 while not extortionate, seemed a little steep for the time we had available), exhibitions, cinema screenings and shows and it’s something I’m going to continue keeping an eye out for.
The photo below is of the cafe with its Wells Community Tapestry, which tells the story of the town’s heritage in textile reflecting the “vibrancy of the community groups that are active within it” and has seventy-five panels created by thirty seven community groups which highlight everything from the granary building on the quay to knitted shells and starfish.
Isn’t it great?