Monday, July 23, 2012

My holiday in Norfolk remembered

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Looking back on the time we had in Norfolk... I don't think we had it bad at all. That said... I don't think we had it that good either but we made do... and in doing so had a relaxing time.

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It became apparent on the first day in Great Yarmouth that this wasn’t to be a beach and pool break... whilst the sand was lovely on the Norfolk coast the wind wasn't. I think the wind farm just of the coast at Great Yarmouth was a clue. However, we adapted. We went to the sights... spent time playing crazy golf and walking round the model village. We did get a couple of days where we could spend time on the beach at nearby Caister... which was lovely... but this wasn't Northern Italy.

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Whilst there is a lot going on in Great Yarmouth I do not think it deserves it's “great” status anymore. The majority of shops were either chains or rundown gimmicky stores for the tourists of a bygone age. There was nothing really different... nothing really unusual... we even struggled finding places to eat... albeit the Lemon and Green Pepper on the front was an utter delight and is highly recommended. That said... the old cinema on the front was fab too... getting to see “the Avengers Assemble” for £1 each was pretty special and made a welcome change from the European Cup Final.

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Don’t get me wrong... I found some cool stuff: an Unwin copy of the Silmarillion... a Star Wars belt-buckle... a cool Star Wars parody tee... a Stablio Smartball pen/stylus... but we had to sort through all the dross to find these gems - Dayna found an Elmo belt-buckle and a ’big band theory’ sweatshirt... Olly found a Wonder Woman belt-buckle... and Miriam... well she was in heaven... she likes her junk. We also ate well... albeit we did eat in more than we may have preferred. We did find a great cafe for afternoon tea on the front... one that wasn't Starbucks. All in… Great Yarmouth should be renamed Good Yarmouth… at least for me.

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Now... it was in our second week that the holiday came alive. Our accommodation was first class:  a four-star two-storey apartment in a Country Club 10 miles outside Norwich... bit of rural as well as city... with plenty of space to walk Pippin amongst fishing lakes. I saw ducks, geese, swans, coots and moorhen while out and about... and that made the grounds very special indeed.

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There was an outdoor pool there too... but only Miriam was brave enough to take a dip.

Norwich was an amazing city and we had a blast... we ate well... shopped well... and saw the sights.

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For food... we visited Nando’s, Wagamama, Yo Sushi, Starbucks and Frankie & Benny’s. We found a fab burger joint called "Captain America's Hamburger Heaven" which was… heaven! We also found a sweet wee indie coffeeshop called “marmalade’s” who offered some delicious coffee and cake.

For the shops… Norwich had everything: the secondhand bookshops were a particular blessing as well as a curse to me... and Miriam as well... she’s become a real book collector too. The girls enjoyed some good clothes shopping and I found a fab shop that sold old DVDs and CDs... allowing me to pick up some older content that had languished in the “someday” list including “Kid A” and “Amnesiac” (to my shame).

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I also found a great wee stationery shop where I discovered 'Leuchturm 1917' notebooks (like Moleskine but cooler) and bought a sweet Rhodia notebook with cover... it's a beautiful shade of orange. We also found a fab bookshop that sold some wonderfully progressive theological books like “the other Jesus” by Greg Garrett or “Sabbath” by Dan Allender... I was a pig in poo!

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For the sights... well, we didn't see everything on offer: managing to take in the Cathedral and the Castle mostly... both which are well worth seeing although their charges made me appreciate the great museums in Glasgow that are free.

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I was delighted to catch a Cecil Beaton exhibit that focussed on the Royal Family. His portraits are simply first class and it was great to spend some time in a very well curated exhibit. The other galleries in the Castle are brilliant too... with space for Modern Art, water colours and some beautiful landscapes from Turner and others.

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All in… the best part was spending time with my wife and my girls. Afterall that's what it's all about… not the books… not the music… not the sights, food or whatever… it's about taking time out… and any time with my Olly, Dayna and Miriam is time well spent.

Tx
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