After the ridiculous stresses of this term so far, I was in need of a break. Thankfully I’d organised to return to Norfolk for Valentine’s weekend, so early on Thursday morning I caught the bus to the station, picked up breakfast and found my seat. I normally travel back to King’s Lynn as it’s by far and away the cheapest option, the trip home coming to just over £11 with my railcard. The journey itself sounds complicated – York to Peterborough, Peterborough to Ely, Ely to Lynn and then the drive home – but in reality is pretty simple. This time I was particularly lucky as the blue skies followed me all the way home, so I was treated to beautiful views of a more familiar countryside as Frank Turner and Bruce Springsteen echoed in my ears.
Grateful for the weather and my spare change for mochas, I eventually pulled into Lynn at around one-thirty. Unfortunately Dad was teaching in Norwich and unable to pick me up, so I’d elected to take the bus from Lynn to my nearest town and wait for him there. 45 minutes and a hefty fee of £6 (!) later I made my way to the nearest cafe in town and settled down with my set reading for next week – Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. It’s one of Rosa’s favourites and although I’ve struggled with it I’ve tried to persevere. Dad eventually picked me up a little before four, and finally, finally, I was home. I’ve gotten used to insulation and central heating here in York, so coming home is always a bit of a shock. Before long I found myself in bed with Netflix and some chocolate, and later catching up with Rosa and then Mum when she got home from work.
Rosa and I planned to head into Norwich on the Friday, but I managed to sleep for a full ten-and-a-half hours so we couldn’t catch a bus until just after two-pm. All the same we headed to Pizza Express for lunch courtesy of Mum, where we suddenly found ourselves with the absolute best seats in the house to watch Radio 1’s Greg James finish his ‘Gregathlon’ for Sport Relief. If you’ve missed this, drivetime DJ Greg has a challenge to complete for Comic and Sport Relief every time they come around, and this year he undertook not just one triathlon but five in five different cities in five days. He went to UEA and as such was completing the challenge here in Norwich, right outside the Forum. Having followed the trials of this challenge all week and donated myself, it was absolutely amazing to be able to watch him complete the final ten-mile run in front of a huge crowd – how anyone can manage to complete such an ordeal I’ve no idea, let alone somebody who isn’t a professional athlete.
From the restaurant we spent a lovely couple of hours looking around various clothes shops for a new coat for Rosa before she went to meet Mum. G and I were going out for a meal but he wasn’t due to arrive for another half-hour, so I stupidly took myself into H&M – and ended up leaving with a gorgeous dress I both couldn’t afford and couldn’t not buy. I wore it for our meal which was absolutely lovely. Our go-to restaurant is Jamie’s Italian, but for more special occasions we like to visit Paolo’s – service is fab, the food is delicious and it’s normally quiet too, even on the Friday before Valentine’s Day.
G drove us back to his that night and we woke up early the next day as he had work, but we didn’t head out before he treated me to a belated pancake day (fyi: popping a segment of chocolate orange on top of your pancake as it’s cooking and folding it up around the chocolate will possibly be the best decision you ever make). I quite enjoy going into work with him, and today I offered to help out a bit with the company’s social media accounts, revitalising their Twitter feed and setting up an Instagram account. It was a real surprise to me how much I already knew about how to manage different accounts for different purposes, and how businesses like his could make use of so many different platforms.
From work G drove us to Bury St Edmund’s. I couldn’t believe I’d never been – even in the rain and cold it was beautiful and I was amazed by the shopping opportunities. G, however, had other ideas, taking us straight to Harriet’s Cafe Tearooms for lunch, coffee and cake.
I’m not a tea drinker myself (“it’s just leaf-water!”) but the coffee was amazing. G, on the other hand, tried out one of their special blends whilst I attempted poor tea-related jokes (“You could say this conversation is a little… strained…”).
Plus it gave me prime opportunity to practise some flatlay techniques…
From the tearooms we made our way towards the Abbey gardens. Despite the gloomy weather their beauty struck me and I’m really excited to go back and visit in the summertime sunshine. The Abbey ruins were amazing, too, and I’m already looking forward to taking a look inside the cathedral. Before long, though, the cold got the better of us and we made our way back to the car, stopping in at G’s on the way back to mine.
Sunday started with a seven-am alarm, and we left the house at around ten-am after pain au chocolat for breakfast. We made our way up to Holkham with a coastal walk in mind, and ended up traversing over three miles from Holkham to Wells Woods, past the beach huts across Wells beach and onto Holkham, and then back through the small stretch of woodland to the carpark. I managed to hit my 10,000 steps goal before one-pm, though I’m pretty sure our efforts were balanced out by the two incredible salted caramel brownies we picked up from the mobile cafe by the car park.
It was such a beautiful day and I was thrilled to be able to visit some of my favourite coastline whilst at home. As we made our way back through the woods the light was beautiful that I insisted on “a few” photographs…
We arrived home in time for a gorgeous Sunday lunch Mum had prepared, and then G helped me pack before heading home himself. I didn’t have a huge amount of time after he’d left, but Mum and Dad had offered to drive me down to Peterborough so I only had to catch one train rather than three, which was really kind. I packed the last few things methodically, resigning myself to the fact that I had to head back to York and not really knowing what to expect when I got there.
The light as we left was bizarre – a fiery orange and gold, and just as we pulled out of the driveway snow started to tumble from the blazing sky. The words of Milton’s Paradise Lost accompanied us from the radio and Springsteen told me what I needed to hear. Four weeks, and I can make them good. We drove towards the sunset, chasing out the storm.