Three nights in Norfolk
Wednesday, 25th September 2019

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Virginia and I have spent three nights in Norfolk, staying at a 'cottage' in Caston. To get the downside out of the way first this was the worst 'cottage' we've stayed in. It was really a grungy annexe facing what could have been a gipsy encampment of cars and caravans and vans and delapidated sheds. I kept hitting my head on the light fittings. There was a door marked private leading to owner's house, we could see and hear the family as if they were sharing the space with us. The doors are all open with wedges, my bedroom has a glass panel in it Poor WiFi, dirty tea towels. Very few tea bags and no coffee. No folder of local information like shops and doctors (Caston seemed to be economising on village shops and streetlights).

We found our way on the Thursday to Grime's Graves where I had last been over 50 years ago. Grime's Graves is a field of neolithic pits where they mined flint, the name Grime comes from Anglo-Saxon Grim which was another name for Odin or Wotan. There was a large party there so I dashed down the pit open to the public to avoid being crowded. Not too bad descending the metal ladder with a protective helmet on (you had to sign a form saying you were fit enough to go down) but arduous climbing back up the 9 metres. You got an impression of just how pot holerish and dangerous it must have been mining for the treasured black flint nodules, which in their day were much more valuable than gold would have been? There was small gift shop and exhibition there, the unreliable Satnav took us down into MOD land with barred roads.

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We then went to Peter Beales Roses where we spent a long time catching up with my cousin Pat and husband, so long I felt for the staff trying to clean in the Rosarium Cafe. It's a very nice place, the gardens seem designed for taking wedding photographs in. There were roses out to see and admire, we weren't buying plants but Virginia found a tartan handbag in the shop which is now a Christmas present, I was tempted by the peculiar snake like hot water bottles yet resisted spending money. by We made our way to a wild garden (not by the signposted route which indicated a sealed gate) which had with-it signs on being bird and hedgehog and fairy friendly.

On the Friday first went to the very relaxing and blissful Gooderstone Water Gardens, happily not inconvenienced by a nearby road closure. The water gardens are a series of ponds with linking bridges, they have benches for to spend a happy summer afternoon's on snoozing. We tried the kingfisher hideout but that faced a dried up river bed or pool. We then did Oxburgh Hall seeing the Priests Hole but not venturing into it - had tea and an apple cinnamon scone in the tea room hampered by the restoration work going on. Spoke to one of the restorers working on ivory objects including a Chinese spheres inside spheres. Oxburgh Hall is a moated stately home still lived in the family, has plenty of pictures and upper-class prejudices like the symmetry in the library. This requires a concealed door of sham fake books with titles expressing family contempt and disdain at money-grubbing son-in-laws and Kings who fail to reward.

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Really tipped down that Friday, including as we took in Banham Zoo. Packed with young adults in the cafe when we went to have a bite to eat to wait for the rain to relent. Banham Zoo is a zoo. The animals (apart from the human animals) are in enclosures. You could see a tiger and meerkats and sea-lions.

On the Saturday on the way home we dropped in to see Dads Army Museum in Thetford. A tribute to how much loved the BBC TV series was and is, there is a lot of material there. We didn't stay long enough to patronise the cafe.