What a glorious gift a four day weekend is for the non-teaching general public! Better still when the sun shines and shines and shines. So I borrowed a car and drove up the M11, first to have brunch and a long catch up with the lovely pouty H, and then out into the soft farmlands of Norfolk.
My aunt had very kindly let me stay in her tiny cottage near a place called Sloley, and with a bag filled with books to read, a map and a pair of walking shoes, I spent the whole weekend reading, eating or walking.
Actually more eating than anything – my lovely Grandad fed me up to the gunnels with home baked pies and quiches, and on Sunday my aunt had roasted three full chickens to feed six of us, with sausages, roast potatoes and epic amounts of veg, followed by the scrummiest and largest bowl of chocolate orange mousse I’ve ever eaten… Oh and then there was Easter chocolate too. I’ve barely needed to eat since!
I have a real affection for Norfolk that makes my heart feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That feeling of being so glad in your belly that you can’t keep the smile that comes right up from your guts from beaming itself out of your face. I’ve got gilded memories of holidays there – I only remember having one day of rain in all the years I’ve been going to Norfolk. And although it’s childish to think that it’s always summertime in Norfolk, In my head it somehow is. Whenever I’ve been, either as a child or as a grown up, my memory is of it being hot and sunny. I know this isn’t true. I’ve definitely walked to Felbrigg in pouring rain and camped in gale force winds. I’ve been briefly at the end of December when it’s dark and cold and frosty.
Still the Norfolk of my mind is bright yellow. In August the fields stretch out golden with wheat and barley. This weekend, the fields were glowing with oilseed rape, the meadows were strewn with buttercups and the footpaths lined with hundreds of star-like dandelions. I never thought dandelions could be beautiful before, but when they’re all out together, they blaze in the sun.
For some people it’s the pink of the cherry blossom or the tight buds of the magnolia, the delicate snowdrops and carpets of crocuses that signal spring. But I think for me it’s at the start of May, when England turns yellow like hope and infuses you with warmth that’s impossible to resist.