Half term in Norfolk

It is mid-February, it is half-term, Lucinda has no childminding wards and I have the final few days of holiday accrued from last year to take so what better excuse was there for team Bagnall to spend the week together.  The girls’ half term break was actually a day longer than the usual week due to an inset day tagged to the Friday meaning that they actually broke up on the Thursday.

I took the Friday off so that we could extend our week together from the Friday.  However, that plan was foiled with a request from our sales team to attend a meeting on the Thursday.  I can see the puzzled looks on your faces and hear the unvoiced, ‘why would a meeting on Thursday preclude a family day on Friday?‘  Simply because the meeting was in Istanbul, Turkey.  So Thursday started with a 0600 flight (the first one on the board from Terminal 5, Heathrow).  Four hours later we were in Istanbul, an hour later in a meeting followed by a meal.  I crept into bed at 0145 to be woken at 0630 to return to the airport and the four hour flight back to Heathrow.  We landed a little after 1100 which was exactly the time Lucinda was due to leave to pick Ezra up from pre-school so I walked (yes walked) from Terminal 5 to Lucinda’s mum’s for a cup of tea while waiting for Lucinda to come to pick me up.

So the planned family day was put on hold until later in the half-term holiday as half of my day off was taken with travelling from a meeting.  I think I may have to try to claw some of that back later in the year.  So with an afternoon together we decided to leave the Baguettes with Nanny while Lucinda and I went to look at kitchens!  Not exactly the family day we had planned, but productive nevertheless.

I was back at work on the Saturday trying to tie up loose ends before heading off for the week.  You may have guessed from the title of this work where we headed on Sunday morning.

Lisca and Theo, friends of ours moved to deepest darkest Norfolk last summer and although Lucinda has been to visit their new abode, neither I, nor the Baguettes had been visitors.  In December Lisca gave birth to Lake Rigby and so what better excuse was there to go for a visit than to meet the newcomer.  So, Sunday morning we headed towards East Anglia.  We found Lisca and Theo’s house relatively quickly and easily and soon were sitting by the fire, drinking coffee while having cuddles with our, soon to be, goddaughter, while the children explored the house.

Back up the horses, there was a bit of information in that previous paragraph that may have been new to you.  Yes, Lisca and Theo asked Lucinda and me to be the godparents of their daughter.  We were extremely touched to be asked, indeed it is the first time that I have been asked to be a godparent and accepted without hesitation.  So this visit was also timely so that we could meet Lake before her baptism.

After an afternoon of coffee and cuddles we left Lisca and Theo behind and headed into Norwich to our hotel.  After some negotiation of the city centre, we found our hotel room and checked in.  The five of us were sharing a room so we thought it was going to be a tight fit, however the room was quite pleasant.  A double for Mommy and Daddy, a single each for Éowyn and Amélie, which left Ezra on the his ready bed on the floor.  We unpacked then headed out for dinner.  It was quite late, for the Baguettes, when we returned so we got them ready for bed and then realised with all five of us sharing the same room, Lucinda and I may as well just turn in to.

The next morning we walked into Norwich to find breakfast and stopped at Harriets café tearooms that served a fine selection that satisfied us all.  We then explored Norwich.  I had only ever driven by Norwich never stopped there and I was quite pleasantly surprised by the city.  We only had the morning to explore as we were planning to meet up with Lisca, Theo and the kids at the local softplay area (and rollerdisco), called Funky’s.  The kids were excited as it sounded like Funky Monkey’s in West Bromwich.

While walking around Norwich we found the local toyshop but as the Baguettes had not been on their best behaviour there were no additions to Baguettes toy collection.  Norwich has a great balance between the usual high street shop chains interspersed with independents that give a real character to what could be a bland city centre.  It also seems to have an inordinate amount of churches.  Indeed, medieval Norwich had 57 churches within the city walls, but only 31 of them still stand today and only 9 are still used for worship.  Nevertheless, Norwich is still renown for having the most churches of any city north of the Alps.  We decided that we should take in one of these places of worship and so we paid a visit to the cathedral.  Ezra was especially delighted with tomb of Thomas Gooding who was buried vertically so that he could be the first to enter heaven.  It wasn’t the fact that he was buried vertically that attracted Ezra’s attention, but the fact that he is known as the skeleton!  The girls also liked his poetic epitaph:

All you that do this place passbye
Remember death for you will dye.
As you are now even so was I
And as I am so shall you be.
Thomas Gooding here do staye
Wayting for God’s judgement day.

After dinner we headed back to the room for a repeat of Sunday’s configuration and an early night for Mommy and Daddy.

Tuesday morning, É0wyn woke up with tummy pains, but we didn’t think much of it at first and headed out to find breakfast.  We had been recommended the waffle house, it sounded tempting so we headed there via the pharmacy to see if there was anything they would recommend for Éowyn: just painkillers.  We gave her a dose and headed to the Waffle House.  Éowyn was definitely ill as she didn’t want anything nevertheless the remaining four of us more than made up for it.

We then decided that we were on holiday and despite the fact that it was February we would head to the seaside.  Southwold had always been high on the list of places to visit, ever since we first saw Grandpa in my pocket.  A CBeebies programme in which James Bolan plays a grandfather who owns a magical shrinking cap that when he wears it shrinks him to a couple of inches high and allows him to magically control inanimate objects.  I think you have to watch it.

Southwold is a charming little seaside town across the border from Norwich in the county of Suffolk and is indeed part of the Suffolk Heritage Coast.  We parked near the pier and headed there first.  Éowyn was gradually feeling worse, but bravely battled on so that the rest of the family could enjoy their seaside sojourn.  ‘Bravely battled on’ is probably somewhat of a misnomer, ‘grumbling and groaning’ is probably a closer phrase, but the occasional acknowledgement that she was indeed ill was enough to placate her for a while.

After the pier we sought out the lighthouse before heading to the fish and chip shop with the biggest queue for the traditional fish, chips and mushy peas that is synonymous with a trip to the British seaside.  A walk along the beach and an ice-cream (I know it is February but we are English and we were at the seaside!) and we decided that Éowyn had been brave enough and headed back to the car and the four hour drive back home.

The virus that Éowyn had peaked on Wednesday morning, with sickness and diarrhoea hitting her in waves.  So we decided that there was no way that she was going to leave the house and the plan for the Baguettes to spend the afternoon at Nanny’s while Lucinda and I attended a friend’s father’s funeral had to be changed so that Lucinda stayed at home looking after the Baguettes while I went alone.

The emissions stopped late on Wednesday but by then the head cold had begun and a constantly running nose and chesty cough was the latest affliction to hit Éowyn.  Éowyn isn’t ill very often, indeed as a family we are rarely hit with heavy colds and certainly not to the degree that Éowyn suffered this last week, and so is a very bad patient and spent the day curled up on the sofa in her crocheted mermaid tail blanket either reading or playing on her tablet, groaning between the coughs and sneezes so that no one forgot that she was ill.  She was a little brighter as the evening drew on but still quite poorly, however, she was stable enough for us to feel that we could leave her under the care of their cousin Lauren while Lucinda and I took advantage of free cinema tickets (a Christmas raffle prize) as a belated Valentine night out.

The family day out that was planned for the previous Friday that was scuppered by my trip to Turkey was rearranged for the next day but this was then scuppered by Éowyn’s continuing illness.  We decided that dragging her around London wasn’t the best of ideas but we didn’t want to let the Baguettes down again so we offered a trip to the cinema in its stead.  All three jumped at the chance and what better excuse to see the Lego Batman Movie?  Secretly, Lucinda and I were pleased.

Thus, we walked to the cinema to join the other parents and children looking for something to do during the half term.  As we took our seats, we realised that this was one of those monumental firsts for it was Ezra’s first visit to the cinema.  Not a bad film to mark your first trip to the picturehouse.  Indeed, not sure what it says about Lucinda and I but we enjoyed the Lego Batman Movie more than La La Land that we saw the evening before and were tempted by more trailers from before the Lego Batman Movie than from La La Land.  I think finally the kids have warped our fragile little minds!

The half term excitement finished with two sleepovers: Amélie at Sophia’s house (her best friend) and her place in our home replaced by Éowyn’s best friend from her previous school, Aaliyah.

All five of us have now returned to our respective schools and work rotas and it is surprising how quickly that week off disappears as the routine takes over, nevertheless we had fun and there are plenty of photos from our trip to East Anglia at our Flickr account, so feel free to pop by and take a look.

Peace and Love