A belated summer holiday

Yesterday we went on our summer holiday a little bit out of season due to my work circumstances or rather lack of them!!  We like to have at least 1 week a year in the countryside and this year have a cottage in the beautiful county of Norfolk.

Norfolk is an extremely rural and quiet county but is also only 150 miles or so from London so it is quick to get to, at least until the motorway finishes!

I thought I would try to write a brief post every day or so depending on the wi-fi connection here.  All the houses are made out of brick and flint with very thick walls and so our wi-fi comes from the owners annexe next door, the walls are so thick the wi-fi only works in a square foot or so of one room!  So if you read this blog then you will know that I managed to stand on one leg, facing the right direction with a flock of flying pigs to help me.  So don’t expect too many photos this week!  We are in the village of Field Dalling, just a few houses and the sort of village which has more fields than buildings!

Norfolk is full of agrarian farms and is the number 1 county in Britain food wheat and similar crops to be grown.  It is very flat, just like Holland and the buildings look similar too.  The two areas have always been closely linked in trade with many people in this part of England having Dutch heritage if you go back hundreds of years.

Because the county is largely unspoilt, it has a tremendous and very rich history and we drove past numerous points of interests we would have loved to explore.  On our way here, we drove through pretty little villages with ancient churches and barns, several RAF bases and through part of the Thetford Forest where we stopped to have a picnic next to The Desert Rats Memorial.  The Desert Rats are so named because in WW2 they fought a very long but ultimately successful campaign in North Africa.  Led my Monty against Rommel.  At one point Rommels forces were doing really well and he urged the British to surrender instead of hiding out like desert rats.  Meant as an insult, the term was taken as a badge of honour and remains so to this day.  Here’s to Monty, Grandads and the other brave men involved.

Both my grand fathers fought in North Africa so Monty is a figure of interest to me and in Thetford Forest his army trained in the months before D-Day right where we had our picnic.   The tank pictured below landed in Normandy at Gold Beach, a place we visited 2 years ago so it is lovely to see a memorial here as well as the many in France.

Desert Rats memorial

The plaque commemorates the north Africa campaign in WW2 as well as D-Day in Normandy to the campaign to Berlin. If memory is right it also mentions there recent efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It took us about 4 hours to reach our cottage and after unpacking, we went to the nearby picturesque town of Holt.  Here we had some fresh chocolate ice-cream and bought some speciality foods to eat later.  Holt has many antique shops and we saw all sorts of things we would buy if only we had both or in fact either, the money or the space at home!!

It was nice to get back to our cottage and we ate in the garden.  To me it is heaven not to hear any planes or cars and the little ancient houses and villages remind us both so much of Normandy and Holland.

I have been suffering from a cold for the last week or two and was up by 5.30am this morning but it allowed me to watch the sunrise over the garden and fields beyond.  Below is a not very great photo from one of the kitchen windows.

Our cottage is surrounded by a beautiful big garden and then farmland beyond.  Here is the view from the kitchen

Our cottage is surrounded by a beautiful big garden and then farmland beyond. Here is the view from the kitchen

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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9 Responses to A belated summer holiday

  1. Stephen, once again, you have a great way of making your simple travels into colorful travelogues & painting attractive images of what you are observing and experiencing…keep it up…I’m an avid reader


  2. Rosemarie says:

    Enjoy your peace and solitude.


  3. Your description of trying to use the internet in Norfolk is a lot like trying to use the internet or a cellphone in rural Kansas. I now picture the signals like clouds of perfume caught in a breeze: brief, intense, and ever-moving.


  4. mamacormier says:

    When I’m at my cottage, which is on an island on Georgian Bay in Ontario, we can’t use our cell phones. Often people say they’re going to the ‘office’ which means that they are driving to the top of the hill to try and get a connection. Sometimes it works and often it doesn’t. Thank goodness I have a land line.


    • That is quite funny but must be incredibly annoying if expecting a call or you know you have a message but can’t retrieve it. I am imagining a line of slow moving traffic waiting for the person at the top as they wave their phone around hoping for it to detect a signal!


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