One man went to mow…

by Anna Raccoon on August 3, 2016

dexta-in-walesAs night-time falls, the marsh becomes the province of the ‘will-o’-the-wisp’, that mysterious blueish light that dances hither and thither, occasionally picking up the slow beat of the barn owl’s wings, more usually skitting across the water meadow, leaving you wondering whether you really did see it or not. Was there a man out there with a torch in the dark? A Hare lamper? A lost marshman?

The rising sun over the north sea brings the first warmth to cheer the marsh, it produces a mist that appears to rise up; a ghostly spectre, lifting its skirts, a few inches at time. A glimpse of an ankle! A deer ankle…then, if you are very quick, you can count the deer legs; four legs, eight legs, twelve legs. By the end of the summer we knew there were at least nine deer living in that alluvial plain, a brilliant green of reed-milk parsley and marsh mallow, sphagnum moss and herbs. A gourmet delicatessen surrounding their pied-à-terre.

As the mist departed, they would lie down; the same spots every day. We knew where they were, could still pick them out, delicate brown ears hidden in the sward. On rare evenings you could pick out the grazing Does, heavy with kid.

The rains came, and rare spots of sun – enough to encourage the grass to grow; a foot, then two foot. The days of deer spotting were over; just the Marsh Harrier to entertain us – until we went up river and discovered the delights of the little Egrets. We had no idea what they were, an elegant white wading bird gathered on the mud flats at low tide. ‘Distinctive yellow feet’. At home I searched for them; discovered that they were extinct in Britain as recently as the later half of the last century. Not any more; there are dozens of them out on the Breydon water.

Then one day he appeared, riding on an ancient Fordson Dexta. An equally ancient farmer. Round and round the field he went, cutting a swathe through the sweet hay; three times, four times, five. Nooo, I thought, the deer, they are in the middle. I watched for hours, convinced that I would see them rush out one side or t’other. Then just as suddenly he stopped, and trundled off.

How odd! The weather was good and most farmers will work from dawn ’til dusk to bale their hay when they get the opportunity. A week slipped by, then the old Fordson hove into view and he cut several strips around the next field – and vanished again. Returning later with a prehistoric aerator to turn it, but no sign of a baler. This performance went on for two or three weeks. The old boy would cut hay for two or three hours, miss a day or two, then return to cut another strip or so. It rained, the sun blazed, it rained again; nothing seemed to hurry his harvesting.

By now, the strips he had cut first had ‘greened up’, a lusher verdure than before.  The old boy seemed to have recovered his strength, for now he worked longer hours, but with two vast water meadows to cut, he still only managed to make headway of four or five lengths each day. Finally he reached the middle of the field – and then we saw them – a line of Does rise up from their hiding places, stepping gracefully towards the green outer edge close to the brambles, followed by several heartbreakingly tiny kids.

The old man had known they were there all the time; prepared a ‘picnic’ spot for them close to the bramble cover. Never hurried them, just hinted to them every few days that it was time to move. He had risked his harvest time and again, as the rain had sheeted down, to ensure that those graceful animals weren’t frightened. Obediently, they had taken themselves off to the brambles; waited ’till he had baled and stacked his hay, and now we see them in the early morning haze, grazing the field as they did last year. They shepherd the kids back into the bushes as the day comes alive – ‘Sleep child!’ – but they never do. Within an hour or so, the field is full of kids, miniature bambis, jumping, balancing, skipping and chasing.

The banks of the dyke are so high that the holidaymakers pounding past at river level in search of the next pub to moor at can’t see what goes on in that meadow. It is my private world. Mine and the farmers. Turn left for computer; right for the easel and my fledgling attempts at water colouring – and in between, a window on a world that hasn’t changed in hundreds of years.

There is a lot of Norfolk that hasn’t changed. We had business the other side of the river a few days ago. A tiny village at the end of a network of lanes with the unmistakable central tinge of green that denotes rarely used tarmac. We found the boatyard, in the lea of an old mill, and whilst Mr G was occupied I started to wander. A long string of georgian houses, detached of course, but that was not their unusual feature. Many of them held businesses. An optician here, a funeral parlour there. Here a flower shop, there a grocer’s, the butcher, naturally. What was unusual was that all these business seemed to occupy but one downstairs room of each detached house – normally you see a row of shops, with flats above, jostled close together. These could only be long established businesses, owner occupiers, quietly providing everything the village needed in time honoured fashion. The optician still finding time to tend his garden in between customers – chickens pecking and scratching in the gravel drive of the funeral parlour looking for a quiet spot to lay down a new life.

So very ordinary, yet I can’t remember the last time I saw a village like that. An old man sitting on a wooden chair outside his front door; women stopping to talk to each other – it was as though I had wandered onto a film set. Tucked away was a tiny tea shop, but two seats outside.

Mr G had promised to take me for breakfast when he had finished his business; a cafe we knew we would pass on route. I had changed my mind I informed him; I wanted to have breakfast right there, in that tiny wee space.

It was cramped and claustrophobic; four tiny tables piled into a room no more than 8′ square. The tables were piled high with the detritus of a thousand generous customers who had thought the cafe could do with just one more plastic rose, yet another donated tea pot stand, surely there was room for this quirky mustard pot? We ordered tea; it arrived in a proper pot, with a proper tea cosy, to sit on its proper tea pot stand, until time to warm the mis-matched rose covered cups and saucers.

The walls were covered with the efforts of a dozen local artists; and clocks; and newspaper cuttings; and notices of long past horticultural society meetings; and plastic flowers; and plaster models of windmills; and a hundred other items that no one had known what to do with – other than ‘give it to the lady in the tea-room’. Even as we sat there – listening to the high pitched whistle from the hearing aid of the old boy in the corner, and the cheerful chatter of the ‘lady in the tea-room’ who seemed to know everyone and be loved by all – people arrived with gifts for her and her ‘collection’. A plastic monstrosity that she was so enthusiastically grateful for, you might have imagined it was the first kind deed ever shown to her. The walls told a different story.

So much time was taken up with enquiring after the health of various grandchildren belonging to people who hadn’t even stopped for tea, merely paused to wish her good day as they passed in the street, and the in depth conversation with the customers waiting patiently inside the cafe, that I wasn’t surprised to see wisps of smoke emerging from the kitchen.

In truth, breakfast was slightly charred around the edges. There is nothing better than toast made from proper bread, richly slathered in butter – and with a thinnest hint of blackened crust. When it arrives with real bacon, and proper field mushrooms, and a home grown tomato –  who cares that the egg took a tumble on its way twixt pan and yet another example of mismatched china plate? When the plate has been properly warmed first, and is set down on a wonderful collection of table mats, the only surviving members of a set that someone got for Christmas, and there’s two pint of builder’s tea in that pot, and ‘can I get you some more hot water’. Who cares?

You won’t find that farmer or the lady in the tea-shop on Twitter, whinging about the lack of a woman on the five pound note. They don’t have Face-book accounts to hurl abuse or ‘like’ pictures of atrocities in far flung places.

Both of them well past retirement age; still grafting, still making life better for those around them. Neither of them newsworthy.

Which is why it is so easy to forget that they exist. The quiet ones. Getting on with life.

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

tdf August 3, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Will o the wisps are associated with folklore and ghostly tales across Europe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will-o%27-the-wisp

“These are the ruins of Puck’s Castle, located in south county Dublin. Many of these structures were built around Dublin between 1400 and 1550 to protect the ‘Pale’ from the ‘wild Irish’. Other similar structures in the area include Shankill Castle, Shanganagh Castle, Kilgobbin Castle and this one that is locally known as Puck’s Castle. The name “Puck’s” derives from the Gaelic “Pooka” which is a ghost or spirit and lends to the local legends of it being a haunted spot. In June 1867 Jane Eleanor Sherrard, the daughter of a local Englishman disappeared near the castle after she went out to pick flowers for her table. The police organised a widespread search but the last ever confirmed sighting of Jane was by the local postman who reported seeing Jane picking flowers at the castle. To this day the circumstances surrounding her disappearance remain unknown. There is very little information about it’s history except that it provided a refuge for James II and members of his army after fleeing the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.”

http://curiousireland.ie/pucks-castle-rathmichael-co-dublin-c-1520/

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ivan August 3, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Stop it, stop it!

Your description takes me back to my youth. The Tea Shop sounds very like the place I used to visit after I had cycled the umpteen miles to to see the planning officer of the Blowfield and Flegg RDC to get information for my father on some building or other.

I am very pleased that the old ways are still followed by the farmers along the river – long may it continue.

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ivan August 3, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Damn predictive text. It should be Blofield & Flegg RDC.

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The Last Furlong August 3, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Very moving post. And uplifting. Thank you.

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Don Cox August 3, 2016 at 5:15 pm

Yes, a beautiful piece of writing. Worthy of Richard Jefferies or W H Hudson.

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Wigner's Friend August 3, 2016 at 3:37 pm

Glad you managed to take a break from the chess pit to comment on the remnants of this green and pleasant land. Keep strong.

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Wigner's Friend August 3, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Cess dammit!

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Peejos August 3, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Just beautiful and evocative, thank you.

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windsock August 3, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Glad you got to frolic with (well, watch the frolicking of) the Bambis! And nice to have some decent real human counterbalance to the Danny Days, Bishop Blakes and Neelu Berrys and Sabine McNeills of this world.

Thank you.

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Roderick August 3, 2016 at 4:09 pm

What a thoroughly pleasant and wholesome scene you have evoked, the opposite of the “alone together” Facebook generation whose heads are usually pointed down at screens in their hands rather than towards those present, and for whom conversing with a stranger in person is fraught with (mostly imaginary) danger. Sometimes, alas, ‘progress’ does not result in change for the better.

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The Blocked Dwarf August 3, 2016 at 4:31 pm

I suspect this post may get more clicks than you think.
Infact it so good you could submit it to Readers Digest “How I watched The RSPB Man drive backwards over the marsh, Ate Burnt Toast & learned to delight in plastic roses”.
Unfortunately you forgot to mention the “Oh LOOK Honey, isn’t that just quaintest!” couple from New York outside the Tea Room….or the “OMG! I am SO instagramming it!” Neo Londoners looking for the Trip Advisor rating in the window.

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Anna Raccoon August 3, 2016 at 4:59 pm

No, no tourists, didn’t even see a mobile phone. Guess why I’m not identifying the place?

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The Blocked Dwarf August 3, 2016 at 7:33 pm

didn’t even see a mobile phone

That doesn’t surprise me, there are villages here in Norfolk that are still waiting upon connection to Her Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria’s (“Gawwd Bless ‘er) Optical Telegraph network …that they might receive news from the Crimea speedily.

Anyways as no Satanic Nav actually works in Norfolk you might safely post the address.

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JK August 3, 2016 at 9:25 pm

Not every Yanks got to be New York. There’s Arkansas aside. I stop by from time to time. Happy I did so today.

It’s been a rough couple of months. Thanks Mrs. Raccoon. I’ll stop by and speak again as habit has been near Christmastime I expect.

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Juliet46 August 3, 2016 at 4:33 pm

I read your words but see the pictures you are painting in my mind.

Thank you.

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tdf August 3, 2016 at 4:34 pm

….and the mysterious “Here Hare Here” sign left by the local poacher!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4HHaspKL_4

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Carol42 August 3, 2016 at 5:10 pm

Lovely evocative post. I didn’t know such places still existed.

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Anna Raccoon August 3, 2016 at 5:21 pm

There used to be one such in Cley, up on the coast. Lovely lady, had a gypsy caravan wedged in the garden, as did I, in my tea rooms – so we bonded over shared tales of the difficulties of buying a gypsy caravan!
That was a place of mis matched 1930s china, and lace doilies, and some rather erratic cakes!
Last time I went past the house it was Farrow and Balled with a very expensive Range Rover outside and no sign of a tea room.

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tdf August 3, 2016 at 5:41 pm

I have only once in my life seen in active use (outside of movies, museums, etc) a real old style gypsy caravan, around 30 years ago, near Annamoe Co Wicklow.

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The Blocked Dwarf August 3, 2016 at 7:40 pm

There used to be, in Cromer of all places, a really great Coffee Shop/Tea room. Done in the style of an Austrian Coffee House with 1970’s ‘Visit Germany‘ posters on the wall (well they both speak German like…) Had real genuine German coffee and Tortes and Gateauxs just like what them foreigners eat. AND it had newspapers on sticks! Yes they assumed their clientel might be able to read.

Then the SMOKING BAN came in and now it is a ‘Community Cafe’ (don’t ask).

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tdf August 3, 2016 at 8:34 pm

@TBD

Correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

So, one cannot necessarily deduce that there is any direct connection between the smoking ban in the UK and your coffee-tea room becoming a ‘Community Cafe’.

Personally, as a reformed smoker, I prefer the taste of coffee, tea, and cake, and food in general, frankly, since I relinquished the dread weed five years ago. Even when the Irish smoking ban was introduced 12 years ago, I didn’t particularly object at the time, as I enjoyed going outside for a smoke and a chat, it helped to time my gaps between each cigarette. Plus, most of the interesting people were outside the pub anyway, smoking away like Billio, only venturing indoors to request another pint, or remind one of their buddies to include them in the round.

That said, I can’t necessarily say that my lifestyle has improved since relinquishing the evil weed. Mainly, I just drink more, and I’ve certainly become fatter, lol.

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The Blocked Dwarf August 3, 2016 at 9:27 pm

Actually in this specific case the owner sold the cafe to someone else a year or so before the Verbot. The first thing the new owner did was ban smoking, which of course was absolutely his right. As was it our right, us regulars, to say ‘we shall take our £40+ a week custom elsewhere’. We did. The hordes of non-smoking foodies failed to materialize, he started to cut costs and stopped buying in the sinfully expensive real coffee and gateaux, stopped using proper continental cheese on his croques cos Budgens Cheddar was cheap, tried re-theming to “Brit Sea-Cide”, stopped paying the cleaning staff (judging by the state of the place the last time i went in)…and the rest you can guess.

Place stood empty for so long that some local charity did a deal with the Council etc

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Mudplugger August 3, 2016 at 10:16 pm

In contrast, my own health and lifestyle has improved markedly after the Smoking Ban – since I refuse to spend money in any establishment which will not allow me to smoke in comfort, I immediately ceased my three-nights-a-week eating and drinking-out habit 9 years ago and have never been back since. I now enjoy wholesome home-cooking in the company of friends, drink at supermarket prices, smoke when and where I want, I’ve lost two stones in weight, feel fitter than I did 20 years ago and I’m at least five grand a year better off, which buys my cars. What’s not to like.

OK, many of the local pubs and restaurants may have closed down, firing staff and no longer paying their suppliers, corporate taxes, national insurance and VAT, but that’s not my fault, they started it.

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The Blocked Dwarf August 3, 2016 at 11:41 pm

Ditto, bloody ditto!

And to get back on topic…almost. The Norfolk market town I went to 6th Form College in had, back in the mid 80s, at least 5, thriving tea-rooms/cafe’s. I know because I and the rest of my studenty ilk kept them in business. Free periods and lunchtimes were spent *cough* doing course work *cough* *cough* with the aid of Mrs Miggins best brew and apple pie and Old Holborn (okay, so we spent most of the time in cafes talking about anything but school work and writing Athena postcards-the SMS of our time-to various of our milieu that were not there).
Town also had several pubs which as far as I know are still there, but you try finding a cafe. One of the anomalies of the Verbot, some places the pubs survived but the tea rooms took the hit. Maybe just a ‘Norfolk Thing’…wouldn’t surprise me.

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Mudplugger August 3, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Lovely piece, and lovely peace.

If I’m not mistaken, the image was of a Super Dexta, not just a Dexta. Must remove anorak and get out more – directions to a certain small tea-shop much appreciated…..

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Anna Raccoon August 3, 2016 at 5:22 pm

Sheesh!

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DtP August 3, 2016 at 5:21 pm

Crikey, may even get a Yorkshireman feeling envious…nope, the moment’s passed! Lovely, Anna – thankyou 🙂

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Mike August 3, 2016 at 5:33 pm

Anna, thank you. Just what I needed after the day I’ve had

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suffolkgirl August 3, 2016 at 7:23 pm

I enjoyed this very much but was a bit astounded at the loving kindness shown to deer. Over this side of the border we hate them, mountjac in particular, but most are seen as potentially destructive walking dinners.

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Bunny August 3, 2016 at 7:26 pm

Thank you I really enjoyed the piece, very evocative and makes me want to try and find it sometime. Also probably never to leave it, in a good way I hasten to add.

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gareth August 3, 2016 at 7:43 pm

@ suffolkgirl,

…but they are soooo tasty! One of my neighbours goes out jogging and has twice now reported fresh roadkill, which I’ve scuttled out to bring back. Last one I just took off the fillet and the back legs (subsequently boned and rolled) and took the rest to the zoo for their various carnivorous creatures.

Last couple of weeks I’ve seen a doe and very small calf (?) come past my back field. Ugly little vermin really – but in a kind of cute way. The calf would make a good Pokemon.

Lovely article Anna 🙂

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Wanda August 3, 2016 at 10:12 pm

Lovely piece of writing, soothing and tender, just what I needed after a hellish day in unbearable heat. Thank you

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Michael Massey August 3, 2016 at 11:16 pm

To join all the others: lovely piece of writing in every respect. Thank you and well done.

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tdf August 3, 2016 at 11:29 pm

To differ from all the others, I thought that Anna’s post was drivel – ghastly and fake romanticism. Mythologising a false past which didn’t exist back then largely and sure as fuck doesn’t today.

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The Blocked Dwarf August 3, 2016 at 11:50 pm

Hold you hard, Bor (as they say round these parts- means ‘hang on a sec’). My Aged Mother lives in just such a Norfolk village as AR describes, well almost, it’s a bit bigger and the local shop shut last year as did one of the two pubs that have been there since the village got Market charter for it’s Green sometime around the reign of Boudica. They still play cricket on the Green every Sunday, they have a fair on the green every summer (although I believe they no longer erect a Wicker Man to celebrate).
There is, as Aged Mother informs me with no little pride and a fair bit of ‘of course we’re not racist’ feeling, not a single ‘darkie’ in the village…
It’s like Midsommer without an overweight John Nettles.
I don’t know the village AR describes but I have seen the view from her study and she describes it as she sees it. Me, being a soulless Philistine, all I see is yet another sodden bit of Norfolk swampland with green shit visible between the grey mist.

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The Blocked Dwarf August 4, 2016 at 12:04 am

http://s0.geograph.org.uk/geophotos/02/37/02/2370237_35dd7e30.jpg

East corner, the unkempt corner, of the Green. On the left is Post Office, just as AR describes in someone’s front parlour, first telegraph pole from the left is where Aged Mother lived for many a year until she was banished to the “NuUUUu ‘state” round the corner. Further down the row to the right is the Chapel where Great Great Aunty Dwarf was a mighty preacher (or whatever Very Bloody Primitive Wesleyans call them) and behind the red van just before the bridge out of the village is the house where most of my Mother’s kin grew up …before the stream cos as everyone knows witches can’t cross running water.
Like I said , I don’t know the village AR describes but I’m betting her description is pretty accurate.

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Alan Kendell August 4, 2016 at 4:32 am

I would hazard a guess that you do not understand what fake and mythologising means tdf.

The landlady’s report is in every respect an account of real people in the present tense. It is remarkable in it’s absence of modern afflictions, not to say modern cynicism, just for the sake of being cynical.

A thoroughly interesting and well written account landlady, well up to the standard set in the previous Quaker Meeting House report, and a joy to read in this sometimes tiresome world full of non-accomplishment and negativity.

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windsock August 4, 2016 at 6:53 am

Ever the contrarian.

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Anna Raccoon August 4, 2016 at 7:18 am

Good morning the foul mouthed and aggressive tdf.

I will assume that this outburst had something to do with the time of night, being past closing time at your local hostelry.

I have a challenge for you – one that will surely appeal to your truth seeking mind, and establish whether it is actually ‘truth seeking’ or merely ‘drink fuelled argumentative’.

Take the train to Norwich, tell me what time you are arriving, and I will personally pick you up at the station and convey you to said tea room and buy you breakfast for your trouble. Meanwhile, google ‘management of broadland marsh’ and you will find, as I did, a wealth of information concerning how farmers to this day manage their hay crops when they have a field of rare chinese water deer. What I thought was eccentric behaviour on his part, turns out to be the approved method.

When you’ve achieved both tasks – i.e. advised yourself of up to date methods of water meadow management and taken breakfast in the best cafe in Norfolk – I shall expect a public apology from you.

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Anna Raccoon August 4, 2016 at 7:25 am

Remembering all the paper cuttings on the wall, tdf, I have just googled for you and found this.

Oh dear, voted top tea rooms in England alongside Claridges…..http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/business/loddon_tearoom_alongside_claridge_s_in_list_of_nation_s_best_tea_spots_1_1129501

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The Blocked Dwarf August 4, 2016 at 8:32 am

@ AR: Hold you hard , Girl. I am wondering, in the cold light of day, if that really was tdf? Didn’t Dickhead Doubleday recently start impersonating another commentator here again..?

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The Blocked Dwarf August 4, 2016 at 8:41 am
Anna Raccoon August 4, 2016 at 8:43 am

That is actually a different tea rooms, no longer in use. The mill is up for sale 450,000, which seems a bargain for what it is.

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Anna Raccoon August 4, 2016 at 9:01 am

Just found a fascinating history of Loddon Mill – worth reading if you are interested in Mills or Norfolk.

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The Blocked Dwarf August 4, 2016 at 9:21 am

Not in the slightest normally but I read it anyway and yes you were right, it was worth the read, thank you x.
If Loddon is anything like the bit of Norfolk I know then they probably still talk about the day in 1912 when “Owl’ George he did drive his ‘raction engine in’o thur river “…

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Anna Raccoon August 4, 2016 at 9:40 am

Round ‘ere they still talk of the day the river froze over and the barge they sent from yarmouth to break the ice got stuck and ‘e stayed where ‘e be for 3 weeks…..

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The Blocked Dwarf August 4, 2016 at 9:57 am

…and that in a tone that suggest ‘Yarmouth’ is just south of Vladivostok.

Oh and @tdf, just so you know the Landlady was serious about the ‘come yew bor ta Norwich’ , I shall allow myself, unbidden, to add the following to her challenge to you. If her volatile state of health is particularly volatile on that day then I will happily take over collecting you at Thorpe Station (as Norwich Central isn’t actually in Norwich, why would it be?) and deposit you safely at hers, save Mr G firing up the Wherry etc (yes Thorpe Station is ‘navigable’, why wouldn’t it be?).

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Anna Raccoon August 4, 2016 at 9:59 am

Ooh! A double challenge. Be interesting to see what he makes of it.

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DtP August 5, 2016 at 11:50 am

The best tea rooms in Blighty? Gosh darn it, I am now officially jealous.

Anna Raccoon August 4, 2016 at 8:44 am

No, it is the genuine article. Diffused through the bottom of a bottle maybe, but not Dickhead Doubleday….!

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The Blocked Dwarf August 4, 2016 at 8:48 am

That’s a shame 🙁
I had hoped….cos tdf is usually…with any luck it was alcohol related and he’ll be along, with a hangover, to apologise…

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Bandini August 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Don’t hold your breath, TBD! Experience tells me it’ll be a long, long wait…

‘Tis a shame that even a lovely piece of writing such as this can bring out the worst in some – unfathomable, really. The description of the little egrett prompted me to finally try and identify a bird that always catches my eye here, far away from Norfolk. Ye Gods, it’s one and the same (unless it’s the fantastically named Bubulcus ibis, occasionally mistaken for same).

On the subject of traditional gypsy caravans, I used to see them occasionally despite the best intents of the landowners. Quite romantic if you can convince yourself that the smoke emmanting from the little chimney isn’t down to the fencing that was removed to gain entry being used as fuel!

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Anna Raccoon August 4, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Just for you Bandini, and tdf if he ever recovers, I have dug out a picture of my old gypsy caravan – still in use in 1980 when I had overbooked the B & B and needed somewhere to sleep, and a sterling fundraiser for the RNIB because I used to charge 10p in the RNIB box in order to go inside and ‘take a peek’. Still had its ‘Queenie stove’ and the pull out under bed which ‘shot out the back’ leaving the kids sleeping in the fresh air and the parents with some semblance of privacy in order to create more kids ‘inside’…

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Bandini August 4, 2016 at 1:04 pm

Take away the tables & chairs and that could be a snap of one of those I used to see, albeit a little closer to the water’s edge.
I always wondered if they weren’t being maintained as status symbols by the wealthier gypsies, as there’d also be modern caravans turning up & then continuing on their way, leaving their horses behind to graze… Ah, I’m feeling a little homesick today!

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The Blocked Dwarf August 4, 2016 at 1:05 pm

The Mill’s RightMove link also shows a ‘vardo’ in the garden, incase you missed it.

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tdf August 4, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Anna, I apologise for the previous post which was indeed written under the influence, as they say.

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Anna Raccoon August 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Hope you didn’t enjoy the hangover then – xxxx – You’re forgiven. Welcome back.

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tdf August 4, 2016 at 8:59 pm

I did not.

Thanks. xx

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tdf August 12, 2016 at 12:39 am

The worst of us are a long drawn out confession
The best of us are geniuses of compression
You say you’re not going to leave the truth alone
I’m here ‘cos I don’t want to go home

Choose your enemies carefully ‘cos they will define you
Make them interesting ‘cos in some ways they will mind you
They’re not there in the beginning but when your story ends
Gonna last with you longer than your friend

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tdf August 12, 2016 at 12:40 am

s

Bill Sticker August 4, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Yes, the sub literate impersonator troll DD has been active of late. More of a minor nuisance than a real problem.

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Fat Steve August 4, 2016 at 6:46 am

An enjoyable piece of writing Anna with your habitual sharp observation of the general and the specific which I attribute to an inquisitive and analytic mind that appears unable to stop processing anything that comes before it.
I am unsure how much literary licence you may have taken but its an interesting take on a reality that no doubt still exists to a greater or lesser extent in some parts even of England.
When younger I was a little dismissive of such people and such places (Neither of us seems to much like the smug and stultifying parochial self satisfaction and hypocricy that I see as cloaking some perhaps even much of rural Welsh life but that is by no means an inevitability and in such dealings as I have had there I have often been surprised at the integrity,financial and otherwise,I have encountered there ) but I have concluded in later life that there is ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘honesty’and’dishonesty’ ‘kindness’ and ‘unkindnessm’, greed and selflessness consideration and lack of consideration everywhere in this world and it is just takes place in differing backdrops though the one you describe being smaller, more self contained and thus its inhabitants more accountable to each other seems more likely to foster the ‘good’ or at least incline to exclude the ‘bad’.

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Veritas August 4, 2016 at 8:22 am

Ah, now I’ve seen that link I fully understand the place in question. Moored the old wooden cruiser there a few years back and found it to be one of the loveliest places I’ve seen in years, not so much for the countryside, but rather more for the sense of community and continuity. I recall that the sausages from the butcher we used were superb.
By contrast, poor old Dilham had a shiny new Tesco opened on the bypass, ironically built over the course of the Beechinged railway line. The result was the closure of half the shops in town within two years.
Yaay

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The Blocked Dwarf August 4, 2016 at 2:56 pm

This just landed in my inbox.

The ‘modern’ side of Norfolk, ‘contrast and compare’ as they used to say at college (uncannily enough the incident takes place directly infront of two of the fromer cafes where I use to sip tea as a student) with the village AR describes. A village which apparently has recived the Ultimate Accolade of EDP Village Of The Year and bears that on it’s village sign.

WARNING GRAPHIC DISTRESSING VIDEO (and no I am not making a funny for once).
http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/police_release_shocking_cctv_footage_of_north_walsham_hit_and_run_1_4644045?

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missred August 4, 2016 at 4:41 pm

My heart is so full of longing after reading this truly remarkable post. I have sat here thinking, how can I create this oasis in my scrambled egg life?
Thank you, Anna, for another wonderful piece.

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Jonathan King August 4, 2016 at 6:22 pm

Can I go off at a tangent? As you know, I love North Africa and several years ago became fascinated by a bird. Nope, not the incredible explosion of magpies (has anyone else noticed how these birds seem to be taking over the world) but EGRETS. There were (still are) so many of them and they started fascinating me so thanks to Google I became quite an expert. Pure white, looking like small storks, there are hundreds in North Africa, both Morocco and Tunisia. Very friendly, pretty, curious.

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Bandini August 4, 2016 at 6:29 pm

[Quickly checks online acronym-dictionary to see if EGRET isn’t some code for… summat or other. It is: Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope. Phew!]

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