The Back of Beyond

“I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with N.”

We had circumnavigated the M25, the London orbital motorway, in a dreadful stop-start fashion and then followed the satnav into the wilderness up the M11.

Felix loves to play ‘I spy’ on these occasions. I had spied many things, during this lengthy journey. Water towers, bridges, windmills, you name it.

But as one delves deeper into Norfolk – England’s curvy behind, at the base of its spine- was it my imagination, or was the street furniture getting less?

Felix umm-ed and aah-ed over N. Was it inside or outside the car? He asked.

Both, I said. Neither.

I confessed eventually. N was for ‘ nothing’. The skies got bigger and broader, dwarfing any detail; and just when it seemed we could not travel a minute longer, We spotted a sign for our village. Three quarters of a mile away.

We found our accommodation: an ancient little terraced cottage with hollyhocks at its base. Its address includes ‘Off The Road’ as a formal line.

Small but perfectly formed, it is known as a cottage where dogs are welcome. Rose the golden lab stayed here last week, and a cairn terrier the week before. Thus Macaulay has been posturing and positioning, though their musk is all that is left, and if he met them in the street everyone would be huge friends.

The canny cottage owners have furnished the sitting room with a long low upholstered stool. It can accommodate a small dog, and the small dog is quietly delighted. He parked there soon after his arrival, and does not move from it for anything less than a walk or dinner.

The whole village is very, very old, but because I have no signal here I cannot, this morning, tell you how old. I’m guessing Saxon and older.The place is full of cobbledash houses, some thatched, of long barns with doors and windows bricked up which must have been open five hundred years ago. In the south I would have hazarded that this was once a monkish settlement; but Norfolk is famous for its wealthy farmers.

Long and low against the vast sky, the whole place looks out on a Constable cow field where cream-white cows chew the cud and appraise the new family and their cartoon dog as they amble by.

No wireless, and no signal. it’s going to be a quiet week, so apologies to my blogging friends.I shall write, but who knows when I shall post, or when I shall be able to visit my cyber friends?

I am in the back of beyond.

And about to sample the beach.



37 thoughts on “The Back of Beyond

    1. It really was quite a feat, Col, going from one to the other. Total quiet, stunning wildlife and countryside, steam trains and boats to see seals. And Macaulay with us the whole time. Fantastic.

  1. OH PICK ME!!! I want to stay there too. but does it have a pub? Surely it has a wee pub for lunch, I loved english pubs at lunchtime.. Have a glorious time.. no signal is excellent! c

  2. I was thinking the same thing as colonialist. It was merely a week ago when you were traipsing all over Gotham City and now you’re on a forced vacation from the web, but at least Macaulay gets to go along for this journey. That seems like a nice trade-off.

    1. It is the perfect foil to the NYC trip. We slowed right down, got rid of jet lag, and did almost nothing. Now we’re back, and leafing through the photos….it’s been quite a fortnight.

  3. The Norfolk horizon always has me fascinated, bemused and freaked. I wouldn’t call it nothingness though, there are always a great deal of novel and intriguing things to spot. Like the occasional hill. 🙂

  4. I’m not surprised to hear Felix plays “I Spy.” His mother is so attuned to interesting details, things, and places (luckily for all of us).

    1. Thank you, PT! Felix is obsessive about all games. He would play games all day, every day: cricket, monopoly, football, Cluedo, chess. The boy is an automaton. I Spy is part of his Long Journey repertoire.

  5. It sounds amazing, Kate. I’m so glad Mac is getting a vacation, too! And I hope you come to completely enjoy being “cut off” from the rest of us! We’ll still be here when the fresh and rested Kate returns. 🙂

  6. I would have been happy to help with your connection issues Kate but I too was in the land of the Carrot Crunchers and Hedge Monkeys 😉

    Jokes aside… Looks a great place to stay – we just went the premier inns route which worked for us. I don’t work internet when I’m away. I just pre-plan so I know where and what I need to cover if I’m silly enough to blog 😉

    1. 😀 Great plan, Martin…usually I get somewhere with wireless, but not this time. Ho hum. It was a little frustratin not being able to get the history of things with a touch of a button…I shall appreciate it all the more now I have returned to civilisation. Beautiful part of the world though. Stunning.

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