Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday 28 October

About 2 years ago, B. and his son went off to the dry ski slope in Norwich, just for fun. They've been going on skiing holidays pretty much as long as I've known B, but that was just once a year, and they wanted to have a go a bit more often. True to character, B's son got bored with it within a few weeks and B. became really keen. Once a week open practice became twice a week including preparation for race training, became three times a week plus several regional races. It has taken me a while to get used to it, as it means less time for the two of us and sometimes having to jump up and down in front of him waving my arms to let him know I'm still there and would quite like to spend a bit of time together as well (and no, that doesn't mean attending an event at the ski club, because I'm completely not interested in skiing and can't think of anything much more boring than watching people go up and down a plastic slope). Slowly but surely we're getting the balance right, and now I don't even mind the Sunday morning race training all that much anymore. Because I have discovered that I can get a bike ride of several hours in if we go up to the club in his van with my bike in the back. I have been cycling and exploring the area around where he lives for several years now, but the area around Norwich is all new to me - and boy, am I having some fun. I come back covered in mud and often with very wet feet (my retired running shoes are not really made for traipsing around wet grass in cemeteries), but feeling great after having spent 3 hours in the fresh air, and B. is feeling good after 3 hours race training, and we often end up having a coffee to warm up at the club house. Win win all around!

Today was a very miserable day, it's been very autumnal all weekend, but I was determined not to let it spoil my ride, so at 9 AM I set out to follow the river Yare as far as I could. Unfortunately it seems impossible to cross the river anywhere unless it's with a little ferry (probably only on during the summer, as I haven't seen them yet) or much further downstream which is too far for me. But I can still explore and enjoy getting to a sudden dead end, usually with a pub and several boats and some rowers. Fancy a look?

 This is under the bridge which carries the A47 over the river towards Great Yarmouth. Very odd to stand underneath traffic rushing over your head at 70 miles an hour!

The pub garden at Surlingham, looking over the river towards the west. I was here last weekend and all these boats were new today. Hard to imagine that anyone would want to be on the water in such dreary weather.

In the Summer this pub must get very busy. Hoping to drag B. off here for lunch sometime!

On my way towards Bramerton (I think! I got a bit lost, as per usual). 

 This is the sailing club at Coldham's Hall. You cycle down a very straight lane and suddenly it opens up onto the river with yet another pub. Most of the boats seem to be packed up for winter now.

 I wouldn't mind this one myself...

The village sign at Rockland St. Mary. I liked that it had its Roman name underneath.

Vista through the thatched porch at Bramerton Church. I loved all the autumn colours.

The door handle on the second door at this church. Oddly enough it had two doors, one right behind the other.

Another very typically Norfolk view - flint church, porch, cemetery, and again those beautiful autumn colours.

 On my way back now, it was getting quite wet by this stage. Two more boats packed up for winter, although the one on the left looked decidedly neglected. Wonder if they take offers...? :-)

 Looking back towards the east, I've just come from this path. At the end of the path is a very steep hill - I don't often have to get off the bike to walk but this is one of those times!

 This is the ruined Kirby Bedon Church, and right opposite it is...

the current church. Unfortunately I couldn't go in as a service was being held.


And the house next to the church.

Very often I'll go past little stalls by the side of the road selling produce - we've had gorgeous tomatoes, a big bag of the best plums and a big bag of shallots in the past. Last week I managed to stuff three bunches of dahlias in my rucksack. I love dahlias and was determined to bring them home. I had to arrange them over three vases and they only lasted a week, but o the colours! So when I got the chance to go past the same house this week, I couldn't resist and grabbed another three bunches. They're not arranged yet in this photo as I'm still at B.'s house and they're coming home with me tomorrow, but even like this they're cheering me up.

21 miles done, got back wet and very muddy but happy, and can't wait to explore this corner of Norfolk further.