10yo said a couple of weeks ago that when the snowdrops appear, we get snow. And was he right. We had almost 2 weeks of proper winter, with lots of snow and proper freezing weather (no, I don't think -2 counts as 'a severe frost', as this country seems to think!). Amazingly enough, we only had one 'snow day' where both schools were closed and this was mostly due to transport issues. And fair enough - who'd want to drive a large coach full of excited children down little country lanes which haven't been treated? I actually missed two days at the office - one day was because there had been a very serious accident on the A14 and it was just quicker to turn around and go back home than to try and struggle to the office along with everybody else who had hoped to be at their workplace several hours before. The second time the weather forecast was so bad that I thought it made sense to stay at home as a precaution, and as it was, the schools closed early but the snow never materialised. It finally did arrive a couple of days later and stayed on the ground for about a week. It was pretty, then it got quite slippy and then suddenly temperatures rose and it was all gone in a matter of days.
Much as I like winter and the beauty of its whiteness, I did miss being able to go out (although parttime dog did get a long walk in an unexpected snow storm one day...). So last Sunday I was very much looking forward to getting back on the bike. It had started thawing on Saturday but Norfolk had had more snow than Suffolk and some of the countrylanes still had quite a lot of ice, and bikes and ice don't mix! So instead of doing my usual route along the southern side of the river, I set off through Norwich itself and then turned right and followed the road along the northern edge - a part I'd only ever seen from the other side of the river.
Once you've navigated the city streets you suddenly meet the river again in Thorpe St. Andrew, one of Norwich's suburbs. I liked this little blue boat.
The swans had obviously got used to being fed in the cold weather!
Looking back towards Norwich
You lose the river quite quickly and follow what is rather a busy road for several miles. I kept hoping that by turning off, I'd find a quiet countrylane that followed the river, but no joy. I did spot this grandiose looking house - I think it might be a school.
I've turned off the 'main' road now and I'm heading towards Postwick and Brundall. This is one of the many little railway bridges - I seem to be following the railway line that heads towards Great Yarmouth.
This type of house is so common in Norfolk, specially the stepped gable.
I stopped on top of the bridge to take a photo of the tracks. You can see here how much snow there was still on the ground. You can also see the blue sky appearing after we'd had a lot of rain overnight.
In the porch at Postwick church
It may be slightly odd but I find graveyards very interesting. I always have a wander around, looking at the inscriptions and the stonework. I liked this one because his surname is (almost) the same as the next village along (Brundall).
Some more pictures of the church
Another little hobby: spotting odd road names. I wonder how old this name is...?
As I have to fit my bike ride in while B. is doing his race training, I have now turned around to be back on time. I try not to cycle the same route back again if I can avoid it. I have crossed the A47, a busy dual carriageway, and I'm now in Great Plumstead, which to my surprise had a brick church tower - you don't often see those here, it's normally flint as used in the rest of the building. I ended up sheltering in the porch as we had a sudden downpour. The rest of my bike ride was very cold and wet, although we had bright blue skies again when I got back.
You can just see my trusty bike, that we found in a ditch on B's farm years ago, by the porch.
An usual first name, Izar.
And now I'm almost back at my starting point, the ski club. We see these buildings when we drive to the ski club and they look so neglected. They must have been beautiful in their heyday. I wonder if anybody will take them on and renovate them.
It was quite windy on Sunday with a strong westerly wind. I headed east on my way out and remember thinking 'wind's not too bad, not as bad as they predicted'. Then I turned around and headed back west, and boy was that hard work. The last mile in town was especially hard as it was all uphill. I came back to the ski club rather red, hot and puffy and got asked if I'd had a good workout...
I enjoyed exploring a different part of Norfolk but was slightly disappointed that you couldn't get closer to the river. I love cycling alongside the river, watching the little boats and the rowers and the birds. I think I'll explore this area a bit further in the next few months!
You can find full details of my route here: http://www.sports-tracker.com/#/workout/Cybeledejong/4f54tolqbhgbifmr