Monday, 6 December 2010

Eastern Daily Press turned me Norfolk.

A few years ago I was asked to give some answers to some standard questions the local newspaper issues to various Norfolk people each week. Recently I was cleaning out my 'pooter files and found them. These are they! They make me laugh because they are so 'twee' and I don't think I am. I could be deluded...again.

What is your idea of perfect happiness in Norfolk? Is that not a strange question? Wouldn't it be better to ask - what do you love about Norfolk or in which Norfolk places do you find happiness?
I’m a small pleasures person – so it doesn’t take very much to make me happy – or even over-excited! However I do love Norfolk and Norwich’s many outdoor festivals or street events, wandering around and lapping up the atmosphere.

How do you relax in the County? Again - slightly odd question. Probably relax in Norfolk in a similar way as I would in Crewe, Inverness or Tunbridge Wells
Leaving the hustle and bustle of Norwich behind and getting into the countryside on my bike - which takes minutes. I particularly like the Norfolk roads that have grass growing in the middle of them. I don’t think I had ever seen that before I came to Norfolk. I probably felt I needed to add the bit about grass to quirk the answer up a bit.

With which Norfolk character do you most identify? I remember thinking - I can only think of Elizabeth Fry and as prison reform hasn't really been my thing, I am a bit stuck here. Actually it might be Alan Partridge.Well Stephen Fry has been my imaginary friend for many years now but I suspect that I don’t identify with him exactly – just admire him. I love that Norwich and parts of Norfolk have their fair share of ‘alternative’ people, artists and people with attitudes that aren’t mainstream! I guess I identify with them.

If you weren’t talking to us now, what would you be doing? By now I had figured my answers needed to be laced with Norfolk.
My job means that I spend a lot of time driving around this huge county visiting the county’s 400 or so primary schools. So had you not caught me on an office day – I would probably be driving in ‘the 60 mile cul de sac!’ They took that bit out. I guess it is a bit insulting.

What do you miss most when you leave Norfolk?
When I travel anywhere south or west of Norfolk (dry land is good!), I always feel I have to step up a few gears. I miss the tranquillity and ‘fluffiness’ of Norfolk. Oh and the hills can sometimes make me feel a little claustrophobic; I once asked what people did 'in case of fire' when I visited Edale.

How would you spend your ideal day in Norfolk?
A lunch in a country pub with my young family followed by exploring a new pocket of Norfolk – often instigated by looking for a public footpaths on an ordnance survey map. I love that there is simply so much countryside to explore. My favourites are walks at Holkham Beach, Foxley Wood, Wolterton Hall, Surlingham Broad, Castle Acre, Trimingham Beach, Burham Ovary, Saxlingham Nethergate, Warham, North Elmham, Filby….actually too many to mention…. I really was getting the Norfolk theme by now.

What’s your earliest Norfolk memory?
Arriving at St Stephen’s bus station in Norwich and walking along Earlham Road to attend my interview at UEA. As I had travelled so far, I stayed overnight (in those famous ziggurats) and all the interviewees were taken on a coach and walking tour of the sights. This included Elm Hill, the cathedral and the night view of the city from Mousehold Heath. That sold it to me – regardless of the quality of academia on offer!

In moments of weakness…..
Do you mean moments of indulgence? One beer too may in one of Norwich’s friendly pubs and it usually takes more than moments! Theme show offing by now.

What would your motto be?
Live, eat, breathe Norfolk. No that wasn't my answer.
Find your passions and drive with them!

And here's Norwich how Molly Potter sees it anyway.


  1. I might redo my answers...see how they would be different now.

  2. Norfolk sounds a little bit like Brittany - apart from, and different to, the rest of the country?

    I used to have to visit (on a professional book trade basis, before I moved to France and discovered heaven) a mad bookselling vicar in Holt - it was by far my favourite customer visit!

    Good beer, flat roads and a sense that nothing in the real world mattered.

    All the best


    P.S. I was going to comment on your post about the end of teenage sex in Norfolk but I've been working on the reply for the last 32 hours and still haven't been able to say what I wanted to say without sounding all schoolboyish and demeaning all the good work that you and your colleagues no doubt did and yet still trying to suggest that teenagers, in my experience anyway, tend to know quite a lot about all that sex stuff; and trying, really quite hard, not to wonder why you just don't all go on strike until the government gives in (as we do, on a weekly basis, here in France) and prove, once and for all, that the populace have a right to Sex Education even if the government wants all the money for Trident Missiles and such like (or have I not been reading the papers enough - perhaps, for all I know, Trident Missiles are already a thing of the past and the government wants all the money for something else instead - like football training for our abysmal team; in which case I'd say... "Bugger Sex Education - lets put the money where it really matters and lets beat the Germans at least once this millenium," in which case, I feel, most of the country would be behind me (sorry, that would help your teenage sex squad) and I'd be elected in a shot (stranger things have happened - just think about Edward Heath; no, on second thoughts - don't ever think about Edward Heath!)

    And wow - what a long sentence - I think I need a lie down!

  3. Keith - brilliant. I'm smiling. I hope you remembered to breathe and that you do become elected even though I hate football, because I like you!

    And I am on strike but nobody seems to be noticing because the teenagers have learnt all they need to know from pornography.

  4. Nice tree photo. Well I think your answers qualify you to work for the Norfolk chamber of commerce, or maybe the mayor or something?

  5. Ooh, you haven't changed a bit xxx


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