Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Some you win, some you lose

Another bright start the the day led onto another warm day, slightly less sunny and a bit more humid, but very pleasant never the less. The original plan had been to go to the Saxon cathedral a few miles north of Dereham.

I knew nothing about the cathedral, only having spotted it on the map on our way here from Suffolk, but assumed that it was a ruined one. It turns out not to be a ruin at all, and not exactly pretty either, so that the "one we lost" today.

We continued along the road into Dereham itself, struggled to find a car park , but when we did, it was free. This has always been a bit of a worry in the past, as quite often free parking is a sign of a rather rubbish town. This was not the case with Dereham though I am glad to report.

Despite being a bit run down and in need of a bit of TLC, it was actually quite an impressive little town with a very good selection of shops, both independent and multiples. We spent a couple of hours there, and it proved to be quite productive.

It is also the first time that I have ever seen public toilets where the toilet rolls were padlocked into place!

The sight of a "sharps bin" outside of the toilet block also indicates that Dereham has certain problems, which is a shame, as it really did seem like a decent town. Being inland, it doesn't have to try to cater to the seaside tourist brigade, and can concentrate on being a real town for real people, which I felt it did a superb job of.

It was also quite shocking at the house prices there. Looking in estate agents windows was quite an eye opener. A four bedroom detached house with a 50' wide by 80' long garden for just over £200k !! There were lots of other places too that fell more into our price range, and there was a flat that we could almost have bought outright! Clearly this is not as sought after a place as others in Norfolk, and probably does mean that it has plenty of problems under the surface. Shame.

A vert scenic drive along B roads and narrow country lanes brought us to Aylesham. I thought that we had been there before, but it turns out that we hadn't. Another free car park, another very pretty little village. It turned out to be their half day closing, so not all that many shops were still open, but we did find a lovely tea shop and had a late lunch. Sally had Brie and cranberry sandwiches, and I had a bowl of chilli sprinkled with cheese. They were both absolutely delicious, and the pot of tea was rather special too.

Another scenic cross country drive brought us back to the van, and we went for a swim again. It was busier than yesterday, with quite a few parents in the pool with babies. I know it is great that they are teaching them so young, and wish that I had had the same opportunity, but why oh why do they insist on taking up most of the blooming pool?! They seemed to have no thought for others in the pool, and we didn't get as much swimming down as we would have liked to, but did spend a long time in the super jacuzzi, which was warm and relaxing.

Back at the van we had sardines on toast, something that we haven't had for ages, and very tasty it was too. We are watching the Miss Marple on TV now, and it must be time for another pot of tea I think, so please excuse me ending this here, but needs must......!

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