Being Local 2

Being local is something I value and being on first name and chatting terms with a number of the stall holders on Norwich market is one of life’s pleasures I’m not sure I could do without. But here we are in a new area and have a whole new set of people avoiding eye contact in the street. This is tough when you’re from the north and have an innate urge to smile and say hello, rather than stumble past dead-eyed, even at 7am. But good news, we have met our neighbour and she’s chatty and has a tiny front garden full of inverted green plastic bottles waiting for things to grow into them. Helen thinks she’s heard her practicing violin (in a good way).

At the bottom of the road there is the Denmark Café, where on the day of the move I got stuck into lamb stew with dumplings, while Helen cleaned the old house, stopping only to eat a cold Gingster’s sitting on the bare dining room floor. (It’s just how the job split went). So every day, if we want we can walk fifty yards and have a hearty lunch in a cheerfully packed café. We have Steak and Kidney Pud, chips and gravy next. They do fry ups too of course, but I’m very fussy about sausages (Pickerings on the market) and I could tell by just looking. I can see this being a regular thing though, especially when Amy my daughter visits. She’s Down’s Syndrome and likes both pies and routine, so once we’ve been once it will be on the list of things that must be done forever along with bowling, Casualty and the cinema, which in an ideal world would always be showing Toy Story. And you can tell the Café people will be lovely to Amy and spoil her and she will return the favour by being entertainingly bossy and grumpy with me “HURRY UP MARTIN”. On our second visit, an elderly couple sat with us and told us their life story, him in a very loud voice (baritone in a choir), her in a tiny, very fast broad Norfolk accent. By the look of the others in the café, we were ‘victims’, but we shall learn and it was a nice experience, but probably not one you’d want every day. And they go everyday, have been married 42 years and hope to make 50; I’m not too optimistic about that, given the massive pile of chip, pie and 3 eggs he poured half a cruet of salt onto. But he’s from the generation that could smoke 40 fags a day and get away with it, so perhaps they will. More to follow……

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