Monday, July 21, 2014

Rhymes with Porridge

The lovely details of Liverpool
Street Station, London.
On the invitation of a Chicago choir friend whose husband is from Norwich, I just spent a delightful weekend in that town and its environs. The first thing I learned, as you may have already gathered, is how to pronounce the name of the locale. It is not Norwich (nor-witch). The "w" is silent. But do not say, as I rather consistently did, "Norrich." The proper pronunciation is "Norridge" (rhymes with porridge). (Horatio Nelson is from this area by the sea.)

The place reeks of history that goes back to the Stone Age. Closer to our own times, one of the first places we came upon was the Adam and Eve pub, founded in the 1200's and still serving food, drink and atmosphere today. Conveniently enough for the modern-day owners, the Adam and Eve is located right by a public parking lot. However, while we did use the parking lot, we did not avail ourselves of the Adam and Eve, so someone else will have to tell you if their food measures up to 21st century expectations!

A bit of our time in the town was spent visiting Cathedrals. The more ancient Cathedral, built in Norman days, is now, like most of the ancient churches in this country, Anglican. A strikingly well-designed (and brand spanking new) visitors center provided all the conveniences, including a lovely cafe and a small gallery where a photography exhibition was on display. We walked around the cloister, enjoying the bas-relief medallions in the ceiling and the lovely courtyard, which was ready for a Shakespeare festival. Inside, we were unable to visit the Choir area (a wedding was in progress), but we did get to hear the magnificent pipe organ. (My hosts' little girl (age 3), the daughter of not one but two Church musicians, ran to the book rack and brought us each back a hymnal!) A Methodist minister was in attendance as the greeter, and he came to speak with us and make sure we felt comfortable and welcome (which we did).

Detail of one of the ceiling medallions along the entire span
of the cloister walk.

After a hearty "cream tea" ("cream tea" refers not to the drink, but to the scones, served with remarkable--probably inimitable--British clotted cream), we continued on toward an open air market, by way of an arcade in the Arts and Crafts style. I popped into the mustard shop. (I had never been in a mustard shop before, but Colman's is a local company.) I walked out with a kitchen apron, which I plan to use for my Tuesday cooking turn. (I won't have to borrow someone else's apron now--and I'll have a fitting souvenir to bring home at the end of my UK year!)

Beyond the market (where the prices were so good I wanted to buy all the veggies and haul them back to London) and some really picturesque shops and restaurants we made it to the Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist well before the Saturday evening Mass. While I visited the Church, my friend and her daughter spread their picnic blanket on the grass of the garden beyond the well-appointed cafe (the gift shop was closed); in the visitors area was a series of panels presenting basics of Catholicism and of Catholic history in England, as well as a hands-on explanation of how stained glass windows are made. The garden was beyond the cafe's outdoor seating area. (I read in one of the brochures that the Cathedral's stained glass had been removed for safekeeping during the bombardments of World War II.)

As dusk began to fall, we were in the car, where a three-year-old conductor led us all in singing "Doe, a deer" ("Sing it again!") all the way to Comer, a popular beach town with a sprawling Victorian Hotel on a crest overlooking the sea, ice cream shops every ten feet, and fish-and-chips places with queues all the way down the road. We detoured by one ice cream shop for a "whippy" (soft serve) and took them all the way to the waterline, digging in the wet sand with teaspoons and letting the cold waters of the North Sea wash past our toes. Only when the sun had slipped past the horizon did we join the queue for our fish and chips, the fish caught that day in those very waters--the first "real" fish and chips I have ever had. (If I ever go back, I am told I must try the "Comer crab.")

On a future installment of Nunblog: Pilgrims to Walsingham!

Blickling Hall (after closing hours); we paused on the road to
stroll up to the front doors of this "small" Jacobean estate.


Anne in Minneapolis said...

What a lovely description of your day. Great armchair travel reading for me. Thank You!

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

But wait! There's more!!

ACB said...

Wonderful! Thank you!