Tuesday, August 28, 2012
A River of Heather
Dave decided yesterday morning that he really needed to do some work to prepare for the first week of school. So Dick, Georgia and I left him behind when we took their dog Bonnie out for a morning walk. We drove to Thetford Forest, where we came across this amazing streak of purple heather. Bonnie flushed two small grouse from the dry grass and tried to chase them, but she's a dachsund, so the grouse had a distinct advantage over her little legs. Still, she was proud of herself.
We stopped at a garden center on the way back so Dick could pick up his hedge trimmers, which he'd left for repair. I browsed among all the plants, the bulbs and pots, and giftware like candles and picture frames and coffee mugs. They even sold clothing at this particular garden center. The English take their gardening seriously! (And it's the perfect place for it -- hence Blake's "green and pleasant land.")
Dick & Georgia dropped me off in the village of South Lopham, adjacent to their own village, where I wanted to see yet another church. The South Lopham church, called St. Andrew's, is a couple hundred years older than the church in yesterday's post. One wall dates from the Saxon era, before William the Conqueror, and the tower is Norman, from around 1100. It boggles the mind. I just walked in and sat among the handcarved, medieval pew ends -- one even features an elephant, and you should see the peculiar way the artisan, who had clearly never really seen an elephant, rendered it.
I walked back to North Lopham and we went to the local pub, The King's Head, for lunch. They were having a sausage festival, so despite my vegetarian leanings, I indulged in pork & stilton, beef & horseradish and pork & mustard sausage. When in Rome, you know.
Dave and I caught our evening train, and I'm happy to say that we had no trouble getting to our flat last night. The carnival was in its last hours when we got home, and we endured pounding music and mobbed streets until about 8:30 p.m., but then everything promptly switched off and the crowds began to dissipate. The street sweepers came overnight, and this morning the streets look like nothing ever happened. I hear the shopkeepers tearing down their plywood barriers now. Within a few hours we'll be back to normal!