We were invited to go to Norfolk for the weekend of August 10 – 12, 2013 with Steve and Jo Hackett…….now just to clear the air here let me tell you who these people are……….

Steve Hackett is a British singer-songwriter and guitarist. He gained prominence as a member of the British progressive rock group Genesis, which he joined in 1970 and left in 1977 to pursue a solo career.

Jo Hackett is my husband, Roland Clarke’s ex-wife….I think it is lovely that two people who shared their lives for a time can look past whatever troubles caused them to drift apart and be friends……and both Steve and Jo are the best people anyone can be friends with.

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Now that the air is cleared on to the story of our little outing…….

Steve and Jo came and picked us up from our house on Saturday the 10th of August at approximately 2pm local time.  We got onto the M25 and headed north to Dartford Crossing which is a major road crossing of the River Thames connecting Dartford in the south to Thurrock in the north, via two road tunnels and the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. It opened in stages, the west tunnel in 1963, the east tunnel in 1980, and the bridge in 1991. Until the opening of the bridge, built to the east of the two tunnels, the crossing was known as the Dartford Tunnel. The two tunnels are 1,560 yards or (0.9375 Miles) long, while the cable-stayed bridge is 449 ft high with a main span of 490 yards. The crossing carries nearly 160,000 vehicles a day and forms part of London’s orbital route, the M25—although the crossing and its approach road are actually the A282, allowing traffic prohibited from motorways to use the crossing. Southbound traffic crosses the four lane bridge; northbound traffic uses both of the two lane road tunnels. However, in bad weather or high winds, the bridge is closed and the crossing reverts to using the tunnels for both directions……..what an adventure and it only cost us £2.00 on a toll road. It was a very beautiful drive on the way and we talked and played music and just had a great time.

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We arrived at our destination at approximately 6pm after stopping in Aylsham to pick up the take away Chinese that Jo ordered on the way.  It was I think a bitter sweet reunion for Roland and Swan (Jo’s mum) as they had not seen each other for about 8 years and Swan now suffers from Alzheimers.  Both Roland and I were welcomed into their home as if we were a part of the family. We got the car unloaded then sat down to a lovely Chinese meal with a glass of White wine. The rest of the evening was spent catching up, making a few plans for the future and just enjoying the relaxing environment and great company!!!!

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Sunday morning after a bit of a restless sleep due to being in a strange house and bed we prepared for a lovely day spent with Steve, Jo and Swan. The first stop of the day was Oxnead/Brampton along the River Bure where we stopped to see the Haflinger Stud Farm and the beautiful horses there.

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After this it was on to……

Skeyton and The Goat Inn for lunch. It was a nice pub, fairly updated and modern, although it still retains a thatched roof on the older buildings. They had lovely food and I got to try some Newcastle Brown Ale. Roland went into the Handicapped rest room and had a bit of a problem when the hand rails came off the wall in his hands due to a builder trying to take short cuts……it is a good thing he did not fall and hurt himself, but he felt really bad about what had happened. The owner came to make sure Roland was okay and assured us that she would be calling her builder the next day and having a few words with him, meanwhile her husband was dashing about trying to find something to fix the problem. http://www.skeytongoatinn.co.uk/

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After lunch it was off again to Horning where we again met up with the River Bure.  Horning is a picturesque waterside broadland village and if you only visit one broadland village, then Horning has to be that one. The village lines the northern bank of the River Bure, stretching for about a mile, and has many waterside properties (best viewed from a boat). There are waterside pubs, shops, restaurant, tea-rooms, boat trips and other attractions to enjoy. Horning Ferry is on the outskirts of the village, about a mile along Lower Street. It is well worth a walk on a fine day and there is a marina, leisure club and the Ferry Inn. The church of Horning is another mile walk along country lanes, but you are rewarded by a fine church and a path leading to views of the River Bure.

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Our next stop was Hickling. The village comprises two main parts, Hickling Green and Hickling Heath. Hickling Heath is the part which usually attracts the most tourists who come on boat trips and moor up at the staithe.

Hickling village is situated on the edge of the Hickling Broads. By using the water-ways it is possible to reach Catfield Dyke, Potter Heigham and even Great Yarmouth. Because it leads to the sea the waters are slightly tidal and, depending on the time of year, the water levels can heavily rise or fall. There are many thatched huts dotted along the broads, one of the oldest being Turner’s Hut.

Adjacent to the village is the site of Hickling Priory, a house of Augustinian Canons which operated from 1185 to 1534.

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We next went to Mundesley which is a village on a cliff overlooking the North Sea. We all thought it might be time for a bit of Tea so we parked and went into The Ship Inn.

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We didn’t stay long as the rest rooms were out of order, which seemed to be a problem at most of the places we visited along the way, so we left and walked across the street to the public rest rooms. After this Steve went and got the car and we loaded everyone in and we were off to…….

Heydon is about 5 miles north of Reepham, and has no through road, making it isolated except from the south. It consists of a large green, surrounded by picturesque houses and cottages.

The village is listed in the Domesday Book as “High-Down”, and was home to a weekly market.

Erasmus Earle, one of the most noted lawyers of his time, was lord of the manor in the early 17th century. The 19th century lord was William Earle Lytton Bulwer (1799–1877), elder brother of the author Edward Bulwer Lytton. The village is still owned by the Bulwer Long family, one of only around a dozen English villages that are entirely privately owned.

Heydon became Norfolk’s first conservation area in 1971 and has won its Best Kept Village on two occasions. The village retains an old-fashioned character with no new buildings having been added since the Queen Victoria commemorative well was built in 1887.

The village has a pub, the Earle’s Arms, and there is the Elizabethan Heydon Hall, built in 1582 by Henry Dynne and extended in the late 18th and early 19th century.

The late-medieval church of St Peter and St Paul is home to notable wall paintings, rediscovered in 1970.

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Heydon is often used in television and film productions. The village was used as the setting for the Anglia Television soap opera Weaver’s Green. Films partly shot in the village include The Go Between (1970), Riders (1993), Hitler’s Britain (2002), Vanity Fair, The Woman in White, The Moonstone, The Peppermint Pig, and A Cock and Bull Story (2005). http://www.heydonvillageteashop.co.uk/index.html

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That was our day outing with Steve, Jo, and Swan……we left to go home on Monday the 12th. All in all we had a wonderful time and enjoyed ourselves immensely…….after we got home is another story for a different day….but let me say that I somehow see a move in our future if we can make it happen!!!!

Till next time from the Duskweald………

Juanita

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