Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Potter Heigham

Yesterday we went to Potter Heigham, which is famous for two things. Firstly, it’s on the Norfolk Broads, so that makes it special to Celia, and secondly, there’s a bridge over the River Thurne at Potter Heigham beside which Celia fell in the water when she was a schoolgirl. (We have a photo of this bridge, but on the laptop, and I can’t upload from there at the moment. However, the link I've just given has a very good picture of the bridge on it.)

Why did she fall in the water? She was on a week’s boating experience with her school, and when you get to the bridge at PH (there are now two of them, in fact) you have to lower the mast on your boat because the bridge isn’t very high above the water. In lowering her mast she knocked herself into the water. Historic.

Potter Heigham isn’t pronounced Potter Heigham, by the way. Try something along the lines of Potterhyam? I put the question mark there because Celia always gives it a kind of upward lift at the end of the word.

It was packed with people having a day out yesterday, (although not so much as Wroxham, which is further along the road). We went for a walk along the bank of the particular arm of the Broads that comes into the village, and walked, and walked – and walked. Our intention was eventually to cross a bridge and walk back on the other side, but the bridge proved to be over yet another arm of the Broads, and there was a considerable body of water between us and the other bank, so we didn’t try to cross it. In the distance we could see the boats sailing through what appeared to be fields, with cows munching away. It’s an odd visual thing because it’s only as you get up close to some of the waterways that you can see they’re there. If it wasn’t for the boats on them you wouldn’t realize they existed.

Our long walk took us past a now disused (and dis-sailed) windmill, one of about half a dozen in the vicinity, past the backs of dozens of little holiday houses (virtually cribs or baches as we’d call them at home) parked right on the bank of the water, past marshes and smelling ditches where the water had become green and stagnant, past odours whose origins we didn’t want to think about, past brambles and stinging nettles and reeds and, best of all, wild blackberries. Which were ready to pick and exceptionally delicious. One of my great regrets in New Zealand is that the blackberry is considered noxious; here it grows where it pleases and passersby can pick as they please.

Most of the holiday homes were for rent, I presume, or were owned by people who came year after year. One of them was up for sale: £120,000 was the asking price. £120,000! The building was in a pleasant spot, but it was also run-down, and would need repairs to the walls, the roof, and probably things we couldn't see. The notice on the window did admit it needed a bit of a sorting out. That didn't apparently stop them asking what seems to me to be a phenomenal amount of money for what would be a crib back home.

No comments: