A lovely neighborhood in Norwich, pronounced to rhyme with porridge

All roads from Kent pointed to Norwich as our next and final gig in our rookie summer as housesitters. That is, TrustedHousesitters. Before we left, we served Christian and Helen a Salsa Algria breakfast. No scones, but zucchini tots. We had to use some of the 20-pound beast left for our use.

A lovely neighborhood in Norwich, pronounced to rhyme with porridge

A lovely neighborhood in Norwich pronounced to rhyme with porridge
Tillie & Roo

Our new spot is as suburban as we were rural, a lovely neighborhood in Norwich, pronounced to rhyme with porridge, in Norfolk where we are caring for two Spanish rescue dogs and a beautiful house with a huge and spectacular garden. The dogs are a hunting breed, podenco. There apparently is a large-scale international rescue operation because they are often mal-treated and severely abused. One of them, Roo, is very shy and Trish and Mark believe she suffered a very unhappy childhood. Tillie is calm unless a large, loud lorrie goes by when we’re out for a walk. This inspires her to start twirling on the spot.

Reportedly it is Judi Dench’s favorite spot

Speaking of Roo, we neglected to mention our last two outings in Kent. One was to Ashdown Forest, home of Winnie the Pooh and friends. Eeyore could not be found, despite our best effforts. Pooh Corner, the shop, had a treasure for a five and three-quarter old we know. After a pleasant walk on the edge of the forest, we  lunched at the Gallipot inn nearby.   Reportedly it is Judi Dench’s favorite spot and several pictures of her are featured.  Deedie’s Scallops and  David’s steak salad on the terrace overlooking the gardens had us glowing.  Adding to that feeling were the comments by a lady in the bar who called David gorgeous.

She said it more than once, she and her friends looking at Deedie with some surprise that she should have nabbed such a prize. As David he noted on our way out,  she was there with a glass of wine when we arrived and showed no sign of departing when we left, glass of wine refreshed.   Alas, Judi was not around that day. We also missed George Clooney the previous week at his favorite pub near his farm in Chiddington.

For anyone in love with the arts and crafts era, it is a message to the soul

William Morris, one of our favorites, was featured at a wonderful show at Standen, a great house near East Grinstead. Most rooms were covered with original Morris wallpaper that was installed when the house was built and furnished 130 years ago. There were also original Morris designed rugs and draperies. For anyone in love with the arts and crafts era, it is a message to the soul. We were among a dozen and a half who were given a guided tour by the curator of the show who is an expert who couldn’t hide her enthusiasm about Standen.

We did have one disappointment. The chamber music concert we had reserved tickets for in a town 30 miles away could not be found. The internet directed us to a town of the same name in Oxfordshire, 80 miles away. Instead we lunched outdoors at the Old House pub, having passed up The Curious Pig, which had not yet opened.

Cowden is crowned by St. Mary Magdalen

A lovely neighborhood in Norwich pronounced to rhyme with porridge
St Mary Magdalene church in Cowden Kent. Stone steeple

Cowden, a town of approximately 42 people, is crowned by St. Mary Magdalen on a bit of a rise. We went on our last Sunday, feeling we should. Few were the parishioners, dull was the service and uninspiring the homily — try as we might to be positive. The drama came when she announced her departure Nov. 9. When we reported this to our hosts, we were told much about her, along with speculation the resignation didn’t come too soon.

We continue to nurse the wound in Deedie’s shin

We continue to nurse the wound in Deedie’s right shin, from a fall a month ago in Wokingham when her slipper caught in the threshold going into the kitchen from the garden patio.  She’s been being treated through the National Health Service, which has been very attentive. But a change occurred Friday — she was charged 40 pounds, about $50, to have the wound checked and the dressing changed at the minor injuries unit in Norwich. Her previous treatments and bandage changes in Reading and Edenbridge were free.  She was told here that charges may catch up with her later, despite the statements earlier that there would be no charges.  Stand by.  We certainly don’t think it’s right for British taxpayers to pick up the costs for our roving Calamity Jane; it was just a surprise after the free ride.

When Henry Trevor was born 200 years ago

Our new hosts, Trish and Mark, have provided a warm welcome to their 1930s house loaded with every possible convenience, constant light and tons of ideas for activities. They’re both solicitors and spend lots of leisure time cooking and gardening. Mark has another specialty we’ll share later.

On our second day here we went to the Plantation Garden.  When Henry Trevor was born 200 years ago, I suspect he didn’t imagine loads of people trooping through the exquisite garden he designed.  An upholsterer by trade, he spent many years and considerable sums to create the garden from a chalk quarry.  It is somewhat like the Bouchart Garden in Victoria, B C, but smaller.  Lunch was at the nearby Dickens inn where we each grabbed a book.  David “borrowed” an academic book that included chapters on Shakespeare, but he was entranced by “Poetry, Politics and the English Tradition.”  Students in his OLLI class in Ashland beginning next month will reap the benefits of thoughts explored.

A lovely neighborhood in Norwich pronounced to rhyme with porridge
The Behive Pub

The Beehive, our local pub, was perfect for Saturday night and our ongoing game of gin. And good preparation for Quaker Meeting yesterday, where amiable Friends greeted us warmly. We couldn’t help feeling like we belonged. We’d planned to go to the Artichoke Pub in the evening, as they were having Beer & Hymns. To our dismay, it got late and the rain was heavy, so we missed it. One hopes it wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime event.

In the week ahead, we plan to go to the coast one day, the Cathedral, and other entertaining things in this, our last full week in U.K.

This message, and all others, are a joint production of Deedie and David Runkel. In fact, David — now known as Gorgeous David — is the principal drafter of this series that we hope you’re enjoying.