Somehow the Pubs reached out to us every other day

Huge gusts had the dogs on high alert

Sheets of rain, powerful downpours at times have defined most of our days here in Norwich, Norfolk, and our last full day Sunday was no exception. Huge gusts had the dogs on high alert and us wondering what was going on.David, Roo and Tilley were caught in a late afternoon storm that it seems circled back around Eaton Street. Despite the showers we had an exceptionally nice time in this relatively flat part of the Midlands of England.

Somehow the Pubs reached out to us every other day
Deedie outside the Adam and Eve pub, Norwich

Somehow, the pubs reached out to us every other day, beckoning us to have the true Norwich experience. Forget about cooking in that gourmet kitchen with items from the garden; Go forth and experience the neighborhood reality. The Oak Tree at the end of our block had a certain allure — 2 meals for 10 pounds. Mark warned us away. Trish couldn’t imagine turning down a meal for 10 quid. We took Trish’s advice and were neither poisoned nor disappointed. Mark sent us to The Eagle and he was right, the food (though a might more expensive), was better. Nothing prepared us for the Saturday night entertainment at the Oak Tree — two long blondes in sequined white revealing outfits accessorized with white patent go-go boots sang Mama Mia, Dancing Queen and other ABBA tunes with coordinated dance steps and hand gestures. We didn’t sing along, but we almost danced. It just didn’t seem age appropriate and our path to the dance floor was blocked by a young toe-tapping man who was almost as wide as the doorway.

Adam and Eve

Somehow the Pubs reached out to us every other day
Adam and Eve pub, Norwich founded 1249

Sunday’s roast — a tradition for us and everyone else in the country, was at the Adam and Eve, founded in 1249.Mind the doorway, meaning duck, signs greeted us. This was a big plate — the usual beef and Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, parsnips and lots of gravy. David’s plate was clean.

Earlier in the week, a day trip to Cromer on the North Sea, home of world famous, we were assured, Cromer crabs had us drooling in anticipation.We partooklunch at the Kings Head pub in the center of town, after a long walk on the beach watching gentle waves and playful dogs.A tour of the pier and the Royal sea rescue squadron also occupied our time. How great to be less than an hour away from the city experiencing the vagaries of the sea.

We also gloried in indoor activities.The Quaker Meeting here is quite vibrant with meaningful vocal ministry and many, many post-Meeting announcements offering multiple opportunities for social concerns. We attended both First Days we were here, and the co-clerk had us for tea one afternoon.

Somehow the Pubs reached out to us every other day
Deedie heads out onto the North Sea

The weather also allowed for games and reading.

Our other religious activity was the evensong service one afternoon featuring the men and boys choir at the ancient, huge Anglican Cathedral. Construction of this Norman edifice began in 1094 and daily services have been held there all these 800 years.While there was some World War II bombing in Norfolk, the Cathedral was not hit.As we were leaving, another congregant told us that the construction was similar to a lego building today, but that none of the stacked blocks of the massive pillars had ever yet been moved.

Somehow the Pubs reached out to us every other dayThe weather also allowed for games and reading.Twice David was at the bridge table, once playing with a researcher on what tree rings tell us about climate change, it’s a fact the climate has changed over the centuries, and a second time with a South African woman who actually had spent one night in Ashland, Oregon, many years ago on a West Coast trip. She recalled it as having been beautiful which I assured her was still the case. We feel as if we know this woman well, as she shared fulsomely for 5 minutes or so: She’s divorced from a very rich man who’s now married to a 31-year-old, things haven’t gone well with her grown children who can’t forgive her as a committed Christian for forgiving her husband’s behavior and she lives in an extremely diverse neighborhood, never one to be a renter, and has a nicer car than she thinks she should and tries to do really nice things for everyone she encounters and was only too sad we couldn’t have dinner with her. Maybe next time.

Both of us have been engaged in English history

Both of us have been engaged in English history.Deedie found Hillary Mantel’s second Henry VIII book, Bring Up the Bodies, engrossing. David was not as enchanted with Antonia Fraser’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII, with the exception of learning that the king’s waistline had doubled to 54 inches during his reign. 

The fate of the Six wives is summed up in a six-word rhythm — Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived.But stories of the six and the king take more than 400 pages to be told.What a bloody time.

Hopefully actual heads will not roll.

Sixteenth century England makes today’s politics see tame, although the daily news coming out of both London and Washington the past week, which we closely followed on BBC and the internet, lead us to believe we might have rulers toppled in both the UK and the US. Hopefully actual heads will not roll.

And so we draw to the end of our rookie try-out as housesitters. Monday we board the traintoLondon where no dogs will need to be walked or fed nor will dahlias need deadheading,before returning to Oregon early Friday morning, if all goes well.

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.