There’s a reason I moved to Norfolk eleven years after my first visit. It seemed inevitable, really, that as I slowly shuffled my way across the country from Worcestershire I would eventually find myself here.
It’s a love-at-first-sight kind of place, quaintness and modernity nestled side-by-side, stuffed with culture and entertainment. Norwich alone houses a church for every week of the year and a pub for every day of the week, and appropriately it’s a former church which houses their annual beer festival.
It’s rare to see a closed-down shop even in the city, because this county cares about its residents; something I’ve never experienced in previous habitats. There’s a county-wide sense of community which manages to also be entirely welcoming and rarely Royston Vasey, aided by the fact that Norfolk locals appear to be almost sickeningly friendly. It’s been less than a fortnight and I’ve already received almost a (distinctly non-creepy, and therefore welcome) compliment per day.
Another novelty is the enormous variety of choice now surrounding me. As I type, I’m sitting within the off-beat and stylish vegetarian Art Cafe in Glandford – a middle-of-nowhere village surrounded by greenery – and this eatery/knick knack shack sits snuggled up to a boat building shop. Where else would that be A Thing?
You’d be hard pressed to find a type of shop, restaurant, or even person that doesn’t exist here. Somewhere so isolated, so tucked away from the rest of the country was only ever going to go one of two ways: become bleak and samey and stuck in its ways, or motley and open-minded to the point that the term ‘normal for Norfolk’ is used simply in reference to anything weird.
Norfolk’s unique charm has held me captive since 2004, and it shows no signs of release.