Ed­i­tor’s let­ter

Norfolk - - EDP NORFOLK -

There is a lit­tle fris­son of ex­cite­ment chez nous as I type this, qui­etly toast­ing in our dessi­cated gar­den. For af­ter al­most four years of mak­ing their lives abroad, the son and heir and his sig­nif­i­cant other are com­ing back to these shores.

It seems like yes­ter­day that the present Mrs Cas­tle and I, snif­fling slightly, waved these two young peo­ple off one dark morn­ing at Nor­wich sta­tion as they be­gan a jour­ney which took them to Aus­tralia, In­done­sia and China. They have had a hoot but two and a half years of liv­ing in China has been a stern chal­lenge, and No1 Son has ad­mit­ted that they are look­ing for­ward to a few days un­der Nor­folk’s quiet skies to ease the pace of life down a lit­tle.

So we have been think­ing what we can do to aid their re­cov­ery from Sino-sitis. The first bit is easy; food.

Now we en­joy a Chi­nese meal – or at least the west­ern­ised ver­sion of it – as much as the next laowai, but your ac­tual on-the-ground ev­ery­day din­ing in China is another mat­ter. They’re not huge on prove­nance and if you see a red trac­tor it prob­a­bly be­longed to Chair­man Mao. They’re also fond of us­ing ev­ery morsel of beast or fowl, which is com­mend­able, but some­how a deep-fried duck head or chicken foot seems a bit much.

So some fine Nor­folk fare is in or­der; good lo­cal ba­con and sausages to start the day, with eggs from Mar­ian’s chick­ens down the road. A light lunch with a bit of Bin­ham Blue maybe, or per­haps some­thing from the many op­tions at Nor­wich Mar­ket.

There will be din­ners out, at our lo­cal pub and, if we’re feel­ing gen­er­ous, we might take them to some­where fancy with white napery and lots of cut­lery, a chal­lenge to peo­ple used to eat­ing with sticks and fin­gers.

For en­ter­tain­ment we’ll take them to Pen­sthorpe, per­haps to Cas­tle Ris­ing, or maybe Thet­ford For­est. But we’ll cer­tainly be tak­ing them to the coast.

Go­ing to the beach with the dogs will re­fresh and re­vi­talise souls wea­ried by the mer­ci­less ca­coph­ony and round-the-clock ac­tiv­ity of a sweaty, sti­fling, huge, anony­mous city. A good lung­ful or two of briny air, the feel of cool damp sand be­tween the toes, the soft ca­ress of a sum­mer breeze un­der our fa­mous big skies will be a great restora­tive. A big plate of fish and chips and a pint of ale will com­plete the job.

And then they’ll be ready for the next stage in their lives, in the hand­some sur­round­ings of Durham, a jolly sight eas­ier to get to than Fuzhou, trust me.

We had a lot of fun with this coastal-themed is­sue, not least in pick­ing the pho­tos for the ‘dogs on the beach’ fea­ture. We’ve filled six pages; we could have filled 60, so great was the re­sponse, and if you sent your hound’s snap in and it didn’t make it we’re sorry. They’re still all ab­so­lutely adorable.

Cat-lovers; maybe one day we’ll do a mog­gies of Nor­folk spe­cial to re­dress the bal­ance. We don’t want any­one fe­line they’ve been left out.

DO­MINIC CAS­TLE,

Ed­i­tor, EDP Nor­folk Mag­a­zine 01603 772758/07725 201153, do­minic.cas­[email protected]

Great place to get over the hurly-burly of life in China

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