Talk of the county:

It’s al­ways Nor­folk Day says Rowan Man­tell

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - Thet­ford Sta­tion Re­becca Murphy

It’s Nor­folk Day on July 27. Of­fi­cially it’s only the sec­ond Nor­folk Day in his­tory, but here at the Nor­folk mag­a­zine we like to point out that, with the con­cept be­ing all about cel­e­brat­ing the joy of Nor­folk, it’s al­ways Nor­folk Day.

It’s as easy as spot­ting laven­der at Heacham, a sand dune at Holkham or seals at Horsey.

And the mag­netism of Nor­folk is so pow­er­ful that it ex­tends far be­yond the county borders. The idea of six de­grees of sep­a­ra­tion, con­nect­ing any two peo­ple on the planet through no more than five in­ter­me­di­aries, be­gan as fic­tion, evolved into maths, and is played out in real life. Try it next time you leave Nor­folk.

Just oc­ca­sion­ally the Nor­folk mag­a­zine team ven­tures across county borders to go to dif­fer­ent parts of the world – con­stantly scan­ning our sur­round­ings to en­sure there is no threat to the pre-em­i­nence of Nor­folk. We have been known to find some­thing worth smug­gling back. For in­stance, I be­lieve Suf­folk had a Nor­folk Day be­fore us. They called it some­thing lame, like Suf­folk Day, and were ham­pered by hav­ing to fo­cus on cel­e­brat­ing Suf­folk, but the teams at the top of the Eastern Daily Press and Ra­dio Nor­folk re­alised a sim­ple change could make it amaz­ing.

A cou­ple of weeks ago, the ed­i­to­rial staff were all out of the county at the same time. I know! You would think there would be a clause in our con­tracts to pre­vent it. Rachel was camp­ing in Suf­folk, (there are parts of Suf­folk so lovely that we have de­tailed plans of how to an­nexe them,) Dom was cy­cling through Ger­many, aka Nor-Farke, and I

was posh­ing around at a gar­den party in Ox­ford. The first per­son we greeted was our (Nor­folk) son. So far, so un­re­mark­able, since we had come to see him. Next were the cou­ple who ar­rived just be­hind us. “Where are you from?” asked my hus­band, in full small-talk mode. They were from Hing­ham. A lit­tle later we were treated to a tour of St Ed­mund Hall. It’s not named for our East An­glian saint and king, but the 13th cen­tury aca­demic and arch­bishop who founded it was named in hon­our of our Ed­mund.

In the an­cient li­brary, com­plete with chained books, one caught my eye. A note along­side the 529-year-old tome re­vealed it had been owned by Au­gus­tine Stew­ard of Nor­wich. Au­gus­tine, of lean­ing Au­gus­tine Stew­ard House, Tomb­land, fame, and thrice mayor of Nor­wich, led ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Kett and the King, funded the re­build­ing of the Guild­hall coun­cil cham­ber and, quite pos­si­bly, bought Black­friar’s Hall for the city with his own money.

The fol­low­ing day I headed home, via the sec­ond city of East Anglia. Although we’d been hosted in won­der­ful gar­dens, it was a joy to roll back into Nor­folk and see the stun­ning flower-filled bor­der run­ning the length of the plat­form at Thet­ford Rail­way Sta­tion. It would not have been out of place in a Na­tional Trust gar­den. And then, as if there was some kind of con­test, Attleborou­gh Sta­tion pro­vided not just a pretty wild­flower bor­der, but a bowls match be­ing played on the ad­join­ing bowl­ing green. Cel­e­brat­ing Nor­folk is easy as (crab and sam­phire) pie.

‘I be­lieve Suf­folk had a Nor­folk Day be­fore us. They called it some­thing lame, like Suf­folk Day’

Au­gus­tine Stew­ard House Siofra Connor

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