On a roll mov­ing moun­tains

This sum­mer I de­cided to source our sou­venirs lo­cally. Un­for­tu­nately I for­got to men­tion this to my hus­band

EDP Norfolk - - TALK OF THE COUNTY - Rowan Man­tell rowan.man­[email protected]­chant.co.uk

We used to spend a dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of hol­i­day time writ­ing post­cards. Now we mainly What’sApp pic­tures to prove we re­ally have seen some turquoise seas, or an­cient ru­ins, or ru­ined an­cients.

In pre­vi­ous years we’ve also bought back a few sou­venirs. Not nec­es­sar­ily for our­selves as even when we have been there and seen that, I’m not sure I need to wear the t-shirt. And one of the (van­ish­ingly few) down­sides of a kitchen re­vamp is that our new built-in fridge can­not hold fridge mag­nets. So, no post­cards, no t-shirts, no fridge mag­nets.

This year, we went cy­cling, which meant se­verely limited lug­gage ca­pac­ity (once I’d weighed my hus­band down with all my stuff to give me an un­sport­ing chance of keep­ing up). So, after spend­ing a good five sec­onds scan­ning a touristy shop for ex­tremely light-weight, low-vol­ume, ex­cel­lent-value, beau­ti­ful and de­li­cious, ro­bust and typ­i­cally French gifts for off­sprung off­spring back in Nor­folk, I gave up. My new idea was to buy them some­thing lovely from Nor­folk in­stead so that it would ac­tu­ally mean some­thing to them. The con­cept kind of works, in that how can you go wrong buy­ing lovely stuff from your home area?

Or so I thought, un­til my hus­band fi­nally found the ideal way to spend the money his par­ents had given us for our 25th wed­ding an­niver­sary, sev­eral years ago. The orig­i­nal idea was to buy some­thing for our gar­den. The idea grew from a plant, to a small sculp­ture to a piece of Welsh slate from the vil­lage where he had grown up.

The first hint of a prob­lem came when my hus­band texted me with the news that it had been bought, and de­liv­ered, and was big­ger than he re­mem­bered. And the de­liv­ery driver hadn’t been able to ac­tu­ally get it into our gar­den. See­ing as he had pow­ered lift­ing equip­ment, the chances of get­ting the slate into our back gar­den seemed tiny. Un­like the stone.

Fas­ci­nated neigh­bours gath­ered around. Stone­henge and Snowdon were men­tioned. After the hi­lar­ity had died down (no, we weren’t plan­ning a Ne­olithic tem­ple in sub­ur­ban Nor­wich, yes Snow­do­nia might be miss­ing a moun­tain) it turned out that Stone­henge was the in­spi­ra­tion we needed. If Stone Age man (and I think it prob­a­bly was Stone Age man, as the num­ber of women vol­un­teer­ing their hus­bands, broth­ers and sons to help was truly re­mark­able) had moved much, much big­ger stones from Wales to Sal­is­bury Plain 5,000 years ago, then we should surely be able to get a com­par­a­tively minis­cule lump of slate from street to gar­den.

A sturdy metal trol­ley, unearthed from a gar­den shed by the lovely cou­ple op­po­site, was con­sid­ered but ul­ti­mately re­jected be­cause it turned out we didn’t even need to rein­vent the wheel. The an­swer, cour­tesy of an­other neigh­bour, was a big piece of drainage pipe, cut into sev­eral sec­tions.

Our lit­tle bit of Wales was rolled on to the drive, through the garage and out to the back gar­den. We’ve still got to get it up­right. I’m think­ing ropes, levers, pul­leys and prayer.

In the mean­time I might find a lit­tle bit of space in the kitchen for a few fridge mag­nets, for next time any­one is tempted by a sou­venir of their hol­i­day or their home­land.

ABOVE: Snow­do­nia - re­lo­cat­ing to Nor­folk?

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