On a roll moving mountains
This summer I decided to source our souvenirs locally. Unfortunately I forgot to mention this to my husband
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?