2. We camped in Norfolk. Norfolk is a funny one. It has some good qualities: cheap housing, fine countryside, seals and lots of camp sites to choose from. It has other attributes that have made me want to weep recently that I will come onto very shortly. We camped in a small site next to Banham Zoo. It should have worked. We have a massive tent, all the cooking gear, fairly rough and ready children and ourselves, who are not afraid of getting hands dirty. We had two factors against us; a. Norfolk rules - this is my fault and I take full responsibility for taking our holiday to East Anglia's inferior county and b. The Great British Weather- this upset me the most. The weather is supposed to be sporadic in the UK - we expect it to taunt and tease us with a will-she, won't-she and dangle the BBQ/excursion/wedding day carrot with impish glee. I did expect some cloudy rain teasers. I didn't expect it to piss down for 3days. This upset me most greatly.
3. I can't bring myself to talk about Norfolk yet. That will come later.
4. There was a pub near the camp site. As the camp site offered just two facilities (toilet and adjacent zoo), we had to go to the pub lots to get dry, try to be happy, make it feel like a holiday and palm children onto someone else. This pub was excellent: it was clearly built in someone's living room and it resembled an intoxicated elderly home. It had a pub cat called Sep (someone else's problem- how witty!!) who provided the kids with the only entertainment possible (apart from the coin-operated-turn-cog-thing Minstrels machine which was rather dated if the colour of the Minstrels were anything to go by). The inevitable point came when the cat went to get his dinner which upset my children most profusely: the Balderdash! didn't look too appealing and the poor stinky moggy was the only means of solice for my toddlers.
5. For the first time, my son put his finger up an animal anus. On purpose. Sep pivoted around to get some sugar from my daughter and Tom spotted the cat's arsehole, into which he stabbed with his finger, made entry, then withdrew with such fright that I doubt he will do it again. Sep remained nonplussed (pussed) about the assault.
6. When you are in a tent with no electricity or anything very fun and it's raining outside you become really entertainment-reliant on the radio. It was on for the duration of the trip. We tuned into a local station called Radio Partridge or something. It was alright, but the requests bit was worth a mention. People in Norfolk only know the first few words of any given song. Rod (& Angie; Rod's sister-wife) from Wymondham requested "I wanna Dance" by Whitney Houston, Mick wanted "I'm Walking" by Katrina and The Waves (as a witty attribute to the relentless rain...arf arf) and Maureen quite fancied "Give me all" by ZZ Top. This was fun, like Guess the Song in the Field.
7. I has to chuck away my shoes when I returned home. They are pretend Birkenstock type sandals and they remained cold and wet for the whole weekend.
8. We did the same thing as we did every time we take the kids away. I pack totally inappropriate clothes and we have to go and buy lots more. Tescos in Diss robbed us of new fleeces, trousers and wooly socks; as I had the brazen audacity to only pack summer clothes.
9. The "how strong is your bladder" challenge continues. This time, the 3:12am wake in the freezing tent and your Shiraz wants to make an entrance. There's not a chance in (Norfolk) hell that it can wait until you get up (5:45am) so you have to brave it. I can never get out of the tent in the dark and one of the kids has hidden the torch. I'm not bloody happy. My hair gets caught in the zip on exiting the tent and my frigging shoes are wet and cold.
10. A neighbouring tent stayed up til around 11pm on the first night to talk rather flatly, about bacteria and chopping boards. They weren't local: from Colchester or Chelmsford or *saink*.
11. Calculate the time, in years or months, that you have been frequenting pubs on a regular basis. Now, try to gauge what time they usually open. That's fairly simple, now chuck in a couple of variable factors: it's Bank Holiday Monday and most people aren't at work. Right. Now add the location of "Norfolk" into the mix. That causes some uncertainty, but nonetheless, should still provide the majority with a rough idea of when a pub will open.
The second part: take your age and divide it by the number of wheely bins on your drive. Add the amount of times you've lost your keys and subtract the number of TVs you have in your house. The remaining number is what time Norfolk pubs open for trade.
12. Our tent pitch was located 18metres from the perimeter fence of Banham Zoo. It directly faced the "Australian Maned Wolf" enclosure. This meant that the foxy menace woke us each morning with a grunty snorty howl. This had some novelty value; both Diego and Luna were very close to where we slept our soft sleepy heads. In fact, on visiting the zoo on day 2, we could see our tent through the trees at the back of the wolves den. This added another gripe: we tolerate our shitting weather because the Northern Hemisphere is reliably unpredictable and crap in climate but relatively light in wildlife that will kill you. So now, not only were we camping in a soupy bog but also ran the risk of being chewed by an Ozzie predator who jumped the fence in attempt to escape their Norfolk nausea.
13. It was really nice, on the first day, sitting outside whilst OH cooked us tea on the stove and watching the kids eat tinned hotdogs on the picnic mat. That's the bit I'll remember.
14. Pillows always feel *wet* in a tent, eh!!
15. The camp site did have a "function room" that was closed; because August bank holiday weekend is not expected to be busy. Humph.
16. It also had a reception which didn't open much either so we were unable to collect some leaflets on what to do in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.