Friday, 19 June 2009

Postcard From Norfolk: Great Massingham


Almost completely at random (i.e. find a cottage in North Norfolk that's centrally located, reasonably priced and for 4 or more people - we always like things to be a bit more roomy on holiday) we found ourselves based in Great Massingham - all the villages in North Norfolk have cheerful signs like the one pictured. It's just how an English village should be, with an extensive village green and with not one, but four massive ponds. These came complete with bulrushes, yellow flag irises and a multitude of quacking ducks, some of whom were found outside our door every morning in spite of Squid, the cottage owners' cat.

A place with a traditional church, sadly not one of the intriguing fortress style churches found elsewhere in the area, but built from the same materials. A thriving village shop plus a pub rescued from the ashes of the deceased Rose and Crown and resurrected as The Dabbling Duck. An object lesson in how a community/council partnership can restore the beating heart to a village. Note the plastic topiary balls outside though and contrast that with the overflowing jugs of real cottage garden flowers (foxgloves, delphiniums and sweet williams) on the scrubbed wooden tables inside. A place for great beer, morning coffee and afternoon tea as well as locally sourced lunches and dinners. A place to linger with newspapers, books and games close to hand, or to borrow a laminated map showing one of the popular walks around the area and go further afield. A fiendish monthly quiz and curry night to take part in, other regular events and an exhibition by a local photographer.

And our cottage? A place fashioned from the outbuildings of The Old Swan, another deceased village pub. Traditionally built using red brick and grey flint, just like many cottages in the area. Wooden beams inside and plenty of space, yet cosy. Books on the shelves (including Beverley Nichols) and tricky jigsaws to complete on the odd rainy day.

A perfect place to stay.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lovely cottage, I think it really makes a holiday having a nice place to stay. I haven't been to Norfolk for years, one day I must go - I have an Aunt and cousin in the area you stayed who would welcome a visit!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

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  2. Sounds an idyllic bolthole VP :) On the subject of Norfolk village signs you might enjoy a reccie here :

    http://norfolkcoast.co.uk/signs/index.htm

    and

    http://www.tournorfolk.co.uk/signs.html

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  3. Lucky you! That's such a lovely area for a relaxing break!
    Have a good weekend! xx

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  4. Glad you had a great holiday. I love a jigsaw in a holiday cottage on a wet day. It drives SomeBeans mad, though.

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  5. Sounds . . . well . . . quite nice really.

    Esther

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  6. Sylvia - sounds like you should go there soon and you won't have an accomodation problem :)

    Anna - thanks for the website address. I could have spent ages taking pictures of all those signs, but the site's got them all. The OS map we bought has Blakeney's on the front cover too.

    Flighty - it was and I hope you had a good weekend too :)

    HM - luckily we discovered that doing jigsaws together was a soothing activity for both of us. The circular ones worked best as we could sit opposite each other working on our own areas. Perhaps this might work for you and Somebeans instead?

    Esther - it was :)

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