Monday, 31 May 2010

adventures in a norfolk landscape

A weekend away in Norfolk seemed just the answer. Life has been hectic and we needed a break.  So, off we go - we took Harvey the RV up to Norfolk. Lovely site, no major problems - after all, we are only still adjusting to life with a protable bedsit.  The weather wasn't the best but we can cope with that.

The village we stayed in (albeit in a field) seemed quite nice.  It was quiet and sleepy.  Rather too many UKIP posters for my liking, but everyone we met - there weren't many - seemed pleasant enough.  A stroll through the village to acclimatise ourselves seemed in order.  Amongst the UKIP houses and the quiet backwaters, there seemed to be a sort of garden ornament thing going on.  There were lots of toadstools, fairies and hideous faces.  A giant stone pig, several Gargoyles that wouldn't have been out of place in The Devil Rides Out and a general feeling of Royston Vasey about the whole place.

We had to travel at one point to the nearest town, Holt. On the way past I noticed a rather bizarre sight.  An entrance up a small track had two posts on either side of its entrance.  The posts were branches, each with a either a crow or a jackdaw nailed to them - they looked stuffed. One had a garland of cow parsley wrapped around its head. Odd.

On the way back I was looking at them when a strangely decorated car drove past - I didn't fully see it but it had fins tied on and various flowers, I think. We drove past again the next day but I missed them - by the time we found them again, the wind had taken its toll. Now, we think there was a wedding on that night - probably pagan.  All the same - the phrase "NFN" suggests itself.  It's a term used by Social Workers and the like that means "Normal for Norfolk".

There were also lots of signs around advertising the "Scarecrow Festival" next weekend.

I enjoyed going to Norfolk for the weekend, but I must admit that it was a little Wicker Man at times, and possibly a little satanic.


Mike C. said...

All of my family now live in Norfolk, so NFN has some resonance for me. Until they died, my parents lived in a mobile home in my sister's back garden, and the houses on either side of my sister's house were owned and occupied by my two nieces, both married with kids. A regular hillbilly encampment... Yee hah!

Mind you, most of the occupants in North Norfolk these days are incomers -- you probably walked into a chapter of the forthcoming book by "the new Roger Deakin"...

Do you know the books by George Ewart Evans? Although I suspect some of what is described in there is leg-pulling, they seem a fairly authentic account of the "native" culture. I don't remember any "crows on poles"... I suspect some trustafarian pagan potter.


Dave Leeke said...

I think you're probably right - maybe the crows are the couple's "totem" - perhaps the branches were Ash or some-such nonsense. It was quite spooky coming across it in the middle of nowhere, though! I can't find any references to this stuff on any pagan sites.

I like the idea of a pagan potter but the whole trustafarian thing annoys me. Many of the shops in Holt were there for people like that - far too much money and absolutely no taste or sense.

I'll check out Evans - sounds like the sort of thing I'd read! I miss Deakin, I really enjoyed "Wildwood" - I'm reading "Beechcombings" by Richard Mabey at the moment.

I really must do some marking . . .

Nathan said...

Loved your post about your trip to Norfolk Dave. Maybe the birds are a novel form of scarecrow, to warn other birds that this is what will happen to them!
By the way, Normal for Norfolk has been adopted by the county as a promotional tool now - see here:

Dave Leeke said...

Yes, thanks for that and welcome to you Nathan. I will check the site out.

It's a good point about possible scarecrows - I was thinking while I was driving back through Norfolk into Suffolk that there are a huge amount of crows around. Everwhere I looked I saw crows. No wonder Mark Cocker wrote "Crow Country" (heartily recommended).

Mike C. said...

I notice there is an established family in Holt named "Crowe", who run the grocers and the local taxi firm, among other things...

On GEE, I recommend "The Pattern Under the Plough" and "Where Beards Wag All".

Get on with that marking...


Dave Leeke said...

Thanks, Mike, I'll look those up.

It would seem that crows are very much part of tradition:

One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a wedding,
And four for death... etc

Most of us of a certain age tend to remember the rhyme from the 1970's TV show "Magpie".

There was a sign nearby announcing a wedding - Tom & Molly. Perhaps they were Crowes. Or perhaps not. Perhaps there was another crow we missed further up the road. I guess I'll never know.

What I do know is that in various parts of the country students have been watching a horror film called "The Decent". I, however, taught "The Descent". Perhaps their version is a more polite version? Bloody marking . . .

Mike C. said...

Actually, there is something a little spine-chilling about a horror movie called "The Decent" -- "Cover your mouth when you cough or I'll tear out your lungs!! Please."