Monday, June 27th to Sunday, July 3rd
Monday: After spending most of the morning and early afternoon at my aunt and uncle’s house (and eating their food instead making my own), we had a lovely stroll around Reepham. One thing I love about England is the old walking routes that still exist, tucked away between tall hedges, walls, and buildings. Walking through a veritable tunnel of greenery, it’s easy to imagine emerging into some kind of fantasy world. Went back to my cousin’s house to greet the triumphant heroes (and their friends) and have homemade macaroni and cheese. Went back to my aunt and uncle’s house to sort out a video chat with my family in Canada.
Tuesday: Went back to my aunt and uncle’s for breakfast, and they kindly took me to a town called Blakely, which is on the ocean. The surrounding area is mostly marsh and estuaries, and is a favourite spot for birders looking for water fowl. We walked along the path towards the sea, and returned to have a delicious lunch in the town. I had local crab sandwiches, and got to sit in a bay window during our meal. Back in Reepham, I went back to my cousin’s, and later we all went over to her parents’ place for dinner.
Wednesday: My cousin was only busy during the morning today, so we went to Norwich to meet one of her friends for lunch. We brought home some fancy cake from the cafe to eat for dessert. The plan originally was to go to Wells for the evening, but the weather was (unsurprisingly) terrible so we decided to stay in and watch a movie and eat our fancy cake.
Thursday: After I woke up, we got a call from my aunt inviting me over for lunch. So, after I’d seen my first-cousin-once-removed off on his adventure for the day, I walked over and had tea, while my aunt and uncle showed me photos and told me stories about my grandparents, most of which I’d never seen or heard before. After lunch, I borrowed a bicycle and rolled off in a roughly northerly direction, until (two minutes later) I came across a public footpath called Marriott’s Way, which used to be a rail line. Came across two bridges, a pond, lots of stinging nettle, and a pheasant. Didn’t make it very far (the Way goes all the way to Norwich) because I kept stopping to take photos of bugs, and I had to turn around because I hadn’t brought any water.
Friday: HAPPY CANADA DAY! I slept in and hopped on the bike again around 11am, this time heading in the opposite direction and turning down any old path that struck my fancy. I found some old cars, cycled a big loop back to where I’d already been, found a small wood along Smuggler’s Way where the trees had been planted in rows, and eventually made it back to town, where I ran into my aunt on the street. It felt almost like I was a local, bumping into people I knew! Went home, thought about going to a cafe, decided to stay home and draw. After my cousin came home and her boy went off for the weekend, some of her friends came over and we had a campfire in the backyard. Having a fire in the summer is such a treat, and totally not an option where I’m from. We had pizza, garlic bread, chocolate, and veggies. And we only got rained on a little bit.
Saturday: Today was a day to get a lot of things done! First, we swung by aunt and uncle’s house for tea and a last goodbye. Then, we wandered over to the local real estate agent to get some info for my cousin, and hightailed it up to see her new house. About two minutes after we made it home, torrential downpour yet again! Had lunch (and I bored my cousin and her friend by explaining what I do for work), and nipped over to visit her friend’s mom, whose house is in a little copse of trees that act like walls and a roof over a magical secret garden. Tea again, then off to Wells, a seaside town, where we had delectable fish and chips for dinner. Later, we walked along the beach, took silly pictures, and had a marvelous time. On our way home, we stopped at the grocery store to buy a picnic lunch and travel snacks for tomorrow.
Sunday: Woke up early to miss the worst the of the traffic on our way to Louth. My cousin and her friend generously gave me a ride all the way there, partly so they could visit with our aunt and uncle, but also because the bus there would have taken seven hours, instead of three by car (and also would have cost me around $55). We arrived with no trouble (even though we forgot to bring their address or phone number) thanks to their very clear directions. Delicious picnic lunch in the garden, visiting, hugs, thanks, goodbyes, and then cousin and friend made their way home. What a great week!