OL40: Norwich & the Broads

OS Explorer map OL40, The Broads: Wroxham, Beccles, Lowestoft & Great Yarmouth – I do not own this map, but had visited it before starting this blog. Visited again for this post 29th September 2019.

My previous post concerned my trip to the Norfolk coast on a committee retreat with Effective Altruism Cambridge. While the majority of the weekend was spent in and around the house we were staying in, doing our business, we did stop off in Norwich for a few hours on our way back to Cambridge.

The purpose of our visit to Norwich, other than lunch, was to do an escape room as a teambuilding exercise. Unfortunately, the escape room in question had a capacity of only 7, while there were 8 of us, so I’d previously volunteered to sit this one out. (I thought I’d probably be in need of a rest by this point, and I was soon to be doing an escape room with my work in November anyway.) Therefore, when we entered Norwich (a little late), and eventually found our way to the city centre after some confusing diversions, I dropped everyone off near the venue, and went to find some parking.

The antiques-shop-in-a-church in central Norwich

I found an unexpected small outdoor car park in very central Norwich (it being necessary to avoid multi-storey jobbies [1] due to having the roofbox on [2]), and went for a brief wander to find a toilet. I found an antiques shop in an old church, where a man tried to speak to me first in Hindi, then in Arabic; and I eventually located some toilets in the city library – it was a very nice, big, open public building, with a café on the ground floor, and some kind of exhibition on disability pride was going on.

A miniature donkey stall outside the library where I went to the toilet

After that, I returned to the car and read some fanfiction on my phone until the others returned, at which point we wandered out into the town in search of lunch. A lot of indecision eventually resulted in us splitting up, and Vesper and I ended up eating in Greggs.

Vesper and I eating lunch in Greggs

From there, Vesper wandered off in the direction of the train station to go back to Cambridge, and I reconvened with the others at the car, to start our journey home too!

Previous visits

Now, you may have noticed that Norwich, despite being a big place, doesn’t actually feature in the official title of this OS map (“The Broads: Wroxham, Beccles, Lowestoft & Great Yarmouth“). This is because the map primarily, as the title suggests, covers the Norfolk Broads, and only some of Norwich, out in one corner – Norwich is featured fully on map 237, concisely entitled Norwich. However, on the trip above, we only went to parts of Norwich that are in this map area, OL40, and I have visited OL40 before, but never 237. According to The Rules, then, this visit had to count for map OL40, as I can only get a new map area by going to a point that isn’t featured in any map areas I’ve visited before.

A young me, and my cousin Rice, on the canal boat in the Broads

My previous visit to this area was to the Norfolk Broads themselves, and was a good long time ago, in April 2007. It was a holiday with the Dearest Progenitors and my cousin Rice, where we rented a little canal boat to stay on for a few days, and pottered about the Broads in it. Of course, I can’t remember what we did in such great detail, but here follow some assorted recollections!

  • I remember being very enthused by how tiny the bathroom was: there was just one little square of floor, which was where you stood to use the sink, to shower, and where you had your feet while sitting on the toilet!
  • For some strange reason, I took a keyboard with me (keyboard like a simple electric piano). I had fairly recently started lessons, I think, but I was never that enthusiastic about them, so I expect I mostly brought it for the fun of the thought of bringing a piano on holiday!
  • I recall eating a meal and messing around with the pool table in a canalside pub. Of course, there are lots of canalside pubs (and in fact, one of the pubs nearest my parents’ house is such a one), but I remember finding it very fun that we could pull up to a pub in a boat, then eat in there.
My dear companion Tebby on the canal boat. I’ve had Tebby since I was about a year old – I’m told he was bought for me on a day trip to Windsor and Eton. While I no longer take him on holiday, he came to university with me every term while I was a student, and I still keep him on my pillow and often sleep with him between my arm and head!

In addition to this, I’ve visited this map area once more, even earlier: my parents brought me on holiday to Great Yarmouth as a baby. I know of this trip mainly through one anecdote: apparently in the hotel room, my parents had put me to bed next to them, making a sleeping area for me by enclosing an area of floor with pillows. However, in the morning, they woke up to find I was missing! It was only after some substantial time of searching, panic, alerting hotel staff and the like that they discovered that I’d been peacefully asleep the whole time under their bed, having rolled my way out of the little pillow fort!

[1] I had a disagreement recently with Erithacus and Vesper over the meaning of “jobbie”, which eventually was resolved with the help of the internet, as we realised that it means “poo” in Scotland and “thing” in England.

[2] I’d made the mistake less than a month previously in the Netherlands of trying to drive into a multi-storey car park with the roofbox on; there was a lot of grating and damage…

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