Alice’s ”escape to the country” …

On Thursday afternoon we picked up Alice from Kings Lynn station – we had miraculously found a train route from Manchester, so saving Alice the long drive. She had come to check us out in our country cottage residence. The sun was shining when we arrived back at ‘Honeysuckle Cottage’ so we lazed in the garden, chatted, bored Alice to death about Norfolk birds and countryside animals, drank Prosecco and barbecued – a perfect first evening together.

Friday 11th July 2019

We talked Alice into joining us on a stretch of coastal path walking … nothing too arduous as I’m still banging on about my knee injury! So today’s path was from Holkham Beach to Wells next the Sea, two very beautiful places to visit. The path was actually woodland most of the way – very pretty but particularly hot, being sheltered from the coastal breeze – we were stripping layers off as we walked.

Leaving Holkham Beach

And so we rambled along a few woodland miles until we found a path to take us up through the sand dunes onto the beach – the city girl was longing to see the sea. And Alice could not have been disappointed – this beautiful coastal stretch, looking back to the wide expanse of Holkham beach and walking along to the popular, beach-hut lined sands of Wells.

Wells Beach

We envied the bathers as we continued our walk, still a mile or so to go. Once off the beach we had a long straight walk alongside the harbour – a walk that seemed to go on for ever. But worth it to reach the quaint town of Wells next the Sea, where ice-cream and shopping awaited Alice and I whilst noble Steve ran back to fetch the car.

Wells next the Sea harbour

So thoughtful – spotted outside a shop in Wells next the Sea!

Saturday started as all Saturdays in our world start …. with the Parkrun! Alice was able to keep Steve company this week as I’m still ‘signed off!’

After breakfast and showers we headed back to Wells next the Sea, armed with picnic, with the intention of spending a couple of hours on the beach – desperate for a swim. The weather up this way is pretty hit and miss at the moment though so with clouds gathering we embarked on the Light Railway journey from Wells to Walsingham. A quirky little ride, 30 minutes of chugging along some rather overgrown paths – a beautiful montage of wild flowers and busy butterflies … but also ‘something to entertain the children I guess’ …. fairies’ washing lines, unicorn stables, elf lodges and a few scary witches.

All aboard the Light Railway

In the safe hands of a certain Thomas the Tank Engine character!

I wanted to visit Walsingham as my Mum used to come here with her church group for retreats – I had heard so much about how wonderfully peaceful it was. Tradition has it that in 1061 Mary, Mother of Jesus, appeared in a vision … and so it has been a shrine for nearly 1000 years – a place of pilgrimage for Christians.

The village itself is picture postcard – we visited the churches and shrines and then enjoyed a fabulous walk around the Abbey grounds. Definitely left with a feeling of spirituality. Unfortunately, couldn’t get access to the well where miracle cures are said to have happened … had high hopes for my knee!

The village of Walsingham

In the grounds of Walsingham Abbey

Alice being given a photography lesson!

A product of said photography lesson

When we got back to Wells it was even more cloudy, so we abandoned our swim and beach trip and returned home for a relaxing couple of hours before getting ready for our posh night out at the pub. If ever you find yourself in these parts, we highly recommend ‘The Duck Inn’ gastropub in Stanhoe – the food and service is first class.

My goats cheese and beetroot starter – exquisite!

And when we got back to the cottage, our next door neighbour horses ran over to say hello – they probably were looking for food but we like to think they were being neighbourly. One of them is identical to Spirit – a book/video that was a childhood favourite of Alice’s.

‘Spirit’ lookalike

Alice and I had a little lie in on Sunday – came down to find Steve gearing up excitedly for his day of cricket – The World Cup finals. He was so relieved that they were showing the game on terrestrial TV as, throughout the Championship, he has been struggling with internet connection, lots of buffering, watching it on the iPad or listening to it on the radio. He’s considered driving home to watch the games on many occasions.

After breakfast, Alice and I left Steve in peace and headed off for a girls day out. I mustered up all my bravery and drove us along these ridiculously narrow country roads to Sandringham. And we loved it. Walked through the grounds, visited the house, the museum and the church. Felt so special being in the actual rooms that the Royal family use just in everyday life …. where they have dinner, where they watch TV etc. And the scenes that you see at Christmas as the family walk to church … we were there! Love a bit of Royal, especially the Queen.

Sandringham House

We spent 3 or 4 hours at Sandringham and then took a detour on the way home, to Old Hunstanton, so Alice could have a final paddle before heading back on Monday to the Manchester City life.

And we were back in time to watch the last hour of the nail-biting match with Steve … we were jumping out of our seats, agonising, crying, cheering and finally celebrating our boys winning the Cricket World Cup for the very first time … so proud.

Old Hunstanton

So this morning we waved farewell to Alice …. and in 10 days time, Tom and Jess are coming up for a visit. Feel very blessed – it’s all about family ❤️

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