Friday, November 30, 2007

Norfolk and past times

I flew into Norwich on Monday from Glasgow. The flight was great and on arrival at Norwich airport there was a white BMW mini bus ready to take me to the hotel in Titchwell, just as the BBC ordered. I was doing ‘Just a Minute’ radio show in Kings Lynn and staying in the lovely Titchwell Manor.

The white mini bus had a driver who looked about 12 years old and assured me the journey would be fine; as my mate John told me the roads between Norwich and Norfolk are notoriously arduous.

The road twisted and turned and I sat there bumping along, glad that I had two ovaries and two kidneys as my internal organs were slowly being mangled and mashed on the journey.

We had been on the road an hour before the child driver admitted we were lost.

“Do you have a map?” I asked him.

“No, I entered the postcode into my Sat Nav, but according to this we are here, now I have realised the whole area has the same postcode” he mumbled.

“Ok, let’s find a bar or garage or somewhere we can get directions” I took charge.

We drove through small villages that although beautiful looked totally abandoned, farm houses with no people, streets with no cars, stone built manor homes with nothing but ghosts to tend the gardens. I was getting really frustrated; neither of us could get a signal on his radio or our own phones. We were in 1879.

We drove up a gravely drive to an ancient looking mansion, there was no one there.

“We are back in time, I will get put into service and have to pluck chickens and you will become a chimney sweep, this is Bleak House” I laughed, he drove off and we managed to find three more villages with no people or animals, or shops or ANYTHING to indicate life in Norfolk.

Finally we must have driven through some Delorean Time Shift as we saw a garage up ahead and it had real live people in it. They pointed us in the direction of Titchwell and off we set.

The poor driver was aghast at his taxi skills and I was too tired to fight.

But Titchwell Manor was worth the wait. Honestly it is awesome. The main hotel has lovely big coal fires and set in rugged Norfolk landscape and the rooms are wonderfully small wooden cabins. The floors are wooden, painted in cream with pale green cool walls all with a huge wooden bed filling the centre of the room. Whoever designed these rooms knew what they were doing; the peacefulness is reflected in every aspect of the d├ęcor. A big deep bath, cool shiny metal taps, and light flows in from the huge patio windows that over look the farm land outside. I was amazed at the distinct lack of noise.
It was so quiet I have discovered I may have tinnitus; there is a slow deep ringing in my ears that I have never heard before, as I have never been anywhere this quiet in my life. I could hear my kidneys working….I could hear my eyes blink!

I have noises in my head!

I saw a squirrel walk up to my window. I lay on the big white bed and watched it scrabble about, it stopped and clawed at its own bottom and not only did I see it - I HEARD it….that’s how quiet it is. You can hear squirrels scratch their own ass in silent Norfolk.

Then radio show went really well, ‘Just a Minute’ is the scariest radio show in the world. You have to talk for a whole minute really fast and not deviate, or repeat or hesitate…and it has millions of fans and listeners. It can be so frightening, but you have to go with flow and be funny as well. Nicholas Parsons who hosts the show is just a wonderful wit and I adore him.

Next day I caught the train to London where I was doing a gig for Scotscare at the Caledonian Club in Belgravia.

That show was slightly odd as most of the people who turned up were really old and very posh, BUT they were an awesome crowd and I relaxed into it….it ended up a great show.

I caught up with Monica my best mate, we chatted and ate crisps and talk shit for hours. That’s what best pals do.

Soon it was time to get on a flight home, but why the fuck do I always book an early flight? I had to get up at 7am and get taxied to Stanstead Airport, I was so tired, I had a period from hell, and my womb was trying to implode. It felt like three wee angry terriers were fighting over a biscuit in my uterus.

I arrived home to a clean warm bed, two painkillers and a great sleep before I had to get up and go perform in Edinburgh Jongleurs.

Sorry I was late with this blog, but life is mental.

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