After nearly pulling out all my hair obsessively editing and writing (the only reason I am going bald), I took a holiday with my wife and daughter to England to visit my parents.
It was my wife’s idea, she’s expecting our second child and although I had reservations, the doctor said it was safe to travel. It was also my 1yo daughter’s first long haul trip from Singapore and so we broke it up stopping at Doha for a sleep, then on to the UK.
We stayed in London for four days with a full English breakfast every morning. I can almost say I got tired of the daily bacon, sausages, eggs, beans, mushrooms, coffee and toast, but it was delicious and fueled me for hours. It’s also quite the quintessential start every Englishman is familiar with. We also did some touristy stuff, Covent Garden (a delight) and Hamleys, got my parents down and hit the Science Museum, Harrods and Camden (a bigger delight – Camden is a bit special and we spent a good few hours sampling the culturally rich wonders and urban shops in Stables Market).
On our final day in London, I hired a people carrier to drive to Norwich, and although getting out of London was a challenge, once on the Motorway (highway), it was a dream.
There is a lot of difference between London and Norwich. London has lots of energy, colour, culture and vibrancy, a strong pulse that resonates through one’s body. It’s also massive, so getting around by tube and train is essential, a subculture unto itself.
Norwich is about 100 miles north of London in the East of England, so around a two hour drive, where you get to see much more of the vast countryside. The openness feels liberating and nostalgic landmarks lead the way from previous visits.
There is no tube (train) to get around Norwich, so you either have to drive or get a bus, I opted for the former for convenience and country drives, because that’s what you do when visiting Norfolk, you drive around to discover the hidden gems (villages and towns) selling local produce.
Norwich, in my opinion, is twinned with Hobbiton and the county of Norfolk (where Norwich resides – lots of agriculture) is twinned with the region known as the Shire in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Things slow down somewhat and it’s a ‘small but beautiful, idyllic and fruitful land, beloved by its inhabitants,‘ as is the Shire.
My parent’s Bungalow sits on a quiet road with locals that have lived there for decades, the same bakery I bought Cheese Straws from as a young boy is still going (Freshbake – Using the same recipes) and some of the well loved buildings and shops are still standing strong (Jarrolds, Waterstones, The Assembly Rooms but to name a few).
I am not sure I could live there, although it has a charm and a pace that suits my mood when I want to relax. I can see lots of new quaint and alluring coffee shops have sprung up during my absence and can imagine myself lounging in a comfortable chair sipping a strong flat white and editing my story to soothing background music.
Mmmm, it’s a nice thought, and my daughter also got to enjoy the open space of my parent’s garden and a local playground with plenty of room for running and playing, it was magnificent.
We bought my mum some shrubs for mother’s day because my parents love their garden and so she built a little garden for us. It’s a fraction of the entire garden, which is filled with potential and looking beautiful this time of year when flowers start to bloom, and it’s their collective indulgence, a luxury compared to living in Singapore, where land is scarce and hugely expensive.
So the trip was a success and now I’m just a little jet-lagged, sleeping Sunday until 1pm (unprecedented for me). Back to work on Tuesday, writing and editing has already commenced, the passion is reignited and I can’t wait to get this book editing finished so I can start on the second in the series.