North Norfolk


There is a strong possibility, that this post may not hang together very well. My head is on the empty side, it is slowly filling – a tide I am vainly attempting to stem. I am sure in a couple of days of it will be bursting with a jumble of things; things I must do, things I’d like to do, things I’m worrying about, lists I am trying to remember, posts I may write etc etc, etc.

We’ve been in Norfolk, I’ve sat on broad sandy beaches, under big skies and stared at distant horizons, slept a lot, read a lot and walked a lot, all of which makes me happy and content.
To be honest, I didn’t even take that many photos. I erred on the side of doing the minimal. Drank a lot of tea and I was an enthusiastic crabbing spectator, when the moment called.

For those unfamiliar, Norfolk is flat and mostly rural. We were perched on the North Norfolk coast, a place dotted with small villages, many clustered around salt water marshes, it makes for board, empty spaces. Walk thorough the marshes for a mile or so and find beaches that feel empty, long stretches of sand, people in the distance, or passed on the path. There are bigger places, with post offices, cash machines and grocery shops, Wells-next-the-Sea or Cromer, both great for crabbing, fish and chips and seaside plastic tat shops that children love.

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Beach at Wells-next-the-Sea.

Having made a decision to avoid the distraction of social media, rather than live in other people’s moments, I’d just lived in ours. My limbs loosened, my sleep was deep and I felt more content; all holiday symptoms, not necessarily connected with reduced internet use, but am sure that helped. (OK, I did instagram – Norfolk is pretty #ouraugustadventure, clearly complete cold Social Media turkey is beyond me).

Leaving all the other everyday stuff to one side, gives time to take in the details; long-legged wading birds striding across mud flats, shells washed up on the beach. I love all that stuff. I love details.

For one reason or another it’s been a good 5 years since we had a whole 2 weeks away. We explored different places everyday and still we missed some, discovering a great looking fish and chip bar and some lovely villages just three miles in land, missed while we been hugging the coast, saved for another time.

If nature is your thing, it is easy to fall in love with Norfolk. One evening, in the field opposite the cottage, I spotted seagull behaving oddly, my 7-year-old told me in no uncertain terms the bird was a dove. To settle the dispute we looked through binoculars to see it was a barn owl, a beautiful, ghost white barn owl, disc face, wide wings. It was hunting in the early evening light. Suddenly completely obvious, just unfamiliar. We took to going for walks at dusk, in search of owls and up to the beach to watch sunsets and wading birds.

In narrow lanes we saw a short eared owl flew just overhead and my heart skipped an actual beat. A deer momentarily appeared before disappearing into bushes. We followed some speeding hares who led us to a different route back. A long ago established foot path, clearly signposted, it took us through a field of golden waist height wheat. A neat path, a parting of the waves, sun just gone, the sky pale, flicker of the odd bat. Perfect.


Time skips past and now we are home. The deep sighs at unpacked bags. Piles of uninteresting post. I do love our house and being wrapped up by the comfort of the familiar. I want to hang on to some of that holiday contentment.

Too easily, I’ve slipped back into checking Social Media far too many times a day. I gave up Facebook for 2 weeks, I didn’t miss it, but I don’t want to give it up completely. I need to will power, to get sucked in less, to avoid the comparison fatigue that seems to come with social media. Any tips? Maybe I should delete the app and go laptop only? Reading comments on my last post, people echoing the ‘meh internet thing’. I am in the pit of re-thinking everything. If I come up with any brilliant ideas, I will share. In the meantime, here are some holiday photos. The walk from the village where we stayed, along the creek, through the marshes and out to the beach. Three mile round trip and sense of being at the edge of everything, happily observing from a distance – I’m trying to hang on to that.






  1. Karen Barlow

    What a beautifully written piece Gemma, it sums up everything holidays should be about. Norfolk was always a favourite of ours when our children were smaller and didn’t need the constant entertainment of bright lights and live music that they seem to like now. Norfolk reminds me of long bike rides with the kids, through pine woods, to rolling beaches and dusk rides, across great landscapes, in search of new places to eat fresh seafood and then almost always getting lost on the bike ride back. Norfolk reminds me of big blue skies and those beach huts in your shot and the mud fights that the kids always got involved with, together with new friends, where the sea met the sand. Norfolk is a place Myself & Mr B are longing to return to when the children have spread their wings and we are free to choose places where the entertainment is once again the beautiful nature surrounding you. It looks like a perfect holiday you had x

  2. Amber

    The light in these pictures is utterly gorgeous. You’re making me long to escape London for a bit, to see green and the sun setting over distant trees (or even the sea! Heaven!).

    I’m feeling the internet ‘meh’ thing too at the moment; I want to be with my camera, not the laptop. It’s something about the summer, I think – that beautiful dying light of the evening, which I always miss whilst at work for the rest of the year or else it’s another rainy weekend. I want to save up a year’s worth of beautiful pictures, to use those to blog for the other three seasons.

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