I left the UK 19 years ago and moved to Los Angeles, California with my wife Lorraine and our two children Jack and India. The kids were 5 and 18 months respectively. For a number of reasons that I don't want to go into now we've just moved back to the UK, Norfolk in fact, where I grew up. We're near my Mum who is in her 80's and mad as a box of frogs and not far from Lorraine's parents Brian and Joyce, known locally as 'Bert & Gert' who at first glance make my mum appear to be frighteningly normal, which I can assure you she is most definitely not. We live about 20 mins from the fine city of Norwich, once described as 'the graveyard of ambition' and about 30 mins from the very beautiful coast. We've rented a lovely timber framed cottage on the green in a quaint little village called Pulham Market. It's in the middle of nowhere.
This is an attempt at some kind of record of our new life, just in case I lose it one day and go on a homicidal rampage through the village. You never know, it can get weird out here in East Anglia. They had a queen here once called Boudica, who took on the might of the Roman empire when they were in their heyday and scared the shit out of them, she and the Iceni tribe gave them a taste of local hospitality that Norfolk is still famous for, these days mostly outside the night clubs in Norwich on a Saturday night.
There are two pubs in the village, The Crown and The Falcon. Sadly, The Crown has closed and is up for sale, The Falcon is also for sale but is still open and being run by Mick and Hels, a couple who work for the evil corporation that own many pubs around the country. Hels grew up in a pub and has been running her own for thirty-two years, drinks and smokes like a pro and has a voice that would make Lee Marvin blush.
I was having Sunday lunch with Mother last week in a really good local restaurant had some of the best black pudding I've ever had, served with pigeon breast and a little salad, yummy. I had to ask the chef for his supplier and he told me it was from the butcher in Rushall, the next village over from Pulham. I must say I was quite excited by this news and the next day set out to find the delicious pudding. To my annoyance it was closed as it only opens from Thursday to Saturday so I returned the following Saturday only to find it was closed again, this time because it was 4:30 in the afternoon and they close at 4. Eventually I found the shop open and was glad I did. When the masterful butcher isn't manufacturing carnivorous delights, he's building motorcycles and appearing in his own Straw Dogs remake. I don't even want to start thinking about what, or indeed who, is in the recipe.
Last night I was in the local enjoying some refreshing cider and happened to meet a lady known as Ann who is a Parish Council member and quite charming but is that one who thinks she's in charge of everything and all that goes on in the village. She'd just been to see 'Argo' at the village hall film club thing and was raving about it, rightly so thought I, so just as she was leaving I said wittily "Argo fuck yourself", which personally I think will become known as one of the greatest Hollywood lines ever. It was definitely the best line in the movie and I thought perhaps she'd think how nice to finally have someone sophisticated and witty and clever in the village but alas I think I disappointed her on all counts with one perfectly timed quip.
A Country Diary