A most unusual, the most unusual name I have yet to encounter as I wander around Norfolk. Cow Gate I get, Pockthorpe Gate less easy to grasp, but if associated with plague and disease, a gate to a burial pit outside a city would make sense.
The buried of olde Blackheath, on the south-east corner of London, would be surprised to wake from centuries sleep to find the mass grave now so popular with the wealthy citizens of that city. Here, around Pockthorpe Gate, there is not much wealth on display.
There are signs advising, (or should that be warning, or perhaps reassuring), that plain clothed police officers are operating in this area on nearly every lamp post. I note that these signs look relatively newly installed and show little signs of having been vandalised in anyway.
Further into town I see a poster encouraging us all to steel our resolve to “get through it” and “LOVE’S the greatest thing that we have!” This is outside a printing works that I deduce is a publisher of radical political pamphlets and literature. ‘PRINT TO THE PEOPLE” its fascia proclaims in gold lettering on glossy black. I need to find out more about this press.
Other points of interest in my walk around the perimeter of the Medieval city include the first yellow blooming of broom and gorse, blackberries plants with pink flowers unfolding from buds. I saw a young wasp sniffing around one of the gorse bushes, but no bees, or hover flies. I remind myself this is mid-November.
In Lion Wood grey squirrels were busy scaling trees, furtling in leaf litter and scampering here and there, usually with something jammed between their teeth. It is mid-morning on a Monday, so fewer dogs are around than at weekends, or either end of the day. The squirrels seem to be taking the opportunity to be active while the canines rest.
The main car park of the football stadium is being used as a drive-in Covid testing station and a steady trickle of cars flow through the facility as I pass.
Around the corner there is a freshly laid wreath, with paper poppies still luminous red, positioned underneath a memorial plaque and clock on an old factory wall. There are 33 names on the plaque. The dates for The Great War in which these fellow workers were killed is given as 1914 ~ 1919.
Our history books and popular memory tend to drop off the months after November 1918, but the Allies were at war with Lenin’s Bolsheviks until March 1919 and there were other operations going on elsewhere too for a while. Some might argue that these have persisted to today. The clock displays the dates 1914 ~ 1918.
Every time I wander through or around this city there is something new to learn. I will sign off tonight with this: round church towers of East Anglia are evidence of the trade and strong relations between this area and northern Europe. Great wealth, learning and culture were spread across the North Sea / German Ocean when this region was the wealthiest in England. Given the proximity to Europe it seems sensible to sustain links with our neighbours for the greater good of us all.