Tier 4 (Day 7): Yaxham Road

How many roads in Norfolk are called The Street, how many Church Lane? The simplicity of past lives and communities is revealed in these two road names. However, I am always fascinated by the names used for byways, tracks and side roads that local residents have applied to their network of routes.

Out towards Yaxham, on what is essentially the same road, it is called by turns Dereham Road, on the approach from Norwich, Yaxley Road at Clint Green and then Norwich Road toward Yaxham. All of this would have depended on where one was starting a journey I suppose.

Cycling along with S.O. we pass Old Hall Road, Paper Street, Howes Lane, Well Hill, Spring Lane, Mill Lane and intriguingly, Gagman’s Lane. I wonder what stories this diversion has attached to it?

The temperature was close to zero when we set off from the old city, where I had already had a spill when I misread a kerb. S.O. had suggested a shortish trip to ease himself into the new calendar, but he was easily persuaded to head towards Dereham, roughly 25km out from Norwich. The route, when established was really pretty, passing ancient farms and crossing old bridges while we ran through a pretty valley with little traffic. The land swelled, forcing us to steadily climb until we finally reached a broad plateau of bleak fields where the temperature fell further and we enjoyed a sprinkling of light, icy rain.

What traffic there had been had broken up the surface ice on flooded patches of the road, leaving large platelets of ice 2cm thick to decorate the road. Where puddles had been exposed the hedgerow carried ice flowers as water had been splashed out of the hollow in increments and sprayed into the freezing air to form ornate sculptures that shone white, even in the gloom.

We kept going until we reached a ‘drive thru” burger ‘restaurant.’ Common sense prevailed over principles and we ate cardboard burgers, thin chips and had hot drinks, standing in the car park as the Sun slid low to the west having made little effort to bring light or heat to the day.

My three sets of gloves, winter cycling boots and two layers of trousers and four body layers did their job, but S.O. suffered a tad with cold hands, despite his winter gloves. After refuelling we decided the best thing to do was hit the fast road back to town. By the time I got home I had been out for over four and half hours. I felt quite exhilarated and after a hot bath, wallowed in a healthy glow for the rest of the evening – no hot water bottle required.

The New Year’s Eve / New Year mark is an interesting moment that often brings contact with the dustier corners of the address book. I enjoy the down time offered by this break, although I love a good party. This year sprung a surprise conversation that led to a gentle resolution to twelve years of passionate romance and heart-break. All managed by carefully written text messages as the conversation developed over the evening. We will sort the legal papers out at the end of March 2021 when the necessary time has passed, split the bill and end the chapter.

A natural traveller and a natural home-maker require alchemy to seal a bond. There was magic, but like oil and water it did not work, for which I am truly sorry. Maybe a coffee together one day? Agreeing that such a thing is even possible is a reassurance to carry into the new year. Neither of us has an urgent desire to have that meeting, but knowing we would enjoy it, is enough for now.

Thank you to everyone who follows my blog, or may have just read it occasionally. I really appreciate every ‘Like’ and enjoy the comments that have been posted from all over the world. I will always respond if they have got through the “Awaiting Approval” filter that WordPress seems to randomly operate.

When I look at the spread of readers from around the world from Nepal, probably the highest reader’s location, (Hello to you in Nepal! I often wonder who you are) to everyone at sea-level and in between, I am humbled and amazed by the power of the Internet to connect people. I am really grateful to live in these times and be in touch, even remotely with everyone, despite all the troubles that confront us.

Happy New Year to you all.

With Love

CLP 01/01/2020