Sunday, 11 October 2015

Norwich City....

Naarridge.....



Shadows of the Wanderer - Ana Maria Pacheco


Being something of a wanderer in the land of Norfolk and its capital, I have, for this piece, enlisted the guidance of the official city website:



Which I trust will help the reader understand this little-known hub of culture, sometimes known as East Anglia's answer to Bucharest..... So, the bits in Italics are borrowed from this energetic interweb. Anything else is my attempt to add a personal touch..... 




Norwich is a thriving regional capital with a year-round calendar of events and festivals, from culture to cuisine. Just two hours’ train journey from London (or two hours seventeen minutes in a car according to AA Routeplanner so why bother with a train?), you’ll discover a city that can accommodate any pace of life; take in the history and heritage, experience some of the best shopping in the UK or relax with a river cruise and a stroll around the city’s beautiful Norwich Cathedral Quarter (not sure how the river cruise around the Cathedral quarter would work?)


This vibrant and cosmopolitan city provides the perfect base for a short stay.....





Culture is huge in Norwich, in fact it's part of its DNA! And with an incredible array of things to see, experience and do for all ages and interests, Norwich offers the unusual, the extraordinary and the unexpected!






Norwich is also a world UNESCO City of Literature with a great choice of wonderful museums, theatres, cinemas, festivals, galleries and music venues. Be surprised, delighted and captivated at what you find!



Royal Arcade


Discover the unique city of Norwich with its extraordinary heritage and outstanding buildings. Norwich is a beautiful city with over 1500 historical buildings and architecturally stunning contemporary buildings making it a city which offers a rare blend of historic interest and modern sophistication (just like Bucharest).....




The Normans marked their arrival with the magnificent Castle and Cathedral — the earliest entries in 'The Norwich 12', an unmissable collection of iconic architectural examples spanning 900 years of British history, from medieval to the modern era.





One of the city's most famous landmarks, Norwich Castle was built by the Normans as a Royal Palace 900 years ago. Now a museum and art gallery, it is home to some of the most outstanding collections of fine art, archaeology and natural history....  (Some of the most outstanding?  If they were more outstanding I would enquire, more than where?  But most begs that question....) 

Unfortunately the Castle was closed, but what I did note was that the Castle grounds were attractive to young men during the darkness of Saturday, congregating on steps, their smoky voices punctuated by the hiss of ring pulls....  I just happened to pass by the following morning, amusing myself since the Castle was firmly closed, and noticed that the lads had made a fair attempt at clearing up....



Jarrolds are proud to be widely regarded as the flagship independent store in Norwich – one of the landmarks which makes Norwich a unique city and winner twice of the UK's Independent Department Store of the Year (not bad in 900 years).


Each and every department in Jarrolds offers a special range of products – brands exclusive to Jarrolds in Norwich, ranges that are too new or too quirky to be stocked by the national chains, or distinctive items that our team of buyers have sourced from across Europe because they offer something special for our customers.....

With 5 floors, 52 departments, 3 restaurants and a coffee bar there is something for everyone at Jarrolds....  (Unfortunately, since I was visiting over the weekend, I was unable to verify the marvel that is Jarrolds....)




City Hall is one of the finest municipal buildings of the inter-war period in England (again I am bemused by the superlatives - compared to what? It may well be the most fascist town hall in England, with the most high-stepping chimera around, but have they really checked out Burnley? Or the extraordinary carbuncle that is Aylesbury's municipal building?)






Norwich's magnificent Romanesque Cathedral is open to visitors of all faiths and none. In beautiful grounds it's an awe-inspiring, welcoming building with spectacular architecture, magnificent art and a fascinating history.



One of the finest (no comment) complete Romanesque cathedrals in Europe, with the second tallest spire and largest monastic cloisters in England, it houses more than a thousand beautiful medieval roof boss sculptures (You gotta bootiful roof, boss....)





The Forum in the centre of Norwich is a unique community building (at least it is unique in Naarridge); it is open to the public seven days a week.....

Behind the stunning glass frontage you will also find a buzzing coffee bar (neat alliteration!), an open plan pizza restaurant (and again!), a tourist information centre (missed a trick there), the BBC’s regional headquarters and the busiest public library in the country (now there is a claim! My eye was drawn to a sub-Warhol soup dragon....)




It's time to take a breather.  I wander past the Cathedral, attempting to follow the river, but gates and walls restrain me, and I find myself confused....




Crossing a busy road, a young woman (I assume), who might easily catch cold, wishes me a good night, whilst seeming to support a robust fence.  I note the use of the word 'Sir' as she addresses me, and doff my toupee to acknowledge her deference.... 

A little further up the street, I realise that I am hopelessly lost, and in an attempt to retrace my steps I feel drawn towards some local vehicles.....






However, as a stranger in this lawless land, I think better of it. I hurry to regain my equilibrium, as I have a date with an old old mate, who has cycled into the metropolis to join me in a couple of bears.....





The Bear Shop offers an astonishing array of handmade Artist teddy bears just waiting to be cuddles(sic). There are also hundreds of wonderful bruins for collectors and children from Steiff, Charlie Bears, Merry thought, Gund and many more – you will be spoilt for choice... (more bruin than brawn?)





I do apologise.  An easy mistake to make, perhaps, in this thoroughly cosmopolitan metropolis....  In point of fact, Joe and I are headed for a couple of beers....






And so it goes..... If you are committed to your beer, then you might like to know, as it is important, that The Belgian Monk opened in December 2000. The main objective was to create something different yet to fit in with the way drinking and dining is changing. It has become a successful and established bar (yada yada) offering customers a choice of a regular selection of some 45 beers together with a selection of special beers. The menu is based on serving only the best products available freshly prepared  (yada yada yada....)






But, to be truthful, Joe and I are more interested in Grimbergen Dubbel 6.5% abv (Dark reddish brown, with a sweet toffee taste and a warming finish) and Gruut Inferno 8.5% abv (A delicate ale with an intense flavour. Golden in colour, this relatively new beer from Ghent is the most traditional duck in the beer pond. It’s full of taste and is yada yada....)




The Belgian Monk has a personality, it is friendly, social, inviting and of course its (sic) honest. It becomes a bit of a habit (geddit?) The Belgian Monk has respect for its origins in terms of hospitality and its cultural and brewing traditions (yada yada yada....)



Joe gets into the habit....



Norwich stands alone. Its geographical separation from the spreading sameness of other English cities has infused it with a rich character all of its own, an invigorating mix of past and present; of openness and offbeat charm. (Who wrote this?  Have they never been to Lytham St Annes?)

Actually, after a few of the above and a couple of  DeliriumTremens 8.5% abv (A golden ale. Pink elephants on the glass .... yada yada) I am sooo fond of Naarridge that I am about to place a deposit on the doorstep of the Britons Arms and never ever ever stray away again.....


[Naarridge is] a city where an unrivalled collection of heritage landmarks, spanning 1,000 years of history, blends beautifully with striking 21st century architecture. A city alive with an inclusive atmosphere, compact enough to make you feel at home in days, but with enough sights, local delights and cultural vibrancy to entertain you for weeks. (Yay!  True!.... WTF?)


The Britons Arms (actually closed at the time of drinking) is one of only three thatched properties in Norwich dating back to the 13th century....  (And I want to spend the rest of my days in the Briton's Arms....)





Now don't get me wrong.  I go to church with the best of them, and though I haven't mentioned Her.... (Mrs Delia How-to-boil-an-egg Wynn-Jones) nor have I mentioned Naaaridge City (tweet me a Canary, wharf wharf!) that neither means I can't cook nor that I don't like football. So.... in honour of everybody and everything about Norwich and Norwich City, sing along with me now....


Kick off, throw in, have a little scrimmage,
Keep it low, a splendid rush, bravo, win or die;
On the ball, City, never mind the danger,
Steady on, now’s your chance,
Hurrah! We’ve scored a goal.




(Delia's gone, One more round,
Delia's gone.....)

Culture is huge in Norwich, in fact it's part of its DNA!


Wot larks!



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