There have been lots of posts written about Norwich in the past, many unfortunately less than stellar. I can count on both hands and toes the amount of ‘married to their daughters/six finger’ jokes every poor standard comedian that visits chooses to open with every time they visit this place. I’ve lived all over the UK and over the years would often laugh at my home town, excusing it as backward or impossible to travel to owing to it’s dated train service and its inability to attract famous DJs or an Urban Outfitters. Fortunately I’ve grown up and my city forgives me.
Though I have a fiancée, I spend a great deal of time alone – both out of choice and necessity and Norwich is a great place to feel comfortable being alone in – a rarity.
As you get older you appreciate different things – safety, familiarity, good food, nice people and comfort. I live in a place that saw my parents meet sixty years ago in Chapelfield Park while dancing to big band music. That bandstand is still there (full of weed smokers granted) and I get to reimagine that meeting all the time. Living in a town where your family grew up and prospered makes you feel strangely closer to your sense of self; something I lose every so often as I get wrapped up in modern life. Even my current house is built in the grounds of the old hospital which I was born in 40 years ago – makes me marvel how life comes full circle.
Everyone here has a story and more importantly they want you to know it. In other cities people you meet are closed books or they are passing through with nothing to tell. In Norwich you can visit a restaurant such as Number 79 on Unthank Road and learn where the owners vision came from, chat freely to the chef about how he loves experimenting with local flavours and enjoy the experience rather than simply refuelling and leaving.
The beauty of Norwich still enchants me. I am someone that loves to disappear into their own thoughts often. Some of my favourite places to do this are in the beautiful nature spots around here. The secret garden on Earlham road that transports you back to victorian times, mousehold heath where my grandad and I would search for chestnuts each year the morning the clocks changed or to one of the beautiful coastlines such as Sea Palling or Cromer to listen to the calm of the waves in the winter sunshine.
Norwich is a great place to be alone in; somewhere where you don’t feel isolated owing to the friendliness of the people and the encompassing comfort of the surrounds. Drifting into one of the beautiful little tea shops such as Pandoras or Harriets to have cake and tea are just wonderful. It’s great to sit and while away the day with no stresses and watch the world passing you by.
The simple positive thing about my city is there are lots of old people and children. It sounds awful but some cities lack that as they aren’t seen as a great place to start or end your life – maybe just to have those in between years before children where you don’t mind rushing around, earning a wedge and partying. I’ve had this kind of life in Manchester, London and Chelmsford and I wasn’t just alone, I was lonely. Being lonely and being alone are two different things and the latter, in the right place you can be happy with but the former not so much.
Come and visit Norwich. Yes it is a pain in the arse to get to, yes people talk like locals and the most famous person that visits on a weekend is a reality star appearing at a 3 jagers for £5 type of club but for everything else it’s pretty wonderful.