Normal for Norfolk

N4N1As a recent interloper to this green and pleasant corner of England, it’s not for me to suggest that the north folk of Norfolk are less blessed in the old grey matter than those in other parts of this sceptre’d isle. Those in a better position to judge such things tell me that a long history of cousin-shagging has indeed narrowed the gene pool. So this isn’t just a malicious rural myth spread by the smug metropolitan elite. It seems there was little else to do during the cold and dark winter months before the advent of commercial TV and Super Mario, not even a brass band or a male-voice choir. Even today, whenever a local yokel says or does something, well, a bit village idiot, there’s a time-honoured, well-worn phrase that trips of the lips of the spectators to the fall. With arms folded they mutter with a casual shrug, “normal for Norfolk.”  This might also explain the popularity of the UK Independence Party.

Other references to the N4N phenomenon (as it’s abbreviated on medical files – I kid you not) can be found on the Urban Dictionary and Literary Norfolk.

21 thoughts on “Normal for Norfolk

  1. I packed my bags and went off to explore the world … which is definitely Not Normal for Norfolk.

    But I’m still a Norfolk girl at heart, and those big skies and flat lands draw me back in — and I’m normal once more!


  2. Good Lord. It’s actually an accepted phrase! Dear me, I don’t know what to think. You and Liam, coming in from outside, had better stay “abnormal” perhaps…


  3. I’m an Immigrant from the United States. I’ve married a man from Norfolk (he’s got some diversity in his bloodline – one of his grandfathers was a US Staff Sargent, more to his credit he also spent a couple of years living away from the place, but I digress…) and I have to say that “Normal for Norfolk” is even said and accepted among the locals.

    How they use it is much how the American “red-necks” proudly wear the nickname like a badge of honour (despite it also bearing connotations of having daddy-uncles). A head-nod and a wink of acknowledgement that, in fact, yes: the person/group they are talking about at that point in time, is village-idiot run amok.

    Perhaps it could also be akin to the American “Florida-Man” (uhhh, to understand that one, just go to and look under their tab just for Florida), though it should be pointed out that the people from Florida are less inclined to be so self-depreciating.

    Something does have to be said that I’ve found that certain crowd-types tend to get this nod/wink more often than others. The Prince-of-Wales Road nightclubbers (usually a loud and youthful – if not perhaps forever young – bunch in the first place) are one such minority. Another group would be the farmer and cleaner professions (which is unfortunate, but also not hard to see why people would be swift to applying the stereotype to them).

    Ultimately, the only groups that seem to somehow avoid getting branded with N4N are the upper-crust or aspiring upper-crust types. Not because they don’t deserve the title, mind (they are just as guilty, don’t let the face fool you – they still voted UKIP, after all), rather; they are the most often to accuse others of it first. Standard modus operandi in Norfolk seems to be that a person can skip on past unnoticed if they label someone else first.

    But those are my observations. XD


    1. Welcome to my world! Your observations are very welcome. It had occurred to me that N4N types were similar to Yankee rednecks but with fewer guns. This might be a little unfair, though, as my trips to the States have been confined to the edges and my only knowledge of rednecks comes from the film Deliverance and the Beverley Hillbillies. 🙂


      1. LOL If you want to have a good idea, just listen to American Country Music, that will tell you just about everything you want to know about that side of the mason-dixon line. As for me, I came from Minnesota so I feel I have more in common with Canada than I do with the southern states.


      2. Liam loves a little country. All that running from the chapel appeals to his Catholic side. And so you’re from Fargo territory? Are you Scandinavian like Rose from the Golden Girls?


  4. That’s the place, alright. Actually the largest percentage of my mongrel mix is German and Peruvian. If you want Rose’s accent, you have to get out of the inner cities – City Minnesotan is a bit more cosmopolitan by US standards.


  5. One Norfolk (bordering Fenland) school of my acquaintance actually only had five surnames between the 47 children on the roll! Very Normal for Norfolk I think.


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