With energy costs and inflation as they are, for many, going under is the new gettingby. This year, Christmas will be particularly tough. Village people hereabouts know how it is and don’t just stand idly by. From free Christmas hampers to the recently opened Chet Valley Community Larder, help is on hand for those struggling to put food on the table. It really gladdens the soul. It’s all amazing but the larder is particularly innovative. Run by volunteers and supported by Loddon and Chedgrave Parish Councils, Chet Valley Churches and Loddon Co-Op, the larder is based at Loddon Library. People can pop along to give what they can and take what they need; no forms, no fuss and no questions asked.
After a ridiculously warm November, we’ve been hit by an early winter arctic snap. Newly abandoned spiders’ webs are frozen in time, autumn leaves are cracked and brittle. It’s Sunday, we’re staying put, curled up cat-like, warmed by the log burner and a sherry or two. But who’s gonna venture out to the log store for extra wood?
After an unseasonably warm October with elderly chaps flashing their knobbly knees to all and sundry on the streets, November has cooled down nicely, with ever-shorter days, damp nights and misty mornings. To perk up these tittle-me-fancies, we upped the tog on the duvet, pre-ordered the Christmas tree and topped up the logs for the wood burner. We also took a restorative Sunday stroll along the nearby River Chet to forage tit-faggots. The muddy path was littered with ’em.
If you click the first image and look really closely, you’ll spot a tittle-me-fancy lurking in the rushes.
According to Keith Skipper’s Larn Yarself Norfolk, a tittle-me-fancy is a pansy, and tit-faggots are bundles of sticks for kindling. Well, tittle-me-fancy that. Gotta love this Naarfuk lingo.
As dedicated friends of Dorothy, it’s been a long old slog along the yellow brick road back to Oz. Two years later than planned because of COVID, we finally arrived at the Emerald City (AKA Langley School) courtesy of the Funky Theatre Company. It was well worth the trip – a joyful gig packed to the rafters with energy and enthusiasm. Full marks to wardrobe for the incredible costumes. And to the set designers who gave us a stage full of richness. From the first scene to the last, the show was non-stop magic – from the young and not so young, the leads and the ensemble. It was fantastic to see so many familiar faces treading the boards and giving us their all. Who knew there was so much talent in this little corner of Norfolk?
A special shout out must go to Karen Peck, who stepped in at the last minute to play the Wicked Witch of the West. Way to go, my pretty!
Nearly three years down the line, we really thought we’d dodged the COVID bullet. But then our luck ran out. While in Bulgaria, we both started to develop a cough – nothing too onerous, just a tickly irritant. Better safe than sorry, we took a lateral flow test when we got home. And, yes, you guessed it, the dreaded lurgy had finally caught up with us.
We don’t know if we caught COVID before, on the way to or during our brief getaway but we were relieved that our Bulgarian hosts proved to be negative. We didn’t fancy blood on our hands.
Our symptoms were fairly mild – more man-flu than death-bed – and, for me, didn’t last long. After a few feet-up duvet days watching mind-numbing daytime telly, I was feeling much better. Sadly, for Liam, it still lingers like an unwelcome guest who won’t leave.
During our confinement, our neighbours were marvellous, with offers of help and home deliveries. Thankfully, we already had a supermarket shop booked – otherwise we might have run out of wine. Now that would have been a real emergency. Special thanks to our local innkeeper’s missus who popped by with pick-me-up McDonald’s milkshakes. You know who you are!