Norwich Pride, Bigger, Better, Prouder

Norwich Pride, Bigger, Better, Prouder

…finest Pride in the finest city.

Lord Mayor of Norwich, Marion Maxwell

Everyone is welcome here today and that is the spirit of Pride.

Chloe Smith, MP Norwich North

Norwich, I love you. You make me proud. Proud to be the MP for your city. Proud to drape this city in colours of the rainbow.

Clive Lewis, MP Norwich South

I couldn’t put it better myself.

The people of Norwich did us proud. And let’s not forget all those dedicated people who made it all happen. So I’d like to give a big hand to the #NorwichPride organisers. And thank you for the beer tent. You made an old lush very happy.

Images and video courtesy of everyone!

Give Us a Quiche

Beverages are big business these days and popping out for a cuppa has become something of a ritual in the Brennan-Scott household. We like to support local traders over the big chains and we’ve sampled most of the venues dotted about the city. Our favourite indie café is Stranger’s Coffee House on Pottergate but it’s a small shop and getting a table is almost impossible during the weekend rush. So we decided to give the shabby chic ambience of Biddy’s Tea Room on Lower Goat Lane a go. Cluttered vintage is Biddy’s thing. The place is packed wall-to-wall with curios and bric-a-brac from times past. A nightmare to dust, I should imagine. Even though the place was also packed wall-to-wall with punters, we found ourselves in pole position for a vacant Chesterfield. Liam hovered while I enquired after the dishes of the day. The young biddy with the long face behind the counter was not exactly forthcoming. ‘They’re all labelled,’ she barked. They weren’t.

While I ordered the veggie quiche and Liam paid, a couple sneaked in behind us and nabbed the sofa. Out-flanked, we ended up balancing our lunch precariously on our knees as we sat upright on a lumpy old chaise longue that looked like it had been dragged out of a skip. No easy task for a couple of old biddies like us. The quiche was nice enough but rather spoiled by the side salad swimming in Balsamic vinegar. Liam doesn’t like Balsamic vinegar.

And who were the couple who beat us to the Chesterfield? None other than Chloe Smith, Conservative Member of Parliament for Norwich North, and her beau. Ms Smith is one of the new breed of socially liberal Tories. She supported the same-sex marriage bill. Thank you, Chloe, but what about the bedroom tax and food banks? So far, Ms Smith’s greatest claim to fame is being mauled by veteran broadcaster, Jeremy Paxman, on Newsnight, the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme. The moral of this story? Grab your seat before you order at Biddy’s Tea Room and make sure you do your homework to avoid a right royal stuffing by Paxo (now there’s a disturbing thought).

‘Allo, ‘Allo Norwich

Throughout the Middle Ages, Norwich was England’s largest city outside London and, until the eighteenth century, vied with Bristol to be the Sceptered Isle’s second metropolis. The original source of the city’s wealth was the wool trade (England’s principle foreign exchange earner in those far flung days). As the industrial revolution swept through other parts of the country, Norwich slipped down the civic rankings. The city was relatively untroubled by industrialisation and avoided most of the urban blight that followed it. Much of what did exist was flattened by the Luftwaffe in 1942. The blanket bombing was a bit of threadbare affair as the Jerrys missed both the enormous city hall and Jeremiah Colman’s mustard mill. Despite the bulldozing frenzy of the 60s and 70s that disfigured too many British towns, Norwich has managed to preserve much of its charming medieval legacy.

Apparently, Jeremiah Colman was one of those rare Victorian philanthropists who were good to their workers. This goes to prove that you can get filthy rich without screwing the poor. Until recently, Colman’s was the main sponsor of Norwich City Football Club. This crown has now passed to Delia Smith, Blighty’s most famous no-nonsense cook and obsessive football fan. However, St Delia (as she’s known in the pie trade) is not a local lass. Norwich’s most famous daughter is Edith Cavell. Nurse Cavell was shot for treason by the dastardly Germans in the Great War because she helped smuggle British prisoners of war out of occupied Belgium. It caused an international outcry at the time and badly damaged Imperial Germany’s image. Well, it just wasn’t cricket and not nearly as funny as ‘Allo, ‘Allo.

Like anywhere, I’m sure it has its problems but Norwich today is a sparkling hilly liberal jewel within a flat sea of true blue conservatism. The council is Labour-controlled and the city returns two members to Parliament. The current incumbents – Simon Wright (Liberal Democrats) and Chloe Smith (Tory) both have progressive social views, including a healthy understanding of LGBT issues. Right on Norwich, here we are.

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