I spent yesterday at home and managed to do quite a bit of gardening. Well, not exactly proper gardening by which I mean weeding, digging, planting, pruning and the like; more like housework outside – sweeping and tidying, moving pots about and generally clearing spaces. It was well overdue and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
I was at home all day because I was waiting for a delivery that needed signing for – a new battery for our caravan. A delivery company had tried to deliver it on Wednesday while I was out with Mum and had left a note to say as much. The note asked me to contact them on-line and re-arrange a delivery time, but if they didn’t hear from me they would call again the following working day. The website was strange and I couldn’t find anywhere on it where I could arrange a new delivery time so resigned myself to spending an enforced day at home. I thought of it with pleasure!
It still hadn’t arrived by the time R got home from two days away in Gloucestershire. He looked at the site and found that the battery would be delivered today, Friday. I had hoped to go to Norwich to collect some knitting wool for Mum – she is knitting a pullover – and buy a birthday present for someone. I also had to have my monthly blood test at the surgery. I resigned myself to spending yet another day at home. I thought of it with slight annoyance. I also thought how difficult re-arranging deliveries is now for people like my mother and mother-in-law, who do not have computers. There was no telephone number for these people to contact the company so they would wait in all next day and wonder where their parcel was.
R spent some time yesterday evening trying to clear clumps of moss and lots of ash tree keys out of the gutters. Our ladder isn’t quite tall enough to reach the gutters so the job was very difficult for him especially as he doesn’t have a head for heights. We are preparing for bad weather which is forecast for Sunday. The tail-end of hurricane Bertha is coming our way and it is as well for the gutters to work properly when it arrives.
I was pleased to see a delivery van arrive this morning just before 8.00 a.m. It reversed into the driveway and stopped outside the front door. I waited for the man to get out, but I waited in vain. The man waited in van. I went to the door and stood outside hoping that would get him moving. He wound down the window and said, “Sorry, love! I can’t deliver your parcel til eight-o-five – it’s against regulations. I’ll knock on the door in a while”, and then wound up the window again. Sure enough, at 8.05 a.m. a knock came at the door and I was able to sign for my parcel. The driver told me that each delivery has an allocated time for it. The new rules meant that instead of one hundred deliveries a day he now had seventy-five but he couldn’t get the work done any quicker. He said he wasn’t complaining.
I wasn’t complaining either. I went off to Halesworth surgery and had my blood test and a good chat with the phlebotomist who is a friend. I also met another friend from church outside the surgery and had a talk with him. Home again, home again jig-a-jig-jig and found that E was happy to come to Norwich with me.
Our first port of call was Jarrolds, a large independent department store in the city. It has quite a good toy department on the top floor which is where I wanted to go, and it also has a good art and book department where E might have wanted to browse. However, she was quite content looking at all the toys available now and trying to find ones she used to have. We then went to Waterstones, the bookshop. This is a favourite shop and gave E the opportunity to say which books she wanted and for me to ask her how much money she had brought with her and would that cover the price?
We dragged ourselves away from there after an hour and went to a coffee shop for lunch. We walked back up the hill to the car-park passing the wool shop on the way where I collected Mum’s wool and E admired the shop-lady’s little dog, a black poodle, asleep in a chair. We left Norwich eventually, once we had extricated ourselves from a long traffic-jam caused by road-works and then drove to Beccles where we did some supermarket shopping and arrived back home just before R got in from work.
I expect you are wondering where Norwich Market comes into all this. Well, most of our day was spent very close to the market.
It is one of England’s oldest continuing markets having been on the same site since the 11th century. Like most fairs and markets in the Middle Ages, it was held under license from the King, as the right to trade and receive revenues was part of the Royal prerogative. However, in 1341 King Edward III visited Norwich for a jousting tournament just as the building of the defensive city walls had been completed “for the honour of the King”. In gratitude, the King granted the franchise of the market to the city’s rulers in perpetuity. The franchise still survives to this day. I expect the person who thought to tell the King the defensive walls were built for him was feeling very pleased with himself after that! What a clever bit of crawling that was!
The market with its multi-coloured tilts is a tourist attraction now as well as part of the city landscape and a place where many people earn their livings. All sorts of things can be bought in the market with its 187 stalls. It is open from Monday to Saturday.
The market was fully refurbished in 2005. It looks similar to the way it did before the modernisation. It lost quite a bit of its quaintness but it is a much more comfortable and a healthier place to work than before.
This is ‘The Sir Garnet’ pub. Or to give it its full name – ‘The Sir Garnet Wolseley’. It is one of the public houses in the Market Place and started trading as a public house in about 1861. It was originally called ‘The Baron of Beef’, possibly because the premises was once a butcher’s shop but in 1874 it adopted the name ‘The Sir Garnet Wolseley’ in honour of Field Marshal Garnet Joseph Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley. That same year he had received accolades for the brilliantly executed Asante Campaign. This Asante campaign was the third of four conflicts between the Asante Empire in Akan, the interior of the Gold Coast now Ghana, and the British Empire in the 19th century. General Garnet Wolseley with 2500 British troops and several thousand West Indian and African troops was sent against the Asante. The war was covered by war correspondents including Henry Morton Stanley (explorer and journalist (“Dr Livingstone, I presume”)) and G. A. Henty (novelist and special correspondent). The war started when the British ended slavery on the Gold Coast in 1806 causing the (British) African Company of Merchants to go bankrupt as they owned slave forts all along the coast. The Asante economy was also affected as it was dependent on the slave trade too. The wars then developed into the usual power struggle between the Asante Empire, the Dutch, who supported the Asante and the British Empire. The Asante, impressively, withstood the British in some of these wars but in the end the Asante Empire became a British Protectorate in 1901. Sir Garnet Wolseley’s reputation for efficiency led to the late 19th century English phrase “everything’s all Sir Garnet”, meaning, all is in order. This phrase was one that my grandfather used and until we came to Norwich and saw this pub we had no idea that Sir Garnet was a real person or why my grandfather used the expression. And now we know!