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Voices: This Norfolk Life

Will Claire return to New Zealand?
Will Claire return to New Zealand?

I Love This Norfolk Life

Can 30-year-old Claire persuade her Kiwi boyfriend to stay with her in Norfolk or will she have to leave the life she loves in Norfolk?

Could you do it? Could you really leave your home and family and friends and go and live on the other side of the world?

Could you replace walking on Holkham Beach, fish and chips on the wall at Wells, shopping in the Mall and tea in Elm Hill with the beautiful but isolated, somewhat limited life of rural New Zealand?

I've always dreamed of getting married and building my own house and filling it with children and that dream has now been offered to me in the shape of a lovely Kiwi sheep farmer. 

I know I should be jumping with joy and rushing to the nearest travel agent to secure a flight back there but I just can't seem to get home and all it means to me out of my head. 

You see I love my home. I was born and brought up in Norfolk and just hearing the Norfolk twang when I speak to my family on the phone gives me such a warm feeling inside. 

I love my Nana’s dumplings.  I love Norfolk pubs and meeting rum ole people in them!  I love the fact that people don't just pass through the county - If they're in Norfolk, then it's because they intended to be there. 

There's really only one road in and one road out and if you find yourself on the A11 it's intentional because it isn't going anywhere other than the North Sea!

So what am I going to do? 

When I went abroad for a year my mother warned me not to fall in love and I laughingly told her I was having a year off men!  However, after just a month of travelling I'd met and moved in with a New Zealander.

I hadn't intended on doing anything quite so rash but it just happened and I spent the year living on his beautiful farm enjoying the novelties of an isolated life. 

The nearest shops were in a little town 30 minutes drive away. Our nearest neighbours weren't even in sight, let alone shouting distance. 

A trip to the cinema took over an hour and we were so much in the middle of nowhere that the road to the farm wasn't even tarmacked and we had to burn our rubbish as the bin men didn't come out that far.

It made me realise that although I'd been brought up in the country, Norfolk really isn't that rural.  Nowhere is that far from Norwich and nowhere in Norfolk is really very cut off. 

Even the tiniest country villages have proper roads leading to them and a little market town is always within easy reach for essentials.

So I wonder what will happen. My long distance boyfriend arrives in England in two weeks and I've got three months to charm him. 

I'm relying on Norfolk to cast its wonderfully magical spell over him and convince him that life here really is bootiful. So come on Norfolk - make him stay!!

Story laureate Sue Welfare writes: What a tantalising tale! We all want to to know what happens!

last updated: 30/09/05
Have Your Say
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Sarah Passingham
I like a short story with an open end and I don't need to know what is going to happen: that's the beauty of writing, each reader can imagine something different. Your tale is told with a freshness and honesty that is a delight. I love the inclusion of dialect, the odd question posed to the reader and the age-old battle of future and past. A short story is not a story if it doesn't pose a question or have a little conflict. Without those, it would just be an essay or a diary entry. Leave us in the dark! And good luck with whatever you chose.
Sun Feb 19 13:58:28 2006

Dawn KM
Hey Claire, Sorry, but I haven't got much to say about Norfolk since I haven't arrived yet. But I would like to tell you that as a Canadian social worker having recently accepted a contract to work in Norfolk, I found your article quite warm and useful to shaping some sort of idea of what the town is all about. So thanks for that. Peace.
Thu Feb 9 00:35:04 2006

Wendy-Lynn Stubbs
Claire,I am a "Lynn" girl living in Welwyn garden City.Please don't worry,your man will love Norfolk and its friendly people,and lovely countryside,thats what makes this place so great.He will be in love with you both,thats for sure!!.
Sat Feb 4 23:58:38 2006

I'm engaged to a Kiwi - we met in England and now live in Sydney where we plan to get married - mutual ground (not to mention the gorgeous weather!). I too LOVE Norfolk, the family walks along Holkham Beach, fish 'n' chips on the Quay at Wells and sailing out from Brancaster Staithe. We will one day settle down in NZ but we will continue to travel back to Norfolk every year to enjoy the best aspects of Norfolk life - it will always be there.
Tue Jan 10 02:30:42 2006

Glenn Howlett
Well, I agree Norfolk life is not to be taken for granted. I see fields every day and can walk down the beach and I don't even have to get in my car. But one day mum and dad will not be there and would it not be a shame not to have experience something else before you die. New Zealand is a long way away but nothing is forever. Share the experience. A job is a job, experiences are for life. There is another side to Norfolk life, visit Great Yarmouth and see how bad things really are. Life is what you make it, you have one chance, dont live it just to make others happy and forget yourself.
Wed Jun 8 22:50:35 2005

Born and raised in Norfolk, and I moved to the States in 93, came back to Norfolk in 02, only to move back to US in 03!! Love Norfolk and it will always be home - nothing can compare, but I REALLY love living in the States - great weather, cost of living, convenience of everything. I have to confess, I visit home at least once a year though!
Tue Jun 7 20:09:44 2005

You must stay here, we need more kiwi's in Norfolk !. Think of the holidays you could have there, and phone calls can be much cheaper now...stay here enjoy the North Norfolk summers and the winter walks on Cromer beach. The arcardes in Yarmouth and the bakery in Garboldisham.The pubs by the rivers and the restaurents set in beautiful countryside..really i can't see why he would need to ever go to New Zealand you know !.
Tue Jun 7 16:47:41 2005

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