Friday, 15 July 2011

A special visit to Norfolk

My Father in law moved to a pretty little village in Norfolk called Watton when he married his 2nd wife Laura, she had lived in the bungalow there that her deceased 1st husband had built for them for many years. When they first got married John was still working and Laura would spend the week days here in Harlow with him and then they would go home to the bungalow every weekend.My husband comes from quite a large family, he is one of six children, 3 boys and 3 girls, he is the eldest son. As happens in families I suppose some stayed close whilst others went off and did their own thing, some spoke and others didn't, I think Laura found it hard to integrate into such a rambling family when she came on the scene but she and I hit it off straight away and became very close. I have always got on well with my father in law and when the time came they could both finally stay in Norfolk all the time we were regular visitors. As they both got older travelling became harder for them to do and in the last two years of Lauras life the only journey they made was to come to my youngest daughters wedding which showed the depth of the feeling between us that they made that effort.Sadly Laura passed away two years ago this October and it was us John contacted on that sad morning and we supported him over that time.It took him a good year to get back on his feet and due to his age we have tried to see him as much as possible. To begin with we would stay for a couple of days or even just overnight but as I got worse I find I am not comfortable staying anywhere overnight anymore, I need my own home to wander in when I can't settle etc so it's got harder to see as much of him as we would like.
So yesterday's visit was the first time I have seen him for 2 months although Trevor has been several times without me. We took filled baguettes in with us as one problem we have discovered is that John has no time for the use by dates on food, he buys food cheap from his local Market, he knows they are that cheap because they are on their sell by date but he sees no problem with still eating it months later! Being 'country folk' I think he is used to food being looked at differently, he doesn't expect his food to be pristine from a supermarket, he is happy with veg straight from the ground etc and his stomach is obviously tuned to his eating habits as he doesnt suffer from eating the other half of a pie a week after he has had the first half for dinner. But after discovering he was using rancid butter on his toast in the mornings (dated a year ago) we usually take food in with us as our townie spoilt stomachs can't take it.
I settled into the reclining garden chair that he always puts in the conservatory for me, he had placed a punnet of strawberries next to me as he knows how much I adore them, mind you every time I reached for one thousands of fruit flies took off from the fruit, a bit off putting. But who would moan when they are looking out at this

His beloved garden. I spent all afternoon sitting looking out at this beautiful garden, we walked round it and he pointed out his vegetable plot and how well they are all doing and of course we stopped for a quick word at the little plot he has made for Laura where her ashes are buried under a rose bush.
We ordered in Chinese for dinner as this is a treat he looks forward to when we visit and as always he gathered up the leftovers for next days dinner. Scraps that can't be kept for human consumption are put out for the many birds he has lovingly fed over the years. We have watched as many as 6 pheasants visit him on previous visits. We talked and laughed and commiserated with each other about our health problems, he tried,as he always does to get me to go and stay with him for a break and I promised as I always do to give it some thought. I left as I always do feeling rested, happy and pleased to have seen him. I love my father in law.

Father and son.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow Penny, it sure is a small world! I spent 20 years of my life living in Watton! :o) I went to Junior and High school there, and still go back regularly as my parents are still living in the same house. Glad you had a lovely time x