I have been away, with Lola II, camping in Norfolk. But before that, I was with Lola II and Mr M at a comedy gig. And before that, someone came to service our boiler.
The comedy was very good, including great handling of a heckler by Milton Jones, and slapstick from another comedian that I laughed at despite myself (why is a red nose and a false beard funny? I don't know). We set off for Norfolk on Friday, but the route took us within half a mile of mum and dad's house, so by lunchtime we'd only got that far. Eventually we reached the very large campsite, pitched the tent (Mr A's very old tent-with-a-porch that we can cook inside), and went off to the local pub for dinner.
While everywhere else in the country was scorching hot, our weekend was freezing. Lola II thinks it's her fault - every time she goes away, home has great weather while wherever she is ends up cold and/or wet. The first night, it was very windy, the tent flapped like nobody's business, and it rained. Luckily we had pitched the tent properly and stayed dry, then spent the day at a cold and windy nature reserve with mostly ducks. But also red squirrels, except they were taking the sensible option and staying indoors. There was also a Little Owl, which I particularly liked, and a world-leading collection of cranes. It was quite good, but cold.
When we got back to the campsite, we discovered that some of the tent had fallen down in the wind, and a large hole in the side of the porch area had been made by the upturned table. Mr A wasn't too disappointed by the news, and has in fact embraced the need for a new tent, spending a large amount of time researching what we might get, ranging from 30 quid on ebay to 300 quid including an internal wall-mounted storage system. I'm only sorry I didn't make his day by ruining his tent years ago.
Lola II took on cooking duties, and produced turkey stew and rice noodles for supper, and our traditional camp breakfast next morning: noodles with courgettes and prawns. I know, not your usual breakfast, but we like it. It was windy and rained overnight again, but it had stopped by morning and we drove to the coast, and Cromer. Having been lured by the potential of a seaside town, at the pay and display car park we anticipated a visit of many hours, before finding it was really windy, very cold indeed, and not much was going on in Cromer. The town museum didn't open until 1 p.m. and there wasn't much else to do, although we visited the lifeboat museum and then had lunch in a very pleasant cafe looking out over the grey, cold, windswept sea.
After Cromer we headed off up the coast to Sheringham, the sun nearly came out a couple of times, and we found a bustling little town that would have been much more interesting to visit for longer. As it was, we got 15 minutes looking at a display about offshore wind power and a look out at the sea from the tower before the museum closed and we were out in the cold again and back to the car before the traffic wardens found us.
It was warm enough to sit outside the tent reading the paper for about an hour before I retired inside the tent and Lola II cooked up frankfurter wraps with creme fraiche, sugar-snap peas, olives, and the beans we couldn't open for the stew the night before because I'd neglected to bring a tin opener. That night was still, so at least the tent didn't flap, but I was still wearing a fleece, tracksuit bottoms and thick socks over my pyjamas.
On the bright side, the campsite was fine, and we had a lovely time really. After breakfast and a look around a local town we had a long drive along the coast road before I dropped Lola II off to catch the train at Kings Lynn and drove myself home. I almost got heatstroke on the three hour journey. The weather was beautiful once I'd left Norfolk.