When I moved to Norwich for work in 2002 I had only visited a couple of times before (and one of those was on a school trip) so, as with everywhere else I had lived, I saw getting to know a new city and county as an exciting part of the adventure.
Initially, because I didn’t know anyone either, I wandered about quite happily on my own but I was very lucky to make friends at work and soon I didn’t just have company but, as many of them were from Norfolk, insider information too.
While we are surrounded by beautiful countryside, historic buildings, visitor attractions and beaches to die for, my friends took me to the places they enjoyed as locals rather than as tourists.
One such place was Waxham Beach, which you would only ever find if you were looking specifically for it. There is no car park, no sign posts and no amenities (or phone reception) – just the pure experience of sand, sea and hopefully sun.
Now she is a little better at travelling in the car, yesterday we took Freya there for the first time.
I filled her bucket with sea water, sunk it into the sand and she spent the next hour playing a game that involved plopping in big stones and washing them clean only to then put them back on the sand and start the process again.
There was a commentary that went along with it and every so often we would be gifted a wet stone but for the most part she was in her own happy little world.
Freya isn’t an outsider, unlike her dad and I, she was born in Norfolk and I like the fact that she will know this beach as a local knows it but I wonder if it will feel special to her or if she will need to find her own place where she fits? I don’t feel particularly attached to anywhere in my home county, although there are many wonderful areas to visit.
Maybe I just found this spot at the right time in my life and that’s why it’s special to me? Even after 13 years I wouldn’t consider myself a local, but it’s nice to feel like I am in the right place and maybe that I belong here. Do you feel like you belong where you live? Is it an attachment to a particular place or maybe the people you are with?