My Sunday Photo – July 22nd, 2017.

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We went on a little recce to Wells Next The Sea yesterday to set up a birthday present for my mother-in-law who is coming to visit soon.

It is the most picturesque town (I’ll post more soon) but I loved the colourful boats in the  busy harbour.

As always I’ve linked up with Darren at Photalife. To see what other people have snapped this week please click on the camera below.

I hope you have a fantastic week.

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Things To Do In Norfolk – Waterloo Park, Norwich.

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We are very lucky to live in a leafy green city with a range of wonderful open spaces – including Waterloo Park, which is where we spend a lot of time as a family throughout the year.

I knew it was historic  – there’s a sign that says so – but I had never really thought about how or when it came to be. For that we owe a number of people a debt of thanks, including Captain Arnold Sandys-Winsch.

When he was appointed as parks superintendent in 1919, Norwich had Chapelfield Gardens, the Gildencroft, Sewell Park and a few playgrounds but by the time he retired, some 34 years later, it had about 600 acres dedicated to recreation and relaxation.

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The straight-backed former first world war fighter pilot oversaw the creation of much needed green spaces in a city where, in those days, many families lived in less than ideal conditions.

Taking advantage of government grants to fund schemes aimed at providing much needed jobs during the economic downturn following the war, the corporation, now the city council, decided to construct a series of formal parks using land acquired at the start of the 20th century.

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The captain, a passionate gardener who had gained a scholarship to Cheshire Horticulture College, not only drew up plans for the gardens but also every element within the parks – from the pavilions to the steps and from model yacht ponds to balustrades.

Over the years he employed a small army of men, many of whom had returned from the ravages of the war desperate for work but unskilled in any trade.

While Eaton Park, opened by the Prince of Wales in 1928, was the flagship scheme, the captain made sure each of them had its own identity – and these days they all have their own passionate supporters.

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Waterloo Park was already in existence when the captain arrived. It was known as Catton Recreation Ground then and was just an open space but the captain doubled its size to 18 acres and added all sorts of features, such as new bowls and tennis courts, a pavilion and bandstand, formal lawns and gardens, including what is thought to be the longest herbaceous border in the country (looking especially lovely at the moment).

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The name was changed to Waterloo Park when it was reopened in 1933. 

While many parks in the UK fell into decline in the 1970s and 1980s, in the last two decades they have seen something of a renaissance – sparked largely by investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BLF). In Norwich, Waterloo, Wensum, Eaton and Heigham parks have all been restored using lottery money.

Waterloo is now one of 23 parks and more than 100 open spaces and natural areas within the city. 

I’d visited the park a couple of times pre-Freya to play tennis but I first started going regularly when I needed to lengthen my running route and wanted to stay away from busy roads.

It became even more important once I’d had Freya; it was my sanctuary. I would pop her in her pram, usually crying it has to be said, and walk to the park most days, whatever the weather. Quite often she would fall asleep on the way and I would just sit on a bench and ponder how people did this motherhood thing.

Those days are thankfully gone but my love (now, our love) for the park has remained strong. I only have to look back over my photo archive to realise how many times we’ve visited in the last nearly four years.

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During each season I think that one is my favourite but then the next one rolls around and there are more things to photograph. We visit all year (although quite often we have the playground to ourselves in winter).

As well as just being a lovely open space with plenty of grass to play on there is also a splash park, which is very popular in the summer, the aforementioned children’s playground, various courts and a circular path to run/walk around.

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The only thing missing for me was somewhere to buy a drink or a snack but that’s all about to change with the launch of a new cafe – I can’t wait to try the hot chocolate!

Even though it feels like we’ve explored every inch of the park we still come across new things all the time.

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This sight literally stopped me in my tracks. Taken in 2012.

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If you’re in Norwich and looking for somewhere (free) to explore or let the children have some fun, you won’t be disappointed with a visit to Waterloo Park.

 

Things To Do In Norfolk: Time And Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth.

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“Does it smell fishy in here?” My mum asked.

We all stopped what we were doing and sniffed the air.

We were on holiday in Great Yarmouth where it had been raining almost solidly for 48 hours. I love hearing rain on the roof of a caravan but even I was getting a bit fed up. As it turned out, the wet weather was a blessing because it led us to the fantastic Time and Tide Museum.

What is it?

My running buddy suggested a visit after I sent her a text recounting yet another soggy trip to the beach. That night I made the most of the free wifi while at the disco (Mark was dancing with Freya) and looked it up. I don’t mind telling you, I was excited about going the following day (and not just because the pitter patter on the roof was sending me a little crazy).

The website said:

Discover Great Yarmouth’s fascinating history, its rich maritime and fishing heritage and some of the colourful characters who made their living from the sea.

Wander through a Victorian ‘Row’ and see inside a fisherman’s home. Experience the heady atmosphere of a 1950s quayside, take the wheel of a coastal Drifter and hear gripping tales of wreck and rescue on the high seas. Follow Great Yarmouth’s transformation from a sandbank to the present day, through times of boom and bust and war and peace.

Relax in the spacious courtyard beneath a spectacular canopy of sails, surrounded by historic fishing boats.

Lively hands-on displays, games, puzzles, free audio guides, film shows and children’s activities bring the great story of Great Yarmouth vividly to life.

Pleasing three generations is never easy, although my parents are fairly relaxed, but from this description it seemed like there was something for everyone.

The reason my mum’s sensitive nose was twitching after we arrived is because the museum is housed in a converted Victorian herring curing works (it closed in the late 1980s) so the fishy smell is probably ingrained in the fabric of the building.

After a lovely welcome, we followed the signs to the recreated Victorian “Row”, which is a very impressive introduction to what the museum has to offer.

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Here you can peek into the tiny homes and shops and imagine what it must have been like to live in such close quarters. It’s fascinating stuff.

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Heading back outside and across the courtyard there was time for my dad to admire some of the boats that are currently being restored and for Captain Freya to have a quick play before we entered the next part of the museum.

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Now we stepped into the heart of Yarmouth’s maritime history, with lots of fun and interactive exhibits teaching us about the past. It is in this section that you can take the helm of a drifter, fish for all sorts of undersea creatures and do some nautical stencilling among many other things.

There are also various works of art to admire “depicting vessels and beach and quay scenes by such artists as William Joy, Joseph Nash, Rowland Fisher, members of the Norwich School and nineteenth century Italian marine artists”. Find out more here.

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Parts of the building have been left almost as they were so there’s a chance to see what a hard life it must have been for the herring workers, especially in the heyday of the early 20th century when “the fishing grounds off Great Yarmouth were the most productive in the world and the port was the most important in the country”.

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But the museum is not just about fishing. Upstairs is a fascinating range of exhibits including from the Gorleston Hoard – a collection of Bronze Age weapons and axes which were found in 1952. There’s also a section about Yarmouth during war time and, of course, the town’s transformation into a booming seaside resort (aided by the arrival of the railway in 1844 which opened it up for mass tourism).

While we were visiting there was also a touring exhibition, Titanic: Honour and Glory  (until September 24), about the most famous ocean liner in the world. It includes an exploration of some of the local links, which I found interesting.

One of the bits both Freya and I loved the most was the memorabilia section, which includes television, music and toys. Freya became rather attached to an old fashioned rotary dial telephone (which we had when we first got a home phone) and was having some lovely imaginary conversations with all sorts of people.

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Once you’ve finished exploring there’s a shop and also a lovely cafe, where we stopped for a snack.

What did we think?

Everyone loved it. This well-set out museum is a lot of fun and kept us entertained all morning. We will definitely be heading back again (even without the rain) when Freya is older – although there was plenty for her to enjoy at three, even if she didn’t understand it all.

Costs.

Adult – £5.70.
Concession – £5.40.
Child (four-18) – £4.55.

There are also family packages and a twilight deal.

You can find full information and opening times here.

Top tip.

There’s a car park (next to a play area) just across the road from the museum.

Norfolk Museums Service has produced a little promotional video, which you might find interesting.