Sunday, 13 July 2008

It's not Norfolk

Mrs Gom and I are on holiday at the moment, near to where we lived thirty years ago in Suffolk. It is interesting to revisit old haunts, and see how much (or how little) they have changed since we were last here.

The main roads are better than they used to be, and there are tighter speed limits on the minor roads. There are all sorts of things we can do that we couldn't do thirty years ago: connect to broadband, watch DVDs. And yesterday we could have bought an iPod in the Waitrose in Sudbury - which we couldn't have done thirty years ago.

They were simpler times in those days. All the 4x4s were built by Landrover, women couldn't become bishops, the Labour party was committed to common ownership of the means of production and the Conservatives thought the Common Market was a foreign conspiracy that we should have nothing to do with, unless Britain was in charge (or perhaps that was the other way round). It hardly seems credible now, but in those days young couples couldn't even afford to buy a house.

But the half-timbered houses, medieval churches, and enormous Suffolk skies don't seem to have changed at all.

Thirty years ago we explored the countryside in a borrowed Ford Prefect, and sometimes hired a car for a special trip, until we could afford our own (awful) Austin 1100. Now we have enough room in the back of the car to bring the bike on holiday with us.

So I managed a short outing on the bike yesterday before we went sightseeing. That was the first time I'd ridden a bike in Suffolk, and it came as a bit of a surprise how hilly it was - particularly on the small country lanes.

I suppose I should have known really. We lived here long enough to understand that Suffolk and Norfolk are very different, but although it still seems recent to me, in reality that was an awfully long time ago.

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