Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Year's in Cawston

After a brief foray back into the real world post-Christmas, it was time to do some more relaxing. My parents spend a few days visiting my Uncle Terry and Auntie Lois in Cambridge, where Uncle Terry is doing a Sabbatical. I spent the time going in for one day of work, and feverishly working on two papers whose deadlines were looming. Not to mention digesting all that turkey and coffee cake.

Our friends Sue and Mark, returned from Canada, invited us to spend New Year's with them in their country home in Cawston, outside of Norwich in the Norfolk countryside. We took a bus up into to Norwich - hence the cathedral photo-op - and they picked us up along with my parents. After a quick look at the post-Christmas sales at John Lewis, we drove out to Cawston and saw their cottage for the first time.

Sue welcomed us with an unbelievable meal of roast chicken and chili green beans - she is a star cook! I also enjoyed my first-ever Christmas pudding (I say this with some shame, as my Aunt Jill has been sending us Christmas puddings made from scratch every year since I can remember, and I've never put myself out there and tried them. Well, this one was from Sainsburys, and was tasty.)

We spent a lovely couple of days relaxing, eating (more of that!) and catching up. There was of course a fair amount of singing. Sue's daughter Meghan was still in Canada, so we missed her, but David and I slept on an air mattress in her room (thanks for sharing, Meg!) My Dad had his guitar and worked away at Mark's greatest hits.

No Donaldson holiday weekend would be complete without descending on someone's church and inserting ourselves into the music programme. We put together a few songs to sing at the church Sue and Mark have been attending, St. Agnes Church of Cawston. Unfortunately (or amusingly), though they have a lovely and historic church building, they meet in the local school house during the winter because it's too costly to heat the church building. So, it was off to school we went. 

They have a very nice and articulate man who is the vicar there, and a willing and capable band of mixed adults and youth who seem to do a great job. We sang Canticle of the Turning, All Beautiful the March of Days and Kwake Jesu nasimama, with Ding Dong Merrily on High as a postlude. It was lovely to meet the members of the congregation.

After that, we wandered over to the actual church building to have a look at it.

They have a tooled chalice case from the 14th century among the belongings of the church. Incredible! It has the words Jhesus Naxarenus Rex Judeorum around the lid.

Detail of the rood screen.
Stadium seating, for the unwashed masses?
Interesting flint-stone outer wall.

After that, we were off on a drive to a nearby town where we had a delicious carvery lunch - roast pork AND roast beef, with wonderful yorkshire pudding, gravy, and perfectly roasted potatoes. Mm and apple crisp for dessert. Then we continued our drive to the coast to catch a glimpse of the sea.

The next day we enjoyed a great big breakfast and a quick walk before piling in the car to go back to London - and my parents to a hotel near the airport to fly back to Geneva. Christmas was wrapping up - but it was a wonderful celebration!

A shortcut to mushrooms.
Thank you, Mark and Sue, for your hospitality!

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