Christmas, Norwich and My Love Affair with Antiquity

If I call China as my motherland, then Norwich is my second hometown. From my memories, Norwich was not particularly very exciting. There was not much emotional attachment from me to this ‘fine city’. In the contrary, I fell in love with London the first time I visited there, and now I have been a resident of London for nearly seven years. I know London more than any other places on the planet, which probably makes me more or less a Londoner. As a result, I hardly ever come to visit Norwich, only once a year during the festive season, mainly for my parents.

Embracing the non-city life

A little walk in Norwich

I thought I would still feel the same way about Norwich. Yet indeed, time passes, things change. It turned out, I rather enjoyed my little trip this year. London is full of life, energy and new trends. It is very exciting, but can also be very draining. So, it was very nice to have some fresh air, a tranquil stroll and some quiet time away from the city.  My parents have also embraced the non-city life  that the same time I adopted Cotton, they adopted two ducklings. Now these two ducks are an essential part of their life, which was rather a surprise to me, as they have always been the typical Chinese parents: strict and disciplined. Somehow, I never associated little animals with my parents. Well, having said that, my old friends were also surprised I was a rabbit person.

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The Ducks’ Mansion

Norwich City Centre and Vintage Fair

Vintage fair Norwich 5

There are two big shopping malls in Norwich: the old Castle Mall which have shops such as New Look, Peacock and Quiz; and then there is the newer, more up market Chaplefield including brands such as Hugo Boss and House of Fraser. I was not over enthusiastic by the the post-Christmas shopping, it was just the same old: unwanted clothes from the stockroom. Instead, I found the little boutique shops at the back alleys very charming. Then, there was also the vintage fair, held in a church. Camden has antiques and vintage items, but Camden is always packed full of tourists. Whereas this fair in Norwich was so subtle and quiet, allowed me to get lost in it. Delicately crafted brooches, mink fur coat from the 20s and even old brass toilet paper holder, one would find the weirdest and the most bizarre things there.

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A beautiful Christmas wedding dress

Back alleys in Norwichbaskets

Along the Gentlemen’s Walk in Norwich, there was also a Market, selling things from food, crafts and various items of apparels. I had a cup of coffee and a doughnut. It was great, and made me very jolly and happy. Two young drummers were busking near the market, and brought even more life.

Drummers of Norwich

Drummers of Norwich

I love it so much. It was nice to visit the Norwich city centre. I am not so sure what really has changed, maybe me and my perspective of seeing things.


Biddy’s Tea Room

Biddy’s Tea Room was a new addition since I last visited Norwich. The decor was modern vintage, very trendy. I can imagine the place being very popular to ‘hipsters’. They have a wide selection of teas, cakes and various other snacks. I was curious, so here I was. I had a cup of Japanese Sencha tea with plum and cinnamon blend, plus a scone with clotted cream. Not bad, but possibly not the best I had. Sorry to say, the scone was a little bit overcooked so it was a bit dry. The tea was perfect though, especially for the cold weather like now. Well, like I have always said, dinning and eating out is more than just the food, but also an experience. So for the atmosphere and the vintage touch, I would still recommend it to other people.

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Plum and Cinnamon Japanese Sencha and scone with clotted cream

Seeing life from a more relaxed view

Norwich Royal arcade

Ceiling of the Royal Arcade

I guess from all these years, I never really gave Norwich a fair chance. It is indeed a very fine city with a lot to offer. Perhaps, the only reason I noticed these interesting things is that I have learned to relax and more mindful with the things around me. Until another time, I shall be coming back again soon…

All packed and ready to return to London.