Why I’m getting wilder about wonderful Wymondham

Wymondham town sign. Picture: Bill Smith

Wymondham town sign. Picture: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant � 2008

Our days out writer Sally White recently moved to Wymondham - and discovers just some of the delights of her new neighbourhood

I have lived in Norwich since my university years and it has guided me from teenager to bedraggled mother of two.

I know every nook, cranny and soft play centre in that beloved city. It also feels like I know every person, too, because a quick nip to One Stop can take several hours and a dozen cups of tea as I pop in and out of friends' houses or chat to neighbours about the weather. I honestly think that if you cut me I would bleed Norwich. AND YET WE HAVE MOVED!

We have left my wonderful city behind and moved a gabillion long miles away from NR4 to NR18. Eighteen! Shudder.

I know - I'm one of those 'Norwich is the be all and end all of East Anglia' pompous nincompoops who everyone south of the ring road despises but still –NR18!


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We moved to Wymondham about six weeks ago for all the right reasons (a garden, an excellent library, spiffing schools etc yawn yawn), and I spent about four weeks with my head on the kitchen table wailing about being lonely and missing my NR4 gang and being able to cycle to John Lewis (stop judging me- I heard that eye roll) until Husbo reached his limit and reminded me that one of my dear friends and colleagues lives in Wymondham and perhaps she could take me out and about and orientate me in my new 'hood. Man, I hate it when he's right.

So I dried my tears and knocked for my friend and fellow blogger, Rebecca. Now Rebecca is a science teacher and general wholesome outdoorsy glowy type so step one was the Tiffey Trail. The Tiffey is a little river that runs past the Wymondham Abbey and along the bottom of my garden and onwards and outwards to postcodes far away. It is somehow beautiful and endearing. We packed a picnic/bribe snacks and set off along the very accessible path beside the trickling stream. The sun was out and the Abbey stood proudly watching over us and all of me was already warming to Wymondham. Rebecca taught me about geocaching and I'm going to assume that I'm not the only one not to know about this, and so illuminate you too. Geocaching is like a treasure hunt minus the chocolate coins. You download an app and up pop little dots that show you where things are hidden: it might be a tiny film case with a list of names and dates or it might be a box with little toys in it to swap. We followed the dots along the Tiffey trail. Many were no longer there but we did find the odd one or two and I'm looking forward to tracking down more across the town.

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Now, there is only so much sunshine and fresh air I can handle, so I needed some tea and cake before too long. Happily, my host and tour guide knew just the spot: The Hen House. As I have made clear in previous articles, my real gift lies in cake tasting. I am wasted as a teacher and blogger, I should be a Café Tester Extraodinaire and spend my days forking in Victoria sponges, supping frothy coffees and passing judgement. As this role is yet to exist we had to make do with pretending. The Hen House café is a stone's throw from the Tiffey and set in the beautiful grounds of Cavick House Farm. You take your tray of cake and coffee and sit in one of the beautifully bedecked sheds. If you are kid-free you can enjoy the stack of tasteful magazines and admire the spring sunshine. If you have children like mine, you can scarf down the scrumptious lemon drizzle cake and listen to your toddler's chorus of Baa Baa Black Sheep on repeat while he struggles to run off and torture the newborn lambs. Either way, this is a great spot and I can't recommend it enough.

Onwards! There is more! We had five hours to fill before the school run and Rebecca was on a full-on 'Get Sally to Love Wymondham' campaign. She was well on the way to succeeding but the day was young and the kids were growing wild. Time to blow off some steam - gymnastics here we come.

My youngest kid, Alex, is hyper-mobile which means he is super-bendy and wiggly and flexible. It meant he was crazy-late at walking and still falls over all the time and generally gets tired and wibbly a lot. The physiotherapist suggested gymnastics to help strengthen him up. Enter The Norfolk Academy of Gymnastics (TNAG.) Before moving here we used to spend a good deal of time schlepping out to Wymondham for haircuts, library trips and our weekly TNAG visits so this was my turn to introduce Rebecca to something. The lovely and super-helpful and informed Tracy runs a brilliant drop-in gymnastics session at The Norfolk Academy of Gymnastics every Thursday from 12. Alex goes wild there every week and it's so nice to be able to let him climb, jump, balance and roly poly all over under the watchful eye of Tracy. I really recommend popping along to one of her sessions, it's £3.50 well spent.

If Alex doesn't become a gymnast then he may well become a vicar. Both my boys LOVE a church although I think that may stem from some blurring of the lines between castle and church? If they spot one we have to stop and tear around it. Wymondham Abbey was already a fave; Alex had his second birthday picnic in its grounds but we popped in again because it's just so darn lovely. The Abbey has recently had a fancy new upgrade and a modern extension has been put on with dressing up boxes, a place for a cuppa and all sorts of drawers to open and things to see. The original part of the Abbey is very atmospheric too. I highly recommend popping in. I grew up in Canterbury so I can be a bit snobby about cathedrals, abbeys and churches, but even I can see this is a great one to visit. The Abbey hosts playgroups and family activity days too so keep an eye out for those and if you see me come and say hello!

Really. Please do come and say hello because I am a fully-fledged, signed up member of the 'ham now. Thank you to Rebecca of secondtomum.wordpress.com for my initiation into this lovely, lively, busy town. Although a part of my heart will always be in Norwich, I have a growing affection and appreciation for this town. With the lambs, the cake, the Abbey, the Tiffey, the activities for kids and the joy this little spot is bringing my children I am really starting to feel a part of NR18.

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