The amazing people that made my week just perfect

Cavalryman Tim Baker and his mum, Julie, touched the editor’s heart this week.

Cavalryman Tim Baker and his mum, Julie, touched the editor’s heart this week. - Credit: Archant

What an astonishing week in our wonderful part of the world! My seven days turned from the normal 'busy' to 'frantic' – and by the time you read this I will be in France!

I'm on a short break to the Pyrenees, dropping off a favourite aunt in Lourdes, and then heading upwards, to the land of jagged peaks, mountain streams, and eagles. My week started, as ever, on Sunday last – working on our Monday editions from home – thanks to the electronic way we can transfer data these days. I'm so glad I got involved – because my work allowed me to glide into the lives of some incredible people.

Let me first name Royal Mounted Household Cavalryman Tim Baker, 26, who hails from Norwich. His story of fightback against horror and disaster was, quite simply, a lantern through my week. It became a golden thread linking late nights, early mornings and the trials, tribulations and triumphs of running daily newspapers websites and helping with our fledgling Mustard TV operation. Our front page headline, Cavalryman Courageous, touched the hearts of many and led to contact with the family who had supported Tim through years of recovery after a Taliban bomb broke his back in two places. How lovely it was to read a heartwarming letter from his mum, Julie, and to speak to her yesterday. With grace and humility, Julie told me the significance of our story to her family. It meant more than we could ever know, she said. Apart from nights at what I call the newspaper, website and TV 'word furnace' there were two other big events. Tuesday saw me with a reviewer's hat on – at the second night of the smash-hit musical, Evita, at the Theatre Royal, Norwich. Isn't it great to see world-class shows like this in Norwich? I was transfixed.

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Apart from city streets, I try to make it out in to our countryside whenever I can. Wednesday saw me in West Norfolk and Fenland and Thursday I popped over to Breckland, or The Brecks, as the area affectionately is known. My hosts were the Thetford-based RSPB team members for Breckland – we went out to find the beautiful and mysterious birds called stone curlews. On sandy lands drier than a desert we found plenty of these yellow-eyed birds, some of the 300 or so pairs that fly in each year to Norfolk and Suffolk from their Mediterranean wintering grounds. Whilst a late winter here this caused a few deaths, there are hopes of a sustained recovery in years to come. I will write more on the Brecks and stone curlews in the


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As I write these incredible days of sunshine go on – do enjoy your Norfolk, Suffolk and east Cambridgeshire... there's nowhere better.

Back for the column next week and follow me on twitter – @nigel_pickover

First published July 20, 2013

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