Dream Homes #4: Georgian Charms

A quiet day in the office today. Unless you count the accordion-playing, Morris dancing clowns that pranced by, just as a colleague was heading back from a viewing:

‘Oh my God! Make the clowns STOP! Why do they have to get all up in your face like that?! Eugh!’

Oh, the joys of the local festival. Apparently it’s one of Europe’s largest non-ticketed free festivals. Sometimes you’d rather pay if it stopped the clowns and the Morris dancing.

Perhaps it was the dancing clowns that deterred people from venturing our way. Or maybe they’d been sidetracked by the storm trooper playing with bubbles outside the toy shop.

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To be honest, I’m not convinced they’re regulation storm trooper shoes. Maybe that’s why he’s armed only with a bubble gun rather than a light sabre.

Still, the lull meant that I had more time to peruse the latest properties added to our books. The choice this week hasn’t been easy. But I am a sucker for a house with history, so my choice this time is:

Leverington House

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From the outside its definitely not your run-of-the-mill shoebox. You could easily float around the garden as Lady of the Manor. Ok, it’s only got 4 bedrooms, but if the budget doesn’t extend to staff who wants a plethora of rooms to dust?

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Besides, if first impressions count, the Georgians certainly knew how to make a good first impression. As entrance halls goes this is none too shabby (helped both by fabulous dimensions and plenty of behind-the-scenes storage):

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Mind you, it’s not as though the gorgeousness stops at the door. Light pours into the property through the most amazing windows:

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But the property had all the warmth you could want of a family home too. The sort of kitchen that begs to be congregated in…

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Pale blue kitchens do seem to be THE colour for up-market Norfolk property.

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…a cosy snug for those nights curled up on the sofa…

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…and beautiful, airy bedrooms, perfect for Sunday breakfast in bed, surrounded by the Sunday papers.

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The garden would be ideal to set the children loose in, with more than enough room to accommodate a trampoline and maybe a playhouse to match the summer house?

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…and plenty of space for garden games.

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Come time for Hide and Seek, mind you, you would a most guarantee I could be found on the patio (wine glass in hand).

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And with it’s rural setting you wouldn’t be disturbed by the raucous of the festival carrying across town on the wind. Which, right now, would definitely be a blessing. I can’t say I’m too familiar with Aswad’s back catalogue, but by the end of the night in pretty sure I will be.

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Superstition

A tip for Husband: when you break a mirror, particularly a full-length one, like you did on Saturday, make sure you vacuum up ALL of the broken glass!

Needless to say he didn’t, which is how come this morning I came to send him this text:

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Typically I was running late getting Boo ready for school and was then confronted with the task of pulling glass from my foot and bleeding all over the bathroom floor. Naturally, all of the plasters were downstairs. But of course.

I thought when someone broke a mirror it was 7 years of bad luck for them. I didn’t think it was transferable. Just my luck.

The Hunger Grumps

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Boo, much like myself, is easily lured by a red banquette diner arrangement. Well, those and milkshakes. Put them together and I. Am. Sold.

Unfortunately Noodles was not so keen. Which is how we found ourselves sat in Ed’s Easy Diner with Noodles melting down faster than the cheese slices atop their burgers.

Part of me wanted to bolt and head to McDonald’s instead. Somewhere seemingly more appropriate for misery-inducing howling. Shouldn’t diners be about sunshine and breeziness? Noodles was definitely NOT on message. Less rock n roll, more thrash death metal.

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But those milkshakes! Boo’s heart was set on consuming her day’s recommended calorie allowance in Nutella-flavoured milk. What to do?

There was no audible tutting or scowling and the waitress was very sweet, so we stayed put, although I’ve still not figured out how to manage public meltdowns. The ones that can’t be rationalised or distracted, that just have to run their course.

I’m glad we stayed though as there seems to be magic contained within Ed’s Diner fries. Once they cooled down enough he became a different child. With each chip he became bouncier and sunnier until he was the embodiment of toddler bonniness. He devoured not just his own portion, but also part of mine and Boo’s.

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‘Aw, he just had the hunger grumps,’ the waitress reassured, earning herself a generous tip.

Ed’s Diner fries. The answer to my toddler hell. I now only wish we had a branch in the town where we live. (Then again, maybe not. I’d be seriously obese and broke, just to placate the screaming ab-dabs.) But at least I now have a public bolt hole if we have to eat away from home. Seriously, there’s even the jukebox to flick about once the contents of my bag have worn thin. What’s not to like?

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Ed’s, I thank you!

A Good Sport vs Good at Sport

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Ah, sports day. Where small children brazenly battle for stickers whilst competitive parents pretend to cheer on other people’s kids. Everyone cheers the kid in last place for trying, whilst inwardly pleased it’s not their kid.

Yep, be pleased other parents. We’ve saved you from having to shrug off defeat because that child at the back…that’s MY kid.

Ironic, really, that she’s the child representing sporting activities in the school brochure.

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There the face of sports was coming last in the sprint, last in the sack race, last in the egg and spoon race, last in the beanbag race…second to last in the obstacle race. Her team possibly came third in the relay, but as none of the children knew when to stop passing the baton it all got somewhat confusing and to all intents and purposes was declared null and void.

To be fair to Boo, I’m possibly to blame for her lack of sporting prowess. Personally I reached my sporting pinnacle at the age of 5, when by some twist of fate I won the Draw Your Daddy race (an event that’s not likely to appear at the Olympics any time soon…and actually its appearance at school sports day is unlikely due its high can-of-worms potential). It was a relief in my last year of primary school when I broke my arm roller-skating so didn’t have to suffer the humiliation of only participating in the team game on sports day – the one event aimed at the sporting-inepts. Which was just a big mistake as it involved catching and throwing, which none of us could do. Yep, having to wear a plaster cast in the searing heat was infinitely preferable. At high school I took Latin to GCSE level to get out of cross country. Now 6, Boo may have peaked last year when she won the obstacle race. Genetics are a bugger.

BUT, what Boo has in her favour, is her attitude. Whilst other kids got sulky when they didn’t win…or even when they’d swept the board but then got bored…Boo had a smile on her face all morning. In her mind she’d got to spend the morning out in the sunshine, chatting to her friends and cheering them on and got a bunch of stickers for her efforts.

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I could only get a picture of the sun, rather than any of the sporting activity as, due to ‘child protection issues’ we weren’t allowed to photograph the kids. Although the school are happy to SELL us photos at a later date. EXTORTION issues more like!

Boo’s face when she finished the Egg and Spoon race was a picture. Big grin, thumbs up. She may have finished a good 5m behind everyone else, but she couldn’t have been happier. Later: ‘Did you see? I didn’t drop it once! I’m just like Lola!’

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All I can say is, thank you, Lauren Child.

And, to be honest, I don’t care about the winning. I was proud of her anyway. Seeing her happy was better than a t-shirt full of 1st stickers. Suck on that, competitive parents. MY child enjoyed herself. What more can you want than that?