It’s early 2013, I’m struggling between small TV and commercial jobs, so I’ve taken on managing an Airsoft site on the Suffolk/Norfolk border. A pretty area, though at this time it was dominated with traffic jams, due in part to the A11 going through the painful pubescent process from a single carriageway to duel. Tuddenham site is located on the outskirts of the village, just before the colossal ballache of roadworks.
The fact it took this long to extend the MAIN route into the UK’s favourite caravan parking lot, is a testament to Norfolk’s dislike of outsiders. But to be fair, Norfolk could be the closest county to being a freemason collective you’ll find, people around here do take pride in keeping it local for buying and selling. In an age where we’ve got to reduce our carbon footprint, this is a lesson other counties should take up (No to US chlorinated Chicken and Hormone pumped Beef ✊)
Ok, back on topic.
I was managing the Airsoft site when I struck up a friendship with one of the Marshals, Stacy (yes he has a girls name) He was at the time a transport manager for a local courier and offered a bit of driving work if these weekend Airsoft games weren’t enough income #theywerenot. Not great money but still more than was currently coming in.
So for the first time in my adult life, I was seeing Norfolk and Suffolk and was renting a room, as the journey from the Shire (Chinnor) was drinking any usable profit (I was driving a 1970 classic MGB roadster that I was renovating slowly – a post for another time because frack I loved that car) There were some truly pretty sights I got to see from that courier van, but blimey, I swear some of these roads only appear at certain times of the year, and then only when the planets are aligned. GPS never stood a chance! On one particular driving job, I got lost between two villages, my Sat Nav wasn’t working and my phone laughed at me every time I looked to see if it had found a signal yet. Due to a road closure and the local kids “relocating” the divertion signs, I was approaching an orbital reaching dummy spitting episode. So when I spotted two men on the side of the road, I stopped and tried to ask for directions… Picture the scene, sun was low, no other vehicle or sign of life for miles, two men whose ages were anywhere between early 70s to recently reanimated, leaning on pitchforks (I shit you not, why they had them was not immediately obvious in their location on the road) one smoking a pipe, the other a rollie. I ask them the best was to get to the village I had a pick up for. I will never know what they said, I’m assuming it was English they spoke… The look on my face trying to work out what they were saying was clearing amusing them as they kept laughing between whatever it was they were saying to me and each other. 30 minutes it took me to finally do that bloody pick up. At some point of driving, in what I’d hoped was the correct direction, my phone decided to throw me a bone and connect to the 21st century again.
Fast forward a bit.
At some point Stace and my friendship developed into something more, he in fact spoke to mum about it way before saying anything to me. I was still getting over a earth shattering breakup (another story for the future) and Stace was in the process of divorce, it wasn’t on my radar, so to speak.
But we decided, what’s the worst that could happen? and gave it a go *Spoiler Alert* we are now married 😊 But at the time I had to make the decision to leave the Shire and pretty much the film industry (Norfolk isn’t exactly close to any major studios) if this relationship stood a chance of working. So that’s what I did.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve grown to love it Norfolk but with the risk of sounding like a fellow hobbit, I (some times) want to see mountains again… or hills at least – because it really is very flat around here. Stace has young children from his previous marriage and there’s no way I’ll ever ask him to move away from them. When they’re older, well that’s another story but until then I have to make good and try to live in this, beautiful, quiet and quite frankly often batshit crazy county.