Mafia connections, the Emerald Isle and a Highland Fling travel blog

A beautiful ancient oak at Salhouse Broads

Graeme "No friends" in his own train carriage

Where is the Fat Controller and Thomas?

Being shown how the engine works on the Lydia Eva steam drifter

Heading down backwards into the pit at Grimes Graves

Grae down on all fours in the pit at Grimes Graves

De Vere House used as Harry Potter's house

Another street in Lavenham

Do not adjust your screens - they really do lean this much

Trust Grae to find a steam train ride for us. What is it with men and trains? This one was a narrow gauge tourist railway from Wroxham to Aylsham, the Bure Valley Railway. Always nice to sit on a train and watch the world go by with the smell of the steam and smoke and the clickety clack of the wheels on the track. It was all run by volunteers who did an amazing job. Pity they couldn't do anything about the weather.

We also had a wonderful experience with an 81 years "young" volunteer at Great Yarmouth a few days back when we visited the last steam herring drifter named "Lydia Eva". He was very passionate and knowledgeable and extremely fit, it was a real pleasure. He's certainly keeping very active in his retirement.

Did you know the herring fishing industry developed rapidly after the Norman Conquest in 1066 and soon became the mainstay of industry in Great Yarmouth while the fish became a favourite food for both rich and poor people and earned the name, 'silver darling'..... no, neither did we.

Recently we've stayed at some luxurious Airbnb's after our 'working class' seaside trip. Wev'e stayed in the converted horse stables from an old manor house and a converted kitchen from an old manor house which still had the servant's bells above the doorway. All rather Downton Abbey.... always nice to stay in a mix of different types of accommodation just for the experience.

We visited Grime's Graves, a very interesting and unique attraction in Norfolk. It is the only Neolithic flint mine open to visitors in Britain. The grassy lunar landscape of 400 pits was first named Grim’s Graves by the Anglo-Saxons. It was not until one of them was excavated in 1870 that they were identified as flint mines dug over 5,000 years ago. To investigate further we donned hard hats and descended nine metres by ladder into one excavated shaft to see the jet-black flint.... no one mentioned once we got down there we'd have to crawl around! Once we were back above ground we walked across the potholed grassy fields, totally forgetting about the adder (Britain's only venomous snake) warning signs we read when we arrived.

Lavenham, located in the heart of the stunning Suffolk countryside, is considered to be Britain's best preserved medieval village and was once one of Suffolk’s important wool towns, we spent hours exploring this extremely picturesque village in the light but persistant rain. Some sunshine would have been nice but you can't have everything. Harry Potter's house from Deathly Hollows is here. More interesting for us was the fact that in the medieval period it was the 14th wealthiest settlement in all of England.

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