We’re in Norfolk – in theory cycling across the Broads, in practice going to lots of those twee little rural shopping complexes. You know, the ones with boutiques selling handmade fudge, bad jewellery and the kind of art people only ever buy on holiday.
As you can probably tell, I used to be quite snooty about these sorts of places. Then I had a kid. Oh my God, I don’t know what I was talking about. They are amazing. This one, Wroxham Barns, has a petting zoo where you can feed the animals (therefore shitting on Hackney City Farm), a funfair and a brilliant soft-play area for wee ones with a ball pit (like at Ikea!) Most of it’s free (the petting zoo’s £5.50 – six quid really, because as if you’re going to say no to the animal food), but no matter how immune you are to the charms of carved-wood barometers and pastel images of windmills, you’ll still end up spending a ton of money. I came away with armfuls of Norfolk apple juice, apple chutney, apple-and-date cake… the whole gamut of Norfolk apple-related products, in fact. Still cost less than they would’ve in Waitrose though (I think).
One toddler meeting the sheep: