Almost a year ago I took the radio car to Kerdison where an old railway carriage had been used as a home for the past 90 years. Built in 1899 it was a remarkable relic from the past which was saved from being scrapped when the owners offered it to the North Norfolk Railway. Pic 1 shows the day they came to remove it and, after a journey to Holt, you can see it's now been lovingly restored with an extension built onto one size effectively doubling its size. It's also beein insulated and a wood burner installed. Seated are Jenny Philips and George Carrick who's the Chair of the Poppyline Education Group. From April it will be open to visitors and educational groups and no doubt we'll be there for the ocassion!
The weather is set to get really cold again this weekend and people will want to turn up the heating, but Peter & Hazel Greenwood will be watching the thermometer as their heating eats up the fuel oil. They contacted us about the variation in prices between suppliers and the time of year. It might look like some companies put up the prices just as people need to restock. For pensioners like them it's a question of burning logs on their open fie and putting on some extra clothes to keep warm. The I'm despatched to Great Snoring where we tested the latest Christmas single - Silent Night set to a snoring accompaniement! What did Mr. White think? Well, despite the fact that he's been told he snores, he didn't rate it much and prefers the X Factor. We were lucky to get his opinion. He'd only nipped out to buy a paper!
Monday 20th at the Food Bank's new premises at Henderson Business Park. Grant Habershon opens up the unit to show me their "supermarket" for needy people. They've been operating since late October when I saw him at the Mile Cross Methodist Church on Aylsham Road. It quickly became apparent that they'd need bigger premises and the NELMS Trust came to the rescue. Their need is ongoing and food can be dropped off for needy people at Norwich Christian Centre, St.Peter Mancroft Church as well as here off Bowthorpe Road. In this weather it's even more vital for desperate families and individuals. Then to the smallest brewery in Norfolk (and the UK?) At the back of his house in this 8 x 8 shed, Colin Emms runs the Why Not brewery and one brew, Roundhead Porter is being sold on the Sandringham estate despite its Civil War affiliation. Colin lives on Cavalier Close on Dussindale where apparently a battle was fought before Cromwell came to power. Asked about his other brew "Wally's Revenge" I was told that it's dedicated to his late Uncle Wally who never got to see this dream come true.
Minus 15 and it's expected to last into next week. Alan Kelf from Cookes Plumbing & Heating Engineers on the Sweetbriar Estate had some good advice especially about boilers with a balanced flu. They can freeze up on the outside and you should check this before trying to relight it! The freeze is also affecting our farmers. Paul Stent (right) has crops all over the county. He's had frozen diesel in his machinery recently and if the ground thaws out too quick he'll lose the crop because it'll rot. It a tough time ahead and we could easily see shop prices rising as a result.
Despite the sub-zero temperatures here's team who still came to empty your bin. Unsung heroes who take away your rubbish. This crew from South Norfolk are driver Paul with operatives Scott and Duncan. A cheery gang who really work hard. I was only with them for just over an hour but these guys do a fantastic job so it's great to see that people do give them greetings cards and no doubt show their appreciation in other ways for their all year round efforts. They told me some stories that I can't possibly repeat but the job does have its down side! Although the roads were clear, look at the pavements. Winter's far from over for them. Merry Christmas lads.
Reepham Market Place Thursday morning and I'm with Richard Ellis, the new Chairman of VisitNorfolk. He's quite optimistic about 2011 with bookings up for most of Norfolks attractions. Holiday lets, hire cruisers etc. figures expected to rise by 1% on last year which under the circumstances is something to celebrate.
Christmas Eve at Jarrolds department store in Norwich and Michelle Jarrold (left) says that yesterday was a bumper day and they're expecting the last minute crowds today. But the staff won't be done when the doors close. They'll be staying on for a couple of hours to make sure that they're ready with their sale items when the doors open again on Monday. They won't be open Boxing Day as traditionally they give their staff both days off for Christmas. Meanwhile, Mathew Gudgin challenges me to dress as Santa and stand in the shop window to see the reaction of passers by. Some are too wrapped up in their thoughts to notice but those that do give me a wave when I suddenly burst into life. Quite a laugh!