Monday 6th and the hard frost meant the snow stayed. 1. Attlebridge on the A1067. 2. The road to Great Massingham. Side roads were worse but I arrived just in time to broadcast from the new affordable housing built at the allotment site. In fact each house down Charles Dewar Close will have its own allotment. Proud new owner Sophie Grint joined Chair of the PC Karen Wadham and vice-chair Andrew Bickerton (3 & 4).
By Tuesday the issue of why schools have to close in this weather was raised so I met up with Associate Head Teacher of the Hewitt School, Rob Anthony (1)who explained the process that schools go to when assessing whether to close or open. It's done on a points system. Amazing though, as we stood there, to see students arriving in the cold and snow wearing just sweatshirts and flimsy footwear! In Dereham market place I met up with Steve Cross(2) a local businessman and we're talking about the changing face of Britains towns. Dereham looks in pretty good shape for the future and Steve's quite upbeat. They have to adapt to different demands from the buying public and that's reflected in the variety of businesses around the market place. Pity there's not more festive decoration to be seen apart from the Christmas tree! Meanwhile, in Fakenham I'm greeted by any angry group of residents (3) who want the council to provide them with a grit bin so that they can get down the slippery slope at Gwynn Crescent (4).
In our Turn Back Time series we visit Watton High Street. Nine butchers in the 1950's have reduced to just one now. (1) Steven Smith and his son Luke make me welcome and get me to taste their calves foot jelly. It doesn't sound appetising but surpisingly it's just like ardinary fruit jelly. Then to Chris Edwards newsagency across the High Street. An eporium selling over 2000 magazine titles. He's seen many changed over the years and a wide product range is essential for survival. (3) It's also market day so there are stalls all along the street today.(4)
Thursday morning I'm waiting for a kiss! But first, we talk homeless people in freezing temperatures. This is Anna Hassam from the St.Martins Housing Trust and Emir Prendi the greater Norwich rough sleeper co-ordinator on the steps of the Forum. When temperatures are set to fall below zero for more than three nights in a row they implement SWEP procedure - severe weather emergency provision - to get homeless people inside to shelter. And then - it's time to talk mistletoe with Libby Ferris at her shop on Grove Road. 60% comes from local growers and the English mistletoe has more berries than the French imports. Did you know that, whenever you kiss under mistletoe you should remove one of the berries?
Around 6pm Thursday night a fire started in the roof of a Norfolk longhouse in Garboldisham. Owners son Andrew Hinton (in the red anorak) told me how the electricity went off and his father raised the alarm. Nobody was hurt and they managed to rescue a few posessions before the fire brigade began an all-night task to put out the blaze which had hold of the thatch. The adjoining property was also almost totally destroyed. My pictures and interview were shown on Look East Friday night.