Norfolk UK is my home, I live in Norwich by the River Wensum where everyday there is something different to see and learn.
I feel a big affinity with the river as I grew up in Cambridge, another great river city. My childhood and teens involved many walks along the Cam where we would watch 'The Bumps,' raft races and as we grew older we enjoyed adventures on our punting pub crawls.
Growing up in a multi cultural university city definitely influenced my reading choices, I am a big fan of Japanese fiction, love French literature and enjoy Shakespeare. As a young teen I entertained myself with Jilly Cooper and Dick Francis and then became quite obsessed with Henri Charriere's Papillon. At school all I cared about was English, Art and French, in that exact order. When I finished with school I went to live and work in Greece for a wonderful year before returning to study English Literature and Sociology. At this point I read more classics like the Wyf of Bath, Wuthering Heights and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man plus poets such as Wilfred Owen.
My first UK full time job was with Heffer's Paperbacks where I devoured several books at a time, excited by the fact I could borrow what I liked. Bizarrely for me I remember reading The Zurich Axioms, I have no interest in the stock markets but it had me gripped. I can't remember why I picked it up but I have never forgotten it. Heffers introduced me to so many authors, via their books and sometimes in person. It was here I learned about all the genres, it fascinated me that science fiction and horror were so popular, I tried reading it all.
Aside from writing letters, it didn't really ever occur to me to write anything myself for many years as I worked my way through a variety of interesting and varied jobs. Then on a visit to the London Aquarium I became struck by an idea so powerful I sat down and wrote my first novel. It went nowhere as really I wrote it because I wanted to. I wrote another novel and again, didn't have the persistance or determination to take it further, I simply enjoyed the process of writing and my characters.
Then years later another idea struck me and during a severe bout of Pleurisy where I couldn't do anything physical for months, I wrote the Eight of Swords and The Putsi. This time I published them as ebooks and they became pretty popular. When I fully recovered, I had to concentrate on my business and looking after my mother who has various health issues and the writing went adrift again for many years until 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the world.
March 2020 I moved to my apartment alongside the Wensum to live alone for the first time ever. During the first lockdown I began to write a diary and then the idea for a new set of short stories came to me and in February 2021 they will be published. The Covid-19 Pandemic is not simply a scary virus, it is a historical time and here we are trying to live through it. To many it will feel like a punishment but to me as a writer, in some ways, it came as a gift.
Please stay as safe and as well as you can. I hope to entertain you with my stories as we all try to get through this together, even though we are apart.
Gavin the Gull has a new design out today and this time he has an eye on your car. It could be a compliment, it could be a threat… I like to believe it’s the former!
There are 86+ products showing Gavin the Gull’s latest quip at Redbubble – choose from clothing, home decor, tech accessories, stationery and bags. Lots of great gift ideas or keep Gavin all to yourself!
Every week I will keep you updated with my latest prints at Redbubble. In case you didn’t already know, Redbubble is a print on demand site and it enables me to create prints on a fabulous collection of quality items including t-shirts, caps, posters, stickers, home decor, cards, furnishings and tech accessories.
Perfect for original gift ideas or go ahead and treat yourself!
I have been using Redbubble for years and can vouch for the quality.
Gavin the Gullis a legendary seagull full of wit and wisdom. I originally created him as my company logo but of course, he demanded more fame than that, so now you can see his quips and comments on a whole variety of items at Redbubble.
Gavin must be the most popular seagull I know! I never expected people to love him so much but I am glad that they do. Seagulls have a bad reputation generally but they are also very intelligent, there is a lot more to them than meets the eye…
Did you know that seagulls can live for around 20 years?
Seagulls are intelligent birds, they are always learning and once they have learnt something, they remember it.
Seagulls are very caring and attentive with their young.
Seagulls can recognise people by their faces, especially those who feed or interact with them. It really is better not to feed them though because they can attack because of it and they have specific nutritional needs. While Gavin may joke about your chips, they aren’t good for him.
Seagulls usually mate for life but divorce is also an option…
I will give more seagull facts next time I post a new Gavin the Gull design so look out for them.
Images and the history of Foundry Bridge, Norwich.
My River Wensum series starts with a photo tour of bridges. I began with Carrow Bridge as it is the nearest to my apartment. Traveling along the Wensum up towards the city, the next bridge featured in this series is the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge, followed by the Lady Julian Bridge and from there we arrive next at Foundry Bridge just by Norwich Train Station.
While I often use Lady Julian Bridge to cut up to King Street for a shorter route into the city, what I really like to do, when I have time, is to walk along the Wensum up to Foundry Bridge and cross over Prince of Wales Road to continue the river walk. I also use Foundry Bridge to cross the river to get to the post office (I am sure you are fascinated to know this). It just goes to show how important these bridges are to daily life in Norwich. I’m very glad I don’t have to swim across the river.
The Foundry Bridge (a grade II listed building) is a single-span iron bridge with its own distinctive decorative design. Here are some interesting details about the Foundry Bridge from George Plunkett.
‘The first to occupy this site was a toll bridge built of wood in 1811 by the contractors, Mendham of Holt. In 1844, with the coming of the railway, it was replaced by one made of iron by Bradley and Co. of Wakefield, and designed by C.D. Atkinson. It cost £800. It was then freed from toll. The present structure was built when Thorpe Station was enlarged; the contractors were R.Tidman and Co of Rosary Rd, Norwich. It cost £12,032. opened on January 17th, 1888.’
It is fascinating to know the cost of the construction of the Foundry Bridge. I can only imagine what a bridge of similar construction would cost today. It certainly wouldn’t be £12,000!
The thing I love about bridges is how unique each one is. Whether it be a footbridge or built for vehicular access, a swing, opening or fixed bridge, they all have their own special design, quirks, and individuality. This really appeals to me. Of course, every bridge provides an interesting viewpoint too, ideal for a photographer.
Looking back towards Lady Julian Bridge with the Nelson Hotel on the right, Norwich Station on the left, and, of course, the Canoe Man.
Looking towards the city, Norwich Yacht Station is on the right hand side and the Compleat Angler pub on the left. Willow trees line the river down towards Pulls Ferry and the next bridge in this series Bishopsgate Bridge.
While researching the Foundry Bridge, I learned the tragic story of what happened nearby on April 4th, 1817 (Good Friday) to the Norwich Steam Packet when the engine exploded. You can read about it here on the NorfolkTalesMyths.com website.
This terrible story brought to mind a ghostly incident that happened in the Hotel Nelson garden a year ago. We often wander the city streets on summer nights, taking photographs and enjoying the lights. One night, we went down the steps from Foundry Bridge and walked alongside the Nelson Hotel into the garden. I walked a little ahead of my boyfriend while he stopped to read a sign, and suddenly, out of nowhere, a bottle flew through the air and landed by my foot. I spun around expecting to see the person who had thrown it, but there wasn’t a soul to be seen. There were no bushes to hide in.
With no wind and the bottle flying at knee height before it landed, we came to the conclusion it had been thrown by a ghost, or now I wonder, perhaps if it was eerily propelled by the historic explosion…
Whether you believe in ghostly happenings or not, it is the only explanation I have.
Look out for my next blog about Bridges o’er the Wensum – or get updated by hitting the subscribe button below.
The My River Wensum series starts with a photo tour of bridges along the river. I began with Carrow Bridge as it is the nearest to my apartment. Travelling along the Wensum up towards the city, the next bridge featured in this series is the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge. From here you get a beautiful view of the Lady Julian Bridge.
It maybe a bit weird, but one of the things I love most about the 13-year-old Lady Julian Bridge is the satisfying sound it makes when children jump up and down on it. The other thing that really appeals to me is that it is designed in the shape of sail.
Don’t walk in the middle 🙂
This bridge is also a beautiful example of modern bridge engineering and links an area where new buildings are springing up fast to the much older side of the city. The bridge crosses over from Riverside towards King Street, which happens to be one of my favourite streets in the city.
Lady Julian Bridge is, tellingly enough, named for Lady Julian, who was an English anchoress in Medieval times. It is believed her writings, Revelations of Divine Love, are the earliest surviving English-language works by a woman. St Julian’s Church, where she lived, is not far from the river. An anchoress is “someone who has retired from the world,” which, at times, sounds pretty appealing to me.
The bridge is a swing footbridge which opens to let bigger boats through. If you are planning to sail down the River Wensum, you can find more details via the Broads Authority website.
To find out more information relating to the Lady Julian Bridge scroll down for some useful websites.
All images and text copyright of @MyriadLifePhoto 2022
River Wensum photographic series by MyriadLifePhoto
My River Wensum series starts with a photo tour of the bridges along the river. I began with Carrow Bridgeas it is the nearest to my apartment. While Carrow Bridge is nearly 100 years old, the Novi Sad Millennium Bridge opened in November 2001, so it is merely a youngster among the bridges of the Wensum.
The bridge is an asymmetric cable-stayed swing footbridge and is named Novi Sad in acknowledgement of the twinning of Novi Sad, Serbia, with Norwich. Novi Sad is a beautiful city that lies along the banks of the River Danube.
More information about the construction of the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge can be found here: fascinating facts for any bridge enthusiast!
The Broads Authority website gives heights and openings of all the bridges in Norfolk.
The Novi Sad and the Lady Julian Bridge both have cycle paths in the centre. As a cyclist, I have to say, it’s a shame that more pedestrians don’t acknowledge this. As a pedestrian, I know it is easy to forget and wander into the cycle lane or be forced into it by other pedestrians.
In the picture above, you can see the derelict old restoration barn to the right and a picturesque riverside residential building, loved by many a passer-by.
It is a beautiful view towards the city from the Novi Sad Bridge, you can see Lady Julian Bridge and Norwich Cathedral spire in the distance. Check out my little video below.
The pictures above show different angles of the Novi Sad Bridge. There is a patch of land next to the bridge that is being developed into apartments. Sadly the former Ferry Boat pub was forced to close due to noise complaints and financial difficulties.
The River Wensum is changing rapidly before our very eyes. In my next post, I move down the river to the Lady Julian Bridge.
All images and text copyright of @MyriadLifePhoto 2022
James (my boyfriend) and I spend a lot of time experimenting with new and flavoursome dishes, and we thought it was about time we shared them with the world, so we have created a new blog on Medium.com called The Wensum Kitchen.
The aim of the blog is to share our cooking adventures, our recipes, and the fun times we have. The names of our dishes are inspired by living next to the River Wensum in the historical city of Norwich, so expect some quirky ones! We love to let our imaginations run riot…
All of the produce is sourced from local suppliers. We are regular visitors to Norwich Market. You will find we mention our suppliers a lot as they are wonderful people and we appreciate their wisdom.
We hope you will enjoy our posts wherever you live.
Please subscribe to receive updates on books, photography and general adventures. Every month I create a free notebook giveaway for subscribers so please leave your email address in the box below and next time you could be a winner!
Carrow Bridge is a lifting bridge. Unfortunately, I have never been lucky enough to see it lift up. I like to peer into the little control hut and imagine it in operation. Despite my best attempts to find a video of it opening, so far, I haven’t been successful. All I can find is a video of the test opening in 2018 to allow TS Lord Nelson aka HMS Vale pass through, which isn’t particularly interesting!
The current Carrow Bridge was constructed in 1923 to replace the old bridge to the South. More recently, there have been plans by the council to weld the bridge shut. Read a press release from the Norwich Society about this here.
Reginald Dann, lived in Carrow Bridge House (the former bridge master’s house) for more than 50 years until it was sold at auction. Thankfully, a plan by the county council to demolish it was defeated by the city council.
You can see images of the bridge open here in an EDP article, when the TS Lord Nelson passed through in 2004. There is also a nice image in the article of the The ship “Paullgate” of Hull carrying cargo under Carrow bridge at the port of Norwich. Dated 20 May 1966. The TS Lord Nelson was eventually decommissioned and now rests in Bristol.
I walk across the bridge at least once every day, and I also cross it every night. I enjoy looking out over both sides of Carrow bridge, but my favourite view is looking back up the river past the Devil’s Tower towards old Paper Mill Yard.
You can read more about the history of the Devil’s Tower here – it is a virtually unique structure in England, built in the early 14th century. Directly opposite is the Windlass Tower.
I will write more about the Wensum Boom Towers in future posts.
A view further up from Carrow Bridge.
Carrow Bridge by night.
I frequently pass under the bridge, on the way into the city. It is a favourite spot for pigeons to court in the spring. There is also the occasional dove.
Sometimes swans sit in the wooden under-structure compartments as if they were stables. I am sure there is a technical name for the structure, but I have no idea what it is.
Eric and Erica, the Egyptian geese, like to perch on the wooden sidings that are there to guide boats through, but usually they are keeping guard on the river bank. Occasionally, a heron perches near the bridge too.
On summer nights, if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of bats performing aerobatics around the bridge.
Street Art under Carrow Bridge
Every now and then, new street art appears under the bridge. These images have disappeared now, which is a shame because I really liked them. They are preferable to the meaningless tagging that crops up everywhere (not meaningless to gangs, I guess, but still an eyesore).