One of a series of love letters to Norwich during the coronavirus lockdown of 2020. A few local people reflecting on what they miss, about everyday life in the city.
Growing up in a dozing little village, 25 miles south west of Norwich, the highlight of every week was taking the Saturday bus into the city. And the dissappointment being that the last bus back to the arse end of nowhere was 4pm. Stepping off the bus back home, in the quiet and empty village square, where every other teenager was looking forward to an evening of fish fingers and chips and the Two Ronnies, I was so envious of the teenagers of Norwich. Who’s friends lived streets away, who had cinemas and cafe’s to play in.
So inevitably, and at the first chance, I made Norwich my home. The freedom and the fun was all I’d cracked it up to be. But, as most of us do, finally it’s wasn’t enough… Norwich afterall, is the gateway drug to London. But again, and once again as most of us do, eventually (and with an 18 month baby in tow) the fine city finally called us back. And back we’ve been ever since.
She’d changed a lot in the years we’d been away. Head in the Clouds was still there, but now she was part of The Lanes. And it was here I started to make part of my now new family. Little shops and cafes where you actually got to know the people behind the counters. My children hate walking into the city with me as I can’t nip to Jarrolds and back without stopping for half a dozen chats. I suppose in a way I never really did leave a village, just moved to a vaster one which had a nightlife and far superior coffee!
Over the years this city, and most importantly its residents, have been here for me when I’ve needed them most. It’s my family, my safe place. And even now, though, on my rare trips into the city to buy noodles from the Orient Express on the market, most of the city is seemingly asleep and shut, I know you’re all out there. Waiting. Missing the festivals, the pubs, the DJ’s, the kitchen parties, and the coffee we can’t quite reproduce, even though you can still get the beans delivered. She’ll be back, and so will we. And it’s going to be one hell of a party.
About the Author
Joanna Millington is a portrait and event photographer who has lived in Norwich for 15 years. She also runs Studio 20 on Wensum street.