Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Getting lost

There are those who still find the bits between the main routes in Norfolk a bit of a mystery. And until comparatively recently you could be excused for sodoing.  The signage was, to put it mildly, a bit hit and miss. Not for nothing is the area north of Wolterton and Mannington still referred to as the Matlaske triangle. 

Purely personally, I always seemed to end up where I meant to be, even if afterwards you were not quite sure how you'd got there. The rest of Norfolk seems simple by comparison. However, an unplanned and circuitous return to the gallery this morning proved this is not entirely the case.

Having always made my way to and from Quidenham - south of Attleborough for those who are not familiar - via Norwich and the A11, on a whim I decided the return journey might be quicker taking a notionally straight route north to Dereham and Fakenham. The first part seemed pleasingly straightforward on emptyish and straightish roads. It also filled some of the few gaps in my visual memory bank of Norfolk, including Shropham, Watton and Shipdam, all looking good in the late September sunshine.

I must confess I have never been overly fond of Dereham. Despite this being - almost - back within familiar territory, I have no visual memory of the place and its roads. In view of this I decided it would be prudent to follow the signed through route to Fakenham. Early doubt set in when this led to the westbound A47 heading for Swaffham. Confidence briefly returned on finding Fakenham now signed as a right turn, which as we all know is best avoided anywhere on the A47. This turn seemed to be bringing me back to roughly where I had first entered Dereham but then mysteriously turned into the old main road to Swaffham.

At this point, it was clear highway engineering had triumphed over Norfolk's natural grain. Accepting what had become increasingly apparent, my return took me - inevitably - via Swaffham to familar friendly territory of Weasenham and Raynham and on to Fakenham. Strange to say, what at the time felt like seriously excessive miles actually only slightly delayed my planned late opening of the gallery - but it did confirm that our roads and their signs can still be suitably mysterious on occasion.

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