Thursday, 24 April 2014

Bluebell Woodland Opens Early at Sotshole Broad – Fairhaven Garden - Norfolk Broads

Bluebell Woodland Sotshole Broad - photograph taken 23.4.2014

The bluebell woodland at Sotshole Broad next to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, South Walsham in the Norfolk Broads opens on Saturday, April 26, a week earlier than planned due to the favourable spring weather.

The bluebell woodland is open every day from 26 April to 25 May, 10am to 5pm. Access is via Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden. It is a four-mile round trip walk to see the best bluebells which are at the far end of the wood. Garden entry, including the bluebell woodland, is adult £6.10, concessions £5.60 and child £3.60 (under 5 free).

There is a guided walk in the bluebell woodland on Sunday 11 May, beginning at 11am from Fairhaven Garden visitor centre, part of the Broads Outdoors Festival 2014. The guided walk is included in the entry fee.

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction,, t. 01603 270449. 

Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Wymondham Music Festival Fortnight Norfolk - 21 June to 6 July

Wymondham's Music Festival Fortnight returns from Saturday 21 June to Sunday 6 July, with more than 30 events, some organised by other groups, many of them free, in venues across this histroic Norfolk market town.

Enjoy performances by national, regional and local musicians with everything from Schumann, Debussy, Beethoven and JS Bach to Americana, English folk, swing, jazz, flamenco, bluegrass, African, Balkan, Gypsy and Indian music and contemporary composers and singer-songwriters.

Sokoshumba - Glynnis Masuku and Anna Mudeka
Festival Fortnight kicks off at 10am on June 21 with Around the World Through Music and Dance, a new free family event in Wymondham Abbey and churchyard. Enjoy Moxy Garbanzo playing Eastern European tunes and Sokoshumba performing colourful African music on mbira, hosho and djembe. There’ll be Bollywood and Indian classical dancing and Strictly Flamenco, along with Adrian Palka’s Sound Table.

Other Abbey events include the vibrant Bella Tromba – jazz, classical and early English music (June 21); Joy and James Lisney (June 26), cello and piano featuring Schumann, Debussy and Beethoven; Collegium (June 28), a new Baroque ensemble performing Telemann and Bach and The Goldman Ensemble (July 2) recreating their 2008 piano recital at St Martin-in-the-Fields, which they presented without their pianist who was stuck in traffic.  Enjoy an evening full of comedy, theatre and music from Bach to Joplin.

The Goldman Ensemble
There’s also a programme of lunchtime recitals at the Abbey and a special performance by Matthew Schellhorn of Ian Wilson’s new piano masterpiece, ‘Stations’ (June 29), to celebrate the Abbey’s new icons of the Stations of the Cross.

And on July 3 at the Abbey, it’s ‘Of Night And Light And The Half Light’ with John Law piano and Iain Ballamy saxophone, exploring the ground hovering between classical and jazz using contemporary groove-based rhythms and contemplative music.

The annual Midsummer Jazz Picnic returns to Becketswell (June 23) with Simon Nelson’s Dixie Mix, fresh from supporting Rod Stewart’s UK tour and Is u Iz – Ali Huiellebecq, saxophone and Hugh Stanners, accordion.

Dixie Mix at the 2013 Jazz Picnic
Central Hall has a great line up beginning with Norwich newgrass string band Feral Mouth (June 24) performing their ‘raucous irresistible bluegrass with rock n roll flair’ – Louise Rodgers, Americana UK.  Then the world famous Pasadena Roof Orchestra is in town on June 27, followed by singer-songwriter Edwina Hayes (July 4), ‘the sweetest voice in England’.  Arhai and Musica Planina (July 5) complete the Central Hall series with a lively evening of Balkan folk music – a great Saturday night party.

Edwina Hayes
Head to the Market Place for Brother Pit’s Acoustic Americana (June 28) and Klezmerized! playing lively danceable music with Middle Eastern, Gypsy and Balkan influences (July 5).

The annual Teddy Bears’ Picnic is at Kings Head Meadow on June 29, with gentle musical fun for the under-fives from Charlotte Arculus and Hayley Moyses. And Norwich favourites The He Hews wrap up Festival Fortnight with the Family Finale at the Baptist Church (July 6), an afternoon of ‘sophisticated silliness’ from flapper to disco with a New Orleans twist.

The He Hews
For full Festival Fortnight programme details go to  Buy tickets now online here.

 Tickets are also on sale at Puff’s Toyshop Wymondham Market Place from 10 May.

Friday, 11 April 2014

New Great Yarmouth Outdoor Bowls Triples Tournament at ‘UK Capital of Bowls’ – July

The new Great Yarmouth Open Triples outdoor bowls tournament will take place at Britannia Bowling Greens on Saturday, July 26 to Sunday, July 27, 2014.

Organised by Great Yarmouth Borough Council, this new tournament will further cement the borough’s status as the ‘UK Capital of Bowls’. Great Yarmouth already stages the Astro Communications Cups in June, and the Great Yarmouth Festival of Bowls, from August to September – the largest outdoor bowls event in the country. And just down the road at Hopton-on-Sea, Potters Leisure Resort hosts The World Indoor Bowls Championships every January.

Great Yarmouth Festival of Bowls

The triples tournament, managed by bowls stalwart, Derek Webster (79), came about in response to demand from bowls clubs across the country. It is hoped that 48 teams will enter this new competition and enjoy a weekend in Great Yarmouth, which is a top 10 UK seaside resort.  The deadline for entering the competition is June 25.

The tournament is played by teams of three on a ‘round robin’ basis, rather than a knock-out. Every team is guaranteed at least three games on the Saturday, with the quarter finals, semi finals and finals played on the Sunday.

The prize money is £1,200, with £200 to each winner, £100 to each runner-up, and £50 each to the losing semi-finalists. The trophies for the winner and runner up are sponsored by the Princes Tea Rooms and the Beach Terrace Tea Rooms.

Entry forms are available from Derek Webster t. 01493 603976, or from Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre t. 01493 846346, Entry costs £15 per team and the deadline is June 25.

Derek Webster, who is also tournament manager for the Festival of Bowls, said: “The Great Yarmouth Open Triples Tournament further solidifies Great Yarmouth’s position as the ‘UK Capital of Bowls’, fitting nicely between the Astro Communications Cups and the Great Yarmouth Festival of Bowls, to create a summer of bowls.”

“In the last few weeks, 20 teams have signed up to compete, which is an amazing response. And if it does take off – and I’m pretty confident it’s going to – that will be another feather in Great Yarmouth’s cap, bringing in scores of visitors who will collectively plough thousands of pounds into the local economy during their stay.”

The Great Yarmouth Festival of Bowls, the largest outdoors bowls event in the country, takes place at the Britannia Bowling Greens, from Sunday, August 24 to Friday, September 19. More than 1,800 participants compete in men’s, ladies’ and mixed teams for singles, pairs and triples titles. The entry form can be downloaded  here. The deadline is June 2.

The Astro Communications Cups, sponsored by Astro Communications Ltd, takes place at the Britannia Bowling Greens on Sunday, June 22. There are open singles competitions for under 25s and under 15s, with prize money totaling £1,000. Entry costs £5 per player and the deadline is May 31. Forms are available from Derek Webster.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Easter Art Exhibition - Burnham Overy Staithe - North Norfolk

The 6th annual Barnham/Hann Easter art exhibition is at Burnham Overy Staithe Village Hall from Friday, April 18 to Monday, April 21, daily 10am to 5pm. Norwich based artists Hannah Hann (nee Barnham), Chris Hann, Checka Barnham and Reuben Barnham will be exhibiting with guest artist Belynda Sharples.

Hannah Hann, eldest daughter of Nicholas Barnham, gave up teaching in 2006 to devote her time to painting. Trained at Norwich and Falmouth art schools, she has developed a strong following with private collectors and her work is exhibited by Baron Arts of Holt, Lena Boyle (The Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London), Josie Eastwood Fine Arts of Winchester, Philippa Lee, The Hare and the Hen, Brancaster Staithe and Mulberry Tree Gallery, Swanage, Dorset. Hannah will also be exhibiting with Ainscough Contemporary Art, Chelsea and Dartmouth, this year.

Checka Barnham, Nicholas’s third daughter, trained at Carlisle Art School in Craft Textiles and works at  Arts Desire in Norwich . Checka makes a wide range of distinctive practical and decorative crafts such as cushions, mirrors, place mats and bags, as well as individual still - life pastels which are widely sought after.

Reuben Barnham, eldest son of Nicholas, trained at Great Yarmouth art school and Hull University in Graphic Design. His wildlife and landscape photographs show a keen eye for composition, mood and atmosphere and have an individuality that elevate them towards fine art. Although this will be only his 6th exhibition, his work is growing in popularity and has a strong following.

Belynda Sharples began her career in interior design working in London before setting up her own design practice in Norfolk. Following an MA in Textile Culture at Norwich University of the Arts, she created a range of wallpaper designs which are marketed through The Art of Wallpaper. Belynda's paintings work in parallel with her textile practice. Motifs in the form of flowers, furniture and textiles provide an overriding theme of domesticity and everyday life. Her paintings show an instinctive ability to use colour and mark making combined with an ambiguous sense of space and strong use of positive and negative shapes.
Belynda has exhibited at Wiveton Farm Cafe, Bircham Gallery, Holt, Josie Eastwood Fine Art, Winchester and Lynn Strover Gallery, Cambridge.

Chris Hann is the infiltrator into the Barnham family, having married Hannah in 1988. Trained at Portsmouth College of Art and the Slade School, he exhibited nationally during the 70’s and 80’s before teaching commitments at Norwich City College dominated his time. Since 2005, he has been exhibiting his work and now divides his time between painting and examining. His work is represented in permanent collections at Portsmouth Museum, Brighton University, British Rail, City College Norwich and Wembley Point London, as well as many private collections in the UK and abroad.

 As well as original paintings, lino prints, original photographs and craft work, there will also be a wide range of prints and cards on sale as well as the opportunity to talk to the artists.

Great Yarmouth Guided Heritage Walks – Easter Holiday Special – April 23

Great Yarmouth’s Guided Heritage Walks season kicks off with Gorleston Dolphins, an Easter Holiday Special on Wednesday, April 23 at 2pm.

Explore the ‘west bank’ of the River Yare in Gorleston-on-Sea, where fishing boats used to moor on the wooden jetties called dolphins, and find out how Gorleston changed in the 19th century from a small fishing and farming village to a thriving seaside town. The walk includes refreshments at Gorleston Pavilion Theatre and a look inside the auditorium of this beautiful Edwardian building.

Gorleston Pavilion Theatre
Gorleston Dolphins starts at 2pm from the Dock Tavern Lane entrance to Morrisons, Gorleston and lasts approx. 1½ to 2 hours.  Places must be booked in advance, t. 01493 846346, or visit Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre, Marine Parade. Prices: £6.50 adults, £4 children (7-16), under 7’s free, price includes refreshments at Gorleston Pavilion.  Twenty maximum on the walk, so book early (10 minimum for guided walk to take place).

The regular Guided Heritage Walks programme begins on Sunday, May 11 with Rows, Fishwives and Bodysnatchers. For further information, download the Heritage Walks leaflet from, or pick up a leaflet at Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Fairhaven Garden – Good Friday Easter Egg Trail - Norfolk Broads

Follow the Easter Egg Trail on Good Friday, April 18, from 11am to 4pm, through Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden at South Walsham, with an ‘eggy’ prize for children at the end, along with face painting and Easter crafts to enjoy. Garden entry is £6.10 adult, £5.60 concessions £3.60 child (under 5 free); £2 extra per child for the Easter Trail, with every child receiving an egg.

Visitors can also take part in the Scavenger Hunt Bonanza, every day over Easter weekend, 10am to 5pm. Go on a scavenger hunt in the woods and fit as many tiny objects as you can into a small container.
Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is at South Walsham, nine miles east of Norwich, signposted off A47 at B1140 junction, t. 01603 270449,

The garden is open daily all year from 10am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day), and on Wednesdays until 9pm from May to the end of August. Entry is adult £6.10, concessions £5.60 and child £3.60 (under 5 free), free entry to tearoom, gift shop and plant sales.

There is wheelchair access throughout the garden, including a Sensory Garden and an accessible boat for trips on the broad (additional charge). Visitors requiring special facilities are advised to telephone in advance, mobility scooters available.

Dogs are welcome on leads; small charge to cover poop scoop.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Maids Head Hotel Norwich – English Inspired Menu for English Tourism Week

The Maids Head Hotel in Norwich is unveiling a new menu on Tuesday, April 1, inspired by traditional English dishes, using Norfolk and Suffolk produce, to mark English Tourism Week (March 29 to April 6).

Maids Head Hotel
Created by the hotel’s Polish Head Chef Marcin Pomierny (28), the menu will be officially launched at an English Tourism Week lunch on Friday, April 4 attended by Chloe Smith MP, the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Councillor Keith Driver, the Sheriff of Norwich Graham Creelman, Caroline Jarrold, Chair VisitNorwich, Sarah de Chair, Chair Norfolk Food & Drink Festival and David Chaplin, owner the Maids Head.

Marcin Pomierny
Head Chef Marcin Pomierny explained: “We change the menu every two months to reflect seasonal produce, and begin testing the next menu on our menu du jour around two weeks before launch. Working with our Norfolk and Suffolk suppliers, I have designed a menu inspired by traditional English dishes using the best local produce.”

“The flavour and the texture of each dish are very important. I often use two cuts of meat in a dish to present different textures. The ingredients must all work together to produce a quality dish which can be well cooked and presented in our busy restaurant and most important be enjoyed by our customers.”    

Highlights from the new menu:

Fresh Cromer crab with Basmati rice tian, guacamole, red pepper coulis, sun dried cherry tomato and salad.

Norfolk wood pigeon breast with confit potatoes, spinach veloute, truffle popcorn and pea shots.

Crispy duck egg, with glazed beetroot, marinated white radish and watercress purée.

Main Courses: 
Dingley Dell Suffolk pork fillet saltimbocca & pork belly with Dauphinoise potatoes, buttered greens, poached rhubarb, Aspalls cider sauce & crackling.

Seared fillets of cod with crushed Jersey Royal potatoes, buttered leek and salsify.

Dedham Vale marinated rump of beef with garlic & rosemary mashed potatoes, spring vegetables and wholegrain mustard sauce.

Roasted portobello mushroom, crispy herbs polenta, mozzarella fritters, sun dried tomato pesto and mixed leaf salad.

Desserts: Maids Head Fruit Salad; texture of rhubard; warmed steamed ginger sponge with cardamom ice cream, coffee caramel sauce and candied nuts.

Marcin Pomierny was appointed Head Chef last September. He trained as a chef in Poland and has worked in Norwich since 2005. He arrived in the UK with minimal English, secured a job as a kitchen porter and has learned the language and the British way of running a kitchen on the job, to become a Head Chef in just eight years. He was a finalist in the Craft Guild of Chefs Young Chef of the Year competition in 2008.

English Tourism Week is a weeklong celebration of events co-ordinated by VisitEngland, showcasing the quality and vibrancy of the visitor experiences and the value that tourism brings to the nation.

For more information about the Maids Head Hotel see,
t. 01603 209955.  

Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens – Excitement as White Storks Nest on Hall Chimney - Great Yarmouth

Thrigby Hall Storks: photograph: Joe Blossom
Excitement is mounting at Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens near Great Yarmouth. A pair of white storks has built a nest on one of the hall’s 18th century chimneys. The white storks, part of the Wildlife Gardens’ collection will, it is hoped, be the first pair to successfully breed in the UK for the first time in 600 years from a traditional stork nest.

The white stork breeds mainly in continental Europe, migrating to Africa in winter. The birds nest close to human habitation, often creating their nest on a chimney, rooftop or telegraph pole. The white stork is not a UK resident, although storks do visit our shores every year.

Thrigby Hall Stork: photograph Joe Blossom

Ken Sims, Director of Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, said: “We gave the storks a helping hand, by building a structure for their nest on the hall’s front chimney, but they turned their back on our handiwork and have built their own nest on one of the rear stacks. They have definitely mated and are very busy, so we’ll be keeping a close eye over the next month or so to see if they begin feeding activities, which will mean that chicks have arrived.”

“We attempted to encourage stork breeding in 2008, but sadly the male stork flew into a powerline and died, so we are hoping to have more success this time. It will be a day for great celebration if our storks manage to breed successfully in their traditional way.”

 In 1416, a pair of white storks nested on Edinburgh’s St Giles Cathedral. More recently, in 2004, a pair attempted to nest on a pylon in West Yorkshire.

Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens is at Filby near Great Yarmouth, t. 01493 369477, The Wildlife Gardens open every day at 10am.