Or how to behave if you’re a visitor in Norfolk. Just please, when consuming, as with chips from Norwich Market, take with a sizeable pinch of salt…
You’ve come to Norfolk to get away from the stress and strain of everyday, routine life… and you’re very welcome (don’t listen to those yokels who talk about ‘durn furriners’). But what’s the etiquette when you’re talking to the Good ‘Ol Boys down the Parched Parrot? Let us help you… follow our guide and you’ll soon have an ear of wheat sticking out of the side of your mouth and be ’oo-arring’ with the best of them.
1 Smocks and wellies (or cycle clips) are de rigeur at Norfolk village events, like the village fete. And don’t forget that an ear of wheat in the corner of your mouth adds that certain je ne sais quoi.
2 For an interesting excursion, go to the Bernard Matthews factory where turkeys are bred with breadcrumbs on their skin, rather than feathers. They have also developed an added-value three-legged turkey for an extra drumstick, although nobody knows what they taste like – nobody has caught one yet.
3 When you’re out driving on our lovely, quiet country lanes and see a horse rider, give a little toot on your horn as a way of saying ‘Good day!’ You’re sure to receive a hearty response. And if you’re on a countryside ramble, make sure you leave gates wide open. This will save the next people through a lot of bother. And don’t worry about taking your litter home with you. Picking it up gives local children something to do with their time.
4 Don’t be fooled when locals tell you Happisburgh is pronounced Haysbrough – they’re just having their little joke. It’s really Happysburg (and it’s got a lovely stripy lighthouse, above). Oh, and to properly fit in, Potter Heigham pronounce Potted Ham. Wymondham, as if you haven’t guessed, is pronounced Windham. No, we were having you on there – it’s really Whymondham. Talking of pronunciation, commend the locals on their Somerset accents – it’s taken us years to get ‘jussst roight, moi luvver’.
5 There is excellent mountaineering to be had in central Norfolk. Contact the Norfolk Mountaineering Association for details – and don’t forget to pack your carabiners and crampons.
6 When hiring a boat on the Broads, make sure you maintain a vigorous speed down the rivers, as the ensuing wash keeps the banks clean. And when mooring your cruiser, be careful to apply the hand brake and use the indicators. Oh, and local women enjoy being referred to as Norfolk Broads. My, how they’ll laugh if you call them this.
7 A Norfolk bylaw states that tractors cannot be overtaken. Doing so is punishable by taking a Tractor Appreciation Course at the Tunstead Trosh. And there is an ‘unofficial’ speed limit of 35mph on the Acle Straight to Great Yarmouth. Make sure you respect this. Other motorists will be extremely grateful.
8 Burnham Market is commonly referred to as Chelsea-on-Sea. This is because Chelsea footballers quite often stay at The Hoste Arms enjoying the Nelson displays while their WAGS shop in the fashion boutiques and buy wet fish. Remember to wear your Chelsea replica shirts when you’re walking around the village – you’ll fit in nicely.
9 If you approve of any comments made by residents in their local hostelry, blend in by slapping them on the back and exclaiming, ‘Thassa loada squit, that is!’ And smokers should fall in with the local custom by asking ‘Have yer got a loight, boy?’ when requesting help starting up a cigarette.
10 Talking of which, if you’re up from The Smoke, remember the difference in exchange rate – one of your London pounds is worth half that in Norfolk. Therefore, when tipping, you should expect to double what you would normally offer.
11 It is traditional walk to Norwich City FC home games from the city and join in the banter and general bonhomie. We’re known as a friendly club and like to make visiting fans feel welcome. So why not wear the opposition team’s colours and call out encouragement for them. The alternative mode of transport to see the Canaries is bicycle, in which case you would tell friends, ‘Oim gonna roide moy boike danta Carra Rud’.
12 Norwich City played one of their most famous football games in the San Siro stadium in Milan, shared by Internazionale and AC. Unfortunately, they lost 1-0, but came back with the idea of ground sharing with Ipswich Town at a 40,000 all-seater stadium equidistant between the two locations, at Diss. Ask if you can sign the petition at Carrow to move this ambitious plan a step forward.
13 As our countryside and coast are so diverse, Norfolk is often used as a location for glamorous Hollywood films. You’ll know the closing shots of Shakespeare In Love were filmed with Gwyneth Paltrow on Holkham beach (it’s huge! That’s it above). But did you also know Ice Cold In Alex had Winterton-on-Sea beach doubling up as the north African desert. A Year In Provence was filmed at Heacham Lavender. You thought that Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was filmed at Angkor Wat in Cambodia but it was actually shot on location at East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden.
14 It’s a fallacy that we like nothing better than a flagon of ale after a hard day’s toil in the fields. Show you mean to fit in when visiting a pub by calling out as you enter, ‘Barman! Bacardi Breezers all round!’
15 If you dine out at one of the county’s top restaurants, don’t be put off when they tell you there’s no carvery – it’s usually only kept for the locals. Also, our restaurateurs are always happy for people to order ‘off menu’ – just tell them whatever you want and they’ll be happy to rustle it up.
16 When ordering chips from Norwich or Great Yarmouth Markets, ask for a side order of guacamole. Mushy peas are SOOOOO last week.
17 Be a Nosey Parker, named after Bishop Matthew Parker from Norwich, and visit local auctions to see if you can find a bargain. Who knows, you might be able to pick up Nelson’s eye patch or the tricycle he rode on the poopdeck of HMS Victory at Trafalgar.
18 When you’re collecting fruit at one of Norfolk’s excellent Pick Your Own establishments, help yourself to the produce. We think it’s only right to try before you buy. Likewise, if you’re at a farmers’ market, feel free to grope fruit and vegetables to ensure their freshness and quality.
19 Don’t get taken in by all those pubs and inns named after Horatio Nelson, and his name on the entrance signs into the county. Locals will tell you he’s from Norfolk, on account of having had a holiday home in Dereham (he actually couldn’t stand sea views after all those years sailing the briny), but he was really born in Portsmouth… which is why Pompey laid claim to his boat. And besides, Nelson never touched drink… he may have only had one arm and one good eye, but he was never legless.
20 Countryside roadsigns cannot be trusted. To confuse shot-down Luftwaffe pilots and Nazi spies during the second world war they were all moved around to pint in the wrong direction. You may have seen it on Dad’s Army and thought it was just a comedy invention, but it really did happen. Many have not been corrected since. Which is why it sometimes appears to take longer to get somewhere than you thought when you set out.
21 Calling somebody a bore – as in a Wodehouseian ‘I say sirrah, you are a terrible bore’ – is one of the worst things you can say. If someone calls you a bore, or ‘bor’ in local dialect, then invite them outside for fisticuffs.