Sunday, 19 January 2014

Mum's gone to Holt, Norfolk

Sign - Holts in world


What a great idea for a series of travel posts, to try and visit all these towns called Holt. I made a start on the Norfolk one on Friday when Dougie and I took advantage of a day off to take a drive east to our neighbouring county. It was either that or me make a start on the ironing.

I really should have taken more photos of the town, which was very pretty and very Georgian, but we spent all of our time either eating or shopping or just holding hands as we walked around. It would have spoiled the atmosphere to be getting my camera out every five minutes. There are some good shots on this website though: Tour Norfolk

We started eating two minutes after leaving the car park as we were just in time for morning coffee in Byfords, a fabulous cafe/delicatessen/posh B&B. They market themselves as 'a higgledy-piggledy world of pleasure' which is very true. We sat in a small bay window looking out onto the street, eating croissants, surrounded by mums who had finished the school run and smart old gentlemen reading the papers.

A couple of quirky features to mention. At one end of the High Street is 'Obelisk Plain' containing two interesting structures. The obelisk with the pineapple on the top (see left) was once a gatepost at Melton Constable Park. The distances marked on the post are therefore all wrong, as it is now over five miles from its original location.

There is also an old gas lamp next to the post (no photo, mine wasn't any good, but see the link above and scroll down). According to this website, the lamp is called 'Blind Sam' because it was rarely lit.

The shops on the main street and in the many 'yards' grouped around the centre, were delightful. Mostly independents - art galleries, antiques, books, fashion boutiques, a barber's called 'The Tonsorial Artist' no less. We had good fun looking around, though at 6' Dougie felt he was having to watch his head and make sure he didn't knock into things. He wasn't designed for boutiques.

We passed Adnams Cellar and Kitchen Store, an offshoot of Suffolk's local brewery. Dougie most disconcerted to see English whisky in the window. He was tempted but felt it was disrespectful to his Scottish roots. I told him he should keep it in mind as you never know what might happen if the independence vote goes through - he might never be allowed back in.

He was also tempted by the clothes in the window of a shop called 'Old Guys Rule' but refused to go in on principle.

So did we buy anything? Yes. In a great little kitchenware shop called the Butler's Pantry where we bought a set of six 'Rainbow' tall glasses made by Leonardo. They turn any drink into a cocktail ( I had a glass of water last night in the green one and it looked like a mojito) and were only £3.50 each.

Rainbow glass by Leonardo

We also bought two cappuccino cups, again made by Leonardo, called 'Ooh Magico' because the glass changes colour when hot liquid is poured in.

Ooh magico cappuccino cups, Leonardo
Ooh Magico cappuccino cups - empty

Ooh Magico cappuccino cups - with hot liquid inside.

Dougie and I loved these but a bit pricey at £16.95 so we only bought two. May ask for the other colours for birthday/Easter/Valentine's Day/Mother's Day/Tuesday.

Our final purchase, after which Dougie told me he was not having any more days off ever again as we can't afford them, was in Lapwing Woodturning, where Tom Kittle designs and makes beautiful, unique pieces, using local resources. We couldn't resist this bowl, made from yew, which 'just because I like silliness', said Tom, he included a number of ball-bearings which spin around a groove made in the wood. Very tactile, such beautiful smooth wood with the occasional original gouged bit (there's probably a name for that) adding a rugged texture to the piece. I could sit whirring the little balls around the track all day: some latent fascination with roulette maybe?


We chatted to Tom for some time as he explained where the wood had come from (a nearby village called Barney) and we discussed what his plans were for creating a stand for a customer's cannonball which had come from the Battle of Trafalgar. There it was, tucked into the corner of his studio, out of the way so it didn't drop on anyone's foot.

Lunch? At the back of The King's Head pub is 'Steak', a separate dining area dedicated to providing the best char-grilled steak possible. We both had a steak, mushroom and spring onion baguette, with hand-cut chunky chips. The combination was inspired and delicious and at £5.95 an absolute steal for a lunchtime meal.

Can't believe all these years we have lived here and we'd never been to Holt before. It was only just over an hour away but it had so many treats to offer. We're going back soon. Or maybe we should visit the Holt in California or Copenhagen first?


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44 comments:

  1. Yes, go to all the Holts worldwide! That sounds a great idea - and a great read. Love your purchases too.

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    1. I think I may have to google them to see what they've got to offer.

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  2. Come to Neville Holt on a Friday and I'll meet you :) it's on my doorstep. There aren't shops and stuff but it's a nice place for a walk. I NEED those cups (I have the glasses).

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    1. Now that's an idea! We could also find out a spot half way between our two homes and meet there sometime. I'd like that :-)
      The cups are fab - make me smile every time I fill 'em up!

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  3. Curry Queen left a comment but instead of pressing 'publish' I pressed 'reject'! Apologies, CQ. I still have the email notification so here's what she said:

    I love wooden items, so am well jel of your wooden bowl with its lovely ball bearings. Also love the glasses and cups ' saucers. Seems as though a trip round all the Holts could become very expensive....!

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    1. I hadn't thought of the expense once I get to each Holt. I really should check them out online first and see what the shopping benefits are like. I suspect Dougie will put them in reverse order. Any in a desert I wonder?

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    2. I was wondering where I'd disappeared to! I was worried that I was getting Alzheimer's as I was sure I had commented but then couldn't see it anywhere!!

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    3. Me and my fat fingers...which I always thought were quite slim! Sorry again x

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  4. Ooh.. those rainbow glasses have caught the wife's eye. Might have to undertake a Holt tour myself...!

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    1. You can find them online from a few sources. Just google rainbow glasses by Leonardo. Bargain!

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  5. Sounds a lovely day out with a fantastic lunch. Oh to have a really good steak and chips, especially at that price!

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    1. The steak was done in small finger-sized strips. The flavour was just heavenly. One of those meals where you don't want the taste to disappear afterwards.

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  6. Sounds like my sort of day and that wooden bowl is just crying out to be stroked...beautiful.

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    1. You would have loved it, Libby. Can't tell you how smooth the wood is. I could sit holding it all day.

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  7. You see if you had popped in to visit me when we lived just outside of Copenhagen, you could have technically crossed it off your list... We lived in Holte! :D x

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    1. Ha! What's an 'e' between friends?! :-)

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  8. "Higgledy-piggledy world of pleasure"? I like the sound of that! ;)
    Love the glasses and cups, and looking forward to reading about your next 11 visits! xx

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    1. It's a perfect description for it.
      I think you may be waiting for some time ;-))) x

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  9. What a great travel plan! Next time try and drag Dougie inside Old Guys Rule, they have some really great t-shirts! My favourite one reads 'Shed Happens.' LOL.

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    1. Ha! I will try and persuade him. He's at that difficult age.

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  10. Ooh LOVE the look of those glasses. How cool are they?!

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    1. We just love the glasses. Every drink looks like a Tequila Sunrise.

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  11. Sounds like a great day out!

    Inspired purchases too - I think I need those coffee cups in my life - you'll always know when you've got another mouthful left!

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    1. Ooh, I hadn't thought of that. Clever!

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  12. i love this coloured glasses!

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    1. They cheer me up when I see them on the shelf.

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  13. Drooling over those rainbow glasses! What a great idea for a travel plan. Look forward to reading the next instalment...

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    1. It's one of those daft ideas that I don't really think I will follow up. But you never know!

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  14. Ooh I love your purchases! What an epic tour that America stint will be - I love the idea of doing this.

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    1. I suppose it could be a laugh. I think I need to google these Holts and see what they have to offer.

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  15. I love the cappuccino cups! I'm off to google Holt as I don't think it can be that far from me.

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    1. It was just over an hour from me and well worth it.

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  16. You were in Norfolk and didn't look me up *sulks*, I'm loving your rainbow glasses

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  17. ooh i love those cups too how cheery!

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    1. I must buy the purple one next. They only had green and orange in the shop.

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  18. Things I remember form your post and after reading all the above comments
    1. the pillar has a pineapple on the top and has been moved
    2. there were only 60 Holts back ages ago and now there's 3000+
    3. Higgeldy Piggeldy do great coffee.
    4.You drank water that felt like a mojito - this one particularly grabbed my interest :)
    5. Emma used to live in Holte

    Love this idea and I really enjoyed reading it. oH just remembered one more
    6. Found it VERY funny when you told Dougie Scotland might not let him back in if the vote is passed!

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    1. Ooh you were paying attention, Mari! Gold star for you haha!

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  19. Oh! oooh! you had me at holding hands! Those cups are so so cheery.

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    1. It was very romantic. Must do it again soon.

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  20. Oh Holt is one of my very favourite places and Byfords is our Christmas eve treat, you've described it so well. It's definitely a special occasion place for us, so quirky but never cheap! I wonder if you'll visit any more Holts worldwide?

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    1. I've just remembered why the idea of Holt had occurred to me! It was you!!! I read your post just after Christmas and commented that I fancied a trip there. My memory must be going - can't believe I forgot where the idea had come from a few weeks later!

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  21. What a lovely day out, just the two of you. All of your purchases look gorgeous and it all sounds very romantic.

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    1. We plan to do this more regularly. It was such a great day.

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