Nearly two weeks ago I returned from a trip down memory lane. I went out to Norfolk to stay with a group of new friends, and strangely enough this area of Norfolk was where I met my husband nearly 15 years ago. I know, small world! We had arranged the get together a month or so beforehand and I was really looking forward to it, though less so the four and a half hour drive on my own with a toddler.
However, I was not about to let that stop me. I really wanted to spend time with this amazing bunch of ladies. You see we have all suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a little known but debilitating illness of pregnancy. And we all volunteer or fundraise for Pregnancy Sickness Support, a small charity that seeks to raise awareness of pregnancy sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum (also known as HG). PSS also runs a network of volunteer supporters to help women through such a frightening, lonely and often misunderstood condition. Though I was not fortunate enough to have found the charity during my pregnancy, I found it when Isadora was 8 months old. Since then I have been supported and offered support through a facebook page and now forum. I have met many fabulous and inspirational women through PSS and I am proud to call these girls my very close friends.
I bunged the entire contents of my house into the car (or so it seemed), squished the Mini One into her car seat and off we set eastwards.... The journey was relatively easy, pleasant driving. The landscape got more open and flatter the further east I went. Finally as I neared Acle it flattened out into the distinctive drained marshland of Norfolk. Now, I am a mountain girl, so flat landscapes make me feel very exposed.
|Elemental landscape of Norfolk|
I feel the need to hunker down and see if I can create some topography somehow... Nonetheless the landscape was beautiful. I followed the narrow track down towards some trees and finally arrived at a large cream coloured farmhouse set within the confines of its own little 'moated' garden.
A couple of hours (and cups of tea) later Katrina and Griffin arrived, and it was already like we had been good friends for years. We had planned to do some walking together to train for our various fundraising challenges for PSS and were working out what day would be a good walking day. We aimed for Thursday, when Sam and Harper could join us.
It seems though, that the weather conspired against us. Wednesday was fine (unfortunately Isadora and I were not feeling well and ended up sleeping half the day away!), but a storm blew in during Wednesday evening. I would love to say that Thursday dawned clear and bright, but it did not. It was howling a gale and throwing rain down with spite. Luckily we were all tucked up cosy in the farmhouse. Sam and Harper arrived and all four children hit it off immediately. Isadora found a new idol in Harper and the boys Adam and Griffin were inseparable. It was great. Fun and relaxing, just chatting and sharing stories and eating cake.
When the weather allowed we would potter in the garden and chase the chickens, all the while being buffeted by the wind and in the evening we sat down to dinner while the outside raged around us. It was perfect. Warm and sheltered inside and spectacularly elemental outside.
|Griffin battles in the wind with the branch|
|Thelma and Louise|
All too soon it came to an end, Sam left on Friday and we spent a windswept hour at the beach at Hemsby (where I met Graham all those years ago), and then Katrina and I also departed on Saturday morning.
|Braving the elements|
I was sort of sad to go, but felt uplifted and happy. I miss Norfolk now, but know we will do this again, and we are doing our fundraising challenges all together. I am really inspired by these women and their beautiful HG children and honoured to be their friend.