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Normal for Norfolk

9 August 2010

Bill Bryson the travel writer confessed in one of his early books that he came from Iowa because “somebody had to”.

Sometimes I feel the same about Norfolk, where I come from – or at least where I have been for the last 40 years – somebody had to come from Norfolk.

You sense just the slight hint of a sneer – often no more than the flicker of a moustache or the twitch of an eyebrow – when you mention to those who consider that they live in more sophisticated counties like Sussex or Hampshire that you hail from Norfolk. Then, almost immediately, they remember the line from Noel Coward’s Private Lives: “Very flat, Norfolk.”

Yokel place for yokel people

And when, not many years ago, Martin Mears disrupted the smooth flow of succession in the Law Society by getting himself elected president; one council member described him as a backwoodsman, and a legal journal (not this one) called him a Norfolk Yokel. I am sure that if...

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