One of a series of love letters to Norwich during the coronavirus lockdown of 2020. A few local people reflecting on what they miss, about everyday life in the city.
A daily Government-approved trip “up the city” makes for a strange walk at the moment. The lockdown version of this city is like a film set of Norwich; all of the buildings are there, the pigeons look real enough, but it’s missing the people who really put the “fine” into this city.
Norwich is such a special place, it balances the welcoming community of a village with all the culture and excitement of a city. There are so many creative people here, all working on any number of projects, meaning there is always something to watch, experience or get involved with.
Both Ella (my cousin and business partner) and I grew up in East Anglia and have known and loved Norwich for our whole lives. When we came up with this funny, slightly crazy idea for a place we would call ‘Frank’s Bar’, we both moved to the city. We were certain that if our idea was going to work anywhere, it was here.
When we eventually found our little spot nestled in the heart of the Norwich Lanes, on the cobbles of Bedford Street, we knew we were in the right place. We opened our doors in April 2008 and were thrilled to find that the excellent people of Norwich took a liking to us. We love being in the Lanes, we love that the people who work in and run the businesses here act like a little community, always willing to stop, talk and support one another.
Living in Norwich, you soon learn that it’s very difficult to walk anywhere in a hurry. Not because the city is big or confusing, but simply because people here actually stop to talk and ask you how you are. I’m ashamed to admit that there have been times when I have tried to rush through the city, and found myself checking my watch when someone stops to talk to me. The lockdown has made me realise that these moments are actually part of what makes this city great and they’re a part of life that I’m missing the most. I have decided that when we’re all let back out to start rushing around the city again, I’m going to try my best to remind myself of the fine advice offered by Norfolk road signs: ‘slow you down’.