This week our series of places to go solo picks the brains of Rebecca Humphries who heads back to the first place she called home whenever she needs to get the most out of some time out.
I am not a Londoner by nature.
But the beautiful, sprawling lawns of the Royal Parks or those peaceful western parts of the Thames, where the water feels calmer and more mature somehow aren’t able to fill my heart quite to full capacity.
It must be because my experience of London is that no matter where you find tranquillity, chaos is a mere 20 minutes walk away. That is both its blessing (at 2am where you think you’ll never find an open pub, only to turn a corner and find a whole street of them) and its curse.
My heart and I are only truly serene in the city I hail from, and specifically by the river Yare on Yarmouth road in Norwich, Norfolk.
Whether it’s sitting out on a jetty in the summer, hands clamped around a cold cider watching the swans glide their way past abandoned row boats; or in the winter clomping through thick powdery snow, trying to identify the footprints of wildlife that has passed through prior. This is where I like to be.
I have many fond memories of that tiny stretch of green that interlinks some of the finest pubs I’ve ever made an utter fool of myself in.
Yearly village fêtes, showing off the Yeardley’s lavender talc I had won on the tombola to the other envious Brownies.
A mad friend and I embarking on a ‘midnight picnic’ only to run screaming in a blind panic when the bats arrived in their hundreds.
More recently seeing a black swan terrorise a small child who had the nerve to throw her sandwich in it’s direction. Good on it.
For me, true peace is being in the present supported by the richness of the past. Maybe in years to come London will provide the same for me. But for now, a two-hour train ride for a spot of bliss is just fine.
Rebecca is an actress and writer from Norwich. She likes her portions big and her dogs small. @Beckshumps