Friday 9 September 2016

Who is Roy of Wroxham?

Friday 9 September 2016
Nido's parked up on what I would describe as a small aire, alongside the river at a marina in the heart of Wroxham.  We have a lovely spot to sit outside and watch the holidaymakers crash their hire boats!

A lovely still, warm morning saw us sat outside eating bacon and eggs.  Our plan today was to hire a rowing boat from Whispering Reeds, just around the corner from the pub, taking a picnic to enjoy on the water. But on arrival we were told it was too windy and I could see it probably was for a rowing boat; our breakfast spot was well sheltered.  So it was back to the van to consider options.  We thought of cutting the holiday short. The Broads were difficult to see without a boat (obvious really!) but there was also a severe shortage of footpaths in the area. Also we'd seen most of what we wanted to along the coast. But in the end we decided to carry on. So a replan saw us head to Blickling Hall NT property, for a look around the gardens and a walk by the lake - not too exciting but choices were a bit limited. 

After this visit we drove to the aire at Wroxham. It's a few minutes walk from the busy centre but very quiet, with space for up to five vans.  On arrival, the warden Cheryl - a lovely helpful lady - told us it had recently become a C&CC CS. We're not members but she let us stay. Settled in, we walked the short distance over the river bridge into town to do some food shopping.  If you've never been to Wroxham, 'Roy' seems to own everything. Almost every shop begins with 'Roys', even the toy shop.  There is a McDonalds with the usual sign and Golden Arches, but it's in a building owned by Roy - and his name appears above theirs on the building! I remember all of this from my visits here over 40 years ago. I wonder if Roy's still alive? I wonder if Roy ever existed, or it was just some mad marketing ploy dreamt up in a Norfolk pub. I imagine him to be a short, fat, bald ol' Norfolk boy, a little like Boss Hogg on the Dukes of Hazzard.  I'll need to Google 'who is Roy of Wroxham' when I have a signal!  [Roys was founded in 1895 when brothers Alfred and Arnold Roy opened their general store in the village of Coltishall. In 1899 a second store was opened in Hoveton. It remains a family business and uses the motto "The World's Largest Village Store"]. 

On the way to the small supermarket we saw a Thai restaurant. That's tonight's dinner sorted - a takeaway back at the van. Cathy showered in the van while I tried the marina facilities.  It was an experience - a porta cabin, three 20p coins for the meter and an uncontrollable shower that almost flooded the place out! Still, I emerged clean and managed to utilise my past Royal Navy damage control skills to remove the flood and prevent the porta cabin sinking. We sat outside watching the world go by with a drink, chatting to our neighbours, accompanied with two lovely little dogs who enjoyed the treats we keep in the van. I ordered our Thai meal - only an hour's wait - and sat outside with a drink until it was time to fetch our meal.  The restaurant was only a quarter full and there seemed to be more staff than customers - too many cooks...?  The meal was OK but I suspect any hint of chilli or garlic has been dumbed down for the local taste. We sat outside until quite late (for us!) in a warm breeze.

Good ol' Roy - keeping his name above McDonalds!

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