August G…uest #12: A Move Back In Time

Pete.jpg Please meet Pete Johnson and read all about as he put it in his own words:  “The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk”
I lived in London for sixty years. Born and raised in the dockside area just south of Tower Bridge, it was all I knew. I grew up there, went to school there, and got married there. Like most people, I moved around. It’s a big city, lots to see, and all the districts are different. I lived in middle-class areas, upper-class areas, and cramped rented flats too. After two divorces, and a geographic circuit of the Capital, I spent the last twelve years in the trendy confines of Camden Town, a stone’s throw from the centre.
I worked there too. One third of my life as an EMT, dealing with the demands of a population of over seven million, plus the tourists and commuters. The next fifth of my life spent working for the police, a total of thirty-four years in the emergency services, dealing with every bad thing that one of the biggest cities in the world can throw at you. By the age of fifty-nine, I was worn out. London is not really a place that you live in. It is something you endure, somewhere you survive. You learn to live by its rules. Don’t use a car unless you really have to. Don’t flaunt anything, and walk straight, catch nobody’s eye. Never back down. Only fools speak to strangers, and only tourists or children sit on the top deck of the bus.
Oh, it has its perks. Restaurants, cinemas, bars, theatres. Lots of them, everywhere. Shops, shops, and more shops. You can buy anything you want, but not always what you need. You are a small fish in an enormous shoal, so unlucky if a predator spots you. Stick with the crowd, and you will get by, unnoticed. But forget trying to sleep. Sirens, helicopters, 24-hour life and transport, with ambient light so bright it feels like the sun never sets. Always tired, struggling through one day to the next, in the relentless pace demanded by city life.
Retirement loomed as I approached sixty. Time for a change. London is no place to be old.
So, we bought a house in Norfolk. Only 120 miles north-east, but it might as well be in another country, and at another time. A drive of just over three hours by car takes you back over fifty years in the process. We settled in a place where people still say “Hello” as they walk past. Where a parcel left outside your door is still there, a week later. You don’t have to lock your car, and you could probably leave your doors unlocked too. Children don’t follow old people to mock them, but to help them. Your neighbours help out, and are happy to ask for a favour in return. Traffic jams are but a memory, and within twenty minutes drive, we can be standing on a deserted beach.
And the house cost less than the price of a lock-up garage, in the street we happily left behind.
It’s not all perfect, nothing is. Public transport is almost non-existent, and I have to travel twenty miles to buy a decent shirt, or to find a good street market. There is one cinema, and the choice of places to eat is limited by the modest expectations of local people. No local shop, and no real village centre, so it is not easy to meet new people. But it is dark at night, and I can see the stars, for the first time other than when on holiday. I can walk my dog past wild deer, and watch fish jumping in the river. I feel like I live in an England that I only ever read about in history books.
And I know which place I prefer.
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Guest Bloggger

  • August G…uest Post Roundup | The Recipe Hunter
    Posted at 08:55h, 02 September Reply

    […] A Move Back In Time by Pete Johnson […]

  • olganm
    Posted at 04:00h, 22 August Reply

    It’s great to see Pete here. I follow his blog and must admit the place where I live is a bit like the place he describes. Unfortunately, for family and other reasons, I’ll probably be moving on soon. Thanks for providing this great opportunity for bloggers.

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 06:28h, 22 August Reply

      Thanks for reading Pete’s post. Would you like to also participate and share your own story on my blog. Please email me at [email protected] and then I will set you up and you do your own post. That will be awesome.

  • Jennie
    Posted at 03:56h, 22 August Reply

    A delightful post, Pete! I thoroughly enjoyed the read and your details of London and Norfolk. The photo of you and Ollie is terrific- with Ollie actually sitting still! I’m glad you were a guest on Esmé’s blog.

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 06:27h, 22 August Reply

      Awesome, I just love this series, so much fun to learn the world through others and also meet all these awesome bloggers

  • dgkaye
    Posted at 16:59h, 21 August Reply

    Wonderful post Pete. The world seems to be getting bigger and with it comes the hustle and bustle. Glad you’ve found a peaceful place to enjoy your life. 🙂

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 18:23h, 21 August Reply

      Thanks for again popping over and visiting

    • beetleypete
      Posted at 02:42h, 22 August Reply

      Thanks, Madelyn. Glad you enjoyed it.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      • dgkaye
        Posted at 05:53h, 22 August Reply

        I’ts Debby, and you’re most welcome.

      • beetleypete
        Posted at 07:41h, 22 August Reply

        Sincere apologies, Debby. I was typing a few acknowledgements to Madelyn, and got carried away! 🙂

  • Teagan Geneviene
    Posted at 11:59h, 21 August Reply

    Delightful post from Pete. Thanks Esme. Hugs.

  • vinnieh
    Posted at 11:07h, 21 August Reply

    A fine piece Pete. I loved how you described things.

    • beetleypete
      Posted at 11:18h, 21 August Reply

      Thanks. V. Glad you liked it.

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 19:22h, 21 August Reply

      Vinnieh how about you also participate and share with us one of your stories that you would have done on your own blog? Let me know if you would be interested. Thanks in advance

      • vinnieh
        Posted at 00:59h, 22 August Reply

        At the minute I’m a tad busy, but I’d love too in the future.

        • cookandenjoyrecipes
          Posted at 06:25h, 22 August Reply

          No rush at all, just drop me a note when ready and I will be delighted to have you on board as well. I await your email or comment in due course.

          • vinnieh
            Posted at 07:43h, 22 August

            Thanks for understanding. And I hope you like my blog too.

          • cookandenjoyrecipes
            Posted at 16:38h, 22 August

            Thanks dear – sure do. Please bookmark this invite and let me know when you’re ready. Thanks again

          • vinnieh
            Posted at 00:33h, 23 August

            I’ve bookmarked it.

          • cookandenjoyrecipes
            Posted at 05:09h, 23 August

            Perfect, No rush, in your own time and then you can do you guest post, that will be awesome. Take care

  • johnrieber
    Posted at 08:58h, 21 August Reply

    Pete’s blog is a great place for interesting posts and good online conversation….

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 10:21h, 21 August Reply

      Sure is, but how about you also adding your story here as a guest poster? Please let me know if interested. That would be awesome. Thanks in advance.

      • johnrieber
        Posted at 10:24h, 21 August Reply

        Sure! What do you want me to share? Food related? I have some fun stuff you might like…traditional and quirky stuff as well

        • cookandenjoyrecipes
          Posted at 19:14h, 21 August Reply

          Please email me @ [email protected] then I can add you as a Contributor then you can get going at your convenience. Please mark the email as “G…uest Post” then I will not miss it. Looking forward to your email.
          You can share anything, if you have food stuff, great, if not any other topic that you would normally do for your own blog will be perfect.

    • beetleypete
      Posted at 10:33h, 21 August Reply

      Thanks, John. You are too kind!
      Best wishes, Pete.

  • By Hook Or By Book ~ Book Reviews, News, & Other Stuff
    Posted at 07:41h, 21 August Reply

    It’s incredible what a difference there is in big city life and country life, and you did a beautiful job describing both Pete.

  • Ian Gibson Photography
    Posted at 07:06h, 21 August Reply

    I have to say, Pete, I have reached the age you were when you left London, but I still enjoy being here. I like that i can get on a bus (top deck, of course!) and see the city (and for free, next year) and all the people busily going about their day. I’m not as close as you were to the centre, though. I guess living in Waltham Forest is a bit like living in Norwich, by comparison. We are close enough to be able to get into town in 45 minutes, but right on the edge of Epping Forest.
    I’m pleased you are still happy in carrot crunching land!

    • beetleypete
      Posted at 07:45h, 21 August Reply

      Good to hear you are still enjoying London life, Ian, albeit that you do so from ‘the edge’. It’s a personal thing, I know. I have friends and relatives older than me who still love living in London, and would never move.
      It wore me down in the end though. Maybe because I lived in Camden/Euston for so long?
      Cheers, Pete.

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 10:12h, 21 August Reply

      Sounds awesome, love your input. Now, how about you share with us your story as a guest blogger just as Pete. Please let me know if intetested and I will be delighted to have you. 😊

  • First Night Design
    Posted at 06:33h, 21 August Reply

    Pete, you remind me (as if I’d forgotten), exactly why I never want to live in London again. Yes, I miss the theatres and museums but long before we moved to Crete, we’d stopped travelling into the centre because it was so stressful and expensive. You get from Beetley exactly what I get from the Isle of Wight. And the next person who quotes Dr Johnson about being tired of life, I shall scream loudly and clearly – “I love life!”

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 07:02h, 21 August Reply

      Thank you for droppping in and reading Pete’s post. This is absolutely magic to meet all the new bloggers and read their comments and views on the Guest posts. I quickly dipped in your blog, and would like to extend an invitation to you as well and ask if you would be interested to participate in this Guest blogging venture. Please email me at [email protected] and I will set you up to do a post. Looking forward to your response. I am off to work now so will check in tonight

      • First Night Design
        Posted at 07:36h, 21 August Reply

        I’d love to but am very short of time at present. Anon, anon!

        • cookandenjoyrecipes
          Posted at 10:17h, 21 August Reply

          No rush, email me when ready and I will set you up or I can do the invite and you write when you can and let me know once done, your call. Looking forward to hear from you at your convenience. 😊

    • beetleypete
      Posted at 07:25h, 21 August Reply

      Thanks, Sarah. I think we both served our time at the London ‘coal face’. Time for that much-needed stress relief!
      Best wishes, Pete.

  • GP Cox
    Posted at 04:49h, 21 August Reply

    Thank you for having our good blogging buddies Pete and Ollie here on your site!

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 06:44h, 21 August Reply

      My pleasure, and delight to have them as part of this G…uest blogging venture. Would you like to also participate. Please let me know, as it will be absolutely awesome to have you on board. Looking forward to your response.

      • beetleypete
        Posted at 07:26h, 21 August Reply

        You should write something about your Dad, GP. Those posts are always sincere, and interesting too. Thanks for commenting here.
        Best wishes, Pete.

        • cookandenjoyrecipes
          Posted at 10:01h, 21 August Reply

          Thanks Pete and I am looking forward to have some more interesting posts. This is just awesome to see and experience the world though other bloggers eyes and stories.

      • GP Cox
        Posted at 11:33h, 21 August Reply

        Don’t really know what I’d talk about. Nothing on my blog is about me, I just report the news of what the troops did during WWII Pacific and the home life at the time. When it comes down to it – I am quite boring by myself.

        • beetleypete
          Posted at 11:44h, 21 August Reply

          But your Dad had some good adventures!

          • GP Cox
            Posted at 11:46h, 21 August

            That he did – that’s exactly why the blog is about him and his unit!!

        • cookandenjoyrecipes
          Posted at 19:09h, 21 August Reply

          GP any of those posts will be perfect, as mentioned I accept any post that you would normally do on your own blog. Please email me @ [email protected] and let me know if I can add you to the Contributors list then you can do a post at your convenience.

          • GP Cox
            Posted at 03:50h, 22 August

            I’ll give it a shot.

          • cookandenjoyrecipes
            Posted at 06:26h, 22 August

            That will be awesome – Have I done the invite as yet, if not just let me know then I can set you up.

  • Osyth
    Posted at 02:55h, 21 August Reply

    Salut Pete! I DID enjoy this piece … visiting London and living there are polar opposites. I still visit from time to time but I can’t imagine living there again. Norfolk on the other hand …. Norfolk I could consider if I ever thought I would like in England again 🙂

    • beetleypete
      Posted at 02:57h, 21 August Reply

      Many thanks for your comment. There are a few parts of England I would recommend as good places to live, and Norfolk is one of them
      Best wishes, Pete.

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 06:49h, 21 August Reply

      Thanks for popping in and checking Pete’s post. If I have not invited you as yet to participate, please accept this as a personal invitation to be a Guest here on my blog. Please email me at [email protected] and we can chat to set you up. That will be awesome. Hope you will see your way open to participate in the Guest blogging venture.

      • Osyth
        Posted at 07:23h, 21 August Reply

        You have kindly invited me and I have accepted …. I just need to write it – it’s been a chaotic couple of weeks but I’m on It! 😊

        • cookandenjoyrecipes
          Posted at 10:15h, 21 August Reply

          Awesome dear, no rush, just email me once done. Thanks

          • Osyth
            Posted at 10:44h, 21 August

            I will. I’m afraid I am notoriously discursive blog wise (my excuse is that I do write real stuff in my downtime 😉 )

          • cookandenjoyrecipes
            Posted at 19:13h, 21 August

            Not a problem, I am just happy to have you as part of this venture. Please email me @ [email protected] if I have not added you already as a Contributor then you can get going at your convenience. Please mark the email as “G…uest Post” then I will not miss it. Looking forward to your email.

  • A Blogging Guest | beetleypete
    Posted at 02:53h, 21 August Reply

    […] I was delighted to be invited by Esme to write a guest post for her blog. This was a nice surprise, and a welcome invitation. That post is now up, and though the content will be familiar to any regular readers of this blog, I am nonetheless posting a link to it. […]

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 06:50h, 21 August Reply

      Awesome – Thank you Pete for your kind words. Just love your contribution. Any of your readers are also MORE than welcome to participate in the Guest Blogging venture and get in touch with me and let me know as I welcome all.

      • beetleypete
        Posted at 07:27h, 21 August Reply

        Thanks to you too, Esme, for extending your kind invitation to the whole community of blogging.
        Best wishes, Pete.

  • beetleypete
    Posted at 01:12h, 21 August Reply

    Thanks for this guest post opportunity, Esme.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 07:07h, 21 August Reply

      It’s my absolute pleasure and delight to have you here Pete. Thanks also for the shout out on your blog. I commented there as well. Have an awesome day and should you in future wish to do another post, just drop me a note.

  • Judy E Martin
    Posted at 23:04h, 20 August Reply

    I love Norfolk too, Pete. I lived there for a short time and Suffolk too so I know what you mean about the different pace of life there. Not only that, but there are so many large, open spaces, beautiful countryside and rugged beaches to enjoy.
    I have never been one for big city living. I can’t bear huge crowds and there is no way I would get on the Tube! I know it has its merits of course, everything on hand day and night, but I would rather just wait a few hours for the sake of a bit of peace and quiet at night. 🙂

    • beetleypete
      Posted at 02:30h, 21 August Reply

      Thanks for your thoughts and comment, Judy.
      I took a long time to discover the peace and quiet away from city living, but I am glad that I finally managed to experience it.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      • Judy E Martin
        Posted at 02:35h, 21 August Reply

        I wish you many years of happiness there 🙂

        • beetleypete
          Posted at 02:38h, 21 August Reply

          That is very kind, thank you.

        • cookandenjoyrecipes
          Posted at 06:51h, 21 August Reply

          What an awesome and delight to have Pete here and learn about other parts of the world. It’s as if I am being a traveller through your eyes. Awesome stuff

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 06:54h, 21 August Reply

      I so agree with you on “I can’t bear huge crowds” I also prefer the peace adn quiet. I am a small town girl.

      • Judy E Martin
        Posted at 08:34h, 21 August Reply

        Yes, me too Esme. I would not like to be secluded out in the middle of nowhere as much as I would hate to be in a crowded city! 🙂

  • blondieaka
    Posted at 18:34h, 20 August Reply

    It is lovely when we find our own little piece of heaven, isn’t it?…Big cities are lovely for a few days… but not to live in 🙂 Pleased you have found your little oasis of calm and tranqulity 🙂

    • beetleypete
      Posted at 01:11h, 21 August Reply

      Everyone expected me to miss London, and I suppose I had a feeling that I would. But I have only been back once in five yeas, and it felt oppressive and depressingly unchanged.
      Many thanks for your thoughts and comment.
      Best wishes, Pete.

  • Mr. Militant Negro
    Posted at 18:09h, 20 August Reply

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

    • cookandenjoyrecipes
      Posted at 18:43h, 20 August Reply

      SIr, you’re so on top of reblogging – thanks as always

      • Mr. Militant Negro
        Posted at 19:44h, 20 August Reply

        I am trying to keep up with your activity. Hope you enjoyed your weekend.

        • cookandenjoyrecipes
          Posted at 20:02h, 20 August Reply

          Sure did have an awesome weekend, with both 2 and 5 year grandkiddies here. This Granny has a great time.

          • Mr. Militant Negro
            Posted at 20:46h, 20 August

            Thats what life is all about, fun with grands.

          • cookandenjoyrecipes
            Posted at 06:57h, 21 August

            Totally agree – Just love every moment when I have with them.

          • Mr. Militant Negro
            Posted at 07:47h, 21 August


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