Athletics jamboree is one of many things at Fakenham this Easter

New Year's Day Race Meeting at Fakenham Racecourse. A good crowd for the meeting.
New Year's Day Race Meeting at Fakenham Racecourse. A good crowd for the meeting.

A big crowd is expected at Fakenham for their Easter Monday meeting.

The schools are on holiday, of course, so it’s more than possible that some of you will already have headed off elsewhere for a break.

We’re very much at home, welcoming a family houseful who in recent weeks between them have travelled to China, Spain and the Gulf.

I no longer envy them their foreign experiences but am delighted they can enjoy – and in at least one case perhaps, endure – these adventures.

Here in Fakenham it promises to be an athletics jamboree with the second annual Easter Sunday Funday cycling and running event taking over the whole of the town centre.

The main 1km circuit will encompass Bridge Street, Olivet Way, Whitehorse Street, Norwich Street and the market place.

These will all be closed off to traffic from 8am right through until 7pm.

Organisers Active Fakenham and local club East Coast Riders will set up the course in advance of the opening criterium bike races for young riders which take place at 1pm.

A 5km UK Athletics mixed ability run then gets under way at 1.45pm and will be followed an hour later by a 1km fun run.

Senior cyclists will then dominate the remainder of the day from 3.30pm onwards.

If last year’s spectacle is anything to go by and the weather obliges again this will be something special for all the participants and good fun for spectators.

With such a tight littlecourse the action is virtually non-stop and almost within touching distance.

Plenty of stalls will fill the market area and an innovation this time will be a sports massage tent run by students from the Norwich-based Jackie Hamilton school of therapies.

I understand they will be giving free massages although contributions will be appreciated. A vote of thanks must go to Richard Crook for his tireless commitment to this sportive celebration.

On Good Friday the parish church will welcome families and young people in the morning from 10.30am to 12.30pm for an Easter Holiday Workshop to include crafts, music, drama and hot cross buns.

It’s requested that under 8s should be accompanied by an adult.

On Easter Monday our race course is bound to be packed for its traditional holiday fixture with the first race due off at 1.10pm.

As this is very much a family day it’s worth knowing that accompanied young people aged 17 and under go free. And that Fakenham is one of the few tracks in the country to permit entry to dogs on leads.

A winter without a good layering of snow is hardly a winter at all for me.

So that’s two in a row I’ve missed now.

But what a delight to welcome all the familiar sights and sounds of spring as the weather turns warmer day by day. I guess in some urban parts of the country the seasonal change is not so obviously apparent even if the signs are there.

What finally puts the icing on the spring into summer cake for me is the arrival of a particular migrant bird following its mammoth journey up from Africa.

And on April 3 I spotted it during a riverside walk when up to then nothing much had lifted my spirits.

There on the wing above the field behind the chocolate factory was a solitary swallow dipping and diving as if very pleased to have arrived.

I kept my bins on him for some while to make sure I’d got it right. That swallow certainly made my day.