Wensum by Jim Harding, November 3, 2015

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People who have ‘emigrated’ to live in North Norfolk over the past thirty years or so have obviously made the decision for a variety of reasons – work, retirement, family connections, a better environment and such like.

Those from city or big town backgrounds will have forsaken the host of entertainment options which may well have been available to them on their doorsteps.

I got to thinking about this in terms of the revolution which has taken place in our towns and villages here to promote and provide cultural sustenance to their immediate communities.

In filmic terms there’s now a plentiful local choice available on a regular basis despite the absence of cinemas. A quick run-down of our paper flags up films being shown all over the place, principally in village halls. Clubs have been created, equipment acquired, amateur projectionists recruited and an enthusiastic clientele encouraged. In November, for example, there are screenings in North Creake, Wells, Great Massingham, Syderstone, Briston and Stanhoe plus, no doubt, quite a few more. Lots of us, particularly the retired, are not prepared to travel distances of an evening.

How much better to support clubs like these in a sociable atmosphere just ‘down the road’ where ticket prices will range between £3.50 and £5 and refreshment costs are reasonable.

It’s more than worth mentioning that none of this would have been possible without the support of Creative Arts East which has been a vital champion of such initiatives for many years.

The other great innovation, of course, has been the live screenings in town cinemas here of opera, ballet and theatre, mainly from major venues in London. So far as Fakenham is concerned, most of the selected performances have attracted good audiences. When a star such as Benedict Cumberbatch plays Hamlet, of course, it’s a sell-out. Do these treats mainly appeal to the more mature generation? I think the answer has to be ‘yes’ for the vast majority of operas and ballets but it’s been good to see some younger people attending theatre shows.

The cost is not unreasonable at £11.50 if you consider what might be the deal at the Royal Opera House or the National Theatre. Members of Fakenham Film Society are entitled to a £1 reduction. Mention of which reminds me that the society is showing the classic A Man for All Seasons this Thursday at 7.30pm, £5 members, £7.50 non-members.

May I recommend the Makers Market which has taken over from the former craft market in the parish church and has now been on the go since March. Run by Debbie and Keith Osborn it takes place on the fourth Saturday of each month to coincide with the Farmers’ Market in the town square. In the run-up to Christmas it’s likely to be a particularly popular port of call.

There’s something a bit special about handmade arts and crafts and here you have some exquisite creations – jewellery, furniture, knitted scarves, crocheted animals, mosaics, cards, pottery and so much more.

It’s free, there are refreshments and live music –recently a fine young guitarist from Norwich – and the market supports Fakenham Barnardo’s Helpers Group as its charity. Open from 10am to 2pm the next market is on Saturday, November 28, to be followed by a pre-Christmas special on Saturday December 10.