Setting an alarm on holiday feels a bit wrong but that’s what we did. We set off to Sandringham to see the Royals walk to and from church. Something I’ve done a couple of times on Christmas day but never on New Years Day. On Christmas Day, you have to get there before 8 and stand for 3 hours before they arrive. Not on New Years Day.
We parked in an empty car park and walked the familiar walk to the ‘wellwishers’ area which is cordoned off by a little rope. There was hardly anyone there, it was great. We got there at 10:30 so only had to wait 30 minutes until they walked to the church. We did a couple of laps of the field to keep Sailor and Penny warm as it was going to rain all day…and it did just that. We set up camp half way between the house and the church. Everyone had a front row pitch, there was no pushing or shoving, no tutting at the fact I’m so tall. It was perfect. The Princess Royal led the family with Sir Timothy Lawrence, then the Earl of Wessex and Lady Louise. I said Happy New Year to the Princess Royal and she looked at me and said it back. Woohoo. The Duke of Edinburgh and the Countess of Wessex arrived by car but as we were so close, we could see them clearly. New Years Day is the day to go to Sandringham.
The service on Christmas Day is a lot shorter than the New Years Day service which lasted an hour. On Christmas Day, half the well wishers leave after the Royals enter the church but it’s when they return that they often stop and speak. So we were able to walk straight up to the corner pitch, the best spot as you are close to the cars and the walkers. We sang the songs that played on the speakers and started to freeze our socks off as the rain and wind became more persistant.
The family walked back and I said Happy New Year to the Earl of Wessex and likewise he looked directly at me and wished me Happy New Year. So that means I’ve now spoken with Harry, Camilla, Edward and Anne. Few more to go. By this time we couldn’t feel our extremities and we were already soaked through but pleased Sailor and Penny got to see the Royal Family. I’m sure they loved it.
We walked the blue route of Sandringham Wood. It’s well paved and a lovely walk. By the time we couldn’t get any wetter or colder. You only know how wet when you go to the toilet and then can’t reapply clothes because you can’t feel your fingers and every piece of clothing sticks to you. A lunch stop and then back in the car to dry off and warm up with the heating on full blast.
On the way back to the cottage we took the scenic route along the North Norfolk coast and looking at the various seaside resorts to Cromer. I especially liked the villages with works missing like ‘Wells Next The Sea’.