From Black Friday to a weekend warmer

While it’s been knocking around for a few years, Black Friday became a bit of a phenomenon in 2014, with retailers enticing us to spend by offering significant discounts. Many shops are extending their promotions over the weekend and if you’re planning a shopping trip into Norwich this weekend, can we recommend a couple of activities for your consideration? They’re not your traditional bargains although hopefully you’ll think they’re money well spent.

First up, families, history buffs and fans of the brilliant author and illustrator Michael Michael Foreman War GameForeman need to know about Christmas in the Trenches at Norwich Castle tomorrow (Saturday, 29 November). Free with admission into the museum, this First World War day is inspired by the Christmas truce of 1914. Michael Foreman, who wrote and illustrated the classic children’s book War Game about the famous Christmas truce and football match in no man’s land, will be there in person to give a talk about his work at 2pm, and will be signing copies of his books afterwards. Michael grew up just over the Suffolk border in Pakefield, near Lowestoft, so this even is almost a homecoming for him. As well as this, there’ll be carols, talks, a family trail and the chance to take part in a giant commemorative art project, and of course you can have a look around the museum’s exhibitions and displays too. Drop in any time between 10.30am and 4pm.

Our second activity is a request – to buy a book for a child in care in Norfolk that will be given to them for Christmas. You can do this by visiting Waterstones on Castle Street in the city, in the children’s book section is a little wooden tree decorated with dozens of tags, each of them with a request for a book from a child who is currently in care in Norfolk – some will be for a specific book, others for a type of book or something by their favourite author.

This is such a wonderful thing to support – if you have your own children it’s a lovely thing to do as a family too. People are always so generous (this is the ninth year the council’s teamed up with Waterstones to do this) and we hope this year is no exception. Just pop into the store during its normal opening hours before the end of Sunday, 9 December to buy a book from the Giving Tree – the reason for this deadline is to make sure the books can be wrapped and delivered in time for Christmas.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, and wherever you’re doing it, we hope it’s a good one for you.

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Norfolk Winter is coming – and the Norfolk Winter blog is back!

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You know winter is near when the Norfolk Winter blog gets going again!

Hope everyone’s had a good year. We’ve had a pretty mild autumn so far but a couple of chilly mornings this week – which is when this picture of some frosty leaves was taken – has really brought it home that properly cold weather, and everything that goes with it, is becoming a distinct possibility.

As ever, we’ll be updating the blog with information and advice that will help you stay happy, healthy and safe in Norfolk through the winter. From today, we’ll be posting daily gritting and weather updates on our Norfolk Facebook page and on Twitter, using the #NorfolkWinter hashtag. So far this autumn the gritters have only been out three times, twice earlier this week. Temperatures have recovered since then but our expert weather forecasts are currently predicting that it will get colder again in the second half of next week.

You can help us get the word out, and ultimately help other people in Norfolk get through the winter, by sharing these updates and posting your own on social media – remember to use #NorfolkWinter on Twitter so that people can easily find all relevant information. The idea is to create an online Norfolk Winter community where people can get up-to-the-minute local information. Local weather and travel updates, wintry photos of Norfolk and information on the support that’s available – bung it all up please.

Winter can be a really tough time of year for everyone, usually even more so if you’re older, have a long-term health problem or are on a low income. Norfolk Winter won’t magically make this all better but we do really believe it can help people cope by collating all useful information in one place and hopefully making people realise that we’re all trying to do what we can to help each other through.

We’ve got some nice blog posts coming up and if you don’t want to miss any of them, can we recommend signing up to receive an email every time there’s one added? You can do via the side bar of this blog on the home page of the Norfolk Winter blog – eyes right!

Thanks very much for reading and in advance for your help in making winter a little easier for everyone.