Get in to Croquet

Get in to Croquet

Croquet is one of those activities that struggles with a reputation for being elitist.  This is probably due to the fact that a decent sized (and flat) garden is needed to be able to play at home, and clubs are few and far between.  Luckily for those of us in Norwich there’s an excellent facility near the model boating lake run by Norwich Croquet Club where visitors and new members are always welcome. The traditional form of the game is known as Association Croquet.  Described as being ‘like snooker with mallets’, it’s a game that requires great skill and tactical nous.  It’s possible for a player to build a break (as in snooker) and matches can take many hours to complete.  There is a strong core of Association players in the club and mini tournaments are held every second Monday throughout the summer.  Also there is the occasional weekend tournament attracting players from across the country to compete. A more accessible way into the game is the variation known as Golf Croquet.  The basics can be picked up very quickly and newcomers will be playing within fifteen minutes of first picking up a mallet.  Usually played by two teams of two it’s a very sociable activity and a game typically takes half an hour to complete.  Of course it’s possible to develop with practice, and formal and informal coaching sessions are held for those who want to improve and eventually compete in league matches against other clubs.  Many members however are content just to turn up for one of the club mornings (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10am) meet...
The Friendly Park

The Friendly Park

Parks can be new or old, large or small, and urban or wild. The Eaton Park that Ceceile and I have come to know and love in our two years in Norwich is a city park not yet a century old, and so still young by British standards. Eaton is quite large for a city the size of Norwich and, of course, very much a part of the surrounding urban fabric of houses, schools and businesses. However, there is also a wild naturalness about Eaton Park that I notice most times I walk through it on my way to work. All I have to do is to look up at the Norfolk sky from Eaton Park’s colonnaded center to enjoy the towering spectacle of clouds that — as the Fenland poet Edward Storey insists — “are to us as the Himalayas are to the world of Asia.”  Or as the writer Charles Kingsley put it: “Overhead the arch of heaven spread more ample than elsewhere, as over the open sea…such cloudlands, such sun rises, such sunsets, as can be seen nowhere else in these isles.” The elegant geometries designed into Eaton Park by A. E. Sandys-Winsch in the 1920s bring the natural world of cloudlands, flower beds, migratory birds and chirping crickets close to us even as park patrons gather together to enjoy each other’s company in outdoor pursuits ranging from picnicking and dog-walking to team sports, model boating and train rides. Eaton Park is very local in its East Anglian topography and in its native varieties of flora and fauna; but it is also attuned to shared and...
Footgolf

Footgolf

Footgolf is one of the UK’s fastest growing sports – a winning combination of football and golf. You play it on a golf course using a size 5 football. Like golf, the object of the game is to get the ball into the hole in the fewest number of shots possible. Eaton Park’s newest sport uses the existing pitch and putt course but different holes. Norwich has two courses, Eaton Park and Mousehold Heath. As well as a great way to exercise and get some fresh air footgolf is sociable and it’s good fun for all ages. Footgolf times are Tuesday and Friday evenings from 3pm to dusk and Saturdays from 1pm to dusk. Tickets cost: Full details here. Go-for-less discounts...
Tennis in Eaton Park

Tennis in Eaton Park

It costs £30 per year for a family/household to join Norwich Parks Tennis. Membership allows you to book a tennis court up to one month in advance and guarantees the court will be waiting for you when you arrive. The scheme is massively popular and the number of registered players has recently exceeded 1500. It’s great to see such a wide variety of people playing tennis whether this is in the coaching sessions we offer, or with friends and family; daytime or at night, when the floodlights are turned on. More and more people are taking up the game and accessing the coaching programme to brush up on their skills. Norwich Parks  Tennis offers a wide range of professionally led coaching options including sessions for children, adult and cardio tennis, as well as our female only Tennis Tuesdays which are part of the This girl can campaign. All sessions are competitively priced and offer different options for different levels from beginners to experienced players. If you think you might like to get involved you can book a free first session to see what it’s like. Often with tennis the challenge is finding someone to play with. Our coaches offer social sessions on Saturday afternoons where you can come and meet new players. You don’t have to be a member to take these up as they are open to the all members of the public. To ensure everyone gets a good game there are two sessions, one for beginners and the other for more experienced players. If you fancy giving it a go then drop them a line for a...