It is a quintessential English town with a busy high street, a weekly market, and a sweet little river running through it.
Evidence of Thetford's unique history are woven throughout the streets of the town. Just off of Rampart Way is Castle Hill, which proudly boasts being the largest medieval earthwork in Britian. Used in the Iron Age and during the Norman period, the man-made hill housed a timber fort or castle, and the ramparts around it served as protection.
Up the road is Kings House Gardens, where Caleb and I would take regular walks during the spring.
There are three medieval churches in town, as well.
It was along Tottington Close that we'd push Caleb along on his first tricycle. Many summer afternoons were spent blowing bubbles and drawing with sidewalk chalk along our road that wasn't really a road.
Friday nights were curry nights, and our favorite take out place was Red Pepper. Sadly, before we left, Red Pepper closed their doors. Rest in Peace, Red Pepper! Your emerald curry was amazing!
Of course, not all of my memories of Thetford are fond. We spent countless Friday nights stuck in traffic jams on the A-11 where it turns into a single carriage way through Elveden. Dual this road now!
There were times I wished I lived closer to (or on) base. It certainly would have made life a lot easier and daily transit a lot quicker. It would have been nice to be centrally located to the hub of overseas military life in many ways.
By and large, though, I'm grateful for the experiences we had living off base. I wouldn't be so foolish as to claim that we were immersed in English culture. Sadly, our lives did still revolve around the base to some extent. But I'm thankful for what little immersion we were able to experience.
This week we handed over the keys to our house and said goodbye to our neighbors. Although I have been know to moan about the parking arrangements and laundry situation in our old house, I will miss it. It was the home where Tommy finished his bachelor's degree and I began and finished my master's degree. It was Caleb's first home. We celebrated Caleb's first of many things there...first birthday, first Christmas, first steps, first words.
It's hard to say good-bye to Thetford. I've really enjoyed our time there. I hope I'm able to find as many adventures in Columbia, albiet of a different nature.
The good news is, Thetford ain't going anywhere. It calls itself the Ancient Capitol of East Anglia. Who knows? Maybe we'll be back to visit again some day.
Until the, thanks for everything, Thetford!