PORINGLAND’S most famous attribute is the Poringland Oak, Old Crome’s painting of a family bathing in a pond. In my opinion the oak tree has long since disappeared, although some people point to the similarity of an existing oak in Poringland to Crome’s painting. This tree is in Carr Lane where Crome’s oak is reputed to have been, but you must allow for 200 years of aging. I am not an expert on the age of trees, so you must make your own mind up about that.
Quite honestly, although in is kept in the National Gallery in London, I have never thought very much of the subject. Crome was a very good artist, but to me the reflection of the tree in the pond looks unconvincing, but then who am I to carp? Crome must have been past the place where my home was many times, because as well as painting the Poringland Oak he worked for Dr Rigby in his younger days (before he was famous), and Rigby had his country house in Framingham Earl.
The village has changed (naturally enough) in the quarter of a century since I lived there. It had, by the time I left, already lost the dairy which used to deliver our daily milk when I was a child, and all the local bobbies had been withdrawn in the 1970s. Until then our village had its own policeman living in a house in the Street. The primary school moved from Framingham Earl to modern premises in Poringland in the 60s. Bonds the butcher closed soon after I left, and Spalding’s the grocers had already gone. On the other hand it now has a doctors’ surgery and a library, a Budgen’s supermarket and an Estate Agent, none of which existed when I was born. It has become much more of a dormitory for Norwich, but even when I was small it was going that way. My father worked in Norwich after all, and he was not alone. Dorothy Lenton on one side was matron at the Norwich King Edward VI School and Graham next door worked at Jarrold’s printing office.
Poringland is a long ribbon of development, and I lived at one end of the ribbon. By the time the ribbon had reached my home it was a narrow strip with Caistor, Stoke and Arminghall crowding in on one side and Framingham Earl, Framingham Pigot and Bixley on the other. Despite living there for over 30 years I never felt a part of village life. Perhaps it was being surrounded by other parishes is to blame. I was more involved in Framingham Earl than Poringland, but even there I was semi-detached. Living and working as a postman in Costessey Drayton and Taverham for over 20 years I have been much more involved with life to the west of the city; but this post is about Poringland.