It's hard to give first impressions when you're returning to a place where you used to live, except when it comes to the air, I suppose, which tastes noticeably cleaner than that of London
But this is a land which is profoundly different from the rest of the UK, and the rest of the UK often seems to have profound difficulties understanding it
It is a world of vast skies and wickedly indecisive weather, of sandy beaches and stormy waters, of Queen Boadicea, of Viking raids, of King John's lost treasure, and of lost towns, as well. Dunwich was mostly swept into the North Sea 700 years ago, and is still out there, somewhere, under the mud.
It is flat, but is not even: it is marshland, coast, forest, farmland and the strange district of the Brecks, which is the closest thing that England has to real steppe. The remote areas are home to seals, otters and red deer, birdlife is so rich that the RSPB considers Norfolk to be Britain's best county, and everywhere there is some wildlife...often very odd wildlife, including plants that swim, beetles that bite and the UK's largest spider
I hope to be able to explore more widely when I come back up here in a fortnight. But in the spirit of the mammal most frequently associated with the UEA, I feel that I ought to start with a rabbit.
The campus is their own. You will meet them on the footpaths, in the carparks, on the roads...and even with the ponies.
They've been the subject of a non-invasive study here for a couple of decades. But there is much else to find; I've seen willow tits, a dabchick and a common tern on campus before, and it was good to spot a whitethroat.
Magpies and crows are common, but a family of jays is resident at the moment at well.
Robins, of course, are common throughout Britain.
As are pheasants, unfortunately (they're an introduced species which impacts some of our native fauna) but I think that this is the first time I've photographed one perched in a tree
Khamsin, meanwhile, is very excited by this new watery world and is enjoying exploring it (thankfully staying on terra firma!)
It's a good idea to keep watch in the thick vegetation, though, because you can never be sure who is lurking in there!
But it's pretty enough to make you want to keep walking