Room 101 - Is there just one thing about East Anglia you want to send there?
PUBLISHED: 18:00 08 March 2019
East Anglia is wonderful, of course - but is there an aspect of life in the area which you would consign to Room 101?
In the classic novel 1984, George Orwell’s original Room 101 saw people confronted with their worst nightmares. But, on a lighter note, over the years, TV show Room 101, hosted by Frank Skinner (and now axed itself), has seen celebrities trying to consign their pet hates to the celebrated room, and hopefully to oblivion!
So what did our readers and staff choose to cast through those infamous doors?
Confusing place names
For Richard Evans from Taverham, it’s “confusingly spelt place names.” He said: “It would be really helpful for Norfolk immigrants like me to have phonetic pronunciation clues under place names. For years I was going to [Happ-is-burg] and [In-gold-is-thorp] until some locals took sympathy on me!”
Annual roadworks overload
Richard is also annoyed by “all roadworks happening in one month (March) as councils rush to spend their budget.” However, he added: “Guess that’s nationwide Room 101 though.”
TV gets the accent wrong
Duncan Brodie of Hadleigh’s pet hate is “TV drama producers and casting directors who can’t tell the difference between the accents of Suffolk and Norfolk, or indeed between those of Suffolk and Somerset.” Anyone who has put up with the “ooh-arrr” West Country type accents in shows such as We’ll Meet Again, supposedly set in a Suffolk village, or episodes of EastEnders where characters head for the region on holiday, will agree
Meanwhile, Stacey Cosens would like to bin “the Essex stereotype” - another tired old staple of TV shows like The Only Way is Essex.
The smell in the air
Liz Nice said: “I’d put the smell of the sugar beet factory in Bury St Edmunds into Room 101. It occasionally drifts as far as my house and although it is kind of the smell of home and I feel a certain affection for it, it isn’t exactly perfumed. I normally get the strongest whiff as I drive into town and my sons and I always joke as to who might be responsible. ‘Oh, who’s done one?’ is usually the refrain, followed by delighted laughter. It never fails to amuse us, so maybe I am being a bit harsh putting it into Room 101, but Bury is a very nice town so the fact that it is somewhat dogged by a omnipresent fart smell isn’t entirely in keeping, do you think?
The Norfolk/Suffolk feud
Some people on Twitter mentioned Suffolk as a pet hate, while some mentioned Norfolk - and key figures at the rival football clubs also received mentions. This neatly illustrates the eternal feuding between Suffolk and Norfolk. That’s a pet hate for Judy Rimmer, who now lives in Ipswich but grew up just on the Suffolk side of the Norfolk border, a few miles from Diss.
“In that area there really isn’t any rivalry because you are travelling in between the counties all the time. So I only became aware of it later, and have never seen the point,” she said.
“When I was a child, a few people I knew even used to travel up and down the A140 to both Ipswich and Norwich games, which admittedly would be far too expensive for any but the richest football fan nowadays!”
Noisy dawn chorus
Judy added: “Although I grew up in the country, sometimes in spring I would love to make the birds’ dawn chorus a little quieter, though maybe sending it to Room 101 would be rather extreme! The sound is more of a problem if you live near someone with cockerels which love to welcome the dawn at around 4am. I have some sympathy for broadcaster Nick Robinson when he complained about cockerels awakening him in Orford.”
Everyone knows everyone
Megan Aldous from Ipswich said: “One thing that really grinds my gears is how everyone in Suffolk seems to know each other. You can’t go out anywhere without bumping into someone you know. Sometimes it would be nice to have an outing where I don’t have to socialise (I know I sound like a right grump.) Some days I don’t even need to be outside to be struck with ‘Joe Bloggs knows you.’ it can happen from just answering the phone.
An unusual gripe came from Paul Geater of Ipswich, who moaned about the region’s shingle beaches: “They’re no good for kids (you can’t build sandcastles and they’re really painful to go paddling in). And they’re really tough to walk on.
“Aldeburgh and Shingle Street beaches? Give me the sand at Walberswick, Southwold and Lowestoft. And if you want the perfect beach go round the coast to Cromer where there is sand and rockpools – the perfect place for children to look for marine life!”
Broadband and phone signals
Phone signals, slow broadband and lack of wi-fi were also chosen by several people.
Sophie Barnett said: “Phone signal, what phone signal? It’s 2019, but in Great Wenham you are more likely to receive a letter before a phone call. Living in the countryside has its perks, but phone signal is definitely not one of them. I’ve spent many days desperately holding my phone in the air, hanging on to that one bar for dear life. So when the internet is down (which is far too often) it’s like being cut off from the whole world. No wi-fi, no signal? No Sophie!”
The staff of Paddy & Scott’s Cafe in Bury St Edmunds also picked the region’s phone service as a bugbear, while Zoe Rimmer of Thwaite was fed up with rural mobile phone “not-spots”.
Sizewell C proposals
Twitter users Naomi Goff, Charles Macdowell and Jennifer Wilson all wanted to get rid of proposals for Sizewell C. Naomi said it would be “hugely damaging” for the coast and RSPB Minsmere, “damage the valuable tourism industry and leave an onsite legacy of radioactive waste.”
Not surprisingly, many people highlighted transport issues.
Bus lanes were chosen as a pet hate by Catherine Taylor, who said: “I got fined twice when I first moved to the Norwich area six months ago! Driving round a new city can be daunting.
“Add in bus lanes, roadworks and cyclists also navigating their way round, you can’t blame a driver for getting confused. However, the council has no mercy and fines any driver that swerves into a bus lane without realising or is unsure of the regulations in place. Bus lanes in Norwich put people off driving into the city centre at a time it’s important to attract visitors to keep high streets alive – they should be sent to Room 101.”
Train services annoyed Marc Betts of Norwich. “There are three links from Norwich at best and even then they take an hour. The train to London is constantly delayed and takes two hours. People can get from Manchester to London in little over that.
“Want to go anywhere other than Liverpool, London or Cambridge? Tough. Have to get a train to somewhere else, then make four connections. When I lived in Winchester it would take me four hours to get there by train and, if I didn’t pre book, it would cost £100, pre booking £40.
“Going to London for a day out is an effort, as you will spend four hours travelling, so will have to leave extra early and then the last direct train back is at 10.30pm.”
Still with transport woes, Andrew Fitchett said: “One thing to put in Suffolk Room 101 list is the Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft. It’s forever getting stuck and holding up drivers, and it always seems to be at rush hour on a Friday night when all you want to do is get home.”
Julie Kenny wanted to get rid of Orwell Bridge closures, which cause gridlock misery in Ipswich during high winds, while Robert Budd was fed up with the constant jams at Copdock interchange.
JP Asher, who last year moved to Norfolk after changing jobs, said the only negative aspect had been the distance he now has to travel to Luton Town matches.
He said: “The A11 is a very good road and you can get there in less than two hours most days, but it starts to take a toll when you’re doing a round trip in a single day. The trade-off is that we’re now very close to the seaside, which my kids love.”
Fed up with moaners
For some people, though, their biggest moan is - people moaning!
David Vincent from Ipswich is annoyed by “the people who have never been anywhere else, and are constantly moaning.”
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis said: “I hate all the Ipswich-bashing. Like any large town, it has its problems but there are lots of things to celebrate as well. A thriving arts scene. Some good restaurants. And some excellent independent shops. Everyone talking Ipswich down only adds fuel to the fire. Let’s embrace and shout about the good and help it to thrive!”
Meanwhile, Twitter user Mrs Webb, from Acton in Suffolk, wanted to get rid of “townies who move here, then moan about things, eg church bells, farmyard aromas, harvest late at night, etc. Go back to the city!”
Other pet hates - nominated by people who remain anonymous
• Dogs on beaches (controversial) - but pubs on the coast which don’t allow dogs were also nominated!
• People who wear pink trousers - is this specific to our area, though?
• The ‘we’re a bit rubbish and we don’t care’ attitude
• Over-priced food in ‘gastro pubs’
• Cap doffing to our ‘betters’
• The £10 tax at Norwich Airport
• Center Parcs (and other holiday) prices during school holidays
• Crazee, the other Ipswich Town mascot - “Why do we need Crazee and Bluey? It’s excessive!”
• People who phone Canary Call but didn’t go to the game
• Banham Zoo snow leopard - It was suggested that it might already be in Room 101 as it is so hard to see
• Celebrities including Ed Sheeran and Stephen Fry - though many people totally disagreed with these suggestions!
• Football-related celebrities including Delia Smith and Marcus Evans