One of my book-loving life’s proudest boasts has to be how I treat old friends with just as much affection and attraction as when we first met.

I find it nigh impossible to part with any item however high piles grow beneath packed shelves or demands intensify to at least give priority  to volumes acquired in the past few months.

Planning the odd purge every other year brings little more than touching reunions with dusty covers and yellowing pages.

They blink their way back into purpose with beams of gratitude rather than accusing scowls, happy for another chance to spread fresh enlightenment and jog a few precious memories.

Take this small selection drawn up at random from a deep well of literary refreshment just to the left of my writing desk. Opening lines from A County Chronicle compiled by  Brian Vessey-Fitzgerald and first published in 1942 provide a real tonic as winter parks outside my library window:

“The earth may be bound with frost, snow may be thick upon the fields. The rain may chill and the winds rage, but there is no foulness of the weather can destroy January’s greatest gain -  the longer light.”

After a short stroll along Cromer seafront before tea to see what he means and feels, I return to find eminent historian  Sir Arthur Bryant reflecting warmly on slight but clearly meaningful links with Norfolk in The Lion and The Unicorn, his 1969 contribution to  serious reading lists.

“By chance of my father’s occupation, I was born in the little woodland village of Dersingham on the shores of the Wash,” he writes.

Dad was chief clerk to the Prince of Wales and moved on to hold several other roles with a royal flavour in the capital. Arthur spent part of his childhood in a house bordering the gardens of Buckingham Palace.

He was stationed in Norfolk for a short spell in the First World War but largely relied on chance for returns to “the coastline where the Sandringham woods keep their wedding with the grey North Sea and winds from the Danish flats.”

Fulsome praise of Norfolk’s virtues include a salute to “air like the finest vintage champagne. crisp and invigorating, yet light as thistledown. And if there is a better – farmed county in the whole of England. I have yet to see it.”

My next little reunion features prolific writer J.H.B. Peel ready to share a summer day in Norfolk via More Country Talk, a winner from 1973.

His father also enjoyed regal connections, albeit largely confined to an appearance in the 1930 Royal Variety Show as comedian Gillie Potter.

He addressed his audience in deadpan tones on unlikely and esoteric themes peppered with literary.

Historical and linguistic allusions. His son took a more straightforward route in sizing up the British countryside and handing out bouquets or brickbats along the way.

This John Peel and his dog travelled through Norfolk at an average speed of three miles an hour enjoying “ a land of water, wildfowl, wheat and woods.” 

However, there are jarring notes in that symphony of enchantment … “Thetford has changed from a country town to a factory site; King’s Lynn sold itself for a mess of lorries; and Britain’s Common Profiteers hope to extract much money by ‘developing’ the east coast ports and their hinterland.

“Still, nine-tenths of Norfolk is deep country, rich country, quiet country. sane country” with timeless sights and sounds in village inns, supplied by men of the soil.”

Mr Peel drops in for a glass of cider and is told by a local at the bar: “I he’bin hoeing all day and damn me I’m that thirsty I could swallow a brewery.”

It must have come out a bit broader than that – but perhaps we should be grateful our visiting scribe did not see fit to wade into gushing Mummerzet waters.

A couple more old friends emerge to renew acquaintance after being left to languish for the best part of some time. Doreen Wallace, farmer’s wife with literary and political leanings – she fought a long campaign against the iniquitous tithe tax – offers me a signed copy of her 1954 novel, The Younger Son.

Finally, wiggling his glasses and fidgeting powerfully, my comedy favourite Eric Morecambe thrusts his 1981 offering Mr Lonely towards me with a long chuckle and invitation to read again and laugh in all the right places. “They can’t touch you for it, young sir, and you could be wise after the event.

“Come on sit down, turn up the volume and take the weight off your library ticket.”