Even though travel restrictions are easing I am not yet minded to risk it so I still have no new stories to post so I continue to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.
Just a couple of years ago on 7th August 2018 I was in East Anglia in the UK visiting the town of Aldeburgh in Suffolk…
After a visit to the seaside resorts of Southwold and Lowestoft we travelled a little further south today to the town of Aldeburgh pronounced Awl borough, famous most of all for being the home town of the English composer Benjamin Britten. Place names are like this in East Anglia – Mundeslea is Munslea and Happisburgh is Haze-brrr.
I wondered if my grandchildren would like it because Aldeburgh is an old fashioned genteel sort of place where people of a certain age (mostly my age, I confess) visit to amble along the pebble beach. The objective for most is to pass judgment on the scallop sculpture which seems to be the most controversial thing about the place (half the town love it, the other half hate it) and later find a tea shop for a cucumber sandwich and a slice of Victoria Sponge cake.
Aldeburgh is that sort of a place, a bit upmarket, a bit fond of itself, snobby really. In 2012 the residents fought an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to prevent working class Tesco from opening a supermarket in the town because they didn’t consider it appropriate, they probably would have preferred middle class Waitrose. Tesco got its approval and is still there but in nearby Southwold the town objected to Costa Coffee, it opened in 2013 but closed down in 2019 citing local opposition.
I confess that I like the sculpture (I also like Tesco) and it seems that a lot of other visitors do also because they are drawn to it like moths to a flame. I would welcome something like it in my nearby seaside town of Cleethorpes for sure. Local people claim that it spoils the beach and regularly petition to have it removed.
When I say local people I wonder just who they are because according to official statistics second homes make up about a third of the town’s residential property. This is an attractive and sought after location for people with lots of money that work in London. A sort of Chelsea by the Sea. This is the sort of thing that local people should be campaigning against.
So we visited the sculpture and the children climbed on it and used it as an alternative playground and then we walked with some difficulty along the blue flag beach with pebbles crunching under our feet and occasionally leaking into the space between our feet and our sandals requiring several stops to remove the offending sharp articles before we could comfortably continue.
Along the way we passed the fishing boats drawn up onto the shingle, rugged craft with peeling paint, rusted rigging and knotted nets, their work done now for the day and undergoing basic maintenance and essential repairs and the overnight catch being sold in the simple wooden huts with chalk board signs along the side of the road. I bought some overpriced smoked fish filo pastry parcels and looked forward to them later with my tea.
Eventually we reached the town, the children had ice cream and we stopped for tea and cake at the Cragg Sisters Tea Room which served a mighty fine cup of tea and some excellent cake and scones. As I anticipated the children were tired of Aldeburgh now and anxious to get back to the swimming pool at the Kessingland holiday park so while they went back without us I found myself in a street of expensive shops with Kim and my Mother, both determined to return with an unnecessary purchase.
I left them to it and wandered the High Street until I came across a long line of people all patiently queuing for something, rather like a line of Russian housewives lining up for bread in a time of shortage.
It was a fish and chip shop, a famous seaside fish and chip shop as it turned out that is regularly voted the best in England and clearly a lot of people agreed with this judgment. I would have liked some fish and chips but I am not very patient in a queue and I had just had a cheese scone and tomato pickle at the tea room so I declined to join the end of the line and went instead to the beach to photograph the boats.
But I couldn’t get the desire for batter and grease and salt and vinegar out of my head so later I had fish and chips in nearby Lowestoft because few things capture the spirit of the English seaside quite like the furious sizzle of a fillet of haddock in a deep fat fryer.
Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…