Thursday, 16 August 2012

You are now leaving Essex....but probably not Suffolk

 Normally I'd not dare to take a day off when I need to get glass made for the weekend, but after the disastrous weekend due to the 'barrier fiasco' a few weeks ago, I had lots of glass unsold, and had made more than I needed, so we decided on a day out to clear our heads.

The original aim was the seaside, and we weren't planning to go far, but then I remembered we'd talked about going up to Southwold, via the little village of Blythburgh. It was a lovely sunny day, so we plugged in the postcode for the car park of the Whitehart Inn (because that's the only postcode I could find!) and hit the road.

The Angel Of the East
Now it occurs to me that I don't see that many people from Suffolk, certainly not when I'm on the stall in London. Originally I'd have said it's because it's not a very heavily populated area, but I now think it's more a case of why would they want to go anywhere else! Having no real itinerary it was no problem when a mis-hearing of the sat nav and we turned into Saxmundham. I'd been through it on the train, and not thought much of what I'd seen, but it's certainly a lovely place and stuffed full of artists! The book shop sold art supplies, a sculptor had a shop, I even nearly tripped over a young lady in an alcove sitting on the floor sketching the street! I was quite pleasantly surprised how vibrant and busy the high street there is, having a much greater range of shops than ours for what appeared a quieter area. Ok, it might have been a bit tatty at the edges, but I'd rather see open shops selling local goods than just estate agents and charity shops such as our commuter belt one has become.

We'd originally thought to stop there for lunch, but pressed on to Blythburgh and the pubs postcode, which turned out to be another piece of inspired good fortune. Now I must confess not to be very keen on Adnams beers, and lately my experiences of eating out has been rather 'unimpressive.' I decided to go for a snack, a fish finger sandwich! Expecting no more than a certain frozen food Captain's fare, I figured I'd get some chips too!

How over impressed was I! First to be sat in a beer garden with some dayglo budgies in an aviary one side, and at the other a HUGE expanse of reeds, marsh, estuary, wild birds, and achingly lovely scenery.  I'd have taken a picture, but not only would it not have done it justice, but my grub had turned up, and I'd have taken a picture of that too if I hadn't been enjoying eating it so much! I certianly didn't need the chips! The fingers were very much home made, and the last time I'd had fish that fresh and well cooked it had been in Whitby in a shop 50 yards from the fish dock. And it was no bread crumbs either, but a very light tempura style batter. I am assured OH's ploughmans was of an equal standard, but I was rather too taken with my increadiable sandwich to note more than the enormous hunk of cheese that had come with it.

From there it was time for a walk around the lovely little village, which has the 'Angel Of The East' village sign which is worth visiting just for itself! Sadly the church was shut, so from then we had a long drive around a few surrouding villages to scout the area for other places to return for a closer visit. We'd almost forgot the seaside until we saw signs for Aldeburgh so headed for the seaside.
Yes, a real red telephone box in Bythburgh! We checked, inside it was clean and fully working!

Again this is another town full of art, lots of galleries this time, and even the Suffolk crafts guild had their own exhibition space. The shingle beach wasn't so great for walking on, but I certainly noted a huge lack of litter compared to many that I'd been on. In fact the only clutter on the beach was so picturesque it was worthy of a few snaps! There were even little huts selling fresh fish, and even dressed crabs and lobsters direct from the fishermen.

Eventually we ended up at Woodbridge, which has a lovely harbour and estuary location. A lot of shops had closed by the time we reached here, so we had a quick look around the town (certainly one worth coming back too, and soon!) and then hesitated on spending out more on dinner. I'm glad we did, it seems Suffolk folk really know how to cook, and we had pizzas that knock socks off anything I've had for... well, since I don't know when!

Working fishing beach at Aldeburgh

The coast here really is clear - of people and litter!
So from there, rather tired but refreshed, we headed home, already planning in our minds to go back. I can see why you never meet many Suffolk folk now, they already have enough wonderful views, villages, walks, food and art, not to want, or even need, to leave.

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