May 2014.

I've bought a campervan as a 60th birthday present to myself, made some curtains and a patchwork quilt, waved goodbye to my family, and set off. My aim is to explore the coastline of Britain, anti clockwise, starting in Kent. I have no idea what will happen.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Into Suffolk

Iken Church

Old buildings are made of materials that reflect the land they are standing on, so I surmise that Orford lies on a belt of rich red clay. It's pretty rust red-bricked houses were positively glowing in the sunlight when I arrived. Its a pretty little town on the River Alde shielded from the North Sea by Orford Ness – a long shingle spit. The Ness and Havergate island are a designated National Trust Reserve – a rich habitat for seabirds, and hares! I went out on a boat called Regardless for a trip around Havergate Island with a very jolly skipper who was keen to see a boat called Pickles which had been moored at Orford a few days previously. There can only ever be one boat registered with a name and the original Pickles had landed at Orford with news of England's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, and carrying Nelson's body back. We didn't see Pickles.
On my way to Aldeburgh I had a little nostalgia trip and drove beside the estuary to Iken where I had many happy weekends at Iken Cliff in the Seventies. The house I stayed in is on bend in the estuary looking out to the beautiful Iken Church, and up towards Snape Maltings at the top of the estuary, with its famous Concert Hall -  the home of the Aldeburgh Music Festival.
I went to Aldeburgh which is lovely, brimming with yachties and people eating icecreams. Maggie Hambling's huge steel shell sculpture is on the beach between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness and caused, I am told, a degree of tutting among the locals when it was installed. I thought it was lovely.
Maggie Hambling's Shell
I planned to spend the night at Southwold and on my way there, before it was truly dusk, I found lovely Walberswick Church which my friend Chris Lloyd Owen (a fount of knowledge on all things Norfolk, and he knows about Suffolk too) told me I must see.
Walberswick Chuch
It is indeed a very fine church with a magnificent 15thC tower at one end and the ruins of the huge church it was once attached to at the other. The present church fills just a corner of the previous one.

My campsite at Southwold wasn't so great. Bad directions, nobody about when I got there, and spooky efigies hanging in the bushes. Still, it was only for one night, and I survived!

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