Aldeburgh

All photos can be enlarged for detail, and look much better that way.

The Suffolk coastal town of Aldeburgh has been a settlement since Roman times, when it was used for the production of salt. It later became very prosperous, and was a thriving fishing town. The local museum is housed in the Moot Hall. (Meeting hall). This building dates from 1520, though the brick chimneys were added much later.

We arrived on a rather grey and windy day, though the sun did appear later that afternoon. There is still a small fishing industry operating there. Because of the shingle beach, and the absence of a harbour, boats have to be lowered into and raised from the water, using tractors on the beach.

My cousin and her daughter took their spaniels down to the water. The dogs, Jess and Dennis, were enjoying the change of scene.

Meanwhile, Julie was browsing the fresh fish shops along the front, where she bought the ingredients to make a fish pie.

Not all of the boats there are seaworthy. These two look as if they have been abandoned to the elements.

Aldeburgh (pronounced All-bruh) has enjoyed a recent popularity as a place where wealthy southerners buy second homes. House prices in the area have increased dramatically, and the shops in the town also reflect the needs of their rich customers. The town is mostly associated with the famous composer, Benjamin Britten. He went to live there in 1942, and later founded the renowned Aldeburgh Festival. He died there, and is buried in the town. It was also the home of Ruth Rendell, the popular author.

Along the beach is a sculpture in the shape of a scallop shell, erected as a tribute to Benjamin Britten.

Despite looking dramatic in its isolated setting, many residents have complained about this sculpture, and it has often been vandalised. This is a section from Wikipedia, explaining the controversy.

On Aldeburgh’s beach, a short distance north of the town centre, stands a sculpture, The Scallop, dedicated to Benjamin Britten, who used to walk along the beach in the afternoons. Created from stainless steel by Suffolk-based artist Maggi Hambling, it stands 15 feet (4.6 metres) high, and was unveiled in November 2003. The piece is made up of two interlocking scallop shells, each broken, the upright shell being pierced with the words: “I hear those voices that will not be drowned”, which are taken from Britten’s opera Peter Grimes. The sculpture is meant to be enjoyed both visually and tactilely, and people are encouraged to sit on it and watch the sea. Approached along the road from the Thorpeness direction it has a totally different silhouette appearing to be a knight on a rearing charger. The sculpture is controversial in the local area,[22] with some local residents considering it spoiling the beach. It has been vandalised with graffiti and paint on 13 occasions. There have been petitions for its removal and for its retention.”

So, a snapshot of an attractive English town. If you are ever close by, I recommend a visit.

*Photo information, for those interested. I used the Fuji X 30 camera that day, with all shots taken on Aperture Priority setting, mostly at F 5.6. I did not use any film simulation modes, just the standard setting. All these are straight j-pegs from the camera, with no alteration other than to reduce the file sizes by 50%.

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Lincolnshire: Chapel St Leonards

Ollie enjoying the view along the deserted beach.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them, and look better that way.

On our last day, we headed eight miles south, to the seaside village of Chapel St Leonards. This popular holiday destination is all but deserted out of season, and we took full advantage of being some of the few people there. Julie headed off to the shops to buy a new jacket, and I took a reluctant Ollie onto the beach.

He didn’t settle though, and was constantly looking back, to see where Julie had gone.

Along the promenade, closed-up beach huts set the mood, with threatening skies behind.

This theatre-style seating is for the popular Punch and Judy show. It could do with a clean.

Like much of the rest of the places there, the Punch and Judy was closed.

And the seafront cafe too.

But not everything had finished for the season. The cafes in town were open, and we stopped for a hot drink. The small amusement arcade was still open too, a real British tradition.

This is the last photo post from our short holiday. I hope that you enjoyed this look at the British seaside, out of season. Next time, I will ditch the Sony lens hood, and not keep getting it in the corner of some wideangle shots!

Lincolnshire: Tattershall Castle

All photos can be enlarged for detail, and look better that way.

Across a double moat separating it from Holy Trinity Church, (see previous post) lies the imposing building called Tattershall Castle. Originally built as a defensive structure in the 13th century by Robert De Tatershales, (hence the name of the village) the present building is a fully-restored fortified house dating from 1434. It was the home of Ralph, the 3rd Baron Cromwell, famous for its double moat and drawbridges. It is by far the finest example of a Medieval brick-built structure to survive in the UK.

Closer to the castle, you can see Julie and Ollie admiring its grandeur.

In the foreground, the circular stonework is all that survives of De Tatershales’ original fortress.

The lower window allows light into the cellar.

Inside, the rooms on each floor have been left empty. However, the wonderful fireplaces in the main rooms are still there to be admired.

I was very excited to discover that visitors are allowed to access the roof and battlements. So with Julie taking Ollie on another tour around the grounds, I scampered up the 149 steps to the top, to be greeted by this lovely bastion.

Inside that, I got an archer’s eye view from this place of safety.

The well-chosen spot really commands the surrounding area, and feels a lot higher up than it looks. This view from the top shows how close it is to Holy Trinity Church. The outer moat is now overgrown with bulrushes, but there is still water in the inner moat, closer to the castle. (Not visible in this photo)

I really enjoyed that visit to the castle, especially as it didn’t rain until we got back to the car park!

One more holiday post to come soon.

Lincolnshire: Holy Trinity Church, Tattershall


A not-quite level photo of some stained glass inside the church.

All photos can be enlarged for detail, and look better that way.

Situated next to the castle in the village of Tattershall, Holy Trinity Church dates from 1466. It is famous locally for being the home of various species of bats, and is one of the largest churches in the county.

The church organ is huge, and very impressive as it dominates one end of the building.

The interior is open to visitors, including dogs. Parts of the restored timber ceiling can be seen, along with the Gothic architecture. This was taken from the altar, which is covered against bat droppings! You can see many blue cloth coverings around the building, all because of the bats.

The next post is about the adjacent castle.

Lincolnshire: A walk to Mablethorpe

Walking along the the promenade to Mablethorpe on Tuesday, the clouds were mainly over the sea. If you enlarge the photo, you can see just a small section of the enormous offshore wind-farm in the distance.

All photos can be enlarged for detail, and look better that way.

Halfway there, we stopped for a coffee at a beach cafe. They were still trying to sell these beach windmills, despite a distinct absence of any children.

And there were no takers for these foam boards at £9.99 either.

Ollie was sitting by the table, and spotted another dog in the distance.

More to come soon.

Lincolnshire: Sutton on Sea


This small town was the base for our recent holiday. Situated between the large commercial resort of Skegness, and the traditional seaside town of Mablethorpe, it has remained unchanged for decades. The beaches stretch for miles, and are mostly deserted, as you can see in the photo above. Unfortunately, the weather was rather bleak, as you can tell from the dull light in these pictures.

All photos can be enlarged for detail by clicking on them, and look better that way.

Nothing at all about this town is fancy, or pretentious. This water feature is by the side of the approach to the promenade.

And this one is on the other side of the small playground and greens.

As it was the end of the season, the beach shop was closed. I took this photo from the rock garden below.

The simple children’s splash pool and play area was deserted in the late afternoon, on a chilly day.
The ice cream and refreshments shop is also closed after the season, as you can see.

Rows of popular beach huts line the promenade. None were being used that day.

The town war memorial is unusually modern, with its sculpture poppies. If you fully enlarge the photo, you can read the names inscribed.

Along the high street, this alley leads to a laundromat that hasn’t changed in living memory. I love the name of the business.

The Bacchus Hotel is the largest building in the town. It hosts weddings and functions, has a choice of restaurants, a well-stocked bar, and is a popular meeting place for holidaymakers and residents alike.

Our holiday cottage was situated behind the hotel, next to the beer garden. It doesn’t look much, but was stocked with everything we needed, and had two large bedrooms. Converted from an old outbuilding of the hotel, it was just right for our short break.

More holiday photos to come.

A Positive Holiday

Determined to stay positive, in 2017.

A different Pete might well have complained about driving to our holiday in torrential rain. Being stuck behind a tractor for ages, then having to take a long diversion because of an accident in Boston. (The original one, in Lincolnshire) But not me, not the positive me. A journey of about ninety miles north still only took some three hours, even with the unexpected delays.

We arrived in a dry but chilly late afternoon, and checked in to our rented cottage behind the large comfortable hotel. The town of Sutton on Sea was unchanged, after nine years. Still the same shops, the small High Street, the unspoilt seafront, and long promenade. This is a place set in time, and that time feels like 1960. The cottage that we last stayed in in 2008 was as we remembered, with better beds, and a modern television. There was even time for a brisk walk along the front before dark, and the handy convenience store provided some essentials before we settled down to an evening in, with the food we had sensibly brought with us.

Ollie enjoyed the novelty of the stairs leading up to the bathroom and two double bedrooms, and there was ample space for his large bed, and both his food and water bowls. Once unpacked and settled, we relaxed watching the TV, before I had a nice early night, and a very good sleep. Because it was officially out of season, there were no noisy family groups, and few people around, other than a handful of hotel guests. So no issues with parking, and no noise of any concern after dark.

After breakfast the next morning, we set off for the seafront walk to the town of Mablethorpe, around three miles north. Deliberately downmarket as a resort, Mablethorpe is home to holidaymakers in caravans, cheap guest houses, and basic accommodation. It has cut-price markets, bargain-basement gift shops, and the cheapest fast food we have ever seen. This is a bucket and spade, sand-castles holiday town, in the long tradition of the British seaside. And all the better for it, in my opinion. After stopping for a coffee, we retraced our steps to Sutton on Sea, and bought a Chinese takeaway meal, to save cooking. That night, the coast was hit by a fierce storm, and torrential rain. But it didn’t really affect us, other than hearing the howling gales from the comfort of the cottage.
Another positive day.

On Wednesday, we had arranged to meet my cousin and his wife. They live in West Lincolnshire, so it was a relatively short journey for them to come and see us. We met for lunch in the hotel, which we all agreed was excellent. Then the sun came out, so we were able to enjoy a long walk with Ollie, heading south to nearby Sandilands. Catching up with my cousin and his wife again was a welcome diversion, and we finished off the evening with toasted sandwiches in the cottage.
Positivity was once again the order of the day.

On Thursday, I had planned a trip to Tattershall, with its castle and church on the agenda. Following that, a short journey to the pleasant town of Woodhall Spa. We woke to dark skies, and some heavy rain. The sort of morning where you consider abandoning plans, and going back to bed. But not when you are being positive, oh no. You head out anyway, and hope for the best. Under an hour later, we pulled into the car park for the castle and church, and it had stopped raining. Off we went, and discovered that the church was not only open, but photography was allowed inside too. Even better, dogs were allowed, so Ollie made his first trip inside a church into the bargain.

Once at the castle, despite gloomy skies, the rain still held off. Julie looked after Ollie as I scampered up the stairs inside, delighted to discover that the roof was open to visitors. The sun came out just long enough for some distant views and photos, followed by a short walk around the moat, and the fields beyond for Ollie. Back at the car, the rain finally came down. But it didn’t matter, as we were safe inside the car, making the trip to Woodhall Spa. Arriving there, we had coffee on the outside terrace of a pub, and made a quick tour of the familiar town, before getting back to the car park just as the heavens opened once more. Our luck was holding, and being positive was appearing to work. That night we ate at the hotel, where Ollie was allowed to sit by our table. Another delicious meal, finished off with some powerful ‘designer gin’.
All in all, a great day out, and very positive.

Friday was our last full day, and we woke once again to threatening skies and rain. Undaunted, we set off to Chapel St Leonards, a seaside village eight miles from Sutton on Sea, to the south. Once again, it felt familiar, and completely unchanged in almost a decade. The cheap cafes, seaside shops, and local people on mobility scooters. Another window into the past, steeped in a tradition that is in my bones. Once parked and heading for the beach, it had stopped raining, though we had to dodge puddles. The chilly wind was beaten back by wearing a warm coat, and I was soon happily photographing the closed down seafront cafes and beach huts. Despite being the end of the season, the small amusement arcades were still operating, and all the cafes were open. It was a nice nostalgic trip indeed, and although Ollie wasn’t keen on the windswept beach and sand dunes, I loved it. When we got back, the sun had come out a little, so I took off with Ollie to photograph some more sights at Sutton on Sea. For our last night, we went back to the hotel to eat in the restaurant. Ollie was fast asleep by 7 pm, so we left him resting. After another nice meal, we enjoyed some cocktails before heading back to the cottage to get ready for bed.
Being positive and braving the weather had worked out just right, once again.

Driving home on Saturday, we were in and out of torrential rain, delayed by farm tractors, and wary of road accidents in the gloom. But it was of no concern, as we were only travelling home, and the short holiday was now behind us.

Staying positive, in 2017.