Southwold Pier (Part 1)

In which our heroic duo actually manage to visit a pier, see a very rude woman, eat a cream tea and have a jolly good time. Despite a sunburned head.

Built in 1900, Southwold Pier was originally 270 yards long. During the years of its existence it has, due to several storms and a drifting sea mine, varied from 20 yards to its current 208 yards. Compared to some other piers this is considered a relatively trouble-free history.

It is, to be honest, 208 yards of excellence. It starts well, and is good right to the end. When you get to the end it is also good when you view it in the reverse direction.

One striking aspect of the pier, apart from the signs to tell you where you are, is the bright, clean appearance of the place. The plaques are also a very noticeable feature – they commemorate all sorts of things, and the prices start at £195. It’s not cheap, but it would make a very unusual present. I mentioned this to Julia, but she seems unimpressed by the idea.

This is a selection of plaques – I’ve deliberately chosen some that are related to piers and the pier construction. There are others, including, those to public figures from the town, school pupils, teachers, the town crier and many happy holidaymakers. It adds up to the idea of the pier as a community facility, and makes it a happy place to be.

I’m sorry about all this unseemly positivity, but it’s that sort of place.

The first stop was in the cafe for a cream tea. It wasn’t planned, but we fancied a cup of tea and the rest of it just happened. It was clean and bright with excellent scones but appalling company.

There were three generations behind me, a baby, a mother and a grandmother. It started off slowly with a discussion on breastfeeding and weaning. The baby, to be fair, didn’t contribute much to the discussion.

The mother didn’t get much chance to contribute either.

However, the grandmother made up for this. The woman could talk. She didn’t however, always talk sense, and she kept stressing that she would be willing to donate some of her “organic cooking apples” for the child’s food. I think that’s what we mere mortals call “cooking apples”. We don’t use chemicals so our fruit is organic, we just don’t refer to it as “organic”. I can’t help feeling you should have it certified by the Soil Association before you start calling your fruit “organic”.

That just makes her irritating. What made her appalling was the hand gesture.

A young waiter approached them and asked if he could take their order. The grandmother dismissed him brusquely, telling him they had ordered outside but moved inside out of the wind.  That was bad enough, but as she did it, I saw Julia stiffen.

She told me afterwards that the grandmother had made a dismissive flicking hand gesture to send the young man on his way.

I suppose it’s appropriate that a fine old pier in a traditional old resort should be the last bastion of epic rudeness and disdain for the lower classes.

I hope she gets earwigs in her organic cooking apples.


21 thoughts on “Southwold Pier (Part 1)

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  6. jfwknifton

    Now you come to mention it, I haven’t seen an earwig in years, or a millipede or a centipede either. I have the theory that gradually we are wiping out all of England’s insects, or rather the farmers are. Still if it helps that poverty stricken group make a few quid extra, who are we to protest?

  7. arlingwoman

    It sounds a really lovely place! And of course, rude people are everywhere, especially the entitled. I love those little beach cabanas (huts?). They’re so colorful!

  8. Donnalee

    That sounds like mostly a very nice day for you both–good. Yesterday did seem to be Rude Contest Day, and there were many contenders in Woodstock NY, especially at the weekly drum circle. When it’s good, it’s classic hippie enjoyment, and most of the folks have been doing it for decades. One person brings tons of drums and people can use them for free, and people take turns on the big giant bass drums. However, yesterday people were just ruder than they needed to be. Oh well. I just went a little farther away and that worked out very well.

      1. Donnalee

        It is very fun, and completely free, and they replay the drum circle on the local radio around…oh, ten pm or so, twice, and the circle itself is perhaps two hours. If everyone behaves, it can be great: little children, sincere folks well older than I, so let’s say 60-85ish maybe, some of whom are excellent dancers and some of whom are very dogged and devoted to it, and they all do better than I could. You get a lot of tourists and posers with the handsome physiques, and sincere folks, and nice hippie young people, and it has been very fun a lot of times. Sometimes it is too touristy and cranky. There are locals a plenty, one of whom sometimes yells at top volume during it, and one man who plays violin randomly during it, and the one man who told me recently that he had run into a ufo sometime decades back. better him than me–not my style of fun at all.

        There is also Grandpa Woodstock, rumoured to be aged 91, who dresses like a hippie and has a little cart with a little dog in it, and he gives peace signs to everyone and it’s free to take a photo with him but then he sort of accepts tips, which makes sense–he lived in some field for a few decades, and then got busted selling pot in the last few years and had to move indoors to comply with parole or whatehaveyou. Slice o’ life over here indeed– Here is the completely not-updated facebook page, to give you some idea:

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