Category Archives: seaside

Things I found on the beach (or nearby)

The top picture shows the Scallop sculpture on the beach at Aldeburgh. It can, it seems, look like a seabird, two men in a boat or one man in a boat, as you walk along the beach towards it. Or, if you use the nearest car park and sit on the bench, it looks like a scallop shell.

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Yes, it definitely looks like a scallop

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Martello Tower – unique shape and end of the line

The Martello Tower is the last building left in Slaughden, once a prosperous village which, after many years of losses to the sea, was finally washed away in the floods of 1953. I didn’t know this, I just thought they’d built a Martello Tower a couple of hundred yards down the beach from Aldeburgh.

 

These are some photos from Dunwich, probably the most famous of the lost villages of the East Coast. Once it was a notable town, with 3,000 inhabitants and 3 churches at the time of the Domesday survey. There were, at that time, just 18 towns of over 2,000 people.  Before we started visiting piers I had thought about visiting all the 18 towns, but the idea of fish and chips swung the balance towards the seaside.

Considering its history with the sea the sign warning of floods might be seen as too little, too late.

The block of concrete looks like a tank trap. They were cast on site by teams of Royal Engineers, which must have been a major effort, particularly if you were doing it on the East Coast in winter. I seem to remember that there were two sizes – this looks like one of the smaller ones. It seems to have worked as there is no record of Germans invading Dunwich.

Finally, a couple of shots of Southend. The doughnuts may have been expensive but there were still some good subjects for photos.

A Detour…

We went to Jaywick (just down the coast from Clacton) on Tuesday looking for a Martello Tower. We didn’t find it and we came away feeling thoughtful after driving round what appeared to be a shanty town.

Jaywick was grew up as a holiday village in the 1920s and 30s when a property developer sold plots of farmland to Londoners to build holiday homes. The land he sold was not used for farming because it tended to flood – you would have thought this was a bad sign.

It became permanant by accident. After the war, with pressure on housing  in London, people moved out and started living in Jaywick on a full-time basis. Poor roads, lack of employment opportunities, lack of mains drainage and badly built houses all contributed to making it one of the most deprived areas of the UK.

{t’s a lesson in how things can go wrong from optimistic beginnings. You get the idea that it could all have been different, as other Plotlands schemes seem to have prospered, or been demoloished. Peacehaven is probably the best-known successful development, though it has been helped by being in a prosperous area and by being built on well=drained land.

Names can be interesting. I note that Peacehaven was originally named New Anzac-on-Sea in 1916.  Many Jaywick roads are named after car makers. You will, however, search in vain for many of our current car names – no Honda, no Seat, no BMW. Instead you have Crossley, Standard and Singer. The newest car name I saw was Lotus (founded 1952) but it looks like part of the 1970s rebuilding.

No photos for this, but an interesting bit of history (even if it wasn’t the history I was looking for). We never did find the Martello Tower…

Chips at the Dolphin

I’ve been going to the Dolphin fish and chip restaurant for around 30 years. When I sold chickens to farmers in Lincolnshire I would make a detour two or three times a year to walk round Sutton and then have lunch at the Dolphin.

We have been most years, either with the kids or just as a couple. It was always OK rather than outstanding, but has always been a pleasant place to eat. Over the years various owners have made improvements, though this has been accompanied by the occasional lapse, and in the last few years, they seem to have been selling off household goods to raise cash. It did start to look a bit like a jumble sale, but when we visited on Wednesday it was a lot tidier.

It has also grown an assortment of notices prohibiting various sorts of behaviour. I can’t give examples as I didn’t really read them. I prefer my food without too many petty rules.

Haddock Special at the Dolphin Fish Bar, Sutton on Sea

Haddock Special at the Dolphin Fish Bar, Sutton on Sea

The Haddock Special was £9.95, not £8.95 as stated in various reviews, and tea is not included in that. The chip portion was sufficient, though not generous, and the peas were also served in a smaller pot than we remember. That wasn’t the worst thing though, they were a bit tasteless too. All in all, not the best “special” we’ve had.

You can’t order at the table now either. It’s not a big thing, but it is a sign of the erosion of standards of service.

Finally, on that subject, when someone asked for tapwater they were told it was 50p a glass. Now, the law states that only places selling alcohol have to provide tapwater free of charge, and they are, it seems, allowed to charge for service and use of the glass. As the Dolphin doesn’t serve alcohol they don’t need to offer free tapwater, but on the other hand, it’s another nail in the coffin of customer service.

However, if you have a dog with you, you are welcome to bring the germ-ridden fleabag into the eating area, where I have no doubt it will be provided with free water, and if that’s not enough you can even buy frozen lactose-free yoghurt for your dog.

Frozen yoghurt for dogs - what next?

Frozen yoghurt for dogs – what next?

The staff were quick, efficient and reasonably cheerful, though they were arguably too efficient in clearing tables. I finished before Julia, as I come from a family of predatory snackers and speed is the best defence against food theft. The way they whipped my plate from the table was undeniably efficient, but felt like they were trying to get rid of me as soon as possible.

So that’s the report – declining portion size and a couple of queries over peas and service. It’s clean and efficient, and the food is generally good, but not so good we can’t find somewhere else equally as good. We will probably do that next time.

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Wall tiles – Sutton on Sea

Sutton on Sea – a Pierless Place by the Sea

We went to Sutton on Sea on Wednesday. It doesn’t have a pier, and never has had one, but it’s an excellent place to relax and eat ice cream and fish and chips. Well, that’s what I did, and it worked for me.

We walked along the seafront, had an ice cream, rejected the selection of sunhats on display and looked at the beach chalets.

The sun hats were either pink, pink with decorations or definitely made for women. As if pink ones aren’t for women. I’m trying to be a New Man but there are lines I will not cross. Pink baseball caps with a Playboy logo is well over that line.

The chalets are looking tired, and not a patch on the ones at Southwold. On the other hand, you can buy one for £12,995, though as there’s talk of ground rest it may not be freehold. The estate agents don’t seem to be doing much of a job of selling it. The green grass on the photos compared to the arid wasteland on my photos shows the passage of time. If you can’t sell a beach chalet in summer it must pose a question about your sales skills.

At least one patch of beach looked busy, but that was partly due to everyone being herded in between two flags. To be honest, I think we’re going over the top these days. In the old days we were just told not to swim when the red flags up and drowning was considered a matter of personal choice. Now we have lifeguards and all manner of bureaucracy. No wonder this country is going to the dogs with all this namby-pamby safety stuff.

The town is quite old-fashioned, free parking is available and there are plenty of non-chain shops, including sweets, baked goods and hardware.

This is a picture of the Lifeguard again, this time frightening pedestrians on a cycle.

Life Guard at Sutton on Sea, Lincolnshire

Life Guard at Sutton on Sea, Lincolnshire

Please excuse the 1970’s style postcard colour in the photos, I set it on “Pop Art” to brighten things up a bit and forgot to take it off. It was quite a bright day but my standard setting was making it look grey.

This is where the scooter gang meets

This is where the scooter gang meets

There are a lot of retired people in Sutton, and consequently, a lot of scooters cluttering the place up. If speed kills, some of the residents of Sutton are going to live a long, long time.

And finally, a look at the war memorial. It’s 100 years since the foundation of the RAF and Lincolnshire, having been heavily involved in military aviation from before the founding of the RAF, is making a big effort to commemorate it. For some reason the contributions of the Royal Flying Corps, and Royal Naval Air Service mean nothing, but the founding of an amalgamated air service on 1st April 1918 (who thought of that date?) and a uniform reputedly designed by a chorus girl using leftover material from a cancelled Russian order.

 

Next – a fish and chip review.