Tag Archives: Aldeburgh

Wednesday Night

This morning I wrote several pages of notes, two haibun and five haiku as I sat and waited in the car. That is two haibun and five haiku more than I have managed in the last two days. I’ve been trying to compose on the computer and it just doesn’t work. I can write articles and I can write blog posts, but I just can’t do poetry on the screen.

Give me a sheet of paper and a loaded fountain pen and sometimes, like today, it’s hard to stop me writing. Whether it’s any good or not is a different matter. A quick survey of recent correspondence with editors seems to indicate that opinion is divided.

Ten submissions in the last two months.

One lost in cyberspace.

Three accepted.

Two rejected (one with amazing alacrity).

Four pending.

At that point I decided I should write a poetry post every day, as well as my normal rambling diatribe against modern life. I’m writing enough, so the words wouldn’t be a problem, and may be it’s my chance to grasp a little of the elusive fame that sometimes gathers round a poet.

Tonight, as I sat down to write, i realised that I can’t bring myself to do it.  It’s alright for people who have won prizes or written books, but for someone like me with a patchy publication history it still seems self-indulgent. I don’t want to seem critical of other bloggers, but there’s quite a lot of poetry out there that could do with tightening up. Mine certainly does, so until I reach a higher level I’m going to refrain from self-publishing.

Tonight I finalised a couple of haibun. They have been hanging round for several months and I decided it was time to finish them or put them in the file of fragments. With that in mind, I found things falling into place.

Sometimes it does that, though a poem is never really finished. I can always look back at one and think of a change to make (change, after all is easy, as I often say, it’s improvement that is difficult).

For the moment then, I will confine myself to writing the odd post about poetry, but won’t put any actual poetry in them.

I need to get on now, as I have to write a few more haiku. I’m embarking on the Buson One Hundred again – ten haiku a day for 100 days. Last time I concentrated on fluency and deactivating my internal editor. This time I’m going to try to write something useful.

A hundred days from now is, I think 17th December. It’s not the most inspiring time of year, but I may as well do it while the enthusiasm takes me or I may end up putting it off for another year.

My Orange Parker Pen

As a warning, and to see if you really read to the end, if you see the picture of stones as the featured image it means it’s a poetry post. This gives you a sporting chance to avoid it.

The stones were in the car park at Aldeburgh last time we visited. Despite being just yards from the beach I suspect that the pink granite chippings indicate it has been shipped in from miles away (probably Aberdeen or thereabouts) to surface a car park that is just a yard away from, a massive shingle beach. The round stone, though, probably is from the beach.

 

 

A Week I Wouldn’t Want Again (Part 3)

On Saturday Julia walked to the shop again and rang to report that the panic-buying was getting worse. I have already reported on that.

Sunday was spent watching Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder.

On Monday I packed parcels, as usual, then returned home for lunch. We ate what could best be called a fusion lunch (corned beef hash and pasta bake) to empty the fridge and set off on holiday.

By this time my left hand, the one with the arthritic little finger, started to feel distinctly more arthritic.

We drove through Lincolnshire, reached Norfolk and stopped for coffee at at a roadside McDonald’s. It was there that we had a phone call from Julia’s brother to tell us that the government was banning all unnecessary travel and that hotels were to be closed to act as hospitals.

We made a phone call of our own, to establish that the Travelodge was still open. It was. Listening to the radio we established that the situation was advisory, rather than a Draconian clampdown (which would come later).

We decided that as we were most of the way there the rest of our journey fell into the “necessary” category.

By evening my hand was very swollen and all the fingers were impersonating bananas. I did wonder about getting my wedding ring cut off at one point, but it didn’t quite get bad enough. I had to have it done once after injuring my finger playing rugby with the kids and it’s a simple enough procedure if you know someone with the right tool. The only problem is cutting through the hallmarks, which is a nuisance but doesn’t really affect it in wear once you weld it back again.

We had quite a good time over the next few days, with chips at Aldeburgh, a family meal at Beefeater and Afternoon Tea at the Hatfield Hotel in Lowestoft. Unfortunately I can’t get the photos off the card, so that’s three Scone Chronicles you won’t be getting. The chips on the beach were great, the family meal was excellent and the afternoon tea had the best sandwiches I’ve had so far in the series. It also had sausage roll, a cheese straw, a cheese scone, onion chutney, a fruit scone and a lot of cake. In fact, we needed a doggy bag.

Aldeburgh and Southwold were busy. People are fleeing from London and living in their second homes. They obviously think that the fresh air will preserve them from illness.

The Scallop at Aldeburgh

The Scallop at Aldeburgh – Julia adding colour and a sense of purpose

On the final day (which was last Thursday, and technically makes this Nine Days I Wouldn’t Want Again) we stopped at the TESCO opposite the Travelodge. Julia offered to pop in for bread and milk while I sat in the car – she is a jewel amongst wives. She reported long queues, empty selves and bad-humoured queuing. There were lines to stand behind and a ban on cash – all the shops are using the crisis to make another attempt at driving cash out of use.

On the way back we stopped at a Garden Centre to meet my sister. In contrast to TESCO it was a good-natured place with full shelves and only about a dozen customers in the place. We had tea and cake and remarked that it really needed a tumbleweeed to add the final touch.

Social distancing had needed three days to take hold, but seemed to be working.

Of course, the Government was on its way to another panic by then…

 

Odds and Sods

The header picture is a sunset and thistles in the car park near the Scallop at Aldeburgh. Here’s another one, plus a lamp post shot from Aldeburgh. It seems a shame to waste a sunset when you have a camera in your hand. There’s a cobweb in there somewhere too.

 

 

According to this article the pub sign – The Magpie at Little Stonham on the A140 in Suffolk – is unique in the UK for having a gallows sign across the road.

 

 

Having recently driven under the sign for The George in Stamford and The Green Man and Black’s Head in Ashbourne I can confidently say that if “unique” means “one of at least three” the article is correct. If, however, “unique” still retains its original meaning, then the article’s research is incredibly sloppy.

Why is it that some people can get published when others (no matter how handsome, charismatic and talented) can’t? Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Finally, a football card. I’ve been putting them on  eBay.  Enter 45 names and numbers, take 45 photos, rotate and tidy 45 photos…

It’s Duncan Edwards.  He was selected for the National Morris and Sword Dancing Festival whilst at school, but went to a football trial instead. The rest is history.

Duncan Edwards

Duncan Edwards – Manchester United

 

 

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.

More Scones, More Chips

Really, the things I do for research.

First, I had scones at Minsmere Nature Reserve. They were big, reasonably priced and fruity. They were also much better than the ones we had on Wednesday, though that was not difficult.

The ones we had on Wednesday, during a visit to a craft centre, were “short” according to Julia. This is baker-talk for crumbly.

Actually they turned to dust as if they’d been tightly-wrapped in bandages 3,000 years ago and left in the pocket of an ancient pharaoh until recently rediscovered. They also tasted of baking powder, which is generally considered a bad thing.

The ones at Minsmere were far better. They wouldn’t be worth a special journey, but they are a safe choice if you find yourself on the Suffolk coast with an odd corner to fill.

While I was eating the scones I looked at some of the signs. They are really taking things seriously – possibly too seriously. I may come back to this subject later.

Later in the day we went back to Aldeburgh for fish and chips. We were there before five o’clock. There were two chip shops open this time and they already had small queues starting. I don’t think the people of Aldeburgh exist on fish and chips, by the way. Second homes make up about a third of the yown’s residential property and I suspect many of them are used by people who don’t cook.

They come in a specially made bag with greaseproof paper lining – very technical.

The chips were good – well-cooked and tasty. The fish was also good, with nice big fresh flakes. Again, we passed on the peas as they are tricky to eat in the car.

Were they worth the effort? Well, they were very good. They were probably as good as the ones from Saxmundham the night before. But they probably weren’t good enough to justify two trips to Aldeburgh.

A Quick Trip Out

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Old shop at Thorpeness, Suffolk

We covered quite a lot in one day – seeing Thorpeness and Aldeburgh as well as Snape. This was just as well, considering that events were to overtake us and prevent me doing much more photography.

Aldeburgh is a pleasant old town, though we didn’t actually stop, just got general impression by driving through. It’s quite clearly been a well-established holiday destination for years and a busy fishing town before that. There’s plenty to see, but it will have to keep for another day.

Thorpeness is a strange place, which looks a bit like it’s trapped in the 1930s and a bit like it was designed by a child. It’s very interesting, and was in fact privately owned from 1910 onwards. Even after death duties and selling bits off, it still hasn’t moved into modern times.

The shop is in Thorpeness and the boat and coastguard station are in Aldeburgh. I should have done better, but didn’t realise I wasn’t going to be able to get back. That’s a lesson for life really – get it done first time round – there might not be a second chance.