On the first day of the trip (which was also Christmas Eve) we went to Saxmundham for a few last minute supplies and enjoyed a hectic half-hour of being bashed by shopping trollies and delayed by senior citizens before joining a queue to get out of the car park.
That is the Magic of Christmas.
As an aside, although the town fought off TESCO for years they seem to be quite enthusiastic about it now they have one. They also have a Waitrose just across the road, but there was no fight about that. The leader of the original anti-TESCO campaign was Lady Caroline Cranbrook, which could probably form the basis of a PhD on class bias in modern supermarket shopping. Things have never been the same since posh people ran out of money and could no longer afford butlers to do their shopping.
It’s interesting what they say about local food in the article, but I’m fairly sure that families with jobs and kids find supermarket shopping faster and easier than visiting individual shops. The quality might not be the same but I’d rather spend time with the family than trekking round shops. That’s not the fault of the shops, it’s the fault of modern life and my priorities.
I didn’t take any pictures in Saxmundham.
I did take some at Snape Maltings, a large complex of concert hall, antiques centre, shops and tea rooms. There is also a sailing barge and various other things to have a look at, though it was getting on a bit and we didn’t have time to look at everything. Even if we had wanted to stay we were made to feel unwelcome in the antiques centre where the man on the front counter put a barrier across the stairs and announced loudly to his assistant that he was going to close as soon as the place was empty.
There were some nice things in the antique centre cabinets, but many of the prices were concealed, which always annoys me. If you want to sell stuff, show me the price. If you want to annoy me, turn the price ticket the wrong way round.
We looked round a craft shop and a fancy goods shop, which were both nice, with some interesting things. Sadly, a lot of stuff in the craft shop was made abroad, and cheap, which makes it cheap giftware rather than crafts. The stock in the fancy goods shop was also often made abroad, but wasn’t cheap.
We also had tea and carrot cake in a tea room. It was upstairs and access was difficult because the tables were close together and inconsiderate people were sitting so that the gangways became impassable.
It’s times like that when I seriously consider becoming registered as disabled so I can plough through blockages like that making loud comments. Julia, as you would expect, is against this idea. She points out that it’s taken her 30 years to stop me making loud, rude, comments about people and doesn’t want to let me slip back. Slightly more reasonably she also points out that being lazy and irritable with a limp and a bad finger isn’t actually being disabled.
I suppose she has a point.
The other notable event of the visit was nearly falling off the wharf into the river whilst taking photographs. There were some interesting bits and pieces along the top of the wharf (well, I find ferns and rusty bits of metal interesting), but I got a bit too close and I’ve always had a bit of trouble when looking down. I also seem to have a balance problem when looking up to take pictures of towers. The difference is that there’s nothing to fall into when you are looking up at a tower.
I stumbled slightly and dropped my stick. This was awkward as it got under my feet. For an instant I teetered. Then I recovered my balance and pretended nothing had happened when Julia arrived to pick up my stick.