Tag Archives: Southwold

Southwold Pier (Part 2)

After the cream tea we went to…

I’ve just realised I didn’t give you a proper report of the cream tea. I don’t seem to have photographed the fully assembled tea either. Sorry about that. The scones were nice and light, the cream unbranded (but none the worse for that, and it used less packaging) and the jam was the equal of any we’ve had recently. Having said that, most jam is just fruit and sugar so it’s hard to get it wrong. What made it better than most, was the view of Southwold in the sparkling summer sun.

I’ve been reading about how things like description and presentation can make food taste better. It seems wrong, and suggests humans are weak-minded, but it does seem to be true. It also seems to suggest that an average cream tea in a cafe with a great view can become a great cream tea.

I also forgot to tell you about the grandmother/mother conversation about beach huts. You can get one for about £10,000, which is small change for a millionaire, but a lot of money for a £500 garden shed built where gales tend to blow. They agreed that some beach huts were ridiculously expensive, which is true – some of them are. They also agreed that beach huts would be better with showers and toilets. This is probably true too, but really misses the point of the beach hut, which is really a throw-back to the 1950s.

From there we moved on to the Under the Pier Show, an arcade featuring the work of mad inventor Tim Hunkin.

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The Under the Pier Show

You may remember him from various TV programmes and Sunday magazines. He’s clearly unhinged but very funny.

In many ways it sums up the pier – inventive, funny and original.

The theming of waste bins, food carts and cafe lamp shades is another nice touch.

 

Looks like this is going to run to three parts. Here’s a taster of what comes next.

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Eric Blair lived in Southwold – he liked Suffolk so much he took the name of the River Orwell as his pen name. As a Socialist he probably looked into the future and decided being called Blair was just too embarrassing.

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.