Suffolk – smooth & silky

Suffolk?! Why Suffolk now – I thought they were in France? Call it the lost album of the this blog. The Bob Dylan and The Band’s Basement Tapes double album. Recorded in ’67 and released in ’75.

Others may insert joke here about how appropriate a behind-the-times blog about Suffolk is.

The real reason is that I have had a considerable amount of work to do and after a day of slaving over a warm laptop, writing a blog is the last thing on my mind. Well, not the last. Probably the last thing on my mind at the end of a day is, I wonder who will win X-Factor, or wow, I miss the going’s on in the Big Brother House, I wish we had a telly – my life is a void.

Most of our travels have been a discovery of unknown parts (to us) of Blighty. Returning to Suffolk was sort of a return home for me as it is all familiar territory from my early travels in the UK. The main reason for the visit was to catch up with my aunt Margaret and Jackie. Visiting an aunt like Margaret is not a task like it might be if you were visiting old Aunt Nelly with the cats who keeps saying you should get your hair cut. Well there are cats, but there the similarity ends. Margaret is a real character with intelligent insight into all sorts of subjects and we get along very well.

From the vault of Margaretisms (or, why Margaret is not your Aunt Nelly)
M: (on our first visit as a couple) You can sleep upstairs with S if you like. In the double bed.
D: (uneasily) Uuuummmm…
M: Don’t worry, I won’t tell your Granny.

D: I think I feel like a hypocrite for celebrating Christmas.
M: (who is a Quaker) Oh don’t worry about that, the Christians just moved the dates to tie in nicely with Pagan solstice and harvest festivals.

M: (standing in front of the wood-burner to waitress standing behind the bar) Hello dear, just warming my bum.

Jackie is also good company and is possibly the only person on the planet who has colder hands than me. She saw through my fiendish ploy of appearing to be the “good boy” who does the dishes after dinner, saying “he’s just warming his hands up”. Damn, foiled again!

We had a few days driving around Suffolk visiting old haunts and being reminded of just how lovely Suffolk is. Gentle rolling hills (no not flat at all!), big skys, immaculately preserved villages, farms that have a mellow crumble look to them rather than tatty and un-hygenic or over manicured posh and best of all, quiet country lanes combined with bustling little towns with useful shops.

When it’s cold, Suffolk knows how to do this well, but the pay off, is that it is one of the driest and brightest parts of Blightly. The quality of the light here is hard to beat. It doesn’t have that grey and damp gets-into-your-bones feel of western of high parts of the country. You can tell it hasn’t rained for a while when Hans doesn’t leave an impression in the field you’ve just driven through.

We were trying to work out why Suffolk felt good. Was it that Suffolk is actually good, or is it that we have warm fuzzy feelings about being fed well by Margaret, Jackie is going to top up my marmalade supplies and the house will have the central heating and the wood-burning stove going at the same time?



After much detective work I worked out where this lighthouse is. What a beautiful little place. The detective work followed old eyes squinting at the name of the pub and looking up things like “Mole Skin Inn” etc until I decided to use a magnifying device. Couldn’t find a real one so used my binoculars back-to-front which is a trick someone showed me years ago. It worked. Not “Mole” – “SOLE”
No worries mate. Incidentally, old postcards of Southwold seem to show that the colours on the houses have become more muted. I think I prefer the old, bold, bright reds. Regardless, the place is a picture.

Oh, and I also love the building immediately below Margaret’s warming parts (as a child in cold places, I was always told not to hog the fire like that because I would “melt my marrow”. I had no idea what that meant but it was scary. Ah, yes – that building – it reminds me of the Ettamogah Pub except it has more planes. Crazy!

Good work Grissom. All that technology to hand, sounds like you’ve set up the office just like CSI.

Categories: Architecture, UK | Leave a comment

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