Don’t let the title throw you, our weather has so far been fabulous. Blown away by Aldeburgh is more in the sense of loving it. Having settled in to our “home” for 2 weeks and reacquainting once more with our lovely charge Ed, we have settled into a lovely routine. Our arrival in Aldeburgh coincided with the arrival of some beautiful weather so did not need the hats, coats and waterproof trousers that were a must for our first visit here back in January 2017 (Housesitting Life in Aldeburgh).
Cold Water Therapy
Is it really called this or just an early morning dip? A lot of the residents of Aldeburgh, including Simon and Mary who we are house and pet sitting for, enjoy an early morning dip in the North Sea. Being just a stone’s throw away it is hardly a chore to slip on the swimmers and head to the pebble beach. It is there that you will find the brigade of like-minded people, mostly mature residents. All you need is your rubber swimming shoes, to avoid the walking on pebbles gyratory dancing, swimming costume and and the obligatory dressing down. Any time from 7am onwards you can see the trickle of dressing gowns heading for the sea.
Eccentric? Bizarre? Mad? Yes all of these things but I can thoroughly recommend it. Feeling somewhat of an outsider because of a towel substitute for a dressing gown, I headed for the waves. I did add one accessory which was a small thermos mug full of coffee to enjoy after my dip. No pussy-footing about, I just bit the bullet and marched in. It was bracing but so refreshing and set me up for the day. It must be all that adrenalin and endorphins shocked into action. This could be a regular thing during our stay.
A Walk to The Meare
We had a blustery winter walk to The Meare in Thorpeness last time we were here and thought it would be great to repeat the walk once again with Ed. We did a circular route. Along the beach and footpath from Aldeburgh, passing the Scallop. This is a steel sculpture on the beach erected in 2003 as a tribute to the composer Benjamin Britten who spent much of his life in Aldeburgh.
The Meare is a boating lake in Thorpeness but that description doesn’t do it justice. It covers 60 acres and has a number of little islands which were named by the creator of Peter Pan, J M Barrie, and have names such as the Fort and Dragon’s Lair. Being only around 3ft deep it is very safe for boating and a lovely place to sit and enjoy an ice cream from the kiosk. Of course we did!
Our return route took us past The House in the Clouds. Built in 1923 as a water pumping storage tower it has now been converted into a holiday let. It looks so impressive towering over the trees. A little footpath took us through the back of Thorpeness Golf Club and then onto a disused railway track which runs more of less parallel to the beach. This was a great way round to do the walk because we had the shade of the trees for when the weather was at it’s warmest. A well earned rest on the decking with the fabulous sea views and watch a few yachts sail on by was enjoyed by all on our return.
High Street Heaven
What’s the perfect way to end a day at the seaside? Fish and chips of course and one the High Street there are two. Opened in 1967 we have the Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop and it’s sister shop, The Golden Galleon. There are queues most evenings but my record count has been 26 people snaking along the pavement. Queuing is the new normal for safety but there are some queues well worth joining and this is one of them.
Apart from these seaside essentials, the High Street has an abundance of long standing independent shops including the wonderfully named, The Pug and Pussycat gift shop there is also The Wag and Bone, dog boutique, and a large Adnams Brewery store. A lot of the shop fronts are originals and here are just a selection of my favourite.
The Cragg Sisters Tea Room which opened in 1949 is an afternoon, or anytime, tea delight served in vintage china. Once again the need to do a good old fashioned British queue at certain times of the day. Innovatively, they have launched a new concept, Tea by the Sea, where you book and pick up a hamper and take your tea on the beach – beware of the beady eyed seagulls though who may find it a welcome alternative to the ready supply of chips. The Cragg Sisters most famous recent visitor was John Cusack. Celebs in Aldeburgh. Wonder if he brought his dressing gown?
Independent shops seem to be thriving and I love it the only “chain” I really saw was Prezzo but why eat there when there is so much else on offer. Even pick up local produce from the fresh fish stalls on the front, the High Street butchers, bakers (sorry no candlestick makers) and the deli.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay other than the countless holiday let cottages, The Brudenell Hotel, right on the sea front would be a perfect treat. It has a lovely terrace facing the sea and if you want to get into some cold water therapy it couldn’t be nearer the sea. No need to take a thermos just head back for a full English. Off to the High Street now to find a dressing gown in the charity shop for my short stay, wash it, use it, wash it again and redonate. Now there is a thought.
11/08 – 18/08/2020