Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Holiday - Southwold to Aldeburgh

I'm woken early to noises off - but fortunately this is not more weather. My early order of coffee arrives as tea (yuk!), but at least there's the real thing with breakfast. There is plain yoghurt for my muesli and an alternative to the usual fry-up in the form of bacon maple flapjacks.

The forecast is for torrential showers arriving later, so I start early, in the first brief glimpse of sun. It clouds over almost at once, and I can see rain out to sea, and a rainbow inland as I take the path to Walberswick. The track from Walberswick is noted as being soft sand and gravel. Actually it's many puddles across its whole width, and some a foot or more deep. This means lots of portage, and having to wade through nettles while in lycra shorts. Ouch.

The weather continues to threaten, so I speed through Dunwich, down to the Heath - which, despite this summer's weather is plastered with fire risk signs. Plenty of purple heather, and the sky is all heavy dark cloud, with a downpour towards Sizewell. I get onto the bridleway to Minsmere, and after passing through trees, emerge into bright sun - most of the cloud has just vanished! Minsmere is closed for the day, so I only stop there to re-seat and re-grease the chain. By Thorpeness, I see evidence of the weather, but it's brightening up, with only one anvil cloud visible, and that out to sea. Cruise into Aldeburgh, being buzzed by sandmartins. The Britten sculpture on the beach is a rusted (landward side only, shiny on seaward), part splintered scallop shell, maybe 5m tall. I don't see what the fuss was about - the view inland is bleak, and to the north is dominated by Sizewell.

Beanburger and chips for lunch at the Captains's Cabin (chatting with diners at next table, who seem to be local to the region, they don't understand how I manged to avoid the A12 on the journey - I had to tell them about the footbridge across the Blyth to Walberswick), then check in and freshen up. Serious re-hydration now required so I go out to shop. There is a sprinkle of rain, but it brightens, and I sit out in the sun and drink 1.5l of water, before ambling south out to the Martello tower, and then north back up to Thorpeness. Approaching the latter, I hear what I think is distant thunder. Certainly the anvil that was inland has drifted closer; and as I head back, the sky behind me is extremely dark grey. This was probably the cloud that brought a little tornado through to tear down the circus tent I'd passsed that morning at Southwold.

Eat at Benson-Blakes Bistro, spiced beef salad, then spaghetti with crayfish, in garlic and chilli butter. It rains while I'm there.

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