First impressions …

I knew nothing of this place before I came, Southwold, indeed Suffolk was a mystery.  All I knew had been gleaned from the endless repeats of Coast on the BBC.  Except, for some reason, I remembered that Gordon Brown had holidayed here.  Regardless of your political persuasion, Gordon, a son of the manse, is never going to be your first point of reference for advice on having a good time.

As it turns out, according to Andrew Rawnsley, the holiday was nothing more than a PR stunt by Sarah Brown, an initiative designed to suggest that the Prime Minister was on the same wavelength as middle England.  History shows it didn’t work, not only that, “he hated every minute of it and couldn’t wait to get back to Scotland”.  Like I said, not your first point of reference for advice on having a good time.

It may appeal to middle England but it has a distinctly New England feel.  There is nothing to hate and much to like – busier than I would prefer (it is the end of half-term week), it is pretty, unspoilt and not overtly commercialised.  So far we have only spent time in Halesworth, Southwold and Walberswick but, it is already easy to imagine coming back:

Across the River Blyth, Southwold Harbour

Fish for sale, Southwold Harbour

Sheds at Southwold Harbour

The ferry, Southwold Harbour

Some like fishing, some don’t

Southwold in a sea mist

Southwold beach and distant pier in a sea mist

Winter-misted Hills

Beyond our neighbours’ frosted washing lines,
Their silvered slates and chimney-pots,
Our borderland begins …
Make what you can of it, for no one knows
What story’s told by winter-misted hills.

Douglas Dunn – Northlight 1988

Fawcett Hill

Looking west from Fawcett Hill

Towards Beaufront Woodhead from Fawcett Hill

No way through to Beaufront Hill Head

Here comes the sun …

Sunrises and sunsets are a photographic cliché but this doesn’t stop me rushing for the camera every time I see one.  If they occurred with the infrequency of the northern lights it would stop us in our tracks.

We are fortunately placed, with a near uninterrupted view of the sun rising across the high ground above the Tyne Valley.  These images were taken a short time apart – above the valley the mist has burned off to a gin clear day while down in Hexham, there is fog on the Tyne.  If you look closely to the right of the video, you can see the fog bank shifting along the valley – these time-lapse videos have a certain sameness but I admit to compulsive habits and this is just one of them:

... across the field at Beaufront Woodhead

Fog on the Tyne ... Fog on the Green ...