At last, we had a few days away from home in our home from home campervan. The second time we have been away this year. We did manage a break to Iceland just before the first Lockdown. Now we were away to Southwold to celebrate my Birthday, again a couple of weeks before the second Lockdown. Last year I spent more than 60 nights in the campervan, Rosemary a few days less (fewer festivals}. This year the campervan has not been used for a whole year, (yes, my last birthday was the last time Morrison the campervan was used.) The VW has been regularly charged and goes for a short drive every month or so when it is dry to stop the wheels going square.
The VW has still cost money for maintenance during that period.
- A repair to the screen washer pipes, the existing pipe was fragile and the constant opening and closing of the bonnet (hood) caused the washer pipe to break. This is something I could fix, with the aid of YouTube and eBay.
- The time the bonnet (hood) locked firmly shut, so it had to go to the local garage to be freed and a new locking mechanism inserted. YouTube did not come up trumps, a video of someone cutting a hole through the bonnet to release the catch did not seem the way to go. Instead, it went on a ramp, and our white knight engineer managed to release the catch from underneath.
- The time I decided to see if I could get the spare wheel off, and grease the spare wheel locking nuts. Of course, a weld failed which held the thread to cradle, and the wheel was no longer secure. Another visit to the garage for some simple welding.
But now we were away for three nights away. We set off early, at 7.am so we could go to St Peter’s Church in Wenhaston for prayer time. Wenhaston is very close to Southwold and Blythburgh. The church has an amazing five-hundred-year Doom Painting of the Last Judgement. The Doom Painting was discovered in 1892 when the chancel was being restored. Some old whitewashed wooden boards blocking the upper part of an arch were removed and thrown out into the churchyard ready to be burnt. Overnight there was a torrential rainstorm and some of the whitewash was washed off, revealing the paintings below. The paintings created a stir among students of late medieval art. The painting was probably created between 1500, and 1520. Some of the details in the painting are intriguing. Look for the imps taking a ride in the scales weighing the good deeds against the bad deeds. The detail eyebrows of the devil. We had the church to ourselves with the vicar, who pointed out the details and explained the history.
Our next stop was the Harbour Inn on the Blackshore in Southwold. Arrived a bit early for lunch, so a coffee outside while we ordered. Thankfully we were early so they could feed us with their reduced seating. I ate a grilled pair of slip soles, caper & cockle butter, Wangford greens, new potatoes. After lunch, we drove into Southwold and had a wander around. Then we went on to the campsite and set up. Afterwards, we walked back into Southwold and visited the pier. We were surprised at how nice the pier was. We were taken by the painting of George Orwell, not knowing he had lived in Southwold. There was also the slightly rude clock sponsored by Thames Water.
The marshes, fields and estuaries were covered with Geese, who would on occasion move off to another location with a loud noise.
Saturday was my birthday, so after opening cards and eating breakfast, we went for a walk into town across the golf course. We arrived at the Swan Hotel for our prebooked lunch. Started off with a pre-prandial drink, Negroni (well, variation thereof) of course and a G&T (First Rate) for the lady (Rosemary). I went very fowl for my meal, eating roulade of pigeon, baby leek, poached plum with hazelnut for starters, and breast of guinea fowl, braised flaked leg, roscoff onion, carrot, pickled blackberries and gel, and watercress for the main course. Rosemary ate roast Suffolk chicken breast, radicchio, pickled enoki mushrooms, pear, barley, pancetta salad with maple dressing for her main course. I finished the event with a number of Suffolk cheeses.
We walked back slowly to our van, for the rest of the day, somehow avoiding the early evening torrential rain & high winds.
Sunday was another fine day, the rain obliged to fall during the night. We went for a walk along the river Blyth and ended up walking to Old Hall Cafe and Walks. They were extremely busy with their all-day breakfast. We didn’t need a great deal, tea had been booked at The Swan, so opted for a cappuccino, and a (very good) sausage roll. The walk along the Blyth was fascinating, the waders, old windmills, and the farmland seemingly below sea level.
We walked on, heading for The Swan (again!) for tea, where we met up with Bob and Liz. The tea was one of those affairs where you get plate loads of savoury dishes, follow by plate loads of sweet dishes. The Scotch egg was excellent, cooked with savoury herbs. It was so yummy. We did go away with our doggy bag which I used for my late evening meal back in the campervan.