We had booked Thorington Hall, a National Trust holiday house in Suffolk, for the week. We’d originally booked it for 2020, but….. We headed over there on Monday afternoon, unloaded and moved in. The house was bordered on one side by a host of golden daffodils.
The Hall has Tudor origins, wonderfully sloping floors, large rooms and a quirky layout. Some doors were locked; we suspected this was cos stairs were just too uneven for safety. Previous owners had left their mark in graffiti on one window’s panes and witches marks on the nearby staircase. A magical place to daydream.
The weather was amazing – wall to wall sunshine every day. You could look up at fantastic blue skies and then be quite astonished at the lack of leaves on the trees. Was this to be the summer of 2020??
The next day, first thing, we headed to Tesco in Colchester for a big shop. I dropped off Rosemary and Selina there, while I went over to a BP garage to charge the car. (I was at 40% but wanted a charged car for trips during the week.) It was reported back to me that this was the largest Tesco Rosemary has ever been in, with a whole section in one aisle dedicated to grated cheese! After lunch we took a walk along the river and across fields to Stoke-by-Nayland, returning to Thorington Hall to welcome our first guests.
Magnificent magnolias were spotted on our walks, but we never saw the rumoured otter in the v local river. It did not look like otter country. Perhaps it had been a mink?
The kitchen was well equipped and suitably large with two dishwashers, fridges and freezers and four ovens. The 6-slice toaster came into its own very early on. We didn’t however use all the kettles, nor the urn. Steve served a cooked breakfast every morning, bar our last. Each couple cooked one evening meal during their stay. Standards were very high, and tummies very full!
The Wednesday activity for the walkers was an eight-mile walk to Stoke-by-Nayland, then down to Nayland with lunch at the Anchor Inn and back to Thorington Hall. Those electing to stay in the Hall settled for chatting over a quick lunch of snackrells & a bottle of Cava.
Thursday was the turn of Dedham where we dropped a car off, so that those not wanting to walk the whole route would be able to drive back to Thorington Hall. The walkers split into two groups, the fast and the slow (ie Rosemary & her supporters). When the fast group reached Dedham, I picked up the car and drove to Stratford St Mary to pick up the slow group and delivered them to the Sun Inn in Dedham where we all had lunch. After lunch and a look around the village, the walkers returned to Thorington Hall, while I drove the others there.
Friday, we drove to Flatford Mill, where R was excited at seeing her first cowslip of the year, and from there we walked to East Bergholt for lunch at the Lion Brasserie. We managed a table outside in partial sun. The loos (along a corridor from a very impressive wine storage area) were particularly good; the men’s toilet had a showcase of old shotgun paraphernalia. After lunch it was a return walk to Flatford and then back to Thorington Hall for supper. Our doggy guest turned up with her owners so was able to open her special box of NT goodies. She thoroughly approved of them.
Saturday, we travelled to the coast, parked in Frinton and walked to Walton-on-the-Naze, where lunch was at The Victory. Walton-on-the-Naze appeared rather run down. I have also never seen so many beach huts. We walked back to Frinton and then home.
Sunday was spent driving to Shotley Gate and admiring the Marina and the container ships across the estuary at Felixstowe. There was an Evergreen container ship, the Ever Aim, the same length as the Ever Given which had become infamously stuck across the Suez Canal. If we had stayed until the early hours of Monday, we would have seen Ever Given arrive. A snack lunch was drunk and/or eaten at the Marina Cafe.
Monday, we packed up and left by10.00. The cleaners had all arrived promptly, one in her BMW. It was sad to leave a beautiful house which had given us all a great deal of pleasure.