The Easter holidays are here and we've just returned from a very welcome break in Aldeburgh, Suffolk where I caught up on sleep, read loads and wound down from a very busy term at school. We stayed in a little holiday cottage on the High Street and enjoyed taking it easy; exploring the town; walking on the beach; and catching up with old friends who live in Norfolk and Suffolk. The weather was wintry when we arrived - a biting north-east wind blowing in from the sea made walking the dog a fairly unpleasant experience on Saturday. But it improved. On Tuesday morning I was awake and up early before others and so I took the dog and my camera and went for a walk. I didn't take any glasses with me so some shots are a bit wonky but thanks to autofocus not so bad.
The beach in Aldeburgh is shingle rather than sand so it's not exactly bucket and spade territory. We used to visit here on days out when we lived in Norfolk.
This building, some sort of look-out tower which is now an art gallery, is actually on the beach.
Many of the houses in the town are painted in pastel colours - it really is a very pretty place. Kate, a big fan of Cbeebies, said it looks like Balamory, which, if you don't know it, is a programme for young children filmed in Tobermory, also full of coloured houses.
At the north end of the beach, there is a square with a statue of a little dog. The inscription says it is a memorial to a doctor who cared for residents of Aldeburgh for many years.
Ronan the dog and I met a few other dogs and their owners out early and an occasional jogger, but it was very quiet on the beachfront. We walked past the war memorial...
and the museum, which doesn't open until May.
..and past some of the many little shacks which sell fish on the beach. Aldeburgh is a working fishing town and one the few people I saw on my walk was a fisherman degutting a very large fish. We bought some smoked fish from this stall - I had mackerel and husband had some very smelly kippers.
There are many boats, nets and fishing gear on the beach.
We walked back to the cottage down the high street. There are lots of attractive shops mostly aimed at visitors. I think Aldeburgh attracts a lot of rich Londoners and so most of the clothes shops were out of my budget. A top in one of the windows caught my eye so Kate and I went in and had a look:£179!
Aldeburgh is famous for its fish and chips but a word of warning if you ever visit. Make sure you go to the main Fish and Chip shop beside the White Hart pub - it usually has a queue outside when it's open. We made the mistake of going to the Golden Galleon, which has this rather well-endowed mermaid statue outside, as the main shop was closed on Monday evening. The Golden Galleon's fish and chips were not that nice.
There are many art galleries and antique shops like the one above on the high street and branches of middle-aged/middle-class clothes shops such as Joules and Fatface. Kate was not impressed. We did like the bookshop though - it's a rare treat to find a proper well-stocked independent bookshop these days.
We came home with one purchase - a 8 pint barrel of Adnams Broadside beer, made locally in Southwold.
I liked this painting of some fennel and garlic I spotted in one gallery on my walk - would be nice in my kitchen I thought until I looked at the price tag.
I returned from my walk to join the rest of the family and get ready for lunch with friends we haven't seen for about 7 years at the Lighthouse Restaurant. Much lovely food, good conversation and more wine than was sensible at lunchtime. This was my pudding: chocolate truffle cake with marzipan top. We also met some other friends we'd not seen in ten years in Diss on Saturday evening, near where we used to live. Time has gone so fast but in both cases conversation was easy and we enjoyed sharing news.(None of us bother much with Facebook.)
At one time we'd talked about moving to Aldeburgh when we retired, something that's not so far off for us now. But although I love visiting I'm not sure I would want to live here. Most of the properties on the High Street are holiday cottages and out of season I suspect it could be rather bleak at times. And it's a very long way from anywhere else,