Right, it’s Wednesday afternoon, we’ve been out and about, come back, had lunch, I’m tapping away at the netbook and a certain someone is trying not too snore - with limited success. The skies have cleared considerably and there’s this really bright thing in the hazy sky making everywhere feel a bit warmer. How odd.
Out and about yesterday despite the murky start. First up was Colchester, England's oldest recorded town apparently and first sight of note was the ruins of St Botolphs Priory, the first Augustinian monastery in England. I know that ‘cause I read it on the plaque. Some may be wondering If I’ve had a funny turn and took a sudden interest in Augustinian monasteries, but wonder no more. The truth is it just happened to be opposite the car park, and looked good in the mist.
After the usual trawl around the town centre - still supporting quite a few independent shops as well as the usual chains which is always nice to see - it was time for coffee. We always try and pick a local cafe when we are out and about and came across a place offering both coffee and an internet cafe. Well the computers looked as if they were built when the monastery was but the coffee was good, reasonably priced and with excellent service too.
Next up was Felixstowe, traversing the massive Orwell bridge on the way. You can walk the bridge and on a clear day the views are fantastic, I am reliably informed. But, it was still foggy, so we didn’t. Felixstowe is home to Britain's busiest container port and and one of the busiest in Europe. The number of lorries on the well worn A14 as we approached was testament to this. We headed for the town and some lunch at a cafe that promised little and delivered just that. I had a chicken breast burger which was tasty enough but a magnifying glass would have come in handy. Trev fared a little better with his sausage and chips although you didn’t need the fingers of both hands to count the chips.
The little settlement of Felixstowe Ferry, accessed through the Old Town and through the middle of a golf course was a pleasant little find. The road come to an end here as the settlement is nestled on the banks of the Debden river, but you can get a ferry across to Bawdsey on the other side. We’re not talking P & O or Stena here, but one man in a little wooden craft that putt putts backwards and forwards - regularly in the summer and on demand in the winter.
Moving further in to Suffolk, Woodbridge was next. A pretty and clearly well to do place situated further up the Deben river. At one time, I am told, all the houses had to be painted ‘Suffolk Pink’ although that is clearly not the case now. We crossed the railway line down to the riverside where I took, what is, so far my favourite photo of the trip.
Last, but certainly not least was Southwold, further up the coast. Real ale drinkers will know that the Adnams brewery is here - right in the town - and produces some damn fine beer too. The town is charming, the little pier is well kept and it’s worth a drive down to the harbour just out of town. Some of the filming for ‘A Mother’s Son’ on ITV with Martin Clunes and Paul McGann was done here. Well worth a visit if you around this way and it’s certainly gone on our ‘must do again’ list.
This morning, with the mist gone I was able to grab a few photos of the site before we headed out again, and south first to the quaint village of St Oysth, then out to the coast at Point Clear, home to several massive static caravan parks but not much else. Jaywick was next then on to Clacton again for some photo’s and a walk along the promenade and a delicious mug of tea at a little hut opposite the pier. We paused further up the coast for photo stops at Holland, Frinton and finally the Naze tower at Walton, built as a navigational aid in 1720. We had vague thoughts of climbing it but a large party of school kids changed our minds pretty rapidly.
So we went over old ground at least partially but at least were able to get some photo’s this time. Tonight we are are meeting up with my cousin and his wife who live just north of Colchester - the closest of my few remaining relatives - for food and grog. We have one more day here tomorrow before heading back to Saltdean on Friday. That may well be it for Patsy this year, but what about next? Well, Europe, the whole point of buying a caravan is still on, although delayed, most likely until the end of next summer. We have recently put the house on the market in the hope of downsizing to pay for what we expect to be, a least a year long trip. We have not worked since January when we finally had enough of those bloody parcels - or more accurately the company that supplied said bloody parcels - and I need some work soon to preserve what’s left of my sanity as well for essentials like beer and aforementioned PVC or rubber jeans - purely for caravanning only of course. I am busy firing off job applications, but no one has taken a leap of faith and asked me to an interview yet.
Mind you, if no job is forthcoming and the weather stays reasonable we might be tempted to hitch up Patsy again for some winter camping - and the chance to wear more black…..