Saturday, 28 November 2015

Advent festivities

begin today in Southwold.

We took advantage of the sunny weather to walk before lunching at Coasters.

St James' Green

MWNN collected a parcel from the Post Office, and we bought bread and mince pies from Two Magpies Bakery, before setting off for a stroll along the beach.

The weather was kind for 28th November. There were lots of family groups with children and dogs enjoying the beach.

This family owned two Rhodesian Ridegbacks, who greeted Ron very gently.

MWNN walked on, while I chatted to the woman who owned the dogs (and the boy-children). I caught up with  MWNN just past Suzies's Beach Cafe, which is experimenting this year and opening at weekends until the New Year. We sat for a while, with a latte and cappuccino, watching the promenaders until the clouds rolled over the sun.

The weather has been really kind to us again. All along the cliff, there are clumps of  Erigeron Glaucus Sea Breeze flowers still in bloom. There are even some red-hot-pokers in flower in some walled gardens

We passed the Sailors' Reading Rooms on the way back to Lighthouse View. This evening, there will be ghost stories by candlelight, in the grand old Victorian Tradition.

Back in the cottage (blue one, with the Berlingo outside), we're checking Coasters' lunch menu. Table is booked for 1.30 - dogs welcome.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Changeover Day

Today, we moved from the cottage beside the Blyth, to one in a central position in town.

St James' Green is a few minutes walk to the town centre and even less to the promenade. Our cottage is the one painted oale blue, on the row once named St James' Terrace.

We settled in this morning and, after a brief rest from all the packing and un-packing, headed out to the Sole Bay Inn for lunch. There wasn't a table available, so we walked Ron to the Promenade.

A few short minutes found us outside the Lord Nelson Inn. It too was thronging, but there were a couple of bench tables available in the rear room.

Between us and an available table stood

a real, live Pirate,

He turned out to be harmless, and we settled into our seats to peruse the menu,

MWNN chose tai green curry. I opted for fish and chips.

Like most of the Adnams' pubs we've visited the Lord Nelson is very dog-friendly.

I spread my coat on the bench beside me and lifted Ron up so that he could see what was going on in the busy bar,

Soon after we had sat down, we were joined by two young women and a child. Ron's attention was caught by a promising-sounding bag, out of which a box appeared. The box contained a kit of some sort, which the child started to unpack.

Throughout our meal, Ron ignored all offers of fresh cod chunks, and watched as the child started to decorate the 'nodding puppy' she'd assembled.

I've swapped my bedroom view of the estuary for this one of Southwold's Lighthouse.

Although smaller than the Blackshore cottage, the location of St James' Terrace allows us to park the car outside and not have to move it again until we go home.

Tomorrow promises to be a fne day and there will be lots happening in the streets in celebration of the swirching-on of the Christmas Lights.

Thursday, 26 November 2015


Today, MWNN and I were giving thanks for another day of peace and relaxation, away from the industrial drying machines at home.

An outing to Southwold Common provided the much-needed, chasing-the-ball exercise for Ron.

We didn't want to waste the lovely weather, so cut the exercise short and went into town for provisions.

We had planned to eat at The Crown, but wanted a longer walk, We drove back to the cottage, stashed the provisions in the fridge, and strolled up the estuary to the beach.

By the time we'd allowed Ron a frolic with new doggie chums on the beach, it was getting late. It was almost Low Tide and the sun was dropping. We'd missed the chance of eating at the Sole Bay Fish Restaurant, so entered the Harbour Cafe for the third time in as many days.

There was no hot food to be had, so we settled for tea and home-baked fruit scones.

This is the last evening at the Blackshore cottage,

I shall miss the view from my bedroom window, but look forward to being able to shop without needing the car.

Tomorrow, we take up residence in the town centre, right beside Southwold Lighthouse,  just a few yards from Adnams Brewery and shop.

It's right beside one of our favourite, dog-friendly, eating-houses - the Sole Bay Inn (another Adnams' pub).

A few yards away is North Cliff Promenade.

There's  few more days in this lovely retreat, with fresh air and exercise, will leave us in a better state to face the hard work needed to restore the house to order.

Saturday is the Christmas Lights switch-on in Southwold. Having missed it in Hitchin, I am looking forward to the festivities.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Another good day

in Southwold, today.

It was a beautiful, sunny day that could not be wasted indoors. We walked to the beach and along the shoreline for about 30 mins. Then we turned into the biting wind and headed back to the cottage.

The view across the Blyth to Walberswick was crisp and clear, with not a cloud in the sky.

We stopped at the Harbour Cafe for lunch again. There were five other dogs inside, but Ron behaved impeccably thoiughout the meal. Cottage Pie with seasonal vegetables for MWNN and fish cakes and chips for me, Poor Ron was very sausage deprived.

After a rest in the cottage, we drove into town through a heavy rainstorm. The artisan baker had no bread, so I had to buy the only loaf left (seeded granary) at the English baker's.

The rain stopped soon after we returned to the cottage,

and a lovely sunset appeared from beneath the rain clouds.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


We're back in Southwold, avoiding the continuing noise and heat from four sets of drying machines. The monitor reading taken yesterday morning, showed that progress is being made, but not enough to have the machines withdrawn. A new monitor date was set for 2nd December,

We packed the car and headed back to the peace and quiet of the Blackshore cottage,

From the sitting room window, we look across the front porch terrace, to the harbour.

The forecast for today was for lots of rain. We took advantage of a break in the clouds to take a walk to the beach. On the way back, we stopped at the Harboour Cafe for a late lunch.

Dogs welcome, said the notice, so in we went. I dried the worst of the mud off Ron's legs and we made ourselves comfortable at a large table in front of the wood burning stove.

MWNN ordered the all day breakfast and a latte, while I opted for bacon baps and a pot of tea.

The food was good (and very reasonably priced), the place was warm, and, best of all, Ron got his own sausage, because MWNN didn;t like the tough skins.

The Harbour Cafe is comfortable and unpretentious, with a warm welcome for walkers and their dogs.

A few minutes stroll, past the Harbour Master;s Office, and we were back to the peace of the Blackshore cottage,

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Southwold Day 4 and 5

Day 4, Saturday 14th 

During an anxious night of high water and flood defences, the Harbour Master was on duty until well after midnight.

MWNN was up early the following morning, to retrieve the car and remove the front door flood gate.

Our visitors (TheD and SiL ) arrived just before 11 am, having taken part in the Ipswich Park Run. They showered, had a late brunch, and we  headed into town.

It rained solidly throughout the rest of the day on Saturday, so there was no outing for Ron. MWNN's cold got heavier, but he gallantly ate a dinner of Suffolk pork chop with cauliflower and broccoli mash.

Day 5, Sunday 15th Nov

The SiL was up early and out for a 15 mile run along the coastal path from Southwold to Dunwich. After a hearty breakfast, he and TheD left for home.

MWNN's cold was no better, so I harnessed Ron up and took him down to the beach,

Storm Adelaide had been replaced by hurricane Kate. The waves were up, but, despite the strong winds, it was mild.

It was coming up to high tide. The flooding of Friday night had seen many boats seek shelter in the harbour, Most were still safely tied up on Sunday.

This one was beside the RNLI office.

Ron was keen to play.

Again, we strolled towards Gun Hill. Unlike Friday, the beach was busy with many families and their dogs.

Ron attached himself to one group, joining in the game of retrieve the skimming stones with the motley canine gang (mainly terriers, very like Ron).

Ron had such a good time.

Size doesn't matter.

Which one is Ron?

Speed does.

Ron was reluctant to end the game, and was in danger of disappearing with the group,who were leaving the beach.

Eventually, he realised I wasn't following the group, and rejoined me, I rewarded him with a game of fetch the champagne cork from the river, on the way back to the cottage.

Southwold Day 3

Friday dawned bright and blustery and MWNN's cold got heavier.

After a morning of conversation, tea, and an early lunch,  I left MWNN dozing on the sofa by the fire,  and took Ron for a much-needed walk.

Twelve minutes of brisk walking along the quay  outside the cottage, took us the the RNLI station near the mouth of the estuary,

A few more minutes brought us to the Museum in the car park at the mouth of the estuary,

Then it was a short hop and skip to Ron's (and my) favourite English beach,

We've seen higher waves and the temperature was mild. Ron was keen to paddle and wanted a game of chase.

We don't play ball games on the beach, because Ron swallows so much sand if we do. He doesn't approve of inactivity, Here he is letting me know what he thinks about it.

After a short stroll along the deserted seashore towards Gun Hill, we turned around and headed back to the cottage,

Ron spotted a couple of King Charles Cavaliers, but they made it clear they didn't do water play, so he soon lost interest,

MWNN was rested after his hour's nap, so we headed into town to shop for our visitors who were arriving on Saturday.

On our return to the cottage, I picked up an email from our landlord, warning us of a flood alert.

Storm gate at the front door

We put up the three storm gates, moved the car over the other side of the dyke, and settled down beside the fire for an anxious few hours until high tide.

Quayside completely under water

The water started creeping across the car park at about 9pm.

By 10pm, it had entered the front drive of the cottage

Water in through the gates of the cottage

and was making its way towards the front steps.

Just after 11pm, the Harbour Inn tweeted that is had reached its peak,

Not a drop of water entered the house and we kept both power and wifi signal. Lowestoft Weather Warnings kept us up-to-date throughout.

Quite an adventure, but one that paled into insignificance as the news from Paris unfolded.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Southwold Day 2

Thursday morning's mist had cleared by the time we were breakfasted, at 8.30am.  Our first walk of this trip was along the banks of the river Blyth.

It's just a few minutes walk from our front drive to the footbridge that crosses the river to the Walberswick side.

We turned left and took the coastal path on the opposite bank of the river,  to Walbeswick, Ferry point, through the nature reserve.

Ron started digging in the bank on which boardwalks have been erected. Perhaps he'd found one of the reptiles mention in the on-going habitat management.

Does anyone recognse this white plant on the river's edge.

There was a huge flock of gulls on one of the marsh ponds and a gaggle of Brent geese browsing the vegetation.

It was a lovely walk under clear blue skies.

On the return journey, we had clear views of our holiday cottage (left of the tree) on the opposite bank of the river.

The Harbour Inn(serves fine Adnams ales)  is a few short steps away (behind the blue boat).

Another holiday cottage is between us and the Inn, but doesn't allow dogs.

Visibility was so good,  we had a clear view of "Quay House" (white house on the horizon.)

Such a mild November day, made all the more enjoyable by the availability of the cottage for an earlier-than-planned arrival date.