Jean reports on 23rd August 2004;

Hi All,
Here is my version of last weekend and our days in Southwold.  On Monday morning at 6.20 Roger took Peter and Linda to Thetford station and after a  wrong turn coming out of the villa they arrived in good time and Roger was back with the car at the villa before 7.15.  By this time Mark and Dom had set off on a fishing trip.  So time to clear up and pack and return all borrowed items including garden chairs and tables to their correct villa.  By 9 a.m. the road was full of cars and people who we hadn't seen all weekend.  The bikes were returned to the hire place and we left the villas at about 10.30.  Mark and Dom had returned sometime earlier after a very successful fishing trip. Mark and Ang stayed at Center Parcs and went for a walk and had another swim.
We set off for a rest and got to Southwold at about 12.30, found the hotel and had a pub lunch by one of the nine greens in the town.  We then checked in to the hotel and went to our room which we photographed before cluttering it up with our belongings.  The room was magnificennt - about 25ft square with very plush furnishings and lots of goodies - fruit, bottled water, tea, coffee and delicious home-made fudge and shortbread. Also a bowl of sweets compliments of the Old fashioned sweet shop in Southwold. After un-packing we walked along  the pier and then along the promenade looking for the beach hut which we used to use some 50 years before. The name must have been changed but I could remember roughly where it was.  I found the guest house where we stayed and it is still there doing  Bed and Breakfast.  The town itself is very unspoilt and it now has lots of small gift and arty shops, many selling pictures of local scenes.
That evening we had a lovely meal at Sutherland House and I had sole for my main course (delicious) and we both had our favourite sweet - creme brulee.  Next day after breakfast (smoked salmon and scrambled egg), as it was raining, we went by car to the Walberswick ferry.  This is a small boat rowed by a lady and transports up to 10 people across the river which at that time had a strong current. On our return she had decided to use a motor boat.  We walked round the delightful village and then watched lots of families who were 'crabbing' - they were using bacon as bait and sometimes had as many as 8 crabs clinging to the net. The crabbing championships are  to be held there later this month. We returned on the ferry before the 'rower' took her lunch break and walked on the beach and by the fishing sheds before having a drink at the Harbour Inn (no need for lunch as had such a lot for breakfast).  We then took our books and had a lazy time sitting in the sun by the sea.  Later on I wandered round the shops - Roger opted to go back to the hotel.
Sutherland House has a lovely walled garden and it was very pleasant place to sit and Roger could enjoy his pipe there often chatting to the proprietor who was having his cigarette.
The next morning we went to the musem which was next to the hotel and I bought a booklet about the 1953 floods. My Mum and Auntie Vera were in Southwold that night.  We then packed up and made our way home via two of Auntie Vera's cottages.  The first was in the very attractive village of Dedham which is very near where Constable painted many of his famous paintings.  We found the cottage and it looked as though it had been extended a bit at the side.  However we later found it in a  shop window and it was for sale for 450,000.  It had been extended all along the back with a gallery overlooking a marvellous view of Dedham Vale.  I asked for the sales details, but didn't give the reason for my interest.  After a drink in a Dedham pub (again no need for lunch)we drove  on to the ouskirts of Chelmsford and I found another of Auntie Vera's old cottages - again very picturesque - it looked more or less the same as it had when I used to stay there when I was about 20.
We got home late afternoon after a very enjoyable trip for me 'down memory lane'.
Thanks for making Center Parcs and Southwold such a memorable occasion for us - it certainly was very special.

Love from Mum