21. Sep, 2020


MONDAY 21-09-20

We awoke to another lovely morning. We have been so lucky on this trip. We had expected to have periods of cold wind and rain during our travels, and bought appropriate clothing, but apart from cool 'fresh' breezes up on the north Norfolk coast at the beginning, we've enjoyed lovely weather.

Last night I needed to speak to our neighbours who were sat in their awning watching television. What such campers fail to appreciate that these full screen TV's have their speakers at the back and pointing backwards. In a domestic setting the sound bounces off the wall behind and back in to the room. However in this environment the sound passes straight through a wafer thin layer of canvas and out towards neighbours. So whatever viewers hear, those behind the speakers hear it much louder (and that was us).

To be fair, as soon as The Chef popped outside to hang her damp towel on a wing mirror this morning the lady apologised profusely. It seems her husband couldn't wear his hearing aid due to an ear infection, so up went the volume. These days though there are solutions to this problem as a Bluetooth gizmo can plug in to the televisions headphone socket and transmit the sound. Viewers can then wear Bluetooth headphones tuned in to the transmitted signal. That way they can have the sound as loud as they like in their ears, but nobody else hears a thing. They were good enough to apologise and it was all forgotten.

Today I have started a new 'chapter' as I have uploaded quite a lot of pictures recently and rather than subject readers to clicking back through large numbers of pages I've started anew. It will again appear with a question mark regarding the destination as I don't know myself in all honesty. What we are up against now is the weather. We are being told that the last day of 'summer' is tomorrow. After that the weather declines dramatically in to autumn and winter, so I think we'll be looking to make our way home late Wednesday or early Thursday.

We set off mid-morning heading towards Southwold on foot. Our plan was to have a good look around and then make our way back for a sit outside in the sunshine.

We approached along the promenade, passing beach huts, which look out towards the lovely sandy, safe beach and sea.

So as we approach, here's the tale of Southwold, courtesy of the internet:

Southwold is a charming north Suffolk seaside town on the Suffolk Heritage Coast. Almost an island, being bounded by the North Sea to the East, by the River Blyth and Southwold harbour to the South–West and by Buss Creek to the North, there is just the one road in to and out of Southwold, approached through neighbouring Reydon.

The town offers much of interest, but it is the sea and Southwold’s links with it make this a wonderful destination at any time of the year. All the attractions of the working lighthouse, beach huts, award-winning pier, busy harbour, cliff top cannon and of course the beach, combine to make Southwold a quintessentially English resort town.

Southwold is home to the Adnams Brewery, winner of The Good Pub Guide 2011’s ‘Brewery of the Year’. The brewery itself is very much the focal point of the town with its brewing rooms set just behind the High Street and adjacent to the town’s lighthouse. Brewery tours are on offer throughout the year, and there is no shortage of pubs and restaurants at which to sample the variety of Adnams beers on offer. More recently they have added a distillery, which as well as the wine shop, guarantees your favourite ‘tipple’ will be available.

The Battle of Sole Bay is mentioned all around town, so let's cover that here:

At 2.30am on the morning of 28th May, 1672, a French frigate sailed into Southwold Bay (called Sole Bay). It reported that the Dutch Fleet had been sighted and were two hours away. It was disturbing and unexpected news. Southwold provided much to entertain sailors, especially the town’s ale houses, and the English fleet had assembled there to refit. Many seamen and soldiers had been sent from London, and most of the crews were enjoying shore leave with battle a remote prospect.

There was an urgent call to arms and at 5.30am the English ships at anchor on the lee shore put to sea. The Anglo-French fleet was commanded by James, Duke of York – later to become James II – and the Earl of Sandwich, both of whom had spent the night at their headquarters, Sutherland House in the High Street. This was one of the few buildings to have escaped the great fire of 1659.

The fleet had 71 ships each with over 40 guns, plus frigates and fire-ships: 90 in all. It amounted to over 5,500 guns and 24,000 men. But the French fleet, whether through accident or design, steered south and left the scene of battle (nothing new there then).

This left the Dutch fleet of 61 warships to fight it out with the English, and the battle raged much of the day. The Duke of York had to transfer twice, as his flagships Prince Royal and St Michael were taken out of action. The flagship of Lord Sandwich (or Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato to his friends), HMS Royal James, the biggest and newest ship in the English fleet, was set on fire. Sandwich drowned trying to escape, his body washed ashore further down the coast and was only recognisable by the Star and Garter on his clothing.

As the noise of the battle grew, crowds gathered on the cliffs. The thunder of the guns brought people hurrying from nearby villages. However, they saw little of the battle taking place some ten miles out to sea. Clouds of smoke billowed from burning fire-ships – vessels deliberately set alight to destroy enemy ships. And when the day seemed to be doing badly for the English, an order went out that no person should leave the town, but remain to repel the Dutch in case they landed.

Losses were heavy on both sides – the Dutch lost two ships and about 1800 men, and the English also lost two ships and some 2000 men. The battle ended inconclusively at sunset. Predictably, both sides claimed victory.

The people of Southwold had to deal with around 800 injured sailors, not to mention the many bodies which washed up along the shoreline for many weeks afterwards.