A perfect day


On the way to dropping my son off at the station yesterday morning, so he could catch the train to school, an online post that one of my nieces had recently shared came to mind. I don’t know why. Anyway the post was along these lines:

Make a list of all the things you like doing

Make a list of all the things you are doing

Compare the two – amend accordingly.

I turned to my son and told him that his Dad would probably be picking him up this afternoon as I’d just decided to go to the beach. Now it may seem a bit cruel to tell a child, on his way to school, that you are spending the day at the beach, but he took it well. I made a quick return home and checked my husband would be able to pick our son up that afternoon, grabbed my sunglasses, a bottle of water, apologised to my dog for not taking her with me and hit the road, shouting over my shoulder to my husband that he might like to take the dog out for a walk.

I love a good road trip and a trip to the seaside from where I live constitutes quite a road trip. It was going to take a while to get to my chosen destination which was Southwold in Suffolk. This gave me a chance to listen to Woman’s Hour. Thankfully they weren’t talking about female genital mutilation for a change but they did promise that tomorrow they would be talking about ‘breasts’.  Apart from an incomprehensible restriction to 40 miles an hour for long stretches of the A12 dual carriageway the trip was very smooth.

I had decided to make my first stop on the High Street in Southwold to gather provisions and reading material for a perfect time on the beach.  Using my Parking Angel I managed to secure a place very close to my shop of choice. However the parking was restricted to half an hour so I threw my ‘cloak of invisibility’ over my car to ensure I didn’t get a ticket, if I was a little longer. It worked!

My dear friend Claire had told me about a fabulous bakery in Southwold owned by a cousin of hers called Rebecca. The bakery is called the  Two Magpies Bakery and is, as she promised, fabulous.  It was just full of the most delicious treats.

Be prepared to queue. Its worth it!

As there was a bit of a queue I had a great opportunity to examine what was on offer. It was very difficult to make any choices without looking as though I was feeding a whole group of Boy Scouts. Rebecca wasn’t there but her charming daughter Betsy was and she helped me with my bread selection,  suggesting the white sourdough. I noticed that as well as their usual daily breads they also have a special which changes every day. I thought Sunday’s offering of Cheddar, red onion and cracked black pepper sounded wonderful. Made with 100% rye flour with chia, alfalfa, hemp and linseed. I’m going to have to ensure my next visit is on a Sunday. Or maybe on a Saturday with a stop over for Sunday as they have a pizza night on Saturday and they sound great too.  I also went for some individual lemon meringue tarts and billionaire’s shortbread.

Haven’t shown these to the boys yet!

So much more aspirational than common or garden millionaire’s shortbread. They were to take home and share with the boys. But really there was so much choice I had to stop myself from choosing one of everything. But I needed something for my lunch. I went for a huge roll filled with hummus, fire roasted pepper, olive and rocket. Betsy loaded me up with a loaf of bread to bring back for her godmother and I was off. There are a few tables in the bakery but there were already taken and I had promised myself a day on the beach, so that was fine.

Now all I needed was a good book. It was so lovely to see that Southwold still has a bookshop. I was completely charmed by it but when I was looking for a hyperlink to put in this blog I found that the independent bookshop look was deceptive and that it is really owned by Waterstone’s. Which is okay but doesn’t deserve a hyperlink! No wonder it was so well stocked.  It was staffed by a charming young man who was discussing an up coming local cricket match with a friend and suggesting some one else should captain the team as he might be running a bit late.  The perfect conversation to overhear on the perfect day. For some reason I wanted to tell you that he had ginger hair, which he did, but I’ve decided it might not be appropriate, so strike that from the record.

Just the right number of beach huts

I made my way to the beach. Clambering over sand dunes I found the perfect spot to eat my lunch. On opening  my bag I was devastated to see on the label that had I managed to find myself a seat in the Two Magpies bakery my roll would have been served with homemade coleslaw and kettle chips. I felt robbed. However I had the better view and a very soft seat amongst the sand dunes.

 The sea was a very dirty brown and even further out could only manage a sandy colour but there were very pretty little mulit-coloured beach huts and a pier.  

The beach was mostly sandy with some pebbles, but for the committed beach comber like myself, no shells and no flotsam or jetsam. Southwold has the reputation of being an amber hunters dream, but despite a good walk along the shore line I wasn’t able to find any.


Sand and pebbles but no shells or treasure

After a good read and a good walk I decided to start my travels back down the coast with a visit to the ever pretty Walberswick. To get to the car park by the dunes in Walberswick you have to cross a narrow metal bridge with a difficult twist in it. The guy before me had managed to scrape all down one side of his car in his attempt to navigate this obstacle. It’s the sort of bridge that makes you feel you must have come the wrong way.   I imagine his enjoyment of the beautiful beach and dunes was tempered by the fact that he had a permanent reminder of his day out. It wasn’t the sort of scratch that would polish out.


This was the pedestrian bridge into the sand dunes

I was amazed to see a lady swimming in the sea here. She was in a red t-shirt and that made me wonder if this had been a spontaneous impulse to throw herself into the freezing muddy waters or if she was wearing the shirt for sun protection.  When I got back from my walk she had drifted down the beach a good 200 yards. Should I hang around and keep an eye on her I wondered. But bearing in mind that I was at the seaside and I hadn’t had a cream tea yet I pressed on convincing myself that she was probably just swimming home.

As I clambered up the sand dunes to find my car I realised that it was me that had drifted 200 yards down the beach. I headed back down onto the flat sand and using the lady in the red t-shirt as an effective marking buoy I found my trail again.

The beach at Southwold

I had arranged with some friends who live quite locally to pop in and see them on my way back. I was going to stop and do my meditation with them before hitting the A12 again. I told them I’d be there about 4pm, but on my way out of Walberswick I spotted two tea rooms. Well, as this day was all about doing what you really love, I pulled over and made my way into one of the tea gardens. I ordered an almond and lemon cake and a green tea. I knew my friends wouldn’t mind if I was a tiny bit late.

Lemon cake and green tea

I finally got home, after dropping Betsy’s loaf off to her godmother at about 9.30pm. It had been a lovely day. My son was already in bed but my husband and I sawed into the sourdough loaf that Betsy had recommended and I can honestly say that it was the best sourdough loaf I have ever tasted.

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