Real, enduring happiness has been a little absent of late. You know how it goes: your days begin the same and end the same, they roll into one another until it is suddenly another month and you cannot remember how it happened. The daily grind becomes a little bit more of a grind than usual and you find yourself longing for a break away from it all. The weather hasn’t helped. Given that almost all of January and most of February was filled with dark grey clouds and oddles of rain and wind, it seems kind of appropriate that most of the UK seems to be suffering the winter blues. And this tale of seasonal sadness is why Mr VP and I decided to eenie-meanie-mynie-mo a place on one of East Anglia’s coasts and just go. We both settled on Southwold, a place that looked right up our street with lots of cafés, bijoux shops and sea. We found a B&B that looked good, packed modest bags (oh who am I kidding? I have yet to master ‘packing light’ when I carry an enormous camera bag and assorted other bags that are Very Necessary!) and jumped into the car on Saturday morning, ripe for adventure.
Southwold is, for the uninitiated, really that kind of promenade type of place, with splendid grand Victorian houses facing the sea and streets full of older fishermens’ cottages. The town is, in Mr VP’s own words, “Corbridge-Next-the-Sea”: full of community, Victorian pharmacies (oh, how wonderful they are!), nice pubs and interesting shops (it really is only missing RE). We didn’t do much, per se, but we did a lot of walking. The sea air and the walking and the wind and the newness of it all meant that by 10pm we were exhausted and ready for bed and slept soundly until our alarms woke us for breakfast the next morning! Some of the best bits were when we went for a long walk along the promenade, stopping to look at all of the various beach huts along the way. There is something magical about the beach at sunset, with row upon row of brightly-coloured beach huts. It is its own kind of bliss.
We really enjoyed the Under the Pier Show, which is kind of the antithesis of all the usual seaside amusement arcades. Whilst most are populated by bright lights and chances to lose money, this one is full of home-made arcade machines and hand-built automata that do anything but the usual dull games. You can visit the automata doctor, see an instant solar eclipse, go on an armchair holiday or take part in an alien probe! It really is the most fun that one can have in a day and is highly recommended (make sure you take plenty of cash with you!). Another place we particularly liked was visiting the Adnams Cellar & Kitchen Store, which not only sells their complete range of beers (and now wines and spirits), food and kitchenware, but also serves some of the best coffee in Southwold (and their carrot cake is divine!). Though neither of us drink much, it is hard to escape the Adnams name when in Southwold, as this age-old brewery was founded in the town and both The Swan and The Crown hotels, have wonderful restaurants and comfy bars. We also happened to find ourselves new pairs of shoes/boots. Whilst Mr VP opted for some very swish Doc Martens, I fell in love with these soft, suede desert boots. They are possibly the most fabulous pair of shoes I have bought in a very long time and just happen to be in one of my favourite colours.
Though it was raining when we set off, it had brightened by the time we got there and stayed that way for almost our entire visit. We were really lucky with the weather, the only bad bit being on Sunday night when a storm raged around us but we were tucked-up cosy and warm in bed! For the most part, we had bright, mild days with lots of blue skies and fresh winds – in other words, it was glorious. By the time we had to leave on Monday, I was very sad indeed to go. During our stay, I felt oddly lighter and we both laughed a lot and felt better for our trip. I have some really lovely photos to get printed of our time there and I came away having re-connected with Mr VP and feeling more in love than ever. All in all, a great weekend away, a lovely way to welcome Spring into being (spring does begin in March according to my body-clock!) and a thoroughly lovely place to visit.