Suffolk Spectacular

Friday

I waved my work colleagues goodbye and drove off into the sun with roof open, but soon stopped on A47 as the clouds gathered and temperature dropped, jumper on, roof closed. I took Steve’s advice and jumped off the A14 at J51, a decision well taken as I was soon treated to some delightful villages. I came across a petrol station so took advantage, and on hearing the distinct toot from a fellow 500 I had a coincidental meet up with Richard and Lianna with their cute VW Caravan.

I arrived at my destination, the Dolphin Inn in Thorpeness, around 3.45 in sunshine, to be met by the Scanes and Edmunds who were sitting, as planned, in the garden. The Inn was not open but I was signed in and took the opportunity of grabbing a Beer, well I am on holiday, and to my amazement the landlord said if anyone else wanted anything, just help yourself and make a note. I soon returned with 4 more thirsty travellers and a scrap of paper!

The evening was very social in The Kitchen, who had opened especially for us – and allowed dogs which is a bonus for Tinker and her 4 mates.   No incidents, the humans all behaved very well and we wandered off to our various sleeping establishments.

Saturday

Very comfy bed, albeit I thought I may self-combust with the heat! I met my other Dolphinites for a fantastic breakfast, though was envious of Janet’s Smoked Salmon on Scrambled Egg (must have tomorrow), then the rest of the club all pulled up outside for our first outing. We had a lap of honour round Thorpeness, sadly it seems too early for this sleepy village, but we enjoyed it. Our first visit was Aldeburgh where we were allowed to park all together on the front.

We all went separate ways for a wander round the lovely fishing town, before moving off to The Bawdsey Radar Bunker, which also had opened just for us, and dog friendly – I could get to like this County! Next stop was lunch in a very busy pub, but organised with a specific varied menu to make it quicker and easier to order at our reserved tables. It has to be said that the steep decent to the parking area, right on the edge of the water, with Fiat brakes, was a little alarming. All 19 cars made it, though Will took this moment to find he had no foot brake! Onto Sutton Hoo, for an amble round the Museum, Tinker was farmed out at this point, strangely the Café allowed dogs but the Museum did not. Then I joined others to walk round some grassy mounds of Archaeological interest, Sally and I were tempted to have a dig to see if we could find anything! This was also the first Ice-cream opportunity for some. The day was over all too soon and we headed back. Tonight’s meal was in the Dolphin so I sat in the garden, in the sun, with a beer, sleepy dog and a box of Fiat Spare Parts to identify – I gave up fairly quickly, pleased I had recognised the fishing float as a fuel filter, and spotted the windscreen wipers. Great evening, charming company, lovely food with excellent service – bed exhausted.

Sunday

Smoked Salmon for breakfast which tasted as good as it looked. Then all assembled at The Dolphin again for a drive out to Coastguard Cottages, to sit in the sun, in the garden overlooking the sea. Marvellous. We managed to avoid all the other vehicles on the narrow roads and runners who decided today was a good day for a marathon. Then it was a drive off to Southwold for either a walk round the gorgeous town and/or trip round Adnams Brewery (would be rude not to). Tinker was abandoned to Colin and Mandy, well what is one more small dog when you already have 4?

The tour was very interesting, culminating in a taster session where you could drink to your hearts content or not depending on whether you were the driver or not. I then tracked my dog back to the car and sat in the sun enjoying a Crab Sandwich.   Back to various hostelries fairly early, I sat in the garden (with a beer) chatting with Adelle, Keith, Lianna and Richard till it was time to change and walk to The Edmunds for a fish and chip supper from a take-away van, followed by a local ice-cream. Again, a very social evening with DJ’s Amy and Zoe and a “fun” quiz which highlighted a small amount of competitiveness within the group! Small stroll back to flop exhausted in bed.

Monday

Time to say goodbye to a few ☹ and then pack the car and drive out to Snape Maltings followed by the little village of Orford. More lovely journeys on country roads, some rather better than others and thankful that we were in small cars. Snape was very interesting with things to do for all ages and interests, whether it be antiques, clothes or walks – or for the chaps, a sit in the sun/shade to wait for wives to show off their purchases! Then a group park in Orford for refreshment, it was very busy and the Café on the front was full so we found a pub with a garden and sat out for lunch or coffee. Then it was my turn to leave the group. My Sat Nav took me a totally different way home so I saw more of the UK. I did have to stop for the sake of Tinker who was suffering on the front seat, I repacked the back seat, put her bed on my suitcase so she got the benefit of the wind through her locks, and she fell asleep instantly.

Fantastic weekend – Steve and Mandy have set the bar very high for future planners.

Felicity Greenfield