A few weekends ago myself and Mand spent a day in a place that I’ve returned to many times since I was a child, the Suffolk coastal town of Aldeburgh. Apart from the phoney art galleries that have shamelessly replaced the bucket and spade shops, it’s changed very little over the years. It still has the same sleepy pace, the seaside smells of old varnish and a somewhat direct connection to childhood.
For me Aldeburgh has always had a strange feel and it’s something I can’t put my finger on. I don’t know whether it’s the remote nature of the place, the strange 1950s look or the statue of the small dog, it’s just a little bit weird. Maybe it’s the beach that we spent days charging around on when we were little, the huge expanse of stones that disappears northwards and somehow draws you away to a forgotten place. The old wooden fishing boats and peeling paint, hung over from a time before the screens turned working men into morons. Turn southwards towards the town and the waves create a mist through which the lonely beach fishermen can just be seen.
The sea is a break from the relentless aggression of modern living, it won’t judge you or try to screw you for a token profit, and its mere size is enough to command a bizarre respect. Hence the reason that we’re happy just to sit there and look at it.
Sometimes it makes me feel more than a little nervous, although strangely safe at the same time. However with the sound of the seagulls and waves, there can surely be no more peaceful place to spend a spring or autumn afternoon, add chips and a can of Lilt to achieve the ultimate in smug.
Okay so it’s become a bit of a haunt for the Volvo brigade and their packs of Labradors, but underneath the Sunday supplement veneer it’s still essentially the same place. Stones that stretch for miles, huge skies, brown water and shipping.
This is one of the best beaches I’ve ever been to.