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Parallel Worlds in East Anglia

Parallel Worlds.

Parallel worlds, for many years, only existed in Science Fiction… Now, however, theoretical physics indicates parallel worlds may not be a flight of fancy after all.  “The truth is stranger than fiction” they say..

“Parallel worlds”.. the thought popped into my head as I walked along the north shore of the Orwell river.  As was the case in all my previous visits, the tide was out. Vessels of all shapes and sizes were moving up and down stream, all utterly dwarfed by the Orwell Bridge.

As I ambled along, the sight of a tree began to totally absorb my attention. Many trees along this stretch of the river have had their roots undercut by the encroaching river. Some have keeled over completely and soon succumbed to the waters. Others however, may have taken on a serious lean, but are holding on regardless.

Orwell Bridge

The parallel world I speak of here is a literary one from the mind of J.R.R. Tolkien. For me, one of his most enduring creations are the Ents. For those of you that have yet to read his ‘Lord of the Rings’, Ents are tree-like and sentient. They can move about and talk – think benevolent Triffid 🙂 From the instant I first read of them, I simply adored the idea of a ‘shepherd of the trees’. So, from that time, I would find a tree here and there that looked a likely candidate and I would wonder if it would, well, ‘up sticks’ and go for a wander after I was out of sight.

The tree in the foreground of this shot is such a tree. While it belongs in one world, it has found its way into ours and is leaning out to see how the world of Man crosses a mighty river.

Was he impressed, I wonder? Or was he thinking “houmm, root and branch, very odd.. very odd indeed”?

If you would care to see a much higher resolution version of this image, you can find it here on my 500px pages.

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2014 in Photographs

2014 in photographs -The idea of using photography to reflect the passage of a year may not be an original idea – it is, nonetheless, a great way to present a set of ‘markers’ from a purely personal perspective. Each image represents a bit of a struggle – though not an onerous one. Simply an effort to be faithful in representing what I see. “Ah!” you might say 🙂 “What does “Faithful” mean in this context? Well, the answer is simple and complex all at the same time.

The ‘simple’ answer is I always strive to portray an accurate representation of a place or a thing from an image. The complex bit? To imbue a sense of the spirit of the scene. The latter is, or course highly subjective.

Regardless of all, here it is.. I recall pressing the shutter release for all of them – The scene touched me for different reasons and now I would love to know what, if any, emotions these may evoke in you.

January 2014

Diamonds and Spiders.
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The winter of 2013/14 was shaping up to be one of those nondescript, damp affairs… Cloudy, dull skies and little sign of Winter. Then in late January, frosts started to descend and late one evening, before the frosts arrived, there was a heavy mist. In the small hours the temperature fell and all around was turned into a crystal world.

In the shot you see, small branches of a hawthorn had the dew frozen to its surface and to a spider’s web. Its remarkable strength is made clear and illuminated by flash, the frozen drops of water sparkled like diamonds.

February 2014

Martlesham Creek
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I was asked if I had some shots of Martlesham Creek in my collection of Suffolk landscapes…. Well, at the time, “no” was the answer. So, never needing too much persuasion to visit a place yet to be seen, I went along to check it out.

The weather was overcast and cold but the place was LOADED with atmosphere. On this day, the air was so still and wreaths of mist were appearing and and then disappearing.. wonderful stuff.

March 2014
The Making of Harry Potter
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This is the month of my birth. Guess where I was taken out for the day?

What a place. What a day! I can’t help but wonder if J.K Rowling has to pinch herself at times when considering the huge world that has been built around the product of her imagination. I hope so..

The scale of the work is awe inspiring. The attention to detail. A day here is not long enough so if you have yet to go, book a time in the mid morning to give you plenty of time..

The Castle was one of many, many highlights. It is a 1/24th scale, if I recall and so very detailed.

April 2014

Sea defences at Old Felixstowe.
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I am indebted to a fellow photographer for being able to to present my own ‘version’ of this. Such structures serve a single and simple purpose and are often made from shaped concrete blocks with little that is pleasing to the eye. These, however ‘break the mould’. I do not think I have ever seen a coastal defence structure that looked so elegant. The curve is so graceful and the way it appears to disappear into infinity. Also, the mood of the structure changes with the tide and how restless the sea is.

There is a dream-like quality to this… but only because the way the sea was washing over the pillars presented that sense to me. In a simple shot, this would not be apparent. So this was a 30 second exposure – time for waves to wash over each other while the shutter was open.

May 2014

The Abbey Gardens, Bury St. Edmunds.
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It was a dull ol’ day when I was here but looking at the blaze of colour these Tulips offered, it did not matter how dull it was. In my very limited knowledge of such things, I knew I had never seen such vibrancy. As much as I like a sunny day, it no longer seemed quite so important to get one after seeing this.

June 2014

“As large as life” is an old saying…
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I was about to set out for an evening walk. I managed to get no further than the path that leads from the front garden to the road when I saw this wee fellow basking in the last of the day’s sunshine. It was still of much of the time – then, very slowly, it would stretch one of its limbs and return to stillness..

July 2014

The Guildhall in Lavenham
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We thought a day out to Lavenham was in order… It was sunny at home – a beautiful morning but by the time we had travelled the few miles to Lavenham, the sun had been lost behind cloud and the temperature became almost autumnal. Regardless, the light made the old Guildhall an interesting subject and once again, using B&W to portray the venerable old building has not, I hope, done it a disservice..

The carvings alone are noteworthy but the scale of the building shows the wealth that was about this town when wool was still king.

August 2014

Awe inspiring Skies.
World's End

August 2013 was to herald a series of unreal skies. The same, it would seem was to be so for August 2014. For a period of a few days, you could be forgiven for believing “the end is nigh” when looking at the sky. Torrential downpours were forecast – serious enough to warrant amber warnings from the Met Office and from this high point in the county of Suffolk, we could see the squally rains pass us by.

September 2014

Harvest and the first Mushrooms.
Inkcap Mushroom

September brings the hint of Autumn and with that season, Mushrooms! This specimen is the Inkcap and lies on a well trodden path that is our “round the block” walk. It passes through the graveyard of the village church and passes by the wonderfully named “World’s End Lane”. Considering how flat East Anglia is, this part of Suffolk has ups and down that almost qualify as hills…

Almost.. but not quite.

October 2014

Time Out.
Wilderness. Beach, Northumberland

There are a number of photographs that would fit in the space for October… and many would show a sunny day. So why this one? The answer lies in the pristine beach and vast skies that are a feature of Lindisfarne. The tide was on its way out when we arrived and this, combined with the fact it had rained heavily the previous evening, had wiped away any footprints that may have been set down the previous day. The rain had left a dipped texture to the sand making it even more alluring.

Then, there is this little branch. Almost like a skeletal hand.

November 2014

Rosehips and Diamonds.
Dew, Rosehip

At another point in the “around the block” route, a sparkle of light caught my eye. Move a fraction this way or that and the mote of light disappears. Finding it again, I managed to snag this shot… Luck was with me on this day. The sun was shining through a gap in the trees and no more than 10 minutes earlier or later, these rosehips would be in shadow.

December 2014

Deep Mid-winter.
Winter in Suffolk

Rarely do have a winter we can actually call a winter. Many days, often dull, neither warm or cold. Sometimes though, temperatures take a tumble and the skies take on a scene W.M Turner would have recognised.

Snow and ice in our neck of the woods makes getting about tricky. Since snow and ice are rare, it is the reason us Brits just ain’t geared up for it. That said, we seemed to be taken by surprised whenever it does snow 🙂

On a day like this, I am raring to get outside. The fact the temperature may be well below the line makes the desire to get out even stronger. It was the case on this day. During the night, there was wind enough to blow snow across the road that passes between my village and our neighbours. By the time I was up and about the wind had settled to the merest of zephyrs. The clouds in the sky were like a freeze-frame.. for a long while, it seemed, they hardly moved.

All was silent. Just me out and about.

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Railway Walks

Julia Bradbury presented an excellent TV series about Railway Walks.. One that was left out is in our own home county of Suffolk. It passes between Lavenham and Long Melford – quintessential English towns, real honeypots for visitors from home and further afield. To visit both is easy enough – it takes about 15 or 20 minutes drive from one to the other but if you are happy to walk, there is another way – one that avoids the road, one that passes through some beautiful Suffolk countryside.

This post is a walking guide should you wish to follow the path between the towns. If you decide to check it out, I do recommend you use the appropriate OS map to ‘fill in the gaps’ 🙂

The photography was taken in the spring, summer and autumn.It does I hope, give you a real flavour of what this walk is like in all its seasonal moods. As you read the post, you will see numbers in brackets… these refer to the numbered photographs.

In the mid 1800’s the rail network had links connecting Mark’s Tey, Sudbury, Clare, Long Melford and Lavenham. Sudbury still has a railway link but lines to the other places mentioned have long since gone; the section of line between Long Melford and Lavenham closing in 1965. This was not the end of the story however – echoes of the old line remain to this day in the guise of an excellent alternative to the road if you want to pass between the towns – and are happy to expend some calories along the way.

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At the Lavenham end, the route starts at the north end of the town; close by the bridge on the Bury road – the first visible sign of the old line. Within the first minute of the walk you join a path that passes under a canopy of trees (photo 1). If the thought of walking about four and a half miles is too daunting, the first of a couple of routes back to the town is about 300 metres down the path. The second is a little way further on..

After a few minutes walking, the path leads you up onto a minor road. This is the second route back into Lavenham. If you want carry on, cross over the road to rejoin the path. The bridge over the line may have been filled in but if you look closely to the right of the path, you can see what remains of the old abutments. There are two more bridges further on.. one is another road bridge and the other crosses a small river but more about that one later.

The next kilometre is fairly straight and flat with glimpses of the countryside on either side. The canopy of trees becomes thinner and fails altogether at times giving you sight of the sky.

You reach a second road bridge. This one is still in service and you can pass under the road that runs between Lavenham and the aptly named ‘Bridge Street’. Soon, you enter a cutting (3)- on the right bank, trees have established themselves and along the top, a tall hedge and fields beyond. The cutting follows a long curve to the left and after about half a kilometre, the line and surrounding countryside level out. Woods are in front of you and on your right you will see a reminder of less gentle times. A Pill box (4)… you will see more of these (7 and 8) as you go further.

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You have a choice at this point. You can continue along the old railway or choose to walk a path through the wood (5). It runs only a few metres from the track but it offers a slightly different route on the way to Long Melford or on your way back.

The wooded section lasts for two or three hundred metres and then the path enters an open field. Woods remain on the right but your path lies along its border with the field.

The line of the woods follows a gentle curve to the left. As I walked the old line at this point, I wondered what it was like during the war years. There were three airfields close by this line so it must have been at the centre of less than friendly attention. Certainly, the pill boxes would suggest as much. I also wondered if passengers looked about them at time – the views from this point must have been beautiful.

Returning to the present (!), you see a farm track on the right. Almost straight ahead however, is your path – look for the entrance to an avenue of trees. The old line runs on top of an embankment for about 750 metres at which point you pass into an open field. The path runs alongside the hedge that borders the left of the field. Photo 6 gives a view that looks back towards the avenue of trees.

Soon, the path takes you sharply to the right and for the next kilometre or so, you part company with the old line. You enter a narrow wood and cross a stream; one you will cross again further on. When you exit the wood, turn left and your path follows a field boundary with the woods on your left.

Here, Suffolk could almost be said to have ‘rolling’ countryside 🙂 Keep an eye out for two more pill boxes (7 and 8) on your left. Though they are right on the edge of the field, they are well hidden. One, we only saw on our way back – Elder is doing its best to reclaim the ground it stands on but the 70-year old concrete has so far, proved indomitable.

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After about 500 metres, the path turns to the right and you now walk the closest thing this walk has to a hill (9)! At the top, you are close to the Long Melford bypass. You can, if you wish, cross the road here and continue along the farm track which ends at the north end of Long Melford. Just before you reach the road, there is a Garden Centre with a cafe 🙂

If you wish to continue on the longer route, follow the footpath sign to walk with the bypass to your right. The path, after a little while, moves away from the road and passes under another avenue of trees (10). For a few hundred metres, your route takes you downhill and at the bottom, a bridge takes you over the same stream as before (11 and 12). You have also rejoined the old line at this point… The bridge has low parapets but the risk of any accident is mitigated my large amounts of undergrowth and ivy that keeps you to the centre of the path.

After crossing the stream, the path continues straight on and eventually, you reach a point where you have to cross the Long Melford bypass. From this point, the last remaining kilometer is by road until you reach the main street of Long Melford – conveniently, right next to the Bull 🙂

You will find a good range of ‘watering holes’ to have a well deserved cuppa (or something stronger) before making your way back!

For more historical information about the old railway line, click here.

I would welcome any suggestions or comments you may have about this blog 🙂 so please use the facility, below, to leave your thoughts…

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Kathryn Tickell – Northumbrian Voices

I was attending the Apex for an unrelated purpose the night Kathryn Tickell was due to perform. To give the complete picture, I knew she was in concert on the night but a question I had raised about photography had gone unanswered and so I had assumed my offer had had not been received or it was not of interest.

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Well, I was there… and as the hour approached, I had finished the earlier task and could see members of the local organisers of the concert had begun to arrive. “Nothing ventured” I thought so I approached a member of the team and asked about photography. “Oh yes, please!” came the reply… I was surprised and seriously happy about the prospect of another gig.

I had, more in hope than anything else, brought the necessary gear with me so I was ready in plenty of time. I remembered there was some literature about the concert on a table in the foyer.. The performance had been given an evocative name: “Northumbrian Voices”. I was intrigued – enough to do a spot of digging to see what I could find on the net. Kathryn Tickell’s website added real substance to the title – there would be music combined with tales going back over three generations.

I went into the auditorium and looked at the stage. Places for 6 including, on the extreme right, an easy chair that seemed a little out of place.. Soon enough the concert organiser walked on and Kathryn Tickell was introduced. The first onto the stage however, was a tall man with long, flowing white hair… As it turned out, this was Kathryn’s father, Mike. Five others walked on and as Mike settled down onto the chair, the others launched into their first melody.

Of the five musicians, three were fiddle players (including Kathryn) one guitarist and one accordion player. Kathryn would alternate between fiddle and the Northumbrian Pipes – an instrument that produces a wonderfully soft sound and should not to be confused with the more strident sound of the pipes found north of the border…

Only a few days before, I had photographed Feast of Fiddles but while the fiddle featured prominently in both bands, the experience was very different. With FoF, there was an energy.. a sound that jazzed the blood. Here, the performance was altogether very different and that connected in a very different way. The melodies held all kinds of tempos and moods – uplifting in one moment and casting a more melancholic shade the next.

It was all beautifully tied together by the narrative. This was why Mike was there – to act as the story teller although all the band related elements of a tale from time to time. One in particular holds in my memory.. about the Kielder Valley. It is about the flooding of that place and how it affected the lives of the folk that lived and worked there. Beyond that, I’ll say no more – half the magic in the tale is how Kathryn relates it. The stories were of loss and hardship but also humour. All in perfect measure and I have to say that for a southerner at least, the native accent deepened the whole experience.

As for the photography, there was plenty of deep, deep shades of blue and red and bright yellow in the lighting that made post processing a challenge but I hope the results will speak for themselves.

If you want to find out more about Kathryn and her music: Kathryn Tickell

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Feast of Fiddles

How many times have you heard sayings like “Strange how things turn out”?

A Spot of Background

A few months back, Annya and I attended our first concert at the Apex. The band we were to see was Feast of Fiddles and right from the off, they grabbed your senses.. Their music spanned rock, folk and other genres and was crafted superbly to suit fiddle, guitar, sax, clarinet, keyboards and last but no means least, the melodeon.

There were faces in the lineup that were familiar.. One in particular struck a chord with a memory that was well shrouded by time.. Only when Hugh Crabtree, the founder (and “boss” as he is described on the band’s website) introduced a solo spot to be performed by Peter Knight, was the memory bowled forward – Steeleye Span. Then I managed to associate names to other faces in the line up..

Well, I had already found Feast of Fiddles a great band to follow but seeing musicians such as Peter Knight, Brian McNeill, Phil Beer and others, notched up my appreciation a couple more levels.

During the interval, I was surprised to see the band were enjoying a drink in the bar with the audience. I found the courage to strike up a conversation with one of the Fiddle players – Garry Blakeley. It soon became apparent we had something in common. Garry lives in Hastings and the town was part of my old stamping ground while I was living in Sussex. Much nattering about the area and then before I could chicken out, I brought up the subject of photographing the band. Gary suggested I contacted Hugh Crabtree and ask – the worst that could happen is he could say no.

So I did… and the ‘Man from Delmonte’ said yes 🙂

The band were due to perform at The Cut in Halesworth on October 28th. That meant a busy 10-day period: Friday 19th will be a long day working Long Melford with the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra then a drive up to Cumbria, back on the 26th and the gig on the 28th. “London Busses” I cry – but with a HUGE smile on my face.

About a couple of weeks before the gig, the experience of photographing the Krar Collective popped into my head. Holding a camera sporting a 100-400 zoom makes for an arm that all but falls off by the end of the evening. So, a monopod is in order. I quickly bypassed the £300 beasties and settled on a Giotto monopod with a Manfrotto head. This gave compatibility with the quick-release shoes fitted to the camera gear. All for 60 quid – that’s more like it.

Arrival

Time does its thing and Sunday, 28th October rolls around. I leave home at mid-afternoon and arrive at The Cut an hour or so later. The band were already rehearsing and so I found a place where I could dump my stuff and make a start.

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What a privilege.. technicians rushing about doing their thing, the band rehearsing… and me..

The rehearsal ends with enough time to spare to transfer the photographs taken so far to the Mac… Definitely some good stuff there. The quality of the rehearsal shots give my confidence a boost prior to the main event. Looking at the shots, I am struck by the huge difference between this type of photography and what could be described as ‘main-stream’. Low light, constantly changing colour temperatures and an understandable ban on using flash. All things that you usually move heaven and earth to avoid. Thank heaven for digital SLR’s with low-noise sensors and ISO ratings that pass into the thousands 🙂 That last bit may stray into geekery but essentially with high sensitivity, comes the risk of noise creeping in – a bit like visible ‘grain’ in the wet-film equivalent. While new DSLR’s are not noise free, its presence is subtle. One final point on this issue – my respect for the photographers that used (and perhaps still do) wet film for live performance work has gone up immensely.

The Gig

The audience had filed in and had settled into their seats. The band were introduced and they began the gig with a number that had the house rocking in no time. Getting about to photograph the gig was to be relatively easy. The Cut has a stage at floor level with a single, raked audience area. I could move under the seating area to get from one side of the auditorium to other without disturbing the audience. I could also get, discretely, to the upper level of the seating area so the next 3 hours see me walk what seemed like MILES 🙂

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My attention would occasionally turn to the audience; the players could bring the house down one minute and hold the audience in quiet awe the next – particularly during the solo spots. These were a master stroke. Each of the players had their own style of play and having their time in the limelight allowed it to come to the fore.. It was great to experience it and from the perspective of someone recording the event, it was no less remarkable to see how the audience responded to the band during the gig. It was an odd experience – to be around the audience but not part of it.

As for the music itself, any comments are inevitably subjective. Suffice to say I was there to work but strewth, I’d have to be a cold, cold fish not to be wrapped up by some of the melodies they played.

Returning to photographing the event, the monopod was a life saver – or at the very least, an ARM saver. I could not recommend such a beast strongly enough to any one that needs to improve on hand-held but where a tripod would be impractical.. Drop me a line if you want to know more about the one I used…

I had the ‘nod’ to use the images a couple of days ago.. So if you have seen them, I hope they give an idea of what this fine band are all about.

Click on Feast of Fiddles to find out more about the band.

If you would care to leave your own comment, please do – using the space below…

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Sunrise over the Sea at Walberswick

With the early morning weather promising to be grand, I thought it would be fun to have a 4am start to allow me time to catch the sunrise over the sea at Walberswick…

With empty roads, it took no time to get there. The sky was crystal clear with countless stars and even though it was dark, there was that beautiful shade of deep, deep blue all around. With 10 miles to go however, my spirits sank a little as big heavy clouds started to show up on the eastern horizon. Memories of a similar venture some while back popped up.. clear skies at home only to disappear behind cloud as I approached the coast. Well, I was almost there so it would be crazy not to say hello to the sea..

Walberswick - Just before sunrise

I parked up and heaved on the backpack – along with the 40+ kilos of stuff it contained and trudged my way to the spot where I wanted to set up. Choosing the spot was not a random thing.. A good pal recommended an excellent ‘app’ called “Mr Sun” – it predicts where the sun will be at any time of the day and any day of the year.. So using this and then Google Earth, it was relatively easy to pick a spot where I could have the outlook I wanted…

I had time to look about me before setting up.. the constant sound of the sea was the first thing that all but filled the senses – so much so that my earlier chagrin at the heavy cloud on the horizon began to lift. Looking along the shoreline to the north, the channel that guides the river Blythe to the sea and to the south, Sizewell – in the predawn light, it’s white dome clearly visible. All was enveloped in a deep blue light that had an all but liquid feel to it. Considering the hour, I was not surprised to see I was only soul on the shore. All this wonder and only me to witness it.

I may have been the only one on dry land but it was a different story out at sea. There were trawlers, one only recently leaving the safety of the Blythe and in the distance, a couple of very curious vessels.. Support vessels for the off shore wind farms maybe?

Right. Enough looking about.. I had to get set up – a process that takes about 20 minutes. The first challenge was the footing for the tripod.. The shoreline was gravel so not the best surface for a stable platform. There was sand a little higher up the shore but this had been fenced off. A few handfuls of the sand under each leg solved that problem and then a quick dash to sea to rinse off my hands. Soon after, both stills and video camera ready to do their thing.

All that charging about had warmed me up but I knew it was cool enough for the early morning chill to work its way past the fleece and windproof coat I was wearing.

After about 10 more minutes, the sun had just started to appear above the horizon. I could not see it but what I could see were big gaps appearing in the cloud. In a matter of a few moments, the sun found a path to light up the sea – and then another with strong rays of light bursting through. At the same time, lines of geese passed right over head so in moments I had so much to do. It was a bit like a chaotic dance.. hopping about between stills and video cameras and trying not to trip over either 🙂

Sunrise at Walberswick

Oh, how glad I was to be there. Seeing and hearing so much.. the geese overhead, small ships out at sea and to cap it all, the sun. Cold as it was, rarely have I felt so ‘warm’.

I love my new job..

If you care to see a short video that includes some stills, click here…

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Living in Sussex and Suffolk

A Foot in Both Camps

There have been some interesting posts on Facebook recently… One thread in particular caught my eye… and that was the comparisons that were made between living in the counties Sussex and Suffolk.

I have had the good fortune of living in both counties and have discovered that both have their charms. I lived in Sussex, near the town of Rye, for about 10 years during the 1970’s. What I remember most clearly are the forests, the coastline near Winchelsea and lovely rolling hills… The forests were right on our doorstep – just right for a lad in his teens that loved to be in amongst the trees – halcyon days.

As for the coast, the section that has remained clear in my memory is the stretch that runs between Winchelsea and Pett. The coast road runs behind a sea wall that guards the low-lying land from flooding. As you approach Pett, the land rises and cliffs take over the duty of holding back the sea. High up on the cliff, there was a cave.. Access was via a path barely the width of your feet with the delight of a precipitous drop if you were less than watchful. The cave was big… or so my memory tells me. From the entrance, the cave passed into the cliff and at the ‘far’ end, there was a window that overlooked the sea. It was a great place just to sit and soak up the view. In the year prior to leaving Sussex, access to the cave had been swept away by a rock fall.. I remember looking for the cave but failing to see it.

Pett is a village that literally has its highs and lows. The aptly named “Chick” hill (a diminutive of “Chicken Hill” if local anecdotes are to be believed) separates the lofty part of the village from its sea-level sibling. In places, the hill gradient is 25% (1 in 4 in proper language) and only recently have I found a hill that was significantly steeper!

As for our home county of Suffolk, we have lived here since the 80’s. It does not have the trees or the hills… but oh boy, it has a huge sky and much of the coast has something about it that is indefinably beautiful. I remember the first stretch of Suffolk coast I visited. It was in 1984… Covehythe. Seeing this was enough to make Suffolk the place I wanted to live. At that time, there was a series of pill-boxes along the cliffs at Covehythe. They are all gone now – taken by an inexorable north sea. The cliffs are sand.. so the tides, let alone storms, continuously eat away at the cliffs.

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Equally beautiful is Orford and Orfordness – A shingle beach some 10 miles in length. Your first impression is that it is barren – and certainly, there is nothing to shield you from any winds that may spring up. The ness is, however, a nature reserve and has a host of other attributes assigned to it such as SSSI, AONB, etc. Old, cold war buildings stand like sentinels on the ness with, perhaps, the most iconic of the structures being the ‘Pagodas’. While much of the internal fixtures and fittings have long been removed, it is the external features that make the pagodas so memorable. The roof, in particular, is of a curious construction. The pillars hold up a huge tray that holds many tons of gravel. The design of the roof was to cater for a potentially grim outcome of the work that was carried out there. Components used to detonate the UK’s nuclear weapons were tested here and there was a risk of explosion during the testing. While such an accident would not involve fissile material, the roof was designed to collapse into the space should such an explosion occur.

Now that all these buildings lie silent, they add to the beauty of the place.. It is owned by the National Trust and is well worth a visit. If you want to read more about the more recent history of the ness, great insight can be found here.

As for the sky, well, being relatively flat and treeless (at least in part) means so much more of the sky is visible.. During the hours of darkness, this means the night sky can be a glorious sight – weather permitting. At times such as harvest, dust thrown up into the atmosphere can create glorious sunrises and sunsets and the wider sky makes them more glorious still. During storms, the vastness of the sky reminds me that while the we live in what is often described as a “small world” we humans are considerably smaller still..

So Suffolk vs Sussex? I can’t decide which I prefer 🙂

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