27 September 2008

sutton hoo

The Anglo-Saxon burial ground Sutton Hoo is just across the river from Woodbridge.

The estate alone is worth a visit: the extensive grounds and views over the river are magnificent. Indeed, one member of our tour group seemed far more interested in the birds and wild mushrooms than in the burial mounds!

Our tour was led by a member of the Sutton Hoo Society, who was terribly knowledgeable and entertaining. He recounted the story of Mrs Edith May Pretty, who was fascinated by the rather unnatural mounds on her estate, and Mr Basil Brown, whom she hired to investigate. Mrs Pretty would sit in her deckchair on the edge of a mound, sipping a drink while watching Mr Brown dig:

On our way home, we discovered that our visit coincided with the Radio 4 Women's Hour dramatization of The Dig by John Preston. Perfect timing!

26 September 2008

walking through woodbridge

On an extra sunny day, we drove south to Woodbridge, on the banks of the River Deben. There's a lovely walk along the river:

The town is famous for its restored tide mill, which is one of the oldest in the country. A mill was first recorded on the site in 1170, and the current building dates from 1793:

Moored near the tide mill was this Cath Kidston-style houseboat. How fab to sit on the deck (after taking the laundry in) to watch the sun glinting on the water and the boats sailing by:

We also discovered some wonderful shops. Julie Phipps on Church Street specializes in contemporary crafts and vintage housewares. There are several excellent bookshops on the Thoroughfare, including a children's bookshop, as well as RE + new, a showcase for local artists and handcrafted and midcentury modern furniture.

We fell in love with this bent ash chair by Dan Hussey:

He makes his chairs by steam bending green ash sourced from carefully managed, coppiced Suffolk woodlands. Each chair takes about a month to make, and it shows. Simply beautiful.

23 September 2008

eating in aldeburgh

All that walking and fresh air meant we had to do our fair share of eating!

While we did eat in most nights, enjoying fish pie and fish cakes from Lawson's Deli and the wonderful Thorpeness salad leaves from Aldeburgh Market, we did go out a few times, too.

The Lighthouse Restaurant on Aldeburgh's High Street is amazing. Even off-season and mid-week, it was busy and taking reservations:

I can honestly say, the Lighthouse alone is worth a trip to Aldeburgh. I had a delicious, simply dressed lobster salad and G had pork belly with lentils. Mmm!

For oysters, it's a short drive to Orford and The Butley-Orford Oysterage. The atmosphere is low-key and utilitarian with paper-covered tables, but the staff are lovely and the oysters are divine.

And finally, I discovered Alder Tree fruit cream ice. The pear-vanilla and gooseberry-elderflower flavors are scrumptious: a real party in the mouth! And I hereby recant everything I've ever said about the relative merits of ice cream and sherbet...

22 September 2008

adventures in aldeburgh

Just back from our week in Aldeburgh, and the weather didn't let us down. We basked in warm autumnal sunshine nearly every day.

This time we stayed in a larger cottage called, quite appropriately for Aldeburgh, Pebblebeach:

Owned by Angie and Simon Lewin of St Jude's Gallery, it featured gorgeous prints and fabrics by Angie (and other British printmakers) as well as fabulous midcentury modern furniture:

But unlike our last holiday by the sea, we spent more time outdoors than in.

I was quite enamored with the seagulls, until I saw how menacing this one looked in stop-motion!

And just for Val, here's a picture of the famous scallop shell. The 12-foot-high sculpture was designed by Maggi Hambling as a memorial to Benjamin Britten. Installed on a deserted beach just north of Aldeburgh, it's been a source of controversy ever since. Locals seem to either love it or loathe it:

In addition to walking along the sea, we also trekked through the fields and forests surrounding Aldeburgh. The RSPB maintains some super sites and trails. Indeed, one of the things we love most about this part of Suffolk is the landscape's diversity. You can ramble along the sea and through marshes, fields, and forests all in the same morning--and we did--but boy do those pebbles make for tough walking!

12 September 2008

september by the seaside

We're off to Aldeburgh for the week...

Tim Walker, Iris Palmer and Her Suitcases, London, 1997, Italian Vogue

I hope I didn't forget anything!

07 September 2008

hotel toast

I absolutely adore hotel toast. As described by Nigel Slater:

'Even when eaten within minutes of its arrival at the table, it still manages to be pliable, stretchy even. The butter refuses to melt, staying sweet and firm on the surface. Yet there is something perfectly agreeable about [it].... Bendy, cold, elastic and invariably too thin, hotel toast is still curiously moreish, and feels somehow special.' (Eating for England, 2007)

Last week, Jaye, Rachel, and Sue indulged my love for hotel toast by giving me the most wonderful birthday present: a proper pewter toast rack from Brissi!

Now I can have hotel toast at home. I just need to perfect my knife skills, as we had no luck trying to wedge an ordinary slice in: only the thinnest, most elegant slices will do! Yummy!

04 September 2008

last hurrah

I think this will be our last frozen treat from the allotment this summer (what little summer we've had): raspberry ice cream.

Definitely a big step up from the sherbet. I'm afraid sorbets and sherbets just don't do it for me. I crave the lovely creaminess of ice cream!

And I just noticed how autumnal the lawn is starting to look with its scattering of leaves...

01 September 2008

to market, to market

After our visit to the Design Museum, Jaye and I walked back along the Thames to Borough Market, London's oldest food market.

While there were numerous stands selling meat, fish, and bread, the produce stalls presented the best photo opportunities:

Even the most mundane veggies looked enticing:

And such amazing mushrooms:

I came away with sausages from the German Deli and a bag of granola from Mini Magoo's. We'll be buying Puffin Poo on our next visit!