Aldeburgh today in unexpected bright sunshine. We arrive past the old Moot Hall and dash to park, leaving the town behind us and scrambling on to the beach. The sundial smiles ‘I only mark the sunny hours’. Shingle shelves lead down to the water, green-brown and churning with potential. It bowls wave after wave at the shore and they foam. The wind whistles in from Holland.
There are twelve of us – six adults and six children, and a splinter group makes for the waves, which charge in and pull back. It feels natural to shout at the smashing surf. One step forward, two steps back until drenched, then climb back up the bank into the lee of a gently rusting fishing boat. One of our party confides that this may be the finest spot in all of England. Surely everyone has a more than split-second thought of absconding from daily duties to ever more pad up and down the shoreline.
The last time I was in Aldeburgh was just before George was born, a hot summer’s weekend with the unknown racing towards us. Certainly older and possibly marginally wiser, I hope to never lose the sense of wonder at this stretch of England. It was best shared today with friends.
A picnic of leftovers gets demolished. Behind us, old Aldeburgh hazes into the sunlit atmosphere, made blurry by sea-spray. Far beyond is Thorpeness’ giant golf ball, long-lost Dunwich, Walberswick. We combine efforts to make a shingle tower, pile on pile of sliding stones, then stand back and admire and then crunch our handiwork back down into the beach.