128.Happy birthday

Maureen was 60 on Sunday. To celebrate, my wife and I stayed at the small Suffolk hamlet of Dunwich, which was once England’s second largest port town after London, but has been obliterated over the centuries by the North Sea. Turner painted it.


Now it comprises just a few dozen houses, a museum, a fish and chip hut and the Ship pub.

ship inn

Great beer and food at the latter.

the ship

The coastline looks bleak in January.

sizewll beach

At the remnants of a nearby friary M was engrossed in her birthday present from myself and the kids.

frairy photographer

A few miles south lies Minsmere, a well-known RSPB nature reserve. Massive pleasure to walk around the quiet paths, visit the bittern hide and chat to a local guy who has been visiting for decades.

minsmere hide

Saw my first marsh harrier. Nice shop/café where hot soup was welcome.



All surrounded by square miles of unspoiled woodlands.


And wetland.

sunshine glint

In a nearby village, Westleton, we found a bookseller who rolled back the years with his sprawling collection of old hardback treasures.


Chapel Books is well-disguised from the outside.


This bloke loves what he does. He talks in an unadorned manner, and gazes at you directly. I bought a William Wordsworth biography.


Another highlight was the 104-year-old cinema in Leiston.


We were among just 8 people in the 252-seater auditorium on Saturday night.


We met up with family and some friends Sunday afternoon in our favourite Chelmsford drinking hole, The Alehouse. To see Maureen so happy was heart-warming. Changing up the usual routines is good for the soul.

minsmere lay



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