Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Birthday Afternoon -Thorpeness and Dunwich

We arrive in Thorpeness after lunch and have a good walk around. It is probably 25 years since we visited here.The village of Thorpeness was planned around a specially dug shallow lake called the Meare, which is now a safe location for boating activities.

The village Green
The coast is 2 minutes away and consists mainly of sand dunes above a shingle beach

The Meare

A few houses in the same road showing different styles

A rather different front garden

Known as the House-in-the -Clouds

Originally a water tower but now a holiday rental

Sign on the front gate

This 1803 Mill once pumped water to the house-in-the-clouds

We have now left Thorpeness and are on our way to Dunwich but have decided to stop at the ruins of Leiston Abbey which we pass on the road. The abbey was originally founded in 1183 at nearby Minsmere, but in 1363 it was rebuilt on its present site. A substantial amount remains, including parts of the transepts, presbytery and lady chapel. Inside the ruins there is a Georgian house which is now used for religious retreats.

We have now arrived at Dunwich, further up the coast from Aldeburgh and looking South it could be the ends of the earth. This stretch of the Suffolk coast has been at the mercy of the winds and tides for many centuries and Dunwich has now been all but destroyed by storms and coastal erosion. Once it was the seat of Saxon kings and a prosperous port, but today Dunwich consists only of a few cottages and a shingle beach where fishermen draw up their boats.
Numerous churches and houses now lie beneath the sea and in 1739 the town centre finally collapsed leaving only the ruins of a Franciscan friary still standing. It is said that when storms are approaching the bells of the submerged church can be heard ringing beneath the sea.

Looking North

This is where we had afternoon tea in a garden centre a few minutes from the coast
We had been told by friends that this place served the best home made cakes
We were not disappointed

Whilst driving down a country lane on our way back I saw some kind of image on the other side of the hedge. Ever curious and with my camera in my hand I went to investigate while Alan sat in the car with the lights flashing as it was a narrow road and near to a bend. This is what I found. A sculptor who made all kinds of images to order.

Well it's back to the hotel now for a shower and evening meal and we will see what tomorrow brings.


Anonymous said...

I love the house on the right in the 5th pic. So charming. Thorpe is usually a place name from the norse god Thor. I think based on what you said about Dunwich that it was a wic- settlement, on a hill (dun/don). So beautiful. Leiston Abbey looks perfect for a retreat and thinking time. Thanks for sharing Barbara.

Susan said...

What a fun, exciting time you are having :o)

nanatrish said...

Barbara, these are some of your greatest pictures. I love the one where you were looking down the coast and it looks all cloudy and eerie. I love it. You have so much beauty over there. Great Post!!!

lorenzothellama said...

What lovely photos. It takes me back to my childhood when we visited these places regularly.

Glad you popped over and enjoyed the Japanese postings. I still have one left to do.

Gion is still very much a thriving community but Geisha are quite rarely seen. We were so lucky as on the public holidays they do come out to stroll around or to ride in the little rickshaws, as in my photo. We were also lucky enough to have our photos taken with two. If you ask politely they are usually gracious.

I am not sure that the Geisha training is as rigorous as it was before the war, but there is certainly Geisha training schools and they wear the traditional kimono and make up. Quite a lot of ordinary Japanese women still wear kimono, and my daughter-in-law has a few that she wears for ceromonial tea making and for 'posh' occasions, like weddings etc.

Gion is a lot of little alleyways between quite big roads. It is really interesting. I haven't come across one woman who didn't like Memoirs of a Geisha!

Love Lorenzo.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful outing to celebrate your birthday.
Happy Birthday,

Willow said...

Sigh. This was a wonderful tour. As usual, Barbara, I feel like I was there with you. The abbey ruins--I'd love to walk through them! Were they destroyed during Henry VIII's reign?

The cottages and houses you showed in the last post again reminded me of our summer visit. Such good memories!

BTW, Chp. Dan is in Phx and waiting for his next assignment.

Needled Mom said...

The photos are just gorgeous. I love the house in the clouds. I would hate to be a sleepwalker up there.

Church bells at the friary still being heard? How interesting.

That sculptor has some amazing pieces.

Patsy said...

Wonderful tour, Thank you

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

What a beautiful day you had for your birthday!! A gift just for you.

I love the fairy sign on the gate!

Mmm said...

That house in the clouds is so funny. Love it!

Do you realise just how blessed you are to have the time and ability to travel around such lovely villages, all within relative reach and to even have tea wherever you fancy! If only it was possible here!!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Those sculptures are rather humorous....like the Indian in full headdress with bow and arrow, and wearing a businessman's suit!

Aubrey said...

Looks like you had such a fun birthday--your family sure knows how to take care of you! What a nice peaceful place to visit. Those sculptures look so fun and whimsical.

Vee said...

"It is said that when storms are approaching the bells of the submerged church can be heard ringing beneath the sea."

Ohhh, that's spooky! Much enjoyed this tour and seeing the different villages along the coast. Interesting sculpture, too. My niece would enjoy seeing it so I'll bookmark this post and tuck it into her folder for next week when she's home from Boston.

Tomorrow holds plenty of delights I'm certain. I'll be checking in to see what happened. (Your blog wasn't updating or I'd have been here earlier!)

Paula said...

Boy, you've been busy with your posts. What a lovely lot of photos. I especially like the house in the clouds...really cool. That one pic of the sundial on the side of the building is really neat.
I wonder if the time is really accurate.

a woman who is said...

What a delightful trip you are having. I love that Allen indulged your curiosity...was well worth it too :)

The desolate beaches are beautiful in their own way, heavy with the past.

Mike said...

Wow! Such fascinating photos Barbara. I want to stay in that house in the clouds :)

Patsy said...

You have been tagged.

Lavinia said...

Hello Barbara...That house is the clouds...I'd have to observe only from a distance, as I am afraid of heights. I imagine its quite a unique landmark.

Linda said...

Really enjoying seeing new parts of England through your eyes.

Charm and Grace said...

Enjoyed this virtual tour of yoru lovely birthday jaunt. I especially love the Meare with all the beautiful swans. Another favorite genre for me is your photos of nautical themes... colored boats, etc. I have saved a few (I hope you don't mind) for references for possible future paintings.

The smaller trees in the front of my house with the very yellow leaves are crape myrtles. They have been fairly unsatisfactory plants, as they are extremely prone to powdery mildew and Japanese beetles. When they succumb to either of these maladies, they do not bloom. But they do put on quite the show for autumn with those bright yellow leaves.


Elizabeth said...

OK I have decided I will have a holiday at the house in the clouds but I will move in to the little white house in the post below. The one with the big windows and the roses in the garden.
The red boat on the beach was so evocative.
Thanks as ever for a wonderful tour.Happy Sunday

The Dutchess said...

Very beautiful pictures..And a Happy B Day..:)

Tea Time With Melody said...

haha very amusing pictures. That water tower house scares me!

Tess Kincaid said...

Happy, happy belated birthday, Barbara!! What a lovely way to send your special day.

Willow x

Merisi said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

Incredibly beautiful places, I am in awe! Love that little boat beached in the front yard, very tongue-in-cheek. ;-)