Last year we were in lockdown for my birthday and I treated myself to a whole day of machine knitting.(more details here is anyone wants to see it http://imagejem.blogspot.com/2020/05/summer-seas-top.html ). It was great. This year we are just out of fulll lockdown and it is a ‘special’ birthday (the big 70) we decided we would go out for an outdoor lunch. But we would go to the sea and have an indoor lunch in the camper van! Dunwich (about 37 miles) was my choice.
A change of view for coffee
Sharing the beach with fishermen but not too busy
Dunwich (pop.in 2011 was 183) is on the beautiful East Suffolk coast and is one of those places which for most people would seem unusual in that it is much much smaller now than it was in the past. This is true of many places in Norfolk, that was the most populated county in in the country in medieval times. (1)
Dunwich was a vey important port (population 5000) and some would say the capital of East Anglia. It was one of Britain’s 10 largest towns noted in 1086. It had a thriving shipbuilding centre, had its own mint, contained several churches, priories and was the seat of the East Anglian Bishopric. The busy natural harbour would have seen much trade from the wool that made the area rich. But this was the 13th century. In 1286 and again in 1328 there was a tremendous sea surge and the harbour was no more.
The map in the car park gives an idea of what was lost.
Coastal erosion continues along this coast.
We took our campervan out for the day, the plan being to see the sea, the first time here since July 2020. We planned to have our usual beach and reed walk, then back for fish and chips from the well known and respected Flora Tea Rooms. The forecast was for a cold day with a biting wind. So we were well rugged up, the van telling us it was 8C outside, but it felt like -8C. We took in the sea air briefly.
Me looking out to sea, what was and is not anymore
The sun on the sea
Michael rugged up too
We walked inland along the row of houses, more or less all that is now Dunwich Village, the sun was glorious. It was a good choice as it felt like +18C out of the wind.
We noticed the Museum which we have never looked round (now on the agenda) it has a huge anchor outside. (2) The wood was fascinating!
The Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) is just coming out, such an ‘architectural’ plant which along both the Norfolk and Suffolk coast which grows like a weed!
The fish and chips were excellent and more so as the first meal like this we have had for many months.
Then it was home to make the cream for the birthday Pavlova we would share with the family who would pop round after school ended.
Michael and I and the grandchildren
A great ‘special’ birthday, more celebrations of this hopefully doing the year as we travel along the ‘out of lockdown’ roadmap and get our second vaccine!
Many Thanks to all, family and friends from around the world, who sent me best wishes. It made my day.
1 The village I live in currently has a population of 785 and for most of its history the number would have been much greater than this. In the Domesday book the population was put as in the top 20% of settlement sizes which seems unbelievable today.
2 The anchor was pulled from the sea here and it is from the Napoleonic War period. I didn’t measure it but the cross pieces must be 7 feet. You can see a view of the whole structure here https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2321299