Thursday, 25 August 2011

Southwold, Great Yarmouth and Norwich

We have been far too busy for the last few days so I have neglected to post anything.  However, today is a free day so I shall attempt to make up for my tardiness.

We had a lovely day out in Southwold, the sun shone brightly and even though I was wearing factor 25 sunscreen I still picked up a bit of a tan.  We went in by bus and arrived there just after 1030 and headed straight for the church.  Simon Jenkins gives it four stars and I can quite see why - outside the flint is used to make lovely patterns and inside it is very beautiful and painted in parts.  The ceiling is amazing - there are wooden angels supporting the trusses and some fantastic carved heads on the next level down at the tops of the columns.  The general impression is of light and air and there is a truly stunning pulpit which looks as though it could float away such is the fenestration in the carving.  Whilst we were having a good look around a piano got moved and a chap and woman started rehearsing bits of songs - it seemed there was to be a lunch time concert called "with a little help from my friends" given by the woman who was called Sidi Scott so we decided to return for it.  I am so glad I heard the concert, the woman's voice was a bit thin and never really seemed to occupy the whole space.  But the chap (no idea of his name, think he might be Paul someone) had one of those voices that send shivers down my spine.  Deep and resonant and in total command of everything he sang - "Bring Him Home" was the very best delivery I have heard and since I have seen Les Mis at least a dozen times that is saying something.  A truly joyful experience.

We had a nice wander around the rest of Southwold in between, the Sailors' Reading Room was delightful, the pier with the lovely clock with the waterworks was as enchanting as ever and the shops were as remembered.  We had a really good coffee at the Adnams Brewery and survived the day nicely on that.  I have lost track of what we have been eating for supper over the days but everything has been fabulous.  Starters have been soups, one day half a dozen little fried scampi and another day some chicken goujons.  Mains have included a full roast pork dinner with all the trimmings, braised steak and a steak and kidney pie.  The puddings have been a pear helene, a peach melba, an apple pie and a rhubarb crumble.  Every single mouthful absolutely gorgeous.

We spent a day in Great Yarmouth (known locally as Yarmouth) and that was the day the rains came.  The Elizabethan museum (some fantastic stained glass) and the Nelson museum were both well worth visiting but my (old) guide book was wrong about the visiting times for the church and it was locked.  That will have to wait until next year now since we cannot fit in another trip to Yarmouth this visit.

Yesterday we returned to Norwich to visit the castle and art gallery and I have to say that even though it is very expensive it is well worth the money.  We spent five hours in there and did not even visit the Royal Norfolk Regimental museum.  The art gallery has some lovely stuff, one or two very nice Gainsboroughs and totally unexpectedly Lucian Freud and David Hockney showed off their stuff.  Some fabulous contemporary glass held my attention for a good half hour and the Victorian room had a lovely Sandys I have only ever seen in illustration before.   There is an amazing collection of teapots beautifully displayed and some excellent paste jewellery.  All in all I think Norwich will move into my top ten provincial galleries - which means, of course, that somewhere else will have to move out!

I noticed in yesterday's newspaper an advert from Marks about having a 20% off sale for the next few days and a couple of days before we came away I had intended to order a new bed from them so we called in at the Norwich shop to see if the 20% off applied to furniture to discover that there was 30% off furniture so the bed was ordered yesterday for delivery to home on 1st October and I saved almost £400 on the price I would have paid had I ordered it a fortnight ago.  So I am well pleased with myself at the moment!

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