Wednesday, 14 August 2013

What We Saw On Our Holiday



 
We've just spent a little time on the Suffolk coast. Southwold to be more precise, or Adnams-on-Sea as I shall now call it. It doesn't matter how far away from the classic town brewery I drink their ales, I'm always left with a self-satisfied beam on my face. But to drink a Southwold Bitter or, my current preference, a few Broadsides, within a handful of miles of the town is a very distinct pleasure. Anyway, Friday evening found us on Southwold Pier, running about like children as we enjoyed Tim Hunkin's joyful slot machine arcade called The Under The Pier Show. Gloriously old fashioned, utterly eccentric and delightfully bonkers. The one in the top photo is his Quantum Tunnelling Telescope, but sadly, like many seaside telescopes when the money runs out, the view from it was strangely absent. But it did make lots of noise.
 
More sedate was the Dovecote Studio at Snape Maltings. (Get your cow-shaped butter dishes here.) Snugly positioned in the stabilised ruins of the original 'cote', this is a Cor-ten steel  monocoque shell that was prefabricated and then dropped in by crane. The architects were Haworth Tompkins. I pondered its use for so long, but had I bothered to walk round it, instead of complaining when anybody walked in front of it as the sun came out, I'd have seen that it had windows. It's used by musicians and artists in-residence and, I expect, as a useful hideaway for the Snape Maltings staff as they discuss the latest balsamic vinegars. I love this kind of thing, practical innovative thinking for a building that not only looks good, but also fits in (literally) with its surroundings. A good place to quietly put a few Broadsides away, staring out across the lonely marshes towards the sea, Britten's Sea Interludes in your ear and... (that's enough arty-crafty Suffolk references: Ed.)

4 comments:

Jon Dudley said...

Southwold, what a glorious place...and the pier! an inspiration with those wacky amusements. A jolly good Punch and Judy show as well when we were there, presented by a 'Professor' who somehow managed to single me out sitting at least twenty five yards away; the embarrassment lives with me still. Oh, and what about old Maggie wassername's scallop shell on the beach? I love the idea that kids clamber all over this 'statement'.

Philip Wilkinson said...

It's good to see Adnam's making inroads to various parts of the country these days, but nothing can beat drinking it on its home turf, I guess. Like rosé wine in Provence, or the resiny stuff in the Peloponnese, there is nothing to beat the full local experience.

Jon: I like the idea of kids climbing over Maggie H's shell thingy. The best sculpture (some of the big Henry Moores, for example) provides good clambering material. Ben B would probably have approved...

Gawain said...

Isn't the scallop shell at Aldeburgh? I still have fine memories of staying in the Martello tower there and setting off down Orford Ness one swell-riven evening with a bottle of Caol Ila between us, determined to make it 'to the lighthouse'.

Peter Ashley said...

Yes Jon, I too really like the fact that the kiddiz clamber over Maggi's scallop, but Gawain is right about it being at Aldeburgh. Hambling is the surname of the sculptress, if that's a word we can use. And I envy you your stay in the Martello Tower Gawain. We once stared at it in the rain whilst drinking Mumm and cracking open quails' eggs on my wooden gear knob. Actually that sounds rather rude, I do beg everybody's pardon.