I suppose you could say Gordon and I have been away on our holidays this week.
It was a short holiday but even so, it’s amazing how nice a change of scene is, however short.
Friends in Norfolk and friends in Suffolk had been inviting us to stay for a few days but as we didn’t want to leave our cat Rimple on her own for long we decided on a night with each.
I’m not calling this trip a staycation though because surely a staycation is when you stay at home and go on day trips to places. The word has been hijacked though and used for short holidays in the UK, but it’s Gordon’s pet hate when it’s used out of context, so I’m steering well clear.
Our mini tour seeing the “Folkes” started with a night in Brancaster Staithe on the Suffolk coast. This is a very royal part of the country with Sandringham nearby and also the village of Anmer, where Kate and William’s country home is.
Gordon thought he passed Kate and a bodyguard out walking a dog when he went for his run in the morning, and they are certainly often seen by the locals who are quite protective of their privacy. A bit like the locals near Balmoral do, they just leave them in peace to have a normal family life.
It’s a beautiful part of the country and so lovely to have the beach on their doorstep.
We walked for miles with our friends and their Labrador Barley, and even managed to spot seals basking on the dunes.
Most of this coast has marshland which makes it seem so wild and somehow bare, as of course it isn’t a cliff-top type of coastal view.
Somehow even in August there was a feeling of just how exposed it would be in the winter, with gales howling through the sea grasses, but there is such a sense of natural beauty that you could stare out over those wild marshlands for hours at a time.
Our next stop was Snape Maltings near Aldeburgh, the home of the wonderful concert hall and the Britten Pears Arts as, of course, it’s where Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears lived for years.
Our dear friend Roger Wright, who is CEO of Britten Pears Arts, and his wife, Rosie, were who we were staying with. We packed lots into our stay.
We visited a wonderful farm which is run as a charity for terminally ill children. The farmhouse has been converted into a safe space for the children and their extended families and they can spend time feeding the small group of animals who live there.
Gordon was particularly taken with two beautiful alpacas who loved having their necks stroked by the children.
What a very special charity it is. For families to be able to get away together and spend some quality time while still having all the facilities they need is wonderful, and it was humbling to see that this charity was set up just for this and was done so beautifully and with so much attention to detail.
In the evening after our outdoor day, we went to the Snape Maltings concert hall to see a concert of Debussy, Poulenc and De Falla performed by soprano Fatma Said and accompanied on piano by Joseph Middleton.
It was lovely to go back to my roots and hear some really wonderful classical music for a change.
We had dinner with Fatma and Joseph afterwards and as Joseph used to play for me many years ago it was fun to reminisce.
After a leisurely breakfast it was off back to London for me, recharged with the sea air and ready to get back to work.
Our little bank holiday get-away was just perfect.
So is summer really over?
It’s suddenly September and chilly and I really don’t want to put away the garden furniture just yet.
I’d like a fire pit so we could sit out for that little bit longer into the evenings, but I’m never going to be allowed one as Gordon is not a fan.
For me it’s the lovely smell reminiscent of bonfires when I was a child, but Gordon just doesn’t find sitting outside when it isn’t warm appealing.
If any of you have any fire pit stories or you feel you could persuade him for me, please do!
Otherwise I’m afraid that’s the end of the sitting in the garden in the evenings until next April or May comes around again. Please help!
Have a good week,