Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Nowt so queer as folk

Well, today turned into a slightly surreal day. After a lovely sleep and lie-in, we headed out on the A12 south towards Ipswich. That wasn't our destination though. We turned off the A road towards Woodbridge and then followed the brown signs to Sutton Hoo, the ancient burial site.

The way the visitor centre is set out is excellent, and very informative, a seven minute film introduces the whole thing to you, and then the exhibits and photos tell the story of what was found and what they have surmised it to all be about.

They believe it was the burial site of the King Radmael and dates back to the mid to late 600s. The quality of some of the artefacts they unearthed is astonishing. Although I didn't used to be particularly interested in history, as I have gotten older I have found the enthusiasm and interest that I lacked at school.

While the exhibition was very good, the walk to the burial mounds themselves was a bit of a let down - it really is just a field with some lumps in it. Quite what it was that made them think there was anything unusual about those particular mounds compared to any others you see all over the country is a bit beyond me, but thank goodness they did.

During the walk back to the visitors centre the day took a surreal turn. We were stopped by two old ladies who asked if it was worth the effort of taking the walk to the field. We told them that there wasn't that much to see, and that they may well be disappointed if they did. They walked back with us towards the centre. We got chatting, and it turned out that they were both originally from Warwickshire, and one of them still lives fairly near us. The other now lives in Rendlesham (which might explain her eccentricness!)

Despite telling us not to go at their very slow pace and leave them too it, they kept talking to us, meaning that we had to go at their pace or be very rude. They were nice enough, but definitely on the eccentric side. Our only escape lay in the second hand book shop on the site. (being a national trust site - quite a few NT sites have them now)

Some escape that turned out to be! We were accosted in there by the NT valunteer who was looking after the bookshop, who was a lovely old guy, obviously quite lonely, and spent the next hour listening to his life story! This was not helped by his thick local accent and the fact that he didn't seem to need to draw breath. Some of it was very interesting - I was especially intrigued when he mentioned that he collected and repaired old fountain pens. I elected not to mention my interest in the subject as I fear we may still have been there now! (I had also made the very clever decision NOT to make any comment when one of the ladies had told us that she was a crafter and watched a lot of the create and craft channel on tv. Sally later told me that she WOULD have killed me if I had, thereby dragging her further into conversation with them!)

When we finally dragged ourself away with our legs aching from standing still for so long, I made the decision to not go to the NT cafe for something to eat and drink (because I could see our two lady friends in there!), and we instead drove the couple of miles into Woodbridge.

By now I was a little grumpy around the edges, so the lack of decent road signage was just about the final straw as far as I was concerned. If they don't actually WANT visitors, why don't they change the sign as you enter the town from "Welcome to Woodbridge" to "Look, if you're not from around here and don't know your way around, just ****off now".

I am happy to report that once we had found the car park and found our way from there to the town centre (more by luck than judgement), the town was actually rather good. It was by far the best place we have been to thus far, having a good range of shops and a decent Costa Coffee to refresh our weary bones. We spent a couple of very pleasant hours there before heading back to the cottage.

Despite the lateness of our arrival back, I managed a power nap before dinner! Tonight we had a new Quorn "BBQ style" burger in pitta bread each. Very tasty they were too, and we can recommend them. We then watched the second episode of Injustice before heading off to bed where I am writing this.

Tomorrows plans have been slightly altered, as I have realised that i misread the opening times for Orford Ness, and at the moment it is only open on Saturdays, so we can't go there tomorrow as planned. The current thinking, weather permitting, is Lowestoft. The weather forecast for Thursday and Friday is not quite as good, so we need to take advantage of whatever it throws at us tomorrow.

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