Although I’m not that bothered myself, my OH likes to see the sea at least once a year, and when she suggested a weekend in Southwold I was amenable because figured we’d be away from televisions and coronations, if not bunting and tat.

We were last in Southwold (I think) 10 years ago when I attempted what the Times claimed was Britain’s most scenic cycle route, with mixed results. Now, I know it’s a popular place, but I can’t think why. It has a nice beach, but it’s a nothing kind of town, and if you don’t want to sit on a beach, it’s a great bug shrug. I know people will say it’s “unspoilt” but of course, like all places, it is spoiled.

Almost everywhere these days is spoiled by cars. There are too many of them, they get in the way, and there’s nowhere to put them.

And the other thing that seems to have got much worse in recent years: too many dogs. I wonder if it’s a pandemic side effect, but there are far more dogs around at the seaside than there ever used to be. And notwithstanding the signs threatening a £1000 fine (or £500 if it’s Aldeburgh), there is clearly never going to be anyone enforcing the No Dogs on the Beach rule.

So, my three favourite things: cars, dogs, and people who don’t think rules apply to them. They all meet in a kind of perfect storm in your typical seaside town. Cars parked where they shouldn’t be, dogs where they should’t be, and their owners, who think it’s all right because it’s only them.

We went to Aldeburgh for a couple of hours, parking well outside town and walking in. But you couldn’t walk down the high street without tripping over or treading on dogs and leads. I know a lot of the people I follow on the tweets and toots are doggers, but I just don’t like them.

Southwold itself was not as bad as Aldeburgh, but it is a dead old town, with many places offering eat-in dining in the evenings from 5:00 to 7:30. I can imagine a French person setting out for an evening meal at around the time most places are shutting up shop. And on Sunday, almost everywhere was closed by 6pm. We could have eaten in the hotel, but we ended up getting a sandwich from the Co-Op.

My favourite part of the mini-break was the walk around Dunwich Heath and the Minsmere RSPB reserve. Although the skies were grey, it was warm enough and there were hardly any people around, apart from the masses of bird people at the coastal side of the Reserve itself. Oh, and the people walking their dog (off its lead) through the RSPB reserve. Even though they’re not allowed. But it’s okay, isn’t it, because it’s only them.

%d bloggers like this: