Thursday, July 22

More Suffolk, glorious Suffolk

I'm on a bit of a Suffolk roll now! After delivering the art, we had almost a whole day to fill. So I planned a long walk taking in all of our favorite spots around the town. We started from the Swan Hotel and turned left towards the sea. When we are able to stay in the town a bit longer, we always have a fish and chips meal at the Lord Nelson pub. Blazing fires in the grates in winter and a beer garden in the summer. Though most of the locals tend to sit on the ancient wooden benches at the front of the pub, on the street leading to the sea and watch the world go by. And who wouldn't do that, given a choice.

On  past this time, and we are on our way to the beach. Down some steps full of sand blown in from the North Sea, white and powdery, making me think of being four years old, and the  Portrush steps by the Arcadia Restaurant, going down to golden Atlantic beaches, and my heart pounding at the sheer excitment of it all.

Now this, is our favorite beach cafe but we don't have the time to stop more's the pity as I have other plans in mind. If we had the time we would order a pot of tea and toasted tea cakes and gaze out at the water and think of nothing really.   We turn left along the promenade.  Past the central beach huts and their fun names.
Shelley, Parbar, Linga Longa, Pumpkin, Summer's Lease, Tiddles, Charles II, Swan's Nest and on and on.

The sea comes in here at a steep incline and roars up the beach rattling the shingle as it comes and goes.

And then at the north end opposite the pier is the new cafe that I want us to try. I saw it in an article in The Coast magazine and it just looked like my kinda place!

Fresh flowers in a jam jar.

Second hand cane chairs and charity shop cushions and rugs...for the North Sea wind that rattles around.

Old coloured boats in a row, waiting for a trip on the lake, expecting a lot of giggling.

Baby ducks escaping from their mother.

and Canada Geese ( I think..put me right if I'm wrong) grazing on the edge.

We bagged a seat for two in a sheltered spot, lots of other people seemed to have read the same article and arrived.  We ordered cake for two and coffee for Alan with a pot of tea for me.

Chocolate cake with strawberries.

The cafe used to be the reception desk for people wanting to hire the boats.

We stayed there as long as we could, at least until we felt that it might be the decent thing  to get up and let some others have the prime seat!

From the cafe the path took us over the salt marsh and towards the main road into Southwold.  Even at the roadside'wild flowers found a little niche to seed and grow.

Dad used to wonder at the luscious growth of the vegetation in the Lakes in Cumbria, but as an old Cumbrian said to him," They can't help themselves, the air is so good". I think that is most probably true of this part of England as well. Not that Ireland's air isn't as good but he wondered at a land where the soil was made up of more stones than dirt! (being a farmer's son).

Salt marshes are magic places. The reeds move all the time whispering with who knows what wisdom. I have read in the nature reports by the blessed Simon Barnes, that bitterns are now aplenty in the Suffolk marshes, but I didn't hear their boom and I didn't see their long stretched necks. That means I'll just have to go back and wait for the joy that would bring me.


The raised path was skirted by wild flowers and insects, all the way along to the river Blythe.
So it took us a long time to walk it as I kept being sidetracked by the beauty.

We reached the river and stopped for a pint of Guinness at the Harbour Pub.
If you are wondering what Alan is doing wearing a cycling shirt on a walk in the country! Well, it came from a dear friend whose husband was and still is a serious cyclist, but age had put an end to his international outings. This is Italian and Alan, being a bit of a cyclist thought he'd like to wear it any way! I think it's fantastic if rather over the top!

The view as you sit at the Harbour is over the Blythe to Walberswick village.

Up over the heath is the village and the parish church.
The river is  a living, working place, full of all sizes of craft. Some for pleasure but still many boats going out on a daily basis and bringing back fish, which is  then sold at the two or three wooden huts situated on the banks.

Refreshment downed we cut back a bit and cross over the iron bridge to the Walberswick side.

A path through the heath is once again luscious with wild flowers.

Tucked in behind the sea walls was this little hideaway, looking like something out of  a story book. I thought that the colours used to paint it were
 quite Dutch. Anyone got an opinion? 

Back down to the river's edge and these wonderful wooden houses capture the imagination and send you off on a Swallows and Amazons reverie!

Now all that is left is to cross with the ferry man. It was from our many crossing here that Alan was inspired to make his landscape pots.

Then on along the harbour road with long horned yellow poppies and sea thistle growing by the edge.
Over the dunes with their cutsie little painted wooden houses and back to the Swan Hotel .

We're off now for another day of Prom Art at Grange-over-Sands on Sunday. Maybe we might see you there, If you think you know us, say hello!!  

Wednesday, July 21

A Poem For Thursday

We were staying in Southwold in 1997 the day the news broke about the death of Diana . She was an East Anglian before she was Princess of Wales and the feeling was strong in both directions! So as the previous post is all about that lovely land I thought I 'd put this up for Thursday.

The News (at Southwold)

On the day Diana died
Tall reeds mourned at Snape.
Gently keening in the winds
In that sister land of Anglia.
And I, a Brit and Celt at that,
Already grieving in the year of 97,
Wept for the English loss.
For the vulnerable chased down time
By demons eager to pursue
And jump on show of weakness.

We – always glancing behind
Fearfully seeking happiness
In the unremitting winds of fortune.
Something broke inside the Anglish
on that day,
And someone decided it was an end,
And looked for a new beginning.

On the day Diana died
White horses leaped and crashed on Anglian shores,
Urged on by winds of discontent.
While Scottish Anglicans ignored the news
And a woman waved just once.
“ She was always waving even when she was drowning”.

On the day Diana died
Lord Nelson opened up his welcoming Arms
And though the waves were tinged with pink,
Beer was drunk and dogs barked.
Old wags told tales and tails wagged.
No more battles were fought in Sole Bay
And life went on.

Tuesday, July 20

Suffolk, glorious Suffolk.

When asked ,"where would you really like to live?" I will imediately answer, "Suffolk!" Now that is never (most probably) going to happen. But FORtunately, as my three year old grand daughter would say, Alan exhibits in two galleries there. One is The Buckenham in Southwold, the other The Snape Maltings. How FORtunate is that when our surname is Snape! This post is just a few of the wonderful things that I love about the area.
When we go now, both being  over the hill called '60', we stay in a bit of luxury at The Swan in Southwold.

We first went to The Snape Maltings to take some ceramics. You remember that camel?
....well he went, prepared as he was for all weathers, and a good thing too as the English monsoon choose that day to fall on Snape. Emma, who welcomed him with open arms, if not mouth, exclaimed that her father had always said that he was a member of the Camel Corps. Oh could it be better! Other goodies went in as well. Clowns that some folk love and some are frightened of. Now what is that all about. Has anyone any idea why? Let me know if you have a theory.

I like the one on the right who is balancing while juggling. I have one that Alan regards as a second because he slipped in the kiln and nearly fell of the ball. But isn't this life. Often juggling so much at once and nearly coming a cropper!

Penguins, in all sizes...
oh my that's a very big egg!!

And more of Alan- type wonders.

Puffins...nuff said!

Harbour pots..a touch of Palissy maybe?

and this wonderful beach hut pot that is still in our studio but I thought that you might like to see it. This is quite a big pot compared to the one above it.It's called "A Crown Of Huts".
Then on to Southwold and more of the same delivered at The Buckenham Gallery.

This wonderful sign can be found in the groundfloor gallery at The Buckenham.Gallery.
Looks like common and godly sense to me.

Monday, July 19

Prom Art at Grange-over-Sands in June

Once again another blue sky day. We are really being blessed this year with the weather. Once again some new stalls  appeared, that makes it much more interesting and makes us think that the word is getting around about how good the quality of the art and crafts is. We took a picnic this time. It made the day into a real treat.

The June flowers are much more dramatic than the spring ones.

Here are a few of the new stalls that appeared in June.

"Bride and Groom" at Unique Image, Lower Brook St. Ulverston, Cumbria (01229)58 33 66 brought a fun collection of handmades and photos to show the work that they do in Ulverston.
Sue Hollinshead has been a long term member of the Prom Art group. She is well known for her beautiful flower paintings in watercolour and in June brought a good collection of landscape and seascapes.
Tel.01204 591368
New in June was  Abstracts of Nature, some fine art photography.
Another new exhibitor is Jean Grazier with original paintings, prints and handmade cards.
015394 47780 2255340

Bee Beautiful Ltd. 173 Chapel St. Dalton-in Furness LA15 8SL
They produce bath goods using where possible natural ingredients.
People gathered around Tony Saunders facinated with the basic tools that he used to create the many items that he brought with him....spoons,besoms, stick chairs and best of all longbows. He is one of only a few medieval longbow makers in the country.

Since Monty Don's programme about crafts showed a worker of green wood making chairs, lots more people have shown an interest in this ancient art.
01539535658/ 07961054114
I'm aware that I've had "trotters 'n' pooche" on before , but Jo Rothwell is a designer and maker par excellence! She is working at the Bluecoat in Liverpool on these dates.
July31st, Aug.28th, Oct.30th and Nov.27th
0790 9009374
Of course The Potters House Penketh was back, that's us!
Sunday 25th will see us all back again on the Prom. in Grange-over-Sands.
Join us if you are in the area.
Bring a picnic and enjoy the flowers. But most of all be amazed at the art available.
Hope to see you there.

Sunday, July 18

The Story of Ballyferris. The Field


In the early years our caravan was positioned along the back edge of the field. Behind us was the potato field and beyond that the coast road, leading left to Ballywalter and right towards Millisle. In front, a field of long grass and wild flowers, beyond that the beach and after a rocky foreshore the grey Irish Sea. The field was reached down a narrow lane which led to the beach, and on the left it was bordered by another caravan field . It was the first time that I had ever seen the kind of wild flowers that I had loved in the Flower Fairy books. Heartsease, wild thyme, marguerites, buttercups and lots more to thrill the soul of a dreaming child. Skylarks sang overhead as they soared higher and higher into the air luring us away from their nests hidden in the long grass .The air was sweet and spicey and when the wind dried on your lips they tasted salty and full of the sea. In later years pride of place right in the middle of all this was a flagpole and flying proudly from the top, the British Union Jack. Dad said that the farmer who owned the field ,called it the “Flag of Prosperity” -pronounced “persparety” but this may only be a family fable. Caravans of various sizes and shapes were sited all around the perimeter of the field and thus began for me a life totally separate from the routine of home , school , home, in Belfast.

National Trust: Ards Peninsula.
■sandhoppers, a little shrimp-like crustacean

■seaweed flies, insects which are food for turnstones, starlings and badgers

■sea aster (Aster tripolium) flowering from July to October

■scurvy grass

■thrift (Armeria maritima) flowering from June to August

■sea lavender (Limonium spp) flowering from July to December

■wild thyme (Thymus drucei)

■stonecrops and squills flowering in the summer

■bell heather (Erica cinerea) flowering from June to September

■bee orchids (Ophrys apifera) flowering from April to May

■pyramidal orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalis) flowering from June to August

■twayblade orchids (Listera ovata) flowering from May to July

Of course I didn't know the names of any of these wonderful bits of nature, I just reveled in their beauty and in my new found freedom.