...to spend some time in Aldeburgh:
In beautifully made walls. Also on the long, vast, windswept beach which is usually virtually empty. The pebbles may have something to do with this, but I like them for this very reason.
Houses, hollyhocks, valerian, dahlias, roses, tea rooms, and pigs (see below). If counties had their own colours, Suffolk's would be pink. (The dahlia is 'Gerry Hoek' from Woottens, which gets 10/10 in the owner Michael Loftus' entertainingly opinionated ratings.)
Aldeburgh has one of the very few non-homogeneous high streets left, and does its best to maintain independence from retail chains and groups.
[detail of fascia of ladies and gents outfitters which always makes me think of Jane's shop in High Wages]
[Tudorbethan cinema; you'd almost expect it to show nothing but Ealing comedies and Powell and Pressburger classics, but in fact tonight it has the very contemporary Moonrise Kingdom]
It has an independent book shop, secondhand bookshop, cinema, newsagent, bakery, chemist, ice cream parlour, plus three independent wine merchants, numerous cafes and restuarants, clothes shops, and the marvellous and pink Cragg Sisters Tea Room (go for the crab sandwiches and scones) It is like an almost-modern version of the Eric Ravilious guide to the High Street (no furriers, though).
Big, fat, pink pigs snuffling and grunting and basking on rolling soft hillsides are a feature of Suffolk (you pass a fieldful on the road to Aldeburgh) and they produce proper bacon, hams and sausages (from a real butcher, of course).
Undisturbed, unsprayed, gloriously natural and profuse, the hedgerows around Aldeburgh are currently full of tall red poppies and white daisies that are allowed to flourish.
7. Golden fields
Like something out of storybook illustration, they are truly golden this week. (Aldeburgh is seven miles off the main road, and the little journey is like a rural decompression chamber as you leave urban and suburban life behind.)
Properly ripe and seasonal, deeply red and juicy. And plenty more great local produce such as affordable asparagus and free range eggs from happy hens, and the best raspberry jam I've ever tasted.
[C16 Moot Hall]
...and clever brickwork. (Aldeburgh still has its own brickworks.)
10. Places to stay
Like a teeny tiny cottage with a teeny tiny back yard with roses and honeysuckle (and a temporary makeover garden from Woottens, waiting till I go home). It wasn't always easy to get hold of good accommodation (you had to be in the know), but for the past few years we have booked through Best of Suffolk which has masses of great places.
10/10 to Aldeburgh, too.