Wendy and I are just back from a few days on the Suffolk coast. Aldeburgh was a Victorian holiday resort, and has not changed much since. There is no Bingo, and no amusement arcades. However, there is an elegant seafront facing the shingle beach, where fishing boats add to the atmosphere of time standing still. They smoke fish, and I enjoyed peering in the wooden huts where their wares are on display, and emerging with a bag of king prawns to enjoy back in our hotel room.
The Aldeburgh Fish and Chip shop in the high street is recommended in a national newspaper as the ‘best in the UK’.
It was raining, so we consumed our cod, scampi and chips in the car, overlooking the marshes where ducks and geese were entertaining us with formation flying, and gulls swirled round the car, maybe guessing that chips might be their reward for doing so.
Half of the town lies under the sea. The historic Moot House, on the seafront, was once in the centre of town. Further along the coast, the entire village of Dunwich lies under the waves. It is said that one can hear the church bells ringing under the water on a stormy day. I never have!
We stayed at the Wentworth, where I have enjoyed traditional hospitality for over 35 years now. In fact, I have been visiting Aldeburgh for 70 years. My grandparents used to take me there. Our rooms overlooked the beach, which was a delight.
I thought I saw a familiar face at dinner the first night. It was Margaret S, a patient for many years, with her daughter Jane. She came to the practice the day I retired, and had met Wendy then. But Margaret was more than a patient – she was a friend. Memories – I seem to recall an out-of-hours call, and having seen her, flowers were delivered to our home for my wife. Margaret and he husband became friends from that day on, and we would talk of our holidays to France (mine to Brittany, and theirs to St. Tropez. They had style!). Life also has heartbreaks – for them, and for my family to. But we come through. We reminisced there in the restaurant at the Wentworth, and it was just so good to catch up.
Beautiful seaside villages, fishing boats, prawns, coastal walks, exquisite cuisine…. but one of life’s greatest pleasures is people. Friendship. Laughter. Relationship through the ups and downs that life brings.
Recently, in my praying, I have been thanking God for life itself, and for all the blessings that can so easily be overlooked. My home, my garden, my family, my friends, and my faith. God has been good to me, even when life has not been so. Thank you Jesus, for giving me life in an abundant manner (John 10:10).