I made this!
Continuing the exploration of the British Isles, this year for our anniversary I took my lovely wife to the equally lovely Hadleigh in Suffolk. To get there we travelled south from Northamptonshire, anti-clockwise around the M25 and across the bottom of Essex towards Clacton-by-Sea before heading north towards Walton-on-the-Naze before heading Northwest to Hadleigh. We also visited Ipswich and Felixstowe.
Clacton-by-Sea out of season is, as should be expected, quiet. A typical British seaside resort town with formal gardens, a pier, amusements and former guest houses and hotels along the promenade and a once grand, now deteriorating due to lack of investment, town inland. The pier was undergoing refurbishment so access was only permitted into the large newly regenerated pier amusement hall but one can see how the area once was very popular with seaside visitors from London who now gentrify places like Southwold to the north or further afield like Cornwall.
Being by the seaside is enough to make anyone hungry and the urge to binge on Fish and Chips at the seaside is akin to the urge to binge on chocolate at Easter. Sadly, with it being out of season and not being Yorkshire, most of the good fish and chip restaurants were either closed for the winter or just in hiding. So after failing to find a recommended fish and chip restaurant in Frinton-on-Sea, we headed futher up the coast towards Walton-on-the-Naze. We stopped at Yates’ Fish and Chips in Walton-on-the-Naze who do a splendid fish and chip dinner (I highly reccomend them)
Walton is a polar opposite to Clacton. Yes, like Clacton, it is run down but there is less of a seaside feel to the place despite having the finest collection of beach huts and the second longest pier I’ve ever seen.
Again, being out of season meant that few people were around and the fairground rides that were in operation on the pier played their hauntingly merry jingles to the ghosts of former holiday makers and anyone who would listen. Aside from this, the pier was eerie. The sea was uncannily still, the light unusual for the time of year. The afternoon sun making vivid colours of blue, orange and purple in the cloud base and far away the echos of shipping and road traffic almost inperceptable.
Hadleigh is a gem of an English town. It is a former coaching, market and strip town, as in it is laid along a long High Street and, at some point in its history, provided a welcome overnight stop off for horse-drawn coaches bound for other destinations like Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds or Lavenham or much further afield. Moreover, it provided an ideal location for a market place for Lavenham wool merchants, Ipswich traders and other travelling mendicants to vend their wares.
Indeed, casual reference sources claim that Hadleigh once was home to well over twenty inns, evidence of which is clear from the architecture and names of houses along the High Street. Furthermore, the wealth generated from the coaching inns, the market and the local industry is clear from the surviving buildings in the area, a selection of which you can view below.
Of course, Hadleigh is a small town and despite having a great selection of eateries, there is little to entertain for a sustained period of a long weekend, so we also explored a few local places too.
Ipswich was the first. Taking advantage of the park and ride we soon found ourselves on the bustling streets of Ipswich. A delightful port town in which the keen eye can distinguish the signs of a seafaring history. From the locations where there would have been huge warehouses along the harbour side, to the numerous hidden churches and chapels and buildings that scream wealthy merchants lived here, Ipswich is a lovely place.
After stopping at Casablanca, a Morroccan restaurant, for a splendid lunch and headed to Felixstowe for our third seaside fix of the weekend.
Felixstowe is not, in my mind, one of the first places that come to mind when someone says “Seaside” to me, however if you said “container port” I’d probably think immediately of Felixstowe. However, the suffolk tourist board are obviously trying to do a service to Felixstowe and get people to disregard the militaristic and logistical past and re-embrace the seaside there once more.
First point of call was the former fort at Landguard Point. Former MOD land littered with the remains of concrete gun placements, bunkers and radar points. From there one can watch the huge container ships enter and depart the neighbouring port of Felixstowe. For a logistics nerd its kind of interesting watching the huge cranes pick up a container like one might pick up a matchbox and drop it on a precarious looking stack of containers on board a ship. For a history nerd, it is equally interesting seeing how much value the port held for Britain through history and why it was so well protected from Napoleon and Hitler.
The seaside though, not what I had in mind. Much flatter than Clacton and, obviously as a result, much more weather beaten, the seafront at Felixstowe is more akin to Rhyl than Scarborough on the Seaside scale. The buildings and seafront goings on set further back from the beach than at Clacton and the pier looking a little more practical than its cousin at Walton-on-the-Naze.
Sunday came and we began our return journey, stopping at Lavenham along the way. Lavenham was once a bustling town of wool merchants but later reduced to village status as fortunes leaked elsewhere. But that is not to say wealth did not leave Lavenham. Evidence of a market place, a guildhall and coaching inns show that before bus loads of tourists were the norm, the village was very prosperous throughout the following centuries. Indeed, it appears that many of the old wooden framed houses are now holiday lets aimed at those foreign tourists who think all villages across the whole of the UK look like Lavenham.
Finally our route home took us through Bury St Edmunds. Redevelopment has given the town a Milton Keynes feel but once past the modern eyesore of the Debenhams district, one can find the more picturesque and traditional sights.
In the heart of Bury St Edmunds lies the ruins of a priory. The scale of the priory ruins just show how wealthy the church had become before Henry VIII had his hissy fit and formed his own. Moreover, it appears that there are houses built into the walls of the ruins and indeed, to me at least, the walls themselves look quite old, almost Roman in places.
Its when you see history like this juxtaposed against the history of other places you begin to form a different appreciation of events. Over Christmas, Mrs Gnomepants and I went to Cartegena in Columbia where we visited the Inquisition Palace and learned about what was going on elsewhere in the world just before good old Henry threw his toys out of his pram. In both the New and Old World, Inquisitors were torturing those who didn’t agree with Papal policy. I’d not really connected the dots before but now think that maybe our jolly polyamorous monarch had other reasons for forming his own church than those taught to us by historians.
Welcome aboard the Barnsley Boogie Bus. I’m Stegzy Gnomepants and I will be your guide on today’s tour. Please form an orderly queue. I know some of you are from the colonies where queuing is a new thing but this is the Great and Glorious Empire and Kingdom of Great Britain. Queuing is part of the British constitution.
Hello. I’m Winky Potato. Let me take you on a guided tour of the lovely area that is Luxury Flats Brierley.
This is Brierley. Look at all that prime land available for building on. Who needs agriculture and green belt? Do they create jobs? No! So lets turn the Green and Pleasant land into a Grey and Prosperous Land.
First off. Here is one of the first things you see when you arrive in the area. A sign pointing to Brierley Centre. Brierley Centre is, of course, now Luxury Flats. The council will soon be replacing this sign with one more suitable.
Across the road from which is the village pub, the Three Horseshoes. Nobody uses pubs anymore because the beer tends to be generally shit, they are full of smelly old men and criminals and its cheaper to stay at home. So acquiring these premises for Luxury Flats shouldn’t be an issue. Prime location, easy access, ample parking provision for 45 luxury three bedroom shoe boxes.
So, rounding the corner we are greeted by the Post Office standing prominently on Church Street. Like with pubs, nobody uses Post Offices anymore. Why send mail when you can just do it electronically? Furthermore, as nobody will be retiring until they are 90, there will be no need for pension queues thus making Post Officae obsolete. More so, the Post Office is an old building. Nobody wants to live in old buildings anymore, so after a prescribed bulldozing the site will now become Postal Heights. A new 21 storey development of affordable 1 and 2 bedroom apartments for service and key workers.
The area formerly known as Brierley has lots of wasted space. This daffodil garden is only in bloom for 2 months of the year. With a bit of concrete and some bricks a new housing development could blossom there. Daffodil Meadows.
The street follows further round a blind corner. Popular with the local youth for slaleming round at breakneck speed on unlicenced and noisy off road motor cross bikes with no regard for anybody coming in the opposite direction. The red building you see on the right of the picture is now a derelict shell and was until about November time a coach upholstering business.
Rightly so, nobody travels by coach anymore. Coaches are crowded, smelly and have no leg room. Thus with the waning of coach use, the fall of the coach upholstery trade goes hand in hand. However, with some bulldozers, some burly men with tattoos, green jackets and hardhats we can redevelop this into Coach Corner. Affordable homes for the young.
Indeed, the development might over look some overexpensive homes and some farm buildings. But hey, who cares, in a few years they too can be redeveloped into more desirable multiple occupancy homes.
Next up is one of the three churches in the Brierley Area. Nobody goes to church anymore. So why let the buildings become derelict and crime ridden. Flatten them and build flats on them. What a brilliant idea!
Further up. Cow Sheds? Bovine Hut? Beef Terraces?
Looking back down toward Coach Corner
Now see. When this area was designed in the 1960’s they had vision. An elderly community. Plenty of green spaces and old codgers. Concrete over the lot of them. 60’s prefab sheltered housing is no longer in vogue. Elder Pine Meadows. A perfect name.
This is Brierley Hall. The council own it. The council are traditionally always open to backhanders and large “donations” in exchange for prime development land. This truly will be demolished in the next few years as nobody needs social services anymore. Nor do the council need meeting chambers because nobody attends the meetings anyway. So demolish the lot. Flatten it all. Cover it all with Portland’s finest. Brierley Hall View. Your up and coming development.
Handy for local transport
And of course the exciting new redevelopment that will be St Paul’s Court.
Then there is the village club. As nobody will be using clubs come July when the English smoking ban comes into effect, we can expect this place too to face a large Volvo digger.
If I’ve missed something, fear not. When I can be bothered again, I’ll photograph the remaining 6 buildings.
Right. Listen up. If you’re going to live in this country, you’re going to have to live by Core British Values
Except in the following situations
- You are walking in the countryside or somewhere remote
- They question your parenting skills
- They stop you and look menacing
All other attempts of communication should be greeted by non-committal grunts or hand gestures.
2. The Weather.
It is only permissible to become patriotic during World Sports events during which bedeck your house, your car, your kids, even your fucking dog with St Georges Cross flags. You can even wear face paints if it makes you feel better and you don’t care that people think you’re a bit touched. Every other time, being patriotic is frowned upon and people will single you out as being racist and possibly a member of far right extremist political parties.
- In a restaurant
- Order your food, eat it, moan to your fellow diners about how it’s cold/flavourless/got the waiters thumb print in it. When the waiter or Maitre D’or asks if you are enjoying your meal – Lie and tell him that it’s spot on.
- At home
- After A Night out
It is compulsory that you obtain a kebab, a pizza, a portion of chips or a tray of half rice and chips with curry sauce. You are only allowed to eat half of it. Tradition dictates that you should throw the remainder into a random garden, that of a neighbour or leave at the base of a telegraph pole upon which you should urinate.
There are four main sports those aspiring to be British should pay close attention to:-
- Football (Soccer)
- Football is the main stay of most British people but you do not necessarily have to know how the game is played nor do you need to know who any of the star players are. You certainly don’t need to choose a team to support. Simply nip down to your local knitwear store and buy a
- . The colour will dictate what team you support. If anyone says anything derogatory towards your team simply snarl or grunt in a non-committal way. Red is a popular colour, especially in the North. Football is popular with southern Britainers too and the same random colour scarf tactic will work. However one should be wary of walking around areas of London Dockland in any colour other than blue
The more burly the men; the rougher the sport (except in the case of Rugby Union where they prance about the pitch with posies). Rugby is popular along the M62 Corridor of Warrington to West Yorkshire. Some argue that Rugby was actually started by hard northerners who fancied kicking the skull of a southern jessie about the place. Some don’t. Soccer’s ‘random scarf rule’ can also apply to Rugby but would be fans should be wary of being caught out by hard core fans.
Cricket is a game for the posh and well to do. When you understand the game you will gain automatic residency to Great Britain.
A pub game but popular international sport played by lobbing sharp pointy things at a cork board from a distance however would be players should be wary of the skill : waist line ratio. Remember, the fatter the opponent, the less chance you have of winning.
6. The British Pub
Whereas some cultures head to a place of worship, a true British person would head to the pub. The pub is a sacred holy place (and until recently relatively women free) and is a core British Value that should be revered in a similar manner to that which is given to sacred relics or literature. Upon entering the pub, British patriots will stand patiently at the bar and await service from the bar servant. It may also be customary to lean over the bar on ones elbows in an effort to attract attention even if the bar servant has spotted you.
Upon being approached by a bar servant one should order a drink. Drinks one can choose from include:-
- a pint of Stella (a British beer brewed in Birmingham by captive French prisoners of War.)
- A pint of bitter (does exactly what it says on the tin)
- Cider( popular with the youth)
- bottled lager
Ordering brightly coloured drinks, wine or fizzy pop is frowned upon and should only deemed as acceptable if drunk by women. The larger the quantity of beer you consume the more important and honoured one will become in the pub hierarchy. The smoking of cigarettes is heavily encouraged and is compulsory. Faux coughing or wafting of or blowing away smoke is punishable by ridicule so don’t do it.
There are numerous values and traditions held about transport including:-
- The Bus
There has been a rise in illegal and unlicensed buses of recent years. One should be wary of imitation buses that are not the traditional British red. One should also be wary of boarding buses from the front. None red buses that allow alighting from the front are run by illegal immigrants and passengers are being transported to factories in the Midlands where upon they are turned into Spam. Upon boarding a red bus one must immediately take a seat and not look at or talk to other passengers. If a man or woman in uniform comes up to you, immediately take defensive action.
- The Underground
One can travel to any part of the British isles via the London Underground rail service. If one requires to go to Belfast, Edinburgh or Penzance and one is in London, simply board a tube train at Mornington Crescent. If you are unable to locate your destination on the automated ticket machine choose one that looks or sounds similar to your chosen destination. Nobody pays any attention to where your destination is on Tube tickets anyway.
- The Train
Trains should look like this or in the case of the Underground like this. If the train at your boarding platform does not look like this immediately tell a man in uniform. Train forgery is punishable by death.
Similar rules apply to travel on train as they do to bus. Do not engage your fellow passengers in conversation. If they start talking to you, rock back and forth in your seat and try foaming at the mouth. If they continue to talk to you it is traditional to stand up and scream at the top of ones voice. Consumption of refreshments is compulsory on longer train journeys. One should purchase refreshments from the dining car. Note that the sandwiches are traditionally served floppy and overpriced and the hot beverages are specially heated in nuclear ovens to ensure long lasting heat. Hot tea is a Core British Value.
- The motorcar
When driven, motorcars should be driven as slow as possible. It is unBritish to drive at any speed greater than 20mph. Speeds in excess of 50mph is deemed as treason and can be punishable by death.
- Shanks’ Pony
Bred in the Scottish highlands, Shanks’ Pony is recognisable by its distinctive tartan coat. Shanks’ Ponies live in harmony with the wild haggis and their domesticated breed have been a popular form of transport since 1742. Shanks’ Ponies can be picked up from inside any police station where they are kept warm in specially designed stables.
The British hold great value in uniforms. All people in uniforms should be given utmost respect be they Park Wardens, Traffic Wardens, NCP Attendants , Ticket Inspectors or Policemen. Failure to show respect will result in deportation and possibly even scurvy.
Tea should be drunk at every available opportunity. Coffee is an unacceptable substitute. Tea, milk and one sugar. One should drink tea by lifting up the cup or mug with the little finger extended. Failure to do so is an insult to British Core Values and may be punished by 50 lines saying “I must drink tea like an adult or I will end up in detention writing lines that say”
10. The Queen
The Queen should be seen as your true mother. She gave birth to you not that woman who tucked you in at night. Any other claims to motherhood are false. Queen Elizabeth II is the one true mother of all British subjects (including double history on a Wednesday afternoon). One should send the Queen a birthday card for both her birthdays and should invite her round for tea as often as possible, although twice a year is deemed acceptable.
Wait in line. If you are waiting for the post office counter to become available:- Wait in line. If you are waiting for a bus:- Wait in line. If you are awaiting the second coming of Christ:- Wait in line. It is a deep rooted British Value that one should queue for things. Unlike those awful Continentals who just barge in and demand service. Should the queue take too long or someone pushes ahead of the queue it is traditional that all should tut in an audible fashion. Moaning about being late and tapping ones feet and watch face is also customary and a value held dear by most British subjects (except geography on Thursday after lunch)
These are Core British Values. I hope they make things clearer for colonials visitors and those wishing to remain in the country. Thank you for partaking.
So yesterday I went on a trip to America as organised by Gnomepants Tours ®
Hello. I’m Stegzy Gnomepants and I will be your tour guide for today.