Wednesday, July 07, 2004

My Trip to Aldeburough

Since I had only just gotten back from Dublin, I did my laundry the night before I left, which ment that I had to pack the morning that I left. I then had breakfast before running down to Waverly Train Station. My ticket only said Edinburgh to Peterburough so I had to go to the ticket desk then over to the Mark's & Spencer's to get a tin of shortbread. I had to get on the train from Edinburgh to London and get off at Peterburough then change trains to the Ipswich train.

Now I had to do this with a massive hangover. Since I had not see either of my two roommates for more than a month, I went out to the pub with them. I really should not have. I felt like hell warmed over but I got on the train. I slept most of the time so I missed the Scottish boarders and most of Northumbria.

It took four hours to get from Edinburgh to Peterburough. I still had a headache when I hopped off the train and entered the station to get on my connection which was in about ten minutes time. I did not see it on the board. So, I went into the information office. After waiting in line, the person behind the counter told me that they had no service that day (Saturday) and that they would have a bus to take me to Ely. The bus was not going to leave until four o'clock or so. This is where things get interesting.

I walk outside to where the buses are to see what is going on. There is a large crowd of angry people talking to a man who was not even the manager about what is happening. Come to find out, we have a huge crowd of people who wanted to go to Ipswich and were not told this was going to happen (it was not on my ticket anyway). So after a few minutes they load us on a bus to Ely. This is when I notice a bunch of drunken Australians who are smoking and drinking and sound quiet drunk as it is. The bus driver after we were all on had to warn them not to smoke. Then about 10 minutes after we get started he had to tell them that there is no drinking on the bus. Then they get really rowdy. He had to stop and toss two of them off the bus in some field in East Anglia. He was persuaded by the other Australians to let them back on the bus. He told them that if they acted up again that he would have the police waiting for them at the end of the line.

We get to Ely after a long bus trip (about 45 minutes). He dropped us off at the station and I looked at my watch. It was already 4 pm and I was supposed to be in Ipswich by then. I went into the station and talked to the station manager and he said it would be another hour before they had a train to Ipswich. So I went into the station and started going through my bag thinking that I had their phone number. I could not find it so I asked for a telephone book since they do not have them in the public pay phones. They did not have one for their area. At this point, I paniced a bit since I did not want them to sit there for me. So, I did the only thing I could think of. I called a friend back in Edinburgh and had her look for their phone number on the web but she could not find it (most likely because she has a hearing impairment and did not hear me correctly). She decided that it would be best to talk to the managers of the halls to see if they would let her in my room to get it. Well, thankfully they did and she was able to get me the phone and I called them to leave a message about me being late.

I then got a coffee and waited for the train to Ipswich. It finally did arrive and I got on. When the conductor came by to see my ticket, I asked him about the delay at Peterburough. He said that they were doing work on the line and that it only happened on the weekend. So I finally arrived at Ipswich station after seeing some very beautiful country side.

I was on a platform which was seperated by tracks so I looked around on the platform then not seeing anyone, I went across. On the other side, I ran into an older gentleman. I had told them that I had long brown hair and a green backpack. He looked at me intently and I asked "Mr. -----?" and he shook my hand. We went outside the station and he told me that the taxi drivers let me park there at the front of the station. We drove off and he said that we would take the round-about way to home.

We talked about how the local council runs a racket with changing the speed limits every few miles then having the police issue tickets. We also talked about how housing prices are going out of control in his area because they have rich Londoners buying houses that are built on people's front or back gardens. This seems to be a big issue right now (honestly, it is in Scotland and everywhere else in rural UK). The biggest issue is that they buy these as second or third homes and only spend three or four weeks a year in the house. Otherwise, it is empty. They do not move into the community at all, which makes the locals angry.

We arrived after a while. He showed me where my parents used to live then we went around the corner to their place. It was a very nice detatched house with a large front and back garden. This is where I met his wife. I took off my shoes when entering their house. I gave them the tin of shortbread, which they enjoyed very much. We then had dinner in their dining room, which was steak and veggies. Steak is very expensive here in the UK because they either have to import it or raise it themselves, which is the prefered way.

We then talked for a while over tea while we watched the news. I then took a shower and went to bed. I woke up in the morning at about 7 am. I stayed in bed until I heard someone moving around. I ran into my host in the kitchen. He offered me some toast and some morning tea. We sat around and talked about the news which he turned on in the TV in the kitchen. My hostess was up about ten minutes after that. My host and I went in his car down to the high street to get the morning paper, which had his name written on the top of it. We then went to look at the beach, which is the very interesting large pebble beach. It is like something between a rock and a pebble beach. He took me over to the Nepolianic tower near the head of the river Alde. He then told me stories about the man who owns the shipwright business there. We then drove around the district. All over the place really before returning to his home. When we got there, we discovered that we had forgotten the milk. I stayed while my host ran down to the store to get the milk. I then had breakfast which was very large and very very English.

Once we were done eating, my host and I again went out with the mission of finding a disposible camera. We first stopped in a small village (there were so many of those that I have forgotten most of their names). We talked to the propriator of the place and he said that we would have to go to Snape to find it but if we did not, we could have his for the day. That was rather a shock to me. We thanked him then went into Snape to find it. We went to a place called Snape Maltings. They took an old malting factory and put a bunch of shops and arts and crafts. We asked them and they said we would have to go back into the village. So we did and there in the village shop we found what we were looking for.

I wanted to see Bentwater Air Force Base, which is now famous for the UFO sighting in 1980 (beware the stabbing exclamation points in the link). Today it is completely overgrown. All the American buildings were taken down and there is nothing but a large field with tarmac seven miles long. The base housing has been completely torn down and replaced with private housing. The RAF base is still there but all the buildings are covered with plants. My host told me that the RAF refuses to let it go even though it was completely useless now. We then went around to other places before returning to High Street Aldeburgh to take some pictures.

We then went back to his home for the fourth of july BBQ. Now by this time the clouds had come in and it was raining. He was absolutely determined to have a BBQ even if it was pouring outside. We had to move everything inside while he was getting the fire started. Once it had, his daughter-in-law arrived to help out. I stood around as they cooked (more like threw them directly into the charcole to much laughing) the burgers. Then his son and his grandson arrived. We then went into the house to eat our dinner. My hostess was extremely disappointed that we could not have it outside. I told her that this was completely normal for where I come from.

We ate and talked for a while then my host's grandson had to leave to do something. We then retired to the living room to have tea and watch some TV. My host's son and his wife decided to take me around to district yet again. We also took my hostess with us. We went to Orford Castle and drove around some more. We came back to watch some more TV. We watched a documentary on Diana Dors and her cypher which was supposed to give the names and places for her millions. I then took and shower and went to bed.

I woke up again and had toast with my host and breakfast. They worked in the garden and I took a look around. My host gave me a tour of his back vegitable garden and other stuff. They then had to go to a funeral service so I stayed behind and read. They returned after about an hour then we had lunch and tea. My host then drove me to the train station where I picked up the train for the ride home, which was pretty much uneventful (thankfully).

I had a great time in Aldeburgh and I hope to return soon.

posted by Chris  #11:05 AM | 0 comments |