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Suffolk in the Rain

The storm had not abated as of Saturday morning. It was still raining and gusting intermittently, blowing down leaves and toppling occasional limbs. The trees at the top of the nearby tree-covered hill are nearly bare of leaves now.

Despite the weather and warnings against travel, we went out for an afternoon in the Suffolk countryside. The rain was never too hard, but even in our compact car, I could feel the gusts. Later, walking in the drizzle, I could hear trees moaning with the strain of them. We drove through flooded sections of road on single-track lanes. By mid-afternoon, sunshine occasionally shown through the grey until wiped dark by sunset.

The land was gentle in its slopes and dips, crops and trees, quite likely idyllic in better weather. Bildeston is no longer as coherent a town as it certainly once was. A convenience store is the only business left on the town square. We passed three pubs, one of which doubles as a brewery, so the town is still doing decently well. The church was half-a-mile out of town; in that weather, it wasn't worth the walk.

By the time we made it to Lavenham, it was fully dark. The town is more sheltered and the weather had cleared. Its dense streets of often-whitewashed leaning half-timber buildings were a marvel, with bare-beamed glimpses within comfortable homes within. One was so precise and elegant that I wanted to find its hotel or restaurant name; but it was a house, not a business. The town came of age with the late medieval wool-trade and has one of the best preserved collections of fourteenth and fifteenth century domestic architecture. It's still thriving, or at least, thriving again, with a Co-op grocery store, a good variety of shops, if a little heavy on antique stores and galleries of artwork. At least they were the sorts of antique stores and galleries of artwork which looked accessible and affordable. The church closed at four, with the darkness, so I could only admire its grandeur from a distance.

It was the first time I was back to Lavenham since I was ten, and my family spent Christmas in the Swan Hotel, an enormous rambling conflation of half-timbered buildings. It snowed, and the countryside was beautifully picturesque. And so I have only ever been in Lavenham when daylight hours were scarce.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 15th, 2009 11:39 am (UTC)
We missed the high winds oop North. All that happened here was rain and a discussion between me and Toby the Jack Russell about the desirability of going out in a downpour. He finally agreed to come for a walk when I located his waxed coat.
Nov. 15th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
I've been to Lavenham!

Street Scene, Lavenham, Suffolk

How lovely to spend Christmas there...
Nov. 17th, 2009 10:34 am (UTC)
Lovely photos! And good to see it in the daylight.
Nov. 16th, 2009 01:31 am (UTC)
I am looking forward to spending a few days in London this January, since I'm not sure I've ever been in the UK in the winter. And I have sent off enough applications for JRFs and the like at Oxbridge colleges that even though I expect nothing to come of any of them, I am nevertheless beginning to wonder what it would be like to winter in England.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 17th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
We come in peace, desiring only overlordship of your puny quadrangle.
Nov. 17th, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
And in other news, if it works to have dinner or something with owlfish, you should come, too!
Nov. 17th, 2009 10:34 am (UTC)
Oh good. I do hope you're coming when I can see you. (I'll probably be in the US for the first week-or-so of the year.)
Nov. 17th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
I will arrive on the morning of the 9th and leave for Paris on the 13th, I think. Short trip, but between teaching three days a week and having this workshop to attend on the 14th and 15th, there's only so much leeway.

It would be lovely to see you!
Nov. 17th, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
We should be back by the 10th at the latest, so yes, we'll be able to work something out! I'll be teaching on Mondays in the spring (i.e. unavailable and out-of-town), but could do something on Sunday possibly or definitely on the Tuesday.
Nov. 17th, 2009 08:43 am (UTC)
Hiya! Was lovely to meet you last week, am finally getting round to friending you...
Nov. 17th, 2009 10:33 am (UTC)
It was lovely to meet you too!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )