Beside the Sea in Felixstowe, England

The Prom and Seafront, Felixstowe, England

Along the Seafront, Felixstowe, England

Felixstowe, Suffolk, England

Today was our third day in the UK.  We’ve shifted gears from being with my family in the U.S. to spending time with Clive’s father and family in the county of Suffolk, region of East Anglia, England.

 

Felixstowe, a Place of Contrasts

In addition to being where Clive grew up, Felixstowe is a unique seaside town.  It sits at the end of a peninsula, between the River Deben and the River Orwell.  On one side is a quaint, Victorian-style resort with a promenade along the seafront, family amusement arcades, tearooms, and an old-time entertainment pavilion.  On the other side is Britain’s largest container port, with state of the art docks, cranes, viewing areas, thousands of ships entering and leaving the port, and hundreds of thousands of trucks driving up and down the peninsula, taking over 2 million containers to the rest of England every year.

The port of Felixstowe is currently being expanded to accommodate over five million containers a year.  But from where I’m writing this, on the other side of the peninsula, looking out over the peaceful Victorian side, you’d never know it existed. 

 

Settling In   

It’s nice to be back in England, and near the ocean.  We’re trying to take advantage of Felixstowe’s long promenade, or “the Prom,” as the locals call it, by taking a long walk on the Prom on days we don’t have commitments with Clive’s father or other family and friends.

Our B&B breakfasts are typically English, and dinners have been good, too.  In contrast to the U.S., there have been no overflowing plates or doggie bags in sight.  It’s great to get world news as a matter of course again, too.

Yesterday we spent the day with Clive’s father, who is in amazingly good health and spirits approaching his 89th birthday. 

 

English Treasures

Suffolk and East Anglia (the combined counties of Suffolk, Norfolk, and Essex) are less well-known to many visitors to England than more touristy destinations such as the Cotswolds or the Lake District.  Since I met Clive, I’ve been learning how rich and interesting Suffolk’s history is, and how much there is to see and do here today.

Clive and I both enjoy planning our trips, and equally love the surprise element of travel, when something unexpected is discovered.  On a drive yesterday with Clive’s father, we drove down a narrow lane and came upon a tiny hamlet, at the centre of which stands St. Mary’s, Church of England.

We saw a low, ancient-looking front building, with gravestones alongside, many with small bouquets of fresh flowers next to them.  The church doors were open, and we walked inside.  Only the three of us were there, and as we read inscriptions on plaques and hangings on the whitewashed walls, we learned the church was originally built over one thousand years ago.

At the front, near the altar, was a list of rectors “as known from 1290.”  St. Mary’s is still an active church, a graceful presence, and one of England’s past and present treasures.    

St. Mary's, Church of England, Shotley, Suffolk

St. Mary's, Church of England, Shotley, Suffolk

 

Back to the Present – Speedway

Today and tonight we were back in the present, joining Clive’s father for a double-header at Ipswich Speedway.  This spectator sport is something I’ve also learned about since meeting Clive. 

For those who may also be unfamiliar with Speedway, this is a team event in which two competing pairs at a time race motorbikes around a short track, score points, make a great deal of engine-racing noise,  stir up a lot of dust, and all the while enjoy the enthusiastic cheers and applause of fans urging them on from the stands.

It was fun going to the Speedway with Clive’s father and sharing his enjoyment of being there.  Speedway isn’t uniquely English, and crowds are small compared to football (soccer) and other sports, but for us it was a new and unique travel experience.  

3 Responses

  1. Great post! I immediately checked your location to see if Felixstowe was anywhere near us in Cornwall, but no such luck. It would have been nice to meet face to face.

    It sounds like you’re having great fun with Clive’s father. I think I’d be exhausted by your schedule though. You’ve been doing a lot of moving around.

  2. Pleased you had a brilliant time..so strange to be reading about Felixstowe, used to go there a lot when I lived in Bury St Edmunds..

    The church looks like the little church my father is buried at ..but he is buried in St Catherines, Ringshall , which is about 10 k from Ipswich. Looks similar to this one!

  3. Thank you, Elizabeth and Anne. It wouild be fun to meet in person sometime!

    Anne, maybe you’ll get back to Felixstowe for another visit one day.

    Cheers.

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