A holiday in Aldeburgh, Suffolk

A family (2+2+2 little ones) holiday to Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast by train – how exciting! Train number 1 took us from North Surrey to Farringdon, then one stop on the super-duper Queen Elizabeth Line to Liverpool Street station, then a train to Ipswich and another to Saxmundham, before a bus to our destination. Less than 5 hours of stress-free travel. Phew (but we would do it again)!

We rented a fabulous home just a few yards from the beach. If we weren’t on the beach we were relaxing in the house and looking out to sea. Aldeburgh is a lovely, little town with mostly independent shops and cafes.

I would never have thought how much pleasure could be got from being on a pebble beach. We did much walking, particularly north, along the beach to Thorpeness where there is a wonderful, large boating lake.

Lots of smoked fish, lots of pastries and a very fine meal in a fish restaurant. The two little ones were, as usual, an absolute delight. A wonderful family holiday!

2 moments of euphoria, 4 of disappointment

Yesterday I had a day out with my son and son-in-law to the final of the EFL Trophy at Wembley Stadium. My local team, Sutton United, were in action.

It was my first visit to the new stadium and what a magnificent place it is. I had been to the old stadium three times, I think, having watched a schoolboy’s international and a couple of dull (as I recall) full internationals. Other than these games and a match at Fulham (!) it was quite an experience being at an event involving a large crowd (30,000). The full capacity is 90,000!

In these Covid times I was grateful for having chosen good (ie more expensive) seats, so we were sat in a quite sparsely populated area of the stadium. Nevertheless it was impossible not to be in close contact with crowds of people within the general area of the stadium as well as on public transport. Fingers crossed that we remain virus free!

It was a good game and Sutton were unfortunate to have had victory snatched away in the 96th minute of the match. A pizza and a pint at a pub near Waterloo Station rounded off a wonderful day. Apart from the result.

Christmas fun

Christmas is a great opportunity to play games with the family.

In the one game of chess I was able to play with my son, who had played hardly any chess, he played well to get a draw after 5 hours of play. We had just the two kings at the end – which is not a winnable position – I think I blew the ending, but the result was probably the right one overall.

Other games we played were mini table tennis (my son usually wins, though in close contests), carrom (my son always wins); Ticket To Ride, a great game we haven’t played enough of (my son won); Chinese Checkers and Labyrinth (with the little ones)

Ten-pin bowling with the kids

The noise! The lights! The colours! Welcome to ten-pin bowling in the modern world! We texted my wife that she might like to keep away! We had a great time – I came top (I’m the oldest) and little 5-year-old Iris (the youngest) came second. Well done Iris! And the day wasn’t over as we all met up for a late lunch at Pizza Express, which was also a great time. What a great day!

The day we lost the kite on its maiden flight!

It was all going so well, the little ones taking turns flying the new kite – their first kite! Little Iris started running, encouraging the kite to fly higher, but then she stumbled, letting go of the kite spool, and we all watched as the kite flew up and up and into the trees. Our attempts to encourage it to untangle from the branches and to be blown out of the trees were in vain. Finally, we severed the cord hoping that the wind might be strong enough to blow the kite free, but it wasn’t to be.

We continued to the top of Boxhill to enjoy the rest of the day, hoping for a miracle and that we would find the kite waiting for us on our descent, but sadly no. Ordering a replacement kite will be the first thing to do on arriving home.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day this year passed off without seeing my daughter and with seeing my son off at the airport on his way back to Berlin. My daughter usually gives me a card like this year’s card and always manages to write warm words about how wonderful a dad I am. Thank you, kid. On the way to the airport I reminded my son that it was Father’s Day. “Happy Father’s Day, Dad”, he said! Ever since he’s been living in Berlin he hasn’t been doing cards – birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day. That’s OK, son…..

Several decades ago I made a decision that Mother/Father’s Day cards were a marketing thing by the card industry and that I would stop sending a card to my mother. I seem to recall this didn’t go down well with my mum and I reverted to going with the flow in subsequent years.

Good to see you, son

My son lives and works in Berlin but he’s been working here at home in the UK for the past 3 weeks. It was over 15 months ago that we last saw him (other than video calls). On arriving into the UK he had to quarantine for 10 days and to have Covid tests on days 2 and 8. He chose to take an additional test (test-to-release) on day 5 which enabled him to end the quarantine on day 7 once the results of the day-5 test had arrived.

Other than a mid-week, day trip to Brighton, he did a normal working week whilst here. I couldn’t believe how much of his working day is taken up with Zoom meetings. When I was working I had one monthly meeting – that was it.

Having decided to return to Berlin he had to arrange for the flight and the necessary travel Covid tests. His flight was actually two flights, via Amsterdam, and it wasn’t clear which tests were required to satisfy the UK, Dutch and German Covid regulations. In the end he did the full works – tests at 72 hours and 24 hours – though I think it turns out one of these wasn’t really necessary.

Now, back in Berlin, he is required to self isolate for 14 days. No leaving of the flat, no visitors to the flat. He hasn’t been looking forward to this – I hope the time passes quickly for him. It was wonderful to see him again, and little Chloe and Iris gave him oodles of attention. Hopefully the UK and German restrictions will ease over the coming months so that we can all see each other again. Thanks for coming, son!

When we got back

When we got back from our 9 days in Eastbourne, part of our walls had been turned into an art gallery (the plate is ours)! We had vacated our home so that our grandchildren weren’t homeless between house moves – and this is how they thank us!!