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!

It’s my birthday

Happy birthday
to me!

I had a lovely birthday in Bushy Park with our daughter and the two little ones, followed by chocolate cake back at their home.

And then to open some lovely presents (see below) including some Nordic walking poles.

Iris and Chloe hiding coins in Bushy Park fallen trees,
hopefully bringing joy to other kids when they find them!

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.

The orange birthday present

The family were at a pub for my wife’s birthday. I mentioned this to the waitress when we ordered our puddings, and when they came out so did a candle with two waitresses singing ‘Happy Birthday’. And then we all started singing, and then also the diners in our section, much to my wife’s embarrassment! A few minutes later one of the diners came over to our table and gave my wife this orange thingy he’d made using a 3D printer. He was a very chatty guy, a Geordie. I got the impression he occasionally gave these away.

The video on the right shows you how complex an object can be manufactured using 3D printers.

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!

I’ve been to a football match

I can’t remember the last time I went to a football match – possibly a Premiership match at Fulham, 10 or more years ago. On a whim I decided today to go watch my local team, Sutton United (newly promoted into League 2 of the Football League) play a home match against faraway Carlisle. Sutton went on to win 4-0. It wasn’t a bad game but it was a great result. The picture below was taken after one of the goals.

I once went to a match with my dad. This was after he had separated from my mum. I can’t remember the actual teams but I think it was two of Corby, Kettering or Northampton. My dad lived in Corby. Today, my more-than-grown-up son who lives in Berlin messaged me in response to my messages re today’s match that “I would also like to go sometime!!!”. Back in 1989 (I had to look that date up) Sutton beat Coventry in a famous third-round FA Cup match, only to be slaughtered 8-0 in the following away match against Norwich. Me and my son went to both matches and if I remember correctly he was distraught by the drubbing in this fourth-round match. That was probably the last time I went to a match with my son. It would be nice to do it again, son.

It was interesting being at today’s match. There’s a lot of booting the ball forward and far more heading of the ball than I would consider healthy. The supporters at the match were predominantly male, middle-aged or older, bearded. Mums and dads came with their kids but most kids seemed disinterested in the match. I can’t believe how long people will queue for burger and chips, even during play. The players seemed to be more gentlemanly that players in the top divisions, which I appreciated. I’ll go again.

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.

Hampton Court with the kids

On a cool day, a picnic with the little ones in the beautiful gardens of Hampton Court followed by a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. What stunning flowers! Then back home to admire their garden decorations – little girls are so imaginative.

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.