Constable Country

jettyConstable had good reason to dedicate his life to the striking cloudy skyscapes of Suffolk. Two hundred years later and I’m re-discovering one of England’s finest seaside counties; not with oils this time but with my trusty Canon. The irony of the moody skies I captured, however, was that I had returned to England under my own dark cloud. There was but a whisper of a silver lining and the foreboding weather on the day we visited Woodbridge was about as symbolic as it could get. Happily things did improve.

I’ve been living abroad for over three years now but these pictures of Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire help me remember the beauty of an autumnal English countryside. Annoyingly I didn’t bring with me my dSLR, so these snaps were taken with my compact. Still, I hope you enjoy viewing them…

Our journey of England in the autumn began with a trip to the Cambridgeshire fens, Wicken Fen to be precise.

The next day my brother and I took his daughter out for a cycle ride around the surrounding villages of Saffron Walden. A bright day provided some great photographic opportunities, in particular Littlebury.

The flora around Audley End House was interesting, especially for a four year old who was told that the big plane tree she had climbed was home to the local dwarves. We tried knocking on their front door but there was no answer. Well, obviously dwarves sleep during the day, don’t they?

This bright, cloudless day was in stark contrast to next day’s visit to Woodbridge in Suffolk. For those who have never been it really is worth a visit: the River Deben is beautiful and the Tide Mill, one of the last functioning tide mills in the country, is a picturesque building painted and photographed daily.

Our trip to Suffolk inspired me to dig up some old pics of this fair county, one that I insist on visiting every time I return to England. The following couple of images were taken two years ago so I hope you don’t mind if I slip these ones in!

And let us not forget Southwold, home to the greatest beer ever invented.

Anyway, back to autumn 2009 and that ebbing tide on the Deben.

We left Suffolk to the painters and returned to Essex as both the weather and our spirits lifted. We took a wander round Saffron Walden, where it seemed as if every local had decided to do the same, some going as far as ringing the parish church bells and getting married. One wedding reception was held in Bridge End Gardens, where we got lost in the newly refurbished maze and relived some childhood memories on the park swings.

The real treat, however, was the afternoon Tim and I spent at Anglesey Abbey in Lode, Cambridgeshire.

Despite this National Trust property not allowing us to take photographs inside the house, we had great fun walking round the gardens taking snaps. Be began by the rose garden, which boasted a lot of roses, in bloom, filling the afternoon with their heady aroma. Before taking in the surrounding grounds we spent some time snapping what we thought was the famous dahlia garden. We later found out this was the mini dahlia garden, we missed the main one!

After a rather expensive lunch (one can only hope that the money goes back into the National Trust) we hit the grounds proper and took some interesting snaps of the autumnal flora of this huge estate. It’s so big it’s almost impossible to do it all in one go, so I’ve made a mental note to return to Anglesey Abbey on my next visit.

The highlight of the gardens for me was the silver birch…

So there we have it, three East Anglian counties in late September. I’m happy to report that the aforementioned silver lining broke through in the end and so my work here is done. I will shortly be returning to Turkey to join my bird and my cat to continue our journey eastwards.

2009, our annus horribilis, will soon be over and we’ll be venturing towards a new world. Roll on Egypt!

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7 Comments on “Constable Country”

  1. Just back after a day sailing on the Deben. Gutted that you didn’t call us for a beer!! Meanwhile we’ll have one for you as there’s a beer festival on at our local!
    Love The Cowrie Crew (who live in Woodbridge)!

  2. To all those people I didn’t contact whilst back in the UK, which is basically everyone I know, I apologise. This was a personal family visit, some R&R time with Mum and Dad. I’ll be making up for it on my next visit, I promise! Glad you enjoyed the pics.

  3. Wowee what amazing pics of Essex and Suffolk – bringing back lovely memories of SW and suffolk where I spent many a family summer…

    How long you in the UK for?

  4. Such totally stunning photographs. They’re all gorgeous, but my favourite is the beach huts one at the beginning. So when’s the coffee table book coming out?! xxxMayke

  5. What most of you don’t realise is that Jamie just wanted to come home and be thirteen years old again, hiding away in his pig sty room, playing on his computer until 2am, raiding the fridge and only stepping outside for beer or photos!

    Anyway, thanks for your photographic tips and thanks for reminding me that amongst the chavs, the traffic and Gordon Brown, East Anglia isn’t half bad!

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