The Secret

Lowestoft-007-09.

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.It was strange
sitting on that bench
looking at sandcastles
that were not ours
kites stretched to the sky
with no need of our hands

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It was strange seeing children
in whirls of excitement
for beach holidays
wild fairground rides
waiting
to induce the scream
it was all so familiar

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It was strange
all of that
was no longer
you or I

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We sat quiet
serene smiles on faces
looking out to sea
as if we’d arrived to watch a show
wondering
where all the years had vanished
and how did we become
the still people
the ones slumped in deck chairs
eating sandwiches
sipping lemonade
newspapers draped on heads
shading their pink English skin
from the unexpected midday heat
eyes watching us
amused
at what our little hands could do
with a bucket
a spade
and a heap of soggy sand

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We have discovered
no matter how hard we try
to keep all we have known alive
change is always certain
time ticks
and our ways
of who we’ve become
will surprise us
again and again

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We may be
confused children
absent of Mum and Dad
empty of buckets and spades
with no desire
for castles made of sand
to cut the wind with a kite
get chills from awesome rides
or get high on game scores
at the pier arcade

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But at least
we are still
a brother
a sister
who laugh a lot
share a precious moment
and remind ourselves
appearances lie
we are the same people
we always were

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It’s all on the inside
not the outside
only we know the secret
of how to find
the real boy
the real girl

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You might be wondering if I have been to the beach recently?  I certainly have!!  Four weeks ago I finally got myself out of the city and into the fresh ocean air!   My brother said some time ago, when I had asked him what he’d like for his birthday “A trip to the beach would be good!”  We seem to running out of ideas for birthday presents these days, or perhaps we are becoming less materialistic, and ‘things’ are not so important as ‘memories’ of good days and the simple joys of life.

All the pictures in this post are mine today – a rare event on this blog!  Apart from the photo of us on the beach, which was taken either by Mum or Dad, but it’s so long ago I can’t honestly remember.  I was 3 and my brother was 9, we’re wearing jumpers because it was about this time of year, it may look sunny, but it was actually beginning to turn very cool, as it is right now.  I can feel the summer coming to a close, the air feels more crisp and the desire to wear warm things is creeping on me every day.  It feels like summer has only just arrived, and it’s over already! 😦

The beach we chose to visit was Lowestoft, in Suffolk about 22 miles from where I live.  Like a lot of seaside resorts in Britain, it doesn’t have a stunning beach, it’s rare for our beaches to be beautiful – more likely to be quirky and quaint, or in some cases downright trashy!  But we’re used to it, and it’s all we’ve got, so we enjoy them in our typically cheap and cheerful British way!

There was a specific reason for going to Lowestoft that both of us were looking forward to, I’ve explained about that near the end of this post, and it has nothing at all to do with the seaside, it might surprise you.

Lowestoft01-01This was the bench I mentioned in the poem.  Mm – a little scruffy isn’t it?  A piece missing, and it looks like it needs a good bit of restoration on the woodwork.  We bought some fish and chips for lunch and thought we’d eat them sitting in the sun looking out to sea, but everyone else had the same idea and this was the only seat on the seafront available – we could see why! gfxlovers.com/smilies  So now you know what I mean by trashy, but this is mildly trashy by some seaside standards!
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Lowestoft06-06And this was one of those kites flying high on the wind!  I was amazed I managed to get any pictures of it as the sun was so bright I could barely see the image on the camera screen and even looking through the view finder wasn’t much better.  And if it wasn’t the brightness of the sun hindering the taking of photos, it was the wind lifting my hair and waving bits of it in front of the lens just as I was about to capture a picture – a hazard of long hair!  I forgot just how wild the wind can get at the beach, and really should have tied it in a knot, stuck a hat on my head, anything but leave it loose.  I was surprised I came home with any decent pictures at all!
I can’t help thinking the smiley face on that kite looks like a relative of this little minion!! 😀
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Lowestoft08-09The beach!  This bit looks very heavy with stones, but further down the beach it’s a lot less stony and more soft sand.  I wasn’t overly happy with how this picture turned out, but I like the way the sea sparkled in the sun!
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Triton Lowestoft 03A statue of Triton commissioned in 1850 by Samuel Morton Peto, to celebrate the completion of the first phase of his development of Lowestoft sea front.  He looks a little weather-worn these days, not much of a god after all! 😉
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Flying Fifteens Scones Lowestoft 04And this would you believe it, is why our beach day had to be at Lowestoft – a strawberry cream scone!  Well, not just for the scones, but the experience of eating at the seafront restaurant called The Flying Fifteens.  It’s a wonderful little place that does really authentic traditional British food, the kind of place you might expect to meet Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple taking afternoon tea!  No fish and chips served there, or pizza, spicy curries or fajitas, but lots of sandwiches, huge selection of cakes, soups, omelets and salads, plus a long list of quality teas and coffee, so much choice that they have a separate menu for all the drinks.  Everything – and I really mean EVERYTHING served at this sea view restaurant is out of this world perfection, and such good quality food, like your mother used to make, but with a little extra deliciousness – some kind of secret they have, obviously! 😉

You can sit inside or stay out in the garden.  And it always amazes me at what a lovely atmosphere the place has, how cheerful their staff are, no grumpy waitresses in this place!  And if you’re a dog owner, all dogs are welcome in the garden, and they even provide drinking bowls with water for them – how customer friendly is that!!?  And if all that wasn’t impressive enough, they’ve won The Tea Guilds Award Of Excellence from 2006 – 20013, and they really deserve it.  It is without doubt my most favourite place to eat, they really should open one near to where I live, because I’ve totally fallen in love with it, and I want one on my doorstep! 😀
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The Flying FifteensFor those who might have stumbled across this post somewhere on the internet, if you live near by and you are wondering exactly where The Flying Fifteens is in Lowestoft, here’s how to find it.
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Flying Fifteens Lowestoft 05So an hour before we left for home, this was what we enjoyed, a late afternoon cream tea.  Words can’t really describe how good that scone tasted – it was AMAZING!  And was as filling as a small meal with thin slices of real fresh strawberries!  I didn’t have a tape measure with me on the day, but taking a guess I would say these scones including the yummy filling were about 4inches/10cms in height, impossible to bite into, we just had to carefully dismantle them in bite size pieces! 😀

If you’re wondering why a corner of this picture appears to be missing – it had me fooled for a minute too, it’s actually the colour of the table, it was white, and it’s blended with the white page here – how silly is that! 😐

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I discovered this video a few weeks ago, I thought it was so well filmed and the music goes so beautifully with it too, it makes Lowestoft almost look glamorous!  Unfortunately we never saw any surfers on our visit, but I did see some surf boards on the beach, obviously there was some hope for an opportunity to surf that day, but the sea was very calm, not good surfing conditions.  And just when I thought Suffolk didn’t have high enough waves for real surfing, I found this video.  Another surfing experience in Lowestoft, but from the 1970’s, all original cine film, a little faded with time, but so retro! 😀   I probably could have watched this as a child – if only I’d been in the right place at the right time!  Surfing In East Anglia 1970’s.

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60 thoughts on “The Secret

  1. Wow Suzy! This is a fascinating post! Ive so enjoyed reading it and looking at the photos! And the cafe/restaurant sounds wonderful; there are too few of this kind of place. Anything that resembles Agatha Christie atmosphere will do for me, Im obsessed with Miss Marple and Poirot, Ive seen them all over and over! And that scone – well, Im speechless!! Well I would definitely be speechless while attempting to eat it! It looks gorgeous.

    However tacky or trashy, there is something about the British seaside. Its lovely that some piers have been restored and also very sad that some have been left derelict. We used to go to Bridlington every year when I was litle and I wouldnt have wanted to be anywhere else; it was heaven to me.

    Your poem encapsulates the atmosphere of your day beautifully.

    1. Thank you so much Christine, so glad you enjoyed it! 🙂 I wanted it to be an intriguing post, but you never can tell how others will feel about your own experience of a lovely day, I didn’t want it to feel like the burden of the holiday slide show!! 😉 So that’s a relief! 😀

      Miss Marple was the best way I could describe it really, not that it has a starchy atmosphere, very relaxed and informal, but nevertheless very English and quaint! 🙂 I like the fact that Britain has moved on from that ‘plain food’ thing we had going on in the 70’s, and we have so much variety now, which is great, but it does seem a little strange that more and more of the traditional tearooms and restaurants are disappearing. But maybe like a lot foods, it will come back in fashion and everyone will want a traditional tearoom on their high street.

      They were gorgeous, not sickly sweet and just the right amount, but I would have struggled in finishing it if we had eaten a meal before. I’ve amended the post here and stated what size they were (forgot to mention that) about 4inches/10cms high, and yes they do make you speechless – totally speechless, in a good way! We had to take them apart a bit at a time because it’s impossible to bite into one as it is!

      Oh, yes, childhood seaside memories are very special, and they were exciting times at that age. It would be nice to go back to some of the ones I went when I was little, I wonder if we did go back, if they would feel the same? That little picture is in Minehead in Somerset, the sand is very red on some of those beaches – like Mars! 😉

      I just looked up Bridlington, I’ve definitely heard of it, but I’ve not been to any beaches in that part of the country, not seen Yorkshire at all in fact. I’ve heard there are some very impressive places in Yorkshire, especially for those who like hiking. I’d like to visit Blackpool one day, I know it has it’s tacky side, but weirdly I quite like that!! 😀

      1. Ah, Blackpool! I used to work as a legal secretary years ago and the company’s annual day trip was always to Blackpool! We loved every tacky minute of it! The pleasure beach is wonderful if you have the stomach for it and we certainly did back then. The day always included two restaurant meals after the fun on all the rides and ended at the end of the day with a show at the theatre. We thought we were being treated like royalty for the day! Then back to the grind the following day; I loved that job!! I would have taken it all further but my motherly instinct suddenly took over after about 8 years.i did go back to help during holiday times though and Im still in touch with the solicitor I worked for; obviously he is retired now, but we worked hard and had food fun too, it was a perfect job and one of the best times of my life! Listen to me! I have digressed somewhat and wandered off!

        Yorkshire does have some beautiful countryside and we live not too far from Haworth, Bronte country 🙂

        1. Oh that’s OK Christine, you can digress as much as you like, I do a lot!! 🙂
          I’m not sure I’ve got the stomach for the pleasure beach rides these days, but I like to watch other people scream though! 😀

    1. Thank you Brenda!! I was just going to put a post up about the day with some pictures, and then I thought – could have a poem too. I’m glad I did, it’s made the day a permanent feature in my head now! 😀

  2. Thank you for including us in your vacation to the seaside. I really felt I was there. And so nice to see your picture too. 🙂

    I do subscribe to your blog and it has been coming into my email….although I haven’t been blogging for a couple of months. Hard to get started again. So I haven’t missed any or your posts.

    So when are we going to hear your recording????? Come on now!! The hardest one is the first one. Then you just say…..”Oh, who cares?”
    And no one knows better than I. 🙄

    1. Thank you, glad you came with me!! 😉 Oh yes, me at three, chubby cheeks on the beach! 😀

      Well, I’m glad you found my recording in the end, and yes, I think the first one is the hardest one, like a lot of things in life, once you get used to it, it’s nothing! 🙂

      Good to see you back, and I’ll be having a read of your blogs tomorrow. I think blogging is a little addictive in a way, but I can imagine, if you have a break it could be difficult to get back into the habit again! Laziness must creep in I guess! 😉

    1. Oh – there are a lot of seagulls there? Maybe the seagulls just avoided my pictures! My brother was the one who was interested in capturing the seagulls, he got some really good pictures, I should have included some here. There were quite a lot that day, mainly flying overhead like vultures – looking for ice cream I guess!! 😉

  3. So lovely! You took me away on a little imaginary mini-vacation, Suzy… it feels like I got to go to the beach and have a strawberry cream scone and sit on the “trashy” bench and listen to the gulls with you… ahhh…. nice respite in the day. Thank you so much for sharing. What wonderful memories you made with your brother!!

    1. Haha!! 😀 I’m glad you enjoyed the trip! Well, I have a wonderful brother, he’s great to have around, and it’s lovely to still be able to do these things, no matter what age we are! We just have to pretend to be children these days! 😉

      1. I am in total, blissful agreement with you there! In fact, I am reading a book entitled “Deep Play” by Diane Ackerman at the moment, that is just about that… holding on to those abilities to let loose and just “be” like children do, so easily. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Alisha! 🙂 I’m so glad you took that journey, that was the intention with this post, make it feel as real as I could manage, a little different to the usual one! Oh yes, we are made of memories, without them, we would have no idea who we were. Material things are so much second to good moments, of friendships, laughter and family closeness, it really is everything! 😀

    1. Yes – and thank you!! 🙂 Definitely a day for my memory bank! And I think putting it all together like this makes it more memorable, I suppose that’s why people do scrap books with all their memory bits, something I did as a child, but something I’ve neglected as an adult. So I know what to do now – write a poem and post it all here! 😀

  4. I truly enjoy your poem, the journal of your trip to the beach and every pictures you have here. Wonderful! Oh, I forgot the relaxing ocean sounds accompany my reading almost all the way to the end.

    1. It seems you have spent the day with me!! 😀 It’s so much fun this internet experience, being able to share little pieces of our lives and thoughts with others many miles away, I’m really pleased to hear you enjoyed it!

      And thank you for the photo compliment! I used to be really into photography in my early 20’s (a long time ago!) but haven’t done much at all for years, so it’s a bit like learning to ride a bike again! And all digital cameras now – quite different to before. I was very pleased with the scones, they came out exactly how I imagined them to be – not sure how that happened, probably a bit of luck!! 🙂

  5. What a wonderful birthday treat for your brother – a day at the beach, a yummy looking strawberry cream scone and time with his sis. (BTW, What is cream tea?) This trip will last far longer than any “material” thing you can get at a store. 🙂

    I started reading your post while listening to the surf and sea gulls. That really puts you there, along with your trip down memory lane. As a kid, I went to Wildwood and Atlantic City, New Jersey. Wonderful times.

    Then, I saw the video. Your choice of music and videos are always mesmerizing. All I could think of was the Surfing Safari era of music with the Beach Boys. Yes, your post took me way back. Thanks for kickstarting my memories.

    1. Thank you Judy, and he enjoyed it too!! 🙂 Ah yes, a cream tea! I did put a link on that phrase to a wikipedia page, but being too clever I coloured all the links a dark red so they wouldn’t look too annoying, but I think they just weren’t noticeable enough in the end! 😦 I’ve edited the post now and turned them back to blue! But here’s the one for the cream tea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cream_tea It’s not cream in the tea as it sounds like it might be, but actually an afternoon pot of tea served with a scone/s with cream and strawberry jam inside. A lot of people believe the tradition comes from Cornwall, but that might be a more recent tradition than believed. I have been to Cornwall a couple of time (absolutely beautiful place!) and they do seem to have a tearoom or café on every street corner that’s offering a deal on a cream tea, so it’s certainly the place to go if you want to experience that tradition, they really know how to serve it there. And The Flying Fifteens has certainly recreated that Cornwall cream experience beautifully!

      Yes, I’m glad you liked the sea sounds, I thought it would add a little more atmosphere, and a bit of fun too! Wildwood! I just looked that up, that looks like a great place, and I love the colour of the sand on that beach, very pale, almost white sand – gorgeous! 🙂

      Oh yes, the 70’s video had a Beach Boys song in it! My memory of the seventies is a bit vague and child like, but I do remember some of the clothes and the vehicles too. I thought their surfing was very good – for British people anyway! 🙂

    1. Thank you!! 🙂 And yes, good times that could be experienced can be put off for too long sometimes, and time really does pass very quick. And it’s good to have pictures of the day too, keeps it fresh in the memory as to what we did! And those scones certainly were delicious!! 😀

  6. This post was wonderful with your beautiful poem, amazing photos, memories shared, yummy food 🙂 and soothing sounds of the much loved ocean, Suzy! Thanks for sharing, as I don’t know when I’ll make it to the British seaside, so I have just visited, thanks to you! Everything looked so quaint and what a great thing to do as brother and sister…you’re right, as we get older, how many more “things” can we buy? Spending time together is more important, in my mind…by the way, I’m also on Soundcloud, as I experimented with reading my poetry, so I’ll look for you! 🙂 Hope you have a good rest of your weekend! xx

    1. Thank you! 🙂 And I’m glad you got a feeling of a visit to the British seaside, that was certainly my aim here, with the sounds and photos included. And yes we are a bit short on glamour in Britain, but certainly got buckets of quaint!! 😀 And ‘things’ I could do with so much less ‘things’ from now on, people and relationships are all that matter in the end! 🙂

    1. All my images in the sidebar are created in the same way, I’m not sure if this is how you’re meant to do it, but this is how I do it anyway! 🙂
      I have a post saved as a permanent draft which I post pictures or animated gifs into that I want to use in the sidebar. So with the SoundCloud, I did an image search on Google and saved an image I wanted to a folder on my computer. Uploaded it to WordPress and posted it in that picture post draft, then pressed the button for preview and clicked on the image I wanted to use. Clicking on it in preview mode will open that one image in a dark grey screen. If it’s an image the URL code at the top of the screen will end in jpg, and if it’s an animated gif it will end in gif. I then selected ‘image’ in the ‘widgets’ section and placed it where I wanted in the sidebar, and copied and pasted the URL for my selected image into the ‘image URL’ in the image widget. And further down that widget I copied and pasted the URL code for my SoundCloud page into the Link URL, and then pressed save. Hopefully it will end up where you want it to be in your sidebar, and when you move the mouse over the image the hand symbol should appear, indicating the link. Hopefully that makes sense!

      I’m glad you asked me actually, because it’s reminded me to add this to my WordPress tips page. There were so many things like this that drove me crazy trying to find out how to do them when I first opened the blog, and not all of them (especially some problems with certain themes) are covered in the WordPress information, or they are very difficult to find. I hope this helps you get your SoundCloud link up! 🙂

  7. I know I’ve read and enjoyed this post before, liking it as well, but here I come to visit and my like is gone like the wind. Huh. Wonkyweirdpress no doubt, but meanwhile, just to be sure, I am leaving my footprints in terms of a comment. This was a wonderful post. I like to people watch at the shore, too, and find it a place where all time comes together, your past, present and future, all tumbling in memories and possibilities there with the ocean waves.

    1. Well, thanks so much for coming back again! 🙂 Oh – that bad old WordPress, still not right!! Yes, I’ve had it too, not much now, but the problems are not completely gone yet. 😦 That’s true, the presence of the sea and standing on the beach really does seem to bring together the memories of our past, present and even the wondering of the future. I’m not sure if it has this effect on people who live by the sea though, maybe it becomes very everyday and ordinary. But when some time has passed between each visit, it really does act as a kind of therapy – ocean therapy!! 😀

  8. The brother and the sister look so cute! Such pictures are real treasures.
    ” perhaps we are becoming less materialistic, …….joys of life.” So true. If we analyze we can easily find such joys are more precious than our favourite possessions, still it’s strange we rarely treat them in the way they deserve.
    Enjoyed the verse a lot. And your pictures speak a lot about your mood that day.

    1. Oh,thank you – yes we were a little cute in those days!! 😀 Yes the simplest things in life really are ‘true’ life, and everything else really shouldn’t mean that much at all. And it’s very true, we really don’t treat them in the way they deserve. I think it’s the time in my life to start creating new habits, of seeing even more closely what is truly precious! 🙂

  9. Oh Suzy, I seemed to have missed many of your posts! I thought you were just taking a break like many of the WordPresser’s as of late. *smh* Not sure why some people I follow aren’t showing up in my reader. 😦 And I don’t even follow that many people! I have a bit to catch up on now and I know you say it’s ok, but I really am curious to know what you have been up to or going on in that mind of yours! lol. Those are very lovely photographs and it’s nice to see what goes on, on your day out. I hope Paul enjoyed his birthday adventure with his sis. 😉 Things are never as important as memories, ever. I think many people have that confused these days.

    1. Oh, not to worry about missing posts! 🙂 Yes, you said before that my posts don’t turn up in your reader, that happens to everyone at some point I think, odd that. I didn’t think you used the reader, I thought you used your blog list in the Reader. That’s what I’ve been doing for months, systematically go through the list – tedious job, but it seems the only reliable way!

      Funny you should mention a break, because I am about to have a sort of break – soon. I’ve got a few more posts to go up (including the blog birthday/anniversary post on 1st November!) and then I’m going to be posting a lot less in future, and logging in once or twice a week and reading, liking and commenting on what I can manage in that time, because I really need to get back to writing the novels that are burning a hole in my head. And sadly the reading and commenting on posts is taking a lot of the time I should spend on writing, even though I really enjoy it – something has to change. I think I’m one of these people who has to totally submerge myself into what I’m writing otherwise it just comes out as surface garbage – I really don’t want that, and I doubt anyone would be drawn to read it either. So now you know my little secret!! 😉

      Yes we had a great day at the sea, just nice and relaxing, it’s so different from a city. I love it when you arrive, even before you get anywhere near the ocean, you can smell the sea, the air quality is so fresh! 🙂 I forgot to mention in the post that we got wind burnt!! 😆 Put sun cream elsewhere, just forgot our faces. 😦 We haven’t been for while and forgot just how powerful the sun is at the beach!

      ‘Things’ are really getting annoying to me, I feel like throwing a lot stuff away. But you know what happens when you do that – you suddenly need that ‘one’ thing you’ve just thrown away! I think we are going to have problems this Christmas too as to what to get each other – so we might just pass that present bit over and just enjoy the day with family. It’s only a day after all, Christmas shouldn’t be a big deal, or a big stress.

      Oh yes the photos, I did some more photography yesterday. Went with Paul to the cemetery where our parents were buried – just checked the memorial stone was still standing, and wiped the bird poo off!! 😉 And then we had a real photo adventure in the old Victorian part, which is quite magical, huge trees, ivy growing on old stones and giant monuments (some people buried there in those days obviously had a lot of money!) And of course, so much wildlife hiding in there. It was good, kind of takes the pain away, the association with loss. My Dad used to love that place, and we used to walk up there a lot, it’s good to keep that joy alive. And I might post some of those pictures one day! 🙂

      1. I usually go through my list but this month has been so hectic I’ve resorted to going through my reader. >_< And with so many people taking breaks, I thought the missing posts were normal.

        Uuu, novels. Can't disrupt your concentration. I'm the same way,

        Yes! The air is different and you can certainly smell the ocean water before you even arrive. It's been awhile since I've been to the beach though. It's usually very crowded and with it always being sunny here, it's the main attraction. I'm not too fond of crowds so I've stuck to hiking to get my fresh air intake.

        Oh, I've had many of those days Suzy. It takes me awhile to clean up sometimes because I over analyze the "need" fact. But I get so irked because I feel that it's just clutter, but then afraid to throw it away because I might just need it one day.

        I was going to ask you where those photographs were and if I missed them. It is good to keep the joy alive and therapeutic at times. ^_^

    1. I know!! 😯 Time goes frighteningly fast! I can barely believe it was two years ago either. Last September I did the story about school, so yes it’s definitely two years. Thanks so much for paying it a second visit Judy! 🙂

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