"A word on the spot is worth a cartload of recollections"
James Maggs, Southwold diarist 1797-1890

Sunday, 27 June 2010

On crabbing and zeppelins

On Saturday afternoon I went for another fine ride through east Suffolk via Wangford, Uggeshall, Spexhall, Wisset, Huntingfield, Heveningham, Peasenhall, Theberton, Eastbridge, Westleton, Walberswick then back to Southwold.

The cycling was a delight, following small lanes all the way.

I've looked up the villages on Wikipedia. Spexhall is simply described as
A village in the north east corner of Suffolk, England. It is quite small.
True, but the entry for Wisset is a tad more interesting. After a visit to her sister there in the summer of 1916 Virginia Woolf commented that the village
seems to lull asleep all ambition. Don't you think they have discovered the secret of life? I thought it wonderfully harmonious.
The Wiki entry for Theberton notes that
on the morning of 17 June 1917 [...] the German Zeppelin airship L48 was shot down by Robert Saundby and others while it was on a bombing run. Sixteen members of the crew died in the crash, three survived but one later died from his injuries. [...] Part of the framework of the Zeppelin itself is mounted in the porch of the church.
From Theberton I cycled on to Eastbridge, a tiny hamlet so tucked away from modern life that it feels like it belongs to another time. The landscape is like Britain in the first half of the twentieth century, pre-industrial farming. When I first visited Eastbridge I thought of the hot summer of 1940: you could almost hear merlin engines overhead, competing with the sound of the bees.

A couple of miles further north I stopped for fish and chips and Aspalls cider at the White Horse Inn at Westleton. Fortified and now on the home straight, I rode on to Walberswick.
According to Wiki,
Walberswick [was] a major trading port from the 13th century until World War I. The British Open Crabbing Championship is held yearly
What a great non sequitur. It's difficult to believe that Walberswick was ever a "major trading port", let alone up until World War I. Unlike the Wiki contributor for Spexhall, I suspect Walberswick's contributor of trying to "big up the neighbourhood".

I can vouch for the quality of the crabbing there, though.

1 comment:

  1. This is a nice post. I have to admit that I love many of the names of English villages. A long time ago I used to ride my motorcycle around Scotland and randomly stop at pubs. It was fun being an American once I wandered away from our base. The locals who lived right around the base didn't think so highly of us Americans.