Tuesday 11 June 2024

Four Sea Interludes

Aldeburgh's Brudenell Hotel is an odd mixture. Some of its rooms are right next to the noisiest lift imaginable, like drilling through the wall (never again after the first experience), another is beloved of a seagull so you mustn't open the window too wide (I did, briefly, last year, and in it came and shat everywhere), and the lounge only offers the Torongraph, Times and Daily Heil (not even an Observer on Sundays). On the plus side, there's comfort, the restaurant is good and has the best views of the beach, sea and sky, and it's only a few yards to go and dip in the sea. Being there at so many times of day affords the kind of contrasts Britten captures in the interludes of Peter Grimes, so here's my visual representations from the weekend, not entirely corresponding, but, I think, equally various. 

Dark clouds on the horizon at Saturday lunchtime:

Sunbathers catching the last of the sun early that evening, with the hotel's shadow creeping up on them:

10.30pm, back from megaconcert having squeezed a crab sandwich out of the staff despite not even a snack being on offer at 9.45:

And glitter of waves on Sunday morning:

This weekend wasn't such a good one for me on the walking and bathing front, but I did have a bit of time to mosey around the marshes at the back of Snape Maltings, 

catching Iken Church tower in the sun (you'll need to click to enlarge to see that).

and registering a plethora of birds near here

with the now-indispensible Merlin app courtesy of Cornell University: reed bunting (plentiful, loud and often visible), house martin, barn swallow, treecreeper, oystercatcher, spotted flycatcher (a rarity!), chiffchaff, wren, blackbird, skylark, goldfinch, woodpigeon.

As well as being a weekend of stupendous music-making (I have yet to write up the review but shall post a link when I've done so), it was also a chance to see an old friend I haven't spent any quality time with for years. Even managed to squeeze in light Sunday lunch chez Bella near Orford, with her mother Vanessa (left) and friends Lysander (foreground right) and his partner Daniel. They came to the LPO concert the previous evening and the astounding recital by the beautiful, charismatic baritone Andrè Schuen and great pianist Julius Drake (unsurpassable Schumann, stunning new Larcher cycle on epigrammatic poems by W. G. Sebald).

Can't leave out the adorable Quinc(e?)y.

Bella has had done up two outbuildings to the maximum of character and comfort - I can't recommend the one being air-B&B-d too highly. The main cottage is in good nick these days too.

So all told it was a very happy weekend: my love-hate relationship with Aldeburgh inclined more to the former this time. Whereas with Dublin and Ireland it's all love so far: I have some catching up to do on the wonders of the previous week, though the musical side is recounted here (Blackwater Valley Opera Festival) and here (Dublin International Chamber Music Festival), Taking two much-need event-free days now.

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