Aldeburgh, Sizewell and Orford

Two weeks ago we had another weekend camping in Suffolk.

This time we camped at a nice site in Hollesley, near Woodbridge. Lovely site, with room for about 20 caravans and a similar number of tents. Good, clean toilets and dog-friendly for those who have them.

We drove up to Aldeburgh on the Saturday morning to be greeted by the customary blustery day that seems to greet most of our camping expeditions. The sun was out though and it wasn’t raining so we had a nice walk along the sea-front.

Aldeburgh Beach

After a spot of lunch from the excellent fish & chip shop in the town centre, we drove up to Sizewell further up the coast.

Sizewell is best known for the two nuclear power plants there, Sizewell A and B. These two buildings loom over the beach, dominating the skyline, but not really detracting from the lovely empty beach at Sizewell.

You can walk quite close to the two buildings from the beach, and there seems to a warm water outlet just offshore which was surrounded by fishing seagulls when we visited. Sizewell B is instantly recognisable by the giant “golfball” which covers the reactor.

The beach area is part of the East Anglia Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and lives up the classification. The beach is a combination of shingle and sand with the dunes playing home to Sea-Kale, a rare plant which is protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981).

Sea-kale and Sizewell B

After a very pleasant walk along the beach, we went back to the campsite, eating at the local pub in Hollesley before turning in for the night.

Sunday morning was bright, but windy. We packed up the tent and drove to nearby Orford.

Orford is really pretty, with a harbour, castle and Orford Ness which is an island which used to house a secret military research base.

The Ness isn’t accessible on a Sunday as the ferry doesn’t run, so we made do with a walk along the shore of the estuary, past a number of decaying boats sitting in the silted-up estuary.

Abandoned boat at Orford Quay

Heading back into the village we stopped at The Jolly Sailor pub for lunch. I had a really good ploughman’s with a huge chunk of cheese, pickled onion and a good chunk of pork pie. One of the best ploughman’s I’ve had anywhere!

Finally, we went for a walk around Orford castle, though the strong wind made it difficult to walk around the more exposed parts of the earthworks.

The castle is close to the hotel owned by Ruth Watson, who starred in the first few series of “The Hotel Inspector” on TV.

Orford Castle

After that it was time for the journey home. It rained pretty much all the way, but that didn’t really matter as the rain had held off while we were camping.

More photos of Aldeburgh, Sizewell and Orford.

Jake and Dinos Chapman exhibition

Quite a while back we visited the Chapman brothers’ “If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be” exhibition at the White Cube Gallery near Piccadilly. It was a very interesting exhibition in three distinct part.

Upstairs was “One Day You Will No Longer Be Loved”, a room of altered paintings. Each picture was an old portrait of the kind you would expect to see in any stately home. All of the painting had been changed to make the faces look like those of decomposing bodies, with nose bones exposed, sunken eyes and skull-like grimaces. Really horrible but equally fascinating and in some cases amusing.


Downstairs, in the main room was “Fucking Hell”, a remake of the brothers’ 2000 work “Hell” which was destroyed in the art warehouse fire in 2004.

chapman-hell-192_674845e.jpgNine large glass display cases arrange in a swastika shape. Each case contains a diorama crammed with figures, vehicles and landscape. Most of the figures were skeletal Nazi soldiers, with varying amounts of flesh still on their bones. There were hundreds, if not thousands, in each case, crushed together following paths, being tortured or torturing others. Some of the figures were of Hitler, including one of him painting a picture of the scenes.

Despite the horrific imagery there was actually a lot of humour involved, there’s a McDonald’s logo in there, a Stephen Hawking character on an island and all kinds of amazing little details.

The sheer scale of the work is staggering, the amount of work that the brothers and their team have put in to creating such a huge work is astounding. The horror of it is relentless but fascinating.

The final part of the exhibition gives the show its title, “If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be”. The brothers bought 20 authenticated water-colour paintings by Adolf Hitler for £115,000 and “improved them” by adding rainbows, flowers and other “pretty” items. They then put the collection on the market for £685,000.


An interesting show, with lots to look at. Some people will be horrified by the “bad taste” and twisted creations, but I really liked them. Great imagination and a wicked sense of humour were exhibited in all the works, and I’d recommend people see the works if they get a chance when they’re next exhibited.

(The exhibition closed on 12th July 2008, I really should have written this sooner)