It was a beautiful hot June morning in Southwold as a very happy group of Tylers and Bricklayers gathered at various hotels to commence the Master's trip to this beautiful part of Suffolk. The Mistress had arranged for all guests to be accommodated in lovely hotels close to the town centre and the beautiful beach.
Once settled, the instructions to the guests were to "meet at the Sole Bay Inn for a spot of lunch - just head towards the lighthouse!", which we did. Here we met with the Master, Mistress, Father of the Company and Pat Fuller where we all enjoyed a convivial lunch and received last minute updates to our itinerary.
At 3:00pm we all made our way to the scenic Southwold Boating Lake and Tea Rooms where a crazy golf competition had been arranged. We had been promised that this would be a sporting and "non-competitive" session, but some people had a different idea about this! Following some frantic and fun filled competition, we all sat down for a wonderful afternoon tea and an informative lecture about the rebuilding of Southwold Pier by Nick Haward, the man who took on the challenge and eventually rebuilt the Pier and restored it to its current amazing state.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous which encouraged everyone to take a lovely walk along the long sandy beach and even dip our feet into the sea!
The evening commenced in the garden of a lovely restaurant, Café 51, where we were greeted with champagne and canapes. Over 30 Tylers and Bricklayers and guests gathered for an excellent meal, beautiful wines and great fellowship - a great end to a great day.
The next day, following an excellent breakfast, a boating trip on the Coastal Voyager had been arranged for those with the sea legs to appreciate it. The views of the coast from the boat were breathtaking and, despite some very bumpy waves, everyone made it back to shore safe and sound and full of praise for the trip.
At 11:00 am tours of the local Adnams Brewery and Distillery had been arranged by the Mistress. A well informed guide took small parties of Tylers and Bricklayers through the working brewery, outlining the various stages of brewing and explaining each step of the brewing and distilling process. The tours concluded with the inevitable tasting sessions where we were treated to samples of each of the beers and spirits made on the premises - excellent!
In the afternoon we all met at the Master's wonderful Beach Hut (Albert Road Beach Hut) where the Mistress had laid on Pimm's and other refreshments. The weather was superb and we spent several hours enjoying the sun, sea and good company, sitting around the Beach Hut. One Tyler and Bricklayer was even tempted to enjoy a swim in the beautiful sea!
At 4:00pm we joined the Master and Mistress at the Electric Picture Palace, an amazingly well restored picture house seating 70 people, with all the authentic features of a 1920s picture house, including a commissionaire outside, usherettes, a front of house manager dressed in proper dinner jacket and rising Wurlitzer organ! We were treated to a Buster Keaton film followed by the classic East of Ipswich by Michael Palin. Both films were great fun and brought back happy memories for many of the Tylers and Bricklayers present.
In the evening we all gathered at the Crown Hotel for canapes, drinks and a wonderful dinner. On this special occasion, the Master had arranged for a "wine discovery" with Jeremy Reeve, Manager of Adnams Cellar and Kitchen Store. Each course was accompanied by a different red and white wine from all over the world, and an explanation of each wine was given to us by Jeremy as we enjoyed the great varieties of wines. A truly fascinating and educational experience, and a most enjoyable way to end such an excellent break.
The next morning, following a hearty breakfast, we had a final walk via the attractive and interesting church, along the beach to the lovely Pier, before setting off on our long journeys home.
Everybody commented on how they had had a wonderful few days in Southwold, and huge and heartfelt thanks must go to the Master and particularly the Mistress for their hard work and generosity in arranging this fantastic trip.