Saturday, 11 January 2014

Shingle Street, Suffolk

29th October 2013

I seized the day. There was blue sky this morning, but glum-looking rain after lunch put me off a planned trip to Shingle Street, near Woodbridge, to photograph the landforms. I asked the Met Office website for its prognosis: patchy sunshine but a raincloud over Woodbridge. I settled down for a doomed afternoon at my desk, but was woken from my lethargy by sunshine knocking on the window. Quickly pulling together clothing, snacks, boots and bits I set off - a roll of the dice: I was trusting to luck.

The car quietly navigating the winding early autumn roads, out through Eye, Debenham, Otley, Clopton - funny little places - passing chainsawed limbs and branches from St Jude's Storm lying beside the road. Heading south-eastwards, tracking a blue sky shot with grey.

Shingle Street is a single street of cottages with a grandstand view of the North Sea. Today the movie was sunshine and rain clouds on a westerly breeze, with a rainbow for company. The River Alde meets the sea here, and the two currents tussle and create tide-washed islands of shingle and the southernmost tip of the long coastal spit of Orfordness, 16 miles long stretching south from Aldeburgh.

Everything is pure becoming at Shingle Street; nothing stays put; all is flow - just cloud, beach, water and sky: the Heraclitean flux. For me, this is the meaning of the place.