We’ve been away at the coast for a few days, in Southwold. Have you ever been there? It’s a sweet little seaside town in Suffolk, which has avoided much of the tackiness that clings to many coastal resorts. Mostly this comes down to money: it’s the sort of place where wealthy Londoners have second homes (and where the beach huts cost more than many people’s first homes). It’s also the sort of place where our last Prime Minster went on holiday.
I enjoyed pottering around the shops – the numbers of wealthy tourists passing through mean the town can support shops that wouldn’t survive in other towns of the same size. If you like Cath Kidston goodies, this is the place to be. There are a couple of charity shops but I couldn’t find anything worth having in them – I suspect the people of Southwold make do and mend rather than decluttering their homes.
One of the highlights of the trip was the night sky: we live in a town, and so when the sun sets, not that many stars come out. But in Southwold, you could actually see the Milky Way. And luckily for us, our visit coincided with the Perseids meteor shower. We headed out around 11pm on Sunday night armed with a little map of the sky, and walked around until we found somewhere far enough from the streetlights to get a good look. The perseids are right above you, and so it wasn’t long before our necks were aching. Ideally, you’d be lying down to see them – we tried lying on a bench but as night was falling, everything was starting to get a bit damp!
While we scanned the skies looking for meteors, we saw a few other goodies: the afore-mentioned Milky Way, and perhaps half a dozen satellites. Finally, I saw one: a bright streak across the sky, which disappeared very quickly. I saw a second one a bit later, but the best one we saw was back at the house, standing on the porch – a really bright meteor shot across the sky above us.
The Perseid meteor shower peaks this week, and so there is still time to see them if we get another clear night. Thursday night sounds like a good time to go out and take a look – there’s a BBC guide to whereabouts in the night sky to look here. But don’t hurt your neck!