A reliable weather vane for how busy Southwold might be is the chip shop on East Street. So, on Sunday night, when the queue for the shop stretched almost as far as the town square, it looked like a busy week ahead.
On Monday morning, seemingly against the odds, the town was quiet and has remained so all week. The beach is empty save for the Gulls and the occasional Oystercatcher. Encouraged by the peace, a seal has been patrolling the sea just south of the pier.
Next week will be different though. It will be half term, a double bank holiday and the Jubilee. Already the town’s shops are putting out the flags and the bunting. The post box next to the Swan Hotel is wearing the State Crown, albeit knitted. A funfair has turned up on South Green.
Regular readers will recall that our favourite watering hole in the U.K. is the Lord Nelson Inn, at the end of East Street. We first went there sometime in the late 1980s. For most of the time since then, the tenancy has been in the same family. However, during the country’s many lockdowns the pub went out of business. It has reopened as a managed pub, part of the brewery’s larger estate and without a traditional landlord. The old occasionally grumpy bar staff have gone and the interior has been tidied up. The locals and their dogs are seen less frequently and there is a more corporate feel to the enterprise.
Is it still the best pub? We think so, just, although sadly part of its soul has gone.