Why I love Suffolk: Adrian Bleese

Author Adrian Bleese

Author Adrian Bleese - Credit: Contributed

Memory 

On New Year’s Eve 2000, I was working in the Suffolk Constabulary control room on the night shift, answering calls from the public and despatching police officers to help. When the shift finished at 7am on New Year’s Day, I drove home and my wife, my three children, my mum and I all went to the beach at Aldeburgh and watched the sun rise on a new millennium whilst eating bacon sandwiches and drinking tea from a flask. 

Landmark 

I guess it has to be Southwold Pier. Southwold is the quintessential English seaside holiday destination, a bit like St. Annes-on-Sea in Lancashire where I grew up. I have great memories of taking our children to the pier and playing on all of Tim Hunkin’s eccentric machines in the Under the Pier Show. Once our children were a little older, I also fondly recall embarrassing them by playing on the dance machine in the arcade. It’s what dads are for. 

Beach 

We are so incredibly lucky with the Suffolk coast, from the cliffs at Corton, through the shingle at Aldeburgh to the sandy beaches of Felixstowe. My favourite spot on the whole coast though is at Boyton; from where the glorious Suffolk Coast Path descends Burrow Hill and skirts the edge of the marshes down to the River Ore and the view across the water to Orford Beach. 

Town or village 

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I have always had a deep and abiding love for Bury St Edmunds. When I left the Royal Air Force and was living in the north of Scotland, I decided where I would move to by closing my eyes and sticking a pin in a map. It landed in Bury St Edmunds and so I sold my house, put my furniture into storage and drove to Bury in search of a new life. I’ve not yet got round to living there but that only makes a visit more special. My wife and I stayed in the Angel Hotel after I’d been a speaker at the Bury St Edmunds Literature Festival; waking up and looking out over Angel Hill to the abbey gate was incredible. 

Place to eat 

I am partial to a cheese scone and you won’t find a finer one anywhere in the world than at the A12 Farm Café at Marlesford. This isn’t just any old roadside caff, they have a great menu and it’s surprisingly peaceful in the garden out the back. The staff are always lovely, too, and that makes the place really great. They were very supportive of my book, Above the Law, and had posters and promotional material on display for a long time but I’m not biased, it’s a wonderful spot. 

Attraction or day out 

I’m a keen photographer and a history geek, so I love nothing more than being able to get out to some of the parts of Suffolk that I know less well and find out about them. We have just about everything in Suffolk, well, okay, not mountains, but just about everything else: coast, heath, marshes, rivers, the broads, castles, farmland, medieval market towns and history everywhere you look. 

Event 

Slaughter in Southwold might not sound like a fun event when you first hear the name but it is fantastic. An annual crime-writing festival which takes place in June. My wife and I have been a few times and seen some great authors there giving brilliant talks. Elly Griffiths gave me some excellent advice at one of these events, advice which led to me writing Above the Law. 

Shop 

I love bookshops. I can spend hours in bookshops. We are fortunate in Suffolk to have a wide range from the well-known chains to lots of little independents like the Woodbridge Emporium, the Halesworth Bookshop, Dial Lane Books in Ipswich and Harris & Harris in Clare. However, I have to admit that my very favourite shop is Treasure Chest Books in Felixstowe. It’s a second-hand bookshop and you never know quite what you will find as you venture deeper and deeper into a magical place that seems never to end. I’ve been going in for nearly 30 years and I’m still not sure I’ve ever found the back of the shop. 

Export 

Without a doubt, it’s got to be Greene King IPA, though I am keen that we do not export all of it.