Sunday, 22 March 2009


We visited Aldeburgh twice - once to have some of the best fish and chips in England at The Fish and Chip Shop in the high street on Friday evening and then again on Sunday lunchtime when we wandered along the shingle, throwing stones into a calm sea before having lunch and continuing on to Lavenham and then home to Cambridge.

Of course, M R James followed us here too. This is a photograph of the shingle beach, looking south towards the martello tower. It was along this stretch of beach that Paxton fled at the end of A Warning to the Curious:

The notion of Paxton running after - after anything like this, and supposing it to be the friends he was looking for, was dreadful to us. You can guess what we fancied: how the thing he was following might stop suddenly and turn round on him, and what sort of face it would show, half seen at first in the mist. . .

M R James' Seaburgh is a thinly disguised Aldeburgh:

A long sea-front and a street: behind that a spacious church of flint, with a solid western tower and a peal of six bells.

Seaburgh/Aldburgh is such a jolly, English seaside town, with it's brightly coloured houses and holiday-makers. And yet M R James was on to something using this place as a location. It was a holiday destination in his day too. But there is something about the light here - intense somehow even when overcast, the constant growl of the shingle, the way your feet struggle to find purchase on the stones, the wide horizon and huge sky above.

M R James understood that open spaces are potentially just as scary as confined spaces. On a beach there is nowhere to hide. He used the same sort of device in Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad (though the setting for that is Felixstowe). That story was filmed by Jonathan Miller in the sixties with Michael Horden. It's great.

This is a modern take on the story, influenced by the Jonathan Miller film.


  1. pulpsfromthebothy23 March 2009 at 17:18

    Hi Chris, could you explain the jiggery pokery that is required to post a You Tube video on your blog. I can't seem to get my head around the 36 point maneuver.

  2. Hi Peter - well I've never done it myself before today. If you go to the Help button on Blogger and type in 'video in blog' or some such you will find a helpful video on how to do it. But you go to the menu on the right of the viewing screen in YouTube where you will find an option to embed the video. You copy this and paste it into your blog post. Preview it to show that it is there - it will appear as code in the blog post but as a video screen in the preview panel. Then click publish