A while later I got talking to the guy from the camper van in the corner of the field, he said he hadn't seen where the deer came from but it must have lost its bearings as it had spent a couple of minutes throwing itself at the end fence in an effort to escape before dashing past me to freedom at the other end of the field. I could only assume that it had come from the crop field in the first place, though I didn't think there were any deer in that vicinity - and if I hadn't been getting the map book from the van I might just have seen it in time to snap a photo of it.
After that little bit of excitement I tidied the tent, put the dogs in the van and I was ready for my day out. This time it was to be a visit to Southwold and Walberswick; it had been a few years since I was last there so it would be nice to go back for another look round. As I headed down the A12 towards Walberswick I began to wonder if somehow it had been moved as the drive there seemed to take longer than I remembered, but I got there eventually. I knew from experience that it was cheaper to park on the Walberswick side of the river than it was to park on the Southwold side - a very reasonable £3 for all day - so I left the van in the quayside car park and after a short walk along the nearby beach I got the rowing boat ferry across the river.
Over on the Southwold side a heat haze had cut down the long distance visibility but I could still see the lighthouse, St. Edmunds church tower and the tall chimney of Adnams brewery across the fields and with the camera on zoom I managed to get a reasonable shot of the view. Walking right to the end of the quay I turned onto the beach by the dunes and wandered along near the water's edge until I drew level with the first row of beach huts then headed for the beginning of the promenade. A path, quaintly named Primrose Alley, ran from behind the beach huts past a pleasant green with a couple of houses tucked in the corner and took me to the road leading the short distance into the small town centre. Up ahead the road split into two with the tiny market place set in the triangle, so once I'd run out of shops on one side I crossed to the other side and took the second road back to the promenade.
The heat haze had cleared by then and I was able to get some good shots overlooking the beach and the pier. There was nothing much beyond the pier itself, just a small boating lake and a cafe on the landward side of the road, both of which were closed, and the backs of a long row of beach huts on the seaward side, with much of the wide road being given over to car and coach parking. The road itself ended in a path which disappeared into oblivion across the heath to the north so I turned round there and retraced my steps back to the pier.
As I'd never actually been on Southwold pier before I decided to go and have a look. The entrance off the promenade was just the same as many pier entrances, with a large arcade full of various machines, a cafe and an ice cream kiosk. There was a good view looking back over the beach to the colourful beach huts so I snapped a shot of that then took a walk down to the far end to see what was down there - and it showed me some things so wacky and amusing that they really deserve a post of their own.