With the lovely Golden Boy Dave driving, an intrepid band of tourists set off early on a Thursday morning, suitably prepared for all unexpected mysteries.

After a brief comfort stop at Birchanger, where no one decided to leave us and join Golden Boy Ian on his coach going to Ladies Day at Ascot, mainly because none of us had brought our fascinators and six inch platform Jimmy Choos, (it’s always been a mystery to me as to how anyone can walk in those), we pootled along the roads through Essex towards Braintree.

There we came to a grinding halt behind a large queue of traffic at a mysterious and unexplained stand-still. It turns out we were all waiting for the Women’s Cycle Tour to whizz through on their way to Clacton. They were to plague us on and off for the rest of the morning.

As a result we were late for our first rendezvous at Gainsborough’s House in the very pretty little market town of Sudbury. A most welcome cup of coffee and delicious biscuits alongside a talk about Gainsborough, (during which we could hear the horns, whistles and cheers announcing the arrival of cyclists pedalling at speed through the town,) set us up for a look around the house and delightful garden, followed by the compulsory visit to the shop.

Back to the coach and time to move on to the next watering hole, we drove through more pretty Suffolk villages, mystified as to why they were all so busy and local school children were waving yellow flags at us. (No mystery, just the cycle race again.)

By the time we reached the truly lovely town of Woodbridge, we found that time and tide wait for no man and we were unable to visit the Tide Mill. To compensate, Golden Boy Dave decided to entertain us with a truly extraordinary and quite exemplary Top Gear style coach-reversal demonstration, through the town.

On to the little village of Waldringfield, on the banks of the River Deben, where we boarded the Jahan, for a relaxing trip downstream towards Felixstowe and back, with an interesting and informative commentary about the local history and wildlife, as well as a cream tea (without cream, but the scones were huge and delicious).
We disembarked, heading swiftly for the loos, before buying a seriously good ice-cream (honey and ginger for me) and boarding the coach for the soporific drive homewards.

A jolly day out in good company, many thanks to Sue King for organising this, my first EdSubTrip, but not my last.

Liz Cooper

NB: For my packed lunch, I had a ham and mustard and cream cheese and lettuce and mayonnaise sandwich and a bar of chocolate and it was good.