the shop closed...I went home on the bus, a double decker and I
went on the top deck and there was a gale blowing. I had noticed
it at midday, a terrific gale, and there were tree bits all over
the road and I thought I’m not taking a motor bike down to Thorpeness
"So I got the bicycle out, put my rubber boots on and cycled
down to Margaret’s place, where she lived in Thorpeness. The A12
was blocked in two places – I got round one and underneath the other.
"When I got to Thorpeness we set off, as intended down the
coast road to Aldeburgh for the dance...
"We were rather being blown off the road there was this terrific
northwest gale...we did notice when we looked out to sea, it was
bright moonlight and we could see these great waves out to sea,
in the moonlight, and I thought it was unusually rough out there.
"We got into the dance and it had hardly started when some
people came in concerned because the sea was coming over the sea
wall on Aldeburgh front...
"We went out and found we had to wade through sea water to
get to the bicycles. We pushed the bicycles down the High Street
because they said it was coming in further down the road where it
was a bit lower.
"The sea was coming across and there was a great torrent coming
through there, through from between the properties and curving off
down the street towards Slaughden. So we started to cycle back to
Thorpeness to see if they were all right at Thorpeness.
"We had to go through a lot of sea water flowing across the
road by the White Lion Hotel...Just before we got to Margaret’s
house, because she lived on Thorpeness Beach, on one of the bungalows
on the sand dunes behind the beach.
"Just before we got there we had to go through a right torrent
of water – I’ve been through floods before and it’s a job to keep
going on a bicycle, so I said to Margaret: 'Keep going, keep going,
"At Thorpeness there’s a big shingle bank and the sand dunes
are behind it. There’s a sort of a hollow, or there was, between
the shingle and these bungalows on the sand dunes. The sea was crashing
over the top of the beach and welling up in the hollow between and
in the weak place, which was one property away from Margaret’s,
that was shooting through onto the marshes across the road and that
was what we had just cycled through.
"The trouble is that as that was shooting through…everything
is built on sand…that was gouging a great channel and the sand cliffs
at the sides, were just falling into this channel and that was widening
out towards the houses.
"Margaret’s next door neighbours – there were some Americans
in there at the time - it looked as if it was threatening their
home. So we started getting their furniture out. Bright moonlight
of course and a howling gale, carting the furniture into a nearby
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