Quote of the week

Life isn't about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself'

George Bernard Shaw
If you cannot mould yourself entirely as you would wish, how can you expect other people to be entirely to your liking?
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/wish.html

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Planning ahead

Babergh will soon be consulting on its plans for growth over the next 20 years. Now is the time to start to focus on this important issue. I am likely to be very involved with this in the months to come and need to know your views.

The recent change in goverrnment has quickly resulted in a transformation in the way that Babergh approaches planning for growth in the District.

At Thursday's meeting, the Strategy Committee recommended that the Council approve a draft for consultation on the question that is much more flexible, and allows for a good deal more community consultation than that which would have been permitted under the old regime.

This is a very good thing. We will have more scope to decide for ourselves how much additional housing to plan for over the next twenty years and also be more pragmatic with regard to where in the District the development will happen.

There is an overarching requirement that we consult all along the way with the communities affected so if you are concerned about how your village will look in twenty or so years time you should get involved with the discussions.

Of the four villages in Waldingfield Ward, two, Acton and Great Waldingfield, are designated as 'service centres'. That is communities with developed amenities and reasonable transport connections that can in theory accommodate more housing and employment land. Chilton is something of a special case due to the (already planned) Chilton Woods Development. Little Waldingfield is not earmarked for further development, although there is scope in the village for affordable housing if it is thought that there is a local need.

If you want to shape the future of the District now is the time to start to think about these issues. The full paper is available on the Babergh website. Click on Council and Democracy and then on Committee Papers. Then click on Strategy Committee and find the Agenda for 29th July. The relevant item is number 12, Babergh Development Framework Core Strategy (initial consultation on District Growth). To access the paper click on K65 alongside the agenda item and all will be revealed.

Alternatively you could wait for the simplified version that will accompany the public consultation in due course. Look out for notices of public exhibitions and meetings in the autumn.

If you are concerned about the shape of the area around Acton and Great Waldingfield in the years to come now is the time to start to engage with these issues.

When planning permission is being sought in 10 to 15 years time and you don't like it, it will be too late!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cornard North seat falls to Labour

Well despite a lot of tramping around the streets we didn’t hold on to the Babergh seat that recently came vacant in Great Cornard. We came second, quite well ahead of the Liberal Democrats who beat UKIP by a good margin.
The victor was the Labour candidate, Tony Bavington, who held the Babergh seat some years ago. I hope that rumours of a poor attendance record in the past prove to be untrue. His win means that Babergh will no longer be a Labour free zone which will make life even more interesting politically than it is currently. In his acceptance speech, Bavington said that his win was due to ‘putting New Labour behind him’, so expect some red blooded socialism anytime soon!
I am sorry that we were unable to do better since Martin Fryer, the candidate, is a good bloke who worked very hard during the campaign. In fact a lot of people turned out to help (a selection in the picture above). The reception on the doorstep was better than the result implies but this may be due to the natural courtesy of the people of Great Cornard who were too polite to tell us where to go!
I suppose that it is understandable that the political scene changes with a change of Government. Also last time it was a straight fight between Labour and Conservative. On this occasion despite the fact that the swing to Labour was only 3 percent, the presence of other parties in the mix meant that the dynamics were very different. It is also difficult to tell to what degree local factors came into play.
Anyway, we all live to fight another day!

Tory supporters Adrian Osborne and Peter Burgoyne litter picking while on the campaign trail.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Farewell party at Abbas Hall

On Saturday we went up to Abbas Hall in Cornard to say farewell to Stefan and Takako. The family have lived in this fascinating house for some years now, but now they are seeking pastures new.
Abbas Hall is one of the only two examples of late 13th Century aisled hall houses remaining in Suffolk (the other is in Stansfield). The evidence of this can be found inside the house where traces of the original wooden frame remain. The exterior of the house reflects Elizabethan remodelling.
Another interesting feature of the property is the view from the terrace which is said to have been the vista painted from life by Gainsborough in his painting ‘Cornard Wood’. The view is pictured below.

Stefan and Takako have always been very hospitable, and this occasion was no exception. Many local notables and un-notables were there. It was good to see evidence that the coalition government is operating well even at our parochial level. Below is a picture of the President of South Suffolk Conservative Association (in the almost blue trousers) in conversation with Liberal Democrat Peer, Andrew Phillips (in the almost pink ones).

I am pleased to say that contrary to rumours Stefan and Takako are not moving too far away and we are now looking forward to the house warming.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A talk about Russia at Chilton Church

Many people have been to St Petersburg and many more would like to go there one day. I have spent quite a lot of time in the city. It is a place which is almost overwhelming, with its numerous historic monuments, formal gardens and galleries. A city that is almost literally built on the water, the wonderful light, a result of its northern latitude, gives it a particular magic.

On the evening of 31st July I will be giving a talk about the founding of the City and some of its subsequent history . The name of the talk is ‘The Bronze Horseman’, and I will use as a focus the great equestrian statue of Peter the Great that is a major landmark and which was the subject of a famous narrative poem by the early 19th Century Russian writer and poet, Alexander Pushkin.

The talk is illustrated with lots of pictures, plus some excerpts from the poem, and if you are interested in coming along please e mail or telephone me for details. Proceeds of a retiring collection will go to the Friends of Chilton Church.

Great Waldingfield Fete

This year’s fete in Great Waldingfield, held yesterday afternoon, was a joint effort between the Church and the School. It was held in the school playground and on the adjacent playing fields and a good time was had by all.
It was great to see the new equipment on the playing fields being enjoyed by a wide range of children, who were also entertaining themselves with all sorts of energetic duels and struggles as can be seen above.
I was reluctant to try my skills at anything too taxing following last week’s debacle at the archery event at Acton, but found that it was quite easy to catch two plastic ducks and win a prize. There was also a ride for children called ‘The Octopus’, but I don’t think that it was able to predict the future.
I was lucky enough to win a hamper in the raffle and am now looking forward to tucking in to the contents.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Spender photos on Sudbury Museum Website

Further to the recent post on the Humphrey Spender Exhibition at Gainsborough’s House, I am indebted to Valerie Herbert for a link to the photo archive at the Sudbury Museum.

Here you can see some more of Spender’s atmospheric photographs of Sudbury life in the first part of the last century.

Follow the link:


The caption on the photo above reads ‘A group of men caught in conversation outside the British Volunteer in Burkitts Lane - just opposite the livestock market.Market day was as much a social as a business event! 1934.’

Monday, July 12, 2010

Global concerns at Woodland BATS agm

How do we balance the demands of economic growth, and its attendant benefits, with the need to preserve the biodiversity of the planet?

This pressing issue was at the forefront of Members’ minds at the Woodland BATS AGM yesterday evening.

The global scope of the question was emphasised by the presence at the meeting of two speakers from places as far apart and diverse as East New Britain in Papua New Guinea, and Slovakia.

We heard about the environmental challenges in both countries. In Papua New Guinea the issue is how to satisfy the increasing demands of the population for the trappings of a western style lifestyle and at the same time protect the pristine environment. In Slovakia the question is how to protect the 100 square kilometres Tatra National Park (pictured above) from the depredations caused by tourism and other commercial pressures.

These discussions made for a stimulating evening, which is what we have come to expect from BATS events.

I am happy to be able to report that Woodland BATS itself goes from strength to strength. Membership of the group is a must for anyone interested in maintaining the delicate balance of our environment in a local and broader context. There are a number of ways in which people can contribute.

The next event is a picnic on Sunday 29th August at the Tree Nursery in Chilton.

For more details contact the Chairman, Peter Clifford, on 01787 371798 or the Secretary Jan Osborne on 01787 466096.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Archery at Acton Fete

As usual Acton Fete was well organised and fun, and I think that this year there were even more activities at which one could make a complete fool of oneself!
For a nanosecond I was in the lead at the Woodland BATS stall, where the idea was to try to roll balls through tiny holes to win a tenner. Unfortunately Nick, my husband, immediately achieved the same score, and when we returned half an hour or so later some brawny youth was way out in front.
The real catastrophe came at the Archery however. I have always wanted to have a go at this. The sport brings to mind elegant Victorian ladies standing with straight backs, observed by gentlemen in boaters and striped blazers. The set up in Acton was very professional, with the targets lined up in a row and a couple of experts to help with technique.
I seemed to have quite a lot of difficulty hitting the target at all however. It was only later that Nick told me that I had been trying to shoot with a left handed rather than a right handed bow. Since I am right handed I think that I was lucky to hit the target at all! Nick, who is pictured trying his hand above, did rather better since he had not inadvertently handicapped himself.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Following on from the Bee Orchids last week, I am indebted to blog reader, Barry Hills, for this picture of Hedge Woundwort, a wild form of stachys, photographed in Great Waldingfield

Although not particularly rare it is very attractive, and only grows where we don't interfere with it by weeding and tidying up.

Apparently it is not one to encourage in the garden however, since it can be quite invasive!

If you crush the leaves it is said to give off a rather distinctive smell. Its name derives from the fact that it is said to have antisceptic qualities and was used in the past to staunch bleeding.