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

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding.

Well we did enjoy the Royal Wedding!  Even Nick, who is not much of a romantic,  was lured down from his computer to take a look.

One of the best images for me was the tiny bridesmaid on the balcony of Buckingham Palace who clearly found the whole experience a bit too much.  She looked less than impressed by the crowds and kept covering her ears with her hands!

And wasn't the dress lovely?   No crumpled silk or overlong trains for Catherine! The Financial Times's 'Material World' blog has some very interesting facts about it, which readers of this site may find of interest.


Sunday, April 24, 2011


And after the ducklings came the newts!  Nick noticed the little fellows in the pond the other evening and we have had some good sightings since.

They really take me back to my childhood in Warwickshire when we had a large pond with lots of newts.  I remember how they occasionally come up to the surface to have a bit of a look at you before rapidly disappearing.

They are quite shy and seem to be able to hear us, but at night we can go out with a torch and have a good look at them.

A nice fact is that the mother newt wraps up each egg in pond weed or a leaf to camouflage it before it hatches.

I understand that some friends have discovered the rare Great Crested newt in their pond at Thorpe Morieux, but we are delighted to be playing host to the more common Smooth variety.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A must for Archer's fans (and others interested in actors and acting)

Have you been wondering what has happened to the actor Graham Seed since Nigel Pargetter fell off the roof?

Well you now have a chance to find out since he is coming to Lavenham Village Hall in June!

An Evening with Graham Seed (the late Nigel Pargetter) is to be held on Sunday June 12th at 7 p.m.

Tickets are £10.00 and include a glass of wine and nibbles.  They are available from Lavenham Newsagents, Lavenham Village Hall or by telephoning  01787 247585.

The event is to raise funds for St Lawrence's Church, Little Waldingfield.

The ups and downs of canvassing

Under two weeks to go now and Frank and I have done a good deal of tramping around the streets looking for Conservative voters, floaters, and others as we deliver our leaflets.  We try to knock on most doors, particularly of those whom we know are regular voters of any persuasion.

There is no sight or sound of any opposition yet, which is a bit odd since you cannot possibly get round all 2000 or so houses in the Ward properly in the time that is left.  Don’t vote for anyone that pays someone else to deliver their leaflets!!!!!

Canvassing before an election is an extraordinary experience and something everyone should try once (this is my fourth serious shot at it).   It can be sad, funny, fascinating, irritating, frustrating, but most of all, like the people one meets on the way,  it is constantly stimulating with highs one minute and lows the next.

Sad experiences include going to a house, visited just two years ago, to find both the friendly and sympathetic owners departed to another, better, non -political, world.  The new incumbents are brusque and disappear rapidly behind their front door. You are left staring gloomily at the gravel remembering your old friends and the nice cup of coffee, or loo break, that you were always offered in the past.

The opposite of this of course is the new people that you meet who ask you in, give you a cold drink, and are generally friendly.  We have certainly met some pleasant new faces this time.

Funny experiences often involve our furry friends.  This year I have been impressed by the number of dogs that have learnt to pull the leaflet quite gently from the other side of the door.  Sadly the german pointer that stood in a glassed in porch and solemnly consumed my literature in 2007 has moved away with his owners.

Fascinations include the hobbies and occupations of the residents of the Ward.  We have found a field of ‘film star’ horses in a field in Great Waldingfield and one of the fastest cars in the world in a driveway in Acton.

Irritations and frustrations?   Well I won’t dwell too much on these, but it IS frustrating to have tried one’s best to help a resident and find that they had been left with the impression that you were ‘not very interested’ in their problem.  We cannot always get things done for people, but this does not mean that we don’t try.  Happily this reaction is a rare one!  Only one disgruntled daisy so far.

It always surprises me how many people never seem to be at home, but we have managed to speak to quite a few people around and about.  I hope to do another post about how people are 'feeling' on the doorstep in due course.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Our pond may not have attracted much in the way of frogs and other amphibians yet, but we have plenty of ducklings again!

New art space in Sudbury

The new Bookends gallery in Gaol Lane
On Friday I sought out a new art gallery in Sudbury.

It is in the lane immediately opposite  the Tourist Information Office in the Town Hall, and is part of the Bookends bookshop.

On show are a number of interesting works, including some great pieces (below)  by local artist and photographer, Karen Henderson, who lives in Chilton.

I understand that the owner intends to hold art related events, and there is also a room to hire upstairs.

It is exciting to see so many art related ventures opening up in Sudbury.  With  the attractions of Gainsborough's House,  and other new venues such as this one, it would be good to be able to market the town as a place for art lovers to congregate and spend some time and money.  Perhaps all the gallery owners and managers should get together to discuss a common policy.

New works by Karen Henderson

No extension to Car Wash hours on Sundays

Phew!  The scrabble for postal votes has meant that I have had little time for blogging over the past few days.  However, I am now having a quieter weekend and can write up one or two things that have happened recently.
On Wednesday I went with Peter Clifford, the Chairman of Chilton Parish Council, to make our case on behalf of Chilton residents with regards to the Homebase Car Wash.
The owners of the site had applied to have the hours of operation on a Sunday increased from 10 to 4p.m. to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
We managed to convince the Committee by a majority of 8 to 5 that this would seriously compromise the right of residents to a bit of peace and quiet on a Sunday.  Members were ultimately unimpressed by the promise to keep vacuum cleaners in a box during the extended hours.
It has to be said that this is really a totally unsuitable site for this operation and I do wonder how it got planning permission in the first place.
Our victory may well prove to be somewhat pyrrhic.  The operators of the carwash have to date largely ignored rules and regulations and it will be a challenge for Babergh’s officers to police the site.
Enforcement of planning conditions has been one of the biggest disappointments of my time at Babergh.  Frankly the officers do not have enough teeth, or funds, to do the job properly.  I would say however that they do try hard. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

No to AV!

 I am really against the Alternative Vote.  The idea of not really understanding what you are voting for, apart from being very frustrating,   is completely undemocratic in my view.

Besides,  I actually don't much like the ideology of ANY of the parties other than my own, and having to rank them in order of pretty bad to really awful strikes me as quite difficult.

There is no doubt in my mind that the system will lead to weak government, the election of mediocre candidates,  and a disproportionate advantage for the smaller parties.

As some of you know I have been out on the stump in the Ward this week, trying to speak to as many postal voters as possible before they receive their ballot papers at the beginning of next week.

I am pleased to say that so far I have only met one or two people who have any enthusiasm at all for this nonsense of a system. 

For an amusing take on the issue you should take a look at


I don't think the link will work from this site, but google 'play political', go to the homepage, and then find the page for today, April 10th 2011 to view the video.

Rick Mayall stars as Alan B'stard

NO to AV Campaign Director, Matthew Elliott observes:
“This kind of shoddy behaviour is exactly the kind of thing we might see under AV. We would have politicians doing backroom deals and not delivering on their promises just so they could cling to power. This is why we should protect our democracy and keep One Person, One Vote.”

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Local company looking to expand

SRL's offices in Little Waldingfield
The Sound Research Laboratory (SRL),  in Little Waldingfield has applied for planning permission to extend its laboratory facilities.

I went along to take a look, since apparently, according to Babergh’s planners, the scheme amounts to ‘major development’.  In fact, while quite extensive, the proposed building work is not really that large, and is important if the company is to continue to grow. 

I have to admit that I was interested to know more about the organisation.  It seems rather mysterious, in the middle of the country, up a long driveway, adjacent to an old stately home.  It would make the perfect spot for a P.D James novel.

Well, the truth is a little more prosaic but the company is an interesting one.  It was started over 40 years ago in Holbrook House itself, and has grown quite rapidly. It now has a purpose built headquarters adjacent to the House, which is now an old people’s home.   Most of its facilities and laboratories are in Suffolk, but it also now has offices in Altrincham in Cheshire, London and Dubai. Employing nearly 50 people, much of the company’s work is related to testing the sound and vibration qualities of building and other industrial materials.

The new facilities are needed to increase the capacity and flexibility of SRL’s experimental facilities.  The development will, with luck, enable the business to continue to expand and to add to its work force in Suffolk.

This would be no bad thing.  We urgently need higher quality work in the Sudbury area.

Thanks are due to Director, Dave Clarke, and other members of the company who organised my visit, and took time out to tell me about its plans.

The consultation period for the application closes shortly.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Guys and Dolls at the Wolsey

Yesterday evening we went to the Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich  to see Guys and Dolls.  It was a really enjoyable night out and a great relief from fussing and fretting about the election.

In many ways the musical, based on a story by Damon Runyon,  is the perfect show.  Marvellous songs, a good plot line, and a terrific climax, when Sky Masterson sings the classic number Luck be a Lady as he rolls the dice for the souls of his fellow gamblers.

The picture above shows the other leading man, Nathan Detroit,  with his long standing fiancĂ©e of fourteen years, Miss Adelaide, a dancer at the Hot Box Club.

The show is a joint production between the Wolsey, the Salisbury Playhouse and Clwyd Theatre, Wales, and is absolutely first rate.  It has received excellent reviews, including five stars from the Guardian.

The perfect antidote to current gloom, I would urge you to think about going along.  The show is on until 16th May and I understand that tickets are still available for most evening performances.

Monday, April 4, 2011

And they're off!

We now have the runners and riders for the Waldingfield Ward  Babergh District Council Election Stakes and they are as follows:
(strictly in alphabetical order)
Conservatives:  Frank Lawrenson and me, Jenny Antill  (see mugshots below).   As you know I live in Newmans Green, which is in Acton, and Frank currently lives in Kersey, although his parents live in Great Waldingfield and he was brought up there.

Liberal Democrats:  Alan Scott from Gotsfield Close, Acton

UKIP : Leon Steadman and his neighbour Robert Armstrong,  both of Bantocks Road, Great Waldingfield

Also on the paper are two Labour names, but it seems that there was some mistake in their nomination papers, so they must be put down as non starters.  I will not make any comment.....

I regret that I do not have photos of the non Conservatives, but will happily put them up on the site if they would like to forward me copies.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Jeremy Pembroke to stand down

Well, I for one am sorry to see that Jeremy Pembroke, has decided to stand down as Leader of the Conservative Group at Suffolk County Council,  but I am not surprised.

It has been clear for some time that the supernormal stresses and strains of running the Council at a time of huge challenge and change was taking its toll on him.  I often wondered why he put up with it for so long.  He had after all as a successful city figure nothing more to prove to the world.   Many people in his position would have sat on their laurels and headed for the golf course or Costa Geriatrica instead of taking on a role in public service which a lot of the time could be described as ‘thankless’.

Of course many will point to the notorious Chief Executive Officer of the Council as being behind Jeremy’s decision.  
There may well be merit in the notion that Andrea Hill is overpaid (although, given the size of the budget and organisation she controls, I have yet to read a logical, evaluative, rather than emotional/resentful/envious argument as to why).  I deplore the relentless hounding of her in the press, which appears to get ever more hysterical, distasteful and over the top.  She is among the most highly paid public servants for sure, but there are quite a few others who are there or thereabouts in the financial reward stakes, and we hear little or nothing about them.  I cannot help thinking that there is a strong dose of sexism underlying the attacks, and I say this as a woman who once also held a relatively high profile, well paid, job, and who knows this sort of thing when she sees it.

What is sad is that all this stuff has overshadowed some of the good work that the County has undertaken under Jeremy’s leadership; the costs saved, the services improved.  Whatever you think about the New Strategic Direction, and I do have some reservations,  it is a brave approach to a problem that all councils are facing.

I hope that as time goes on the Andrea Hill issue will be seen in proper perspective.  Jeremy is, above all, an honest and decent person, and incidentally he has always been very kind to me.  I hope that he will now be able to put all this trouble and strife behind him and turn his attention to the pleasures of pastures new.