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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Further Jubilee celebrations in Great Waldingfield

Old School Wood one day?
Further to the recent post about Jubilee Celebrations in Great Waldingfield on 2nd June, I understand that on Monday 4th June Branchlines is to have a celebration at Old School Wood starting at 3.30 p.m.

There is to be a picnic with children's games and George Millins is to give a talk about wildlife.  He is likely to draw attention ot the lizards and slow worms that he has introduced into the wood and also talk about a new initiative to preserve wildlife in general.  Parish Council Chairman, John Steele, has agreed to plant the Jubilee Oak, presented to the wood by the Woodlands Association and grown on one of the Royal Estates.

All are welcome!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Just imagine!

Instead of a vista of old mattresses, piles of hardcore and burnt out cars, the threat of boy racers and other unwelcome visitors, Chilton airfield is transformed!

Where fly tippers and customers from MacDonald’s, intent on casting aside their polystyrene containers, used to roam free, a miracle has taken place!  Birds sing in the woods, Children, secured from harm, play in the glades where wild flowers flourish. Residents of nearby dwellings walk their dogs, and horses and cyclists share the broad and grassy rides with deer and badgers.   Meanwhile at the ‘Chilton Woods Outdoor Auditorium’, Sudbury Amateur Operatic Society is rehearsing its forthcoming production of ‘Where the wild things are’.

This vision of the future of Chilton Airfield was just one idea that came out of Babergh’s recent consultation on producing a Green Infrastructure Policy for Sudbury, Chilton and Great Cornard.

We all had a wonderful afternoon drawing ‘green crescents’ round the periphery of the town, mapping footpaths and cycle tracks, and recommending the protection of various plots of precious green space, including Peoples Park.

How fantastic it would be if all these dreams could be realised.  No doubt one or two of them will be.

Recent experience however has taught me not to invest too much hope in ‘consultations’.  It seems that often they turn out to be a fraud; regarded as displacement activity for District Councillors ‘and other stakeholders’  who are assumed to have too much time on their hands.  

Meanwhile the real decisions are made elsewhere,while the lorries rumble on and oafs continue to strew their rubbish across the countryside.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Auction of unwanted gifts (and a few other things!)

Saturday's auction of unwanted gifts in aid of Chilton Church funds provided, as usual, a couple of hours of quality entertainment.

Auctioneer Peter Clifford (pictured)  managed to extract about £166 worth of bids from the small but select audience of keen bargain hunters.

As usual the collection of items was very eclectic, ranging from a wine cooler, a vegetable steamer, through various books (some old and valuable)  to some nice bits of china and glass.

We came away with quite a respectable horde, including some chessmen, a book on the D day landings, two vases, and a digital photoframe (new! and coming to a raffle somewhere near you soon)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Upon St George's Day

If you walk north from Newmans Green to Cuckoo Tye, on land which lies relatively high for Suffolk,  you reach several points at which you can see three church towers: those of Acton, Lavenham and also Long Melford.

On this St George's Day, when I took my daily constitutional with Rendle the Lurcher this morning, all three towers were flying the cross of St George.

In addition to being our patron saint, St George is also the patron saint of Moscow.  He is just one of many saintly princes that are revered by the Russian Orthodox faith. The early fifteenth century icon here, which is now in the Russian Museum in St Petersburg, is from Novgorod.

Happy St George's Day, and of course a very happy birthday to William Shakespeare too!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Drawing the Curtin? An exercise in confusion.

The presentation about Chilton Woods made by Curtin and Co, a public relations consultant to the Developers,  at Acton Annual Parish Meeting on Wednesday was a real disappointment for all who attended.

The maps provided were woefully inadequate, and the presenter was not able to answer many of the questions from the audience.  What was worse she appeared to contradict information that members of Acton Parish Council had understood from other meetings that they and I have attended in recent weeks.  This led to much confusion, and I have to say, from my perspective, an element of embarrassment.

It seems to me that the developer should spend less money on public relations companies (which so far have done little but turn the public off!) and spend more time in actually talking directly,  and coherently,  to the people who matter, the local residents. Following the meeting, I have made my opinion known to Babergh officers, and I know that Colin Spence has also raised the issue with the County Council, who, of course, own much of the land.

For what it was worth the following points came across strongly from Acton residents:
 Firstly, the footprint of the development has clearly been enlarged since the last consultations. Anger and disappointment were expressed at the further encroachment on the northern boundary, the reduction of screening, and the reduction of the ‘strategic gap’ between the development and Newmans Green to the eastern end of the development to about 300 yards, despite previous assurances that the integrity of the settlement would be maintained.

 Secondly, it was agreed that traffic travelling to the A134 from the new estate must be diverted away from Acton village in general and Mills Lane, Newmans Green, in particular.  This implies that Acton Lane should be closed to  everything apart from buses, bikes and pedestrians.
Thirdly, the currently planned  development should contain no more than 750 houses, as previously indicated.  Further houses should be situated to the west of Tesco.

I will keep readers of the blog informed of further developments where possible, and urge everyone to keep abreast of what is going on, attend the public meetings/exhibitions that are due to be held shortly, and make their opinions known ‘ clearly, early and often’.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Great Waldingfield Diamond Jubilee Celebrations revealed!

I am indebted to a reader of the blog, who is also involved in the organisation of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Great Waldingfield for the following contribution: 


The village of Great Waldingfield will be celebrating the Queens Jubilee in a big way come the 2nd of June. Plans are well advanced for fun and entertainment for all the family which will be spread over two days of the Jubilee weekend. So you do not have to journey down to London to get into celebratory mood as there will be enough going on to keep everyone in a happy-go-lucky mood right here in Suffolk.

This will be one of the biggest events seen in Great Waldingfield in recent years.  The celebrations are being organised by a group of enthusiastic volunteers all drawn from residents of the village chaired by Andrew Barlow from Brandeston Close who happens also to be on the Parish Council from where most of the funding for the event has come from. The festivities take place on the recreation ground which will be decked out with bunting and lighting for the evening revellers. There will be plenty of direction signs to the event so we shouldn't lose to many pedestrians heading the wrong way.

 To mark this rare celebratory event, each child resident in Great Waldingfield under the age of 16 years will receive a memento marking the Queens Jubilee but which will also establish a Jubilee link with the village. The memento will be a unique medal something to cherish as a true depiction of a momentous occasion.

Although the Parish Council has made a substantial grant, generous financial contributions have been received from some Great Waldingfield businesses.  We are still looking for sponsors so if you wish to make a contribution contact Barry Abson on 313112.

Arrangements are well in hand to include a talent competition, tombola and cake stall, fancy dress and 
hat competition, Air Cadets presentation with a constant supply of teas, sandwiches and cakes, with a BBQ for those intending to miss dinner or lunch at home. An ice cream vendor will also be in attendance to help cool everyone down as we have it on good authority that it will be a hot sunny day. Then there will be an all-day bar for those that are not driving home of course, which should be the majority. In the unlikely event of rain there will be a collection of marquees and tents in which to take shelter and the evening entertainment will be held in the main marquee.

It is hoped that villagers from far and near will pay a visit and hopefully stay all day, with plenty of seating provided. To encourage participation the village will be advertising the event with banners at all the roads leading into the village about two weeks before the event. So hopefully we can expect to have a friendly get together and happy association with our near neighbours  in surrounding villages.

But this isn't just a daytime event for there is entertainment lined up for the evening with almost constant music for those that like jazz and rock. Two bands will entertain all evening with dancing for those that feel energetic enough.

Sunday will commence with a Christian outdoor service at 11.00am to 12.00 noon followed by entertainment until 3.30.  Sunday the 3rd of June also happens to be National Picnic Day so it is hoped that people will bring along their picnic's and enjoy the entertainment in the sunshine whilst enjoying their picnic's.

So let's pray for good weather and that we will see plenty of fun seeking people to mark the event as a successful weekend. I would be nice to make it an annual event so come and support us as well as celebrate Her Majesty The Queen's Jubilee.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Prince Harry to be Czar of Russia?

Dancing in Jamaica
Sometimes Russia watching pays unexpectedly large dividends.

In today's Moscow Times I read that exiled oligarch Boris Berezovskii, who is setting up a new political party called 'Resurrection', is proposing that the monarchy is re-instated in the country, and that our very own Prince Harry could be a candidate for monarch.You can read the article here

The last czar, Nicholas II, was murdered in Ekaterinburg in 1918, along with his entire family.

Harry, claims Berezovskii, has more Romanov blood in his veins than Nicholas II, and it is of course true that our Royal Family has close links with the Russian dynasty. The shameful story of how King George V was dissuaded from helping his relations at the time of the Revolution remains an embarrasment.

I actually think that Harry might enjoy the role, although Russian dancing is, on the whole less lively than the sort he experienced in his recent official trip to the Caribbean.

Chilton Woods, Consultation events.


In the course of the next few weeks I am attending no fewer than four events connected with the Chilton Woods Development, which is scheduled to deliver more than 1000 homes in the Sudbury area in the years to come.  This includes the first meeting of the Steering Committee (unclear what this means!), and a couple of consultations with Parish Councils.

Redrow, the developer. along with the principal landowner, Suffolk County Council, has created a website which you can access here.  The current 'masterplan' diagram (shown rather unclearly above) can be opened and expanded from this site. This gives a good idea of current thinking with regard to how the development could take shape.

There will be an opportunity for members of the public to meet consultants working with the developer at the Acton Annual Parish Meeting that takes place this Wednesday, 18th April in Acton Village Hall at 7.30 p.m.

If you have concerns or criticisms (and I certainly already have some misgivings about aspects of the plan) you should take every opportunity to express these at an early stage.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Toads on Roads

Local environmentalist George Millins is looking for help in the future with the TOADS ON ROADS scheme.

This year the migration is almost at an end, but George, who is willing to carry on for the time being, is not getting any younger and needs to find someone who will take over the organisation of the scheme in the future.

The scheme was introduced by the Froglife herpetological organisation about twenty years ago. More details about it can be found on their website here

By way of further explanation George writes (with some editing):

Amphibians, as the name implies, spend a good deal of their lives in terrestrial habitat, but need water for breeding. After hatching the juveniles in larval form are water dependant until they metamorphose, at this point they will leave the pond and become terrestrial.
 On reaching breeding maturity they will instinctively make their way to the pond in which they were born and undertake the same journey each spring, but if a new pond is created on rout this will usually be colonised. Unfortunately with development in recent decades many ponds are now cut off from the essential terrestrial habitat by roads and the massive increase in traffic can result in whole populations being lost to road kill. This inspired Froglife to initiate "THE TOADS ON ROADS" scheme which does involve the rescue of all amphibian species but toads rhymes with roads, so it has a certain ring about it.
Those of us who recognise the importance of preserving species and get involved are referred to as toad patrollers (also as barking mad), the essential equipment being a strong constitution, high vis jacket, bucket and a long lasting rechargeable torch or two - in ideal conditions (wet nights at 7deg'C' plus) I have patrolled for four and a half hours.

As you will know our local crossing is the Folly Road Junior School pond. For some time now I have tried to promote the construction of log and brash pile habitats to reduce the number of amphibians crossing the road to find suitable terrestrial habitat. With most gardens now manicured or converted to car parking space, the animals are migrating further to find suitable habitat. This has the effect of prolonging the migration period and, along with unsuitable weather conditions, meant I was required to patrol every night for 7 weeks with the exception of 4or 5 nights. My sincere gratitude to those who helped when they could, and about 60% of drivers who did slow down, one or two stopped having seen a frog in their headlights, However in my view speeding drivers, most of whom drive at us with lights on high beam – demonstrate a very low IQ.’ 

If you can help George to protect our local biodiversity you can contact him ongeorge@millins.myzen.co.uk

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Joint strategic priorities for both councils.

If you are interested in Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s strategic priorities for the current financial year you can now take a look at today’s Strategy Committee Papers. (Follow the link here, and then click on the paper number alongside agenda item 8.)

When you create a joint officer structure for two councils,  you then, of course, need a joint set of policies for them to follow. This document is a first attempt at synthesising Babergh and Mid Suffolk's strategic goals.

Not altogether surprisingly, given the quite similar nature of the areas under each body's control, their previous strategic aims were quite similar, and it has therefore not been too difficult to pull their two separate documents together.

This is just an interim paper however, and has been largely developed by the officers, to the dismay of one or two councillors, including myself, who would have preferred to have greater input into the process. 

Time is short however since, although a little behind schedule, the creation of the new structure from a staffing point of view is continuing apace. *   Over the rest of the year councillors will be looking at a good deal of evidence to enable us to create a completely new joint strategic approach for the future.

It will be interesting to see how far this differs from the interim document.

* a further paper on this subject can be found further down the agenda.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Volunteers to litter pick in Acton?

Margaret Maybury is looking for volunteers to join her organised litter pick in Acton during the week following 16th April.

If you think you can help please contact Margaret on 01787 377092 or e mail her on mmaybury106@aol.co.uk

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hockney and Gainsborough combined

Still film of an oak,  Noel Myles
I went to Gainsborough’s House this morning to listen to a talk about the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden.  It was a fascinating lecture and I hope to be able to visit the gallery this summer.

While at the museum I had the chance to look at the latest temporary exhibition that has just opened: a collection of photographic landscape images by Noel Myles.  According to Myles the photographs used in many of the pieces in the show were taken within a mile's radius of Sudbury.   

Reminiscent in some ways of recent works by David Hockney, currently on show at the Royal Academy, Myles’s assemblages of photographs create works that are smaller, more subtle, and rather more abstract.

In some senses Myles creates his landscapes in a similar way to Gainsborough himself.  Where the eighteenth century artist wandered the Suffolk fields with his sketchbook and then returned to his studio to create his ‘ideal’ view, Myles takes his camera and does much the same thing.

If you would like to see these very attractive works of art  (many of which are for sale), the House is offering free entry to visitors this Saturday, 5 April from  10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry at 4.30 p.m.)   

There is also the chance to see a selection of sculptures in wood and other mixed media which are scattered through the galleries.  I am afraid I am not sure who these are by, but they add further interest to the visit.

Another way of getting into the show free is to buy a ticket at £6 to the next lecture on things worth seeing in Suffolk.  On 24th April Charlotte Crawley will be talking about the Norwich Castle Museum at 11 a.m.

East Anglia and the Stour Valley, an exhibition by Noel Myles runs from now until 23 June.
 All enquiries: 01787 372958.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Great Waldingfield Spring Show

The spring show at Great Waldingfield was held in the Church this year.

I am afraid that I was unable to find anything in the garden fit to enter.  My daffodils are mainly past it and the tulips not yet ready.

There were a reasonable number of exhibits and as usual the flower arrangements were spectacular.

The autumn show is to be held on 8th September.  I must make an effort to remember to disbud a few of my dahlias (if they have survived the winter in the shed).

First prizes for these arrangements
The Daffodil Class of 2012