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, September 29, 2013

An invitation from the Mayor

Pictured above is Brian Lazenby,the current Mayor of Hadleigh, who was a Babergh Councillor until 2011, and with whom I served on the HR Committee.

Brian is always a mine of good sense and was a pleasure to work with.  He was kind enough to invite me to his Civic Service in Hadleigh Church, followed by Tea,  last weekend, which I much enjoyed.

Hadleigh's mayoral robes are among the most distinctive locally, and echo real 16th century style.

Unique,distinctive,cherished...a fresh look at Lavenham Guildhall

The Guildhall of Corpus Christi, Lavenham.

On Friday evening I went to a focus group event hosted by the National Trust at the Guildhall in Lavenham.

The Trust, which owns the building, has recently obtained a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant to update and re-display its story. An additional object is to involve local people more closely with the Trust's work at the site.   Luke Potter, the Property Manager responsible for a number of the smaller properties in Suffolk including the Guildhall, presided over the event at which local people were invited to express what the sixteenth century building means to them.

I suppose that the Guildhall is to Lavenham what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris and the Coliseum to Rome.  One way of gauging its significance is to imagine what the village would be like without it!  It is a little while since I visited the upstairs of the building, recent visits being confined to attending meetings of the Parish Council and lectures on art by Hugh Belsey downstairs.  I have to say that I found some of the displays so interesting that my mind was rather distracted from the business of the evening.

We were asked to spend some time in the garden at the back, a lovely peaceful spot, and also to stand in the market place and contemplate the astonishing front of the building, the beams softened in the fading light.  I was reminded that in Victorian times a school stood opposite, in the middle of the market place. This must have spoiled what is now a remarkable space, if somewhat marred by parked cars!  However, Lavenham remains very much a living village and like other beauty spots has to absorb the less attractive, but essential, features of 20th century life.

The building has always been used by the local community and it is significant that an aim of the project is that links with local people are strengthened further.  Residents, and others present yesterday, were asked to express on post it notes what they felt is unique about the Guildhall, what is distinctive, and what is most cherished.  Their thoughts will be borne in mind when the Trust is planning how best to re-present the property to both visitors and local people alike.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

For the Rest of Your Natural Life, a talk on transportation.

Margaret Catchpole by Richard Cobbold
Following a very interesting talk about Suffolk Witches last year, Little Waldingfield History Society was delighted to welcome Pip Wright once again.  He enthralled the audience with his account of the history of penal transportation which he illustrated with folk songs played on the guitar.  Using newspaper accounts and original testimony, he focussed in particular on the 2500 people from Suffolk who were deported first to America and then, after the American Revolution, to Australia.

Most convicts never returned and ten times as many men were transported as women.  One of the best known among the women was Margaret Catchpole, described by Wikipedia as a British adventuress, chronicler and criminal, born in Suffolk, who worked as a servant in various houses before conviction for stealing a horse.  She later escaped from Ipswich Gaol and, following recapture, was tranported to Australia. Her entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography describes her as one of the few true convict chroniclers with an excellent memory and a gift for recording events. (14 March 1762 – 13 May 1819).

Interestingly one of the meeting rooms that we use regularly at Endeavour House is named after Margaret.  I am sure she would have been very surprised to find herself commemorated in the offices of local government!
The next LWHS event will be an entertainment by Charlie Haylock ‘Suffolk Vernacular’ on Wednesday 16th October.  Further details from  Diana Langford at Pitt Cottage, telephone:  01787 248298

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wartime life around Lavenham, a new book.

We rent out the cottage at the end of our house because living in the whole building would be much too big for us, and to be honest it is nice to have a neighbour. Tenants come and go, and in general we have enjoyed having them next door.   This weekend we are very sad to be saying goodbye to Stella and her little dog Marmeduke.  Stella has found a nice house in Acton village that she is doing up, and we are very pleased that she is going to be living nearby.

Stella has now partially moved out, and we have been going in and out of the cottage to arrange redecoration and the like.  I noticed that Stella has not yet removed her picture of bombers flying over Chilton Airfield that hangs over the fireplace.  It is interesting how the memory of the American airmen who came to Suffolk towards the end of World War II lingers on and catches the imagination of many.

I understand that a new edition of a book about 487 Bomb Group, which was stationed at Lavenham Airfield is shortly to be available for sale  at the Tourist Information Bureau in Lavenham. The writer is Lisa Parnell, and she has spent 20 years researching the book, speaking to members of the Group and collecting their stories.

To obtain a copy of the book, which is called, Off the Runway, memories of wartime life in and around Lavenham, you can either try the Tourist Bureau, or contact Lisa direct on lparnell806@btinternet.com. The cost of the book is £15, plus £20 postage and packing.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Don't be distracted by thieves

Police are warning shoppers to be careful after people have been approached in supermarket car parks in both Sudbury and Ipswich by thieves keen to steal their credit cards.

The rogues use a number of different ploys to persuade the unwary to open their wallets.  Sometimes they offer a bank note, pretending that the shopper has dropped it.  The shopper opens his or her wallet to look and somehow a bank card is magicked away.  On other occasions the thief will ask for change for a bank note, with the same result.

Do be vigilent!  More than one supermarket car park in Sudbury has been targetted.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Advice for owners of thatched houses

Suffolk Firefighters are to hold an advice session for owners of thatched houses at Monks Eleigh Village Hall on 30th October at  7.30 p.m.

Owners from nearby villages are welcome to attend.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Busy Saturday

I had a busy day yesterday.

In the morning I went along to Lavenham Library to present the prizes for the summer reading competition.  The children, who had all read at least six books during the summer holidays, received certificates and a medal each.  They all appeared pleased, but seemed to enjoy spending time on the computer rather more than listening to me.

In the afternoon I was very pleased to be asked to attend the opening of the wonderful skatepark in Bildeston.  A good many residents turned out to watch the Chairman of the Parish Council, Andrew Gutteridge, pictured below,  cut the red ribbon.  I had not realised that it is possible to use scooters and roller skates in addition to traditional skateboards on the park.  This means that children of all abilities can be accommodated and that they can progress from easier to more difficult equipment in time.

It was clear that a good number of Bildeston children have already become very skilled, and that the facility will be much used.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Great Waldingfield Jubilee Garden

Great Waldingfield is to create a Jubilee Garden on part of the playing fields.

With this in mind a competition was held to encourage residents to design the garden and recommend a planting scheme.

The name of the winner, Linda Lutz, was announced at the Flower and Produce Show a couple of weeks ago.

When I caught up with Linda, pictured above with her mother, Mrs Hill, at the Flower Festival last weekend,  she told me a little about her ideas.  The design sounds really exciting, with something for all residents, young and old.  In addition,  Linda’s planting scheme incorporates plants whose names refer to aspects of royalty and the royal family.

I am really looking forward to seeing the garden become a reality.

Incidentally, Mrs Hill also won a prize at the show for her embroidery...so clearly the family is one of many talents!