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

Monday, June 30, 2014

Brettenham Has Talent

Yesterday we went along to the Brettenham Has Talent art exhibition held in the Parish Church.

We arrived a little late, but were in time to enjoy the works on display, and also to admire the church. In addition to pictures by local artists, work by school children was on show, including a range of interesting decorated masks, with illuminating descriptions.

I particularly liked the understated pottery created by Fiona Camp, who lives in the village.  The giclee prints by Carol Saunderson were also of note, as were the watercolours by Michael Waldon.  I was much taken by a picture called The Red Umbrella, but unfortunately it vanished from the walls before I had a chance to go back and write down the name of the artist.  There was also a fine picture of a large lurcher, which, of course, I found very appealing.

Once we left the show the rain had stopped and we were able to enjoy a walk from the church to Ryece Hall across the fields.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Conservative Party candidate selection hits the streets of Sudbury.

If you were out and about in Sudbury today you may have noticed groups of people with score sheets wandering around with individuals sporting blue rosettes.

I can reveal that this exercise was in fact part of the selection process for the Conservative Party Candidate who will stand in next year’s general election.   Each person, many of whom had travelled especially to Suffolk for the event, was asked to engage the citizens of Sudbury in conversation on topics of local and national importance.  They were observed and their demeanour and feedback was then assessed and scored by volunteers from the South Suffolk Conservative Association.

The candidates had been short listed from over 100 applications from people on the Conservative candidates list.   I am happy to say that there was a good balance of men and women, and all have experience of life outside politics (which is more than can be said for some of our current MP’s.)

This exercise is part of the process that is aimed at whittling the group down to a final short list of three or four.  All association members will be eligible to pick the candidate from this list, which  means that we have had to hire a rather large hall for the last stage! We expect to announce the identity of the candidate, all being well, within the next three weeks.

So watch this space!

Friday, June 27, 2014

An hour at the seaside

One day last week one of my meetings was cancelled and I found myself with three hours to spare before the next one.  I had had enough of the relentless stream of e mails, and, indeed, the inside of Endeavour House, so I took myself down to Felixstowe to look at the sea and the ships.

I do love to see the vessels great and small plying back and forth along the sea lanes.  I like the vastness of the container boats, the ferries going to Harwich, and the more interesting, smaller, boats which are probably making their way to and from Ipswich Docks.

The sea front has been much improved by the removal of all the concrete, and the sandy beaches, created as part of the renovation works, have fared pretty well despite last winter’s gales.  I am pleased to report also that Suffolk Coastal DC has recently put a stop to launching from the beach of paper lanterns that do so much environmental damage.  Now all they have to combat are the jet skis!

I have been reading a book, Deep Sea and Foreign Going by Ruth George,  the story of a woman’s journey on a container ship from Felixtowe to the far East.  In addition to describing the life on board, which, being pretty dull, would not really fill many pages, the book is a compendium of almost everything you need to know about the world of modern shipping.  George covers a wide range of topics from modern day piracy and the role today of missions to seamen, to the terms and conditions of crew members, whales, and the issue of the refuse and plastic that floats in great abundance in the oceans.

It is a must read for anyone interested in gazing at the passing ships from Felixstowe promenade and wondering what it would be like to be on board.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Domestic abuse cannot be tolerated at any level.

Readers of the website may be aware of the letter in today's Suffolk Free Press referring to the fact that the Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds, David Ruffley, was recently cautioned for an incident of common assault against his partner.

I am called upon in the letter to 'show leadership' in this matter since I am the Chairman of the Suffolk Domestic Abuse Partnership.   I do not wish to wait for a week before making my position clear, and therefore I set out below the text of a letter that I wrote yesterday to the Fawcett Society of Bury St Edmunds who had expressed concern about the incident.

'Thank you for your e mail.

As far as the specific case that you mention is concerned I have no power to influence directly any action that may be taken by the constituency association involved since, living in the Sudbury area,  I am not a member.

However  I cannot condone any incident of domestic abuse, regardless of the identity of the perpetrator or his position in society or political persuasion.   I have always been, and will continue to be,  clear about this view.

The Suffolk Domestic Abuse Partnership works tirelessly through officers at the County Council, Suffolk Police and other agencies, and partners from the voluntary sector to combat abuse and violence against women in all its forms. As Chairman of the Partnership I am totally committed to supporting and continuing this work, and will be active in confronting complacency or indifference towards domestic violence whatever the source.'


Sunday, June 22, 2014

A concert in Bildeston and picnic in Wattisham.

Yesterday evening Nick and I very much enjoyed a Midsummer Concert at Bildeston Church.

Featuring music from Bildeston Primary, Hadleigh High and Thomas Gainsborough Schools, the money raised was shared between the Church and the B Natural music festival which takes place in the village on the weekend of 6th and 7th September.

All sorts of music was on offer.  Bildeston Primary got the concert off to an excellent start with a fine rendition of songs from the First World War, including Roses of Picardy, which always brings a lump to my throat.  It was certainly very poignant as rendered here!   The young singers were first rate and are to be commended for having learnt all the songs by heart.  Folk, songs from the shows and others followed, and the evening was brought to a terrific close by the Swing Band from Hadleigh High School.  The audience were literally dancing in the aisles!
Hadleigh High Swing Band
We learned quite a lot about the B Natural music festival and have certainly been inspired to be there in September.  To learn more about the event click here.

Today we were invited to the Summer Picnic in Wattisham in aid of St Nicholas Church Trust.   

 Wattisham is a small place, almost the smallest in the Cosford Division, but it certainly punches above its weight when it comes to event organisation.  Food and drink were copious, dogs were welcome, and all were impeccably well behaved. Helicopters from the nearby airbase stayed at home, and the weather was good.

We were entertained by a series of musicians, and the food, delivered to each table in huge hampers was first rate.  Everyone won a prize on the tombola…and Nick and I will certainly find a place for our two pairs of luminous green and purple sun glasses!

The Church at Wattisham is now redundant, but is used as a social centre by the village and is an attractive space, although much of its furniture has been removed down to Bildeston Church.   At the west end, under the tower,  there is a very odd plaque on the wall, which I will not descibe here, but the contents of which could be one of the great mysteries of Suffolk.  More on this in a later post perhaps.

Farewell to Bob and Gill

Bob with Colin Spence

A party was held at Bob’s Stores in Acton yesterday afternoon to bid goodbye to Bob and Gill Hodgson who have run the store for 37 years. In addition to providing me with newspapers and other necessities over the years, Bob and Gill have been a great support, and I will certainly miss our little chats!  I am pleased to say that the couple are not going very far in their retirement, having built a new home just around the corner.

A bright green cake was baked for the occasion and celebratory drink was also on offer.

The new owner, who comes from Sri Lanka, will be arriving over the weekend and will be taking over the shop on Monday.  His name is Mukua.  (Actually it is something rather longer than that…but Mukua will do for now I think!)

I am looking forward to meeting him.  I am sure that he will enjoy living in the village, and I know that all wish him well in his new venture. 

Acton residents enjoying a drink and cake in the sunshine.