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 26, 2015

Election special

Babergh District Council candidates for Waldingfield Ward, Frank Lawrenson and Margaret Maybury with Conservartive  Parliamentary Candidate, James Cartlidge.

Three dates for your diary.

At last summer is on the way and it is time to get out and about!  Here are some dates for your diaries.

Gainsborough’s House Print Workshop Exhibition.

At work in the Workshop
The nationally renowned Print Workshop at Gainsborough’s House will be holding one of its very popular exhibitions at St. Peter’s Church, Sudbury from 9th May to 16th May.

Friends of Gainsborough’s House have been invited to a private view between 12 noon and 2 p.m. on the first Saturday.

Exhibitions from the print workshop are always a great opportunity to find the right picture for that empty space on the wall or to find a perfect present.  Some of the country’s leading  printmakers work at Gainsborough’s House, and the art on show is always varied and interesting.

The next talk from Little Waldingfield History Society

In addition to the Concert in Little Waldingfield Church on 9th May at 7 p.m. previously advertised on this site,  Little Waldingfield History Society’s next talk will be held in the Parish Rooms on 20th May, when Roger Clark, a farmer, past president of the Suffolk Horse Society and former Master of the Essex and Suffolk Hunt will present a talk entitled ‘My customers and other animals.’

I have received an interesting review of the Society’s most recent talk by Sarah Doig which was about Henry VIII as seen through the eyes of his wives and mistresses.  I have posted this on a page above for a limited period only.

Chelsworth Open Gardens.

'The oldest and finest open garden event in the country'

A must for all garden lovers, I can reveal that Chelsworth Open Gardens will this year take place on Saturday 28th June between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

More than 20 gardens will be open and there will be an opportunity to purchase plants, produce, arts and crafts.

This year it will also be possible to view sculptures by Marjan Wouda in two of the gardens.
Entrance is £6 per person, children and parking free.

All proceeds to All Saints Church, Chelsworth

Cottages in Chelsworth.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Last Meeting at Babergh

Council Leader Jennie Jenkins with Peter Burgoyne
On Tuesday evening I attended my last formal event at Babergh District Council.

When I became a county councillor two years ago I made it clear that I would not continue to serve on two councils.  I honestly believe that residents are best looked after if one concentrates on doing one job at a time.

It was decided, sadly, not to have a full council meeting, due to lack of business.  I was hoping to put a question at the meeting about the council's record on conserving biodiversity, but sadly the opportunity was lost.

The end of a four year council must be marked somehow.  This is particularly the case this time at Babergh since some 16 members, a very high number, are standing down.  Perhaps some are tired at the constant carping about politicians!  A few others of course will not be returning due to electoral disaster, but that was only briefly touched upon on Tuesday.

Instead of a full council meeting, it was decided to call a 'Chairman's Meeting', which is not held in public.  Prior to the meeting there was a social gathering in what used to be the very attractive canteen area, now sadly closed. There was also the inevitable photograph.  The event overall was very enjoyable, if somewhat sad.

On the whole I have enjoyed my period on Babergh, where I have been a councillor for the past 8 years,  and have found learning about the activities of a District Council very interesting and rewarding.  I particularly liked chairing the IT Task Group in the first four years of the council, and also valued the brief period that I had as Deputy Group Leader during the second.

I have made no secret of the fact that I have mixed feelings about the way that the District Council is developing now, but feel that any comments I might make on this should probably wait until after the forthcoming election!

Council Chairman James Long makes a point to Sue Carpendale, leader of the Liberal Democrat Gtoup.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Metropolitan lovies' view of Ipswich

Our quiet rural county town
I received my future productions booklet from the National Theatre at the beginning of the week.

Some time ago the theatre put on a musical called 'London Road' which was based on the murders that sadly occurred in Ipswich in 2006.  I did not go to the show, and thought at the time that it was rather tasteless to stage something about a series of events that had only happened relatively recently and which had a very damaging and traumatic effect on the community.

A film has now been made based on the musical, and the live premiere is to be beamed to cinemas nationwide on 9th June.  It will then be on general release in some cinemas from 12th June.

What has irritated me this time however is the blurb accompanying the advertisement for the film.  This has clearly written by some metropolitan luvvie who has never set foot in Suffolk, let alone Ipswich.  He or she writes:-

'London Road documents the events that shook Suffolk in 2006, when the QUIET RURAL TOWN of Ipswich was shattered etc. etc.....'

Quiet rural town?  I wonder what the writer would make of Stowmarket, or Sudbury, or a really quiet rural town.  The ignorance of people living and working in the artistic bubble that is London about life in the rest of the UK never ceases to amaze me. Sadly this also applies to many of our politicians.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Events in Cockfield and Preston St Mary yesterday evening.

Nick and I had a busy evening yesterday.

Our first port of call was a lovely farmhouse in Cockfield where we attended a party in honour of Alan Morgan, who has been the Clerk of the Parish Council for 18 years, and who is now retiring.
Mr Morgan (left) recieves a gift from the Chairman in appreciation of 18 years as Parish Clerk.
 Alan is not going far. He is a resident of Cockfield and is standing as a Parish Councillor in the next Council which will resume work after the General, District and Parish elections. 

All the Parish Council were present, plus a previous chairman, David Hodge, and also the District Councillor, Clive Arthey.

A very good time was had by all!

The Annual Parish Meeting for Cockfield is on 30th April , and the new council will meet on Thursday May 21st in the village hall as usual.
Cockfield Parish Council, spring 2015.

At around 8.30 p.m. it was time to move on, accompanied by Clive and Lisa Arthey,  to nearby Preston St. Mary to attend the opening night of the newly refurbished Six Bells Pub.

It was quite an event! We were greeted at the door by braziers and a nine foot tall fairy,  complete with wand, who must have been very chilly on a not very warm April evening!  There were hordes of people present, both outside the pub and in.

The pub has been totally restored, the beams stripped and everything redecorated.  There were so many people there, and it was so dark, that it was difficult however fully to appreciate the new look.  The work has been undertaken by local resident Richard Martin, whose son has much experience in the catering industry, so I am sure that the venture will be a success.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Village life in danger?

The 'splash' in Kersey, with St Mary's Church in the background.

We are now well into the season of Annual Parish Meetings, with one or two every week, and sometimes two on one night!

There are 18 Parishes in the Cosford Division so this keeps me quite busy.  On Monday I went to a well-attended Annual Parish Meeting at Kersey.  Many of the multiplicity of village organisations sent representatives and reports, and their number is a credit to what is, after all, not a huge community.  According to the Babergh Year Book the population in 2012 numbered 348.

Some 16 separate village groups were listed on the agenda (Including the wonderfully named Franey Rand and Pest House charities.)  This reflects the fact that Kersey is a very community minded place with a great deal going on.

However, in common with most of the villages I represent, Kersey has a problem.  Too few people are now prepared to get involved with helping to run village organisations.  This means that the burden falls on just a few, and the few are getting older.  

The message from every group was the same: ‘unless new people come forward to help the future of this organisation is under threat’.  The warning was particularly stark from the Church.  Like other churches Kersey's has put in a kitchen and toilet facilities which means that the building can be used for a broader range of activities.  However, without warm bodies to do the work,  raise money and take the life of the church forward, the outlook for its preservation and conservation is bleak.

St Mary’s Church stands high and proud at the top of The Street.  It is a landmark from several miles distant, and a diminishing group of volunteers means that its bells still ring out on most Sunday mornings.  Were it to close for lack of support  the village would lose a key to its identity, and one vital source of its community spirit

Of course some of the very pretty cottages in the village are not occupied full time and the prevalence of weekenders is often blamed for the decline in village life. This is not necessarily so.  One of my villages now has its Parish council meetings on a Saturday morning because most of the councillors work away during the week.  They are, none the less, dedicated to the life of the village, which they clearly regard as home.

It is difficult to know what can be done.   You cannot force people to participate in village activities, particularly if they believe that if they take something on then they might be stuck with it indefinitely.  It would be interesting to research the problem more closely: to look at the demography of the village, the number of cottages that are not occupied much of the time, the number of ‘newly retired’  who are unengaged (often a rich seam to mine for new recruits).   Perhaps this could be done by the returning Parish Council in May, provided that the already overburdened members can find the time!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Drama in Chilton this Sunday

The multi-award winning writer and producer Robert Crighton, who has just completed a year as Artist in Residence at the Quay Theatre in Sudbury, will be bringing his one man play, The Summoning of Everyman to St Mary’s Church, Chilton this Sunday.

Chilton is one of the last stops on a extensive tour of West Suffolk.  This is a unique show with plenty of audience participation.  It has been very well received, and turns what originated as a mediaeval morality play into a piece of living theatre.

The performance starts at 3 p.m. at St Mary’s Church Chilton on Sunday 19th April.  Tickets are available at the door and cost whatever you wish to give.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring is here! get composting!

It has never been easier to start composting your kitchen and garden waste. 

Putting garden waste in the brown bin means that it has to be taken away by a truck, which is not very environmentally friendly. In some parts of the county you have to pay for this service too!  Raw vegetable scraps etc. are much better composted than put in the black bin. 

It is really satisfying, after a few months, to find a load of lovely crumbly brown compost to put onto the garden, and all for nothing!

The Suffolk Waste Partnership has recently teamed up with Get Composting to offer very keenly priced composting bins, along with other equipment.  The lowest priced bins start at under £20.00. You can find a link to their site here.

I find it is best to have two bins so that you can be filling one up while the other one works its magic.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Coming up in May in Little Waldingfield

Little Waldingfield History Society

Proudly Presents

A Musical Soirée

At St Lawrence Church
Little Waldingfield

Saturday May 9th at 7.00 p.m.

The programme will include JS Bach’s
§  Two violin concerto in D minor, and
§  Concerto for oboe and violin in C minor

Performed by Accomplished Musicians

Gillian Harritt (violin)     Emma Jane Willan (oboe)
Julian Azkoul (violin)                 Jad Azkoul (guitar)
Nick Parry (cello)              Patrick Friend (cembalo)

All profits will go towards maintaining
 St Lawrence Church

Advance tickets £6.00 (£7.50 on the night) are available from

Di Langford, Pitt Cottage, The Street, LW     01787 248298
Sue Sheppard, School House, Church Road    01787 247980

There will be a Licensed bar
for pre event and interval refreshments.