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

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Munnings at LWHS, plus the next event.

Speaker, Marcia Whiting.
The lecture about Sir Alfred Munnings at Little Waldingfield History Society given by Marcia Whiting, was very informative entertaining.  It inspired many of us to plan to take the trip down to Dedham to visit Castle House Museum where the artist spent the last 40 years of his life.

In the absence of Andy Sheppard, who was indisposed, I have written a brief review of the evening which can be found under the ‘Munnings’ tab above.  It was interesting to hear about the artist’s involvement in the purchase of Gainsborough’s House in the 1950’s, and I have added a little research of my own on the subject to the review.  This comes from a piece I wrote about Gainsborough’s House in 2013 which was included in the Sudbury Museum Trust publication The Painter, the Princess and the Statue, edited by Valerie Herbert.  (Copies of this fascinating book are still available I believe.)

I hesitate to advertise the next LWHS event, since the Guest Speaker will be none other than me.  I feel very honoured to have been asked to give a lecture about Russian history to the Society and have chosen to speak about ‘The Bronze Horseman, A Tale of Petersburg’.   

Whether or not you have visited the ‘Venice of the North’ you should find this talk interesting.  Previous members of the audience have told me that they learned more about the history of the city and its landmarks from it than they did from the Russian tour guides on the spot.  I can’t really comment on this, but the talk is illustrated by a number of attractive slides and also a little bit of poetry, and people seem to like it on the whole.

The talk will be at the Parish Room, Little Waldingfield on Wednesday June 22nd at 7.30 p.m.
Booking Secretary              
Diana Langford, Pitt Cottage                                          Phone: 01787 248298

Saturday, May 21, 2016

New community transport plans, how to find out more.

Suffolk’s new community transport arrangements will start on June 13th.    
 These services provide a lifeline for those people, mainly living in rural areas, who do not have access to a car or public transport.

The services have recently undergone an extensive review and reorganisation which is aimed at providing a more efficient and responsive service.   Full details are available on the Suffolk Onboard website HERE..

A series of information events are being held across the county where residents can find out more.

The Babergh area event will be held on Friday 27th May in the Dining Room at Hadleigh Town Hall between 10.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m.  Our area will be served by a combination of Hadleigh Community Transport and Sudbury based Go Start.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Cockfield Art Show

If you are looking for somewhere to go over the next bank holiday weekend I strongly recommend going along to the Cockfield Art Show.

The event will be held in the Village Hall and will showcase some 300 art works plus craft items for sale.  When I spoke to one of the organisers earlier this week she told me that some 64 artists will be represented.

The show is open every day over the weekend, 28th, 29th and 30th May, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Entry is free.  Home made refreshments and light lunches will be served and credit and debit cards will be accepted for art purchases.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Suffolk Fire Review

Yesterday I made a contribution to the debate about the future of the fireservice in Suffolk at the Cabinet meeting in Ipswich.

At Suffolk County Council Cabinet Meetings, although the decision is made by the Cabinet, any councillor can turn up and say their bit.  I wanted to make a comment about the very good consultation meeting that was held for the villages to the north of Sudbury at Great Waldingfield Village Hall during the consultation period.  The meeting was quite well attended and the residents who came were given a very comprehensive picture of what was proposed.  I came away from the meeting feeling that the consultation was being carried out in an honest and transparent way, and that people's views were noted.

So often consultations are something of a sham.  They are prescribed by legislation, so must take place, but often the decisions have already been taken.  This was not the case on this occasion.  As can be seen from the Cabinet paper, almost all of the original proposals were amended following consideration of the feedback from the public. This included a rethink on the decision to replace the second fire engine in Sudbury with a smaller, rapid response vehicle.

I am actually a bit disappointed by this, since it seemed to me that the RRV would be more flexible and speedy while retaining many of the features of the larger vehicle.  However, an RRV is to be commissioned elsewhere in the county and time will tell whether it proves its worth, particularly in rural areas.

Because its services deal with life and death situations, the Fire Service is something of a sacred cow, and an obvious area to make political noise.    My view is that this can be dangerous.  As times goes on circumstances do change, and no service should be exempt from review.  In this instant it is well documented that the number of call outs for the Fire Service have declined quite dramatically in recent years.  The use of smoke alarms have increased, and modern houses tend not to have as many fire incidents as older properties.

 It is therefore only right to review the configuration of the service, having due regard for risk, and this review lies behind the current proposals.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A quiz night for Compassion on 17th June, combatting domestic abuse in South Suffolk.

Compassion, the local charity that supports victims of domestic abuse,  is holding a quiz night to raise funds on Friday 17th June.  Please try to come along and support this vital work.

Like others I have been following the story of Helen Archer every evening and twice on Sundays on Radio Four.  For those who are not Archers fans I have to reveal that Helen, who is pregnant,  is currently languishing in prison, unable to obtain bail.  She is there because, in circumstances of extreme provocation, she stabbed, and almost killed, her abusive and controlling husband, Rob.  Helen has not only lost her freedom, she has lost access to her 5 year old son, and it is likely that, when it is born, she will also lose her baby.

The inclusion of this robust story line in the radio soap about the implications for a family of domestic abuse has not been without controversy,  Indeed it has permanently alienated some long term listeners to the programme.  The plot has been criticised as over sensational and unrealistic, but actually this is not the case.  All over the UK women and men are living with abusive partners and, from time to time, this leads to situations such as Helen's.

Suffolk is not exempt from the problem.  According to Suffolk Constabulary quarterly reports to Suffolk County Council Domestic Abuse Partnership, In Suffolk alone in 2014/15 there were over 9000 incidents of abuse reported to the police, a 12.5% increase over the previous year. Due to the fact that many incidents go unreported, the figure was probably a lot higher than this.  It is highly likely that someone you know is affected.  The impact on victims and, often, their children, is serious in every case.

For almost 15 years, the local charity, Compassion, has been combatting domestic violence in and around Sudbury by supporting victims and their families, running courses and raising awareness in the community.    Recently the organisation adopted charitable status in order to increase its scope and it now urgently needs to raise funds to pay for necessary growth across the whole Babergh area.

Please think about getting a team of six together for the Quiz Night.  If you want to come individually or as a pair we will try to match you up with others.   The event is to be held at Newton Green Golf Club and tickets at £10.50 will include a glass of wine on arrival and a hot meal.  Drinks and ice cream will be available to purchase.

Full details from me:jenny@antillantill.com (tel: 01787 378310)  or from Elaine at : admin@compass-ion.org

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Foster Care Fortnight

As I write this we are in the middle of Foster Care Fortnight 2016. 

Foster Care Fortnight is the UK’s biggest foster care awareness raising campaign, delivered by leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network. Established for almost 20 years, the campaign showcases the commitment, passion and dedication of foster carers. It also supports fostering services to highlight the need for more foster carers. 9,070 new foster families are needed in the next 12 months alone to care for a range of children, with the greatest need being for foster carers for older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum seeking children 

At any one time Suffolk County Council has around 750 children in care who need people to provide them with a safe and stable home.  Anyone can apply to be a foster carer whether they are single or married, own their own home or not.  All they need is to be able to offer space in their home and time in their lives for a child.  Teenage children are particularly in need of foster carers to support them through difficult years. 

I am not sure whether being a foster parent should be regarded as a ‘career’, but it is certainly a worthwhile supported occupation through which people give something back to the community. All foster carers receive financial allowances to look after the children in their care as well as payment for the time spent carrying out their role as a foster carer. It is a good way to allow people to work at home, and could even provide a new way ahead for someone looking to change direction.

Foster carers in Suffolk are participating in a success story.  The fact is that Suffolk is good at looking after children in need.  In February the authority’s Children’s Services were rated as Good by OFSTED, only one of 17 out of 83 authorities to be so judged.

The inspector praised our social workers for their work in keeping children in care safe. They were commended for knowing children well and understanding their needs.  Children and their families were considered to receive a timely and comprehensive early help service.  In particular OFSTED recognised the good support given to children that need foster carers or who are seeking adoption.

To find out more about fostering contact our Recruitment Team on 01473 264800 or visit https://www.fosterandadopt.suffolk.gov.uk  you can also enquire about becoming a foster carer online via – https://www.fosterandadopt.suffolk.gov.uk/contact-us

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Half an hour in Covehithe

Travelling up the Suffolk coast recently on our way to visit friends, we stopped off to take a look at Covehithe, a small settlement just north of Southwold.

Apparently Covehithe has suffered the highest level of coastal erosion of any place in England, losing some 60 feet of land in one year alone in the 19th Century, and experiencing a retreat of some 500 metres between the 1830’s and 2001.  Today it is no longer possible to walk down to the beach, which was a disappointment to Rendle the Lurcher, who enjoys seaside walks. Nonetheless we were able to spend a happy half hour or so looking at the extraordinary church of St Andrew, which is effectively a church within a church.

The church that is in use today is surrounded by the ruins of an earlier church, which was built in late mediaeval times.   The substantial and clearly impressive original, built by a donor, was probably always too large for the community it was designed to serve.  In 1672 the diocese gave permission to pull down all but the tower, sell the materials that could not be re-used, and build a smaller church within the shell.

The iconoclast, Dowsing, had a good go at the original church in 1643, and the fifteenth century font, now in the new church, is sadly damaged.  However Mortlock quotes Dowsing complaining in his journal: ‘We could not reach (the roof), neither would they help us raise the ladders’.  Sadly that roof, saved from desecration,  is long gone today.

Mortlock describes the new church as ‘simple and homely’ ‘with ‘its thatched roof (it) snuggles up against the east wall of the tower.’  The simple Stuart table that serves as an altar is probably cotemporaneous with the commissioning of the new building.

The day we visited it was warm but and breezy with a mixture of blue sky and rather threatening cloud.  The ruins, set against the sky, looked suitably stark and romantic.  The churchyard was grassy and pleasant to wander in. Our visit to Covehithe was an interesting interlude on our way up the Suffolk coast.