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, October 30, 2016

What price conservation?

The town of Dubrovnik
In late September and early October we went on a holiday to the Adriatic and visited the Croatian town of Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik is one of 8 sites in Croatia that is registered with UNESCO as a world heritage site, and it is indeed a beautiful old town.  It is also a stupendously busy one!  Like Venice, and other places that make it onto the conservation list,   the town has been swamped by tourism, and many of its inhabitants have now moved to quieter and more convenient homes elsewhere.

Listed in the 1970’s, the attentions of UNESCO will mean that Dubrovnik is being preserved for posterity (although this did not save it from being shelled heavily during the Civil War in the Balkans in the 1990’s.)  The tensions caused by the conservation of the town as a living museum did give me pause for thought however. Must preservation come hand in hand with a level of tourism which in itself compromises the very nature of that which is preserved?

Roman cistern in Dubrovnik with bomb damage and sandbags during the 1990's
In the UK there are only 25 cultural world heritage sites, which seems a low number in comparison with the number in Croatia, a much smaller country.   There are many places at least as deserving as those already on the UNESCO list at home and abroad, including lovely Lavenham, which, with its unique collection of cloth merchants homes and its fine 15th Century church certainly compares with many places that have already been listed.

While encouraging more people to come to Lavenham is an admirable aspiration (the village and its businesses could certainly absorb more visitors without problem on most days of the year), the idea of encouraging the sort of hordes that we experienced in Dubrovnik or Venice does frighten me a little.   

Holiday cottages and second homes are already an issue in the community.  It is very important that the demands of cultural tourism go hand in hand with making sure that places of special interest continue to stay alive, and retain the sense of place that made them unique in the first place.

Tourists take time out in the shade in the old town of Dubrovnik (note the restored Roman Cistern!)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A good start for revamped community transport system

Different areas of coverage for Suffolk Community Transport
It is now four months since Suffolk Community Transport was reorganised and relaunched.  My colleague, Jessica Fleming, who has special responsibility for the initiative, tells me that all is going well.  The service, which is supported by the County Council, seeks to help people without access to regular public transport.

It is hoped to continually improve what is offered, and the next step is to use funds released by vehicle sales to improve connectivity with bus and train services.

To find out what is available in our area you should take a look at the website HERE.

If you have ever been attracted to the idea of driving a bus you could become a volunteer driver.
These are always in demand and there is now a webpage giving full information on what is required HERE .

If you have any problems or issues connected with the Community Transport service, please get in touch with me and I will pass your concerns and comments on to Jessica.

Friday, October 28, 2016

No escape on the 09.18 from Marks Tey

In the October newsletter that I receive every month summarising what has been going on at the County Council, I notice that there is an item about the Suffolk Rail Conference that took place earlier this week.

High on the agenda apparently was the issue of improving rail infrastructure (track capacity, signals etc.) in order to support the promised new rolling stock that is to be provided by Abelio Greater Anglia as part of the new rail franchise that the company, somewhat surprisingly, won in August.

Recent experience suggests that some new rolling stock is certainly needed!  I went down to London yesterday, taking the first possible ‘cheap day return’ train from Sudbury to Liverpool Street.  We all changed at Marks Tey onto the  main London line, and  all went well until we got to Chelmsford.  Then the train went quiet and there followed an ominously long wait.  We were eventually told that the train was going to terminate in Chelmsford owing to a ‘train fault’.

We waited for about half an hour and then piled on to the next London bound train which was something of a squeeze.  The new driver then informed us about the nature of the ‘fault’.  Apparently an unfortunate customer had got stuck in the lavatory on the train and had pulled the communication cord.  It seemed that releasing him or her had defeated the railway staff and it had been decided to cancel the service while assistance from elsewhere was sought.

The astonishingly cheerful group of passengers with whom I found myself on the later train were generally of the opinion that a passenger stuck in the loo was a much better excuse  than the usual autumnal bleat about ‘leaves on the line’.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Autumn apples

Our apples are fantastic this year.  Such a pity that we don't use them all, but sadly no time for juicing and little time to make apple chutney!

French drawings and more at Gainsborough's House

I spent a happy afternoon at Gainsborough’s House yesterday.  Firstly I visited the latest temporary exhibition French Drawings from the Time of Gainsborough. Later I dropped in to the open event at Gainsborough’s Chambers in Weavers Lane.  Here it was possible to look at the outline plans for the proposed major project that will create a national centre for Gainsborough in Sudbury,  the town of his birth.  Realisation of the scheme was recently brought a step closer by the award of £4.7m from the National Lottery.

The exhibition of French drawings is a real stunner.  On display are some 40 or so terrific works from the 18th Century by noted masters such as Fragonard, Boucher and Watteau to name but a few.  The general influence of these artists on Gainsborough’s work is clear, but moving closer to home, the exhibition also includes a small display focussing on the work of Hubert Francois Gravelot (1699- 1773). Gravelot lived in England for part of his life and Thomas Gainsborough was employed by him when he left Sudbury to work in London in his teens. The young artist also attended the St Martin’s Lane Academy, founded by Hogarth, at which Gravelot was an instructor.   Gainsborough’s House owns several works by Gravelot, and his elegant drawing A Young Lady seated on a Chair (c.1744), pictured aboveis on display in the exhibition alongside other examples of his work.

The exhibition is very well described and the wide variety of works on show mean that there is almost too much to absorb in one session.  There is a very fine catalogue that includes an essay by the curator of the show, Dr Christoph Vogtherr.  This is a steal at the price of £5 and would make a good Christmas present for any art lover.

Then it was on to the open event.  Around 150 people attended over  the course of the day,  and many took the opportunity to give early feedback to the outline proposals.   On the whole the comments were very positive and reflected enthusiasm for the ambition of the project and the potential impact on the future of Sudbury and the surrounding area.

There will be further open events of this kind in the coming months as the fundraising effort for matched funding gets underway. 

The exhibition, French Drawings from the Time of Gainsborough runs until February 19th 2017.

Picture description
Gravelot (1699-1773), Hubert-Fran├žois
A Young Lady Seated on a Chair(c 1744).
Black chalk heightened with white chalk on buff paper
32.5x25.5 cm
Gainsborough House Museum, Sudbury.  Acquired 1993. 

Time to apply for autumn 2017 secondary school places

There is just a week for parents and carers to submit their application to secure their child’s place at a Suffolk secondary school for September 2017.  

Getting the application in on time really does give you the best chance of securing a place at the child’s preferred school. The deadline is Monday October 31st.

Just because you live very close to a particular school you cannot make the assumption that this will mean that your child will secure a place there, particularly if it is a popular establishment.  Filling in  a form, on line or in hard copy  is vital.  This is due to the fact the popular schools are often requested by parents living out of catchment, and their applications could take precedence over those living closer when no form has been filled in.

If possible parents are asked to select more than one school in their application.

More information on the process can be found HERE.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Latest news from LWHS

Map of USAAF airfields in Suffolk. Chilton Airfield (Sudbury) is ref 62, while Lavenham is 36.

We were very sorry to miss the latest Little Waldingfield History Society event earlier in the month.

Aviation archaeologist Ian McLachlan gave what seems to have been a very fascinating talk about the activities of the US Army Airforce in East Anglia during the Second World War.  A summary can be found under the tab 'Overpaid, Over Sexed etc.' above.  Many thanks to Andy Sheppard for this.  The report came with some great photos but sadly technical incompetence, or the shortcomings of Blogger, has meant that I am only able to include a few.  If anyone would like a word document with all the pictures embedded I would be happy to forward this.  Just contact me on jenny@antillantill.com.

 Forthcoming events:-

 Fund Raising Concert.

The Society is organising a concert in November to raise money for the Fabric Fund of Little Waldingfield Church.  Bury St Edumunds Male Voice Choir will be singing a wide selection of songs, ancient and modern, in St Lawrence's Church at 7.30 p.m. on Saturday 19th November.  There will be a licenced bar for pre concert and interval refreshments and there will also be a raffle.
Tickets are £8 each and can be obtained from:-

Di Langford, Pitt Cottage, The Street, Little Waldingfield 01787 248298

Sue Sheppard, School House, Church Road, Little Waldingfield 01787 247980

The concert is kindly sponsored by John Sparkes.

Forthcoming talk

The Society's next event will be on 9th November at 7.30 in The Parish Room, when Geoffrey Kay will regale members and guests with his talk on the Great Exhibition of 1851. This was the first international exhibition of manufactured products in the world, organised by Henry Cole and Prince Albert, and held in the purpose built Crystal Palace in Hyde Park.
The Society look forward to welcoming guests new and old to the Parish Room for what is going to be a fascinating evenings entertainment.

Piccadilly Lily