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, February 26, 2017

Two views of the landscape at Gainsborough's House

 On Friday evening we went to the opening of two exciting exhibitions at Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury. 

The County of Elms in the Main Exhibition Gallery showcases work by the artist Julian Perry. 

Visitors can view an evocative and elegiac collection of some 30 pictures featuring the ill-fated trees, which stand as a stark reminder as what can happen if we fail to look after our environment.   On the Gainsborough’s House website Julian explains:-
“Superficially it can seem that the countryside has changed little since Constable’s time. However, habitat loss, species decline and climate change are having a profound and ongoing impact on the landscape.”
Before the devastating effects of Dutch elm disease, Suffolk had one of the highest number of Elm trees in the country, and was known affectionately as the ‘County of Elms’.
“As a child I witnessed the catastrophic death of twenty million English elm trees. For several years the huge dead trees stood as towering witness to what can happen if things go very wrong. For me, trees are a visual signifier of what can be good or bad about our relationship with the natural world.”

The other exhibition, in the Upper Bow Room, Constable at Gainsborough's House,  is perhaps less immediately visually stunning, but is of great interest and also of some significance to the future direction of Gainsborough’s House.  Born in East Bergholt, John Constable was a great admirer of Thomas Gainsborough.  Finding inspiration in  his landscape drawings and paintings, he is reported to have told a friend ‘I fancy I see Gainsborough in every hedge and hollow tree’.

Recently the museum has been offered, on long loan, a most interesting collection of artworks, painting materials and family memorabilia which have descended directly through Constable's heirs.  These are now on show and offer intriguing insights into the artist’s life and work.

Both exhibitions run at Gainsbororough’s House until  11th June 2017.   

Why not become a Friend and enjoy unlimited entry to these shows, the main collection, and other exhibitions later in the year?  For further information CLICK HERE.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

New deli in Long Melford

The Swan
The Swan in Long Melford has opened a deli next door to its successful  Inn/Restaurant.

Appropriately named 'The Duck Deli', the new shop has a wide range of interesting produce on sale, much of which is locally sourced.

Among other things there is a range of unusual cheeses and also charcouterie.  I noticed some very delicious looking scotch eggs.

Delis in Long Melford have in the past struggled to survive, but I think that being so closely associated with the restaurant will give the Duck Deli a good chance of success.  I am looking forward to eating the intriguing paprika and garlic olives that I was unable to resist!

Monday, February 20, 2017

An uncertain future for the Swan

The Swan Inn in Little Waldingfield, pictured above, faces an uncertain future as its owners of several years have declared bankrupcy.

The pub is still open and meals are available.  The Receiver has put in a management team and it is understood that it is the intention to sell the pub, hopefully as a going concern.

This is not the first time that this business has been in trouble, and I attach under the White Swan Tab above an article that gives the history by local writer and broadcaster, Brian Tora, who lives next door to the pleasant and atmospheric village inn.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Town council debut.

On Tuesday I attended my first Sudbury Town Council meeting. I found the experience refreshing and certainly a stark contrast to four years of enervating afternoons spent in the Council Chamber at Endeavour House.

For one thing the room at the Town Hall in which the Council meets is a fine one, with lovely swathes of Sudbury Silk adorning the walls.  I was concerned however  bythe way in which the seating is arranged at meetings as political parties line up opposite one another.  Is such a set up conducive to reasoned debate and consensus?   Does politics really have to be so prominent at this level of local government?  It is probably not up to a New Girl to complain too vehemently at this stage but I really do not think so.

I learned a few interesting facts at the meeting that may well be of interest to readers.

Firstly, now that the police station (sadly) no longer has an open desk, any lost property found in the Town should be taken to the Town Hall.  I am not sure what happens at weekends, but in these times of austerity finders and losers will just have to wait until Monday I suppose.

Secondly, the imminent closure of Babergh’s offices in Hadleigh, is, it appears, not all bad news for residents of Sudbury and the surrounding area.  Arrangements are to be made so that Babergh’s services can be accessed from the Town Hall.  I am not sure exactly what that will mean in reality but at least it seems that we will not all have to troop off to Ipswich for help and advice.

Thirdly, when I was tramping around the town prior to the election in January more than one resident spoke to me about the pedestrian crossing on Melford Road.  I understand that there have  been several accidents here, and I have noted that, despite quite reasonable signage at least from the north, for some reason the crossing is not very visible to drivers. On Tuesday, at the council meeting,  I raised this with County Councillor, John Sayers, and he, having raised the matter with County Highways with little success to date is now meeting our Member of Parliament James Cartlidge to see if further pressure can be applied from that direction.

How wonderful to be able to pass matters on to councillors at a ‘higher level’!

Three millenia in Chilton.

Chilton in 1597, when Elizabeth 1 was on the throne.

 At last week’s meeting of Little Waldingfield History Society, local historian David Burnett spoke to an audience of more than 40 people on the subject ‘Chilton, the first Three Thousand Years.’

I wrote a short comment on this site about the brilliant book that David has written on this subject at the time of its publication in September 2015.  The post can be found HERE

Andy Sheppard has written a detailed review of David’s talk, which was much enjoyed by all who attended.  It can be found on the LWHS tab above.

 Chilton Hall with moat.

The next two events of the Society will be at 7.30 in The Parish Room, Little Waldingfield.
On Wednesday 15th March, Geoffrey Robinson will tell the tale of Suffolk Pioneer Henry Adams Cupper, and take his audience on a transatlantic journey into the unknown.
On Wednesday 19th April, Ashley Cooper will tell the group about the myriad connections between Suffolk and India.

Visitors are very welcome to attend.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Nasty scam reported in Essex!

 A nasty scam has been reported by Trading Standards in Essex, which, for many of us in South Suffolk is just down the road!  Please see the message and advice from Suffolk Trading Standards below.

We have been advised by Essex Trading Standards that they have received three reports of roofers calling at homes, claiming to be from Trading Standards.

The callers are claiming that a roofer who recently carried out work is being investigated. The caller claims that they can carry out a survey of the resident’s roof and that they will be able to claim compensation as part of the investigation. They are then asking the resident for sums of around £2,000.

Trading Standards Officers are highly unlikely to visit a consumer’s home unless they have already been asked to by the consumer or a trusted friend or relative.

Trading Standards Officers will NEVER ask a resident for money.

There are certain precautions that can be taken to guard against doorstep callers:

·         Fit and use a door security chain when you open the door.
·         Check the identification of a caller by ringing their employer. Use the telephone number from your telephone book and not one they might supply.
·         Do not let anyone to carry out work on your house until you get a second opinion and never agree to callers who say “we are only in the area today”.
·         Never keep large sums of money in the house and keep purses out of sight, not near the door.

For further information or advice on consumer issues or rogue traders please use the following contacts:

Phone: 0345 4040 506

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lavenham Chapel of Rest to be restored

I read in the Parish Council Lavenham Spring Newsletter that the council intends to restore the chapel in Lavenham Cemetery.

The red brick building, which I suspect is of late Victorian vintage, was once used as a chapel of rest.   Having fallen into disuse many years ago, it was vandalised in 2008 and stained glass was destroyed.

The bell from the Chapel, pictured below, which is dated 1896, was removed from the chapel in 1979 for safety reasons and now hangs to the rear of the Guildhall, adjacent to the village lock up and mortuary.

These days it seems it is used by some residents for storage.

If you want to assist with the restoration the Parish Council writes

'As a first step over the weekend of 13/14th May, we are asking all users of the Chapel to help us clear out the space. Any items to be retained must be taken to a new location, and anything unwanted can be dumped in the skips that will be available. Anything unclaimed will be dumped in the skips.'

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Just doing his job, the sad tale of the monk, John Lakenheath

An impression of the Abbey at Bury St Edmunds prior to the Reformation

Don’t be too efficient because it could end in tears.

This is the message that might be taken away from a recent article on the British Library's Mediaeval Manuscripts site.  This tells the sad story of one John Lakenheath, a monk at th abbey in Bury St Edmunds at the time of the Peasants Revolt that took place in the summer of 1381.

Of course in Sudbury we all know about the late Fourteenth Century disturbances due to the sticky end that was met by our very own Simon of Sudbury, who was unfortunate enough to be Archbishop of Canterbury at the time.

This story from nearby Bury St Edmunds is no less gruesome and the fate of the victim possibly even more undeserved.

Lakenheath had made the mistake of reconstructing the abbey's  manor records which had been damaged in a much earlier riot by the local townspeople in 1327.  He created a book containing the information called the Lakenheath Register, which has survived to this day in the British Library.  

John Lakenheath;s introduction to his Register
 John was very proud of his work which was completed just a couple of years before the later troubles.   The existence of the Register meant, of course, that the monks were better able to continue to collect dues and fines from their properties.   It seems that they had set about this work with a vigour that was not much appreciated by the locals.  As a result when the abbey was attacked during the Revolt,  Lakenheath was singled out, among others,  for revenge.  The full story, with quotes from Lakenheath himself, and a witness of his fate,  can be found HERE.