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, July 31, 2017

Walnutree Hospital, past history and future plans.

The former hospital

I hear that the new homes built on the site of the former Walnutree Hospital in Sudbury are due to be marketed from September by the developers, P.J. Livesey.  Apparently the new area will be known as 'St Gregory’s Place'.

A good deal of the structure of the old hospital has apparently been preserved int he development.  I am personally less enthralled about this than some, and agree with the comments of a local historian than perhaps demolition followed by a full archaeological excavation of what must be an important historic site might have been a more valuable procedure overall.  However, I know that people become fond of buildings regardless of their architectural merit, and that therefore mine is probably a minority view.

Co-incidentally on Saturday evening, 5th August, at St Gregory’s Church nearby Phyllis Felton, the author of the book ‘Behind Brick Walls’  which traces the history of the site,will be ruminating on the time when the hospital was used as a workhouse.  Phyllis was a nurse at the Walnutree for 26 years, and her book traces the history of the hospital site since Anglo Saxon times.

This will be the fourth and last of an unusual series of  free events that last just an hour from 6-7pm, so you are able to go on elsewhere for the rest of the evening. During the hour there will also be music from Elizabeth Cobb (flute) Ron Spivey (French horn) and Tom Cogan (piano). You can enjoy a glass of wine or soft drink afterwards.

There are no tickets but it is a fundraiser - the organ needs £3,000 worth of treatment for starters - so Tom Cogan, St Greg's organist and director of music, is hoping that all comers will be generous with their donations.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Fear and Greed at the County Council

I am surprised and disappointed by the decision taken at the County Council last week to give double digit increases in allowances to the Leader and Cabinet Members, while holding the remuneration of backbenchers to the 1% increase currently ‘enjoyed’ by the officers of the council.

At a time when officers are being asked to take pay increases that fall well below inflation such a move seems wrong.  Apparently the higher allowances were recommended by an independent panel, which has looked at other councils and found the level of payments at Suffolk to be below average.  However, we are not talking about a marketplace here, and councillors can hardly jump ship and go elsewhere if they are dissatisfied with their lot.  Moreover, it is not as though there is a shortage of people wanting to take on the jobs of the current Cabinet.  Many very well qualified and, some might say, far more appropriate people are waiting in the wings.

I am pleased to say that at least a few Conservatives were prepared to abstain.  However I understand that this was a risky choice since it was decided that the vote should be subject to a ‘whip’.  It frankly seems unsavoury to me to force party members to vote in favour of higher  remuneration for some of their number (including those wielding the whip) when an unwhipped vote has generally been the norm in the past on crucial policy matters relating to the Fire Service, Education and Adult Care.

At the same meeting I understand that a decision was made to axe the free shuttle bus that is used by staff wishing to go into the centre of Ipswich at lunch time.  This seems another ill-considered move, particularly since the service was paid for out of car parking payments made by the staff themselves.   Fortunately Ipswich Borough Council has come to the rescue and is going to pay for the service.  Good for them.

Officers of the council work hard and have had to put up with a much increased work load in recent years as the number of people working at the council has been reduced.  Councillors need to maintain good relations with their officers and work comfortably alongside them to get policies through.  When the future looks ever more uncertain and the need for further cuts is on the cards, now is not the time to provoke justified resentment.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

French group seeks roots in Suffolk

Earlier this week, Little Waldingfield History Society welcomed 35 visitors from Lyon in France, all of whom are members of their local history society.  Among their number were decendents of the Appleton family that originally came from Little Waldingfield, and lived in Holbrook Hall.   

The visit to Little Waldingfield was arranged after the group organiser, a lecturer from the University of Lyon, wrote to LWHS asking whether it would be possible to arrange a trip to ‘Appleton Manor’.  It seems that the Appleton family has at least two descendants living in France, one line being traced through an American branch of the family.

The Appleton Memorial Plaque in Little Waldingfield Church
The happy event is described in detail on the ‘French visit’ tab above.  Many thanks to Andy Sheppard for the article.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A veteran from Pearl Harbour

Some friends who came to visit us over the weekend told us an interesting story about an incident in Lavenham.

They dropped into the Airmen's Bar at the Swan Hotel for a quick drink recently and encountered an elderly gentleman from the U.S. who was a veteran of the assault on Pearl Harbour in December 1941.

The visitor was invited to add his signature to the many names of U.S. servicemen already on the walls of the bar, and he obliged as can be seen from the picture to the left.  This was snapped by our friend shortly after it was inscribed.

Apparently the guest from the U.S, was very sprightly for his age (he must have been well over 90!), and had some interesting tales to tell.

Information about the signatures at the Airmen's Bar can be found on the American Air Museum in Britain website by clicking HERE

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A visit to Kiftsgate Court

We have just spent a few days in the Cotswolds.  While we were there I went with Angela (owner of the recently featured beautiful garden ) to visit Kiftsgate Court Garden near Chipping Campden.

On a steeply sloping site, the garden is a real joy.  It has wonderful long borders, a more contemporary area that includes a water garden with sinister black water, and fantastic views out over the vale of Evesham to the hills beyond.   We were too late sadly to admire the extraordinary Kiftsgate Rose, which spreads for yards into adjacent trees, but were compensated by the wide variety of summer perennials, including some spectacular hydrangeas.   The planting schemes were quite daring; no refuge taken too many in soft pinks, blues and purples but a willingness to include quite hot tropical colours occasionally lifting more gloomy corners.

The house is rather wonderful too.  The neoclassical fa├žade was imported from another house nearby and attached to a Victorian core.  It once was much larger, spreading back into the car park, and incorporating a huge ballroom.  The soft Cotswold stone gives the whole a golden glow.

The gardens date back to the 1930’s, and have been constantly evolving since then.  Three generations of lady gardeners have created this wonderful place, and we were lucky to meet the current incumbent.   It was interesting to talk to her about the challenges of maintaining the garden, and also to complement her on the quality of the small but very tasteful shopping opportunity in the porch of the house!  
Spectacular views from the lower garden

Thursday, July 20, 2017

All aboard for mentoring

The Allen Gardiner
On Thurs, 17th August, from 9.30am-11am, courtesy of Articulate, there is the opportunity to meet old and new acquaintance and enjoy a lovely brunch plus welcome (non alcoholic) cocktail aboard the brilliant river cruise boat, the Allen Gardiner.  The boat is berthed at Ipswich Haven Marina, and although the vessel will stay in port you will have a chance to experience being on board.

The purpose of the event is to introduce a project called ‘GrandMentoring’, an innovative initiative that harnesses the energy, skills and experience of older volunteers (50+) to support young people in our area to find work, stay on in education or take up training.

Originally the brainchild of Lord and Lady Freud, the scheme has been running in London since 2009. Now it is here in our own backyard!  In central Ipswich alone, there are more than 400 young people in care. Any person aged 50+ who wants to give back to the community, give a young person a chance and can spare about an hour a week (or equivalent) would make a huge difference. You may not fit the bill yourself, but you may know someone who does.  Any project that increases employability skills has obvious benefits for both those who are mentored and for local businesses.
This is all about changing lives and personal contact, not just giving money.

Tickets £15, Bookings close 10th August. To find out more, and/or to book in, please visit www.articulatehlc.co.uk