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More about me


Where I Live

I was born in county town of Suffolk, Ipswich,, England and now live in Woodbridge, Suffolk. Woodbridge is close to the internationally known site of Sutton Hoo and, according to Wikipedia, is a contender for the origin of the Grand Old Duke of York nursery rhyme. We do have all the ingredients, a hill that once led to the barracks, the horses being stabled lower down in the town, plenty of pubs and women on the way up! There is also a York house where the Duke of York stayed. The 5000 troops (700 cavalrymen) plus camp followers were there from 1803 to 1815. There are a few remains of these times, the old chapel became a baptist church and is now three cottages, the sick house (plague was a hazard) is now a cottage on the far side of the bypass - well away from where the barracks were - and a memorial stone in the graveyard. We have had a few famous residents and there was once a thriving boat building industry. However, Wikipedia allows entries that may not be totally accurate so I am none the wiser if this is fact - a health warning to all researchers!

Much of East Suffolk is a picturesque, quiet rural area much favoured by artists, birdwatchers and those just seeking a quieter, slower pace of life, once away from the internationally important port of Felixstowe in the south and the smaller port of Lowestoft at the northern boundary. The coastal area is punctuated with the picturesque small towns and villages including Woodbridge, Aldeburgh, and Southwold. At Minsmerewe have an important RSPB site and Orford Ness is a national nature reserve administered by the National Trust with an interesting history. The area has always had fortifications and there are castles still standing at Framlingham and Orford and a fort at Languardpoint in Felixstowe. Martello towerswere built in a different era and examples may be found at Felixstowe, Bawdsey, Shingle Street, Slaughden (Aldeburgh). This area is also known for its changing coastline, the medieval port of Dunwichhas almost disappeared under the sea, Bawdsey in the south is threatened and other villages north of Southwold are also threatened. A long shingle spit has developed south from Southwold and so the River Alde now meets the sea at Shingle Street. There is also a smaller spit building at the mouth of the River Deben towards Felixstowe. Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings are known for music thanks to Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. Snape Maltings has been revitalised so that it now has a diverse use as well as housing a famous concert hall.

Hobbies and Interests

I like to be active and many of my interests and hobbies are related to being outdoors. I am an active cyclist having been a member of the Cyclists Touring Club since my teens. I used to time-trial as a member of the Wolsey Road Club and won several trophies, but having children got in the way of evening 10 mile time-trails. Given a choice, I like to ride off-road, one of my favourite locations being the South Downs but east Suffolk also has a wonderful network of lanes so it is quite possible to do rides of 50 or so miles without using main roads. In East Suffolk the good network of bridleways and footpaths makes it easy to prepare a good days easy walking and to get away from civilisation. The Ramblers have some good ideas for walks both local and nationally.

Although living in a small town it is more like a village where I live and behind the house are open fields. From early childhood I was encouraged to value wildlife and now record birds that visit the garden for the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). As we are fairly near the coast, heathland a river, farmland and small wooded areas we can often record at least twelve different species in a week. In winter we get siskins, redwing, fieldfare plus extra migrants of birds we see all year such as blackbirds, goldfinch. Our main observatory is the back bedrooms of the house and, if we walk into the garden, it is not unusual for forty birds to take to the air!

When gardening, I plant what I like to no grand plan, so it fits the cottage idea. I include plants for wildlife so nettles are allowed in some parts. Fed up with supermarket vegetables my husband and I have just started to grow our own again, but looking at how they can be cultivated in a small plot and in boxes rather than long rows. Our family buy seeds and plants together so making it more cost effective and to reduce the risk of total crop failure. As a family we are also making jams, jellies, pickles and chutneys and sharing them from our produce.

I have also traced my family tree back to the 1600s and I am building up a photographic record of the places they lived.

Woodbridge Tide Mill and Granary

 Butt and Oyster, Pin Mill

 Framlingham Castle