We actually finished work a week or so ago. I say ‘or so’ as it depends when I get this finished and sent out as to how long the actual timescale is. Normally we would have gone away straight away but for once the school did the sensible thing and held the support staff party at the end of term rather than a week in to the holidays. Well, it would have been rude not too, wouldn’t it and a thoroughly good time was had by all.
Of course it being the end of term my work as a bus driver was done, but soon after the half term break Trev took over as caretaker at the Nursery & Pre-Prep school just up the road. Although also term time only his attendance was required the day after to help ‘de-Christmas’ the school ready for the new term in January. It would have been rather churlish of me - if somewhat easier - to lay in bed nursing a surprisingly mild hangover so I went in as well. An early visit to the fast food wagon for a bacon baguette helped no end.
With another party to attend on Saturday night – catching up with some friends we hadn’t seen for far too long – it was Sunday morning when we hauled Patsy up out of Sussex, around London and into East Anglia and Suffolk.
We stayed in Suffolk this time last year too – just south of Bury St Edmunds – but this time we’re a little further east, at a lovely CL at Broughton Hall Farm in Stonham Aspal owned and run by fellow Twitterer Elizabeth. The site sits in the orchard behind a lovely old farm house – itself surrounded by a moat - behind the village church. It’s a really pretty site even at this time of year, but would look truly divine I’m sure when the weather is better. One can only imagine it when the trees blossom in the spring or conversely, when the leaves start to change colour in the autumn.
We have the site to ourselves – hardly surprising given the time of year – and it’s probably just as well as we’re perched on the access road to the main part of the site. Although firm, the grass is too soggy to risk Patsy’s considerable mass. It may be a CL but there are many of the usual facilities – electric hook up and toilet and shower facilities which are excellent. Decent soft toilet roll rather than the single ply sandpaper grade so beloved of certain club sites and a spacious shower where the water is as hot as you like and plentiful. A cute little old caravan serves as the information room and is well stocked with leaflets and info as well as a range of books should you forget your reading matter. It’s also keenly priced – there are no extras for 15
awnings/dogs/kids/etc. Wifi is included too. Good on ‘em, although my cheap and cheerful Hudl pad struggles to pick up the signal. But then it struggles to pick up our home wifi at the other end of the flat! Everything else has been fine.
Oh, and STOP PRESS! My ageing trusty black leather trenchcoat has not made the 140 mile journey north and east. But don’t worry, I’ve not gone for a sartorial makeover and actually started dressing sensibly. Perish the thought. A recently procured duster style coat from eBay – black and leather – obviously – is getting it’s first outing this trip. It’s lighter than my trench and fits a little better I think, although it took a couple of goes with a bottle of febreeze and a good going over with a leather cream to banish the smell of stale tobacco that accompanied it. It appears, after a few outings to attract a little less attention than the rather ‘in yer face’ trench. There’ll be a photo or two at some point.
Right, so that completes the fashion report, but where have we been? Well, it’s all been a bit relaxed after the silly o'clock starts we’ve been used to for our jobs and as a result we’ve not seen as much as we could have done, particularly when you consider how short the days are at the moment. Anyway, here’s what we’ve been up to:
First up on Monday, eventually, was Diss – just across the border in Norfolk. Why Diss you may ask? Well, it wasn't far away, I’d never been there and Trev had – many many moons ago.
It lies in the valley of a river – the Waveney - and partially surrounds a mere or lake. There is a partially pedestrianised high street and it was good to see a number of independent shops although I would have expected it to be a little busier being as it was, just before Christmas. Parking was free for the first hour and well done to the local authority for being a bit forward thinking. Hopefully, it encourages people to shop local more. A refreshing change from the many that adopt the ‘take ‘em for as much as we can’ approach, then wonder why punters head out of town.
Notable ‘Diss’ians’ include Thomas Lord, founder of a certain cricket ground in North London, England footballer Matthew Upson and a lady by the name of Ethel Le Neve who has the dubious distinction of being the mistress of one Dr. Crippen.
Next cab off the rank was the small town of Eye, back in Suffolk. Worthy of one of those brown tourist signs it wasn’t on our list of places to see but we thought we’d swing by and take a look. It was certainly pretty, even in the gloom of a cloudy mid-afternoon in December but very quiet too – although we later realised that Monday closing may have had something to do with this! What was open was a butchers and we decided to procure some provisions for the coming days. We picked up a pie, sausages and some shin of beef for a stew. As I speak, the stew is in the slow cooker and if the meat is anything like the quality of the pie and bangers it will be delicious.
One of Eye’s most famous son’s is actor Brian Capron – better know to many as murderer Richard Hillman in Coronation Street, but those of a certain age (like me) will remember him as teacher ‘Hoppy’ Hopwood in Grange Hill in the early eighties.
Last up was Debenham, just a few miles from the site and without doubt the most attractive – the numerous cars lining the main road notwithstanding. A couple of pubs looked particularly inviting but we settled instead for a coffee and sarnie at one of the cafes. A local Co-Op ensured that – together with our purchases in Eye – we wouldn’t have to hunt out and traipse around a supermarket, at least for a few days.
Right, the word count is climbing. I’m going to call a halt now, but check back soon for more inane ramblings as our stay in the great county of Suffolk continues – with some exciting news about #TwitterCampUK too.