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February, 2016

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The title suggestion came from a friend’s book recommendation but it could equally fit yesterday’s postal delivery or today’s walk.

The postman had brought a prize from Silver Travel Advisor, arriving within two days to Jennie’s and my amazement: it’s a backpack, not needed for a walk around the village but ready for three trips later, to Cornwall, the Peak District and Cantabrica. A very welcome stocking filler, to paraphrase Jennie’s description, and gratefully received.

Yesterday had also been bright if chilly and we walked as three years ago for our first encounter with the village we now call home. This time the route was reversed so we came upon the snowdrops that had thrilled us then towards the end of the walk. We had also spotted species crocus, which I missed today and hope has not suffered. With a thinning of the trees on what is called the Plantation the snowdrops have spread in many areas and the bluebells, not yet in bloom of course, will be stunning next month.

Who knows what else will grow before the new trees begin to block the light – not in the average Silver Traveller’s lifetime, I suspect? There’s no need to return the same way, so I didn’t but crossed the Recreation ground to Blacksmith’s Lane – once also a rope walk – for blackthorn blossoming beside a small stream. The Lane was muddy so the field route home was not for me; I remembered anyway there was a letter to post. How wonderful we have a shop that competes in quality with any supermarket and what it loses in price it makes up for in friendly service and the saving on – even cheap – petrol. It also has stamps when the part-time post office is closed.

The church tower through the trees is always good to see. After a long walk it means nearly home as we live across the road. A short walk can always end with a search for the wild flowers that have given the churchyard status as a county nature reserve. No wild flowers yet, apart from perennial daisy and a buttercup, but there were numerous naturalised primroses, as there had been by The Old Forge house in Blacksmith’s Lane. Richard and Marion at Woodwards, opposite the forge, will be gearing up for their first charity opening. Find them in the Suffolk NGS Yellow Book. Their daffodils were bright in the lower garden area.

For first time visitors the former telephone box, just past the gate of Woodwards, is now the village Infobox. It can be used for book exchanges and local information and services. There are free leaflets on the nature trail and the local listed buildings – around 30 of them within walking distance. There is also the churchyard nature guide, creatures as well as plants, produced jointly with Suffolk Wildlife Trust. For total orientation there’s a large OS map on a board.

To visit, you can drive and park at the Community Centre. Public transport has a bus service from Ipswich station: it may not be the limousine that Shrubland Royale, the hotel, spa and restaurant once used in a scene from not that James Bond film, but it arrives in fifteen minutes, as quick as any vehicle except a 007 special. A village company performed a number of his stunts, you may wish to know.

Whatever the day it’s just the thing, and either before or after Coddenham Stores has tea or coffee, with cake or they’ll make you a sandwich.


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