I intend this blog to describe what life is like for me living in a Suffolk lane. It will be a diary of sorts; the weather, the changing seasons, the great pleasures and the great inconveniences of living here.
I live in a detached house with a large garden in a small hamlet in North Suffolk – the Waveney Valley – the border land between Suffolk and Norfolk. The three nearest towns, all small market towns, are all about twenty minutes drive away. The nearest place where supplies can be bought is a small shop attached to a pub about four miles away. Any specialist shopping has to be done in Norwich or Ipswich. We prefer Norwich as it is easier to get there from where we live. Public transport is scant. There are a couple of dial-a-ride bus companies who will collect from your door, but the nearest bus stop is a couple of miles away and buses are few and far between. The nearest railway station ( please note that I do not use the words ‘train station’ ) is in one of the market towns where an hourly service takes us north to Lowestoft or South to Ipswich on a single track. Until very recently the service was every two hours but a passing loop has been put in at Beccles which has improved things greatly. If we need to get to London or Norwich and don’t wish to change at Ipswich/Lowestoft we drive to Diss, a market town thirty-five minutes drive away (unless stuck behind a tractor or a slow convoy of lorries when we might be travelling for forty-five minutes or more). We tend to drive everywhere and are lucky enough to own two cars. My husband works and has a company car which he will have to give back when he retires in eighteen months time. Our nearest large hospitals are at Lowestoft, Ipswich and Norwich and it takes us about three-quarters of an hour to get there. There are cottage hospitals in most of the market towns and medical centres in all of them.
There is not much for young people to do, unless they enjoy walking or have the money to pay for horse-riding or other country pursuits. Parents spend a lot of their time driving their children to different venues or friends’ houses, as do parents all over the country, but the distances are so great as the catchment areas for the schools are enormous. Older young people who can afford to drive cars or bikes can cope but those who cannot are often bored or lonely.
East Anglia as a whole is a very cultured place with many theatres, concert halls, music and dramatic societies etc., but again, you have to be able to travel a fair distance to take advantage of them. The coast is about nine miles from where we live and we enjoy walks there whenever we can. Winter walks are especially pleasurable when the seaside towns aren’t crowded with visitors; however when we walked at Southwold a few days ago on one of the few dry days this winter, we found it difficult to find a parking place. We love visiting Minsmere, the RSPB reserve near to us and there are areas of the coast owned by the National Trust and other organisations where we walk regularly. When our daughters were young we often went to Orford and Framlingham castles.
My husband and I attend the local church and our social life revolves around it and the friends we have made there. We get on well with our neighbours as is necessary in a fairly remote and sparsely populated area.
I love the remoteness, the quiet and the beauty of the place I live in and would wish to spend the rest of my days here.