Category Archives: suffolk

Foraging in the hedgerows – spring

Today I went foraging in the woods with friends for the fresh green tops of stinging nettles which are just coming into growth to make nettle and ginger beer. I can’t yet vouch for the flavour – it takes about 7 days to be ready to drink, so watch this space.

Even if it turns out barely drinkable it was a good reason to get out into the spring sunshine, which angled through the new leaves and splashed on colonies of white wood anemones. Top tips are avoid anywhere dogs might have used as a toilet, and stick to the bright green top growth rather than the older, darker leaves.

There is a good recipe here – fingers crossed it turns out well, and is worth the odd sting. Go try it!

NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.

Stinging nettle pic by foreby on flickr
Wood anemone pic by Vinje on flickr

The light in Aldeburgh

I fell in love with the work of Derek Chambers today – he’s a printmaker based in Suffolk who has done some glorious work in and around Aldeburgh that, for me, captures the peculiar light and atmosphere of the place.

The Crag Path, Aldeburgh by Derek Chambers

He was a london ad man for 40 years before moving to the country and concentrating on drawing, painting and printmaking in 1994. He doesn’t seem to have his own website but can be found through the Sudbourne Printmakers, a group of prominent East Anglian artists.

Aldeburgh town steps by Derek ChambersExhibitions include: The Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions, The Royal Watercolour Society, The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, The Discerning Eye, The Singer & Friedlander, The National Print Exhibition, and the New English Art Club.

Steps in winter by Derek ChambersI look forward to observational drawing being the next big thing coming out of art schools, but somehow it never seems to happen. I love how this winter scene looks like an illustration from a childrens book – you can imagine it as the first page of a story about the woman and her dog going home through the snowy evening. What do they find when they get there?

You can’t be an artist in Aldeburgh without doing fishing boats on the beach. Brrrr.

Boats in winter by Derek Chambers

View and buy Derek Chambers’ work thorough the Sudbourne Park Printmakers.
NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.

Sliding House

Sliding House in Suffolk

As the seasons move and the weather changes from summery to blowing freezing rain in the space of 5 minutes, the Sliding House recently built in Suffolk looks more and more genius.

Wallpaper have done a great video all about it here which explains everything better than I would.

The architects are dRMM.

NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.

Aliens – they’re not from round here

Who knew that Suffolk would be considered “a key area for alien visitors to the earth – a link between their world and ours” (by Brenda Butler, who has cowritten a book about alien landings in Rendlesham Forest).

In December 1980 there was a celebrated UFO incident with unexplained lights in the forest close to an American air base – there’s a full, comprehensive and densely footnoted Wikipedia page – which is now referred to as Britain’s Roswell. Lights were seen in the forest at 5 second intervals which in no way were explained by the local lighthouse and its 5 second interval light.

Now, according to the Ipswich Evening Star, it’s happening again and lights were seen in the sky over christmas – if you have been visited by aliens you are encouraged to contact the newsdesk as soon as the probe is removed.

The upshot is that the Forestry Commission, who maintain Rendlesham Forest, have a waymarked UFO trail, which is perfect for a Sunday stroll, being about 3 miles long in some pretty woods by the coast, with a leaflet to help you visualise events. It is in Suffolk’s lowland heath area known as the Sandlings – it’s a beautiful and rare type of habitat, and one of the only places you might see a Dartford warbler, and other diminishing species.

Prewalk  research includes a Rendlesham Forest Incident website and the Halt tape, a dictaphone record of one of the investigating US officers, who was alerted that the UFO was back during a regimental dinner, and joined the search after midnight with dictaphone and geiger counter.


Getting to Rendlesham Forest Centre is covered on the Forestry Commission website.
Photo of a Lincolnshire Unidentified Flying Object by Eddie McFish
NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.

Christmas shopping

If you are anything like me, you have sorted out all the easy christmas presents and are worrying about the last few people who are impossible to buy for or you don’t know well. After a panicked saturday afternoon wandering round Cambridge in the freezing rain looking for inspiration that never came, I decided that buying something local and handmade will never go amiss. I’ve had a look round local makers who are selling over the internet and rounded up some of the best pieces in a couple of sensible price brackets.

Credit crunch christmas, under £20

For the woman who has everything, including a tidy handbag:

Silver leaf keyring by Romilly Norman in Ipswich, £19



For the teenage girl you’ve never met who is coming for christmas day:

Peacock photogram by Heidi Burton

Peacock photogram by Heidi Burton  in Cambridge, £5


For people who like to age their bills on the fridge:

Hand screen printed magnets by Summersville in Suffolk, £5.95


For baby’s first christmas:

Hand knitted baby slippers by Willo in Cambridge £12


£20 – £50

You can’t go wrong with a beautiful bowl:

helen_brown_bowlBlackbird bowl by Helen Brown at the Suffolk Craft Society, £38


For modern mermaids:

mermaid_pendant_coryvreckanInspired by a piece of bladderwrack picked up on Southwold beach, seaweed pendant by Corryvreckan, £26


For the cosy and house proud, St Judes screen print artist-designed fabrics, and make up lovely cushion covers:

stjudes_cushion_coversSt Judes cushion covers, £32 each. Also check out their printed notebooks and cosy woolen throws.


For those who appreciate stark winter beauty, this tiny etching:chrissy_norman_winter_willowsWinter willows at Dedham, by Chrissy Norman, who is based in Trimley St Mary in Suffolk, £55


Disclaimer: the local and handmade thing doesn’t work on teenage boys at all. Except for local beers for the later teen years. Or after – what man (apart from my husband) would appreciate socks over hand brewed beer?

Damp Gold

Yellow Leaves

The countryside has turned golden once again. It’s a greener, paler gold than the ripe wheat, but still lovely, and would be more so if it would ever stop raining.

In the event of a dry spell, you could do worse than check the Forestry Commission’s website for their Autumn Colours map, and find the best place to swish through leaves near you.

Kicking up leaves


It’s a joy to be outdoors on the last of the clear autumn days, and the early hard frosts seem to have made the colours extra good. Is it my imagination, or have all the seasons been superlative this year?

If you are stuck in an office with the rain beating against the windows, just contemplate this image and imagine yourself into a better place.

Forest sceneAll images from the Forestry Commission website.

Not Scotland but Suffolk

The thrilling sound of Red Deer calling through the mist, the locking of antlers, the majesty of a succesful male. Like an apocalyptic version of birdwatching, the stag rutting season is a seasonal event that comes to Suffolk as well as the Scottish mountains.

Red deer are native to the area around RSPB Minsmere, and the staff there have set up a viewing post so visitors can experience the weird excitement of rutting deer, as the males intimidate each other with strange calls and try and hang on to their harem of does in the face of opposition, bashing heads those who oppose them. Those taking children may have a little explaining to do about why they are motivated to do this… 

Via the Eastern Daily Press website
The viewpoint will be open daily until November 2, from 3pm to dusk. RSPB staff and volunteers will be on hand and telescopes and binoculars will be available. For more information, call the reserve on 01728 648281.
To get there, leave the A12 at Blythburgh. At Westleton, turn left on to the Dunwich Road. Drive straight on and the RSPB’s trailer is on the right hand side with car parking further up on the left.