A good local read
PUBLISHED: 10:19 20 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:19 20 February 2017
(c) copyright citizenside.com
Curling up with a good book? Dip into something inspired by Suffolk and you're spoilt for choice, says Lesley Dolphin
Congratulations to Editor Jayne Lindill and team for this 200th edition of Suffolk Magazine. It’s a fantastic achievement in these days when people are turning more and more to digital reading matter.
We are so lucky to live in such a wonderful county, and it’s great to have a magazine that illustrates all that is best – the landscapes, the food, the sense of community, and the creativity. It never ceases to amaze me just how many artists, musicians and writers live in Suffolk and draw inspiration from the bleak coastline, the tapestry of fields and hedgerows, and wildlife.
This time of the year – dark evenings and grey days – is perfect for curling up on the sofa with a good book and there are so many that feature our county. Historically many famous authors have helped put Suffolk on the map – Charles Dickens with Pickwick Papers and David Copperfield, and Arthur Ransome with We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea and Secret Water to name just two.
My dad brought me up on Arthur Ransome’s books about Swallows and Amazons. l didn’t know then that I would end up living in a county where he’d found inspiration.
I was very excited before Christmas to discover a Suffolk link with a very famous book. I like to think there is a local angle to every story if we look hard enough. What parent hasn’t read the beautiful children’s book by Michael Rosen, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt?
I have happy memories of being at a playgroup in Long Melford as the youngsters enthusiastically swished and swashed through the grass, and splashed and sploshed through the river and mud before finding the bear. The story is beautifully illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, who grew up in Ipswich and drew her inspiration for that mud from the mudflats at Felixstowe Ferry.
I spoke to her on my afternoon show and she told me how she and her brother had a wonderful childhood running free along the banks of the River Deben at the Ferry. She has always loved painting and still visits the county, drawing inspiration for her work.
This part of the world continues to inspire. I spent Christmas working my way through Ellie Griffiths’ books set on the east coast about the forensic archaeologist, Dr Ruth Galloway.
They’re good old murder mystery favourites, with a splash of archaeology and old bones thrown in. Entry for the 2017 bi-annual New Angle Prize for literature has just closed. It will be awarded to books published between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016.
Past winners have included stories set in Harwich, Kings Lynn and Ipswich – Kate Worsley’s She Rises, and Jim Kelly, Amanda Hodgkinson’s Death Watch, and 22 Britannia Road. I’m really looking forward to hearing what makes this year’s longlist.
Darting about for seven years
As Suffolk Magazine celebrates its 200th edition, I’m proud of a celebration of my own. I have been presenting the afternoon show at BBC Radio Suffolk for seven years.
I started on February 23, 2009. A rough calculation makes it 1,680 programmes and over 5,000 hours on air. I’ve learnt hundreds of fascinating facts about Suffolk over that time and chatted to thousands of interesting people, including my sofa guests. I thought there would be a limit to the number of people we could invite for a long personality style chat, but there seems to be a never ending supply of amazing people living and visiting our lovely county.
My daily competition, Dolphin’s Dart has been flying to every corner of the county for nearly as long. I first ‘threw’ it in August 2009. Each day I give three clues to help people find where in Suffolk my virtual dart has ‘hit’ and I reckon it must have landed well over 1,000 times.
I’m now on my fifth trip around the county. If you’ve never tuned in to try to win tickets to the theatre (and one of my original fluffy ‘bugs’) here’s a sample I used recently. Let me know if you can spot where it is. I’ll try to remember to give the answer next month!
Clue 1 (the cryptic clue): Reverse positive reply after aggressive sounding dog.
Clue 2: We’re west of Hadleigh in the heart of Suffolk’s countryside, at a village where thousands of tourists visit to see the timbered buildings and famous ford with its ducks. The church is St. Mary’s and the pub is The Bell. There’s also a primary school. This place became famous for its woollen cloth in medieval times and the thriller writer Hammond Innes lived here until his death in 1998. The water mill here is being restored.
Clue 3: Anagram: rekeys