Woodbridge Retail Heaven
PUBLISHED: 15:38 22 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:53 20 February 2013
No matter how long you live in a place, things can still continue to surprise.<br/><br/>Anne-Louise Hall uncovers more of Woodbridge and surrounding area
It was destined to be a serendipitousday. As usual, silvery chairs and tablestwinkled in the square. Coffee cupsclinked and people were chattingand smiling, enjoying a slice of cake ora scone. Some sat amongst the brightlypotted geraniums and primroses overcobbled pavements, whilst others relaxedin nooks and crannies such as GobbitsYard, where a cooling fountain wassplashing a few grateful blue tits.
This took me by surprise. Someone hasbeen doing a lot of work in Woodbridge.Shop fronts looked brighter than Iremembered. Pulling up a chair atBrowsers Book Shop, I ordered acappuccino and watched the world goby.
Across the yard, there is a gorgeousnew interior design shop, Pippa Rolls.It was just about to open, so I took theopportunity to speak to Pippa Glazierabout her new venture.
I want my customers to feel comfortableand welcome here, she began. Im aninterior designer with a small i; Ill solvedesign problems for all my customers,whatever their budget. Things donthave to be expensive to look good, but ifexpensive is your thing, Ill have that too.She and her business partner Miguel(Gods own curtain-maker) opened theirshop just last month. Their stunningboutique is jam packed with wonderfulfabrics, papers, statement pieces anddesign suggestions. Turquoise andCerise, French Blue and Cornish Creampalettes; decorating an airy loft space orfurnishing a quirky oak cellar-whateveryour need for inspiration, Pippa will bethere for you. Pippa Rolls adds an extratouch of class to Gobbits Yard andWoodbridge will be the richer for itspresence.
Suitably refreshed, I stumbled uponAdams Apple, a quirky ladies boutiquewhose range is so overwhelming, part ofit spills on to the thoroughfare, enticingyou inside. Peering in, I saw hats of everycolour and size, fascinators inspiredpossibly by The Duchess of Cambridge.There were accessories, jewellery, colourand formality. A teal linen dress caughtmy eye. It was stylish, loose fitting andI could tell would drape any figure in amost flattering manner. Elsewhere, amonochrome theme struck a chord; a dayat the races? Perhaps most memorablewere the customers. Several ladieswere engaged in conversation, doingthat multi-tasking thing we women do,holding outfits up to ourselves whilstchatting and surveying the results in amirror. These ladies were in their elementand clearly loved this shop. What betterrecommendation is there?
Moving on, something surprisingstopped me dead in my tracks. You see, Iam a Desigual addict. This is not a medical condition. Desigual is an edgy,yet sophisticated Spanish fashion house.It specialises in contrasting prints andfabrics, textures and colours, whilstensuring a high end tailored finish. Theeffect is dramatic, eye catching. I usuallytravel to Regent Street for it so this was arevelation!
As I sauntered towards Carma, aboutique that seemed to be ironicallynamed, a chance Desigual label leaptup at me through the surprisingly smallwindow. Before I could say, Ommm Iwas inside. Carol Cole was there to greetme. She is stunning, but not intimidating.I was made very welcome.
Carma is much bigger than I expected;it goes back a long way. Carol explainedthat she extended recently, becauseher business has grown and is alsonow accessible on line. It only took asecond for me to recognise that thisshop is special. Light, airy, cool andsophisticated, Carols fashion knowledgehas led her to some of the best namesin the business: Anna Scott, Jonny QJeans of Italy, lots of Desigual, obviously,but also Unisa and Holster shoes, andJocasi. There is more. Fabrics are soft.Neutral shades contrast effortlessly withcrisp white for a relaxed stylish glamour.Aimed at a casual but sophisticatedwoman, I am not surprised by Carolssuccess.
Departing Woodbridge, I felt a healthyurge to explore. Roads were quiet andmy holiday mood was set.
Kings Saddlery on the outskirts of thecharming village of Hasketon is directlyopposite the Grange Farm Shop. It is awonderfully proportioned 17th centuryred brick barn with stunning glassfrontage that oozes character. I waswelcomed by two extremely pleasantladies who were keen to share theirknowledge about the history of KingsSaddlery, which has been operating since1988. It is an equestrians dream, makingand/or selling top quality saddles, bridlesand tack. It also offers a comprehensiverange of outdoor clothing and apparelfor any discerning rider, amateur orprofessional, stocking brands suchas Toggi, Charles Owen, Championand Ariat. Penny Watts, proprietor hasdeveloped an enduring relationship withher customers. She understands exactlywhat their requirements are and goesout of her way to ensure she meets theirneeds.
Still in the country pursuits frame ofmind, I decided to take the B1116to Framlingham, where I had heardthere is an authentic gunsmith andoutdoor clothing specialist. I was notto be disappointed. I passed NicholasNewtons, an impressive landscapegardening and design centre and tuckedit behind my ear. A later perusal of thewebsite promised a highly professionalservice and Mr Newtons attention todetail proves once again, that a countrylife in this corner of Great Britain lacks fornothing.
Trulock & Harris was my last jaunt and Iconfess, it was the find of the day. I drovepast it twice, though I dont know how;it is enormous. Clearly, this townie hadquite the wrong impression of what toexpect from a gun shop. I had pictured atobacconist type property, a pokey, darkspace where everyone speaks in hushedtones and where the smell of dynamitewould be all-pervasive. I could not havebeen more wrong.
Kate Harris described to me how herbusiness had evolved gradually frombeing a gun repairer and restorer (herhusband, Jason) working from a smallshed in their garden to this modernunit, now selling every kind of sportingshotgun, from a childs first air rifle, forshooting tin cans from a wall to top ofthe range equipment for use in shoots allover the world. I admit I was mesmerised.It smelled earthy and oily, and thoughcool inside, I could feel the heatprickling under my skin. I had never beenanywhere so potentially dangerous; yeteverything was calm and orderly.
I rummaged upstairs through the clothingand gifts range. Shooting sticks! I hadntseen one since childhood; immediatelyI thought of my dad. Barbour jackets,waterproof trousers, tweed and tailoredblazers and unbelievably, anoraks thatlooked like they had been filched fromthe set of Rambo! There were pen knives,Swiss army knives, night vision binocularsand so much more. I didnt know whateverything was, but I found it all veryabsorbing. I only realised it was timeto leave when I saw Kate following meround, switching lights off.
Oh Im so sorry! I declared. Ill beoff shall I? The very last thing I sawas I hot footed it back to my car was apair of wellington boots for 289. Goodheavens! This county never fails to amazeme.