Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Last Saturday, I helped out at a Knit and Natter day at Kentwell Hall. Although Kentwell Hall is just down the road from where I live, I can only remember visiting once, probably at a similar time of the year as it was to see all the lambs. It was so foggy that you couldn't see the house at all. It was years ago, when the children were still small and you try and find things to do with them because staying cooped up at home drives you crazy.
Someone from knitting group is very much involved with the re-enactment society at Kentwell Hall and asked recently if anybody wanted to come to the Knit and Natter day that was being organised. If visitors brought their knitting, they'd get a free coffee and piece of cake, with volunteers also on hand to help teach. For us it meant a day of knitting, with tea and cake and good company - what's not to like!
Unfortunately when I got there, it turned out the location was just too cold - an open barn with a tent attached to it, but no heating and no electricity. So we ended up in the cafe, which was warmer and smelt delicious with hot coffee and cakes and lunchtime foods. The Knit and Natter event was going to run all weekend and I only helped on Saturday, but we didn't have that much interest. I don't think the event was that well known and most visitors were young families coming to see the baby animals, like I did all those years ago. A few people would look over and smile, but not really come over.
Still, it was a day's guilt-free knitting with friends, which I'm not complaining about! Besides, I got the chance to have a wander round and take a look at the house, and buy some of the wool from Kentwell's own sheep for my knitalong blanket.

I thought the house was National Trust or English Heritage property, but it turned out it's in private hands, bought 40 years ago as a near-derelict building and since been done up. No wonder they organise plenty of events to get the public in - it must cost a fortune to maintain a house of this size.



The back of the house isn't nearly as pretty - it was the servants' entrance, so didn't need to impress...


The house doesn't open to the public until Easter but there is another Knit and Natter event planned for June when they hold the sheep shearing weekend. I'm hoping to be involved in that one too and then maybe get the chance to visit the inside of the house.

On Sunday I'd arranged to meet a friend for coffee and a long overdue chat in Ipswich. I'm still not back to sleeping very well (very frustrating for someone who normally sleeps like a log, and the world doesn't feel like a nice place at 5am) and was awake so early on Sunday morning, that I was out on the bike by 8.30am. I knew I only had a couple of hours so I'd planned a vague route the night before.

This is St. Clare at Bradfield St. Clare. There is a better view without the hedge in front, but I quite like how you can see the church through the bare trees still. In another month or so the buildings will be hidden.

Then onto Gedding. The map didn't really show a church as such, just a little plus sign which usually means a chapel of some sorts. But hidden behind a hedge in a turn of the road was St. Mary.

Sadly the church had no leaflet with information which is unusual. These often hand-typed leaflets can contain lots of history and other little facts that you wouldn't notice if you walked around just looking. I've even learnt some church architecture from them. I'd really like to learn more though. One day, when a day miraculously contains more hours!






The map also showed Gedding Hall, with a moat around it. It wasn't really on my route but I'd already spotted a large country house from the graveyard so decided to cycle up to see if I could get a better look.

This was the best view I could get. When I got home, I looked it up and it turns out it belongs to Bill Wyman, but in the past it was allegedly used by the Kray brothers as hide-out.




Next was St. Mary at Brettenham. The tower is in an unusual position and seems to take the place of what is normally the south porch. A service was just starting with several very well-dressed people attending - I felt out of place even in the graveyard, so decided to put this one on my list of churches to come back to in the future.

Another St. Mary and the last church of the ride - this is at Thorpe Morieux (pronounced M'roo). By now I was running out of time so I didn't even stop to look at the exterior but pedalled on towards home.

My house is on a busy main road which is not really designed for cyclists. If I want to avoid it, I have to start my bike rides down a fairly steep hill. Which is lovely at the start but also means that coming home, I have to go UP that hill. Suffolk really is hillier than Norfolk and this hill is a bit of a killer when you've already done several miles. I'm proud to say I've not had to get off the bike and walk yet!
A nice 18 mile ride.

After putting the world to rights with my friend in the very overpriced Suffolk Food Hall (the view is great though), I came home and made what 15yo later described as 'chocolate brownie cake'. Yum.


Another few days until the children break up for Easter. They both have their birthday in the holidays, which means I'll have two proper teenagers at home. I'm sure there will be more cake, although having said that, 12yo has asked for trifle for his birthday cake. I suppose it makes a change...