EDitorial ± 28-Sep-2018

Ipswich Lunches: Nosh

An effulgent Friday and there's been vague promises of an outing. Quick mid-morning check on Mr Jobs' FindMyFriends reveals that our driver's Somewhere In Saxmundham (not a bad title for a short story, that). Follow-up text to find out that, despite this, he's still up for an excursion. Andy's in. I'm in. Ditto Kev. For the first time in three months, the gang's all here.

Challenging visual kick-off, neither Kev nor myself recognising the Boyton fleet Fiat sitting outside reception, and nobody expecting Andy to be on time. My suggestion to nip down Foxhall Road to the firework shop on the outskirts of The 'Swich. Diagonally opposite for some years used to be CC's Sandwich Bar but now it's nosh. Note deliberate lower-case stylings, part and parcel of their quality chain-like branding (reminiscent of The Turtle and The Bear) with that friendly pea-green font, classy pricing -- eg latte 2.5 -- and rhymin' Simon tagline:

"If you can't stay - take it away"

Most of their trade would be "to go" as the kids call it, but if, like us, you're staying, there's two tables plus three convenient light lunch-shaped window chairs. Eye was drawn to their mega blackboard of paninis with more fillings than Shane MacGowan. Corned beef bap, please, with chunky pickle. Chicken and pesto panini for K, caramelised sausage roll and salad for A. All v. happy with our choices until I spotted the far smaller specials board advertising halloumi fries, chilli and other interesting bits. Darn.

Perched atop one of those window seats is all you need, harking back to the platinum days of Enjoy, and an excellent place to put the world to rights: hello, Brett Kavanaugh. People are in and out -- they can't stay so they're taking it away -- and I discover it's only me for summat sweet, not for the first time. That sizeable jammy muffin covered with 100s and 1000s is calling to me, not half bad washed down with a kicking mug o' flat white. Nice peeps, nice natter, nice nosh.

If it was a car -- Toyota Noah.
If they were passing by -- Arabella Weir.

EDitorial ± 3-Sep-2018

Crinkle-Crankle Walls in Suffolk, 100-104

(visit the list of crinkle-crankle walls in Suffolk and view the accompanying Google map)

— (100) Peasenhall, Meadow House —

(visited 02-Sep-2018)

With Abbot's Lodge duly ticked off, we headed back over the road to Sibton Church (consult Simon Knott) where I'd parked the car. Not yet 10:30am, a long line of folk weaved in an suitably serpentine fashion along the path, all keen for that day's jumble sale. Five minutes later, we too wandered in to browse Brian Cant's bric-a-brac.

My mum suggested that, before nosing around, we should partake of a cuppa. Waiting for a kettle to boil, smalltalk ensued with one of the good ladies. Curious to know what had brought us there, we explained about the ongoing quest to track down all crinkle-crankle walls in Suffolk. "Oh," she said, "I've got one of those." You're having me on, surely, especially since that would be the 100th wall?

Mais non. A week later and we're in Peasenhall standing to the rear of Meadow House, a late C16 dwelling that was originally three cottages. No mention of it in the Grade II listing description but, true to her word, there is Jenny's wall with its gentle twists and turns. Modest in both height and length, it's relatively modern, especially compared with the ancient house behind it. Wonder who built it? As always, big thanks to the owner Jenny (and husband) for their unquestioning hospitality.

— (101) Wissett Hall —

(visited 10-Oct-2018)

Hat tip to Karen Sparkes who, back in August 2017, asked if I knew about the wall at Wissett Hall, "a spectacular specimen". No, I did not, I replied, observing that said hall was on the market for a cool £2.5m. There in the window of Savills on Princes Street hung an advert for "this beautiful country hall with parkland and a lake."

No progress until a year or so later when I got to work with Mr. Google who, after some wrangling, pointed me towards the current owner. Via his son, managed to speak to Colin who listened patiently before saying yes, come visit. Be best, he said, if you liaise with Paul The Gardener. Which I did, arranging to meet there, NW of Halesworth, on a balmy October afternoon.

Up the driveway we motored, my mum and me, parking by the Grade II listed property. Here was Paul to walk us through to the rather fine walled garden, the western edge comprising a fine crinkle-crankle with gateway, the odd birdbox, bits of trellis and quite a bit of greenery. Most inviting swimming-pool glistened in the sun. Paul proved incredibly generous with his time and knowledge as we walked the lawns in the autumnal heat, a pretty decent way to spend an afernoon. Salt of the earth, that fella. And thanks to Colin too, obviously.

— (102) Spexhall Manor —

(visited 10-Oct-2018)

About to leave Wissett Hall, I asked Paul my customary parting question: do you know of any other walls? He scratched his head momentarily before answering: I have an idea, he said, that there's one just up the road. I'll make a call.

These gardeners have their own bush telegraph, so it seems, meeting up for chips on a Friday and so forth. Yep, he said, putting down his phone: be quick-ish and they'll give you a sneak peek. North from Wissett Hall, barely half a mile up Wash Lane is Spexhall Manor. By the lodge, the gates were open and one of the gardeners beckoned us up the driveway.

Just short of the two-storey jettied porch of the C16 house is a fine length of crinkle-crankle embellished with climbing foliage and vivid pink flowers, all looking splendid in the October sunlight. Taller than me and hard to date, there's no indication of it on any of the old Spexhall maps up to and including 1951. Relatively recent? Grazie to the gardeners!

— (103) Lavenham, Old Station Close —

(visited 12-Jan-2020)

Done this one? asked l'il sis Liz in a Sep 2019 email, directing me to a new estate on the northern edge of Lavenham. Me and Ma saw the central one on Water Street back in 2017, This, though, quite literally, was a new development. Being out in the country, relatively speaking, Street View showing nothing more than a bunch of disused outbuildings.

Lavenham railway station sat on the line from Long Melford to Bury St Edmunds before being Beeching-ed in 1961. On that parcel of land off Preston Road by the old tunnel, apparently the former Armorex site, now sits a smart new estate of expensive looking properties. Road is named Old Station Close. Geddit? Short chunks of crinkle-crankle can be found out front, to the sides and round the back by the bins. Lots of interspersed gates, too.

Spotted in the wall, three bricks tall, was a plaque for Knight Developments, presumably the people who put up the masonry. There's some pleasing greenery along some of the walls, and even some trailing up and across. Needs some time to weather and shake off that just-built appearance.

— (104) Great Waldingfield, Fortress Fields —

(visited 17-Oct-2021)

Third lockdown, February 2021, and an email popped in from Linda Rushton. She was one of the team who'd done great work getting the 1840s wall at Great Waldingfield listed. Her daughter, she said, "wanted to let you know Great Waldingfield has a 21st Century crinkle crankle wall on the new estate, Folly Road".

Developers Bellway built Cromwell Fields around 2013 offering "a stunning choice of two, three and four bedroom homes and a setting in the heart of Constable and Gainsborough country". Mr Google drove past in 2016 but didn't deviate from Folly Road. With no exact location, me and Mum snaked our way into Overing Avenue and past Liberator Close, etc, then the road petered out. Aiming to ask a dog-walker, I saw those distinctive curves down the fantastically named Fortress Fields.

This 10-year-old wall starts modestly then sweeps round the corner and carries on and on, those curves facing the big green space at the estate's western edge. As I was gawping at the length, there was a crinkle-crankle first: a football sailed over the top. I was happy to throw it back over the 7ft height. Linda thinks it's "a lovely wall, especially if the sun is settling. I like the dark red brick." Me too, Linda. Didn't realise until the following day that it has a twin stretch on the southern side of the path. Bravo, Bellway.

— (105) Framlingham, Broadwater Farm —

(visited 26-Feb-2022)

While YT was hard at work a few weeks back, wife & Eldest had an outing. "Have a nice time?" I asked over tea. "Yep," they confirmed, "and we spotted a new wall." Suddenly those old serpentine juices were flowing again. "Don't mess: where exactly?"

Three of us plus my mum headed out through Clopton and very deliberately past Easton where at least two small stretches of the ur-wall had come down, presumably due to Storm Eunice. Left onto the B1116, U-turn near Broadwater garage, sailed past the site, another U-turn at Garnett's, and finally into a handy lay-by opposite what the red mailbox says is Broadwater Farm.

Right is a green gate built into the me-height wall; left is an ivy-strewn middle-age crinkle-crankle. Old-ish bricks join very new bricks just before it turns 90 degrees away from the road to run parallel to a small stream. This whole section has either been completely rebuilt or didn't previously exist. Street View doesn't help: clearly the owners have cleared away masses of green overgrowth. Now motorists between Framlingham and Parham might just catch a glimpse of a previously hidden wavy wall.