The nearest beach to Broxtead is at the end of the peninsula; a little village called Bawdsey.  It boasts a fine Manor House now an International School, a WWII radar bunker, and a small sandy beach.  You can catch the little boat across the mouth of the River Deben to Old Felixstowe and admire the view to your right, clear up the river to the BT tower in the distance at Martlesham, and to the left, the river draining in and out of the North Sea at a frightening rate.  In the winter, it’s a spot that can be bleak and moody with the wind whipping little frothy white waves up the river whilst the grey winter drizzle descends, and in the summer it is popular with families enjoying the beach.  I probably love it the most when it is deserted in the winter and I have to remind myself of the importance of sharing this great place in the summer with Suffolk’s visitors.

As I sit admiring the view from the Boathouse Café I can see that it is Lifeboat Day today and I can see this great boat-shaped spectacle of nautical advancement moored up at the opposite quay.  The local fishermen are roaring up and down the river in the fishing vessels with their RNLI flags flying to show their support of this unique and valuable institution whilst at the same time drawing the public’s attention to their means of fishing.  The fishermen work hard in all weathers, take financial risks,  all in a notoriously dangerous industry – no wonder fishing and farming are so closely linked. So many similarities.

Our voices as farmers were hopefully heard above all the Trade stands and exhibitions at the Suffolk Show at the beginning of this month.  The public need to understand how this recent drought impacts on the price of food produced in the Eastern counties.  Hopefully the farmers will receive some of the increased prices paid and it is not wholly swallowed up by the Supermarkets’ global drive for increased profits. 

This month at Broxtead will see us lifting more potatoes and possibly harvesting barley and wheat earlier than normal.

There has been a sighting of a European Roller on Upper Hollesley Common (northern edge of the Estate).  This rare visitor normally sticks to Spain, eastern Europe and Asia.  From the comfort of my office, I can see in the identification book that the adult birds are a beautiful blue with a reddish-brown “top-coat”.  No doubt he is feasting on the varied insect diet we can offer him here at Broxtead.

Finally, the end of an era has drawn to a close in the history of the Paul Family in Ipswich.  “Woodside” was the family home of Miss Jean and Miss Pamela Paul but has now been sold to new owners.  Mr Colin Prew was the Woodside gardener for 40 years and it was my priviledge to join him with AJ and Julie Paul on a tour of the house and garden.  It truly was like stepping back in time and I am looking forward to interviewing “Prew” as part of the Broxtead Living History Project (more to come on this subject later!)

For now, a picture of the house and AJ and Julie Paul.

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