Peerless skies: Another week in Trimley St. Martin during lockdown


When is the last time you saw more than one vapour trail stretched across the skies? The air is clear and bright inside and out, as I was putting together this week’s Blog.  One of my correspondents, Paul R. sent me an image of flights coming into and out of, the U.K. and  I reproduce it  below:

“…this is a screenshot showing the number of aircraft flying over or into the UK midday on 5th May 2020. Courtesy of ‘Normally’ there would be 10 times as many. For example, flights into Heathrow are normally 600 per day – now 60.”

 Nothing over East Anglia and the nearest aircraft nearly a hundred  miles away.  At the same time, car sales have fallen to their lowest levels since 1946 according to an article in The Guardian[1] on 5th May 2020  and whilst this is  economically undesirable, the  air around us  is perhaps closer to  the cleanliness levels of  the  immediate  post  war era  than at any other time.  This may be considered the upside of our lives at a time when all the ordinary disasters we cope with in ‘normal’ times, become almost impossible under current constraints.

Facebook concerns on the Trimley page this week included:

Public Information, including Waste Collection and Citizens Advice; Planning issues; Internet connectivity; Takeaway outlets including Bombay Nites and Fish and Chips; Coronavirus  information; Historical images; local  nature images; Felixstowe Nub News; Felixstowe Book Festival cancellation; rescue  chickens ; how to cut hair at home.


Sandra Abbott


Sandra Snows Photo courtesy of Sandra Abbott

April 28, what a delight to wake up to refreshing rain, so needed for the farmland as well as our own gardens.

Today sees me completing the PPE, 12 cotton reels later! Clifford now has his jigsaw reinstated from the spare room!

Wednesday 29th, yeast being another commodity that’s hard to come by, I am experimenting with sour dough. A friend had left the starter and instructions on the doorstep so after first proving, off we went for our health walk. What a joy! We were on Morston Hall track and heard our first cuckoo. To add to the delight, as I waved to a goods train, the response was not only a poop poop, but also a wave and a thumbs up! Jubilantly back home to second proving of sour dough. Then in the oven on an already heated tray for 30 mins. When going to check in the kitchen, I was greeted by plumes of smoke. Opened the oven and thought the loaf had burnt. I discovered, I had inadvertently put the oven mat, on which the hot tray stood, in the oven too! Loaf looked a little crisp on the outside, but once crusts were removed it was quite edible!

Thursday 30. We put the crusts out to see if the birds might like crisp sour bread….our friendly Phizzy Pheasant seemed to really enjoy the feast!

Friday May 1 We remark how everywhere looks so green and fresh after the rain and are amazed how much growth the pea crop, to the left of Thorpe Lane, has put on in a few days.

Saturday May 2nd  We walked through the woods opposite the A14 on Howlett Way. View the last of the bluebells here and enjoy the birdsong. Strange to be in May and it’s cooler than last month!

Sunday May 3rd  Was lovely to listen to our Rector Paul as he and Chris Hood, each in their own home, take a service at 5o’clock. I’ve at last found Radio Felixstowe!

Monday evening We’re looking forward to our first Zoom session with our family and friends in London and Sheffield as they show us official photographs of the wedding we went to in Italy in September. My word, what a lot has happened since that wonderful adventure.

I feel terribly sad so many folk have experienced such heartache; it hits home more when those known to us experience problems.

My thoughts are with you all.

Lorna Adamson

Rainbow T S Martin  School Keyworker thanks.pngPhoto Courtesy of Laura Adamson

I do not have much to report myself, apart from enjoying my large garden.   However, I have been taking more time in contemplating what is happening there to the flowers, fruit, vegetables and wildlife than actually doing gardening I am afraid to say.

You might like to see the attached picture.   They are artworks by key workers’ children, who are attending Trimley St Martin Primary School during lockdown, to thank all the key workers.


Becca Atherstone

Prior to appalling toothache…  This is what happened leading up to week 6


One of the blackbirds that comes into the garden has become so tame, I could reach out and touch, but I don’t want to scare him. Instead he sits on the fence and we study each other!

Tractor and wildlife April 032.jpeg

Painting the landing is a tedious business…and the most boring! It’s hard to tackle. I have called in help from Iain who has got a giant ladder up and got to the parts out of my reach!

Oh … the landing … I am now looking at bits I have missed everywhere! Oh, and bits of skirting … it’s all to do with the light you work in … or my shoddy workmanship.

Meanwhile the virus hovers closer. Everyone is alarmed. I grieve for people I know who have lost this dreadful battle. When I venture for shopping, I bid people a good day and smile, But, like another of our contributors mentioned, there is often no response, even a scowl. Yes, we are afraid and alarmed, but I think it’s good to try.

Courgettes are taking off in the veg bed, coping with the sudden turn in temperatures. I have fenced the area off from our rabbits. The bird baths need filling at least twice a day because no matter what the weather they all love their turn! Nests are abundant in our garden, I have a pretty good idea of where they are but I don’t like to disturb.

In Australia the news of my dear Aunt is depressing, can’t say more than that. But she is feisty.


Week 7

Much of my time, in light of all that is happening in the world, is trying to make politicians understand that we HAVE to be more self-sufficient and that we desperately need to keep our fertile farmland. I write a lot of letters! The glass is always half full and I am hopeful. This is why I joined K.A.T.CA.G. (Kirton and Trimley Community Action Group). We have this gift right on our doorstep. Food growing soil! I suppose I am so aware of it because, as a child, when I came up to Suffolk to my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Bramfield, I learnt just how important crops are.

A colleague has organised a Change.Org Petition to … ‘Stop Building On Our Farmland.’ Well done!  In two days, there have been close to 300 signatures. It shows how strongly people feel. Yes, build, but not on soil that sustains us.

Well here we are towards the end of the week. The weather has decided to illustrate how jolly powerful it is. Rain (much needed), Rain… and Rain.

The farmers and gardeners will be happy.

Mixed feelings. Relief, Sadness, Hope… but smiling.

Oh, and appalling toothache. No dentist.

 ‘B’ a seven year old school girl

Image    Bs flower weave

I’ve been looking at all the flowers growing in my garden. I picked some into bowls and an ice cube tray and we tried to weave some long leaves together. Mummy helped me freeze the flowers in ice. The next day, I played with them until they melted!

I went for a walk today and there were bugs everywhere – it’s like they all just woke up, had a stretch and said ‘I’m going to find Bluebell today!’ Daddy said I used a really good word when talking about Florence Nightingale – it’s ‘unsanitary’. It means Not clean and not washing your hands. We must still wash our hands!

Robin Biddle

 That’s really done it, I’ve just had a phone call, did I get ‘the letter’? I’m registered vulnerable and not supposed to go out.   Just a tad too late.  I’ve been out almost every day on the bike

So, I’m looking out of the window at the rain. Think I’ll make a cup of tea. What might I do next, I have a low boredom threshold. At least this rain will wash the dust of all those parked-up cars.

Something I’d forgotten, never mind going for a walk. just try doing a women’s work!!

VE day celebration, I was there, almost three years old.

We lived in St Mary’s then, I don’t know about village parties,I’lI guess there were some. We went to Dellwood Avenue sports ground in Felixstowe, We walked from Trimley. I may have been in a pram.

Apart from ‘VJ Day’ (Victory over Japan)  I doubt if Dellwood Sports Field has seen so many people since. My memory of the day is not too good, food and drinks (ice cream), sports for the children and dancing for the adults.

Come lasses and lads, get leave of your Dads, and away to the Maypole hie …

No work at the weekend, couldn’t go out, so took it out on a couple of shrubs with a saw. They’ll be a better shape next year.

Alison F.

Oh Darn it !

A few years back my brother arrived from America to stay with us and presented me with an armful of socks to be darned.  I handed them back to him saying it was against my religion and I had never darned socks in my life and wasn’t intending to start now. My dear late mother took them from me and darned them all. The last time I inspected my husband’s socks for holes was when we went to Japan.  You have to take your shoes off when you visit Japanese shrines and though they don’t mind holy socks they don’t like ‘holey’ ones. His socks weren’t darned but thrown away and he bought some new ones specially for the trip.

Now that I’ve got extra time on my hands in the evenings, the sewing box has come out and I’ve been doing all the little sewing jobs that I’ve been putting off.  Believe it or not I’ve even darned holes in my husband’s jumpers. I found some darning wool and needles in the box, circa 1940 and remembering the time I took my thrift badge as a good Girl Guide in the 1960s, I did it. I have even mended my old tights.

The sewing box was an unruly tangle of ribbons, Bias binding, knicker elastic, odd buttons, pins and needles, hooks and eyes and assorted random sewing accessories.  These have now all been sorted and tidied up into plastic bags. Deep in the recesses of the box, I found two small mysterious items. One was something called ‘Penmo’ by Betterware. The instructions on the back (and I kid you not) say ‘ Place a Penmo pencil here and there amongst your furs, silks and woollies.’ My late mother never had a decent winter coat, let alone a fur, so they could not have been hers.   The second item was a ‘Barrel-hole blade’ made by a Sheffield company. (This sounds like something the Americans would like.) The instructions say ‘The only razor you can dip into boiling water and use at once without burning the face or fingers.’ Now the question is why did my mother-in-law keep a razor blade in her sewing box?

On learning that Sandra Abbott was making PPE, I decided to get out my sewing machine.  I thought maybe somebody could use it, if it was working.  I can’t sew a straight seam to save my life.  In fact, I can’t do anything straight as I have mild dyslexia. I can’t paint in a straight line, so no DIY for me. I can’t even walk in a straight line but that might have something to do with the wine drinking. The sewing machine was bought in order to impress my mother-in-law in the 1980s. I even went to sewing classes in Kirton, but it didn’t improve my technique.

The sewing machine hasn’t seen the light of day since the 1980s. It took me all morning just thread the blooming thing.  Hubby came along in the end to help me thread the needle. He took it out of the machine and then couldn’t get it back into the right place.  Having changed the needle, he decided the tension was all wrong. He got out his pliers and screwdrivers, always a bad sign.  Anyway, the tension was definitely building and something was bound to snap. It did, part of the machine!  Ahh! He promised he would pay to get it fixed as soon as possible and to give him his due he went straight onto Google. Amazingly, it turns out there is a man called the Sewing Machine Doctor, who lives in Felixstowe and Hubby rang him up. He said to bring it down to him as soon as possible and so we packed up the machine and took it to the town, which was our first adventure out for five weeks!  We planned to tell any policeman stopping us en route that we were taking a sewing machine to the doctors. We felt that would have them in stitches!  Whilst in Felixstowe we thought we might as well drive along the prom and go through town to see what was going on.  There was nobody around and it was only the food shops, takeaways and chemists that were open, apart from Poundland. Apparently Poundland sells a bit of food so they stay open.

The sewing machine is now mended but dare I use it?  Hubby says we need to make some masks. Somehow, I don’t think this is going to go well.


Chandra Grover

Across the Borders – a song of hope written in memory of those affected by Covid-19. 

My choir, Felixstowe Harmonies and I have been keeping the musical action going with a collaborative song writing project.  The idea was conceived during an online session in early April.  The singers were talking about how the world was changing, expressing anxiety over the Coronavirus pandemic and the dread of being isolated and missing loved ones.

I asked the singers to send me lyrics which I would set to music and keen to be involved the lyrics soon came streaming in.  So many vivid statements of how people were feeling during the lock-down period. Some sent one liners, others just a single word, but gosh those single words were inspirational!  It was a song writers dream.  I soon set to work writing the melody and arranging it for 4 part choir and piano.  A dozen drafts later we had a song!

The chorus has a strong and uplifting message of solidarity, of friends uniting and how singing has the power to lift hearts across the borders of our world.  Instead of performing together as they usually would, the singers recorded their vocals individually while in isolation.  All 36 voices were mixed and a video produced.  Such a learning curve!   Here are the lyrics:

When the rhythm in life ceases to beat

And you can’t take the love from those you need

May the angels protect you, keep you safe

Make the world a better place


Doors are closing around everywhere

Dread of loneliness, emptiness, despair

Stop the heartache everywhere, love is strong, people care

We’ll come through with thoughts of those we knew

Join our hands, stand together and be strong

Friends unite, raise your voices ’til the dawn

Joyful singing, lifting hearts across the borders of our world

Joyful singing, lifting hearts, singing lifting hearts

Sing across the borders of our world

Life is changing for us and all that we love

For our children, mothers, fathers too

Keep the memories alive, warm hugs from a child

And the words “I love you”

The hour is here, these darkest of days

Isolation, silence and dismay

Stop the heartache everywhere, love is strong, people care

We’ll come through with thoughts of those we knew

Join our hands, stand together and be strong

Friends unite, raise your voices ’til the dawn

Joyful singing, lifting hearts across the borders of our world

Joyful singing, lifting hearts, singing lifting hearts

Sing across the borders of our world

May the angels protect you, keep you safe

Make the world a better place

Here’s a link to the video.  I hope you enjoy it.


Head Teacher  (local  to the Felixstowe and Ipswich area)

Headteacher musings

There has been lots of speculation in the media this weekend about when schools will reopen.  Media print this speculation as fact and this is very upsetting for many of our parents who are not ready to send their children back to school.  It is also difficult when running a school as, no matter how many plans you make, it is impossible to plan for every scenario.

My day today has been spent fielding many calls from anxious parents and repeating the same message

  • I’m so sorry, but we do not have a date for reopening
  • We do not yet know how parental choice absence will be recorded
  • We don’t yet know how this will affect those who are shielding

The media speculation is understandable, but very unhelpful.  I have explained to many parents today that I hope schools will have more notice than we received for closing (one day) and there will be advice on how the opening should happen.  It is pretty much impossible for our youngest children to maintain social distancing and any more than 8 children in our classrooms would make social distancing pretty much impossible.  The school has not been provided with PPE, so the team are rightly worried about how the next few weeks and months will play out.  Staff and children that are shielding need to continue to do so until at least the middle of June, so if schools reopen before this point, there will be a staffing consideration too.

Headteachers are working long days to try and manage the workload shared with children who are at home as well as caring for keyworker children still in school. Many of us also have young children at home so we are managing the workload and the home schooling of our own children, as well as the days we are in school. The weeks are flying by so fast.

As a school community, we have had our first COVID related hospitalisation of a child’s family member.  This is a very sobering thought, and for those who think the worst has passed and their community is safe, sadly it may not be.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and we will do everything we can to support them over the coming days and weeks, whatever the outcome.

 Morag Liffen

Week 7

MOrag decorating

The days seem to be blending into one, so I’m rather glad of the weekly clapping for the NHS on a Thursday evening at 8, as it reminds me of what day we’re on. Plus, we were also celebrating Colonel Tom’s 100th birthday and his magnificent fund-raising  in excess of £30 million for the NHS.

It’s been another week of gardening and decorating, as we try to fill our days with useful activities. I had to break my lockdown to take our cat to the vet. At 18 years old she had developed what looked like a weeping sore/abscess on her bottom. I am currently furloughed from Whitworth veterinary practice, where I’ve worked for the past 14 years. It was strange to have to wait in the car park for the cat to be taken from me, and then to sit in my car while they did the necessary examination and treatment. I missed having a chat with my colleagues, and had to be content with a wave through the window. All very strange and I’m not sure when things will go back to normal, or when I will be back behind the reception desk again.

The walk down to Trimley shores has become the highlight of my days. On Saturday I ventured further as the tide was out and I could walk along the beach and round the headland, then up onto the raised footpath heading towards Trimley st Mary.

The landscape looked desolate and alien. The cranes at Felixstowe docks reminded me of a scene from ‘War of the Worlds’. And it does indeed seem as if we are living through a ‘War of the World.’

This week we started decorating the hallway, landing and stairs – a job that was long overdue. I took a picture to show my daughter the work in progress. The newspaper on the floor will serve as a reminder of when it was done – ‘Vaccine by the summer’, it says. Well, let’s hope so. Stay safe everyone.


Paul R.

Another week has gone by and it is week 6.

The longer the lockdown goes on the more I feel grateful for my/our continuing good fortune. In the last week we have heard of the misfortunes of various friends and people we know of in the village. Without going into detail it brings it home to me what the lockdown can actually mean to people when things go wrong.

Imagine living alone with your partner and they get taken into hospital (not necessarily Covid-19). You are classified as vulnerable so cannot go out. You cannot visit them anyway because of the restrictions. It must be so hard.

It is interesting how time passes in these uncertain days – it just flies by and it seem like only yesterday I was typing week 5 rather than 7 days ago.

I do appreciate the internet though. Before the current crisis our daughters were due to come up and stay for the weekend. They all have children but, over the years they would come up on their own occasionally – sans husbands and children – and we would all sit around in the evening with food and wine and just talk enjoying each other’s company. Even in their 30/40s they almost revert to being children; it’s so enjoyable. Obviously, in the current climate that is not possible but using Zoom last night two of the three were available and we spent an hour and a half with G&Ts in front of our respective screens just talking and laughing.

On a day to day basis nothing has changed. It’s really quite relaxing to be truthful. I have my hobbies and have started reading again. I love reading but over the last few years have read little. However, I am on the third book from my recently joined book club. To be able to sit down mid-morning and just relax and read is such a luxury.  I realise how fortunate we are in these difficult times and that for many their lives are not so easy.

I never take it for granted.

Yvonne Smart


As time goes on with the pandemic, such unprecedented times are quite a challenge for us all. For me it is increasingly difficult not to be able to see family and friends. Yes, one can talk on the phone, email etc which I am thankful for but to enjoy the face to face interaction  is something I am looking forward to.

Keeping busy does of course help to cope as does laughter but there does have to be a huge dose of patience and courage. My patience does wear a trifle thin when, sadly, some people are reacting selfishly to this crisis. Fortunately they are in the minority and we are seeing or hearing about many acts of kindness.

A friend of mine, knowing my love of nature, shared some pictures of some fox cubs playing in a copse. Wonderful and certainly lifts ones spirits. As did my seeing more young life down at Loompit Lake this week. Seven baby geese, and 12 ducklings. Well there were 11 ducklings to be begin with but then another appeared making much noise trying to catch up with the rest of the group. It was definitely a laugh out loud moment!

Continuing my walk that day I met a village resident who I see out with their dog on many an occasion. I shared my joy at seeing the geese and ducklings and we agreed that there is nothing like seeing young life and at the moment having the time to simply stop and watch for a while.

Taking the opportunity to spend time not just to catch up on jobs that were on the to do list, but also time to watch nature, be it from a window or outside. Or perhaps finish reading that half read book.

Did you know, one in three adults has not read a full book in five years? This was from a survey recently conducted with 3,000 online shoppers which revealed that 35% admitted to not finishing a book in years, with two thirds saying they would like to read more.

Myself I tend to read last thing at night which can help settle the mind. I’m not talking about newspapers mind you, that certainly wouldn’t settle the mind at the moment for sure. No, a novel or a book with fascinating points of interest.

One such snippet of information gleaned recently links in to my previous blog where rainbows were a topic. In Peru there is a mountain called Rainbow Mountain. The dramatic colours of Vinicunca, high up in the Andes, are a result of minerals in the slopes, such as iron oxide and iron sulphide, which cause the striped effect in hues of red through to green and yellow. The colours had previously been hidden under snow and ice. The mountain also goes under the name of Mountain of Seven Colours, but I think I prefer Rainbow Mountain!




As ever, I welcome any further contributions from those  who might wish  to  give their own reports of  The Great  Pandemic in Trimley  St. Martin. If you have any comments or would like to be part of this Trimley St. Martin project, please contact me at:

LR  05/05/2020






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