When Disaster strikes …

and  also, how Trimley St. Martin Marked V.E. Day



Pauline’s contribution  to V.E. Day  celebrations  – beer but no  skittles.


The  Lockdown   view from  the Village,  Day  48

For at least one Villager, the last seven days have been a source  of anxiety and concern.  In truth,  many people continue  to  struggle with  confinement,  financial  and  food considerations  and the difficulties of home  educating.  Personal  ill health   is always  difficult but currently it  presents even  greater   problems than usual. In  Lockdown, good  news  arrives slowly, although bad news continues to have super acceleration,  out  pacing all other.  This week’s blog starts with the a sobering account from Gerry and  given the  rather confused situation about what we  can and can’t  do at  the moment,  provides pause  for consideration.

Conversely, there was strong evidence of people adhering to the rules of Lockdown  but celebrating the spirit  of seventy five years on  from V.E. Day.

I have put together a photomontage of V.E.  Day celebrations in  Trimley  St. Martin at the end of  this Blog. Strangely void of  people for the most  part, but  look carefully and you will  see The Queen peeping  out.

As ever, I  am  grateful  to all my  correspondents for their reports and  the time spent  writing.

Facebook posts included:

Dogs / V.E. Day/  Historical photographs/  Cookery  with  Lisa Williams/  Public  utilities/ closure of Thorpe Lane road crossing/  Covid 19  and socialising/ A round  of  applause  for the N.H.S./ 2 Sisters Arts Centre/  Nature photography


Gerry Bremner

Lockdown Update: 11th May 2020.

As we move further and deeper into the lockdown calendar there appears to be more uncertainty about whether we begin to relax lockdown measures in certain areas to try and kick start the economy slowly. There does not seem to be consensus around the world about how countries exit the lockdown measures successfully. Reports are coming in that countries that have attempted relaxation of the lock down measures imposed have seen spikes in infection rates.

It would seem the lack of certainty from governments worldwide indicates the severity of the situation we are facing. This highlights to me the rather surreal nature of this pandemic. Many people have been living in a form of lockdown bubble including myself. Overall, we have been blessed with wonderful weather We have been exercising regularly, walking, bicycle riding, enjoying fabulous scenery that we are so fortunate to have all around us. Watching the movement of the deer herds from location to location, hearing what appears to be an abundance of birdsong. We have had the blessing of one of our daughters at home with us from London. (The other lives in Australia). Quality time that we have never had the opportunity to enjoy before in the pre-pandemic 24/7 whirlwind of life. Some people even likening this situation to ” enjoyable” and “relaxing”.

Little did we know that we would be facing an event that redefined our perspective.

We went out for one of our usual bicycle rides last Thursday enjoying a wonderful ride along the shore line at the Trimley Marshes and up towards Levington Marina. Suddenly my wife lost control of her bike and ended up in a crumpled heap beneath it. Quickly it became obvious that this was not a “get up and dust yourself down incident” as she clasped her wrist and was in immense pain. One look confirmed that this was serious injury and more than likely a break. My daughter stayed with her whilst I peddled furiously back home to collect my car and my trailer for the bikes. Whilst cycling back, my thoughts raced at what may lay ahead. We had self -isolated since the lockdown and have been diligent in trying to follow all the advice and information regarding that process. Now we were facing a trip to Ipswich Hospital and the very centre of treatment for the pandemic in this area.

With trepidation I arrived back home and was then faced with having to empty the trailer which was full of garden waste that it has been impossible to remove because of the lockdown on waste recycling centres and household collections. I quickly tipped the contents onto the front lawn and rushed back to where my wife and daughter were waiting at Levington marina. By now at least 40 mins had passed. My wife was in immense pain and my daughter had rung Felixstowe Hospital in the hope they may be able to assist but as expected they referred us to A&E at Ipswich.

I loaded the bicycles in the trailer and then rushed back home with my wife and daughter to offload the trailer as we thought there might be a problem parking at the hospital. My daughter rushed indoors for some painkillers for my wife and some face masks and we sped off to Ipswich Hospital. I had no idea what would face us but we were all filled with a sense of trepidation and concern. How bad was the break? Would it need surgery? Would that mean my wife having to stay in the hospital? It seemed like all the good work we had been doing with self-isolation over the weeks was to very quickly unravel.

On arrival at the hospital it seemed eerily quiet and the car parks strangely empty. I pulled up outside the Elizabeth Garret Anderson A&E building and as Wendy and my daughter got out to go to the entrance they were met by a male nurse in full protective clothing directing them to another part of the hospital as that entire building had been sectioned for the treatment of the Corona Virus. We were directed to Building number 3 Orthopaedic and Fractures and masked we entered the building and were met by some female nurses also masked and protected who informed us that my wife would have to wait on her own in the treatment area whilst we waited outside. Social distancing was in operation. The reception staff managing the telephones were masked and protected like the nurses. There were no facilities open so my daughter and I had to return to the car which we had managed to bring to the car park directly outside. We watched ambulances come and go and it brought it home, in no uncertain terms that the NHS staff were still having to deal with medical conditions and emergencies in very different circumstances imposed upon them by the pandemic. This was placing considerable stress and pressure on both them and their patients. It also brought home how upsetting it was to not be able to sit with your loved ones in such situations and support them in such distressing circumstances.

During the period waiting outside we noticed that people were gathering and fire engines and ambulances had arrived with flashing blue lights. We wondered whether there had been a fire alarm raised and suddenly we realised it was 8.00pm on a Thursday and everyone started clapping. Nurses in full protective clothing came out to support those working in the Corona Virus Unit and all their colleagues. It was quite an emotional moment as you suddenly realised the reality of what was happening in the world outside of our own pandemic lockdown bubble. All these amazing people standing there in protective clothing, risking their lives each day whilst we were out walking, bicycling and “enjoying” the wonderful weather and time with our family.

Every now and then I had to walk into the entrance of the building that my wife was in and ask for an update or nurses would come out and look for relatives of people waiting in the car park for news. Social distancing in practice and at first hand. After a wait of about four and a half hours my wife was finally able to leave with a plaster cast and a set of instructions.  In all that time she had been on her own with her family having to wait outside. This is the reality of the pandemic.

In just a few hours we had been made fully aware that there are two distinct realities to this pandemic. There are those who are relatively sheltered from the front line, some even able to enjoy the experience of lock down and self-isolation, and then there are others who each day are facing a front line in which the reality is very very different.

Yesterday 600 people in the UK lost their lives to this virus. The largest daily number to date. The UK stood as the second highest country in the world in terms of fatalities at approx. 33,000.

So, to those who are getting restless about the restrictions on their personal freedoms and movements I would ask you to reflect on the numbers above. I would ask you to reflect on the realities for those people who are facing life threatening conditions each and every day to save lives. Each time we try and push back against the lock down, bend the rules, complain that our personal freedoms are being restricted, just realise that where we are at the moment with this pandemic is crucial and we all must understand that collectively we must hold together. If we do not, what progress we may have made, the sacrifices that our NHS staff and keyworkers have made to date could very quickly unravel.

The lockdown bubble we had been living in may not have burst completely but it has changed and we are increasingly grateful for the work being done by so many and so appreciative and aware of the importance of self-responsibility to protect not just ourselves but everyone else.

Now is not the time to start getting restless. Now is the time to hold firm, stay resolute and be thankful for and recognised the contributions of others.




Sandra Abbott

image2                  Photograph courtesy  of  Sandra Abbott

Tuesday May 5 After a glorious day, the late weather forecast suggested there may be a frost, so armed with torch and garden fleece out we go to tuck up our runner beans and courgettes! Not the easiest of tasks, holding torch in one hand, pegs in another, I seemed to need another for the fleece!

Wednesday was a chilly start, runner beans and courgettes seemed none the worse for their almost midnight adventure!

Gearing up to Friday and VE Day I note red, white and blue blooming under the Apple tree.
Look carefully and you will see the white fever few!

image1-3     Photograph courtesy  of  Sandra Abbott

Thursday, we discovered some balloons in the cupboard, Clifford plugged in the compressor and gets busy……a huge bag of rainbow balloons!

Friday 8 VE Day heralds beautiful morning. I got up early to make a World War 2 traditional Homity Pie…a vegetable Cornish pasty is the nearest explanation! Now time to put up bunting and balloons!

The balloons were carefully put in colour order and we felt looked effective……..until we turned our backs on them and heard them pop, pop, pop!!!!In the afternoon we joined neighbours, socially distanced of course, bringing own drinks and chairs, to spend a pleasant time together on a glorious afternoon.


Sunday 9 a day of two seasons. We took an earlier walk in gorgeous, warm sunshine, by the afternoon, the chill wind really picked up. That evening saw me having a wonderful adventure, thanks to a dear friend and modern technology I travelled to France, Spain and Italy taking a delightful virtual stroll through Monet’s garden. It was magical and brought back happy memories of two visits I had made there.

Monday 10, blustery and cold, a day for inside chores. Clifford finishes the jigsaw……..

…. this shows the seriousness of the situation…. I clean the windows, inside of course, and tidy a cupboard! To recover, we took a walk past the railway track and were thrilled to see several foxgloves bursting for colour….it will be a picture along there soon.

Frost is once again on the agenda, we had earlier warning of this, so our babies were tucked up in fleece before nightfall!

Stay safe, alert and well


Becca  Atherstone

Becca's cat

The toothache   has gone.  I silently thanked penicillin and Sir Alexander Fleming many times. It made me recall how my mother knew him.

During the war she was a nurse. At some stage she worked with a Dr Benat at Clare Hospital in Hertfordshire. He was involved in bacterial research. This in turn interested Fleming and he would visit to see how things were progressing.

My mother always went to pick him up from Totteridge tube station and take him out to Clare Hall. Now of course I wished I had asked her lots more questions!

With VE Day I put out some bunting and a large Union Jack. Not really seen by anyone … apart from the milkman and postman … but it stirred another memory. As a child in North London, Whetstone, I vividly remember how many times I saw men on crutches walking along the high road. Always smart, wearing a suit and cap … but with one trouser leg pinned up. Limbs destroyed by wartime. Sometimes they would be selling matches. I never understood why they weren’t treated like heroes.

With the decent weather I managed to sow all the veg seeds at last. Then I set about my hanging baskets and pots. Terrific help from Puggy cat. I eventually had to persuade her to remove herself from the last pot waiting to be planted. It’s a battle of wits as to where to place the pots to keep them away from rabbits. In fact the whole garden planting thing has become a sort of game. Which flowers won’t they eat? There aren’t many.

Our night time wildlife camera has picked up a fox…and hooray, a hedgehog! I was getting worried as I hadn’t seen one in the day, but it’s good to know they are about.

I have been quietly exploring the garden to see if I can spot a bird’s nest. Only two seen so far. The birds I have seen building are blackbirds, blue tits, robins, dunnocks and a pair of long tailed tits. I’ve always wanted to see how they construct their nests. They sound so magical, made out of lichen, moss, feathers and cobwebs. Apparently, they are usually low in thorn bushes, which is exactly where I have seen them working. But who can peer successfully into a thorn bush! Jolly clever strategy!

I rather think it will be back to decorating and campaign work as the weather turns.


‘B’ –  a seven  year  old girl

I have disgusting medicine this week cos I have an infection in my leg.  I have to take pink disgusting medicine, but today I finished the bottle.  I took it all and didn’t spit ANY out.  I had to take 4 times a day and had a bite of chocolate and a drink of water after each time.  My leg is not as red now, just a bit pink.

I learned to ride my bike!  I ride on the track and Daddy runs alongside.  I can now ride on the road with Daddy too.  If I’m not riding my bike, I chase my hula hoop on our walks.  We roll it and then I catch it.


Robin Biddle

Robin, 3, VE Day 1945        Photograph  courtesy of Robin  Biddle

I consider myself lucky, I’m only now starting my first week of total lockdown.

First thing was to look for the ‘itinerary’ from week 1. Oh dear, I think it’s been tidied up. Have to start again. Found it. Only thing ticked off, mow the grass. Now. As I won’t be riding it, I can add clean and oil my bike.

Broke my rule again, had the mower out on a Sunday, and did some weeding

I had a dressed teddy once, but I think his mate is wearing them now. I asked Paddington if he would sit in the window, I have no idea where he heard words like that.

There are more days than jobs. Did earn some brownie points, getting some grasses out from growing through plants.

Some of you will be aware that I’ve been on my own for a couple of weeks, nothing to do with Covid. For those that know, things are on the up.

Luckily, I was domesticated from an early age. My first job was sweeping the stairs, when I was 4. I later graduated to a vacuum cleaner. A Goblin, I think cost £25. I was allowed to wash up, standing on a box, and iron sheets when I was 7. I never really did get to grips with cooking, why should I? Mum had cooked at Heveningham Hall, for the landed gentry. Did you know, you cook a Woodcock with its beak up its bum. I hope this is an adult readership :))

Amazing how garden jobs escalate. I go to the greenhouse, and see little jobs to d.  I tidied a log pile, then the pile of broken concrete bits where the newts over winter needed adjusting, which meant the Jasmine needed a trim … back into the greenhouse.

I eventually got around to taking the hedge trimmer to a couple of shrubs, well it’s a start

V.E. Day

The bin men came

11 o’clock, did the two-minute silence, with Charles and Camilla (on TV). Stood to attention, naval style (Sea Cadet training)

Remembered my dad and 8 uncles, who all survived the war.

One uncle that was killed in Malaya, less than a week after arriving.

Broke curfew 1.30 pm, took photos of Old Kirton Road, in both directions, could hear music at one house, and somewhere close could hear a lawn mower.

Sat in the sun. Blackbird and chaffinch singing, Pigeon, Collared doves calling , House Sparrows . A very few Starlings and a couple of large gulls flying around.

Of our five close neighbours, two are gardening

Watched the Queen on TV.

Old Kirton Road,8.5.20 (2)                                                                    Old Kirton Road,8.5.20

Two photos of Old Kirton Road,  1.00 p.m.8th May  2020 Courtesy  of Robin Biddle

Alison F.

The lost policeman

This story happened the week before last but I have decided to include it this week instead as our sewing machine saga dominated last week.  Almost every day we have tried to go out for a walk in our beautiful countryside and have been discovering so many new walks.  We decide which direction to head in and then go off on a whim taking random paths.  I always have my smart phone with me and use an Ordinance Survey app when we get lost, though not all the footpaths are correct and sometimes the maps lead us up the wrong garden path. Google Maps is useful for giving directions if you are lost on an estate but not so good for paths and tracks. We’ve also been using an app called Google Lens for identifying wildflowers.

The Monday before last, we set off on a walk down Thorpe Lane and then dived down one of the footpaths and then took another track.  Then we realised that there was a policeman approaching us from behind.  We instinctively thought we must’ve done something wrong and even wondered whether they had rumbled the fact that we were out longer than the suggested one hour allotted exercise time. (Please don’t tell.)  The policeman, standing 2 m away from us, told us that he was looking for a missing young person and that he himself was lost as he hadn’t got any signal on his mobile phone.  We had got a signal and were able to direct him back to the High Road as we discovered that we were on the track going past Morston Hall. Incidentally, we heard on the news that a young man from Felixstowe had been found the following day, so hopefully that was the missing person.

All this walking has given me an idea.  I wondered if it would be possible to compile a booklet of local walks.  A number of years ago, the Felixstowe Society made a booklet of 10 walks in Felixstowe.  Also, the late John Pardy and his wife Vivien made their own booklet entitled ’20 walks from Kirton Green’.  A leaflet of three circular walks around Trimley St Martin was compiled by the Parish Council last century which we have found very useful.  My idea would be to have a booklet of ‘10 walks from Trimley St Martin Green.’ now that so many footpaths have been altered because the railway line has been dualled.  Maybe Liz could give the historic details and someone else could do some nature notes. I told my husband one of  the people contributing to this Blog was a naturist, rather than a naturalist. He replied “So he knows all about the birds and the bees then.”  I feel sure that in our group we have some people who are good at drawing and who could illustrate the historic buildings and the nature notes.  Hubby and I could work out the maps using a smart phone.  There may be someone in the group who likes drawing maps.

Just to let you know that now the sewing machine is mended,  hubby has really taken to it and is making laundry bags for care workers.

Last Sunday we had our first online delivery from a major supermarket, after five weeks of trying. We had managed to get a delivery from Iceland but they don’t carry a full range of products.  I was so thrilled we got our slot.


A  Headteacher


On Sunday evening, the Prime Minister announced that some school years need to plan to open on June the first.  Documentation to support this would be with head teachers the following day.  A sleepless night followed and the guidance arrived after 6pm, so I have had very late night/early morning planning how I can open my school for those children who wish to return.

The government are suggesting the very youngest children are to return first.  I now need to plan how to enable social distancing for three year olds.  The classrooms will look very different.  No soft toys, no soft furnishing, limited resources that can be washed at the end of each day.  Each class is to have a limited number of children and staff and cannot mix with any other class, cannot share outdoor equipment and cannot share the same entrance or start time. The children may not be with their usual teacher and may not be with their friends. The kitchen needs to serve food for our returning children, but I need to devise a new way of serving as our current way is not compatible with social distancing.

And then there is managing the worries and concerns of the staff.  They are quite rightly worried about how they keep themselves and their families safe, and that burden weighs heavily with me.   But, we carry on, I will do my best and I we will make it work – the children in my school deserve it.

Susan Hughes

 Would we ever have thought we would be plodding and blogging into week 8?

I thought Sarah and I had “settled” into something sort of a new normal.  That was until Sarah had a complete meltdown last Wednesday. She is missing her home.

It’s the not knowing that is beginning to wear on her and on many other people.

Part of my “working from home” responsibility is to phone our more vulnerable customers, and I certainly noticed a change in my contacts last week.  The calls mean a lot to those whom I call and it does make me feel that I am doing something worthwhile. But the calls were not quite as upbeat as they have been.

A neighbour’s little girl had her fourth birthday on May 8th. Sarah made her a card and sang Happy Birthday to her.

VE day, we spent in the garden, where drifts of Vera Lynne songs floated in the air.

We are so grateful to have a garden, particularly being visited by our families of wild birds, and chatting to our neighbours who have got the gardening bug.

As I close this blog, I drift back over the walks Sarah and I have taken and am acutely aware of time. Snowdrops into daffodils into bluebells. Ploughed fields into crops. Quite indelibly imprinted.

Take care everyone

As Julian of Norwich said ” and all will be well,  all manner of things shall be well”


Morag Liffen

Morags Baby Squirrel    Photograph  courtesy of Morag Liffen

I’m surprised at how quickly the weeks seem to be flying by. Can’t believe we are in our 8th week of lockdown.

So, what’s happened this week?

Well, had my first experience of Zoom, by joining the Felixstowe Book Festival Reading Group meeting online. And what fun it was too, although I was wary of touching any buttons in case I lost the picture on my screen.

It was lovely to see so many familiar faces, and as I had enjoyed the book, Giver of Stars  by Jo Jo Moyes, it was interesting to hear what others thought about it too.

Then I had a go at making some bunting for the VE Day celebrations. A red scarf and blue and white pillowcases provided the right colour scheme, cut into “V” shapes and sewn onto a piece of string. It looked quite effective, and was accompanied by a Union Jack tea – towel, which doubled as a flag. Our road was quiet on the day, though several of the neighbouring houses had strung up bunting too.

The weather changed quite dramatically on Sunday, becoming windy and cold, which made me decide it was time to tackle the loft. Spent several hours sorting through boxes of childhood treasures – those first paintings, school reports, certificates – even found my daughter’s old Brownie uniform, carefully packed away, complete with badges. Now why do I need to hang on to that, I wonder? Needless to say, nothing much was thrown away, but at least the boxes are all neatly labelled, and I know where everything is now.

I was also delighted to find my father’s student notes, from the years when he was a medical student during the war years. He didn’t join the army till 1944, when he qualified as a doctor from Glasgow University. Tucked inside one of the folders was his final year dinner booklet, complete with class photos. Strange that I should come across this amid the VE Day celebrations. (I also came across his old medical case, complete with surgical instruments. It really should be in a museum, I think, but I shall hang on to it for now).

Back to the gardening today, despite the blustery wind. Our resident squirrel seems to have produced offspring. We found a baby squirrel in our newly sown seed bed – and very cute it was too. We tried to shoo it away, but it showed no fear, and continued scrabbling through the freshly watered seeds. Goodness knows if they will every sprout.

So, we are now entering a new phase in the lockdown. I shall look forward to more regular outings to exercise. Once a day was never enough for me. Still no news about returning to work at the vets, but I’m sure that will follow in due course, when precautions can be put in place for both staff and our clients. In the meantime, we carry on, pretty much the same as before.

Paul  R

Another week has gone by. It is tempting to say that nothing changes and that one day merges into the next but that sounds rather defeatist. In reality, I am grateful for the easy life we have. We can do what we want, at home, do not have money or shopping worries, we are healthy and all of the children and grandchildren  are  well and  coping. I do not take this for granted.

A minor variation this week – hooray. On VE Day we got together in the lane with four of our neighbours (all observing the social distancing protocols) and spent a couple of hours in the glorious Spring sunshine drinking wine, eating snacks and simply chatting. It almost seemed strange at first (being with people) but after a few minutes all seemed normal.

After seeing the latest announcements about easing the lockdown on Sunday I am so glad that I am retired because otherwise I’d be confused as to whether I am expected to go back to work or not. It must be just as bad for employers being given two days to sort things – if indeed that is what the announcement means.

Enough. The Meccano awaits!

Yvonne Smart


Wildcamera Photograph  courtesy of Yvonne Smart

Once again keeping busy has been my way of coping with everything that is going on around us so its been another week toiling the soil!

Being up to date on my own allotment, I have spent some time clearing ground on a neglected plot trying to get it to look decent for a new tenant. Now cut back all the tough stuff and removed old pallets etc, another plot holder will come in with a strimmer. Then it will be clear out the shed where all sorts of stuff has been left. Hopefully such endeavours will encourage the person who enquired about a plot to take over the tenancy.


But it’s not all been grappling with weeds the size of triffids. I have had time to read. At the moment, I’m currently reading Bill Bryson ‘The Body’. Excellent and a great way to learn how our bodies function. Much easier than Greys Anatomy, but then I found that fascinating too! Facts and figures have always interested me – did you know 15 minutes is how long a bottle nosed dolphin can stay underwater between breaths?!

Speaking of wildlife. The fox cubs I wrote about are growing rapidly. Originally it was thought there were two but in fact there are three. Such a delight. At the foot of this missive is one of the pictures received. Nature certainly keeps bringing delight during such difficult times.

My walks with my dog Tyler have taken us down to Loompit Lake to check on the progress of ducklings, and goslings. One particular day was a little spoilt by a proliferation of cyclists, thankfully not all seemed to think they were on an assault course and did slow down. Unfortunately I was knocked down by a cyclist in the past, the result of which my knee continues to give me pain. A cyclist also ploughed into Tyler one day due to coming around a corner too fast. Bike and rider ended on top of Tyler, not good and ended up taking a trip to the vet. Rider was ok but I hope he learnt to be a little more considerate in the future.


Thankfully my excursions to Capel Hall and on through to Falkenham have been a little more tranquil and sitting on a bench by the church is such a joy. A  quit, peaceful  time to simply drift in thoughts and think how fortunate I am to remain safe and well.


May all reading this blog stay safe and well.

Photomontage  of V.E. remembrance in Trimley  St. Martin





Photograph  of The Mariners (in Trimley St. Mary, courtesy  of  Alison F.



As ever, I welcome any further contributions from those  who may 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




2 thoughts on “When Disaster strikes …

    1. Thank you, John. Your comment is appreciated. All of the contributors with the exception of the Head Teacher and seven year old , ‘B’ have already been interviewed for this
      Blog and photographed. It almost goes without saying, I’m proud of all of them for their consistent contributions.


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