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This brings me to a great festive local tradition for the whole community. We take our place alongside the river amongst the beaming crowd, every one of us piled high with warm clothing protecting us against the bitter cold and we spot the majestic sails of a barge in the distance. Slowly but surely the sails weave their way along the river between the reeds towards the waiting crowd. Gradually our patience is rewarded, the chatter escalates and smiles break through our icy faces.


Amongst the ethereal colours of the river a small, glowing, red shape appears with a white beard and a friendly wave. “HO HO HO!” echoes and bounces its way towards us, skimming the top of the water and into our hearts. Father Christmas has arrived, he’s come by barge from a distant land. We imagine his helpers busy inside, lots of hot chocolate in a big pot on the roaring stove. Red and white snowflake and reindeer- style hand-woven cosy blankets and giant tapestry cushions with scenes


12 | ukhandmade | Winter 2010


of their home land. That’s the magic of boats. The magic we felt as we raised the mainsail for the first time on our newly painted boat sailing gently to a distant land.


Spring, Summer, Autumn and now Winter completes my ‘Diary’ for the year, recording our family experiences of life in the country, unknowingly creating a small piece of family history along the way.


I’m not going to pretend it’s all rosy; we have to drive out of the village for local vegetables and meat, clocking up far too many petrol miles supporting local producers. Floods often stop us getting where we need to be and I have developed a nasty allergy to those wonderful yellow fields. However, compared to life in the town, these are all issues (apart from the allergy) we can accommodate. The recent trailers piled high with onions have been quite a sight and the delicious smell in the air melts away any doubts about living here.


We love living in Coastal Suffolk, the peace and quiet, the spiritual elation we feel walking along the rivers, driving along the country roads, taking in the surrounding scenes and most of all watching a Pheasant family cross the road. If you ever have the opportunity to live in the country, give it a try, you never know, you may just grow to love it.


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