An Accidental Writer

By Robert Simper

Most people seem to get into writing from journalism or being connected with a university. I started writing because an incident unloading a lorry. Back in the 1950s, drivers unloaded their own lorries. I took a load of oats in bags into the ECF (Essex County Farmers) mill in Commercial Road, Ipswich and cheerfully grabbed the last bag of the load  and swung it round. At the same time something awful happened in my lower back. I spent the next ten years getting over it and have had to be careful ever since.

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Oystercatchers on the Deben

By Sally Westwood

The Oystercatcher lifted itself up, its legs unfolding slowly, and stepped out of the central space of a coiled rope. An egg lay in the space, the rope provided a wall for the nest. The nest was on the top of a 50-60 foot, river maintenance vessel. The boat was used for clearing channels and ditches, effectively keeping the river flowing. It had a crane at one end, and a vast square hold in the centre. The Oystercatchers had their nest on a flat surface at the other end of the vessel. The Oystercatcher called four times, at the edge of the vessel. Its mate arrived, and landed on a rusty, round, steel stanchion. It walked over to the nest, stepped in and lowered itself down onto the egg. Adjusting itself by wobbling from side to side, to comfortably cover the speckled egg. Eggs are incubated for 24 to 35 days.1 The other Oystercatcher flew off to the blades of grass and green weed at the edge of the water, abundant because of the warm weather. Tide was high and coming in. That was day eight, for the egg in the rope. Continue reading

Of Diaries and the Perennial Diarist of Waldringfield

By Gareth Thomas

[This article is about A Perennial Diary kept by the Reverend Thomas Henry Waller, Rector of Waldringfield for 43 years from 1862 to 1905.   Please note that where entries are quoted verbatim the text is italicised.]

Readers who belong to The Arts Society will have had the opportunity recently to hear Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum, pronouncing on the immense value of diaries and describing a collection of 11,000 such pieces which he oversees at the Bishopsgate Institute, opposite Liverpool Street Station. 

Finkel, a real enthusiast in the preservation of diaries, describes the simplest, most humble diaries as ‘magical’, because they are concerned with the life of real people who have written ‘the truth as they see it, without manipulation.’ He makes a particular point that none of the 11,000 diaries in question were kept by politicians. Continue reading

Who’s that boat? Or, Venice comes to town

by Nan McElroy

If you’re a devotee of Woodbridge boatyard and the River Deben, you may have spotted Eric and Maxine Reynolds manoeuvring a particularly unfamiliar, curious-looking traditional craft towards the end of 2020. It’s wood, of course, but awfully skinny, and perhaps ten metres long with minimal draft. It’s outfitted with long, flat wooden oars, but no rigging. What is it, exactly? Where’d it come from? When will we see it again? And how, exactly, does it work?

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The Deben in Pastels

by Leigh Belcham 

It all started with a barbecue on the beach at Ramsholt.

The year was 1996 and Waldringfield Sailing Club was celebrating its 75th anniversary. My wife Jill and I were living in Coventry at the time, but friends had invited us to join them for the weekend of fun and nostalgia. After racing on the Saturday afternoon, we had a gentle sail downriver on their yacht, and watched the sun set over Hemley church while enjoying our sausages and a glass of wine.

The following year I came across a photo I’d taken that evening. Memories came flooding back, not just of our barbecue but of the years I’d spent on the river as a teenager, mainly at Waldringfield. Grabbing some of my son’s pastels, I set to work trying to recreate the scene. I hadn’t drawn or painted anything since my schooldays, so was pleasantly surprised at the result. A year later, when we were back in the area, a walk along the river wall at Felixstowe Ferry inspired me to have another go. Continue reading

AGM – 28 April 21

Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 28th April 2021 6.30 p.m.
By Zoom

Agenda

  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 18th November 2020 (see here)
  3. Matters arising
  4. Treasurer’s Report for the year ended 31st December 2020 (see here)
  5. Appointment of Examiner for the 2021 accounts
  6. Election of officers and members of the Committee:
    • Officers:
        o Honorary President – Robert Simper
        o Chair – Vacant
        o Vice-Chairs – Jane Haviland and Sarah Zins
        o Treasurer – Vacant
        o Secretary – Caroline Matthews
    • There are no committee members standing for re-election.
    • Co-opted members standing for election:
        o Sue Orme
  7. Vice Chair’s report (see Spring edition of “The Deben” magazine)

………….

The AGM will be followed by a presentation on “Sketching the Deben” by Mary-Anne Bartlett from Art Safari and local artist Claudia Myatt.

Registration for Zoom AGM Because of the continuing Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings, the 2021 AGM will be held via Zoom.

If you wish to attend the virtual event, please send your name and the email address to which the Zoom joining meeting instructions are to be sent to: membership@riverdeben.org.

The instructions will be sent out by e-mail the day before the event. Please note that:

  • any person who wishes to participate in the voting of the AGM must have their own PC, tablet or smartphone. If joint or household members are sharing a device, only one of them will be able to vote in the meeting.
  • If you would like to ‘attend’ the meeting but do not have an email address, we hope that there will be an email address and internet point among your family and friends from where you could join the meeting.
Posted in AGM

Happy Memories Sailing a Cornish Shrimper

by Robin Whittle

Gillie and I retired from 505 dinghy sailing in 1995 and bought our Shrimper 19, ‘Bumble Chugger’ (124) in 1996.  The Shrimper is one of the most popular of small yachts built by Cornish Crabbers Ltd.  ‘Bumble Chugger’ has provided us with some wonderful adventures exploring the local estuaries and distant shores.  She has also enabled us to continue racing which has been of more interest to me, but Gillie has taken part with great skill, even if not with my enthusiasm!

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Protecting wildlife when canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding on the Deben

We are very fortunate that the river Deben is designated as being of international importance for wintering birds and has national protection for both breeding and wintering birds. We have brent geese, redshanks, curlews, avocets and lapwings, to name but a few.

In order to protect our wonderful estuarine environment and its wildlife, please look at the attached maps to see which are the most sensitive w ildlife areas to avoid – areas to avoid.