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about fram

Issue Twenty Sixteen seven Look no further than aboutfram, the local magazine that packs a Suffolk punch!

e up m k Pic d take ! an home me


contents who’s about out & about 26

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about style about you

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4 Edit together

24 about town

From Suffolk to Ethiopia and back with Ele Grower of The Mulu Edit

We bring you the latest news about town

6 Out and about

26 Turning tides

A round up of local events

10 Fashion fix Refreshing style upload

12 Skin deep Release your inner radiance with these natural beauty regimes

14 Beam me up Scotty! We explore a 18th century cottage that is full of surprises

20 Get the look

We get onboard with Mike Warner’s passion for fresh local fish

32 Man made Scratching beneath the surface of Gus Farnes’ sculptures

36 Garden planning Get planning to make your garden extra special this year

40 about taste Organically homegrown stories

Gorgeous homeware to inspire and delight

42 Whiting Gin-Tempura with a tartare sauce

22 Competition time

Lightly battered fresh fish with a homemade tartare sauce

Win a £50 voucher to spend at homeware store, East of Eden

46 The rhythm of life The everyday joy to be had from walking your own home patch

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about interiors

about town about the land

about design about gardens

about food about taste round & about

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just the three of us... about us

We are delighted to bring you issue 27 of aboutfram, a breath of fresh spring air with many more than three reasons to be cheerful. In this issue we uncover the secrets hidden within an 18th century cottage, explore the Ethiopian Highlands and get figurative with a family of bronzes. We also go fishing for our supper and bring you ideas and inspiration for yourself, your home, and your garden. Editorial Kathy Churchill Sales Sarah Clarke

aboutmedia info@aboutmedia.co.uk 01728 666352 www.aboutmedia.co.uk

Design Ferrar Design kerry@ferrar.co.uk

07884 433385 www.ferrar.co.uk

a bit about them... Acting Designer Lucy Hart Locally based graphic designer, illustrator, web designer and owner of Silverlace Creative. silverlacecreative.co.uk M: 07900 371721

Our thanks also go to Richard Albany-Pratt of The Suffolk Project for his images for about design.

WIN end o sp

t ÂŁ50 eous n i W org t on g ware a e hom of Eden t Eas ge 22 Pa

If you would like to sign up to the weekly aboutfram e-newsletter, please subscribe at www.aboutmedia/aboutfram 2


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who’s about

Edit together We find out why Ele Grower swapped the bright lights of London for the farming communities of Ethiopia, and why she has now returned home to Suffolk to set up The Mulu Edit, a sustainable homeware business, and to take over the family farm in Wenhaston. Ele grew up in coastal Suffolk, where she and her sister enjoyed roaming their grandparents’ farm and being part of a multi-generational farming family. She studied philosophy at Cambridge and after graduating was drawn to the opportunities and lifestyle that London offered. Being clever and ambitious she soon carved out a career as a business development manager for small fast-growing companies, however, she still yearned to seek an understanding of the larger questions of life posed by her 4

degree and felt the need to put her energy into something that really mattered. In 2017 she accepted a job with Greenpath Food, a small start-up supporting the farming communities of the Ethiopian Highlands through the introduction of organic regenerative farming practices and robust environmental policies. For Ele it was the perfect fit and she had no hesitation in flying over 3500 miles to Addis Ababa to take up the position of Commercial Manager,


who’s about

where her role involved connecting these growers with new distributors in the UK and across Europe. During her three years, Ele immersed herself not only in her work, but also the local culture and loved visiting the bustling markets where the rich traditions of weaving, leatherwork and pottery were a constant temptation. It was the exceptional quality and craftmanship of these products that prompted Ele to start a business importing them to the UK, and with the help of her great friend, Mulu, she has sourced an edited collection of beautiful and unique crafts, including wonderful, tasselled picnic blankets, Lalibela tablecloths, handthrown ceramics, Darango leather goods and intricate basket ware. Named ‘The Mulu Edit’, Ele is excited about this new venture and is committed to ensuring that

the individual artists will directly benefit including Mulu, as Ele is giving her friend 20% of all lockdown sales to put towards her new baby, expected this June. Since her return last November, Ele hasn’t stopped. She continues to work with Greenpath Foods and is looking forward to selling her collection through pop-ups and social media. Living back on the family farm, she has also drawn parallels between the regenerative farming practices out in Ethiopian and the old-fashioned farming methods of her great grandparents and is looking into ways of making the farm more sustainable. As we sign off, I learn that Mulu means ‘deeply rich, beautiful, full and complete’, and I can’t help but think that these qualities will also define Ele’s way of life for many years to come. Follow her on Instagram @themuluedit 5


out & about

February 25th - 6th March

27th

Exclusive Art Auction

Festival of New

Fabulous art auction featuring an amazing array of talented artists including Jelly Green, Antony Gormley, Stephen Henderson and Gus Farnes.

A hugely exciting line-up of thirteen artists and groups come together virtually for an afternoon of films, talks and Q&As.

Raising funds in aid of Art Therapy at East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices. To view the catalogue visit: www.each.org.uk/exclusive-art-auction

With projects ranging from sound installations and immersive multimedia experiences, to podcasts, dance and music theatre, this diverse range of creative activity will inspire the audience. 2pm online. www.snapemaltings.co.uk/festival-of-new

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out & about

March

April

5th - 21st

30th

Bloom

Sketch for Survival Deadline

An online exhibition of over 30 botanically themed artworks, sculpture and bespoke vases from some of the UK’s most talented and exciting artists. Weekend Masterclasses from leading artists, printmakers, illustrators and stylish florists, plus an incredible botanical gift raffle on the final night. Raising money exclusively for the Blossom Appeal. www.artforcure.org.uk

Get your entries in now for this global art initiative celebrating the beauty and colour of the natural world while also highlighting the threats posed by human activity. There are two categories; Wildlife and Wild Spaces and both Adult and Junior age groups. Register and enter online by the 30th April. www.explorersagainstextinction.co.uk

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about style 1

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Refreshing style upload 1. Groovy leather bag Wandering Bee From £25 2. Bankside Jumper Barbour @ Out & About Country Fashion £79.95

3. Stylish Bibi shirt Vero Moda @ Out & About Country Fashion £34 4. Blue topaz ring Sarah Cole Jewellery £48 5. Classical coat Oui @ O&C Butcher £199

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about style 9

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6. Allure Wedding Dress Suffolk Wedding Dress Exchange £900

7. Beautiful bracelets Mishky @ Matisa Market From £32

8. Neon Heart Jumper Oui @ Darcy B £119

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9. Colourful hoodies Born + Bred £55

10.Roka Bantry bag collated From £54.95

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11.Chic robe Ruby Tyger £69.95 12.Rainbow jumpers Ruby Tyger £54

Stockists on page 48

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about you

Skin deep All-bar-one

Face masks causing havoc with your skin? If you are suffering from the odd breakout try this Charcoal & Green Clay Facial Bar from The Framlingham Soap Company. At just £4.50, it combines activated charcoal to cleanse and unclog pores, green clay to reduce breakouts and absorb excess oils, and soothing Tea Tree essential oil, which has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. www.theframlinghamsoapcompany.co.uk

Sea spray

Fresh and zesty, Samphire by Laboratory Perfumes is like a spray of coastal sea air. This evocative fragrance combines spicy juniper berries with layers of verbena, white amber and oak moss to create a bright, cool, aromatic scent that will transport you to the windswept shores of Suffolk. £70 for 100ml. Available from Fleur, Aldeburgh

A close shave

Over 2 billion disposal razors are thrown away every year! Do your bit for the planet and switch to a reusable safety razor. Available from Cupboard Love in metal grey or rose gold (£25), they come with 10 spare blades, are easy to use and give a much smoother finish. www.cupboardlove.shop

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Radiant goodness

French skin-care experts, Caudalie, have just released a fabulous new line of eco-friendly cleansers called VINOCLEAN. Made with 97% natural origin ingredients such as rose, grape and almond extracts, they leave your skin feeling clean and radiant. Plus, the new bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic and are recyclable too, which gets the thumbs up from us. Prices start from £7.50. Available from Woodbridge Pharmacy


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about interiors

Beam me up Scotty! 14


about interiors

We go behind the doors of a row of beautifully renovated 18th century thatched cottages in Brandeston to find out what secrets lie within and how owners, Victor Scott and Tracy Wingfield, are gradually reconnecting them to their past. It is believed that the cottages were originally built as one property but, for as long as anyone can remember they have been divided into three working cottages, fondly known as Bachelor’s Row as a nod to local characters Frank, Roy and Cliff who were residents for many years. Victor and Tracy luckily managed to buy each cottage as it came to market, starting with No.39 in 1997, No.38 in 1999 and finally No.37 in 2006. “We started off renovating the first cottage and it wasn’t until we uncovered this huge inglenook fireplace and a blocked-up door in the bedroom closet that we began to suspect that the

cottages might once have been one larger property. When we bought the middle cottage, we found another doorway in here, this time leading through to the end cottage, and so we were delighted to finally complete the trio and buy No.37 a few years later.” Victor and Tracy currently let out No.39 and have concentrated their efforts on restoring and reconnecting the other two cottages to make a wonderfully cosy home with many original features - and a few surprises. “No.37 was the most challenging project as when we started work, we 15


about interiors

realised that the sole plate at the front and the huge oak beam that spanned the entire width of the cottage was as rotten as a pear.” It was a massive undertaking, so they enlisted the help of local builders, LJC, who had to bring in over 20 props for the ceilings and commission a bespoke 6m long oak beam to be carefully repositioned to replace the old one. Victor and Tracy themselves undertook the back-breaking work of lifting the original floor bricks and digging down another 18inches so that a concrete subfloor could be laid. “The old bricks are part of the fabric of the original cottage and, although we added the modern luxury of underfloor heating, it is wonderful to still be walking over bricks that were laid over 300 years ago.”

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This consideration and attention to detail is found throughout, notably in the clever use of rich heritage colours, the areas of deliberately exposed brickwork, the carefully restored fireplaces and the restored original latch and key doors. Victor and Tracy also opened the doorway between the two cottages and reconfigured the interior so that their living space now includes a hand built pine kitchen and light-filled sitting room in the middle cottage, and an elegant dining room and well-equipped utility room in the end cottage. In the dining room there are hints of Victoriana, with potted palms framing the open fire, a sideboard adorned with cut glass decanters arranged on silver salvers, and antique picture lights illuminating pastoral scenes. And, there above the fireplace is ‘The Shooting Party


about interiors

in a Field of Swedes’ by Munnings, which on closer inspection reveals itself to be a fabulous replica by local artist James Power, who has cleverly replaced two of the figures with the more familiar faces of Victor and Tracy. This is not the only surprise, as in the sitting room Victor has built a bookcase that takes up the entire wall, and within the rows of ancient tomes, he has hidden the door through to the dining room. “This is the door that was blocked up, so I liked the idea of making it a secret doorway. We spent two years leaving bids on boxes of old books at Campsea Ashe auctions to fill the bookcase and have uncovered some intriguing titles, as well as ending up with umpteen collections of the complete works of Shakespeare and Dickens.” Looking along the rows I find the poets - Keats,

Burns and Tennyson - the embossed spines of classics such as Rob Roy, The Three Musketeers and Vanity Fair, and volumes containing the answer to every question related to Tower Bell Ringing or the History of England. The other walls within the cottage are adorned with a magnificent display of miniature prints, a collection Tracy has built up over the past thirty years from the annual Cadaques Mini Print International exhibition curated by Ian Chance, Art Director of Wingfield Arts. Like the fifteen layers of wallpaper they had to peel back in the old kitchen, slowly and with great care, Victor and Tracy have stripped back the layers of history to reveal the original footprint of these thatched cottages, whilst having fun adding a few layers of their own. 17


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Get the look 1. Bottled matches Pug & Pussycat £12.50 2. Handmade orchid string lights Ruby and the Angel £39.99 3. Monochrome rainbow print East of Eden £45 4. Burnt Henna Planters East of Eden From £48 20

5. Striped picnic blankets The Mulu Edit £65 6. Striped aprons The Mulu Edit £26 7. P  orcelain hand thrown mugs Steven Will James @ Vanil £25 8. Stoneware candlesticks Steven Will James @ The Merchants Table £95-£150

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9. Westerfield Sofa Barretts of Woodbridge From £1,121

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10. Colourful bowls Woodbridge Kitchen Co. £5.99 each

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11. Rustic painted shutters the-barn.co £130

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12. Tropical Velvet cushions Narwhal Interiors £25 13. Deep metal-framed mirrors Narwhal Interiors from £39 14. Gorgeous room diffusers Ortigia @ collated £27

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15. Pretty baskets collated from £12 16. Bespoke curtains Natalie Canning Fabric by Lucy Dawson 17. Antique finds Swan House & Garden Stockists on page 48

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Competition!

Con Home w t Cus empo ares r ary hio ns pr & Thr ints Cer am o ics ws

Win a £50 Voucher to spend at the wonderful independent interiors shop, East of Eden in Saxmundham

We are delighted to have teamed up with Graham Hunter, owner of East of Eden, to offer you the chance to win a £50 voucher to spend in his beautiful interiors store in Saxmundham. Housed in a small Grade II listed barn, East of Eden offers customers simple, decorative, and functional items to be used and enjoyed every day. Selling a wide range of ceramics, textiles, homewares and gifts, Graham sources items from across the UK and abroad. Some are unique - designed and made by hand in small batches by independent makers​- whilst others are sourced from bigger established studios and brands. The voucher can be redeemed online or in-store once restrictions are lifted. www.east-of-eden.co.uk

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For your chance of winning this fabulous prize, please answer the following question correctly: Q: Where is East of Eden based? Send your answer to prize@aboutfram.com quoting East of Eden in the subject header. The competition closes at 23.59 hours on 30th April 2021. Terms and conditions Entrants must be aged 18 or over. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative. The voucher is valid online or in-store and must be used by 31st October 2021. By entering this competition, you give your consent for your email address to be added to our aboutfram database. Your email address will not be shared with any other companies apart from East of Eden. Please indicate in your email if you do not wish to give your consent to be contacted by either aboutfram or East of Eden and we will delete your email address from our records. The winner will be randomly selected from all entries submitted.


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X-on is right on the pulse! about town

Established in Framlingham in 2000, X-on pioneered what is now called Cloud Telephony in the UK, coalescing Virtual Switchboard, Contact Centre, Alert Notification and SMS services into Surgery Connect, now deployed into well over 700 GP practices across the UK. X-on GP technology allows Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to efficiently co-ordinate resources into a ‘vaccination hub’ enabling practices to spread the load as patients call in greater numbers seeking advice on vaccination, with the technology allowing contactless appointment management to improve safety for patients and practitioners. With founder Paul Bensley based in Suffolk, the Technology Centre in Framlingham was chosen as the right location for the fledgling X-on, and now has over 70 staff based there. With company growth accelerating and staff numbers set to increase, it will be moving to a new purpose-built facility in Melton, while still retaining a data centre in Framlingham, handling well over two million calls a day!

Easton promise Having worked around the world, including many years in Africa, Julie Croucher - founder of Travel with Jules - is celebrating 10 years in business this March, becoming a Dragon’s Den’s Theo Paphitis SBS Winner in 2015, and moving into a gorgeous new office at her home in Easton in 2016. Celebrating such a milestone this year has been bitter-sweet due to the current minefield of uncertainty over travel, but you can rest assured that if you do book through Travel with Jules, you’ll have 100% financial protection, the ability to shift your holiday dates and move bookings. As to Jules’ hopes and plans for 2021, “Now is the time to plan that Bucket List holiday you always wanted to do! My own wish list includes Madagascar, Latin America and to see more of India … “ 24


Paperback writer Local lady Ruth Leigh has been a freelance writer for many years but had never thought of writing fiction.

about about interiors town

However, with a serious slowdown in her catering business last year, she was left with time on her hands. Already a contributor to national blog More Than Writers, last April Ruth created a pretentious lifestyle blogger - Isabella M Smugge - as a joke. “Imagine my surprise”, says Ruth, “When I was contacted by a literary agent who asked me to submit two sample chapters, promising to pitch it to publishers for me.” That was in May. Isabella is now in print and she’s got quite a back story. Rich, successful, confident, yet with painful memories and questions about Life…. Copies available from Woodbridge Emporium, Waterstones, Amazon and Instant Apostle. ruthleighwrites

ruth.leigh

Photo © Simply C Photography

Beep Beep! Tuk Tuk! Never one to rest on her laurels, after a tough 2020, Becky of Huntingfield Estates decided to work on some new ideas to promote the company going forward, but little did she expect that the opportunity to buy a tuk tuk from one of her vendors would make the running! After lots of discussion with the family and the team, she decided to purchase it, have it fully branded and make it available for loan to the Hour Community, a muchloved charity based in Framlingham providing services to people living alone or in need of support; during lockdowns delivering food, picking up prescriptions and more recently taking people for their injections.  “The tuk tuk - now named Tilly - puts a smile on everyone’s face, especially when we toot the horn,” says Becky, “The Hour Community will borrow her for local drop off and other

good uses here in Framlingham.” Tilly will soon be ‘getting to work’ for Becky as well, whether it be to go to the odd appraisal, deliver letters and flyers, or just to get out and enjoy some spring sunshine. Do wave if you see the girls passing by… 25


about the land

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Turning tides


about the land

We dip beneath the surface of the fishing industry with Mike Warner, founder of A Passion for Seafood, to find out why it is struggling and how he intends to rekindle our love for fresh fish and tip the scales back in its favour. Mike is well known locally, having spent the best part of thirty years working within the Suffolk farming community, firstly as a farm manager at Blaxhall and then as a freelance agricultural advisor. He grew up with the sand of Felixstowe beach between his toes, spending his days exploring the foreshore, learning the way of the tides, and watching the ebb and flow of local fishermen working down by the harbour. During the summer holidays he eagerly jumped aboard as an extra crew member, helping reel in their silver-coated catches of whiting, wild bass

and pouting, and hauling up the pots in search of lobsters. It was these salty characters who ignited Mike’s passion for the sea and throughout his life, he has felt its silent undertow and the calling of the tide. “In my spare time I was always happiest by, or on the water. I love to cook seafood and family holidays always revolved around fishing villages so I could wander down to the quay in the early morning to buy from the local fishermen.” In fact, Mike admits, it was his wife Nicola who gave him the

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about the land

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nudge. “She knew I had a yearning to be part of the fishing community and encouraged me to start writing about my love of the sea and the experiences that shaped my childhood.” In 2014 he started a blog called East Coast Avocet and as his writing began to gain recognition, Mike realised that there was a bigger story to be told. At this time, the farming ‘Field to Fork’ food revolution had started to gain traction and Mike could see that a similar ‘Net to Plate’ initiative was exactly what was needed to kick-start consumer interest in the local fishing industry.

fishing communities of Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, Scotland and Northumbria, and lived aboard a hake netter off the Scilly Isles for five days. “It was an amazing experience. Getting below deck with the wonderful characters who crew these boats, hearing their life stories and understanding their ways gave me a huge insight into the industry. One of the main problems is that although the waters off our shores still harbour fantastic fish stocks, 80% of what is caught is exported and conversely, we import 80% of the fish that is consumed here!”

Mike wanted to see for himself how fishermen were coping with the day-to-day struggles they faced so he put himself on the frontline. He spent days at sea with large scale commercial fishing trawlers, visited the

Known as the Seafood Paradox, the solution is relatively straightforward. As a nation we need to start eating fresh fish caught by our fishermen and not the imported salmon, tuna or prawns that have become so popular.


about the land

Mike’s company, A Passion for Seafood, is aiming to help people understand which local fish to expect throughout the seasons and more importantly, how to cook it. “The wild bass that is caught off Felixstowe is exceptional, but people are just wary as they don’t know what to do with it. During the pandemic, when imported fish was harder to come by, we were able to deliver fresh wild bass to the fishmongers in London. The feedback was fantastic, and we are now supplying them on a regular basis.” This simple shift could really make all the difference and Mike is committed to making it happen. As well delivering to independent fishmongers, he also wholesales to private chefs, caterers and restaurants, including Watson & Walpole, Pea Porridge in Bury St Edmunds, and Tuddenham Mill. He has also

started a pop-up fish stall at Grange Farm, Hasketon every Friday, selling only what has been landed that week. Depending on the season, you can expect plump red mullet from Cornwall, scallops, langoustines and clams from the windswept shores of Loch Fyne or wild bass, whiting, crab and lobster from the fishermen of Suffolk. Mike has worked with them all and his business is inherently interwoven with their heritage and shared love of the sea. Saltwater may indeed run through his veins, and I have every confidence that with his passion and wonderful storytelling, he will help turn the tide and we will soon start to see locally caught fish back on the menu. Mike is at Grange Farm, Hasketon every Friday. www.apassionforseafood.com 29


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about design

Man made

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about design

From his studio and foundry overlooking Snape marshes, sculptor Gus Farnes uses the beauty of his surroundings and the rich pickings of nature in such a way that his bronze figures offer us a tangible connection to the landscape and reflect our fragile relationship with it. Gus cast his first bronze at the age of sixteen. “I was always making things as a kid, collecting scraps of metal and experimenting with the MIG welder in the garage. My father took me to visit Laurence Edwards’ foundry at Laxfield and I was fascinated by the casting process. In exchange for doing a few odd jobs, he helped me cast a bronze from a model I had made, inspired by Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure at Snape Maltings, and I was hooked.” Gus went on to study sculpture at Norwich School of Art but after graduating took up a position at Sotheby’s as a graphic artist,

designing high-end catalogues of private art collections. “Making a career as a young artist is hard, so although I had use of a studio in Homerton and was still sculpting, I thoroughly enjoyed my six years at Sotheby’s. Having access to some of the greatest private art collections in the world was a huge privilege. It gave me a greater understanding of the art world and a deeper appreciation of the historical significance of the old masters.” During his time in London, Gus experimented with casting techniques. The 33


about design

traditional ‘Lost Wax’ method involves many stages, including casting a wax pattern of your original sculpture, which is then encased with an investment mould before the wax is melted, leaving a void for the bronze to fill and thus capturing your artwork. Gus realised that most of his sculptures were made from combustible materials - sticks, grass, roots, whatever he foraged from his walks - so he could in fact forego the wax casting, instead burning out the original sculpture directly from the investment moulds prior to pouring the bronze into the cavity and fossilizing his original work. “Casting direct means there is no master mould. The original sculpture is destroyed during the process of being transformed into a bronze so every time I created a new figure, I sacrificed the 34

original. The innate jeopardy of the process really resonated with me and my work started to feel more connected with nature and our interactions with it.” Gus and his wife Louise moved back to his family home in Snape in 2016 and he now works as a sculptor full-time. Louise is a potter, and in 2018 he built a studio for them both, adding a foundry alongside so that he could have complete authorship of the whole creative process. “I realised that each step was integral to the final piece and having a foundry allows me to experiment further with new techniques and materials.” Gus’s bronzes are always figurative. He uses the human form to express emotion and attaches a narrative to his figures that is represented by subtle changes in their


about design

posture or stance, and within his collection he has pieces named Together, Embrace, and Contemplation that are all a direct response to the current pandemic and its effect on the human condition. Being back in Suffolk has also influenced Gus’s work. He takes daily inspiration from the vast skies, endless horizons, and the infinite library of natural materials on his doorstep. “I have enjoyed integrating rushes from the local marsh within the body of my sculptures, imagining the figures to have a resonance with the ancient civilisations who might have harvested them for thatching.” His figures have touches of Antony Gormley, Alberto Giacometti and Henry Moore, having a wonderful texture and tactility that instantly engages, and the larger, life-size

bronzes possess a wistfulness that is both contemplative and poignant. Gus also experiments with technology and in addition to hand-carving has recently incorporated 3d modelling, 3d scanning and 3d printing within his processes. “Art should continue to push the boundaries and reappropriating technology to explore the structure and scale of my work has opened up a world of new possibilities which is very exciting.” We could not agree more, and very much look forward to meeting the next generation of Gus’s figurative bronzes. www.gusfarnes.co.uk (Gus is currently a featured artist in the Exclusive Art Auction in aid of EACH. www.each.org.uk/exclusive-art-auction) 35


about gardens

Garden planning

At this time of year, when your garden is stripped back and laid bare, you can clearly see its outlines and shapes. Now is the time to take a moment and plan for the months ahead. With most of us spending more time at home than ever before, why not have some fun and add some interesting features and new structures to enjoy this summer.

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about gardens

Here are a few simple ideas to get you started: Statues or sculptures: a wonderful way to add a little drama to a forgotten corner. Keep an eye online at sites like the-barn.co or Clarke & Simpson’s auction house for that perfect piece. Garden mirrors: positioned correctly, mirrors can make the garden feel bigger, reflecting the pretty views of your borders by day and your twinkling fairy lights by night. Arches: ideal for leading the eye away from main seating areas and hinting at what lays beyond, or for framing a favourite view. Boxing clever: take inspiration from the gardens of Helmingham or Glemham Hall and have fun with some topiary. Cones, spirals, balls; the choice is yours, then group together for instant illusions of grandeur.

Seating areas: make your outside space as welcoming as possible, ready for when we are finally allowed to meet up with friends. Plan a cosy corner with strings of outdoor lights, freshen up seats with funky new cushions and invest in a fire pit so you can sit out under the stars. Water feature: solar pumps are great for creating soothing water features from galvanised iron planters or cheerful plastic trugs. Add aquatic plants for colour or keep it simple and hope your garden birds pop in for a bath. Have fun with your ideas and be creative. And remember, it doesn’t have to involve big budgets, sometimes even the simplest of ideas can have a huge impact on how you use and enjoy your outdoor space.

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about gardens

Spring is stirring Early spring is a time of new growth and re-awakenings. We say hello to old friends as they resurface after a long winter’s sleep and wait and watch for newly planted bulbs to push through the soil and make our acquaintance. After many long, wet months, it feels good to get back to our gardens and to start getting ready for the new growing season.

By March, as the soil slowly warms in the spring sunshine, you can really get stuck in. Clear your beds and dig in well-rotted manure in preparation for planting. Tidy pots and pressure wash your deck or patio – never has there been a more satisfying job – and position supports over plants that need them. Prune bush and climbing roses and, on a dry day, savour that first cut of the grass.

Use February to cut back shrubs and old foliage from ornamental grasses and to prune wisteria, clematis, fuchsia and winter flowering jasmine to encourage new growth. If your green fingers cannot wait to get planting, order some Lily-of-the-Valley (convallaria) forcing pips to pot up and keep indoors. Within 4-6 weeks you’ll have a fragrant display of snow-white bell-shaped flowers that can then be planted outdoors to flower again next year.

April brings an abundance of new growth and early flowers brighten the days. Spring is in full throttle and there is much to do. Check and tie-in your rambling roses and the vigorous new growth of climbers and decide which perennials would benefit from being lifted and divided. Deadhead your daffs, prune penstemons, feed, aerate, reseed and mow your lawn, and weed, weed and weed.

Tales from the potting shed 38

February Prune winter flowering shrubs Prepare seed beds Deadhead winter pansies

March Prune roses Plant summer bulbs Pressure wash patios

April Lift and divide perennials Tie in climbers Reseed lawns


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From small beginnings about taste

Siding with the community The Railway Farm Shop & Market Garden in Benhall has recently completed a successful round of crowdfunding and as a result, their Community Enrichment Scheme – a not for profit CIC (Community Interest Company) – will launch late spring. Its aim is to help tackle loneliness through the creation of a community hub, working market garden and outdoor kitchen, all of which will also be available for local schools and clubs to hire and benefit from outdoor learning. More details can be found through the farm’s social channels @railwayfarmshop, visiting www.railwayfarmshop.co.uk or by popping in and chatting to owners, Martin & Kerry. Just be sure to pick up lots of lovely homegrown and local veggies when you visit! 40

Established in 2020 and based just outside Framlingham, Grobros is a small batch producer of micro herbs - seedlings of green vegetables and herbs harvested 1-3 weeks after the earliest leaves have developed - and is the brainchild of brothers Doug & Matt Witts. Both are passionate about micro herbs and with Doug’s background in horticulture & hospitality alongside Matt’s extensive experience in the design sector they are equally excited about the prospect of growing their business at an organic pace, all the while achieving the best quality possible. Micro herbs are packed full of nutrients and studies show that they have many more health benefits than their mature fully-grown counterparts. Delivered as a live product, Grobros micro herbs are a fresh and delicious addition to any dish, from high-end fine dining right down to the humble omelette. Who says small can’t be beautiful! To order and for more info, visit www.grobros.co.uk


about taste

Organic growth Wakelyns, a pioneering organic agroforestry farm in Fressingfield owned by the Wolfe family, is looking forward to welcoming a range of enterprises to the farm this spring. Henrietta Inman is to open Wakelyns bakery which will make full use of the produce from the crop and tree alleys, including the revolutionary YQ population wheat, and Real Veg, a Community Supported Agriculture scheme, is also taking shape. These and other enterprises will run alongside courses such as mead making, willow weaving, tree walks and farm tours, with accommodation available as well. The family hope to build a real community on the farm and maintain their vision of Wakelyns being widely enjoyed for creativity and a progressive example of food and farming diversity. For more information visit www.wakelyns.co.uk

Food for thought Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 22nd February to 7th March. An annual event when individuals, groups and companies come together to celebrate the people in developing countries who grow our food, Fairtrade is about giving often underpaid and exploited farmers and workers across the world better prices, decent working conditions, and fair terms of trade. The East of England Co-op established the sale of fairly traded goods over 20 years ago and was one of the first major UK retailers to champion Fairtrade, even before the Fairtrade mark was introduced. All Co-op branded chocolate, tea, coffee and sugar products are 100% Fairtrade so when you’re next popping in for a shop, why not swap out your normal brands for East of England Co-op Fairtrade ones and throw in some Fairtrade orange juice and bananas too! 41


about taste

Ingredients 4-6 fresh day-boat whiting (cleaned and filleted) Seasoned flour for dredging For the tempura batter: 150g plain flour 150g cornflour 250ml sparkling mineral water A splash of your favourite gin Pinch of sea salt Ground black pepper For the tartare sauce: 2 fresh free-range egg yolks 200 ml groundnut oil 1 tsp Dijon mustard 2 tsp chopped capers 2 tsp chopped cornichons Handful chopped fresh parsley Pinch sea salt Couple of drops of anchovy essence

Whiting Gin-Tempura with homemade tartare sauce Fresh fish at its best, covered in a light batter and dipped in a zingy tartare sauce. Method

Make a mayonnaise base for the tartare sauce by whisking the egg yolks, salt and Dijon mustard together before adding a steady stream of the groundnut oil, starting with a drop at a time so that it doesn’t split. Whisk until it emulsifies and then fold in the chopped capers, cornichons, and parsley. Add a couple of drops of the anchovy essence and whisk again. If you prefer a really tart sauce, then add a few drops of the pickling vinegar from the capers. Pop in the fridge until ready to serve. Cut the fish fillets into small bite-sized strips and dredge with the seasoned flour, dusting off the excess. Now prepare the tempura batter by combining

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the flours, adding a pinch of sea salt and whisking in the gin and sparkling water to form a loose consistency. Heat the oil in a shallow pan to a moderate heat and test with a drop of the batter, which should bubble up and rise to the surface. When ready, dip the fish pieces in the batter to cover liberally and place in the hot oil, frying for 2 mins on either side or until crispy and slightly coloured. Drain on kitchen roll and serve immediately with the tartare sauce, a squeeze of lemon and a chilled glass of dry white wine. (Recipe courtesy of A Passion for Seafood)


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round & about

The rhythm of life Life has taken on a strange rhythm under lockdown. There are blurred lines between the start, middle and end of the day, time is punctuated by doors being opened and closed as dogs are walked, joggers return, and another parcel is handed over by the delivery guy – who, with two teenagers in the house, is now on first name terms! My office is the kitchen table. My view, Martin in his office, the dining room table. But whatever the last year may have thrown at us, my one constant, the one thing that has kept me sane, is my afternoon walk, which over the last few months has been reduced to a choice of two short circuits. Of course I miss being able to head to the coast for a stomp along the shingle, or meeting with friends and exploring the woods and 46

heathland at Minsmere, but, for now at least, I am content getting on first name terms with my home patch. To be here for the unfolding dramas and to witness the changes to the landscape as dictated by the weather has been absorbing, and there is something reassuring about having a much deeper level of understanding of the local landscape than before. Last summer I watched a pair of treecreepers make their home in a split willow tree and within the safety of its broken boughs fledge at least three youngsters. Regularly, a green sandpiper would be flushed from one of the ponds, a migrant visitor who seemed reluctant to resume his journey north, and on rare occasions a kingfisher would dip its wings,


round & about

its shrill alarm letting me know I had been spotted. More recently, a pair of magpies have started patrolling the horse meadow, nosily alerting the rooks as soon as a buzzard is in view, who in turn take great delight in hounding the hawk until it decides more fun is to be had riding the thermals. And with the colder weather, it is lovely to watch excited platoons of tits and finches flit along the hedgerows ahead, and to hear the clack and rattle of the boisterous mistle thrushes hanging out with fieldfares and redwings as they pick over the fields in search of grubs. I have noted the new paths that are being worn by the tiny hooves of muntjac and the rabbit runs that dive under a tangle of bramble; how quickly the brook changes from a raging torrent to a subdued trickle; and where the river breaks her banks to

flood the waiting low meadows, leaving pockets of water to be stalked by heron. Walking in the late afternoon also allows me to indulge in the beauty of the skies as the sun settles down for an early night and the cloud formations that constantly ripple overhead. Over the past few months, I have delved deeper. Studying the patterns of moss and lichen, hunting for fossils in the freshly turned plough, picking up a lost feather to be identified at home, or pocketing with pride another Suffolk round stone to add to my collection. It is these small things that allow me, just for an hour, to forget what is happening in the world and I am thankful for such distraction. I know I am so lucky to live where I do, and my 3-mile loop is one that I am grateful to be able to play, over and over again. 47


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Cupboard Love Fram Market: Tuesday www.cupboardlove.shop

Dix-Sept Antiques Barretts of Woodbridge 40 Thoroughfare Woodbridge. IP12 1AL www.barretts.co.uk

Dix-Sept Antiques collated The Guildhall Market Hill Framlingham. IP13 9BD www.collatedonline.com

Fleur 166 High Street Aldeburgh. IP15 5AQ www.ocbutcher.co.uk/fleur The Framlingham Soap Co. www.theframlingham soapcompany.co.uk Woodbridge Pharmacy 11 The Thoroughfare Woodbridge. IP12 1AA T: 01394 382006

collated The Guildhall Market Hill Framlingham. IP13 9BD www.collatedonline.com East of Eden The Old Barn Fromus Square Saxmundham. IP17 1DG www.east-of-eden.co.uk Narwhal Interiors 23 Market Hill Framlingham. IP13 9AN Insta @narwhal_interiors Natalie Canning Soft Furnishings T: 01379 668170 www.nataliecanning.co.uk Ruby and the Angel 66A High Street Debenham. IP14 6QP www.rubyandtheangel.co.uk Steven James Wills www.stevenwill.co.uk Swan House & Garden 21 High Street Debenham. IP14 6QL Insta @swanmaisonetjardin the-barn.co Friday Street Farnham. IP17 1JX www.the-barn.co The Merchants Table 10 Church St Woodbridge. IP12 1DS www.themerchantstable.co.uk The Mulu Edit Insta @themuluedit The Pug and the Pussycat www.pugandpussycat.co.uk Vanil 17 Church St Woodbridge. IP12 1DS www.vanil.co.uk Woodbridge Kitchen Company 7 Thoroughfare Woodbridge. IP12 1AA www.woodbridgekitchencompany.co.uk

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Born + Bred www.born-bred.co.uk Darcy B Hill House 13 Market Hill Framlingham. IP13 9AN www.darcy-b.com Matisa Market T: 07494 517984 www.matisamarket.com O&C Butcher 129 High Street Aldeburgh. IP15 5AS www.ocbutcher.co.uk Out and About Country Fashion 4b Market Hill, Framlingham www.outandaboutclothing.co.uk Ruby Tyger No 1 The Mews Market Hill Framlingham. IP13 9AN www.rubytyger.co.uk Sarah Cole Jewellery No 2 The Mews Market Hill Framlingham. IP13 9AN www.sarahcolejewellery.co.uk Suffolk Wedding Dress Exchange The Moat Farm Badingham. IP13 9JB www.suffolkwedding dressexchange.co.uk Wandering Bee www.wanderingbee.co.uk


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aboutfram magazine - issue 27