We’ve been traversing Suffolk for the last four days of our Goldilocks house-hunting week as if on some demented treasure hunt. Yesterday saw us in the beautiful village of Lavenham. I had great hopes for this place as, not only is it crammed full of fabulous old half timbered buildings it also has a big market place that we imagined would be a hub of activity. In reality, apart from having a few decent pubs, the village could be described as over touristified (if there were such a word). Where we would have liked to see a decent coffee shop or perhaps even a wine bar there was yet another tea shoppe. In addition, the local supermarket was not so super and offered less than the local Tesco garage in Southport so Lavenham doesn’t seem to offer everything we want.
Marco Pierre White owns The Angel a pub/restaurant in the village. We stopped by for a pleasant lunch of cottage pie. But this wasn’t any old cottage pie it was a Marco Pierre White cottage pie so it set us back over double what we paid for the fantastic fish and chips we had in Aldeburgh on Sunday. It was lovely food and the waitresses were friendly but price wise I think the celebrity chef’s name inflated the cost by maybe 30%.
Before we decided the village was not for us we arranged to view a house there; on the market at £450,000 it was in a fantastic location tucked away behind the chocolate box cottages but it turned out to be a wreck. It was only built about thirty years ago but every double glazed window was misted, kitchen and bathrooms needed gutting and replacing and the outside had more cracks than a crazy paved patio. Marion has recently been busy getting our house ship shape for selling. We’ve fitted new kitchen and bathroom taps, had the front door repaired, fixed a few loose roof tiles and arranged for a decorator to repaint three rooms and re-grout the bathroom; this seller hadn’t even bothered to empty his bathroom waste paper bin which was piled high with grubby cotton wool balls and eye make up remover pads. Nor had he cleaned his oven (or cleaned anywhere for that matter). If that’s what you can get in Lavenham for almost half a million quid you can keep it.
We also had a look at Long Melford. We got a good feel for this little town/big village but traffic was heavy through the centre and, as most of the property is along the main road, we felt it wasn’t for us.
So back we came to Framlingham. We’re increasingly getting drawn here. We joined the local older citizens on a country walk this morning – very friendly. And we’ve been sampling the pubs. We aren’t really into pubs and have never been in our own locals in Southport but it gave us a chance to get a feel for the character of the town and the four we visited were all welcoming. Today we went into The Station. It offered great food and was buzzing with talk of local boy Ed Sheerman’s bid for success in the Brit Awards tonight. A local TV reporter was interviewing the landlady as Ed used to perform in this pub before rocketing to success – such massive success that, until we came to Framlingham on Friday, we had honestly never heard of him.It seems that he signed his first record contract in the snug of the pub. I just Googled him for this video and found it’s Ed Sheeran not Sheerman – never heard of him either.