James Marston: Uncovering the secreats of the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 13:30 03 May 2014

James in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds.

James in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds.


You’re always learning something new in this job.

This week I popped along to the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds − the displays there are as stunning as ever and I like to have an annual nose.

While I was there – and did you know 1.2 million people visited the gardens last year – I came across the confluence of the River Linnet and the River Lark in an area intriguingly known as The Crankles.

I say confluence, and it sounds a bit grand, but both rivers aren’t much more than large streams really, although I suppose that is what a river is.

I posed for a picture while Gregg the photographer went so far as to say, “Well, it doesn’t look like much.”

I think he was referring to the rivers.

Anyway, it’s always interesting to find out something new, isn’t it? I wonder why the area is called The Crankles, though – perhaps someone can enlighten me.

It’s been a varied week one way and another, and on Monday afternoon I interviewed David Graham, of the Terrence Higgins Trust in Ipswich.

As part of our discussion he was saying how everyone really ought to have half-decent sex and relationship education in this country – he’s probably right.

Over a mid-week pork chop with my Mum and Dad, I mentioned this conversation.

My father, who went to an all-boys school, said that all he could remember was being offered the advice that if a girl declines the offer of a game of tennis you shouldn’t ask why. Useful, I’m sure.

On yet another subject, this week I found myself just north of Ipswich, visiting some alpacas with plain-speaking-photographer-friend Lucy.

She took some video for our website and I messed around in the paddock,

hoping I wouldn’t stand in anything untoward which would come back to haunt the car footwell.

Farmers Julia and William Denny clearly love their alpacas.

At one point Julia even got up close and personal enough to smell the fleece of her favourite alpaca, Tanganyika.

“It smells lovely, like cooked biscuits,” she said. “Would you like to smell?”

I declined, as it happens, preferring to keep my distance and take her word for it, though I did feel the fleece, which was very soft.

I remember thinking, on that peaceful Suffolk hillside, about the wisdom of my first news editor, after I came back from a story about a latex sculpture in some ancient woodland.

“When you’re out and about, you never know what’s going to happen.”

How right she was. But that’s Suffolk for you. There’s always lots to look forward to, and discover, especially now that summer’s here.

Anyone for tennis?

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