Monday, 26 April 2010

Suffolk South and the borstal boys

Suffolk South is my old constituency and where many of my family will cast their votes, based pretty well on the old Saxon hundred of Babergh. You can get an inkling of where my politics originate from the East Anglian Daily Times, which describes Babergh as "one of those rare areas where independents are found in substantial numbers on the district council because local people do not believe party politics has any place in civic affairs. This somewhat outmoded view means that rural Babergh bucks the Suffolk trend and is not dominated by Conservatives in the council chamber". Damn right.

Tim Yeo, an inoffensive enough MP, is facing a challenge not only from the LibDems but from UKIP's David Campbell-Bannerman. I suspect either would make a decent enough MP for the next Parliament. Good luck to 'em both.

Anyway, Hollesley is just outside the old Hundred but part of the county that bred the Suffolk Punch, a breed that has been working Suffolk fields since the 1500s. After the war when the tractor displaced the horse from British agriculture, the breed was kept just alive by a small stud operated by the borstal boys of Hollesley Bay Colony. The breed is still endangered. The stud is now run by a Trust, and have just announced the birth of the first foal of the year; in a good year, some 30 to 40 Punches are foaled each year across the UK. So congrats to dam and filly.

That's what I call good news.


Weekend Yachtsman said...

Agreed, it is good news.

I remember many years ago seeing a splendid Suffolk stallion at the rural museum in Stowmarket and, rather fewer years ago, being saddened to learn that the breed was near extinction.

On the matter of Hundreds, there used to be an old Essex joke that from the hill* where a certain parish church stands, you could see six hundred churches. People were puzzled until you listed them - Dengie, Tendring, Thurstable, Uttlesford, Dunmow, and Waltham.

(Or maybe some other list of six, I forget.)

*Hill is, of course, a relative term in Essex geography.

Raedwald said...

'Hill' is also pretty relative in Suffolk; I remember an astonished young delivery driver returning goggle-eyed at having been up 'a mountain'. It was his first visit to Sudbury.

JuliaM said...

I remember seeing something about these on 'Countryfile' or some other programme, and the presenter making the point that there were now fewer of these than giant pandas in the wild.

Hopefully, the renewed interest in rare breeds will prove a turning point for them.

Anonymous said...

Me da's lawn mower was a Suffolk Punch.
This election would be of far greater significance if we had many more independents standing for Parliament.
The party system has debased, defiled and traduced the democratic process in England.
We should return to the idea of the witan.
Damn the tripartite system, they all stink of a sense of 'entitlement' and are disconnected to the English way.