Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Sunny South Suffolk

This morning I had to drive over to The Jessica Muir Gallery in Long Melford to collect one of my framed prints for a customer. I found Jean, the owner, unpacking a box of the most wonderful quirky little hen, cockerel and cat ceramic and wire sculptures – if you would like to see them dash over to the gallery, I'm sure they'll be selling fast.

As you can see it's a glorious sunny day here in south-west Suffolk, my route between Long Melford and my studio follows the Stour Valley and the lovely villages which nestle in the gently sloping wide river valley. I needed to do some shopping, so decided to take the opportunity to stop at the small town of Clare and call in to some of the many small shops in the streets around the square and churchyard.

This unpretentious shop is the bakers, it uses Marriages flour to make its dough – and that means the bread is extra flavoursome (just ask my under-gardeners – they eat Marriages mixed corn and Layers Pellets).

After filling my big shopping bag with vegetables and fruit from the little open fronted Greengrocers, I headed around the corner to the ironmongers. I love this shop! It's much bigger than you expect as it extends on and on at the back. It's the sort of shop where you wouldn't be surprised to see Ronnie Corbett behind the counter. I bought one of the brushes you can see in the photo and a big ball of garden string, the sort that smells of garden sheds.

Suddenly we're here in the season and sunny days and fetes on the village greens, tourists in camper vans and on bikes . . . the Chelsea Flower Show is about to open and summer has begun – Hurrah!

PS: My garden desperately needs some rain, but I don't want to spoil the party atmosphere!


  1. I love Long Melford, I was there at the end of last week, rummaging through a "bric a brac" shop (probably not the right term!). I've not explored the shops in Clare though, usually on my way somewhere else, but I must make the effort to stop there.

  2. Four candles.

    I adore that ironmongers.

  3. I love Long Melford and Clare. I used to look in the Antique Emporium there but I find it very over-priced now ...

    It was a glorious weekend wasn't it. We are in the midst of the annual festival in Bury and there were lots of very talented musicians playing for free all around town. It felt like such a holiday atmosphere - just wonderful.

    Must check out Marriages flour.


  4. oh what a lovely alive village. It breaks my heart that over here (North Ireland) we are steadfasty losing our little shops (though not the fabulous we-sell-everything hardeware shops). Our town doesn't even have a greengrocers or a fishmongers anymore!
    Great wee post.

    Ah - yes 'four candles', hahaha

  5. Celia, it's grand to see that amazing blue sky, and then observe the wonderful street scenes below.

    Thank you for taking me way out of New York. xo

  6. What a cute little village... I wish I was there! Someday, our little family will travel to England.

  7. Going into that ironmongers is like stepping back in a time machine. We love Clare and Long Melford too - we recently went into a tea shop in LM whose name escapes me, but won the girls over completely with its very girly bathroom complete with glittery loo seat!

  8. Just a thimbleful...

    Oh I agree, we do so need the rain!
    Long Melford, Clare and especially Kentwell are some of my favourite places!

  9. Oh England! rural villages, post offices, old churches, strawberries and cream. This is what I miss, living down here in the big smoke. Thank you for reminding me. Long may it live!

  10. Lovely tour of Clare and Long Melford! When I see posts like this I want to jump in the car and go visit at once!

  11. What a very pretty place, it looks like it may have some individual shops, the sort that sell "four candles" or was it "fork handles"?

    I would send you some rain if I could, our skies are leaden.


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