In December we moved to Nowton, a village of 30 houses and 100 souls, two miles south of Bury St Edmunds. To the north,it is bounded by Nowton Park, a former private estate now owned and managed by St Edmundsbury District Council. Its sort of National Trust-lite. Big trees, well-signposted walks but with five-a-side pitches and free parking too. Perfect.
To the South, West and East, sit acres of wide-open Suffolk pasture and arable land, gently rolling, the austerity punctuated by occasional trees and the odd, interesting fold in the land. The village is spread over a couple of square miles so nobody is really on top of each other. This spacing out gives an airy, liberated feel to the place. There are people but not in your face, a community but in no sense a commune.
Presiding over local village affairs is the Parish Council. I first went to see them upon arriving because a couple of visitors to the house, having left, returned to the door, white-faced and shaken having just avoided being hit by cars on the blind bend before our house. Wanting to take action to slow traffic but, at the same time, not offending local sensibilities about signage etc I went to Parish Council and my County Councillor, and asked for their views. Thankfully they backed me and two months later we have a letter from the Suffolk County Council committing to a series of measures which will, I hope, make a difference.
Tonight I showed up to the Parish Council meeting to say thanks and drop off a card to the convenor of the Parish. Apparently, this is a rare success, due, in part they think to the drive coming, in the first instance, from a local resident, rather than the parish representative body, something I found both odd and a bit perverse.
Just now, later on, in my inbox there is a mail from the Convenor. Would I mind taking regular responsibility for keeping the bus shelter across the road clean and also mowing the grass around the village sign opposite our house?
I smile and reply saying that nothing would give me more pleasure.