A Suffolk Winter

An unknown American writing for Station 174’s Base Historical Officer in February 1945.

“We’d like to write about the English countryside – the weather, the people, the topography, the towns and villages this season – things which are so much a part of our life in England, ignored by most of us yet certainly not unnoticed.

The way the fields look by moonlight for instance, when they’re under snow. And how they fill a long bicycle ride back from Sudbury with mysterious beauty. At first they might be fields in Eastern Pennsylvania until we can make out the hedgerows and the ditches and maybe a Suffolk windmill against the dark sky…

There are lots of things about the countryside in January that we never seemed to pay attention to before – how pretty the bell the Great Waldingfield church sounds on a Sunday morning (it must be the snow that makes us stop and listen so carefully), how the English sparrows are, and how incongruous an Army camp in the middle of the Suffolk countryside is…

The people of East Anglia are an everlasting delight. When one of them comes into the office to report a delivery of a truckload of coal and says, “Foine day in’it?” shaking the sleet from his collar and stamping his feet we look at him, and then begin to think that perhaps he’s right – there’s nothing much wrong with it. “Of course it’s fair frawn a coold,” as Mrs Hackett reminded us last night at the Aero Club, but when could we have a better day to look at everything around us with a new and clearer perspective? And if we don’t have anything to do, we might go out and talk to the ratcatcher from the Air Ministry who goes along the ditch behind our hut every once in a while and puts meal in the holes two days running and poison the third. He likes nothing better than telling us Yanks how he trains his ferrets by spitting in their mouths, Even if we only half listen to his story because we’re watching the drop of water hanging from his nose and waiting for it to drop…

Time was, when we were new here and we told a Londoner we were stationed in Suffolk, we felt a little sorry for ourselves when he would look at us sympathetically and remark that no one ever went to Suffolk except on business…..But now, after almost a year we’ve learned differently…. We’re convinced that it’s the most interesting and colourful part of England. The lake district has nothing on us – we’ve got our ponds left from the last heavy rainstorm. And the red sandstone cliffs of Devon are no more beautiful than the red mud we slosh about in up to our ankles. Homely, perhaps, but we’ve come to like it.”

slot machines online at SlotsDad