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Anthony Fletcher

Mrs Ruby Peck

Pauline Locke





Pauline Locke - A Brandeston Resident Living in Utah

11 February 2008

I came to live in Utah for a couple of years and here we still are twelve years later with a new set of dogs and still trying to escape.

I wasn't prepared for a culture shock. I thought it wouldn't be much different from England - after all, we do speak the same language and have a similar lifestyle.

The first trauma was driving on the wrong side of the road; it was like being a learner driver again, surrounded by maniacs with a hot line to God. Traffic lights turning amber means speed up; turning red means there's still time to go; drive slowly in the fast lane and overtake in the slow lane. My car has very low mileage for its age and just goes up the road to the mountain to take the dogs for a walk.

Trauma number two: I need an interpreter. At times I still find it difficult to make myself understood and often find it easier to let someone else say, "She wants .............."

For a long time, I thought there were a lot of fancy dress parties going on; lots of people in cowboy hats and boots or strange old men in "OshKosh" dungarees and men in black suits with their wives in long skirts from the predominant religion around here. "What brings you here?" is their first question. Translated, that means "Have you joined the church?" Religion spills over into most of life here. The local TV news (KSL Channel 5) is run by the church, laws are influenced by the church and we have to drive to Idaho for a Lotto ticket because gambling is illegal. There is no alcohol in the supermarkets (just 3.2% beer); sinners have to find a State Liquor Store which is hidden away in a back street somewhere. Yes, of course, I found it!

Utah has been very good for my career. I had a job as the in-house artist at a local publisher for a couple of years and I also did some freelance illustrating. I took some classes with a very eccentric lady called Donna Kearny. I have been told she is Donny Osmond's aunt. She does look very like him and you expect her to burst into song every now and then. I learned a lot from her, about painting that is, not singing.

Lately, I have been concentrating on animal portraits which are far more rewarding than illustration and less stressful. My work has been shown in art shows and Salt Lake City's Hogle Zoo. My web site is here if you would like to see what I do.

This is a great place to live if you don't mind extreme temperatures. Last summer was the hottest on record and this winter, the snow pack is at about 168% of normal. Spring and autumn are the best times to be here. There is skiing and snow-boarding in the winter; hiking, mountain-biking, golf and water sports in the summer. We have apricot, cherry and apple trees and grape vines in the garden.

 There is a national park at the top of our street and, weather permitting, I walk the dogs up there every day. There are some stunning views and sunsets to be seen and there are also coyotes, rattle snakes, tarantulas and, of course, mosquitoes. In the winter the deer and moose come down into our gardens for food; this usually makes the evening news!

Apart from the occasional murder or drive-by shooting, life is pretty much the same as Brandeston!

Photos and Paintings: Pauline Locke

See Pauline’s photos of Utah here.

Click here to visit her web site.

Mrs Ruby Peck - 90 Years Old

Ruby Peck was 90 on 12 September and has lived in Brandeston for the last 60 years making her one of the village’s longest dwellers. She was actually born in Kettleburgh where she lived until she left school. Her first job was in a boarding house in Clacton, a long bus journey away, where she lived and worked for two years. Her sister got her the job, as she already worked there, because there was no work in and around the village at that time.

She moved back to the area in 1939 and lived across the ford in one of the Park Cottages, Joan Rix’s place, for those who remember her, and now owned by the Kerrs. There were two separate houses there at that time. They were often cut off, much as we are these days, by the Deben being in flood. Mrs Peck worked at Bridge Farm for several years and then at Westerfield for a seed merchant.

She married Ted Peck, who was born in Park Cottages, in 1939 but the wedding had to be postponed for two days because Ted’s grandmother had died and the funeral was scheduled for the wedding day. The wedding just had to be moved (to the Monday) but there was little fuss. This would be a major decision with serious financial consequences these days. Their son, Ted, was born in Kettleburgh in 1939.

The Peck family eventually moved into the cottage in the Street in 1947 using a tractor and trailer to move their possessions across the ford. The garden at that time was full of spear grass and had previously been owned by a bricklayer; it also extended to what is now Angela’s house and garden. This was sold off in the 70s and the kitchen was extended at the back of the house. Ted set about clearing the garden and transformed it into the country garden we see today with its paths, flower and vegetable beds. Although Pat and Ted do most of the gardening, Mrs Peck still potters around keeping it clean. She gets most of her vegetables from the garden.

Mrs Peck is one of fewer than a dozen Suffolk people now living in the village and she remembers knowing everyone in the Street at one time. Not these days, unfortunately. Because of the changes in lifestyles, there are only a few in the Street that she knows as people don’t seem to have the time to stop and talk. She has seen lots of changes, not least with the new houses that have been built, and reckons her lovely garden will eventually be sold off for a house - although not in her day! Aside from a spot of rheumatism, Mrs Peck feels fit and healthy and looks much younger than her 90 years.

Click here for more photos.

Anthony Fletcher - A Brandeston Artist


In the 25 years that Anthony Fletcher has lived in Brandeston, most of us have been aware that, as well as being a former GP, he is an accomplished draughtsman. Everyone who takes the Parish Magazine will have taken delight in his drawings on the front cover over the years although these days he doesn’t do as many, preferring to encourage others to provide them especially young budding artists.

Anthony started drawing when he was six years old. He thinks he must have inherited the gene from his father who used to paint and draw and who gave him his first taste for what turned out to be one of his hobbies. His art lessons at his school, Charterhouse, provided him with more of the basic skills that he needed. Anthony thought that his art teacher was very good at his job as he taught without appearing to teach. He recalls an occasion during an outdoor lesson when he was trying to decide what to paint. The teacher pointed at something and said “That’s rather good, isn’t it.” It was gentle encouragement which stayed with him and which helped him to develop as an artist.

During his working life as a doctor, the painting and drawing took a back seat until he moved here and started taking art (and woodwork) lessons again in Wickham Market and Framlingham. He was encouraged as well by his late wife Nancy who also went to classes.

Anthony has only painted in watercolours but really favours drawing. He says he has to concentrate when he draws and forget about everything else. “It shuts off the business of the world,” he says as he has to observe the construction, lighting and fine detail of his subject. His delicate drawing of the organ at St Michael’s Framlingham, above, is an example of the care he takes. His inspiration has been buildings when drawing and the outdoors in general for painting.

Art doesn’t occupy much of his time these days apart from drawing birthday cards for relatives and friends. Having said that, he is currently working on a painting for the village fete of the bridge and the ford on the Deben. “It’s the second prize in the draw but I can’t let you photograph it at the moment!” Fortunately, I had a photo of an earlier one, albeit much smaller, that he had done for Alan and Wilda Woodland! Painting outdoors is not without its risks; nothing romantic such as sand stuck in the paint as happened to one of the Impressionists but something much more mundane. “You have to be careful by the river as sometimes dogs take a dip and shake water over everything.”

Although he has only painted for fun, Anthony has exhibited at the British Legion show at Brandeston School and has sold most of his pieces over the years. He now helps his grandchildren to draw and would encourage people to take up drawing and painting in retirement as he feels it is beneficial to have a creative hobby.

Towards the Forge from Hoo

Sink Farm, Eyke

Great Church Street, Debenham

Interior St Andrew’s Church, Kettleburgh

Sink Farm, Eyke (2002)

Anthony Fletcher at work

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