Bless: Introduce yourself and your town…
HVS: I’m Hanna. I like digging, growing, eating, knitting, chalk pens & making bad-ass coffee then drinking it. I have lived by the sea in Southwold since June 2k13. The current population is 974. Maybe 975 plus me.
Bless: What’s your town known for?
HVS: Adnams brewery and over-priced beach huts.
Bless: If we were to visit, what 3 places would you take us?
1. Our allotment to meet Apollo, (The Cockerel) Aphrodite, Poppy & the 5 Sunday Sisters (The hens).
2. Two Magpies Bakery where I work to sample the best coffee in Suffolk and to meet all my work pals. We’ll pick up some baked goods and hijack the entrance to someone’s beach hut & have a picnic.
3. We could have a fire on the sand dunes and toast marshmallows or cycle to the harbour where one can sit on one’s jetty to enjoy one’s glass of one’s wine whilst watching one’s sun set.
Bless: Where is your favourite place to eat in your town?
HVS: If you were up for a 30 minute cycle through reed beds and forest (you could also drive on the roads I spose) to the next village down the coast - I would recommend The Ship at Dunwich. Not just because my boyfriend runs it but because they do the best scotch egg that you will ever eat in your actual whole life. Legit. The head chef is the tits and all the food is a taste explosion. Also. You have to try Collin’s sticky toffee pudding. He has worked there for 40 years and it’s his grandmas recipe. If you’re feeling lazy the rump burgers at The Lord Nelson are served in a Brioche Bun made by the Two Magpies Bakery and are pretty damn good.
Bless: Where is your favourite place to pray in your town?
HVS: I often chat at God when I’m trundling on down across the fields to the allotment or if I’m on a walk along the beach with my poochie Elmo.
Bless: How are you serving your town?
HVS: I didn’t know anyone in Southwold when I first moved here but by working at the bakery I met my boyfriend and most of my friends. The Two Magpies Bakery is a great tool to help serve and be part of the community in Southwold. We have loads of regulars that come every day to get their coffee and the best part of my day at work is chatting to them and hearing about if they are having a crap day or a jolly day - Whether they’ve fallen through a roof lately or finished doing up their boats. (True stories).
I run Southwold Knit Club there every 2nd and 4th Wednesday. All different sorts of ages and knitting abilities come and knit for a couple of hours whilst drinking tea and coffee, gassing away and usually eating cake. Then some of us go onto The Lord Nelson Pub where we drink local brews and continue knitting late into the eve.
Lately I’ve been bagging up our used coffee grinds for people to take to add to their compost for extra plant power. The sense of community in Southwold is pretty big. The allotments holders. The shop owners. The pub goers. The knit group knitters. All the mini communities in Southwold combine to make one big community which is what I love about it. Frank from the allotments buys his bread from us and I give him my left over raspberry canes. Danny whose allotment is next to ours brews the beer for Adnams. The other side is Barbara and Murray, and Barbara comes to knit club. Mischa buys her coffee from the bakery and the bakery buy flowers from her flower shop. David provides us with fine wine and local ale and my boyfriend’s brother tattoos him up. While walking down the high street you are guaranteed to bump into at least 5 chums that you know.
I guess it can be a bit daunting when you move to a new place and want to be part of the local community – and I must admit that Southwold in general is a friendly town – but I’m pretty sure if you do what you love, say yes to everything and get involved with people you’re bound to make chums and be able to serve the community. And although it is good to start & join clubs and attend a local church or whatever, I believe that by living somewhere and just being yourself with people you can serve the community in a massive way.
Bless: How can we pray for your town?
HVS: I guess pray for the community in general. That it would only get better and that God would be a bigger part of it.
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Photo by Jonathan Cherry.