My Suffolk - Colin & Shirley aldous
Colin and Shirley Aldous are the owners of Ufford Park Hotel and after 20 years at the helm they are handing over the management to their daughter Tarnia Robertson, to enjoy retirement. They described their life in Suffolk
Where were you born and how did you come to live in Suffolk?
We were both born in and have always lived in Suffolk. Colin is from Halesworth, and Shirley is from near Framlingham. We were both brought up in similar circumstances, our parents owned smallholdings and one of our binding memories of childhood is being freezing cold with very few mod cons in old Suffolk farm houses. Colin and his family moved to Shottisham near Woodbridge in 1960 for job opportunities, his brother and father working side by side for Sir Anthony Quilter on the Estate. For the past 30 years we have lived in our own house which Colin designed and built in Woodbridge, which is a wonderful place to live. We thoroughly enjoy living in a town which has everything; beautiful buildings, the river and excellent public transport connections. We have no desire to live anywhere else, even though we have travelled to many parts of the world and all over this country.
What makes the county special?
We love Suffolk particularly the part we are fortunate enough to live in. It offers everything; big skies, heaths, forests and heritage coastline. It does not have extreme weather but clearly defined seasons. Although it is fairly intensively farmed we are both from agricultural based families, with both fathers working with Suffolk Punch horses before tractors began to take over working the land. We particularly enjoy walking along the River Deben on a summer evening and thinking how privileged we are to have this on our doorstep.
How do you like to relax?
We find walking very relaxing and both enjoy exploring the many footpaths throughout the county, especially Felixstowe from the Ferry to the Manor End and from Southwold to Dunwich via Walberswick. Our imminent challenge is walking Hadrian's Wall, approximately 100 miles from Newcastle to Carlisle, which we will be doing this summer. We also love seeing the many different birds at the Minsmere Reserve, it is amazing all the work that has been carried out there.
Where do you like to eat out?
Having been brought up on home-grown meat, fruit and vegetables we both like simple, organic local food. We have always maintained we eat to live rather than live to eat. Shirley has been vegetarian for the past 30 years. On our regular walks we enjoy eating at many local pubs and Colin really enjoys fish & chips from Aldeburgh.
Do you have any hobbies?
Work has been our main hobby throughout our adult life. We are extremely fortunate to have enjoyed every aspect of the hotel business as well as our 25 years as local house builders. We’ve made many friends in those who have purchased their homes from us. We have five grandchildren who are a great source of pleasure and we feel we have been blessed with the good fortune of having them all living close by. We have had many family holidays with our daughter Tarnia and her family, and son Jolyon and his family, which have been wonderful experiences and given us many memories. Colin loves to play golf at every opportunity, which is made even more special as he can play with any member of the family, wife Shirley, son Jolyon, son in law Stuart or grandsons Joshua and Oliver. We have a nice home and garden where we like to spend time and potter about, plus of course walking and exploring the Suffolk countryside.
Where do you like to shop?
We do most of our shopping locally as we are passionate about keeping Woodbridge a vibrant place to live and if we lost our shops it would be bad for everyone. Occasionally we go to Norwich for a change, or to Bury St. Edmunds, but this would usually be for some Christmas shopping.
Is there one picture you'd take to sum up our county?
If we could take a picture to sum up this beautiful county it would have to be Southwold beach huts, pier and lighthouse, Minsmere habitat from the Hides, or of course the view from our Vista Room window looking down the first fairway towards Ufford Church.
Where would you take newcomers on a tour of the county?
We would take all newcomers to visit and experience the pleasures of Woodbridge Tide Mill, Sutton Hoo, Framlingham and Orford Castles, Snape Maltings, Dunwich, Aldeburgh, Southwold, Lavenham and Kersey, returning to relax by the river at Woodbridge.