My Suffolk - Minnie Moll
Minnie Moll is the Executive Officer for Membership and Marketing at the East of England Co-op. She talks about her life in Suffolk
Where were you born and how did you come to live in Suffolk?
I was born in Norwich but grew up in Suffolk. I love both counties but Suffolk is home. I grew up on a Thames Barge at Pin Mill on the river Orwell until I was 13 – a wonderful childhood. We were always outside, there was loads of mud and a very safe, close community. We had two other barges that we sailed so I was always on the water. It really was very Arthur Ransome. I came back to Suffolk ten years ago and now live in North Suffolk just south of Harleston. We were living in London and I wanted my children to have some of the freedom I had and to grow up close to nature and fresh air. We have never regretted the move for a moment. It felt like coming home when I started working for the East of England Co-op, as our offices are at Wherstead Park overlooking the Orwell.
What makes the county special?
Having travelled the world, lived in America and Australia and then London for years, I honestly feel that we have everything here in Suffolk. We have beautiful countryside, varied coastline, rivers, great sailing, beautiful villages and towns. There is huge creativity in the county and a slightly eccentric quirkiness. I think there is a real energy in the business sector and a feeling of pride in what we have and what we can do in the future. We also have exceptional established food and drink brands and so many new, upcoming small producers to keep Suffolk as a leading light in local produce.
How do you like to relax?
I love walking and I do my best thinking while walking my two Jack Russells, Archie and Tinker. There are great walks close to the river in the Waveney valley where I live. Thornham Woods near Stonham Aspal has stunning drifts of snowdrops in the Spring and a fascinating pet graveyard. A favourite from my childhood is the walk along the river between Pin Mill and Woolverstone, which always had incredible poppy fields when I was growing up. And of course you can’t beat walking on the beaches at Southwold and Walberswick.
Where do you like to eat out?
We are lucky to have a much acclaimed gastro pub in the next village. The Fox and Goose in Fressingfield is fantastic and has the option of fine dining or pub food. We recently had a great meal at Pea Porridge, a tucked away little treasure in Bury St Edmunds. There are several good restaurants on the Waterfront in Ipswich and it can feel almost Mediterranean on a sunny day. The Crown pub in our village of Weybread does wonderful home cooked Sunday lunch and I will never tire of sitting on the beach at Southwold or Aldeburgh with fish and chips in paper and a bottle of Prosecco.
Are there some special places in Suffolk that you'd recommend?
Pin Mill is still a very special place. It is tucked away down a little lane, the tide comes up the side of the Butt and Oyster pub and there is always great ‘people watching’. Thames barges are such a part of our local heritage and it is great seeing them on the foreshore at Pin Mill. In fact the whole Shotley peninsula is beautiful, peaceful and very special.
Adnams, Aspall or Greene King?
These are all Sourced Locally Suppliers for the East of England Co-op – so I couldn’t possibly choose! We are spoilt for choice for great food and drink in Suffolk.
Have you got any hobbies?
I love gardening and growing my own fruit and veg. I spend much of my time at home animal wrangling with our two dogs, two cats, chickens and ducks. It’s not a hobby as such but I dream of owning a vintage tractor. Each year I borrow one and drive in the ‘Pink Ladies Tractor Run’ with about 150 women, in aid of Breast Cancer research.
Where do you like to shop?
The Suffolk Food Hall near Wherstead Park is a treat for food, drink and gifts. I enjoy having time to explore small market towns like Woodbridge, Framlingham and Eye where there is always a gem tucked away selling antiques or bric a brac. Ipswich has an area called the Saints around St Peter’s Street with lots of great little independent shops. I spend a fortune in garden centres, mainly Notcutts in Woodbridge where I used to work. And of course I shop regularly at my local East of England Co-op.
Is there one picture you'd take to sum up our county?
It would have to be rural and green with a huge sky. But also quirky. Maybe an old boy driving a tractor down a lane, with his dog running along behind it.
Where would you take newcomers on a tour of the county?
Pin Mill, Orford, Aldeburgh, Southwold, Walberswick then inland to Framlingham and Lavenham. with several stops en route to admire churches and art galleries.