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News and views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
Issue 4 Winter 2007

From Auckland with love

jenny and norman firth

Looking for a good way to travel inexpensively after retirement? You could try what we have been doing during our travels from Auckland, New Zealand. We have spent most of the last eighteen months house and pet sitting in the UK for family and friends away on holiday. In between we have had two trips to France, staying for a month at a time in Ceret and Antibes, and one to Malta.

There was a special reason for our three-month stay in Woodbridge. Our daughter, Amanda, married a Woodbridge lad, Jamie Lowe, in 2004, when we first stayed here following their marriage celebrations. In 2006, we returned for a session looking after The Old Stables, down by Andy Seedhouses boatyard. So this is our third visit.

We are both trained musicians, instrumentalists, singers and choir directors, and so we jumped at the invitation to join St Marys choir. A big thank you to the choir members and the congregation for being so welcoming! We have especially enjoyed the surroundings of the beautiful church. Churches like St Marys, especially ones so old and venerable, are not common in New Zealand.

Sailing is also in the blood. We have a half-share in a 34-ft cruising sloop back in Auckland, the City of Sails, and Jamie and Amanda are master and chef on a 140-ft ketch, sailing out of Newport, Rhode Island for an American owner. Perhaps ironically, our visit to Woodbridge this year was to look after The Boat Inn, 22 Quayside (and Polly the cat) while the owners were cruising the Mediterranean. It was an ideal location for us, next to the boatyard and dock and close to the Deben river walks.

It was with the greatest regrets that we set off from Woodbridge in early September, spending a few weeks in Austria, Germany, France and Switzerland, before heading home. We very much appreciated our new-found friends from church and town and hope to visit Woodbridge again at some time. Anyone wanting to visit Auckland will find a welcome at our home. Contact normandjenny@gmail.com.