One month on in our Harleston home

Rosedale Harleston

Rosedale have now been in their Harleston home for one month now and Donna, our arranger and administrator who looks after the branch, has reflected on the past few weeks:

As we come to the end of Rosedale’s first month in Harleston, I thought it would be nice to share some first impressions and experiences with you.

Harleston is a lovely town with plenty going on in the way of people helping and caring for each other. I’ve noticed that despite another lockdown, it’s a place where people still make eye contact with you and will smile and say ‘hello’. The town continues to thrive despite the lockdown, with business owners adapting so they may continue to serve the people of Harleston.

There’s a group called the Harleston Kindness Help Hub (who are on Facebook) who do all manner of good works, including recently organising ‘raise a smile’ gifts to be left randomly on local doorsteps. They also tasked children in town with painting pebbles with messages and poppies which were all neatly laid out around the war memorial in town. The pebbles were then taken and placed on the graves of veterans and their families to be collected and kept by their family today.

You’ll see from the photographs that the war memorial is actually a very nice meeting place with small gardens and benches where people can gather and sit for a while. I was struck by the attention to detail and the effort that had been put in to it, the bin itself having been made with a ‘Lest We Forget’ message on it. The area has won several awards over the years for being a civic amenity of outstanding value/quality as you can see from the photograph.

Our friend Chris from Red Dune is heavily involved in the Harleston Round Table (also on Facebook) and a group of their members and volunteers all worked on the gardens, weeding and making sure they were looking good in readiness for Remembrance Day.

St John The Baptist Church is next door to the war memorial a lovely Victorian church but with antecedents dating back to the 14th Century. Reverend Canon Nigel Tuffnell called in during our first week and blessed our Chapel of Rest, which was a moving experience. To the side of the church is a lane which leads to a free car park which is a real bonus for the town.

I’ve seen a family of ducks on a regular basis who live on the grass in the Co-Op car park. They came to visit us one afternoon last week and were drinking rain water which had collected in the deep ridges in the metalwork of the weighbridge just outside the office window. I see them crossing the road in a rather unhurried manner and am pleased to say that nobody rushes them on and drivers all seem happy to wait as they waddle past.

With regard to some of the businesses and shops in town, so far, I can recommend 26 The Fold, Sight and Sound and Fig and Roses although there are so many, I feel mean singling these out. In future I’ll report back on others that I discover!

Jane at 26 The Fold has made her home wares shop a treasure trove of lovely things. I’ve indulged in two of her hand made lampshades ready for my new pad (which I am still seeking), my friend Val has also had one of her lampshades and I know of others who are particularly taken with a lovely Bay & Rosemary hand cream and the wicker dog baskets!

Sight and Sound is nothing short of an emporium of ‘stuff’ that you just need in life and if they don’t stock it (I’d be surprised) but they can certainly get it in for you!

Katherine looks after Fig & Roses which is our florist in town, if you’re looking for an unusual houseplant in particular, this is the place for you: polka dot foliage, zebra striped stems, plaited bamboo and all manner of other flowers and accessories.

Most of the non-essential businesses have got signs up in their windows and alerting folk on Facebook etc as to how customers can still get in touch and place orders. Socially distanced payment and collections are allowed.

The Corn Exchange ‘Cornucopia‘ is two doors up from us, a magnificent Victorian building which apparently has its own fountain, parlour tea rooms and sells vintage goods. Definitely one to visit when lock down lifts.

Wednesday is Market Day and the stalls set up in the pedestrianised area which adjoins Broad Street, The Thoroughfare and Exchange Street. Exchange Street also closes on a Wednesday to allow for the market stalls. You can find all sorts here including: Starwing Ale, Pastries and garden plants among other things.

You will see that the Christmas Tree has arrived, still girdled and ready to soon be released. Chris from Red Dune assures me that the Harleston Round Table will still conduct the Sleigh Ride around town over several evenings this year so the children can see Father Christmas and donation buckets will be carried by volunteers at a safe social distance.

Lucy, the Community Ambassador for Rosedale, organised a quiz which asked for local people to nominate a charity of their choice and we’ve received several suggestions of good causes. More information on the winning charities will follow.

All in all, we have received a very warm welcome and it’s been a sterling first month. I look forward to many more!