This week, I’m visiting my niece, her husband, and my great-niece in Mildenhall, in Suffolk, England. He’s in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed here recently. The U.S. has three bases in the area, the largest being Lakenheath. Turns out Mildenhall is part of Bury St. Edmunds, an ancient market town. We’ll be going to visit the gorgeous Abbey Gardens there tomorrow, so come back and have a peek!
Since Mildenhall houses the Air Force, I was expecting to see a lot of gray government-type buildings, a smart efficiently laid-out neighborhood – strictly boring. But Mildenhall surprised me. This little town is made up of cozy old cottages, sprawling meadows filled with sheep, cows, and horses, and winding, tree-lined roads. And Mildenhall has a very rich history.
The town's lineage goes back to Anglo-Saxon times. The Domesday Book records Mildenhall as being well-established in 1086, with a church, a mill, 64 families, and 1,000 sheep. A real swinging hotspot! :) My niece and I decided to go to afternoon tea, and as we walked through the town, we passed an ancient-looking structure that we later discovered is called the Market Cross. It’s been the site of the Mildenhall Market since the 1400s, and also where the abbot of Bury St. Edmunds had criminals hanged. During the 1381 Peasants’ Uprising, John de Cambridge, the prior of the abbey at Bury St Edmunds, was murdered on Mildenhall Heath.
Traces of settlement from the Old Stone Age onward have been found in the marshy fenland of Mildenhall, and the Romans had a ring of farmsteads around the fen edge. The fabulous Mildenhall Treasure - thirty-two pieces of silver tableware from the Roman period, now in the British Museum - was discovered near one of these farmsteads during the Second World War.
We had afternoon tea at a lovely place called The Riverside Hotel. My first official British teatime! Sooooo yummy and fun. We sat outside in the garden, by a little stream. Heaven. So today, I’m posting pics of our tea.
See you tomorrow in the Abbey Gardens!
GUEST WRITER'S BIO
Vicki Speegle is an award-winning screenwriter whose feature script LOVED ONES was in development at Amazon Studios and was a finalist for best screenplay. Her screenplay DEAREST was a finalist for the 2011 Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and her television pilot THE WAKES OF WILBUR POE recently placed in the finals of Slamdance.
Vicki grew up the daughter of a gay single mom turned pastor in Akron, Ohio, where she helped take care of her two younger brothers, an experience that provided fodder for a number of short stories and scripts. Her infatuation with storytelling began at the age of five when she sent a love letter to Donny Osmond, and since then she has worked an eclectic mix of jobs to support her writing habit, including 4 years in the U.S. Navy tracking nuclear submarines on a tiny island called Adak, Alaska, assistant to a very eccentric New York City artist, and a brief bout as the world’s worst waitress. Vicki studied music performance and education at Akron University before making the move to New York University, where she earned her BFA in Film & Television Production. During her studies at NYU she interned as assistant to the editor for Ken Burns’ production of THE WEST. She wrote, directed, and produced several shorts, including her thesis film OLDER, which went on to screen at the Tribeca Underground Film Festival and won 2nd place in the Pioneer Theatre Short Film Slam in New York City.
After graduating from NYU, Vicki joined Rigas Entertainment as assistant to the Director of Development, helping in the development of feature films with directors Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) and Maggie Greenwald (SongCatcher). In 2005 Vicki began shooting a documentary about her mother’s struggle to reconcile her faith as a pastor with her advancing Alzheimer’s. The project is currently in post-production and has garnered the support of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). In 2007 Vicki’s screenplay LOVED ONES placed in the top 5 of the Bluecat Screenplay Competition and won Screenplay Live at the Rochester Film Festival. Her works have placed in several other competitions, including Women in Film, Chesterfield, and American Zoetrope. Vicki’s credits include a teen comedy for Applause Films and radio scripts for Wynton Marsalis, Director of Jazz At Lincoln Center.
Vicki lives and works as a writer, filmmaker, and web producer in New Jersey. She is still waiting for Donny’s response.
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