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Where in the World?

Thought I’d take the opportunity this week to introduce you all to my local area. We moved here from Leicestershire in March...

Thought I’d take the opportunity this week to introduce you all to my local area. We moved here from Leicestershire in March 2021 to be nearer family and I must admit it has been absolutely wonderful being back near to the area where we grew up – there’s something just so familiar and comfortable about coming home.

We live on the edge of the Dedham Vale, an area on the Suffolk/Essex border. Dedham Vale is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty famous for its links with the landscape artist, John Constable. The landscape is rural, dotted with quaint characterful villages such as Lavenham and Long Melford, has many cosy pubs, restaurants and tea rooms, plenty of riverside and woodland walks and is about an hours drive to the fabulous coastal towns of Aldeburgh and Southwold. Larger towns nearby include Bury St Edmonds, Ipswich and Colchester.

Where in the World?

One of my most favourite books when I was a child was 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith. I remember my ancient copy was pink with all the dogs dotted all over the cover. I read it so many times the pages began to fall out! Quite by accident I recently discovered one of our nearest Suffolk towns has a connection to the story so I thought I’d start with a little information about here – Sudbury.


The historic market town of Sudbury stands near an ancient crossing of the River Stour, near the Suffolk border with Essex. The history of Sudbury dates back to the Saxons, in the Doomsday book of 1086 it is recorded as having a market, a mint and a church. The success and prosperity of the town was attributed to the growth of the medieval wool trade and many notable historical characters are associated with the town – including the artist, Thomas Gainsborough.

I was thrilled to discover the link Sudbury has to 101 Dalmatians – here’s the story…

A small dark-haired woman in a white Rolls Royce accompanied by a Dalmatian dog was once a familiar sight in Sudbury. This lady was Dodie Smith, author of the book 101 Dalmatians. She lived in a thatched cottage in Finchingfield and was nearly 60 when she decided to write a novel for children. Her own dalmatians were her inspiration and Sudbury was written into the story. Dodie knew the town well. Every Thursday her Rolls would make the 16mile trip for banking and shopping on market day. Her fictional dalmatians, Pongo and Missus come through Sudbury searching for their stolen puppies and stop at the drinking trough opposite the Town Hall. There is a plaque on it recording the fictional event.

Dodie’s first Dalmatian, a gift from her Husband was called Pongo, as was her fictional hero.

The book was published in 1956 and was an instant success crowned by Disney buying the film rights. Walt Disney himself even visited Dodie at her Finchingfield home and she later named one of her puppies after him.

She died at the grand age of 94 in 1990.

One of the nicest things about coming home is exploring the places that link us to the past but another absolute delight is discovering places, information and stories that we somehow missed first time around 🙂 We are thoroughly enjoying getting out and about exploring the local walks, towns and coastal areas. I may feature other local places and connections in future blogs – hope you have enjoyed reading this one xxx

Where in the World?
Where in the World?
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