By the time you read this I shall be on the move from our Wolsey Street flat to a more permanent home; meanwhile Bob and I have enjoyed our short sojourn in 'the Saints', particularly the breath of fresh air (or should that be hot air?) from our balconies.
Our bedroom balcony looks south down Wolsey Street to Cardinal Park, an area I was pretty indifferent to before I moved here (and that's being charitable - I have never really come to terms with the destruction of the horse tramway depot to make way for a 'car park'). Closer scrutiny however reveals a thriving and lively open space full of young people with plenty to do, well-equipped with useful (and used) seating and litter bins. Liquid is my 'favourite' venue, providing Ipswich youngsters with amusement well into the small hours on Friday and Saturday nights. And I have great admiration for the owners of the burger van that appears in the Jewson's layby on Wolsey Street from midnight until about 4am (sorry I'm a bit vague on the timing of this one!) on these two nights to cash in on the egress from the night club.
There is lots of pedestrian traffic from Cardinal Park through Wolsey Street and Cutler Street to the 'the Saints'. The whole area works well with the two - quite mixed in terms of size, rent, etc. - residential blocks between the Cardinal Park leisure venue and the specialist shops in 'the Saints' (and with such a wealth of excellent eating places I've given up cooking!). I did most of my Christmas shopping in St Peter's Street and received compliments from relatives of both the London and Chinese variety on their individuality. Of course the high footfall owes much to the presence of Willis nearby with its periodic discharge of office workers to the shops, restaurants, the cinema and St Nicholas Church which they use quite regularly as a conference centre.
St Vincent House is in full view across Franciscan way from our living space balcony. It is being refurbished and there has been a skip in Cutler Street for much of our stay, providing some diverting amusement as skip, delivery lorries, cars and pedestrians vie for the 'shared space'. We can see into St Vincent House: the road works barriers from Cutler Street are currently stored on the second floor and there are two exercise bikes on the third floor (much used by the incumbent office workers). And, keeping the best till last, the Willis building dominates the view to the north from this balcony (over the winter we have watched the glass come off and then go back on again) and, with St Nicholas Church in the foreground and the Unitarian Church behind, what more could you wish for? It is a study in quality architecture from the 14th to 20th centuries - the perfect backdrop for a cup of tea and a breath of fresh air.