Once again, the group of travellers who make their home in locations around Sudbury have set up camp and, once again, they have stirred up debates.
I will leave it to the news pages of this paper to explain how Babergh District Council chooses to deal with their presence and any issues surrounding it, but there seems to be an awful lot of ill-feeling towards them among the people of Sudbury.
Travellers seem to bring out the worst in some people. In my own limited interactions with members of this group of travellers, I have found them to be polite and helpful.
But a number of people I have spoken to in passing have occasionally aired distasteful views, which I suspect are informed by nothing more than prejudice.
It would be interesting to see how these people reacted if I made the same comments to them, replacing the word “travellers” with “black”, “Polish” or any other ethnic minority.
I am sure they would, quite rightly, be outraged, and so should bear that in mind before making what could be a very grave error of judgement.
For what it is worth, the district council is not helping the “them and us” mentality by not ticketing their vehicles. Discrimination works both ways.
I was pleasantly surprised during a stroll around the town centre on Sunday afternoon.
My girlfriend and I popped out to get some birthday cards and various other items, and we were both amazed at how busy the place was.
Every shop we went into had several customers browsing and spending money, there was plenty of chatter and it was a very pleasant afternoon (even if I should have been watching the FA Cup).
Perhaps local people are beginning to support the town’s businesses more, which can only be a positive thing. Only time will tell.
With the crushing inevitability of Manchester United benefiting from a dodgy refereeing decision, I am already struggling with one of my new year’s resolution. Or rather, it has been something of a non-starter.
Despite the knowledge that no promise made to one’s self during the countdown at 11.59pm on December 31 has ever been kept, I solemnly swore I would join a local football team and become less of a red-faced, spluttering mess in the new year.
Suffice to say, I am yet to dig out my shinpads, let alone cover myself in back page glory.
But if fellow reporter Neil Bracegirdle can go running early in the morning (why would you?), I can put down Football Manager on the laptop, extricate myself from the sofa and go to training sessions on the odd evening.
With a new steely resolve and a Newcastle replica shirt that is slightly tighter than last year, I would like to offer my services to teams around the Sudbury area.
Anyone in desperate need of a workshy, unfit, woefully slow striker, who offers all the flair and movement of the Gainsborough statue, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
I would say I am waiting with bated breath, but a more accurate description would be “wheezing like a broken Dyson”.