Over the last few weeks I've had several reminders of what a privileged position I'm in - and why I feel it's important to exercise my voice.

I've written several columns critical of our local authorities, especially Suffolk County Council, over the way they are running our services and supporting residents.

I criticise them not from a party political stance. Not because I want one party or another to be in power.

My criticisms are based on the fact that they are demonstrating manifest incompetence - and a failure to address that incompetence.

But I'm not just hear to call out the inability of officials to make the right decisions - over the last couple of weeks I've done a couple of jobs that really have reminded me how lucky I am to be in this job!

Firstly I went to see the bosses at the Food Museum in Stowmarket. 

That is a fantastic attraction and resource for Suffolk. I know it well and I have taken my family on many visits there over the last four decades.

East Anglian Daily Times: It was a pleasure to be shown around The Food Museum by Richard Lister and Jenny Cousins.It was a pleasure to be shown around The Food Museum by Richard Lister and Jenny Cousins. (Image: Paul Geater)

But to have a guided tour of the highlights of the museum by director Jenny Cousins and chair of trustees Richard Lister was really fascinating.

It was also good to find out about the plans to develop the museum in the future - if the museum's finance can be put on a more secure and stable long-term footing.

However the real highlight for me came the following day when I was standing on the beach at Orford Ness looking at Suffolk's first grey seal colony with creatures both resting on the shingle and apparently playing in the sea.

East Anglian Daily Times: Seals have set up a new colony at Orford NessSeals have set up a new colony at Orford Ness (Image: Charlotte Bond)

I've always been fascinated in the world around me - the nature and the history of landscape, buildings and the people associated with them.

So as I stood on Orford Ness beach in the winter sunshine watching the seals on February 1 I had to keep reminding myself how lucky I was to be here  . . . and I was getting paid to write about this fantastic story!

Orford Ness is an astonishing place and there can't be anyone in Suffolk who is not aware of some of its history as a top-secret military base for much of the 20th century.

There are still secrets there. The exact design of the pagodas I visited with the National Trust in the Autumn are still covered by the Official Secrets Act because similar structures are still in use by military munitions researchers.

East Anglian Daily Times: Last year I was given a rare chance to get close to the pagodas at Orford Ness.Last year I was given a rare chance to get close to the pagodas at Orford Ness. (Image: Paul Geater)

And until Monday the National Trust was still keeping the details of the seal colony secret - although I understand that the whole population of Orford already knew about them!

Today Orford Ness is well-worth visiting (or it will be when the season opens at Easter) but those who go there will have to be prepared for a long walk to fully explore the huge area. 

We were taken to the site where the seals were resting in a couple of National Trust vehicles in a few minutes. It would have taken the best part of an hour to reach there on foot.

East Anglian Daily Times:

Seals are the latest star visitors to Orford Ness, but it is also home to many other species that are rare elsewhere - I saw a Chinese Water Deer bounding across the shingle.

And one of the largest hares I've ever seen was sheltering from the wind behind a concrete block which was part of the wartime defence of the Suffolk coast.

East Anglian Daily Times: Wartime defences provide shelter from the wind for hares at Orford Ness.Wartime defences provide shelter from the wind for hares at Orford Ness. (Image: Paul Geater)

As I said I fully appreciate how fortunate I am to be in a job that gives me the chance to do stories like this - alongside shining a spotlight on the work of our public bodies.

The opinions expressed in this column are the personal views of Paul Geater and do not necessarily reflect views held by this newspaper, its sister publications or its owner and publisher Newsquest Media Group Ltd.