Recipes from my Suffolk Kitchen

Monday, 25 September 2017

A Book Sale in the Middle of Nowhere

Saints
Picture From Suffolk Churches Website

St James South Elmham has the highest church in the county and is  in an area called The Saints near Halesworth in North Suffolk. There are lots of other Saints out there in this remote bit of Suffolk. St Margaret South Elmham, St Cross South Elmham, St Micheal South Elmham, All Saints South Elmham, St Peter South Elmham. Plus... Ilketshall St Lawrence,  Ilketshall St Margaret, Ilketshall St John and Ilketshall St Andrew.

The lanes are winding and narrow and it's easy to get lost. Not for Colin though because after being a bridge inspector for so many years he easily knows his way round most of East Suffolk.

Anyway, all that preamble is to say that every year they have a big book sale in aid of all the churches. We didn't go last year as it's a bit of a trek from Ipswich and Col was still poorly after his 7 weeks in hospital.

It was certainly in my diary to visit  this year. As usual the village hall was packed with books and people
Just after 10am before it got really crowded
 These came home with me this year and I just knew it was going to be a good sale when the first book I noticed when I walked in was another Persephone book for my collection.

To make things easier they charge £1 for hardbacks and 50p for paperbacks which means The Far Cry by Emma Smith was  50p. .....Bargain!

What a good thing I've sold a few more books to Ziffit this month........may need to sell a few more as the big NSPCC second-hand book sale in Colchester is only a month away.

Welcome to a new follower and thanks for lots of comments about technology, cars and chocolate oranges!

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Just Too Technical ...plus other stuff

I mentioned that we had to have a new heating oil tank as the one here was very old, not bunded (double skinned) and too close to the garage for modern regulations. New oil tanks come with a transmitter that tells a plug in sensor indoors the amount of oil left and  if someone is stealing your oil. Unfortunately this little bit of technology can go haywire and emit a LOUD alarm even if your tank is full and nobody is there nicking it.
Don't you just love technology.
So many things that didn't need electricity now have lights or clocks, heavens know where all our electric will come from when we all have to have electric cars.

 We had a phone call, with just one days notice, to go to Addenbrookes so that their ENT department can check that he really doesn't need a sinus operation before his donor stem-cell transplant which is what Ipswich ENT decided after tests there two weeks ago. Ho Hum, and our little car is in the garage where they are trying to sort out what the whining noise is so we had to take the Hyundai which uses more fuel, but we took a pack up lunch of course so saved that expense. The Hyundai is going to fail it's MOT in January - the sub frame or something so we need to sort out another car soon. Serious illness with only one car won't work.
Hopefully by the time we see his consultant  at Addenbrookes  in early October they'll have made a date for him and the donor to go in and he can get started on the bumpy road to recovery.

We stopped at Tesco's  for milk on the way home from Cambridge   and I saw they had chocolate oranges on offer......Buy 1 and get 2 Free, how weird is that. So I did and they will be added to Christmas gift hampers. Buy the look of the huge almost empty box on the pallet, everyone will be finding chocolate oranges in the stockings this year!




Back Monday
Sue

Friday, 22 September 2017

A Few Cheap Meals

A few cheap meals from earlier this month..........each serves 2

 Main meal #1
Grilled Bacon and Courgette Fritters
Bacon - from ¼ pack of the cheap bits (670g is £1.50)from Sainsburys (170g approx 40p) served  with courgette fritters.Courgettes home grown, egg =16p, flour is pennies, chives  for seasoning also home grown, Black pepper = pennies. With Heinz  tomato sauce - very cheap from Approved Foods 700g for £1.49.
Approx total  80p

Main meal #2
Toad in the hole. 4 sausages taken from pack of local sausages from Co-op.(on offer 2 packs of 8 for £5) bought using divi of £3 and a local produced voucher for 50p. So cost £1.50 for 16 sausages. Therefore 4 were under 40p. Batter mix = flour = pennies, milk = 5p ,egg =16p. Served with roast mixed veg (courgette homegrown, carrot approx 10p, potatoes homegrown,beetroot homegrown).
Approx total  £1

Main meal #3
Tomato,bacon and Basil Sauce with pasta. Bacon - ¼ pack as above 40p, Tin of tomatoes = Morrisons value price 25p, Good squirt of tomato puree = Aldi(37p) approx  ¼ tube 9p, Onions 2 small from 1kg bag (55p) 10p, desert-spoon dark brown sugar (Aldi 500g 69p)  = pennies. Basil =homegrown. Pasta penne (Aldi 500g =29p) =  approx 10p
Approx total £1.10

Main meal#4
Sag Aloo
Red Lentils 50g =7p (Lidl 69p for 500g), 250g potatoes - Homegrown.Half red pepper - homegrown, 250g frozen spinach leaf = 25p( Morrisons £1.50 1kg),2 small onions as above 10p. Seasonings - garam masala,ginger,pepper,salt + rape seed oil approx 20p. With rice  15p (Aldi 89p kg)
Approx total 90p

Main Meal #5
Cauliflower Cheese
 Cauliflower = 45p (60p from carboot sale). Cheese sauce made with ½ pint milk and 2 tablespoons of cornflour + ground black pepper =pennies and 125g Extra Mature cheddar 60p. Served with chips - potatoes homegrown.
Approx total  £1.15

 I think that these are cheap but I'm sure someone will do even better!

Back Soon
Sue


Thursday, 21 September 2017

W.I.

Suffolk East Federation WI News - a Monthly magazine for members
 The speaker at this months meeting was a lady who is very involved with a charity called Street Kids Direct.
She used to be a member of our WI until moving away and was pleased to see that there were more members than there used to be.
Street Kids Direct works to help the poorest children of Guatemala City. There are an unknown number of children living on the streets and many more in shanty towns on the edge of the city. On the streets they are abused, become drug dependent and prostitutes or gang members and their life expectancy is just 4 years.
Living in our soft comfortable Suffolk cocoon, we knew nothing of a life where every business pays protection money and almost everyone carries a gun and a knife. The rich live in gated communities that they never need to leave while the poor scavenge on rubbish tips.
The charity have one person there all the time and other volunteers go out to help. They spend time with the children playing games and just generally letting them be children again for a while.
They've got a centre where the kids can go and hope to have a safe house so that kids who report abuse have somewhere safe to stay until they can be found a new home because at the moment they are returned to their homes or soon murdered!.......... no Social Services there.
The volunteers usually get involved through their local churches, they don't ask for payment for speaking but we had a Bring and Buy Sale to raise some funds.

Back Soon
Sue

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Sweetcorn Relish

When we had my home made veggie/nut burgers the other week, Col said "any sweetcorn relish?"
There wasn't, but now there is.
This is a variation of piccalilli, using a tin of sweetcorn and red, green and chili peppers from the greenhouse. The recipe is on the separate recipe page - scroll down nearly to the end.

 By the way, I've not forgotten about putting the veggie burger recipe on the blog but I want to try it just one more time and get a bit more flavour ooommmph  into them.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Pears

"It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption".

So said Edward Bunyard author of The Anatomy of Dessert, a book written in 1929  (which I haven't got! but read this quote in another cookery book. Bunyard was the son of a Kentish nurseryman who bred and sold fruit trees and bushes, amongst other stuff; there is still "Bunyard's Exhibition" broad bean.)

The pears on one of our small trees look awful, spotted with brown and black, but under the peel they are OK.

Sad Pears
We've been picking up windfall pears from this tree to eat  and some have been soft and juicy while others are hard and just a bit gritty proving another quote from the same book  " A pear is only truly delicious for 10 minutes!".
We know from the shape of them that the other pear tree is a Conference and none have fallen yet - so they will be ready later than this unknown variety.
According to my River Cottage Fruit book, you have to pick pears when they are hard and then ripen them in a cool, dark dry place until they are almost ready  and then bring them into the house a few days before you want to eat them. How you judge all this when they look so poor anyway is anybodies guess!

I used most of the above pears to make a caramelised pear upside-down sponge cake/dessert. The pears were peeled and cored and cut into small bits and cooked in a little butter and sugar until they were golden and sticky. Then I put them in a baking tin which I'd lined with parchment and made up a sponge mixture (eggs,butter,sugar and SR flour) to put on top. Cooked until the sponge was done and turned out onto a plate.
Should have used more pears but otherwise looks tasty. This will be Col's dessert through the week.
While the oven was on I also made a pepper, onion and cheese quiche for two days dinners and cooked some chicken thighs for the rest of the weeks lunch-time sandwiches.

Thanks for comments about the jumble sale finds
Back Tomorrow
Sue








Monday, 18 September 2017

A Jolly Jumble Sale

It was quite a treat to find there was a jumble sale happening not too far away, they are such a rare occurrence nowadays. Had to go and have a look and so did about 30 other people..........most were ahead of me in the queue!

Just a few treasures
The Chicken cupboard holds 12 eggs and was £1 - that will make a bit more space in our fridge. The Candle-stick was 20p - for my spring mantle piece (just need a green or yellow candle). The pretty china trio were 60p. The little cat book by Doris Lessing  was 10p, I shall pass that to a friend for Christmas and I paid 50p for the very large book (originally £30!) ......Clive Aslett - Villages of Britain;The 500 Villages That Made the Countryside. Now if ever there was any truth in the saying "never judge a book by it's cover" this book proves it. The cover is intriguing  .............farmers harvesting with scythes, horse and cart, haystacks, the manor house with pigs in a sty,  But the villages featured are chosen simply for a story of something that happened there, usually something that hit the headlines of local newspapers, but I can't really see how a murder from the 1800's "Made the Countryside"? Nothing much in the book about the actual village. Anyway, I shall have a look through and pop it in the book box under the stairs ready for the next car-boot sale we do.

I'll keep a look out for more Jumbles during the Autumn, now we are in the middle of Suffolk rather than on the edge, there ought to be more to go to.


Back Tomorrow
Sue

Saturday, 16 September 2017

What Will Our Garden Grow in 2018?

The first two seed catalogues have arrived
Time to look through the seed tin to see what we need for 2018.

First a look back at what we grew from seed this year
In the greenhouse
Aubergines
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Sweet Peppers 
Chili Peppers 
Basil
Outside
Beetroot
Chard
Radishes
Lettuce
Salad Leaf
Leeks
French Climbing Beans
Runner Beans
Courgettes
Butternut Squash
Mange Tout Peas
Parsley
Few Early and Second Early Potatoes
We also bought plants of
Brussels Sprouts (Lost all these when they were accidentally sprayed with weed killer!)
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
And a Spring Cabbage/Cauliflower Collection of 16 plants

On the whole I think we choose right when deciding what to grow in a much smaller area than we had at the smallholding. We didn't bother with carrots, parsnips and onions which are probably the cheapest vegetables to buy, and peas and sweetcorn which are cheaper and just as good to buy frozen.
The second sowing of French Climbing beans and Mange Tout peas didn't do well - successional sowing doesn't seem to work well in Suffolk as it always seems to be too dry at the wrong time.
Trying to squeeze so many things into the greenhouse wasn't entirely successful and  the aubergines suffered. Courgettes didn't set well due to pollen beetle so we didn't have many early on in the season.
We will have a little more room next year as there were several Dahlia tubers at the end of one of the beds which will be moved to the front flower bed now it's been cleared of grass.

So we'll stick to much the same things. I'll need to buy fresh aubergine and squash seeds. More Beetroot, Leek,  Mange Tout and another variety of Cucumber. Also need Plum Tomato seeds and some mini plum type too. My saved seed of French Climbing beans are getting really old so probably need to buy new and start again. I'll save runner bean seeds as there are several still on the plants. I'd like to grow a few ornamental Gourds for next Autumn's mantle shelf too.

Now comes the fun of choosing varieties and working out best value, that's a job for a cold winters day. Gardeners always have something to look forward to! 😊

Back Monday
Sue



Friday, 15 September 2017

Bother That Storm

Remember the weather saying at the beginning of the month?



  "September Blow Soft 'til the Fruits' in the Loft"


 Well it didn't blow soft and this trug full of apples and pears were laying on the grass under the trees  yesterday morning after Storm Aileen had passed through, but as that was our only damage I think we got off lightly.
We spent a while preparing them for the freezer, so nothing wasted.
 Back Soon
Sue

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Squashed in

3 tyres filled with compost and planted up with 1 butternut squash plant in each tyre and hey presto.............

After a huge downpour last Friday and more over the weekend and more forecast, I thought I'd bring these in as the skins had hardened off nicely. We've already eaten one small squash and on another plant, which we shoved in a compost heap down the meadow, there are 3 more not quite ready yet. Pleased with these as all we did was water them and let them sprawl over the driveway. Whatever variety I try they always end up much bigger than supermarket squash which cost anywhere from 70p to £1.50 for something a third the size of mine.........or costing even more for ready chunked.
 So I have here over £15 worth of squash- lovely.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Out Visiting


On Monday we visited friends who live in a village in Essex. It a village that's on the tourist trail but I'd never taken any photos there of the things which visitors go to see. So remedied that this time

The windmill in the top photo is undergoing maintenance and there were gates around the side which is usually photographed, so had to take this from the green. There are numerous picturesque cottages and then at the bottom of the hill is the pond/river with the very old road bridge. The water was  high, but not quite running over the sluice gates. After heavy rain this often floods so frequently appears on the local news. The Tour of France Cycle race  went through here in 2014.
Image result for tour de france cycle race finchingfield pictures
Alamy Stock Photo from Google


 There were more people there that day than on Monday!


Back Soon
 Sue

PS welcome to several new followers, hope you enjoy reading

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Autumn

Some say Autumn doesn't start until the Autumn Equinox on 22nd September but  meteorological speaking Autumn starts on 1st September and as it's about halfway between I've put my recent purchases on the Autumn mantle piece.


Ta Dah


,

The wooden fruit from the big carboot sale, a giant fir-cone  bought for £1 from the church sale-sitting on a curtain ring and the lovely colours of the swag - (not real leaves! -that was my one new purchase from ebay). A little jug with Autumn leaves was 50p at the small car boot and at the right hand end is a pottery acorn that one of the children made at school many years ago. It was a bedroom doorstop at the smallholding and I'd forgotten all about it until I looked in the dining room cupboard for something else for the Autumn display. Finally a mini swag of hops, still green at the moment. These were from the car park at the Emmaus charity shop in Ipswich. I remembered seeing hops there last autumn so we called in on the way to hospital, sadly no hoppy smell at all and they might go mouldy instead of brown in which case they will be chucked out.
 

Also in Autumn mode we finally got across the fields  to pick blackberries from along the old railway track bed.
11 bags have gone in the freezer and more went into two crumbles with windfall cooking apples from our tree.
Nothing says Autumn like a Blackberry and Apple Crumble.

Thank you for comments about things I don't buy, sorry I didn't get to reply as we were out all day. Also welcome to a new follower.
I take comment moderation off and the weird comments from somewhere in Asia are back again. Oh well, deleting them keeps me busy I guess.


Back Tomorrow
Sue



Monday, 11 September 2017

Things You Won't Find Me Buying New.......................

..................................................or only very, very rarely

 I often post about my car boot finds and then wonder if people think I spend all my time spending money at boot sales! But the reason you see boot sale or charity shop purchases on my blog is because I tend not to spend money anywhere else.

Obviously I buy food and household necessities from shops but you will rarely find me in a shop buying new...............................                     
 Books
Magazines
Jewellery
Make Up
Perfume
CDs
DVDs
Electronic Gadgets
Handbags
Pictures
Trinkets
Ornaments
Vases
Crafting Materials
Crockery
Cutlery
Kitchenware
Mugs
Toys for Grandchildren

and other things I can't think of at the moment!


Anyway, here are my latest car boot finds from yesterday


The wooden  garage complete with wooden fire-engine, ambulance and helicopter is for Florence. Jacob has loads of cars and trucks but I think girls need cars too! These were £3 and there's a card alphabet game originally from the Early Learning Centre for 50p. The little jug with autumn leaves was 50p and two lengths of spring coloured bunting were £1 and at the front is a little metal heart with holly leaves for 20p. I also bought a large cauliflower for 60p and another box of mushrooms from the 'mushroom man' for £1.

When I got the dehydrator earlier this year I tried drying mushrooms bought from him but discovered,  when  I opened the storage jar that I'd put them in, that I hadn't sliced them thin enough or dried them for long enough................... Smelly!

This time round I made sure to get them dried properly and also saved some for a Potato, mushroom and blue cheese bake plus we had some on toast for our Sunday tea.

After accidentally deleting comments instead of publishing them on Saturday, I've turned off comment moderation. The weird comments from Korea? seemed to have stopped anyway. Thank you if you left a comment - I didn't even get to read them properly- Duh!


Back Tomorrow
Sue

Saturday, 9 September 2017

We Saw the Tour........................

................ of Britain Cycle Race

Stage 6 of the Tour of Britain Cycle race zoomed through Suffolk yeserday.
They started in Newmarket on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border and zig-zagged  through lots of villages and small towns, touching the edge of Ipswich before going through Saxmundham, passing the end of the road where we used to live, through Leiston where our youngest lives and finishing at Aldeburgh on the coast.
We decided to go and watch at the closest place to us which was the little town of Eye- 5 miles away.
Lots of people had come out to watch - but not quite lining the streets three deep!
 First were the police motorbikes stopping cars coming out of side roads then a breakaway group of 7 cyclists and here is the peleton a couple of minutes behind. Love the guys in bright orange with orange bikes - the CCC team - easy to spot them when I've been watching on TV during this week. Following behind were all the support cars with the spare bikes, several police cars and ambulances and then they'd gone.

By which time is was 1 O'clock and we went across the road to that purple coloured building which is a Chinese takeaway and picked up a meal to take home. Had to try it out as it's our nearest and it was our 38th wedding anniversary so a celebratory meal.
Just got home and the rain came down in torrents - poor blokes.

(EDITED IN TO SAY APOLOGIES, SOMEHOW JUST DELETED A WHOLE LOAD OF COMMENTS WITHOUT EVEN READING.THINK I'D BETTER TAKE THE COMMENT MODERATION OFF!PLEASE LEAVE YOUR COMMENT AGAIN)

Back Monday
Sue

Friday, 8 September 2017

What a difference and other stuff

A couple of weeks ago I drove us to Addenbrookes Hospital and back. This involves keeping up with the cars rushing along at 70mph and the huge lorries all the way along the A14 then some of the A11 for 54 miles before turning on to a quieter road to the Park and Ride at Brabraham just outside Cambridge.
Nothing to worry about................. but look what I wrote back in 2013 when Col was first in Ipswich hospital when he had heart problems. We were living at the smallholding 22 miles from the hospital along a road I'd been driven over hundreds of times...........................

I got extremely brave and drove to and from Ipswich yesterday to see him and to take him more books. But I was a shaking wreck by the time I got home! 

I'd spent 23 years at the smallholding not really needing to drive far, just round the small lanes to the two small towns. I was so out of practice. One good thing to come out of the last few years is that I can drive around towns,country roads and busy main roads without getting into a panic - like most other people have always done.

We had a surprise on the way home from Cambridge as the Red Arrows went zooming over the road and off away and then a few minutes later around again. They weren't trailing their red, white and blue smoke when we saw them but were in formation. Then late afternoon when we were home there was a huge noise and their nine planes went roaring over head on their way back to their base in Lincolnshire. Col looked on line and they had been the last flying display at the Clacton Airshow. A fantastic sight even for a few seconds. I've seen them doing their display many years ago - amazing stuff.

I've been envious of other blogger's photos of butterflies. I never seem to have a camera ready at the right moment, but this Speckled Wood was sunbathing yesterday on the shingle driveway just outside of the  conservatory where I was sitting  and stayed long enough for me to grab the camera.

 Very well camouflaged from a distance.


 Thanks for comments about food waste and the Co-op. I doubt we will pick up many bargains as our local Co-op is in the wrong direction for when we go to hospital and we seem to do most errands on hospital days.
Hello and welcome to a new follower, hope you enjoy reading.


Back Soon
Sue


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Good Old Co-op

This was an email received last week from The East of England Co-op





East of England Co-op <noreply@eastofengland.coop>
Today, 18:05You
View this email in your browser
The Co-op guide to dating
Dear Susan,

We are trying to reduce our waste and keep as much food in the food chain as possible.
 We have decided to start selling food past the Best Before date to help reduce the
 levels of waste that our stores have. 





Well Done Co-op! And our local one is included in the list of stores where they will be trialing this offer - Good News indeed. and I have no idea why this is like this in a column.Must be something to do with the email I copied over.Odd.Back Soon Sue






Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Red Onion "Marmalade"..................

...............................AKA Sweet Onion Chutney.

Made a nice big batch of this a couple of weeks ago and avoided too many tears by peeling the onions under water and using the thin slicing blade on the food processor.
The recipe is on the Recipes From a Suffolk Kitchen page, scroll down quite a long way.
This is the most unusual chutney I make, goes well with cheese or burgers. Some is for us and some for the hampers again but I should have used red wine vinegar instead of white to make it a darker colour as it was a bit pale but only thought of it when I was getting everything ready and had no intention of driving miles just for a chutney!

Back Again Soon
Sue


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The Library Van Visits Again

 I ran out of Library books a couple of weeks ago so was looking forward to seeing the books that I'd ordered  to collect from the library van.

A good selection again

Favourite and first to be read must be the new Elly Griffiths. Then there are a couple more reprints of books from the 50's by George Bellairs  and another of the British Library Crime Classics. . Some new-to-me  crime authors - Andrew Wilson and Nicola Slade and a couple of books by authors I've recently discovered - Natasha Solomons and Julie Wassmer. Then non fiction that I've seen on other peoples blogs. The Silent Day is an oral history of  D Day on the Home Front. Plot 29 is about a man searching for information about his parents and working an allotment ( not sure how they are connected) and The Running Hare is about the secret life of farmland. Plus there's another book about flowers for cutting at the bottom of the heap but it's one originally published in the States, which I didn't realise when I requested it so not all relevant to here.


Many thanks for comments on the Instead of a Holiday post. The first thing Col said when he read it was that I had underestimated holiday costs and several of you agreed. I haven't the foggiest idea really although I have no intention of spending any amount near what ever the cost of a holiday is.

Back Tomorrow
Sue




Monday, 4 September 2017

Instead of a holiday

How much would a weeks holiday for two people cost?
A week in a tent or a caravan ................pitch fees, food ,fuel, visits............ £150+?
A week in a holiday cottage ............cottage rent, food, fuel, visits............£350+?
A week in a hotel.......................no idea but I guess .£500+?
A week abroad................no idea at all

We're not having a holiday this year. There are too many hospital appointments and soon Colin will be in for the stem cell transplant and then he certainly won't be well enough for months after that.
Over the last few weeks, instead of a holiday I've spent a little money on hobbies and interests.

First........................ a subscription
Sometimes I stand in W.H Smiths or a supermarket and look at the magazines, sometimes I pick one up and flick through but I  very very rarely buy one.........they are so expensive and all blinkin' adverts and I didn't have any subscriptions to anything since Craft Creations stopped.( I remembered to cancel the 3 months for £5 offer on Kitchen Garden Magazine)


A while back I came across  The Scribbler. It's about my favourite subject - BOOKS and published 3 times a year by Greyladies Publishing who publish
                               
                                     "Well-Mannered Books by Ladies Long Gone"

I sent for a copy last year and enjoyed it, lent it to a friend who also read and enjoyed and eventually, a couple of weeks ago, decided to subscribe. This is the first of my years subscription. A good read.

Second.............. some plants
Having decided to create a bed for flowers for cutting I ordered some Tulip bulbs and Alstromeria and Monarda plants
I already have Sweet Pea,Cornflower and Sweet William seeds and there might be room for something else - probably something to use as a filler in flower arrangements (or, as they are called here- shoving some flowers in a jug!)

Third..............something for the mantle-shelf.
The first time we've had a mantle-shelf or mantle piece for years and  I don't want the same things on it all the time. My plan is to change things with the seasons or a bit more often depending what I find. I've got very few ornaments as I had nowhere to put anything at the smallholding apart from the dresser and my rule will be  ........................mostly second-hand and cheap as possible.
Normally I would have walked away from this bowl of lovely wood-turned fruit at a car boot sale as they were £5, but then I remembered the Autumn mantle and the 'instead of a holiday' and they came home. I've bought something colourful online as well and that will be on the blog later this month.

Fourth - I kept looking on ebay for some Derwent watercolour pencils and eventually got a tin of secondhand hardly used 48 colours for my Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady Colouring Book for just over £10 plus postage. The only problem is
because the colouring book isn't watercolour paper it keeps curling up. So I've purchased a pad of watercolour paper from The Works and I'm going to try tracing the pictures from the colouring book onto the watercolour paper and then use the pencils on that.


I've counted the Lindt Lindor chocolates that came from Approved Foods as an 'instead of a holiday' treat too - haven't eaten them yet - might need them to cheer myself up when Colin is in Addenbrookes!

Thank you for comments on my slightly frugal post and Hello to a new follower


Back Soon
Sue

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Frugal (or just slightly less spendy) notes for August

August was a bit less spendy compared to previous months. Just (?) fencing, curtains, septic tank pump out, a small mower and garage door repairs and some plants. Although there is a bill for the new oil tank to pay...........Blimey this moving house thing is expensive!

Frugally things..................................

2 Free samples of toothpaste from the hygienist  (ignore the fact that it cost a fortune) and I'm sure in the past  a scale and polish was included in a NHS check up.

Runner beans, potatoes ,beetroot, chard, last few courgettes, salad leaf, plums,cooking apples, damsons from the garden plus tomatoes,cucumber,aubergines and peppers from the greenhouse.

Made Damson jam, Marrow and Ginger jam and Hot Tomato Relish with home grown produce.

Several packets of flower seeds for 10p each

Baked bread, bread rolls and cakes and made all meals from scratch.

Card making from stash

Lots of free reading from Library books and books from my shelves

Couple of things for Christmas presents from car boot sale

Persephone book for £1

Car boot finds - nappies for Florence 50p, Denby mug + 2 others 50p each. Toys for grandchildren.

Used Dehydrator for chili peppers for us and Christmas Hampers.

Water bill now lower after having water meter fitted.


 The electric and water bills were both less than we thought they would be and when they moved the oil over they said the tank was still nearly full so using the boiler for hot water when it isn't sunny enough for the solar thermal to work isn't using much oil.

Thank you for comments yesterday about grandchildren and folklore. Here's a strange co-incidence -  on yesterdays Countdown  Susie Dent was explaining the origin of the saying "By Hook or by Crook"..... I got in there first!

Enjoy your weekend

Back Monday
Sue

Friday, 1 September 2017

September Days

"September Blow Soft 'til the Fruits' in the Loft"

Many varieties of apples will be ready this month and pears too so it mustn't be too windy as windfalls are no good for keeping.


The September Page of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady colouring book.
Both Walnuts and Hazelnuts are ready this month. The ancient Romans and North American Indians used Walnuts to make a hair dye. Hazel bushes were very important in the country not only for their nuts but the coppiced wood was used for poles and sticks, for basketry,fencing and wattle and daub walls. Water diviners used forked twigs of hazel.

In medieval times tenants were given the right to gather firewood "by hook or by crook". That means they could gather wood by using only a shepherds crook and a billhook. This limited them to only cutting wood which could be reached from ground level but never-the-less it was important for them to find as much wood as possible at this time of year as wood would be their only source of heat and cooking.

29th of the month is St Michael's Day or Michaelmas........ the day with most weather sayings attached.
If St Michael brings many acorns (windy weather) Christmas will cover the fields with snow. 
is one saying - but unlikely nowadays I think.

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 We had an exhausting day yesterday - just looking after a 10 month old granddaughter for the day as Youngest Daughter's childminder was late back from holiday. How some grandparents look after grandchildren full time I have no idea. We are doing it again one day next week which gives me a few days to recover!

Thank you for all the comments - I knew if I said Hawthorn berries had no use except for the birds someone would come up with some ideas! But I think I'll pass.



Back Tomorrow
Sue

Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Lane on the Last Day of August

Another month has flown by. What's changed during this last month of summer?

 Rose Hips and Ivy Flowers are new this month, and things that were flowering last month are now just seed heads for the birds

Here's why we probably won't get to enjoy any Hazelnuts. I looked up to see what was singing merrily in the trees above - a blackbird - and spotted this fella watching me.


 The birds have stripped most of the Elder berries. I had plans to make Elderberry syrup but
never got round to it.

 Pity Hawthorn berries aren't useful as they are always plentiful until the birds take them during late Autumn.
 Always something different each month down our little lane.



Some much needed rain here yesterday. I went over to Leiston to babysit Florence for a couple of hours while Col stayed home for the Septic Tank pump out lorry which cost £80, making it  much cheaper than mains sewer. It should be OK for a couple of years now.
I went to the Co-op while in Leiston as they had sent me a voucher for £2 off a £20 shop and one for a free box of Celebrations - no idea why. I stocked up on Locally Produced chicken thighs....on offer at 2 packs for £4 -  and sausages  and each pack of sausages came with a free pack of bread rolls. So a good day to pop in there for shopping ......£28.50 worth of food for just under £19.
The Celebrations were hidden in the cupboard and will be part of a Christmas Present and the freezer is full.

Thank you for comments on the car boot bargains.


Back Tomorrow
Sue

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Flower Seeds and Other Bargains

 Some boot sale treasures have already be mentioned but there were a few more during the month

At a small Sunday boot sale early in August I spent only 30p. The postcard book of Country Diary cards was 20p and the card kit 10p.
From another small Sunday boot sale that was actually bigger than usual I found a Gi-normous plant pot for £2 and the pretty Blackcurrant sage also £2.
 Plus some nappies of the size Florence now needs for 50p and 3 big mugs including a modern Denby which were also 50p each.I like to get a couple of big mugs each summer in case we break any during the winter when there are no boot sales happening. I was very good and walked by lots of lovely baskets that I really didn't need, masses of toys and a load of cross stitch kits.
 From the big boot sale in early August..............
Huge box of brio type railway for the grandchildren. I now have enough for Jacob to take some home when he is a bit older and some to keep here too. I paid £4 for this lot. The Hungry Caterpillar Card game was 50p.



4 new flannels for 20p each. A very large ziplock plastic folder was 50p, Some hand-cream without perfume 20p. And 10 packets of flower seeds for 10p each.
I never used to grow flowers from seed at the smallholding because it took all my time and space to grow enough vegetable plants. Now I don't need to grow so much veg I'd like to have  more flowers and some of these will be grown for the new cutting garden. These packets are ones that would have been free with a magazine so don't have many seeds in each  but that doesn't matter. There's a packet of really dark- almost black- Sweet William,some Sweet Peas, Cornflower and Corn Cockle, Sunflowers,Nasturtiums and Edelweiss.

Can you say Edelweiss without breaking into song?!

Thank you for comments about Bank Holidays and Books

Back Soon
Sue


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Bank Holiday Weekend -Days 2 and 3

Not the normal thing to do on Bank holiday Sunday......................but it needed doing..................
The first thing that went wrong after we moved in was the flush on the upstairs toilet. Colin managed to replace it but after a month the stupid thing got jammed, so the water wouldn't stop running into the loo. We had to lift off the cistern lid and give it a nudge. So he got another fitting and cleaned out the cistern completely in-case it was a piece of grit causing the problem and guess what...... after another month the same thing happened again. The third go at it was with a completely different sort of flushing thingy but the handle wouldn't fit through the cistern. So eventually, 5 months after moving in and after altering the handle bit and finding a different spindle thingy among his plumbing-bits-that-might-come-in-handy, this morning........ success!

After all that we went off to a BBQ at our son and daughter-in-laws house! A very hot and sunny afternoon and quite a crowd squashed into their little back garden............Me and Colin, Cols' sister, husband and their two children and partners. Col's brother. Our youngest and Florence. As the sun moved round we all shuffled our chairs around the garden finding a bit of shade.


Florence decided to eat Grandad's watch - better than all the leaves and grass she nearly tried out while doing her commando crawl around the garden!

 Home again for an evening reading an odd sort of book that I picked up yesterday - mainly because it was a Virago re-print and I was curious. Is it fiction or semi-autobiographical?

book cover of 

Sisters by a River
or both? because the novel is told through the eyes (and spelling) of a young Barbara.

 On the banks of the River Avon, five sisters are born. The seasons come and go, the girls take their lessons under the ash tree, and always there is the sound of water swirling through the weir. Then, unexpectedly, an air of decay descends upon the house: ivy grows unchecked over the windows, angry shouts split the summer air, the milk sours in the larder and their father takes out his gun. Tragedy strikes the family, and before long the furniture is being auctioned off and the sisters dispersed among relatives. In her daring first novel, originally published in 1947, Barbara Comyns' unique young heroine relates the vivid, funny and bittersweet story of a childhood.

 That's the twelfth book  I've read this month! Proving how little there is on TV - Thank heavens Strictly Come Dancing is back soon.

Bank Holiday Monday was spent being quiet
Looking at this....................................The sky and trees above from the comfort of a recliner in the garden


and reading another book bought from the church sale - co-incidentally also told through the eyes of a child and brought home because of the cover which looked intriguing and much more interesting
than a more recent edition............ If I'd have seen it with this cover I wouldn't even have picked it up.
Product Details


"A rags-to-riches story with a deeply original spin, NOT ALL TARTS ARE APPLE is narrated by seven-year-old Rosie who grows up in a cafe in 1950s Soho, watched over by her eagle-eyed Auntie Maggie and Uncle Bert, and visited on occasions by her mother, the mysterious, and often drunk, Perfumed Lady. But it soon transpires that the Perfumed Lady's family - landed gentry who hail from a country estate near Bath - are desperate to get their hands on Rosie, and will stop at nothing - even kidnap - to acquire her.

Peopled with a wonderful cast of eccentric subsidiary characters - Great Aunt Dodie, Madame Zelda and Paulette, Sharky, the Campini Family who run an Italian delicatessan in Old Compton Street, and Maltese Joe - all of whom live in a Soho so atmospherically evoked that you can smell and taste it."


It reminded me of Up The Junction



 Back Soon
Sue






Monday, 28 August 2017

Bank Holiday Weekend........... Day 1

We didn't get a bank holiday rest when we were at the smallholding because Bank Holidays were always the busiest time for the campsite. Then last year in town Colin was stuck in hospital all through late May Bank Holiday and again right through August, and surprise! late May this year he was............................. stuck in hospital again.
That means it's quite nice to have a Bank Holiday weekend together even though  Bank Holidays are much the same as any other weekend except for more traffic on the roads. Best to stay close to home where the roads are quiet.
So on Saturday we went to Crowfield Church for the  Flower Festival and book/jigsaw puzzle sale.
 I went on my own last year, a fascinating little church tucked away. But what is that great lump of wood laying beside the church? They had a tree cut down because of disease and turned bits of it into benches for the churchyard, but I do wish they hadn't put one right by the church wall, spoiling this ancient place  - in my opinion!  By all means put them in other spots for folk to sit on but it just looks wrong - I felt oddly aggrieved - daft really.

Nursery Rhymes was the theme, this one Cock-a-doodle-do. Even this tiny church has a magnificent stained glass window
On the stalls outside I found 3 interesting looking books and two very old wooden jigsaw puzzles.

I had several plywood jigsaws when I was little - hope all the bits are there for these two. £1 for the books and another £1 for the jigsaws. We had coffee and sausage rolls and bought some plums to bring home.
A lovely morning out and then home to cut the grass after lunch. Rugby on TV and a book to read.

Thank you for all the comments on water meters and water costs. Our next aim will be to use less than they reckon.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Cheaper Water

The water companies reckon if you have less people living in a house than the number of bedrooms, it's usually cheaper to have a water meter.
Mrs F the previous owner was paying for water based on the old system where it was estimated using Council Tax bands. She was paying £340 a year for water - JUST for water ( septic tank sewer here).
We had a water meter fitted at the end of May  and had the first bill last week and Essex and Suffolk Water Company now estimate the water we use will cost us about £170 a year - half as much for double the people!
A good saving

Have a good weekend folks.
Back Monday 
Sue

Friday, 25 August 2017

Baps, rolls or buns

Whatever you call them where you live, they are easy enough to make




Large white floury ones sell for around 65p for 4 in the supermarkets. The cost for 4 large home made is around 30p + cooking. So, as long as you put them in when you are cooking something else, that's half the price.

The recipe I use comes from an issue of The Penny Pincher Paper (more about that HERE) - but with alterations




(Edited in to say I use strong bread flour) I don't use as much yeast,salt,sugar or butter as the recipe, and I use my Kenwood chef with it's dough hook to mix,but do make sure the dough is really soft and when shaping into rolls I try not to handle too much. I don't brush the tops with anything but do sprinkle flour.

I've got a newly concocted  recipe for Veggie Burgers which go rather well in these rolls. I'll put that on here sometime soon.

Back Soon
Sue