Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Worlingworth Church

The next church visited out of the 100 in the book was Worlingworth . The village is about 8 miles from us. We went there on Saturday morning because  a coffee morning was being held in the village hall  to raise money for Addenbrookes Hospital. A fund  was set up 9 years ago when a young man died from a brain tumour at only 32 years of age. We had lived close to the family in Bacton during the 1980's, he was in my cub-pack and his parents are members of the chapel where Col's Dad went.
( People always say "never go back", but coming back to Mid Suffolk  has enabled us to meet up with people we've not seen for many years).

(and why do all my photos taken of high up things look as if I was drunk in charge of camera?!)

 Worlingworth church is another Suffolk church dedicated to St Mary, this dates from the 15th Century.

 The font cover at Worlingworth is even more impressive than the one we saw at Mendlesham, taller and painted too.

 The box pews date from 1630

and the hammerbeam roof spans the entire width of the church.

I love the old fire engine, standing in the corner and dating from 1670. Possibly last used on Guy Fawkes Night in 1927

That large piece of wood leaning against the wall just to the left of the engine is a wooden spit used to roast an ox in 1810 when the village held a Great Feast to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of King George III. There is a large painting of this celebration on the wall of the church.
Because of the reflected light the photo isn't good. No one knows who painted this, perhaps an itinerant  Italian artist.

Then in 2002 the village held a Great Feast  to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee, and two parishioners commissioned  Lowestoft artist John Reay to paint another large picture - this is part of it.
( I think I prefer the traditional painting of 1810!)

Below is a ledger stone memorial in the floor by the font to Susanna Barker,  who died aged 44 in  1622 it says she was Religious, Chaste, Discreet and Loving

Most of the windows are plain glass but these bits of stained glass are at the top of the window over the altar.

Another quick peep inside a Suffolk Church.

Thanks for comments on gorgeous Granddaughter post yesterday. 

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Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Meeting Our New Granddaughter

Son and Daughter in Law brought 6 day old Willow Rose over to see us.

 We saw her but she was busy sleeping and then feeding and then having another nap!

She has lovely dark hair so I'm hoping she might be the only person in the family so far to have inherited my black hair.

For the third time Nanna Sue and Grandad Col are besotted with a new Grandchild!
Later in the day we had a Skype chat with Grandson Jacob in Surrey now coming up for 2 years old, how quickly they grow up! Hopefully we'll get to see granddaughter Florence this week too, she's now 1½.
I can see mayhem ahead in a few years time, with 3 grandchildren zooming round the house together!

Thank you for kind comments yesterday.

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Monday, 23 April 2018

A New Phase

We had a VERY long day at Addenbrookes hospital on Friday.

But there was a reason for it and sadly the outcome isn't wonderful.

The Doctors have moved Col onto a new phase of treatment.......that is keeping him as well as possible for as long as possible.

We knew that that Mantle Cell Non Hodgkins Lymphoma is one of the most aggressive types of cancer...........treatable but not curable is what they said right at the start, and none of the options he has had have worked so far, so the change to a more palliative form of care wasn't a surprise.

I'm mentioning this here because that's what's happening and plan to keep blogging because I want everything to be as normal as possible so no histrionics and wailing and gnashing of teeth will be seen here!

(and none in comments please)

So normality this weekend just gone was a short trip out on Saturday morning, an extremely busy morning on Sunday when Col's brother came with his Heath Robinson log splitter (pictured here in March last year) and split about a ton of logs which are now safely stored in the shed and in builders bags...... Winter 2018/19 sorted and probably a good bit of 2019/20 too. A cooked dinner for 4 people ( Col's sister came too) and an afternoon with baby cuddles tomorrow. Then an evening of recovering!

Welcome to even more followers, happy to see you, hope you enjoy my scribblings from a cottage in Suffolk

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Saturday, 21 April 2018

Gardening Mojo

Every March I get worried that my love of growing food has gone. I really don't want to go outside and fiddle about with pots and compost.
Usually I get up just enough enthusiasm to start with tomatoes as they are so easy and never let me down and always, by the time they've got big enough to pot on my mojo has returned.

This year has been the same, thank goodness the sunshine arrived just in time, and at last I was out there before 7.30 on Thursday morning weeding the bit where the climbing French beans will go.
The second-early potatoes have gone in and first-earlies earthed up. I've emptied a compost bin onto the bean/pea bed and Col has sown beetroot.
For the greenhouse........... the sweet-pointy peppers and aubergine seedlings have been transferred into bigger pots and I have 2 cucumber plants keeled over and all the tomatoes are looking good.

Now for a busy weekend  with mangetout peas and sunflowers and other garden  things.

Have a good weekend
Back Monday

Friday, 20 April 2018

A Charm of Goldfinches and...............

 a trio of there a collective noun for Siskins?

The male Siskin isn't as yellow as a Yellow Hammer and has a black head. We have a pair of Yellow hammers visiting too, they are ground feeders so we don't notice them so easily from the windows.

Always something to see on or under the feeders and on the 16th I spotted the first Swallow of the year passing by, but until I see another I'll not believe I actually saw it!

Thanks for comments yesterday and welcome to some more new followers.......... Hello, hope you enjoy reading.

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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Mendlesham Church

Remember I was short of ideas for blog posts?

I have a cunning plan..............thanks to this book, which has been on my shelves for several years.
It features interesting things from 100 churches all round Suffolk. We'll start with those closest to home.
Last week when we were out we had to come home via  MENDLESHAM  to pick up tablets from our doctors surgery, it seemed an ideal opportunity to stop at the church for a few minutes and find the things mentioned in the book.

The place-name 'Mendlesham' is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as Melnesham and Mundlesham. The name means 'Myndel's village'.
St Mary's Mendlesham

 First........... The Font cover made by a local man called John Turner in 1630. In the 19th century it fell into disrepair and was removed to the clock chamber where it stayed until it was repaired and put back over the font in 1908.

The same man carved the pulpit, I like the old stone steps, worn away by the feet of dozens of vicars

This carving on a pew-end shows a dragon biting his curled tail, a symbol of infinity. 

The book doesn't mention that  a room above the porch.......

  originally a priest’s room, contains a unique armoury - “the most complete armoury of any English parish church”. As well as the parish collection of armour, assembled at the time of the Armada, it contains part of an Elizabethan longbow, several parish chests, a ‘Vinegar’ Bible and other artifacts. It is open on the afternoon of the first bank holiday in May.

The man who is Vicar there has been there forever...........(well not quite.... but certainly since we lived in the area back in the 1980's). It's High Church with incense and all the trimmings  so more RC than C of E (More about Anglo-Catholic church HERE ) and they reject the ordination of Women. 
One of our neighbours where we used to live in the 1980's became a devout member of this church but only for a few years so her son (same age as our eldest) could get a free scholarship to a private RC school! talk about working the system!

1 Church down 99 to go!

Thank you for all the comments welcoming Willow Rose to the world. I hope these colds go so we can see her soon and we've also had to miss seeing Florence this week too. Wish someone had cured the common cold years ago!
Willow and I aren't the only shared birthdays in the family. Our Youngest shares her birthday with Col's sister and Florence shares her birthday with our nephew. 

And is it any wonder we talk about the weather a lot in this country when it goes from chilly....... needing a fire all day to well over  20 degrees C in the space of a couple of days!

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

No Problem Remembering This Birthday!

 Monday was my 63rd birthday and during the morning with very good timing our daughter-in-law produced our 3rd grandchild.
Welcome to the world Willow Rose.............. our second grand-daughter.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sleeping, baby and closeup

New Mum, Dad and baby all fine.

We've not seen her yet as both of us went down with nasty colds over last weekend but hopefully  we'll be able to say hello very soon.

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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Wood for Next Winter

 We've got through a lot of wood this year.....the long cold spring and Colin needing warmth to get better after the hospital stay has really eaten into the heap, so while he is feeling well enough - which might not be the case all year - we've been cutting some wood ready for next winter.

 Two builders bags full inside the wood shed, plus some small stuff just inside on the right, but a great big empty space in between.

Now we need Col's brother to bring the log splitter over to split the big bits of Ash on the left of the shed and the large chunks of a dead Walnut on the right of the picture which next-door-but-one neighbour brought round last weekend. He also brought some more wood pallets

 and some chunks left over from his work as a landscape gardener. The pallets are leaning up against the workshop to dry out as they had been laying out in all that rain over Easter. Colin is splitting the chunks with an axe.
At the back of the huge heap above is willow and poplar for the following winter.

Getting wood stored for winter is very reassuring.

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Monday, 16 April 2018

Clothes For Florence and Other Finds

Our youngest was given a ton of clothes for Florence when she was small, friends passed on bags full of all sorts but the other day she found that she'd got virtually nothing for this summer. So I said I'd look out for some bits at the next car boot and luckily found some tee-shirts, shorts and a couple of dresses for her, 11 items should boost her wardrobe a bit and all for £2.50, which is what charity shops charge nowadays for just one thing.
My other finds at last Saturdays HUGE Saturday boot sale were a new photo album for 50p, a jar for my herb shelf for 40p (I'm gradually replacing the jam jars that held herbs with smaller kilner or similar), a tool carrier full of plastic tools was £1, that's  for Jacob (unless he's already got some already in which case I'll hang onto them for Florence or Grandchild # 3).

And somehow another small pretty jug was acquired!

Walking around the huge car-boot sale and looking at all the tables loaded down with STUFF makes me realise how few things we actually need. Was the photo album a need?..........well the one I had is full and I want to be able to save a few photos of our grandchildren. The kilner jar? No not really, the herbs are fine in jam jars. The clothes - yes certainly, the toys....well who knows? But the jug was simply a want, so it was lucky it was only 50p.
But then, when you start to think about it, 50p is a lot of money in some parts of the world, what could I buy with it? what should I have spent it on? How much guilt should I carry for buying something I don't need?

Frankly, when it comes to small pretty jugs, there is no guilt!

Thank you for comments over the weekend.

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Saturday, 14 April 2018

April's Library Books

 I have new library books to read.
Collected on Thursday from the mobile library
Timely, as I'd read all I wanted to read from the MARCH collection.

Oh Good! Loads of lovely crime and best of all the next book from Rory Clements - Nucleus. I've just re-read the first in this new series ( Corpus) because I knew Nucleus was on the way.

There's another Mary Wesley which someone mentioned was possibly the best of her novels. 'The Year of Less' by Cait Flanders is something I saw mentioned (on a blog?) but won't bother reading, I've flicked through but it's very 'trendy young person!'
Not sure why I have "The Conscience King" by Stephen Martin, must have come across it somewhere,  according to that little sticker on the spine it's an historical novel which I don't usually read ....I'll see.
On the right is "A Green and Pleasant Land; How England's Gardeners Fought the Second World War". I know I've had this book before but it's not in my Book Of Books Read so either
a. I didn't read it at all
b. I read it but forgot to write it in my book
or c. It's rubbish and I didn't bother to finish it

Also there is 'The Last of the Greenwoods' by Clare Morrall. I've read one of her books before (After the Bombing)  hope this is just as good.

The short reviews of the books I finished from the March collection are on the separate Books Read page. I'll let you know how I get on with this lot.

Have a good weekend whatever you are doing
Back Monday

Friday, 13 April 2018

"Ducks are a-Dabbling"

Or, in the case of this pair of Mallards," Ducks are a-Waiting".............for small birds to drop bits from the fat balls and seed feeders.
These two appeared last week to nest somewhere near the wide ditch opposite the house, could well be the same pair as last spring who hatched 6 eggs but then ended up a few weeks later with no ducklings. Ducks are such hopeless mothers, they either lose the ducklings when they take them off for long walks or the ducklings get killed by the moorhens who reside here all year round...cruel things.

Sitting and waiting for the sparrows to drop bits from the feeders above
Ducks Ditty is the only poem I remember from primary school

All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all.

Ducks’ tails, drake’s tails,
Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight,
Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth
Where the roach swim--
Here we keep our larder,
Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!
We like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!

High in the blue above
Swifts whirl and call--
We are down a-dabbling,
Up tails all.

From The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame .

I'm miffed that Blogger has changed the way dates are written on the dashboard posts page.....from the English way.....Day/Month/Year to the USA way ....Month/Day/Year. I have to look twice to work it out! Seems Blogger likes to change things for no reason.

Thanks for yesterdays comments. I now have blog plans for a few more days and welcome to more followers, hope you enjoy reading.

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Thursday, 12 April 2018


On Monday evening I was off to Big WI, a week late due to Easter.

 The speaker was  Tina Oldfield whose daughter had died from breast cancer back in 2004, leaving two small daughters. Tina, her husband, sister and brother in law decided that they would set up a fund to raise money for a breast cancer charity and do something that would really challenge them.......a trek to the base camp of Mount Everest in Nepal.

They gave themselves 18  months to get fit and prepare and set off over Easter 2006 as the decade long civil war was reaching it's violent climax.............. they were already on route as the government warned people not to travel there.

Her photos of the trek up the mountains towards Everest were amazing. There are no roads so everything is taken to the villages in the foothills by Yak or by manpower. The porters who help tourists and trekkers are paid the equivalent of just £1 a day........ Nepal is a very impoverished country. The lodges they stayed at during their 14 days were primitive. No electric and very  basic hole-in-the-ground toilets and few washing facilities.......... They were very glad they'd taken wet wipes. Only one of the lodges had anything resembling a shower!

They were two days away from their destination when they awoke to heavy snow, very unusual for April in Nepal. On limited time and unable to continue they very sadly had to give up. Back down at the airport they got stuck there for another day as terrorists threatened to blow up the control tower!

 Luckily all their sponsors paid the money and they raised over £3,000. On the way back down they decided they had to do it again the following year to complete their mission, so in 2007 they returned and in perfect weather with no civil war they completed their trek to Everest base camp.

Since then by giving talks and selling pens in memory of her daughter she has raised over £18,000.

Although most WI's no longer sing Jerusalem, there is one tradition that has survived the years......Birthday Posies.....when people with a birthday during the month are presented with a small posy of flowers.

This is mine for my April birthday.

Many thanks for comments yesterday, unless something Really Interesting happens in the next few days I shall have run out of ideas for posts by the end of the week, which is a slight problem...... Anyone got any bright ideas?

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Wednesday, 11 April 2018


When I was a little girl we lived in a hamlet of 12 houses, plus a pub and a garage right beside a busy main road.......then it was the A45, now it's the A14 (and  thankfully for the people who live there it's been by-passed).
Right beside our house was a lane that once had been used for farm vehicles to get to the fields behind the houses although by the time I was growing up the lane was too narrow, with high banks and not wide enough for new tractors. We used the lane as a footpath to the fields and woods and on each bank of the lane every  spring would be lots of violets. And we picked them......... Such tiny little flowers, they would be taken home and popped in an egg cup...... there was no such thing as wild flower protection and no one had any idea that the next 40 years of modern farming would wipe out so many species.

Violets are pretty hardy and spread easily so they didn't completely disappear from the countryside but maybe not often seen on the edges of farm fields.

However, we've got plenty here in the grass all around the garden both purple and white.

The camera makes them look much more blue than they are in real life

Looking in one of my (many) favourite books

I found this page about Violets including how to crystallize them to use for decorating  cakes

And in another little book "Discovering the Folklore of Plants" by Margaret Baker, I read that "The colour and drooping head made the violet the symbol of death and ill-luck". 
 To dream of violets meant an improvement in fortunes, can't say I've ever dreamed about violets........maybe tonight.

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Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Early Birthday Present

The car boot sale at Needham Market last Saturday was HUGE. It's always huge in the summer but I've never seen so many car-booters and so many visitors this early in the year.
Col came too and before he ran out of steam and went back to the car he found a hand-fork and trowel for youngest daughter, who now has a small garden since they moved from their  flat last year, they were 50p each and a water butt for a £1.That's for catching water off the back of the workshop which will be nearer if we need to water the new trees this summer.
I walked up and down about half the rows and all I could see was tat, junk and rubbish! Then I found a man selling some quite large shrubs including a few Camellias. I'd thought about one for the patio near the new table and chairs but they were £29.99 at the garden centre, his were bigger than the ones I'd seen and were selling for £15........... *brainwave* birthday is coming up fast and this could be my present. I then had a struggle to get it all the way to the car which was about as far away as was possible by which time I'd decided not to bother with the other half of the boot sale field.

Instead we just went home via the garden centre for a bag of ericaceous compost.
Awaiting planting into the big tub

 If the Saturday sales are going to be as big as this all year, I shall have to go on my own, take breakfast and have a break half way round!

No local Sunday morning car-boot it was raining and anyway  I was trying out  some Gluten Free cooking as we had friends coming for the day.............. GF pizza base turned out well.

Thank you for comments yesterday.The bus stops at the hospital are clearly marked but  I'm not techy enough for the phone ideas however  I can read a map, so I'll print one out and go on an adventure.....once we know how long the treatment will last each time.

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Monday, 9 April 2018

Old Photos and New News

I found the memory stick so I could load on some photos of Jacob and Florence ready to take to print out......hope Asda in Ipswich still have the photo printing machine. There were lots of photos from last year on the stick so then I had to find the photo album to see which ones I'd already printed and it was while I was doing that when I came across this photo from Spring 2002.

Kev at An English Homestead did a post about his ewe who had 4 lambs - quite unusual, and I commented that we'd had one who had 4 once, but she'd broke her leg/ pelvis having them so we had to have her destroyed and we'd bottle fed the lambs with Col's home made bottle feeding device. There are actually 5 lambs in this picture as we were given a tiny orphan lamb as well but she was fed separately by hand. For any sheep connoisseurs out there these were Ryeland.....the 'teddy bear' sheep with a bit of Shetland in their mum, she was a brown Ryeland cross and the lambs were black when they were born gradually getting browner as they got older.
Lambing each Spring was never fun......getting up to check them through the night, and it was always blinkin' cold but once they'd arrived a lot of time was wasted watching them! ( don't read this next bit if you are vegetarian or vegan!) and we made a good income from selling the fattened lambs in half-lamb freezer packs

I also found this from Autumn - 2002, our first ever pumpkin harvest at the smallholding. Later in 2012/13/14 we grew even more to sell and had about 3 times this amount every year.
Happy memories but I'm glad we're not still planting and harvesting on this was hard on the back!

The New News is a cancer update and Great Joy (not) .........we now have to go to Addenbrookes 3 times a fortnight instead of just once a week! This is because they are trying a different sort of treatment called Extra Corporeal Photopheresis which in English means exposing the white blood cells to UV light outside the body. This is to treat the Graft versus Host Disease so they can get him off the anti-rejection drugs,so the donor stem cells can take over completely. The cancer has definitely moved to the Lymph glands and he is taking some chemo tablets that he had in 2016 ( they didn't work against the bone marrow lymphoma but should work to treat the enlarged Lymph glands). It's very important to battle on quickly. This new treatment (ECP for short) takes between 1½ and 3 hours on two days a fortnight and goes on for 3 months  before they review it, so lot's more traveling back and forth through most of the summer.

We are resigned, as the definition for that word says, " resigned to an unpleasant  situation or fact, we accept it without complaining because we realize that we cannot change it!"

Sums it up nicely.

I'm debating if I can pluck up courage to sometimes take myself by bus into Cambridge city centre  while Col is having the treatment. There are all sorts of wonderful places to visit but I'm terribly prone to getting completely lost in town centres! No sense of direction at all.

Thank you for comments over the weekend. I sometimes feel we were forced into retirement early but there is no way I could commit to part time work or even volunteering at the moment. So we will soldier on as we are.

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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Living So Simply

For years I juggled...................

First........ working full time and  looking after a home and being a Cub Scout Leader

Then ............2 small children, a housewife, an allotment and being a Cub Scout Leader

Next.......A Saturday morning  job, a housewife, 3 children,  after school childminding, helping at playgroup, a big garden, a few chickens and being a Cub Scout Leader.

Followed by..........A smallholding growing veg to sell, 3 children, keeping milking goats, breeding sheep, more chickens,selling eggs, small campsite, membership secretary of the Suffolk Smallholders Society, writing for their newsletter and The Penny Pincher Paper and selling second-hand books at country shows.

And finally after the children had flown........... 3 poly-tunnels and a big garden growing large amounts of fruit and veg to sell, baking for a Country market once a week, keeping goats, looking after 120 chickens, selling eggs and running a very busy campsite.

Somewhere in there, probably in that 4th period, I remember writing a list of everything I did and wondering which I could stop doing as life seemed so hectic.

Now, apart from the illness which we can't change, life is so simple. I love it. I do the things I want to do, avoid things I don't want to do, enjoy the quiet, read a lot, make a few cards, stitch a bit, look round car boot sales, grow some food, bake a little,visit youngest and grand daughter, tour charity shops, go to 2 WI's and write for the blog.

I don't have to prove anything or strive to keep up with other people  or justify my lifestyle. Enough is plenty.

Simply Living and Living Simply .

But...............I'm only 63 later this month, have I "retired" too early?

Back Monday

Friday, 6 April 2018

Sowing and Growing

Sunshine yesterday meant I had enthusiasm for working in the conservatory and greenhouse  so I've potted on 21 tomato seedlings, I don't know why, as I only have room for 7 or 8 in the greenhouse! Old habits die hard and I find it difficult to abandon seedlings that have grown. I'm sure some will be put in pots outside,  against the garage wall might be warm enough for some late tomatoes.

3 Cucumber seeds germinated, I'll squeeze them into the greenhouse somehow. Just 3 Aubergine seedlings appeared and 6 Pepper seedlings, all are still tiny.

 Then it was time for a bit more sowing so into the propagator went  Basil, Parsley and a few more Aubergines from a new packet. Plus Courgette and Climbing French Beans and Nasturtium in the greenhouse.
 The mass of green seedlings in modules are a wild flower mix that Col bought. He has got them going nicely and will then plant the whole clump from each module out onto the meadow. Persuading wild flowers to grow from seed can sometimes be difficult but these are looking good. We'll see what happens when they go out. Also in the picture are some Sunflower seeds which have their two seed leaves and Sweet Pea seeds ......doing nothing as yet. Lettuce seeds are being difficult this year so I picked up a tray of small plants from QD last time I was in Stowmarket.

 We've had one bed covered with black plastic most of the winter and the soil underneath was dry and warm so the first sowing of beetroot is in the ground and now re-covered with a plastic cloche for a few days.

Next door-but-one neighbours brought round an old box pallet to cut up for our wood-burner but Col decided to save the bottom half, line it out and use it for a raised bed........somewhere?

Also growing are the flowers on the cherry-plum in the corner of the garden which were showing up well against yesterday's blue sky.

So good to see sunshine and blue sky even if it is just for one day at a time.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Five Years Ago Yesterday

On the 4th of April in 2013 I wrote my first proper blog post was short!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

New blog on blogspot 

Well, here I am on blogspot trying to write a new blog about a frugal and simple life in Suffolk and getting very annoyed when I can't work out how to do things right. 

I obviously got the hang of it because a year later......2014..... I was writing about the smallholding and the things I wanted to look out for at car-boot sales   HERE

Then on the 4th of April 2015, my post was about seedlings, Easter baking and opening the campsite HERE

I didn't do a post on the 4/4/16 but on the 6th HERE I wrote about being home alone in the small bungalow and going with youngest for her scan......the first sight of Florence!

Then last year we were here at the cottage and the post was all about BOXES OF BOOKS. I've already forgotten having 25 boxes of books stacked in the corner of the living room for several months while I dithered over spending hard-earned savings on bookshelves.

This is such a lazy way of filling a blog post!

Back Soon

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Open Door

Why am I showing you a picture of the open back door?

  Because yesterday we had a rare rain, a bit of sun and not too much wind so for 15 minutes I opened the doors wide to let the fresh air blow through. It felt lovely.

Then Col came in from outside and said "why are you letting all the heat out?" and shut them!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

April's Financial Outlook

In April 2017 we were still spending out large amounts of hard saved cash on things to do with moving house. Mainly my range cooker!
We also had to have repairs done to both cars.

Hopefully this April will be less spendy...........although there might be a takeaway for my birthday.

The TV licence is due and we will have to have heating oil....... just 500lt if the price is still high (and then another lot later when the price goes down in the summer........ I hope it will go down in summer!). No other big bills are due this month.

I've got a £2.98 Asda Price Guarantee Voucher to use, best ever! I've been religiously checking this on-line after each shop there, just wish I'd known about it earlier.

Overall, April should be a reasonably thrifty month......did I say that about March?

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday. We were surprised to be able to sell the beach hut so easily as I was expecting to advertise through an Estate Agent for months. It seemed the right thing to do and it's is one less thing to think about and look after.

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Monday, 2 April 2018

Yesterday and the Sunday Before

Stupid wet weather each morning meant  No car boot sales on Easter Saturday or Sunday. The forecast for today is dire too. We plan to go through the books-under-the-stairs  Again as Ziffit are doing a 15% extra for any they want to buy.

 We went down to Felixstowe  yesterday morning to check the beach hut  and to bring home things we didn't want included in the sale.........Yes we decided to sell, it's just too much expense because of the council putting up ground rent each year plus  we are further away and probably won't use it much now we have a quiet garden to sit out in.
We opened up the hut and a piece of paper fell had been wedged in the top of the door. Someone who had just moved to Felixstowe was looking to buy a hut, so we rang the phone number and they came straight down and agreed to buy it! Our son  will be upset that we've sold, because he loved going down there but the money we've sold it for will keep us for a whole year and there is no way to justify £700 annual ground rent (up from £500 when we first had it) and another £100 insurance for just a dozen days of use. And they've also increased the car parking fee from £3.50 a day to £4.10..........rising costs are just never ending.
So we just have to sort out paperwork when the council offices open again after Easter,hand over the keys and get the money! It's sad but it served it's purpose when we were in the small bungalow and for Col recovering first time round.

We did get to the local car boot on the Sunday before last, we were early and there weren't many there but I found this table and two chairs  for £10.

When Col put a bit of fence up last year to protect part of the patio from the prevailing wind, I said we needed a table and chairs and looked all last year for second-hand without finding anything.
So my purse was opened very quickly when the seller said how much she wanted for these. They've had a wash down and just need a bit of a spray on some of the joints with the rust-cover paint and then some sunshine and warmth...........soon.......please.

Back Tomorrow

Sunday, 1 April 2018

April Days

The April Pages from The Diary of a Country Lady by Edith Holden

The Romans named April Aprilis, from the verb Aperire meaning 'to open'. Perhaps referring to the buds and flowers opening?

April Weather, showers and sunshine both together

'Til April is dead, change not a thread

Turn your money when you hear the cuckoo and you will have money until he returns

Unlike other month's I couldn't find any weather sayings referring to specific days


April 15th was once called Swallow Day as that was the day that it was thought the swallows should return from their winter in the South  

 The 23rd is Saint George's Day, as well as being the patron saint of England he is also the patron saint of The Scout Association (memories of parading through Stowmarket with my Cub Scouts in uniform to the church for the District Saint Georges Day Service, no coats allowed and always cold!). 

At the end of the month expect the Blackthorn Winter, that is a few days of cold weather as the Blackthorn flowers appear in the hedges.

All I'm hoping for weather-wise is a bit of sunshine and warmth

Updated to say.......Sorry about the various font sizes, it appeared like that despite being normal in drafts. I've fiddled and updated until I got fed up with the silly blogger!

Back Tomorrow

Saturday, 31 March 2018

March....Spending and Thrifty Bits

Well, March 2018 was a good deal less expensive than March 2017..........Don't Move House - is my advice.

The spendy bits....

The estimated electric bill arrived = £127, I read the meter and phoned in the actual numbers and only had to pay £88. For a winter quarter it's much less than expected, much less than at the smallholding - somehow. I'm not complaining but  I quite expect Eon to send a person to check the meter!

Beach Hut ground rent paid.
We've re-stocked with bird's fat balls - 300! = £22. And 20kg of mixed seed for £10
3 fill ups in total of diesel for the cars.
A big food shop for the month  and the family weekend and several top-ups because Col is eating like a Horse!
Council Tax bill  for 2018/19 arrived......... up 4.6% on last year
Cat flu booster jab and wormer drops and stocked up on cat food while it was on offer
Membership for small WI = £41
Col got a roof rack for the grey car
Multi purpose compost £12
We got some Duplo people off ebay enough to send to Jacob for his birthday and some to keep for Florence

The thrifty bits
Bought 5lt Ecover washing up liquid from local hardware shop which is £1.50 cheaper than buying 5 x 1lt from supermarket. Then I  decant ¾ liquid and add ¼ water into an old 1lt bottle, and give it a shake to mix which works fine and makes it even cheaper.
Took drinks and snacks/lunch to Addenbrookes hospital each time for the clinic appointments.
Still stitching cross stitch from the stash,  for little Christmas gifts and cards
Ran cold water into jug while waiting for hot to appear  and used  for flushing loos all through month.
Used our own frozen peppers,  courgettes, mangetout peas and last of the green beans from freezer.
Used last leeks from the garden
Used first purple sprouting broccoli from garden
First few sticks of rhubarb from the garden
Picked up twigs from field to dry and use for kindling
Printed out a price comparison voucher from Asda worth £2.10
Printed out a price comparison voucher from Asda worth £1.68
Remembered to use car park voucher in Asda - twice - saving £2
Found Duplo from charity shop for Jacobs birthday in May, sent it back to Surrey with them
3 tee-shirts for me from charity shops just over £6
Had coffees in the MacMillan centre when at Ipswich hospital for a small charity donation.
Helped Youngest save money by collecting some new tyres for their car from an ebay seller just over the border in Norfolk to save her having to buy new ones for the MOT.

Just a normal sort of month of  Spending and Saving.

When Colin went into hospital on Wednesday we weren't sure how long he would be in for but Hooray! he is home again, I picked him up from Addenbrookes yesterday afternoon. They've done numerous tests and we will get the results next week. In the meantime they've put him on some tablets which they tried in 2016 after his own stem-cell transplant had failed, the tablets didn't work then but as the donor stem cells seems to have got rid of the Lymphoma in the bone marrow they are hoping the tablets will have some effect on the new problem...........enlarged Lymph glands.......hopefully only caused by the wonderfully named Graft Versus Host Disease, rather than any other reason ..........(Frightening thought) .We shall see how things go.
Did anyone else get the torrential rain on Friday afternoon? We were driving home through it for over an hour, the roads were rivers - really horrible.It carried on for even more hours after we got home.

Hello and welcome to some more new followers.
Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday, I feel embarrassed when people say we are brave or strong because we are just trying to get through as best we can. Coping and hoping!

Back Tomorrow, even though it's a Sunday,  as it's the first of the month and I'll be doing the April folklore post.



Friday, 30 March 2018

The Week Just Gone

The week just gone...............

Last Saturday I visited the Grand Opening of a  new Farm Shop "Hen & Hog" that has opened about 10 minutes away from us.
Very Rustic, and as I thought - jolly expensive.

I sipped a local produced Apple and Elderflower Juice - lovely, and sampled some little bits of Millionaires Shortbread from a local bakery - delicious.

I looked at the Home Raised Very Large Free Range Chickens ........£31! - yes they were LARGE (as big as a small turkey) but £31?, I looked at their home produced Proper Pork Sausages £4 for 6.
To show willing I bought a few small salad potatoes and a head of celery and then went home again.

To start with they are only going to be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday mornings, which begs the question - how fresh will the produce be?

I'd love to support local businesses, but...............

The Farm Shop Rhubarb was £5 a Kg but we had our first few sticks of our own lovely pink stems for dinner on Saturday evening. Col made custard and turned them into a rhubarb fool (but without  cream....sadly). The sticks came from one of the new crowns I planted last year, better not pull anymore.
I forgot the  'photo opportunity' but I expect you know what rhubarb looks like!
Sunday, we had Siskins on the bird feeder

Monday, a bit of sunshine and it was a good day as gardening was started at last. First I weeded the fruit bed. The Gooseberry bushes planted last year look good, the very old blackcurrant is still alive and the old raspberry canes are shooting.
Then I weeded the vegetable bed that's empty apart from a few skinny leeks and finally we folded back the plastic on the other bed and  got the 5 Swift and 5 Home Guard potatoes into the ground. Re- covered them with the  black plastic for a week or two while the weather warms up.
Col got the mower out for the first time this year.

Monday night I headed across to Framlingham High School for the Suffolk-East WI Spring quiz. It was a very enjoyable evening. 26 WI's from East Suffolk were represented and we ended up 12th.
There was a very funny happening at the beginning........The question-reader lady had a microphone through a speaker which, after she had asked just one question, suddenly made strange noises and then shouted "OK Left and over, up,down, right and over." We realised the loud speaker had somehow tuned into an exercise group going on in the next building. It was so funny. There was a delay while someone went round to the exercise class and tried to find out why we were picking up their frequency. But in the end another ordinary microphone was found and we were able to carry on.

 Tuesday............back to cold and wet weather and I  was off to the vet with Polly for her annual check-over and cat flu jab. I'm glad it's only 3 miles as she complains loudly all the way.

 Wednesday............ and we had been waiting for a call from Addenbrookes as we were expecting Col to be called in for a biopsy before Easter. So on Wednesday morning he gave the Specialist Cancer nurse a ring to find out what was happening. She said she would call back and they were trying for Thursday. I set off to Stowmarket to pay a bill and a bit of shopping and had just arrived in the Asda car park when Col rang me to say they wanted him stay....... straight away. So I zoomed round Asda and home again where Col had his hospital bag packed and off we went to hospital. They had decided that having him in to stay would ensure they were able to do a biopsy and lots of other tests. He has enlarged Lymph glands and they need to know why and they need to decide what to do next. We had a feeling things were not right so although it was a shock it wasn't a complete surprise. We'd been warned many times that Mantle Cell Non Hodgkin Lymphoma is difficult and aggressive.We are gritting our teeth and carrying on best we can as that's the only thing we can do.

Because of heading off to Cambridge in a rush I forgot a book but found one on the shelves in the waiting room,
book cover of Grandmother\'s Footsteps

  it was good to have something to read as I was there 4 hours before they decided that Yes, Colin would definitely be staying. The book was a thriller, not something I would usually read but it kept me occupied. I've read 15 books this month......good grief, just proves how grotty the weather has been and how little housework I do!

On Thursday I made a batch of Hot Cross-less buns. We tried some cheap ones from Asda earlier in the month and found they were doughy and tasteless...... I decided Home Made are best by a long way, but they could do with a bit more spice than the recipe says. I've made a note in the recipe book.

HOT CROSS(less) BUNS  (from Bread - River Cottage Handbook by Daniel Stevens)

500g flour, half and half strong white bread flour and plain white.
125ml warm water
125ml warm milk                                                 ( 50g plain white flour and 100ml water
tsp instant Dove yeast                                                if you want to do crosses)
tsp salt
50g castor sugar
1 medium free range egg
50g butter
100g mix of sultanas and currants and chopped mixed peel                                 
1tsp ground mixed  spice
1tbsp jam and 1tbsp water to glaze

This is VERY sticky to do without a food mixer and dough hook!

Combine flours, water, milk, yeast, salt and sugar. Add the egg and butter and mix.
Then add dried fruit and spice and knead with dough hook on low speed until smooth.
Cover dough and leave to rise  in a warm place until doubled in size.
Knock back dough and divide into 8 (for very large) or 12  for more normal sized.
Shape into rounds and dust with flour. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise again until double in size.
Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6. use flour and water mixed in a piping bag to add crosses ( I don't bother)
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Heat jam and water in a cup in the microwave ( or in a saucepan) and brush over to glaze as you take them out of the oven.

 The recipe is stored on the separate recipe page, right at the end.

Thursday afternoon was fine enough to weed and tidy the quarter circle flower bed at last, I hadn't even cut back the dead stuff from last Autumn. It looks so much better after a couple of hours work.
There seem to be some empty spaces so I'll see what I can find at the next car boot sale.

So to today..... Good Friday, the proper day for eating Hot Cross Buns.
 In the Christian churches manner of adapting pagan traditions, these buns are descendants of small cakes made at this time of year in celebration of the arrival of spring. Even the cross was there before Christianity -as a symbol of the year divided into four seasons. At one time all bread was marked with a cross - thought to help it rise, but this was frowned upon by the church after the reformation and a cross was reserved only for special holy cakes.

Have a good Good Friday
Back Tomorrow

Thursday, 29 March 2018

A Good Car Boot Sale for the Grandchildren

We headed out to the big Needham Market car boot sale last Saturday. Nothing of interest for me but plenty of books for the grandchildren. Col got the trucks for Jacob - 50p each- and he found a new sack-barrow for us for £5 (our old one was on loan to youngest when they moved house last year and got nicked from out the back of their flat!). The new one isn't as sturdy as the one we lost but will do for moving the LPG cylinders which is the main thing I'll need to shift.

I picked out a big selection of books, there are 12 lovely Usborne rhyming learning to read books (over £60 new!) which will make a lovely present in a year or two  and four others.....16 in total for £5, and another rattly thing for Grandchild number 3 for 50p.........(only 2 and a bit weeks to wait now- exciting), there are also 2 little dolly feeding bottles to go with the doll I got a few weeks ago for Florence they were 20p. Also bought a bundle of small Activity and  Dot-to-Dot books for 50p - ideal for a few years time.

I'm sure I said something about not buying so many things for the grandchildren this year!?
Epic Fail!

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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

3 Days Borrowed from April

Both of the weather folklore books I possess mention that the last 3 days of March are stolen or borrowed from April.

There is a Spanish story about the borrowing of says that a shepherd promised March a lamb if he would temper the winds to suit his flocks; but after gaining his point he then refused to pay over the lamb. In revenge March stole 3 days from April in which fierce winds blew to punish the shepherd.

Then I found yet another version of the story

Borrowing Days

The last three days of March are called the Borrowing Days, said to have been a loan from April to March, the legend goes that March had a spite against an old woman, and wished to kill her cow; failing to do so in his own month, he borrowed three days of April to enable him to complete the task

 In one book there are several rhymes about this legend

March borrowed of April, April borrowed of May,
Three days they say
One rained and one snew,
And the other was the worst day that ever blew

March borrowed from April
Three days, and they were ill
The first was frost, the second was snow
The third was cold as ever could blow 


March borrows of April
Three days and they are ill;
April borrows of March again
Three days of wind and rain. 

So to sum up it looks as if the next 6 days may be a bit rough! It's Easter weekend of course  but I have a secret stash of Easter Eggs, so will survive!.

Oh look over there at the followers........ up to 299, hello new peeps, hope you like reading. Although still a way to go to get to the 435 followers on the old blog.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Well, I worked out a menu................

.................for 2 people for 2 weeks for £40.............just about.

Including cheese,meat, vegetables and fruit but no pulses!

(But I must first apologise to Faith at Much More with less because she has already written about this book and done some of the recipes in February and I'd long forgotten so I'm sort of copying without realising)

Here's the shopping list (using whichever is cheapest, usually the value brands Asda or Tesco)
1kg Porridge oats 75p
Supermarket variety of 24 'weetabix' 74p
Value Marmalade 33p
4 Loaves of value wholemeal sliced £2.20
1.5 kg bread flour 69p
1.5kg Self Raising flour  45p
sachets yeast 59p
2 x 4pts whole milk (mix 2:1 with water to make 12 pints)£2.18
500g of whichever spread is on offer £1
250g Baking fat 55p
500g whichever cheese is on offer £3.50
Pack value mozzarella 47p
2 x 1kg Frozen chicken portions £3.36
500g frozen value pork/beef mince £1.69
500g Asda bacon offcuts 57p
Asda Pack 4 frozen nut burgers £1
Value mayo 40p
15 value eggs + 6 eggs £2.19
7 tins value brand plum tomatoes @ 29p = £2.03
2 x value tins spaghetti hoops 28p
1 Tin value brand baked beans 23p
2 tins tuna chunks in brine  £1.30
500g value Pasta penne 32p
tube tomato puree Lidl 37p
Tub Asda Curry powder 79p
Asda 1lt sunflower oil £1.09
1 kg value Asda frozen mixed veg 82p
 2.5kg potatoes £1.35
1kg small potatoes 65p
2 large baking potatoes 50p
Head celery 55p
1 Aubergine Lidl 67p
2 lettuce and cucumber Lidl £1.29
1 red peppers Lidl 49p 
1 kg onions 59p
6 Salad Tomatoes 69p

Which, if I've added up correctly, leaves a few £ to buy some fruit - the cheapest fresh in season, bananas at 13p each from Lidl and some tinned value peaches and 22p for a Asda basic value sponge mix for a sweet treat! (Although goodness knows what size sponge a small packet of mix and one egg would make - I've never tried it)

This turns out to be not much different from the 2015 menu which just proves I am a creature of habit and have no imagination!

The Menu............
Breakfast is porridge, made mainly with water or 'weetabix'(with minimum of milk) and/or toast with marmalade
The bag of bread flour plus yeast will make rolls, a pizza base and Naan breads.

Lunches are home made bread rolls or sandwiches with
Cheese and tomato
Cheese and grated onion
Chicken and lettuce and Mayo
Egg Mayo
BLT sandwich 
Spaghetti Hoops on Toast
Poached Egg on toast

Main meals 
Cheese Omelette
Bolognese sauce using mince,2 tins toms, puree, half pepper and an onion. Served over pasta
The other half of the above served under mashed potatoes to make a cottage pie.
A bacon,onion and cheese quiche half served with potato wedges
The other half served with small salad potatoes and salad
Chicken tray bake with tomatoes,onion and half pepper and small potatoes
Chicken and celery pie
Vegetarian nut cutlets in bread rolls and salad
Home made pizza with tomato/onion and mozzarella topping
Coronation chicken and pasta salad
Tomato and Tuna Pasta bake
Baked potato and cheesy beans
Aubergine curry with Naan breads
Tuna Fishcakes

There wouldn't be much left over at the end of the week but unlike that book there wouldn't be lots of other things needed that are NOT in the list. Just sugar, seasonings and tea/coffee I think.

I'm sure  I couldn't stick to this......I like more fruit, but at least it is do-able.....just. Also, although all these things are on the Mysupermarket price comparison site, there are some that I've never seen in the local shop....Asda bacon offcuts for 57p certainly don't exist in our local Asda.

( 3 Posts inspired by one book is pretty good don't you think?!)

My brain now needs a short rest!

Back Tomorrow