Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Gorse ........................

..........................and replies to comments.

Gorse, common on the heaths of the Suffolk coast where we used to live.

Ulex (commonly known as Gorse, Furze or Whin) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Fabaceae. The genus comprises about 20 species of thorny evergreen shrubs in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae. The species are native to parts of western Europe and northwest Africa, with the majority of species in Iberia.

 On a back road I use not far from home there are half a dozen gorse bushes on the grass verge between road and field. I always think they look wrong on the edge of the heavy clay soil fields.There are no other gorse bushes anywhere around for miles.
They looked so bright against the brown field and dull sky on my way home from swimming that I had to stop and take a photo..........................just so I could add another page of my Flower Fairies Book to the blog.

Two Fairies this time, but I do worry about them having bare feet on such a prickly bush!

According to a book I have .....England in Particular  (when I found it at the big charity book sale and mentioned it on the blog in November 2017 I said I would be quoting from it often......but never have) Bach Flower Remedies use the flowers as a cure for  hopelessness and despair; the Pre-Raphaelites loved to paint it and the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus fell down on his knees and wept for joy when he saw the swathes of gorse in flower on Putney Heath.

It was once a valuable commodity because it burns with a high temperature and was used by brick-makers, potters and bakers. It was also used as fodder when the branches were crushed in special gorse-mills to tenderise the spines; under haystacks to stop the damp rising; in field drains to help drainage and to make wine.


Thank you for comments yesterday and previous days.

Thanks to Jen, a Suffolk girl  now in London, I've added a bit after your comment  on the Felixstowe post. Also thanks to Sue at My Ponderosa - we are lucky to have so much history all around us all the time. I have a feeling that those of us who've lived in an area all our lives with ancestors who also lived in the same county often feel quite grounded, so much has happened in the world yet we all survived and will keep surviving whatever goes on, so as you say it gives us a different outlook on life.
Pru commented that I could look on line for details of the Felixstowe Book Festival, which I knew but always prefer the real thing to look through to choose which talks I'll go too.
Much more about St Vincent has been found by "P" on wiki and she has copied some of it in a comment on yesterdays blog - Thank you.
Had to smile at a comment about the Horatio Clare book that I belatedly found - Harsh! Liz D....Very Harsh!

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

January 22nd..........St Vincents Day

Nothing much is known about Vincent of Saragossa apart from the fact that he was martyred for his faith in AD 304.

Now his day is only remembered in weather rhymes

Remember on St Vincent's Day,
If the sun his beams display,
Be sure to mark his transient beam
Which through the casement sheds a gleam 
For 'tis a token bright and clear
of prosperous weather all the year


Oh here's another thing about the 22nd January. In 1901 this was the day Queen Victoria died, aged 81.

  (I said I was short of ideas for posts in January!)

But then I found these feathers on the meadow, among lots of other small black/grey feathers  where a predator of some sort (sparrow hawk/kestrel?) had taken some smaller bird. They are small but both have the flash of white any ideas? I thought maybe chaffinch?

Also did you see the eclipse of the moon in the early hours of Monday morning. The full moon in January is called The Old Moon or the Wolf Moon and it was a Super Full Moon too. Should have mentioned this on Saturday but I it's too late! By chance I woke up at 4.45 and looked out to grey low cloud, which apparently covered quite a lot of the country. A shame really as it was a clear full moon when I went to bed.

Back Tomorrow

Monday, 21 January 2019

Felixstowe St John the Baptist or St Andrews?

St Johns or St Andrews - a very good question.

Before I went to the church I called in to see my cousin and her husband who have recently moved here. "Which Church are you going to" asked my cousin. " The one in the town" I said and I THOUGHT I knew exactly where I was going "How many are there?" I asked and A told me of the one just along the road from their home and the one just off the main shopping street. "I'm sure it's the one nearest the town" I said and went and parked in the town centre car park and looked at the book
and found I should have been at the church near their home. DUH! In my defence  - the page of the book about St Johns didn't have a picture of the exterior and also didn't have the road name BUT I should have looked at the book earlier in the day!

Anyway this is St John the Baptist in Orwell Road and not St Andrews ( which is a strange concrete building) in St Andrews Rd.

Not an old flint church like so many I've visited but an early 20th century brick  church built for the expanding population of Suffolk's main seaside town. The spire soars 130 feet above the town.

Lovely and warm  inside............there was a notice saying the heating was on so Please Shut the Door.
The lights were switched on around the choir stalls and and Altar but the rest of the church was very dark

and my photos are dreadfully poor. Much better photos on the Suffolk Churches website HERE   where there are close up photos of all the Saints featured in the stained glass windows on both sides of the church.

The reason this church has a page in the 100 treasures book is because whereas many churches have 14  Stations of the Cross around the church, St John has 16. They are all simply etched onto slate and fixed to the pillars

Some are much smaller

Here's some more Saints

The highly decorated carved  Font cover made by an Ipswich craftsman in 1912

I think this church should feature in the book as the only Suffolk Church to be mentioned in a poem by John Betjeman

Felixstowe, or The Last of Her Order.

With one consuming roar along the shingle
The long wave claws and rakes the pebbles down
To where its backwash and the next wave mingle,
A mounting arch of water weedy-brown
Against the tide the off-shore breezes blow.
Oh wind and water, this is Felixstowe.

In winter when the sea winds chill and shriller
Than those of summer, all their cold unload
Full on the gimcrack attic of the villa
Where I am lodging off the Orwell Road,
I put my final shilling in the meter
And only make my loneliness completer.

In eighteen ninety-four when we were founded,
Counting our Reverend Mother we were six,
How full of hope we were and prayer-surrounded
"The Little Sisters of the Hanging Pyx".
We built our orphanage. We built our school.
Now only I am left to keep the rule.

Here in the gardens of the Spa Pavillion
Warm in the whisper of the summer sea,
The cushioned scabious, a deep vermillion,
With white pins stuck in it, looks up at me
A sun-lit kingdom touched by butterflies
And so my memory of the winter dies.

Across the grass the poplar shades grow longer
And louder clang the waves along the coast.
The band packs up. The evening breeze is stronger
And all the world goes home to tea and toast.
I hurry past a cakeshop's tempting scones
Bound for the red brick twilight of St.John's.

"Thou knowest my down sitting and mine uprising"
Here where the white light burns with steady glow
Safe from the vain world's silly sympathising,
Safe with the love I was born to know,
Safe from the surging of the lonely sea
My heart finds rest, my heart finds rest in Thee


I'd planned to go around the charity shops in Felixstowe - There are Lots - but the weather was freezing so I only did a few and found nothing. I also planned to go in the Bookshop and put my name down for a brochure about the Book Festival held in the town at the end of June every year (they sponsor the festival) but they were closed for the week for holidays. I'd already asked my cousin to look out for a brochure for me nearer the time, so hopefully she will spot one for me. Last year I was able to pick one up at the Tourist Information Centre in Stowmarket but funding for TICs has been cut and like most of the others in Suffolk the Stow one closed at Christmas.

Back Tomorrow