Saturday 30 September 2017

Down the Lane Again and onto the Meadow

Down the lane again on the last day of September
I took these photos on Thursday while the sun was shining. The tree with the most colour is the Sumac or "vinegar" tree in our front garden.
The leaves are coming off the Poplars very early.

 Somewhere in one of my books is a  list of the order in which trees lose their leaves each year. I shall have a search for it.
 Spotted a few late blackberries - still looking OK, so went back down the lane after the photos and picked them to add to a few more windfall apples for Col's dessert.

Loads of flowers on the Ivy, at the moment they smell quite sweet but the smell won't be so good later! Ivy Flowers are quite important for some bees and butterflies as they are a nectar source available late in the season.

Talking trees, Col has been making some tree guards and stakes so that we can begin to plant some more trees on our meadow. We've got 2 walnut, a holly and a hazel in pots that can go out already and while he was working out where to put them he found another walnut that a squirrel had planted a while ago.

He got the young trees planted and protected yesterday morning before leaving home just before 12
  to  go to Addenbrookes hospital, where he thought he was just having a CT scan (for both the stem-cell doctor and the ENT doctor). But then we got told the ENT doctor who we saw last time wanted to see him to check the scan results and then he was told they would do a sinus operation (Ipswich hospital  said he didn't need one) before the stem cell transplant and he got sent  to pre-op assessment  and another then a blood test. So it was after 7pm before we got home, 2 hours later than we thought.
Fed up with hospitals and waiting - we've become experts at the art of patience!

Anyway now we can sort out what other trees to plant to make Col's Birthday Wood. There's room for about 15 or 20 trees. Silver Birch - definitely, a few pines of some sort, maybe some Sweet Chestnut and more Holly. It will be fun choosing.

Back Monday

Friday 29 September 2017

Michaelmas and Free Heat

Whosoever eats goose on Michaelmas Day
Shall never lack money his debts for to pay.

29th September is one of the Quarter days when farm tenants would pay their rent and farm workers could change jobs.
The traditional meal for the feast on this day was a roast goose, fattened on the stubble fields after harvest.

Another saying  for the 29th is
If St Michael brings acorns down, snow will cover the fields at Christmas.

We've already had a lot of windy weather this month and some chilly evenings  too
I thought we had plenty of wood in the shed to last us through, but we've already had the woodburner alight a few evenings. Luckily, since this photo was taken Col has cut up more of the logs that were taken down last March  and we have tree surgeons due to cut down more Ash later in the autumn so plenty of wood.

This is the well known poem to remember what to burn...................

Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year,
Chestnut's only good they say,
If for logs 'tis laid away.
Make a fire of Elder tree,
Death within your house will be;
But ash new or ash old,
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold

Birch and fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last,
it is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
E'en the very flames are cold
But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a queen with golden crown

Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke,
Apple wood will scent your room
Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom
Oaken logs, if dry and old
keep away the winter's cold
But ash wet or ash dry
a king shall warm his slippers by.

No mention of Willow which we have a lot of, but stored at the back of the shed for next winter.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 28 September 2017

Propped up

The small apple tree and the Conference pear tree had, sometime in the past, both been clipped by a mower which had pushed them over , there was no way to cut the grass underneath them.
 The apples had finished on the little tree, no idea what variety they were but definitely an early sort that soon went woolly, so Col banged in a stake one side and a prop on the other and then pulled the apple up and tied it to the stake with an old bit of rag.

The Conference pear tree is also leaning badly but the pears aren't ready yet so the tree is just propped up at the moment.
 Col picked all the  pears from the other bigger pear tree as they were falling fast - he got a whole trug full - they don't keep, so apart from a few to eat in the next few days, the rest have gone in the freezer.
Next time the  little mower is out we'll be able to get right under the little trees.

Thanks for the good wishes for our Son and Daughter in Law and their new arrival due April, we are very excited that all of our children will be parents soon. As they are also in Suffolk and nearer than youngest daughter we hope to see lots of this grandchild. We don't get to see grandson from Surrey very often and every photo shows him growing up so quickly.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Exciting News on the Grandchildren Front

Good news................... our 3rd Grandchild is on the way, which is why I also got these from the jumble sale a couple of weeks ago but didn't put them on the blog as our Son and Daughter in Law wanted to wait until after her first scan before telling everyone.
When the new arrival appears in early April, our eldest daughter's son Jacob will be nearly 2 and youngest daughter's daughter Florence will be 1½. What Fun there will be in a few years time when all 3 cousins get together!

Poor daughter in law has been feeling a bit rough and I didn't help by telling her how I sailed through all 3 pregnancies without even feeling sick!

Back Soon

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Veggie burgers

When I put the picture of homemade bread rolls/buns/baps and the recipe on the blog a few weeks ago I mentioned a recipe for Veggie burgers I'd tried. I've now done it again....twice.... so can give a better idea of amounts used.
This is a recipe I altered a bit from something found on a vegetarian website. The first time I tried them I made about 10 smaller patties/burgers,but they weren't really big enough for a meal then I tried again and made 7 but decided they didn't have enough flavour. So I added more curry powder and a chopped red chili.

They are not particularly adventurous  or unique but tasty and nicer than bought ones.

I used

4oz mixed nuts nuts} whizzed in a food processor
4oz breadcrumbs     } ditto
 About 8oz of cauliflower or broccoli ( I used some from a mixed packet of frozen, defrosted and cooked for a while then water removed) chopped into small bits.
1 onion chopped fine } Cooked these together in the microwave in a spot of butter for a few minutes
2 carrots grated          }         until softened.
1 Red chilli pepper chopped fine
Lots Ground Black pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
Big Tablespoon of tomato puree
1 egg beaten.

Mix everything together then form into 7 flattish burgers
Line a baking tray with non-stick baking parchment, put burgers on tray and pop tray in fridge for a while.
Bake at about 6 gas. or Whatever that is in F or C.

Serve in a homemade bap/bun/roll with some homegrown lettuce and tomato and homemade relish.

The rest were popped in the fridge and we had them reheated with salad stuff but without the baps for lunches.

Back Soon

Monday 25 September 2017

A Book Sale in the Middle of Nowhere

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

Saturday 23 September 2017

Just Too Technical 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

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

Thursday 21 September 2017


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

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

Tuesday 19 September 2017


"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

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 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

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
Sweet Peppers 
Chili Peppers 
Salad Leaf
French Climbing Beans
Runner Beans
Butternut Squash
Mange Tout Peas
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

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

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

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

PS welcome to several new followers, hope you enjoy reading

Tuesday 12 September 2017


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 mantel- 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

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...............................                     
Make Up
Electronic Gadgets
Crafting Materials
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

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.


Back Monday

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.

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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 <>
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

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.

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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 idea but I guess .£500+?
A week 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

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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

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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.


 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