Tuesday 31 October 2017

Halloween Mantel-shelf

5 sparkly bats from the packaging place a couple of weeks ago and a ceramic pumpkin from a charity shop several years ago are the additions to the mantle- piece for Halloween.

If you are somewhere that celebrates it in rather more exuberant style - stay safe. And if you are trying to avoid all the hassles, keep the lights off and pretend there's no one at home!
We were expecting trick or treat-ers in Ipswich last year and never saw a soul, but there are two little girls next door but one to us in the lane so perhaps they might be round (actually T would hate me saying little as she's 11 now!)

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Monday 30 October 2017

Down the Lane and onto the meadow on the (Day Before the) Last Day of October

Here we go again
Up and Down the Lane

Last day of September photos are  HERE, see what's changed in a month.

The red leaves of the Sumac have gone Thank heavens the house doesn't actually lean like this photo shows!

  The leaves are all off the poplars, just a few left on a willow
Still lots of leaves on this Elder
Some lovely  moss on this tree-stump

Catkins on a Hazel already

If  it's a clear day and you walk down the footpath to the end of our meadow and step out onto the farmers field, then zoom in, you can see 2 of the huge wind turbines - 5 miles away.

Col was cutting up the tree trunks behind the workshop with a gigantic and noisy borrowed chainsaw
He's cutting them into small slices and adding them to this heap, ready for splitting sometime in the future. Once split they'll be just right for the woodburner.

Thank you to everyone for so many interesting comments about Oak trees. I love doing posts like this which involve looking up information.
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Saturday 28 October 2017

Our Turkey Oak

We may have cut down some willow and poplar that were behind the workshop but this beauty will definitely stay.
I'd never heard of a Turkey Oak until Mrs F told us what the big tree was between the house and the workshop. We had a Sessile Oak at the smallholding and plenty of English Oaks across the road but  Turkey Oak?

Here it is at the moment, lots of the leaves are off already and most seem to end up in the corner by the back door!
In the summer Col spent a lot of time sitting under the tree in the shade.

The acorns are bigger than English Oak and the acorn cups are covered in soft bristles.

I had a look in the only 3 tree books that I possess, to see what I could find about Turkey Oaks.

Nothing mentioned in two but the little DK book said..........

The hairy shoots of this large,vigorous deciduous tree are tipped with leaf buds surrounded by characteristic long whisker-like stipules. It's alternate leaves are variable in shape, toothed and deeply lobed, on stalks to 2cm long. Leaves are dark green above, slightly rough and blue green underneath and hairy, at least when young.The flowers are borne in catkins, the males yellow green and drooping, to 6cm long, the females inconspicuous and borne separately.
It occurs naturally in woodland in south and central  Europe and has been widely planted elsewhere.

So now I know! and now I also know that there are another 15 different sorts of oak trees in Europe apart from English, Sessile and Turkey.

Clocks back tonight - hate it - takes my body clock days to adjust and I moan a lot too!

Back Monday

Friday 27 October 2017

What the Library Van Brought Me

I had 25 books reserved at the library but lots of them are brand new and not yet in stock or I'm a long way down the waiting list so only these 9 had arrived for me.

 Crime fiction by George Bellairs, Dorothy L Sayers, Simon Brett and Anne Perry. Non Fiction books - The rather Large  "Ravilious & Co" - which is about the artists that were in the Persephone book by Tizah Garwood   "Long Live Great Bardfield". " Don't Worry he Doesn't Bite; Tales of a Country Postman" by Liam Mulvin.  Mike Brown "Put That Light Out" which I thought I'd read before but it's not in my book of books and finally a huge cookery book to look through.

Last months books are  below but I've hung onto the Christmas Days book and The Crimson Snow British Library Crime Classic for my December Christmassy reading. I read 7 out of the 14, looked at the flower and cookery books and 3 went back unread as I couldn't get into them.

Books read last month have been added to the separate page. I ended up reading from my shelves after finishing the library books and probably will again in November.

Thank you for frog and pond comments


Thursday 26 October 2017

Attracted to the Pond

Last Saturday I spotted these two sitting by the mini pond. It may be only 18 inches across and a bit less deep but frogs seem to approve.

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Wednesday 25 October 2017

Reading From My Bookshelf

I've run out of library books so reading from my shelves I decided I ought to read "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie". A book that I'd missed out reading for all these years probably because it's a classic - that word puts me off. Anyway, I was totally underwhelmed.

Then from my shelves "A Sensible Life" by Mary Wesley. It's so similar to  her book "Part of the Furniture" which I read a few weeks ago................... disappointing .

I'm now going to try "Saplings" by Noel Streatfield ............fingers crossed.

Than you for all the comments yesterday

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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Card Making from the Stash and Almost Fraud

When I've had a spare hour or so in the last couple of weeks I've been busy making some cards.
Most of these are from die-cut 3D decoupage sheets that I got from Craft Creations over a year ago. They are the cheats way of card-making! ( 3D  doesn't show up on photos)

We had a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions who've told us off for not telling them that Col was getting a Suffolk County Council pension. We thought we had told them......... the Tax Office certainly knew but I had no idea that  HMRC and DWP didn't communicate, so we've been getting too much Employment Support Allowance  money for the last few months which is akin to fraud. They'll claim it back from us of course.............thank heavens we saved the inheritance from my Dad is something I say quite frequently! Time to tighten belts again methinks.

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Monday 23 October 2017

The Tree Feller................

..................................... and his wife!
came  last week to cut down 4 trees.

 This is the (foggy Thursday morning) before work photo, with the trees.....Willow and Poplar overhanging and some branches actually sitting on the roof of the workshop, with their roots probably damaging the floor underneath.

 This is the lady up a tree, one down already, 3 more to come down.

And afterwards
Looks like complete devastation, but the stumps remain and the willows will regrow from the bottom to make a hedge rather than huge trees. There's now nothing to fall on the workshop or the farmers field and the roots can't damage the floor.
 and there is a huge pile of logs. The ones above Col will cut up when he can borrow a big chainsaw and the ones below he will cut  with his own chainsaw sometime. They are not in the way where they are so can lay for a year.
I really don't like seeing big trees cut down but sometimes it makes sense and of course we've planted lots of trees to replace them at the bottom of the meadow where they can do no harm.

The young couple will be back in a couple of weeks to do something to the Ash trees overhanging the garden behind the house, and SHOCK next door neighbours have offered to go halves on the cost of one tree which is in the boundary hedge close to their house.

Thank you for all the comments and reminiscences on the Guy Fawkes post. I watched the first of the 3 part drama -informative but pretty gruesome.

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Saturday 21 October 2017

Remember, Remember

The BBC have a 3 part drama starting tonight called Gunpowder.I thought I had better do a post I had planned today rather than later.

I mentioned Guy Fawkes night or Bonfire night when I wrote my October Days post and Jenn from Coffee on the porch for me  in Canada said she had always thought Guy-Fawkes was October 31st. I said I'd write about the 5th November for readers from foreign parts.

  I seem to think that every year at primary school we would write out this poem and then decorate our page with pictures of colourful fireworks.

Remember, Remember
The Fifth of November
Gunpowder,Treason and Plot
I see no reason 
Why Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

One of the Enterprise Car Hire ads featuring Brad (Tall Fictional US sales guy) and Dave (short  fictional British salesman) explains the difficulty in understanding  traditions from one side of the Atlantic to the other.

If this works you should see the ad, if not put THIS into google  
Enterprise Rent-A-Car - Brad & Dave - No Matter What TV Advert (40)  

So there they were, King James 1st and his mainly Protestant government in 1605, preparing for the state opening of Parliament. But a plot was being hatched to blow them all up so that Catholics would be able to get back their rights by having a "puppet" monarch.
On the night of 4th/5th  November, Guy Fawkes the explosives expert was waiting with the barrels in the cellars. BUT a warning had been sent to a Catholic peer not to attend and this had aroused suspicion. Guards were sent  to check the building. Guy Fawkes was arrested and tortured so that he named all the rest of the gang and then he was hung as were all the others.
James 1st decreed that all his subjects should light bonfires on 5th November to celebrate the foiled plot.
It took another 200 years before Catholics were able to lead a normal life with the same rights as Protestants.

So what we have in this country today started with bonfires in 1605, later people would make a guy shaped figure out of straw and old clothes and burn him on the fire. By the time we get to the 1960s  we were having a bonfire, with a guy to burn in the back garden and a few fireworks on the 5th November. My mum would save up all year to be able to buy some rockets, sparklers and a Catherine wheel which never spun properly. Next door neighbours were invited round to watch and then it would be hot dogs indoors afterwards.
 By the time our lot were old enough to appreciate the bangs and flashes, firework nights were often organised events down on the school playing field, raising money for local charities. Hotdogs and burgers for sale with coffee. Fireworks in the back garden were discouraged because there were so many accidents every year and fireworks got difficult and expensive for individuals to buy.
Now events  have got bigger and bigger and more expensive to get into but fireworks are easier to buy again as they are available in supermarkets all through October.  So it's quite common for people to have some at home and go to a big event as well. Guy Fawkes night has become Fireworks nights-spread-over-two-weeks......... it's £30 for a car full of people at a big event near us this year......we won't be going.
Although I wouldn't mind a few sparklers in the back garden.

Thank you to everyone for comments about "Private Drainage". We are well used to sorting out problems after all the years at the smallholding and the campsite, just another sort of self-reliance. When we were trying to sell the smallholding some people were put off by the idea of not being on mains sewer but it's quite usual in the countryside.

Back Monday

Friday 20 October 2017

The Joys of "Private Drainage" AKA..................

...........a septic tank.
(Health Warning - do not read if squeamish! You may feel ill after reading!)

We've had septic tank sewers in more homes and for more years than we've been on mains sewer. Trouble is that when there's a blockage it's up to us to sort it out (apart from calling out Dyna-rod I suppose).
So there we were on Wednesday morning getting ready to head out to see daughter, granddaughter and then back via Ipswich for Col's regular blood test, when he finds the loo hasn't flushed properly. Lift manhole cover nearest house.............Oh Yuck. Something not right, chuck buckets of water in, no movement. Climb into overalls (him) don rubber gloves (both) and fetch draining rods from shed. Fit draining rods together, shove down pipe. I'm instructed to peer in other manhole near septic tank to see if anything is moving. Well, it is but so slowly and it's not pretty! He chucks more water in, I flush loos, no sign of water at other end, pull out draining rods, find the twisty bit that fits on end, fit it on end and shove down pipe again. I'm at the other end again, still a bit slow. "Can I see end of draining rods?" "Well I could if it wasn't for the s**t!". He chucks more water in manhole. He goes to look at other manhole and decides to chuck buckets of water in there too while I'm at other end shoving draining rods in and out. At last we have movement and whooosh off it goes. Manhole nearest house all nice(?) and clear. Replace manhole covers.
Remove overalls and rubber gloves, have a good wash and try to get visions of  sludgy s**t out of  head.

Now a discussion on why this has happened..........no, I am NOT using too much loo paper but there is probably not enough water going down drain because we are trying not to use so much water. When we wash the dishes we run the cold-before-it-gets-hot into a jug and use that for flushing loo and we have a short flush function on the new toilet. So trying to save water now we are on a meter means the drains might get blocked more often!
Oh Great Joy!!
The drainage is old, not enough fall from house to tank. Not a lot to be done unless a whole new drainage system is put in - a HUGE job that would be.

 We've  now bought a plunger bit that fits on the end of draining rods so they'll work better! I can see I'd better get used to this job just in case.

Thank you everyone for comments yesterday. I've not seen TV adaptations of any Mary Wesley books so I come to them unhindered by any knowledge of them. I watched Vera before reading any of the books so Brenda Blethyn is the only Vera I know, But I read some of the Shetland series before seeing them on TV and agree that Jimmy Perez in the book  doesn't look a bit like Douglas Henshall in the TV series, he should be dark and Spanish looking!

Back Soon

Thursday 19 October 2017

A Not Very Old Book and A New Book

book cover of Part of the Furniture
 Two books read last week.

First the not very old - actually only 1997 - Mary Wesley's "Part of the Furniture".

Juno Marlowe is an innocent 17 year old unwanted by  her mother and disliked by her Aunt. She has spent most of her time hanging around the neighbouring farms, worshiping two older boys........... although they usually fob her off to the farm-workers or game keeper. In 1939 they persuade her to see them off in London when they go to join the war effort. Not wanting to join up as virgins they use her without her even realising that it was virtually rape.

Juno doesn't want to follow her mother and her new husband to Canada so  waits in London for a refund for her boat ticket. Caught in an air-raid she is hauled in off the street by a very ill man who dies during the night after writing a letter to his father and asking her to deliver it. With the money from her refund and nowhere else to go she takes a train to Cornwall to deliver the letter. Here, because of her knowledge of farming - milking cows firstly - she is made welcome by Robert the farmer and his housekeeper Ann. At last she isn't just part of the furniture. There is much more to the story than that but I don't want to do a spoiler for people who've not read it.

Reading through what I've just written it sounds like far-fetched rubbish! But Mary Wesley doesn't write rubbish as I've only recently discovered. An interesting author who I knew nothing about until reading "The Camomile Lawn" last month. Her first novel was published when she was aged 70 and she then went on to write 10 best selling novels. After a strange upper-class childhood she married twice and was awarded the CBE. There is a good obituary of her HERE.

The new book was by Ann Cleeves. The 8th and latest in her crime series featuring Vera Stanhope. Of course now this series has been made into TV programmes starring Brenda Blethyn it's impossible to read the book without seeing Ms Blethyn in the roll.

book cover of The Seagull Set as usual in the North East of England, mostly in Whitely Bay this time.Vera visits the prison where a corrupt ex-policeman offers her information about a cold case involving  a missing man if she looks out for his daughter and grandchildren. Unfortunately for Vera the people involved were all friends of Hector, her late father, and uncovering the mystery of two bodies, a missing woman and the man now responsible for the regeneration project- who once ran a club called The Seagull- may lead her to things she would rather not know about.

It's quite a complicated book with lots of characters, I shall be interested to see how they shorten and change it when it's made for TV.

Two completely different books, both good in their own way.

Thank you for comments yesterday and I think follower numbers are up again so hello and welcome.

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Wednesday 18 October 2017

Things I'm not used to.................

..................... getting up at 5am. and driving an hour and a bit in the dark and then another hour and a bit in the half-dark!

Colin had the sinus operation on Monday and had to be at Addenbrookes Hospital at 7.15am. Getting up at 5 is a bit of a shock to the system.........must be getting old.
We didn't know if he would have to stay in overnight so decided I'd drop him off at the door and go home again. Our DIL volunteered to pick him up if he was allowed out as she works about 35 minutes away from the hospital.
I came home through intermittent hail/rain storms that needed the windscreen wipers on extra fast speed. It was still very gloomy when I got home just after 8.15, we'd had hardly any rain here but then things brightened up and  sun came out and the wind got up. I did get the washing dry - but had to keep pegging bits back on the line.

Then we had the weird weather phenomenon that others have captured on their cameras, strange purple/red sky and the sun disappearing behind clouds of Saharan dust. I stood outside for a few minutes and wondered what our  ancestors would have thought......... no TV telling them about Storm Ophelia and sand dust being carried into the upper atmosphere!

Anyway, Col was allowed home and our lovely DIL fetched him back to their house when she finished work - and I went and collected him from there. The sun by that time was still looking a bit strange and huge, low and bright - horrible driving again.

Eventually home by 7pm, hopefully the sinus operation will stop the source of infection that's been a recurring problem all through his chemo treatment. Although he might have gone through it for nothing because the reason Ipswich hospital wouldn't do it was because they weren't sure it would be of any use! Ho Hum.

We both spent yesterday recovering  - him from the anesthetic and me from the early start and too much driving!

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Tuesday 17 October 2017

Another Boot Sale Obviously

This time it was both of us who wanted to go to the big Saturday boot sale. Col wanted some wooden posts to raise the sides of the new raspberry bed. There's always a man there with a trailer load of cheap wood and trellising, and I just wanted to spot possible bargains.

The boot sale was HUGE, I think everyone was trying to make some cash for Christmas, so many toys as always. I really see no point in going and buying new toys for grandchildren at the ages they are when I can get 5 times more for my money at a boot sale.....it might be different when they are older.
My finds this week were 6 small storage jars, some birthday candles shaped as cupcakes, a little glass lantern that holds a nightlight candle, a dolls buggy for Florence ready for when she's walking properly and a bell with a wintery picture ready for the winter mantle-piece (after Christmas). I also got a couple of small trailing ivy plants for planting in the pots on my shabby-chic ladder ........................so it was a big spend day......... totaling £9.50.......... the jars were new and 75p each and the lady wouldn't drop the price - meany!.................although goodness knows why I'm moaning as they are over £2 each from a shop. 😊

Col got the wood posts and has added them to the edges of the new raspberry bed so it can hold a bit more soil and compost and to stop the grass creeping in over the top. I'll be ordering some raspberry canes soon. Summer fruiting for this bed and then autumn fruiting for half of the old fruit bed when it's cleared and after the tree people have been and cut down the overhanging Ash branches........this week we hope.

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Monday 16 October 2017

The First of the Christmas Craft Fairs

THIS company

have a ton of lovely stuff crammed into this building.  The lady started by just supplying flower arranging stuff. She worked out of a port-a-cabin based  on a farm, then they grew and grew. There are just two problems, when anybody is standing looking at stuff on the shelves there is no room to squeeze by and some things are a bit pricey - but that's probably just me being tightfisted !

Anyway, when I went there a few weeks ago because I'd run out of jam jars, I picked up a leaflet about their Christmas Fair and thought I'd go and have a look.

They had a big marquee up for the stalls

I'm afraid I'm not very helpful to crafters as I tend to look around and think either
1. I could do it myself
2. Everything looks a bit tacky......not a fan of knitted cakes!
3. Everything is too expensive (and before anyone says it, I know the amount of hours that goes into to handmade)
or 4. I could find this somewhere secondhand!

I rather liked the Christmas bunting hanging on the front of the stall in the centre but, oddly, they didn't have anything similar for sale, just bunting where all the triangles were made of the same material rather than mixed fabrics......... bit boring.

Then I went into the shop- it's just such a treasure trove that it's overwhelming. This is their Christmas room

Everything you ever needed to decorate or make anything you can think of!

and the above is a view down one of the aisles. They also have a room full of ribbon, another room full of everything you need for sugar-craft and cake making, a massive range of stuff for weddings and tons of bits for flower arranging and every thing you can think of for packaging anything! Luckily they don't stock many card making bits, but even without that it would be very simple to spend several hundred pounds.
I didn't! Just something for the Halloween and then the Christmas mantle-piece..............under £5..

Thanks for comments on Saturday and hello to more new followers - Welcome.

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Saturday 14 October 2017

Trees From the Auction

Col had made some more tree protectors and was keen to get a few more trees for his Birthday Wood so he could get them planted before going into hospital for the stem cell treatment.
He thought of the Auction rooms at Diss who sometimes have plants as part of their outside sale and had a look on line and found they had some good sized conifers. So we pootled off up there yesterday and waited for the things we wanted to come up
Col waiting!

and came home with these.

  2 Picea Hoopsii  (Extremely prickly Blue Spruce) a  Silver Van Tol Holly and because no one else wanted it Col also bid on a Weeping Pussy Willow which he got for £2. There was a Monkey Puzzle Tree too but it was only a foot tall and still went for a lot more than we were willing to pay and also some nice little Yew trees but they were selling in lots of 16 trees - rather more than we wanted.

That really does mean we only have room now for Silver Birch.........probably.

Had a glance around the inside rooms at the junk type furniture stuff and the posher antiquey things but nothing we wanted and anyway we had to hurry home as Col was out in the afternoon at the leaving do for one of the blokes he used to work with.

Thanks for comments on the pear harvest and hello and welcome to two new followers.

Back Monday

Friday 13 October 2017

Pear Harvest

We've had more pears from the two small trees here than we ever got from the three larger trees at the smallholding.
The pears from the early tree were eaten or frozen a few weeks ago but the windy weather has been knocking pears from the later tree at the rate of 3 or 4 a day. So we decided to pick them all off and prepare them for the freezer.
I thought they were Conference but now I'm not sure as they are ripening too quickly and they are quite plump.
Gorgeously juicy and 4 bags of peeled and cored pears have gone into the freezer. That, sadly, is almost the last of the fruit from the garden. Just a few small late apples left on the family tree. I think Autumn Raspberries must go on the wanted list.

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Thursday 12 October 2017

And Again

Another Jolly Jumble last Saturday and another car-boot sale on Sunday. We headed out to one jumble and found another on the way. All I got from the one we knew about was a new set (pair?) of nutcrackers for 20p but at the first I found the DVD of the recent film - Their Finest -  for 50p and the heavy glass sundae dish also 50p, Col found a book he'd not seen for another 50p. I didn't realise Their Finest was based on the book "Their Finest Hour and a Half" by Lissa Evans which I've already read a few years ago. No wonder the film sounded vaguely familiar when it was trailed on TV earlier this year. I think John Grey might have done a review of it on his blog too.

It's getting to the end of car boot season at our local one and most of the people there are just the regulars but we picked up these few useful bits. The wooden toy with push round pegs (20p) is for Florence (I'll save that for Christmas as it's in lovely condition) as are the board books (£1 the lot). The handy thing being that she'll have grown out of these by the time grandchild  #3 will be old enough and they can be passed on. The box of individually wrapped Christmas candles were £1 and I'll add a couple to the hampers and Col picked up the golf-ball radish seeds for 50p a pack. Hope the man with boxes full of T&M seeds will be there next week so I can take my seed list and see what else we can get cheap.

I do love picking up little things for the grandchildren just wished we saw more of Jacob. They were due to be up from Surrey next weekend but change of plan at  J's work has put paid to that. Hope they get here before Col goes in for the stem cell treatment. I'm pleased that we'll have 2 grandchildren in Suffolk when Son and DIL's littl'un arrives next year.

Apologies to folk who saw this post when it escaped on Sunday. I had to tether it back again, so it became "doesn't exist" and thanks for comments this week, I discovered lots of comments on the Hares post that I'd not noticed so apologies for not replying. Also Big welcome to follower 216. Hi, hope you enjoy reading.

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Wednesday 11 October 2017

More Trees for the Wood.

Having planted the tree seedlings that we already had in pots, see HERE . We went out and spent some of the money Col had for his birthday last March. He was keen to get some trees planted before he vanishes away into hospital, so we bought trees in pots as bare rooted aren't available until the end of November.

One Sweet Chestnut, One Himalayan Birch, 2 Scots Pine, 2 Holly and 2 Christmas Trees. Later in the year we'll get 10 bare rooted Silver Birch, which can be planted just by making  big  T shaped cuts in wet ground with a sharp spade and then heel them in where the two lines meet. Then we'll see what else we have room for.

Col made more tree protectors from a roll of plastic wind protection fencing that was left here by Mrs F. and cut stakes to hold up the plastic from wood that was also left here. 

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Tuesday 10 October 2017


We often see  hares here, until you see one close you don't realise just how big they are. I've found out more about them from this lovely book

The first book I read by this author was" A Wild Life; A Year of Living on Wild Food" which he wrote in 2009 after spending a year eating only the food he could shoot, catch or forage on his farm. I tried to read Meadowland in 2014 but for some reason just didn't get on with it so I wasn't sure I would enjoy this, his most recent book. However it was a lovely read, making me remember why I used to read a lot of Country writing.
 Lewis-Stempel wants to take an  arable field, farm it in the old fashioned way and then plant wild flowers in among the wheat. His aim is to find out which birds and animals he will attract, ones usually not seen on arable fields that are treated with chemicals. He starts with a bird table in the field and then someone who traps hares deliver some to the field, so his aim is to keep them there.
Along the way he finds out more about hares and the folklore and mystery surrounding them and  remembers his country childhood.

A short, quick and interesting read.

Thank you for comments about schooldays. 

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Monday 9 October 2017


I love living back in Mid Suffolk!

While searching online for events happening around about I noticed that Wetherden History Group were having an open afternoon with displays about the history of the primary school. That's where I went between 1960 and 1966 and because Col went to secondary school in the area he was at school later with people from my primary school and he had cousins at the school in the 1970's so he came to have a look too.
The school was only a tiny school. 50 pupils there when I attended and just 6 in my year group. Later in the 1980s it got down to just 24. Then the school closed and became a nursery school and playgroup but now it's closed completely.
Sadly there is just one photo from the time I was there,of a new head teacher when she started, no class photos, no school records - Nothing. Although Col found his cousins on later photos.

The year after I left the school celebrated it's centenary and a few photos of the celebrations appeared in the local paper.
I only took my phone and the pictures didn't come out very well.

There were just two people looking round that I knew. One, also a Sue, was a few years older but still lives in the village and was able to tell me about some of the people I knew. Sadly she'd just last week been to a funeral of one of the boys in this photo and told me of one other who had died last year. The other person looking round was friend W from the Suffolk Smallholders Society who is much younger than me and was one of the last children at the school when it closed.

I don't have many memories of my primary school years but they are all happy ones.Must have learned something because I passed the 11plus and went off to Grammar school in September '66. Quite a change from a small school of 50 to a big school of 500. No introductory days back then just thrown straight in on the first day of term and the only people I knew were one boy the same age as me who also passed and a couple of older boy neighbours.

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Saturday 7 October 2017

That Woman has been Spending at Boot Sales Again!

Yep, 'fraid so.

Midweek car boot on the way to elsewhere

Christmas tissue paper 50p. Kirstie Allsop's Christmas craftbook 50p and a new bright pink hat for me £2.
My warmest lined Thinsulate hat went missing somewhere last winter leaving me with two thin hats, this is a lined one - have to be careful in cold winds or my ears start humming - which is not nice. Not sure about the bobble!

Many Thanks for comments about simple cleaning. Seems lots of people don't like the strong smell of detergents, I suppose somebody must be buying them!

Back Monday

Friday 6 October 2017

Simple Cleaning

How many different cleaning products are on the supermarket shelves? I haven't counted but if you put Household Cleaning in MySupermarket for one supermarket it comes up with 249, put in Laundry and there are 300 products, Dishwashing has 62 listed.  I'm so glad I don't have to search through all that lot.

I  limit the number of things I use for cleaning as it saves money and effort  but I'm not keen enough to make all my own - I'd rather be reading.

Bicarb is used for lots of jobs along with Ecover washing up liquid and Ecover Laundry liquid and Washing Soda Crystals, plus white vinegar.

 I bulk buy bicarb and have just ordered a big tub via ebay. Last time I bought a big amount -  about 5+ years ago, it came in a huge bag and I then had to go out and buy a big lock and lock box to store it in which rather defeated the saving money aim! That box is now in use for craft stuff so I made a point of getting a tub  this time.

Washing soda crystals come from Wilkinsons where they are £1 for 1.5 kilo, even cheaper than on line I think. I like Ecover products as they don't irritate my skin and don't have a strong smell, last a long while and no nasty chemicals to upset the septic tank. Now I have room to store things I've just bought Ecover non-bio laundry liquid in bulk - enough to last me well over a year but much cheaper than supermarket prices - if they actually even have it in stock when I need it. I use a tiny bit of Ecover liquid and add a good scoop of soda crystals. I can't stand the smell of washing powders - so strong. Some peoples houses smell so much of soap powder that I have to change clothes when I get home! We were given a Christmas present once that must have been in a cupboard with soap powder, we had to stand it out in the garage all winter before it lost it's really strong smell.

I thought I'd found somewhere for cheap but good quality white vinegar that could be used for cooking and cleaning but then with delivery costs it was more expensive than buying from a supermarket. The only place with 5L of Sarsons was Ocado but then you have to have £40 worth of stuff to get a delivery. Some of the cheap vinegar isn't good enough quality for preserving, there's not enough acid in it. So cheap supermarket own brand for cleaning and Sarsons for pickling.
 We have very hard water in most parts of Suffolk causing lime-scale - it's a real nuisance and even bicarb made into a paste and left on doesn't always shift it. Ecover Limescale remover works well.

I knit dishcloths for doing the washing up and use rags - which are quite often old tea-towels torn in half  or old dish cloths that have gone grey -  for cleaning jobs.

Returning Soonish

Thursday 5 October 2017

Library Books and Health Update

Last Thursday was library van day and I picked up another good pile of books to read that I'd ordered and I have two left from 4 weeks ago too, so no shortage of reading matter.

9 crime in this lot.....blimey.  Also have another book about growing cut flowers - although my cutting garden is 6 foot x 6 foot whereas Sarah Ravens is 40 foot by 80 foot!
I specially requested the book about Will Scott, the author of childrens books in the 50's and 60's which I loved to read.
The Flexible Vegetarian is a bit posh for my humble kitchen, there won't be any recipes copied form this book although everything looks delicious there is too much faffing and prepping!

I took the book by Ann Granger with me to hospital last week and almost finished it due to all the sitting about waiting so hope to get through all this lot by the end of the month.

And on the subject of hospitals, Col's health and the Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma we now know more of what's happening at last. He is to have a day-surgery operation on his sinuses in a couple of weeks time. This will remove a source of infection that has been a big problem throughout his chemo and previous treatment. Then after a few weeks to get over that he will go in again to Addenbrookes - probably towards the end of November for a  week of different chemo before the donor goes in and donates stem cells which are then given to Col the next day. Then its an up and down bumpy road to recovery and hopefully out of hospital before Christmas..... Sounds like a plan. Hope it goes according to schedule but after the horrible time he had in Ipswich when he had the ordinary stem cell treatment.......in for nearly 8 weeks instead of  four weeks - we just never know.

Thanks for comments about moving/not moving. Col's dad only ever lived in two houses in adjoining villages all his life and my Mum and Dad only lived in two houses - on the same plot of land in 40 years both families thought we were odd because we kept moving but we were always climbing the property ladder with the smallholding at the top! As someone always says " good thing we're not all the same".
Mustn't forget to say Welcome to a new follower - Hi.

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Wednesday 4 October 2017

Where We Once Lived

Last Saturday there was a garage sale event in the village where we lived in the 80's, it's only a couple of miles away so we went to have a look.
We were expecting about 30 houses in the village to have sales but there were only a dozen so it didn't take long to look round. I got a couple of things for grandchildren for £2.20 ( I think Jacob will love that lift out shape puzzle) Book and cars for Florence - she's 1 next week -good grief!

and a box of  3½ dozen new small jars - with lids for £2. Col said they might come in handy for miniature portions of marmalade, I think they would sell well somewhere else! The David Gentleman book for £1 which will go in my next Ziffit box as it's worth nearly £4 to them.

I took a couple of photos of the places we lived, everywhere looks a bit untidy and run-down now, even the village sign needs a coat of paint.
This is where we lived between 1980 and 83. There was quite a community of mums with young children who used to play on this area. The houses were built in the 70s so were fairly new then. Now the whole road just looks very tatty.
Between 1983 and 1986 we lived in the next village where we renovated an old house before moving back to this bungalow at the end of a close, where we stayed for five years between 1986 and 1991. Cars parked everywhere and new houses squashed into small spaces is the overall impression of the village.
 What was strange was how many people we saw who still live in the same houses they lived in back then whereas we've been right across to the Suffolk coast for 23 years and then back again. I'm so glad we didn't stay in the village and wouldn't want to live there now, much too busy!

Thanks for comments and thoughts on the frugal bits of September in yesterdays post.

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Tuesday 3 October 2017

Was There Anything Frugal in September?

3rd of the month already so better look back to September's accounts.......................... was anything frugal?

Reading Library books for free.

First of the butternut squash ready to eat. The rest brought in to store

Put some red peppers from the greenhouse into the  freezer and used others fresh all month.

 Tomatoes from the greenhouse all month.

Beetroot and Runner beans from the garden all month

Eating our own apples and pears all month, lots of apples and pears prepared for freezer.

Picked nearly 4lb of blackberries and put in freezer. Picked another 4lb and made blackberry and apple jam.

Dried some eating apples

Sorted through boxes of books under the stairs and found £14 worth to send to Ziffit (these were books Ziffit didn't want last year and hadn't sold at the car boot)

Col took small load of bits of metal scrap to scrap-yard - just over £11 income

To make a space for the Egg Safe I decided to cull my recipe books. Ziffit again and River Cottage Veg sold for £4.29 - A lot more than I paid for it at a car boot sale or a charity shop. I photocopied several recipes from it first. Bought this practically new book  below at a charity shop for 50p, found I'd already borrowed it from Library

Cover - sold on Ziffit for £2.40! Total for 2nd parcel sent  = £21

Bought a warm tunic top from charity shop for £4 and one off ebay for £5.

Made Sweetcorn relish and Red Onion Sweet "Marmalade"chutney.

Took packed-up lunch and flask when we went to Addenbrookes Hospital - twice.

Another load of small off-cuts of wood from Col's brother - they filled a builders bag.

A couple of small gifts for Christmas from car-boot sales and toys for grandchildren.

Jammed my finger in the old broken metal linen line prop and moaned so loudly that at last Col cut me a bit from the willows to use instead! ....................Tumble dryer not used all month

Cut scrap wood for kindling and picked up fallen bits from Ash trees too.

Even with the Chinese take-away on our wedding anniversary food spending was below budget thanks to our own apples and pears so not needing to buy any fruit most of month.

Had the bill for the new heating-oil tank, setting it up, moving the oil over and testing = Huge Bill
Car Repairs that Col couldn't do -twice and the MOT.
Boiler went haywire so had to have minor repair..... no bill yet.
Spent a lot at the big second-hand book sale (have entered it under charity in the accounts!!)
Too much spent on diesel with 2 trips to Addenbrookes hospital and 2 to Ipswich hospital as well as visiting granddaughter and several car boot sales and the book sale.

Even with those outgoings it was a much better month all round and without the car and heating oil we would be laughing (but also isolated and cold!)

Many Thanks for comments yesterday

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Monday 2 October 2017

October Days


 Fresh October brings the pheasants,
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

 October was called Wynmonarth by the Anglo-Saxons - the wine making month

A Good October and a good blast
Will blow the hog his acorns and mast

 Villagers in the past relied on pannage - the law allowing them access to the woods for their pig - so they could fatten on acorns and beech mast before being killed next month.

Pale amber sunlight falls across
The reddening October trees,
That hardly sway before a breeze,
As soft as summer: summer's loss
Seems little, dear, on days like these!
                                                                                            Ernest Dowson 

 St Luke's Day is the 18th of October and there is often a spell of fine,sunny weather at this time which is known as St. Luke's little summer.

There are lots of old weather sayings, no idea if they are right or wrong!

Hard frosts in October means we'll have a mild January

For every fog in October there will be snow in winter  

Full moon in October without frost, no frost until full moon in November 

 Then of course there is Halloween on the 31st. Not something that was celebrated when I was little or even in the 1970's. When I worked on a mobile library in around 1977ish one of our stops was by a USAF housing estate and I can remember seeing all their houses decorated with pumpkins, lights and pictures of ghosts and thinking how odd that was. Now the shops are stocked with imported junk since the beginning of the month!

We were much more interested  in Guy Fawkes night - as the 5th of November was called back in the day.

This is the October page of my Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady colouring book.

I traced the picture onto my new watercolour paper pad and then looked in the Edwardian Lady Diary book to find her original only to find that the picture on the right for October isn't taken from one page of the book but put together from 3 different paintings.
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I started painting the tracing (which is back to front because I couldn't be bothered to go over it twice) with my watercolour pencils but got the colours of the birds all wrong. Even with my tin of 40 colours I didn't have anything pale enough for the birds which are supposed to be Yellow Hammers! Ha!
At least the Elderberries look right, except that by October Elderberries are all gone. Perhaps the climate has changed since Edwardian times.

 I shall have another go with the water-colour pencils for Novembers picture.

Many thanks for all the comments on Saturdays post and hello and welcome to 3 new followers.

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