Thursday 30 November 2017

Down the Lane on the Last Day of November

This is the 9th month that I've walked up and down the lane taking photos chronicling the changing seasons close to home.

Heading towards the end of the year, leaves have gone.

The only berries left are those on next door neighbour's Privet hedge, I guess birds eat them eventually?

The old pump base is visible again after being hidden by undergrowth since the spring

Remember the empty house that no-one has ever lived in since it was built 15 years ago. We heard that the owner who lives in Sudbury/London/France or all three had died so maybe it will come onto the market. We also heard a strange tale that a few years back a brand new car was stood in their drive just out of site from the lane. It stood there without being moved for 6 years and then vanished. Very Odd.

I had walked up and down the lane several dozen times before I noticed that behind this ivy is a tiny tumbledown shed!

Pine cones on a fir tree against a blue sky .

Can you spot where the trees finish and their reflection in the pond starts?

 We haven't got roses round the door but instead we have clematis on the trellis each side. I need to find out when/if they need cutting back.

That's it for another month. Will we have snow next time?

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 29 November 2017

The Library Bought This.............

.............. for their stock because I suggested it, but now I feel very guilty as, although it's a lovely book, it's mainly photos.

 The Dingle Peninsular in Ireland is the northernmost peninsular of County Kerry, sticking out into the Atlantic and the house the author owns is a stone house in the foothills of the Brandon Mountain. The book is divided into the 4 old Celtic seasons, Samhain, Imbolc,  Bealtaine, Lughnasa and then each month where the author mentions Celtic and Irish legends, looks at the garden and includes a recipe but each page is mainly photos.

I wish I'd written the following but the author  beat me to it!

"One thing I know for certain is that life is joined up in ways that our ancestors, even only a few generations back, were better placed to recognise than we are. Twenty-first-century living is increasingly driven by the idea that everything desirable has to be purchased, and that everything we buy must be the best, the fastest,the newest and the most exciting product available. Then, as soon as we do buy something we're encouraged to despise what we have and reject it for something deemed better. In the midst of this bombardment it's hard to appreciate silence, patience, repeated rhythms and the ways in which relationships between material, intellectual,emotional and spiritual things are central to well-being and health".

The book was first published in 2015 and costs £12.99, there are copies cheaper on Amazon but not sure it's worth buying. You can see quite a lot of the first part on the "Look inside" feature, the whole book is similar.

On the other hand if you have an interest in second-hand books, you may well love this.........I did.

Product Details
Shaun Bythell owns "The Book Shop", the largest second hand bookshop in Wigtown which is known as Scotland's town of books.
This is a diary of eccentric customers and staff, book buying and selling and organising the annual Book Festival which brings 1000's of visitors to the town each year.
I really enjoyed it and promise never to moan aloud about the price of books in second-hand book shops and never to have a Kindle!

Thank you for comments about the frosty views.

Back Soon

Tuesday 28 November 2017

On a Cold and Frosty Morning

Why is it that I see lovely frosty photos on blogs but when I creep out before sunrise  in the hardest frost so far (Saturday) my photo's just look dull and boring!
(Don't answer that!)
I've not cleared the old growth  from the quarter circle flower garden because leaving the job until spring gives cover for small creatures and helps to keeps the soil a tad warmer for the birds to scratch through. (That's my excuse anyway)

It stayed cold all day and the only thing I did outside was to go and fetch logs and kindling from the woodshed to fill up the baskets indoors and put in the garage for the rest of the week.

Thank you for all the comments on  car boot buys. I shall get withdrawal symptoms now until they start again in February.

Back Soon

Monday 27 November 2017

Car-boot and Jumble Sales

Rounding off the year with the remaining car boot and jumble sale treasures.

Not sure when I picked up these 3 things but found the picture on drafts from late September and I know they were from the small nearest boot sale and were 50p each.

The VTech talking phone went to Florence when we saw her. The mug and plate say "For Santa". We are bound to have the Surrey family and Jacob staying here at Christmas sometime so this will stay here ready and the warm fleece-lined slipper-socks will be part of a Christmas gift.

At the end of October I picked up this pack for £2, originally from the Mid Wales Willow company, it's a kit with instructions for making willow stars and wreath. I shall have a go at these next month.

Then I splurged a whole £2.20 in the middle of the month on..

...........................a small artificial Christmas tree for £1 -  it needs some tlc because, as we say in Suffolk, - it was slightly on the huh.; a slow cooker cookery book for 20p - this is for Col's brother who since his Dad died is now having to cook for himself after he gets home from work; a children's game ready for a couple of years time, new hot-water bottle, new hot water bottle cover ( these will be a Christmas gift) and bottle brush for £1 for the lot - been looking for something to clean the narrow vases - my old bottle brush disappeared somewhere between the smallholding and here.

Early in November I zoomed to a big jumble sale in a village hall across the A140. Blimey, it was packed out and there were so many clothes, though not so much bric-a-brac. Quite a lot of books...... I just found this one

also got  a big bag of tea-lights, a pot-holder and some paper craft bits all for £1. Had a go on the tombola - didn't win - as usual.

Another car boot sale on another day and I spent  a total of just £1.20, the pink spotty thing is a doll carrier for a little girl to carry her dolly around, will put this away for Florence. Cupcake cases and toppers are a Christmas present to go with money for niece who likes baking and the Sue Grafton book for me. I now have all her ABC crime books except X and Y, I've read up to K so far.

And one more boot sale on a very cold Saturday morning later in the month, where I found 2

card making kits for 20p each, some vehicles for the Brio railway were £1, a dusting mitt to keep in the car 20p and big plastic jug for 50p.

Also this below for the Grandchildren, when they've grown a bit,  for the bargain price - I reckon- of £3 including the farm machinery. It needs putting onto a sturdier plywood base as it's on hard-board and a bit bendy.

 Someone made me something similar when I was small but it didn't have a farmhouse and I always wanted a farmhouse! The roofs lift off the buildings so you can see inside when organising your livestock.
 Now we can look out for farm animals and fences although I may want to play first!

I doubt I'll bother with boot sales in December, there are a couple more on Saturdays in Needham Market but it's too cold for most people to think about selling so they will only be small .

Back Tomorrow

Sunday 26 November 2017

Empty Beaches

We went down to the beach hut on Friday to check and oil the padlocks and to bring home anything that might get damp - like the coffee in a jar.
It was a beautiful morning, the sea was flat calm.

Col sat out for 10 minutes while we had a coffee and  I tidied up and collected up what had to go home

 Just a few dog walkers about. One lady had 4 golden retrievers - blimey!

We've been able to put off selling the beach hut for a year as the council had so much opposition to their plans to alter fees that they've "re-considered" and have decided against huge increases in ground rent - for now anyway. They wanted people to take on long term licences, paying up front for several years at a time but have given up that idea. They also planned 10% increases every year for 10 years but have put off that plan for a while too. They still intend to charge people buying a hut a £300 fee "administration" charge rather than the £30 we paid in 2016.
We didn't really make the most of the hut this summer so will still have to think about things this time next year.

As we locked up again the sun disappeared behind some clouds and the temperature dropped by about 10 degrees. We went into town and toured the charity shops finding.........Nothing.

Then into Ipswich to pick up Col's tablets from hospital, Asda for shopping and home.

When we drove home the water company were on the corner near the house repairing a leak that Colin noticed on Thursday  and rang in to report. Thank goodness they soon got that done as they were really losing a lot of water, it was  pouring out of the verge and flooding right across the road.

Back Soon

Saturday 25 November 2017

More Library Books - Novembers delivery

Another lovely lot of library books were collected on Thursday, these were all ordered on-line and picked up where the mobile library stops just a mile and a bit from home.

Firstly 6 (8 really, as there 3 stories in the Ngaio Marsh collection) are crime fiction - the pick of these will be Nine Lessons by Nicola Upson. Also there is the latest Ellie Griffiths in her 1950s Brighton series and short Christmas crime stories from Edward Marston.  The others are reprinted from the first half of the 20th century.

and on the right are 3 fiction books.  Katie Fforde's latest is short Christmas stories - that will be a light and fluffy read.

This month I also have a lot of Non-Fiction books for a change.

 3 more books about aspects of WWII, Nigel Slater's Christmas recipes for browsing and some other books I've seen mentioned on other peoples blogs. They are going to take a while to read I think.
Plenty to keep me occupied when Col goes into hospital next week for, as he keeps telling everyone - "the rest of the year!"

Thank you to everyone sending good wishes for the transplant to go well. We have to hope for the best.

Back Monday

Friday 24 November 2017

Addenbrookes Hospital

or to give it it's other name -  Cambridge University Hospital. What ever it's called it's still huge. As well as being the local hospital for Cambridge and the surrounding areas and The Rosie Maternity Hospital is based there too, it's also the centre for the whole region for more complicated things. Which is why Colin will be in there for his donor stem-cell transplant very soon. He'll be on the transplant ward which is on the 10th floor and the air is filtered and purified up there to help with the prevention of infections.

We were there the other day for him to have a Hickman line put in ready for the chemo and stem-cell  transplant and I thought I'd take a couple of photos while I was waiting.

These big mosaics are outside where the main lift area is to take people up to the wards. Very colourful.

Down the main corridor between outpatients and the main hospital are these drawings, originally done by Quentin Blake, they tell the story of scientific achievements through history.

Close inside the main entrance is the shopping concourse. There's a hairdresser's, bank, clothes and gift shop and even a travel agent. Plus every sort of food outlet from Burger King to M&S.

When we first went to this huge hospital I was lost in 5 minutes but I've learned my way round the place now. The worst thing will be going up in the lifts to the 10th floor every time I visit Col!

Today, instead of going in on the Park and Ride bus we thought we were early enough to park on the Hospital's multi-storey car park. We left home at 6.45am but the traffic on the 52 miles of the A14 and A11 was even worse than last week, the last couple of miles to the hospital took half an hour, so it's Park and Ride for me when I go and visit him. It will save a lot of stop-start queueing.

Back Soon

Thursday 23 November 2017

Virago Modern Classics

I've been reading my own books again, this time one of my growing collection of Virago Modern Classics with their bottle green covers.

  Virago are like Persephone, publishing books that have been forgotten - usually by women authors and I'm picking up any that sound good  whenever I spot them in charity shops..........which isn't often.
Ruth Adam published a few fiction books and A Woman's Place 1910 -1975.which is a History of Women's lives in the 20th century and has been re-printed by Persephone

Virago re-printed I'm Not Complaining, her 1938 semi-autobiographical novel in 1984. It is set in the grim 1930s depression in industrial Nottinghamshire.
Madge Grigson is a primary school teacher in the poorest part of town. With her colleagues she battles with the problems of the time, nits, malnutrition, a caretaker damaged by the Great War, large families and grinding poverty. When all teachers were spinsters and poorly paid and sharing houses with other teachers was the norm.
An interesting story but also useful for finding out more about at the social history of the period. I read and enjoyed it and looked on Amazon to find her other novels but the one I was interested in - A House in the Country is £50! Perhaps Persephone or Virago will reprint it.

Many thanks for comments about strawberry vodka, Christmas hampers and the cross stitch cards.

Back Soon

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Strawberry Vodka Plus other things

Another item for the Christmas hampers has been sorted.

Earlier this year I put some strawberries from Col's brother  into a kilner jar with a small bottle of Vodka and stood them in a dark cupboard.
Now the vodka is beautifully pink and has been strained into these bottles. The bottles are one of the few things actually bought specially for the hampers this year. They do look good and just need labels. No idea of the taste as I can't drink alcohol but the colour is lovely.

I found a comment from Pat asking about the hampers. I started making Christmas gift hampers for my sister and husband and Col's sister and husband just a few years ago when I needed to cut down on spending.Before that I'd given some home made chutney with a gift voucher of some sort  but the amount I could afford looked a bit mean. But a hamper full of goodies always looks good and it spreads the cost out too. One of my big dislikes of Christmas is wasting money on something not needed or wanted and edibles are always acceptable.

This is what 2016's hamper looked like, there was some Fair-trade drinking chocolate with mini marshmallows, home made truffles, Dundee cake, marmalades, cranberry chutney,  and some chocolate spoons to stir into the drinking chocolate.
 In 2015 there was a bottle of red wine (which we had been given and couldn't drink due to medication) and spices for making mulled wine. Then chutneys, spiced nuts, jam and marmalade and Dundee cake.

This years makes have been mentioned which has rather spoiled the surprise for my sister  who reads sometimes (sorry L!), but luckily Col's sister doesn't read the blog.

And the Other Things........................Remember the Christmas cross stitch I rescued and put into cards? Well Col took them into the Macmillan Cancer Support and Information center at the hospital and they said Yes they could sell them so that's good. They offer help, information and support to anyone with cancer and cups of tea too!

Thank you all for comments and welcome to a new follower number 226, not sure who you are but hello.

Back Soon

Tuesday 21 November 2017

2 Hours in Ipswich

Last week Col dropped me off in the town centre when he went for his regular blood test and clinic appointment at the hospital. I had a couple of hours with not many places I had to go which gave me time to trawl the charity shops. I've not found anything I wanted in any charity shops anywhere for months (August was the last charity shop finds post) so it was quite a surprise to pick up 3 things.

Another little kilner jar, this one will be for the herb and spice shelf it was one whole £.
The pack on the right is something I've never before seen in a charity shop or boot-sale. It's a Replica Pack of paper memorabilia  from WWII. I've seen them at museum shops and always wondered what sort of things they had in them, never bought one as they are £6.95 new.The company (Sweet and Nostalgic) produce all sorts of packs from The Blitz and Home Front to Childhood of the 60's. I think they are really a teaching resource? Anyway this one was all about The Navy and the war at sea and it was £1.
After opening and reading all the bits I'm glad I've never paid full price for a set.

The book on the left was rather a punt because I have been trying to collect  this series of books of historical crime for years and years. Written by this prolific author back in the 90's, they are quite hard to come by. At one time I had a list in my bag of the titles I hadn't got but of course it  isn't in my bag now. There were 3 of the series in the charity shop and I recognised the other two covers but wasn't sure about this one, but at 99p I thought I'd risk it and Great Joy it was one I didn't have. I've now got 8 out of 11, when I've got all 11 I'll start reading them.

Then I had to hang around waiting  for Col to pick me up for half an hour as it got gradually darker and colder as he'd got held up in traffic between the hospital and town. I was glad to get home. I used to love a couple of hours in town to rootle around in charity shops but must be getting old.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 20 November 2017

Victorian Christmas Fayre?

The local primary school were holding what was advertised as a Victorian Christmas Fayre at the Mid Suffolk Light Railway Museum. That sounds worth a look I said.

So we walked down our footpath and across the field and down another footpath and up a little lane until we get to the railway museum entrance.

There were lots of craft stalls and a tombola and rides on the train of course but where the Victorian bit was I have no idea...............just  two ladies in long dresses. That didn't matter as it was a lovely sunny afternoon for a walk. Col bought some draw tickets so there is always the faint chance that we could win a hamper but as we are never lucky it's a bit unlikely!

We spoke to some of our neighbours who live in the house opposite the end of the lane, they had also walked down our footpath "looks like you've got plenty of wood!" they said and they also introduced us to another lady who lives just along the road a bit who we hadn't met yet.

Then we got on the train for a lift part of the way home!

When they raise enough money to extend the track it will take us even closer to home.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 18 November 2017

Ginger in Syrup

 I've done a half measure trial run of this recipe just to see how it turned out.

 It's from this book, which is one of my favourite books for good ideas

Product Details

The end result looks exactly like a jar of bought ginger in syrup,  so I'm going to do some more for the Christmas hampers for our two sisters and their husbands.

Hello and welcome to a new follower and thank you for comments especially from new readers.

Back Monday

Friday 17 November 2017


Once upon a time I collected owls, mainly pottery or glass. I only have a couple left now and this is one that was given to me by the Cub Scouts in Bacton, where I was Akela , when we moved away to Knodishall.

But now we have real owls instead........... they've been seen and heard and I spotted this owl pellet just inside the wood shed.

 If you don't know about owl pellets, I found THIS for you to read

Going by this chart, it's a small Barn Owl pellet

I dissected the pellet and in among the fur I found a skull and lots of tiny bones - fascinating.

 There's even a chart on line so you can work out what the bones are

Our neighbours said they found another pellet down the end of the footpath under the owl box, their two girls and visiting friends were amazed to find all the tiny bones in it.

Thank you for all the comments on the wood.........I hope 41 trees plus those already down at the end of the meadow are enough to make a wood.

Back Soon

Thursday 16 November 2017

The Woodland is Planted

With the arrival of 10 bare-rooted Silver Birch and Col getting them planted the Birthday Wood is finished.

 We now need to live here for 10 more years to see them grow, but if we can't stay then we'll have to visit and walk the footpath through it. And in 30 years time when we are no longer around and our children are as old as us now and grandchildren grown up too, they'll be able to walk through the fully grown trees and remember who planted it.

Who said having a Public Footpath through the property was a problem? In this case it's a blessing.

Thank you to all the family

who came to Col's 60th Birthday party in March and gave some money towards the woodland. There was a little money left and we have bought 3 more apple trees for the orchard.


I always say thank you for comments but yesterday's post was so boring (seriously boring!) there was only 1 comment(at time of doing this post)
So thank you Cheryl

Back Soon