Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Potatoes, Tomatoes, the Hedghog Returns and Replies to Comments

At the annual Potato Day in February I got 5 (enough for one row across a veg.bed) of each of First Early ...Home Guard and Swift, Second Early........Charlotte and Nadine and Maincrop.....King Edward and Majestic. 

The two rows of  Early Potatoes were finished a few weeks ago. Awful quality........nibbled by ants and hardly any on each root.
Then  about 10 days ago I dug the first of the Second Early type Nadine and hooray at last, decent spuds.

The same  day I had the first of the tomatoes from the greenhouse, they are meant to be small.........baby plum.

I've seen the hedgehog several times now, usually evening and always in the same place........because that's where I've been putting a bit of cat food! He/she loves it. and it gave me a chance for better photos.
I think it's now common knowledge that a dish of milk shouldn't be put out for them although in the past that was common. Maybe that's what led to a decrease in hedgehog numbers - killing by mistaken kindness.

Thank you for all the comments and reminiscences about books, reading and libraries.

Hello to Samantha who hadn't commented before but was also a library assistant and has got through bereavement and cancer.

Eileen T asked if I remembered Library Tickets - yes I've spent years of library time getting them in order in trays. They were sorted by the date they were due back and then by a 5 figure number, so when a book was returned it meant flicking through the trays to find the bit that went back in the book and then the little pocket bit went back to the reader. When I started work borrowers were only allowed 3 books at a time, so people were in and out of the library much more frequently than nowadays - we can have 20 at a time from the mobile library!

Jean in Winnepeg (hope your arm is healing) reminded me of  Annuals, which we  had from Grandma at Christmas, and the Annuals were usually the same title as a weekly comic, which we always had. Then I've remembered that Grandma and Mum called  weekly magazines "books". So when we went to Stowmarket we would go into Durrants the newsagents and collect our "books" from a room at the back of the shop because they were ordered and kept for us.  So maybe I learned to read from "Jack and Jill" comic- the first one I had, then I remember  "Judy" and "Jackie" and "Fab 208" and they are all still available on ebay! and no I'm not tempted.

And thanks to Spade and Dagger I know that I'm not the only person who hasn't read all the children's classics. I  can only remember having Black Beauty which made me cry, The Water Babies which I didn't understand and Heidi which I  enjoyed.

Also thank you to Anon who suggested the Bookworm book a while back, I never remember where I've heard of books.

Back Tomorrow

Monday, 16 July 2018

It's A New Week...............................

...............................and I'm putting last week down to experience. I got through.

So apologies for all of last weeks whinging posts and thank you for all the lovely comments and advice. I really do appreciate the virtual hugs and finding other people who are also dealing with bereavement who give encouragement is a great help.

I did get to the doctor who dished out anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxants AKA tranquilizers. I took the first as prescribed but the second were taken at half the amount as I didn't much like the list of nasty side effects and then only for a few days just until things went back to normal. The doctor confirmed what people said................that grief can cause physical pain to be exaggerated when everything in the body is so tense.

And  I got down on the floor to do the back exercises which I've not been doing enough of and managed to get back up again........eventually.............. and slowly, slowly the back started getting better.

Then I sent text messages to all 3 children and all 3 phoned me back to cheer me up and Youngest brought Florence over to visit on Friday which cheered me up even more. She's collecting new words like a sponge now and it's lovely to see her so interested in books although she doesn't sit still long enough to actually have one read to her as she likes turning pages and then going off to get "  'nother book"......quantity rather than quality!

That brings me nicely to the book I've been reading over the last few days..............

Lucy found books at an early age and preferred them to anything else and she was lucky as her Dad understood and books for her to read came into the house at a great rate.

 This is what Amazon says....................
When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up new worlds and cast light on all the complexities she encountered in this one.She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. She wandered the countryside with Milly-Molly-Mandy, and played by the tracks with the Railway Children. With Charlotte’s Web she discovered Death and with Judy Blume it was Boys. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library or to spend her pocket money on amassing her own at home.In Bookworm, Lucy revisits her childhood reading with wit, love and gratitude. She relives our best-beloved books, their extraordinary creators, and looks at the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. She also disinters a few forgotten treasures to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.Lucy brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate – and brilliantly uses them to tell her own story, that of a born, and unrepentant, bookworm.
  If you've got 26 minutes to spare you can listen to her being interviewed about this book here.

At the back of the book she lists the books or authors she's mentioned in each chapter and I was sad to find how few of those listed I had read. I know she is 19 years younger than me but many of the books were published earlier but still totally unknown to me until I started working in a library when I was 16.

I need to confer with my sister................. "did we really have as few books at home as I remember?" and if so how on earth did my love of books and reading ever evolve?

All I can remember are the books bought by Aunties.........only at Christmas or birthdays and the Sunday School Anniversary book............given for attendance .........from The Christian Bookshop no doubt. But they were later surely, aged 9+ probably, so what did I read before that or what was read to me in my very early years? I have no idea.

My first memories of any sort of library were of being allowed on the Schools Library Service Mobile Library, which would have been in about 1965, to pick some books that would be in school for the whole year.
 (I went off at a tangent when writing this to see if the Schools Library Service still exists in Suffolk, but I can find no mention of it).

 And I had no idea libraries in buildings even existed until I was old enough to find it myself  ..............a 3 mile bus ride and a walk to the top of the town in about 1969 to borrow books by Alistair McLean and Ian Fleming from here........... Stowmarket library and this is

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 how it was from the 1930's up to the 1980s. A teeny building hidden in the grounds of the Mid Suffolk (Formally East Suffolk)  Council Offices. No wonder it was under-used. Even when I worked there in the late 1970's, I could read a whole book when I worked late. A spooky place too in the dark but lovely and cool in the summer.

Anyway somewhere in the time before I found the library I can remember Enid Blyton's books of short stories, like these

(Picture from ebay and no, I'm not tempted)

I also remember The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Swallows and Amazons so maybe we were read to at home ( Enid Blyton) and primary school (the rest) after all.

At Grammar school I seem to remember a book club of some sort where we were given a leaflet and could order a book to buy which was delivered to the school and we started to read more in class too, in English lessons...........there was the awful "reading round the class" when each person took it in turns to read a paragraph......... much too slowly for me and I would be miles ahead and have lost the place when it got to my turn again.
There was a school library but my only memory of it was being made to stand outside of it once when I wouldn't stop talking.............were we having a lesson in the library? If so what and why and only one?

All in all I certainly couldn't write a book about early years reading as Lucy has done, she must have a phenomenal memory.

But everything changed in 1971when I decided not to go back to school for A levels (and onto university which was what you were supposed to do if you were at Grammar School) but to get a "dead end" job as a library assistant in Bury St Edmunds Borough Library.
Plenty of reading there!

Back Tomorrow


Friday, 13 July 2018

Just a Sunset Photo

A sunset photo from the 3rd of July. It was sunrise photos that featured on my old blog from the smallholding, here the sunrise is hidden but the sunsets are sometimes wonderful.

Having a tough week.

Back Monday

Thursday, 12 July 2018

The First of the Season

Colin sowed a whole bed of beetroot before he died in the hope we would have enough to store some for winter, what he didn't know was that we were going to have a drought and there is no way I can water the beetroot as well as the greenhouse crops and the beans - not forgetting all the patio pots.

Last weekend I pulled a few to cook  and these were the biggest I could find!
They may be small but a treat.

I'm still resting the blinkin' back, although it seems to be getting worse rather than better. I'm  alternating ice packs and hot water bottles plus pain killers. What a good thing I keep well stocked with food and milk in the freezer and cat food in the cupboard as I would have been worried about not being able to get out for shopping.
Since Tuesday I've read two books, watched tennis and football and looked at blogs I've never seen before but I'd rather be busy. I may have to resort to the doctor.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Pleased to See........................

A hedgehog in the garden..............quite unusual nowadays. Through the kitchen window and out of focus, I'm hopeless at this photography thing!

But these fellas are always around since we dug the mini-pond last year.

Always sitting on the side in the evenings, I top up the pond with a bit of fresh water most days and ask them if they are all OK. They don't bother jumping out of the way anymore, must have got used to the strange woman speaking to them!

The young  House Martins have flown from their nest under the eaves. This was their first home, then another brood was raised in a nest at the other end of the house.

It's all go around here on the wildlife front.

I watched the 100 plane flypast on TV but didn't see a single plane over here so they must have all gone back to their bases a different way to the day they practiced. Although if they had flown over I wouldn't have been able to run outside to see them because when I was watering the greenhouse plants on Monday night I must have moved wrong and  my back went Ping, so I spent yesterday hobbling about slowly and very carefully, doing as little as possible and taking pain killers. How annoying and made me realise how vulnerable a person is on their own up the end of a lane! Hope it mends soon.......... I need to get the bathroom painted.

I don't often mention things going on in the world (especially politics or religion) but what wonderful news it was that the boys and their football coach were rescued safely from the cave in Thailand. Amazingly bravery all round.

And in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon - which rarely gets a mention but is great fun to watch - two young Brits beat the Number 1 seeds to get through to the Quarter Finals.

Oh and also welcome to new followers. I'm so excited as numbers are up to 400 which is only twenty less than the old blog and that took 4 years to get to 420 and this new blog is only 16 months old. (Childish I know............sorry!)

Back Soon

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

A Nanna on a Mission

Last Sunday at the local car boot sale I spent £1.50 on two things.
Since my blog post about the Shirley Hughes book, I can't stop finding them! (The other thing is a pack of card making bits = Christmas sticker stamps.)

I've now got an Excellent Plan.....................I'm on a mission to find enough second-hand Christmas books to do a Advent Book Present for each grandchild for  either their 5th Christmas or the Christmas after their 5th birthday, depending on how I get on. So 48 books to find for Jacob and Florence by 2020 or 2021 and another 24 needed by Christmas 2022 or2023 for Willow.

With the few that have been kept since Youngest daughter was little and the books  I've found in the last couple of years, I've got 18 already so it should be do-able.

(This is an idea I've pinched from another nanna/granny blogger - Thank you who ever it was! )

 I wonder if any of the planes in the RAF Centenary Flypast today will return to their bases over the top of the house, like they did when they practiced last week.  They are forming up over Suffolk, just SW of Ipswich at around 12.45 then follow roughly the A12 down to Buck Palace. Then splitting into 3 groups before heading back to their bases.

(This post escaped yesterday morning and had to be recovered to wait until today, sorry if you looked for it and couldn't find it. )

Back Tomorrow

Monday, 9 July 2018

Lush Jungle?..................

.............No, just  a greenhouse in Suffolk. I just keep watering and they just keep growing.

My best ever crop of aubergines after many years of trying. Why didn't they produce like this at the smallholding when I was growing to sell?
After making batches of Aubergine and Tomato sauce for pasta I think I'll be giving some away. I wonder what Col's brother.......a meat and potatoes traditional......... would do with an aubergine!

Many thanks for comments on Saturday, I really meant to reply then didn't get round to it and hello and welcome to new followers, hope you enjoy reading.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday, 7 July 2018

The First Week of July

Well.......... That's the first week of July done and dusted - dust being the word, as without rain for so many weeks everywhere is very, very dusty.
When I haven't been out and about I've had windows open and curtains closed in the living room, that means it stays cool for most of the day .

 With June gone there ought be a post about the half-yearly accounts  -  and I've done no frugal month notes for a while either - but the financial thing has gone silly with all the costs of the funeral, the death grant/life insurance type thing from the County Council, the  grant and payments from the Department of Work and Pensions, the refund of council tax, then there was the costs of tax, insurance and MOT for the car and the big expensive dentist charges and not forgetting the plumbers' bath to shower work. I'll just say that one way and another, "Ins" to the bank were more than "Outs" - thank goodness, and there is no way I could be "Frugal In Suffolk" like the first title of the first blog. I feel so grateful that we inherited money and that Col worked for the County Council for so many years and loved his job. It means as long as I keep being careful I will be able to survive into old age without poverty and with all the years of practice I do know how to be careful.

Although I then promptly gave up carefulness for a moment and have spent out on a  day trip by train with Col's sister for later in the year And I had a spur of the moment takeaway! And bought two items of new clothes AT ONCE- unheard of............! and found a few bits for the Grandchildren from car boot sales.

Which reminds me...........the reason there haven't been any 'car-boot-bargain photo' posts for a couple of weeks is because, although I've been to a few, all I've spent is a couple of £s  on grandchildren stuff. There was a game to pop in the cupboard one week and a  tub of cutters and suchlike that are used with play-dough. Then last Sunday I got this.............. a doll's rocking cot complete with bedding plus a dolly feeding bottle and bib. There was a doll too but Florence has a doll she calls  'baby' at the moment so this new bigger doll will go in the cupboard for another grandchild or when Florence gets older. I paid £5 for the lot which seemed a good buy.

I gave the bedding a wash and took the cot over to Florence and she spent ages putting her 'baby' in, covering it up, rocking it violently and taking it out again! She was also pleased with another Shirley Hughes book that's been around since her mummy was little. "Alfie's Feet" has the lovely drawings and a story about shoes and boots and splashing in puddles - something all children like.
Jacob plus parents will be up to visit at the end of the month so better look out for things for him next, and it won't be long before I'll be finding bits and bobs for Willow....... Have to treat them all the same!

I got back to swimming, after the week off "with the plumber", and spent out more cash on a 20 swim discount card, so I've really committed myself to going now! it takes each swim down to £1.78 a time, good value I think. I'm now up to swimming 8 lengths (sounds good but only 160metres) non stop and then another 20 or so with some rests in between.
The first week of Wimbledon flew by, there have been several seeds knocked out and most of the Brits............ as usual. I've watched a lot on the BBC red button where they seem to have found the money to show more than just one other court which is what's been happening in the last few years. It's nice to be able to choose who to see. One match - a  men's doubles between 2 lesser known Brits(Clarke and Norrie) and two people from somewhere else, was on with no commentary and the fifth set went on and on and on. We are so used to commentators talking all through that it seemed quite strange and then all of a sudden there was a commentator which seemed even odder and then the match quickly finished after 5 hours of play.... 22 to 20 in the final set.....Brits lost, I think they call that commentators curse!

The only charity shop finds during this first week were two more Shirley Hughes books, one for Florence and one for the book basket at home and a Mary Wesley book for me.........Second Fiddle.In one charity shop I saw a little Wedgewood jug in an interesting design but it was £14.99......in a charity shop!

My plan for the weekend - once I've collected the electric sander from son and DIL  (spent ages looking for it before I remembered who had it!) I'll get started on preparing for repainting  the bathroom. Also hope to do another church from the book and visit a car-boot sale too.

Have a Good Weekend folks
Back Monday

Friday, 6 July 2018

July Library Book Photo

A lovely haul of requested books had arrived for me, plenty to keep me busy over the next 4 weeks

Crime written in the past and re-published, new crime but set in the past and  there are several non-fiction which I hope I can concentrate on including two books about books(and reading) which is a favourite genre of mine. There are also a couple of ordinary fiction that I've seen mentioned on blogs and I found the library had a few of the Furrowed Middlebrow publications in stock but the only one I hadn't read was "A Winter Away" by Elizabeth Fair.
So no copy of " The Stopping Places" as mentioned on the Felixstowe Book Festival Post, I shall be picking that up in August.

We had an even hotter day yesterday but a lot of cloud and more humidity, several times it threatened rain but nothing appeared. Instead it was out with the watering can in the evening as usual to do the greenhouse crops, beans and patio pots. One thing that is loving this heat in the greenhouse are the aubergines, there are already some 3 inches long and so many have set this year compared to last year. I shall make up batches of aubergine and tomato pasta sauce to freeze for winter.........one of my favourites.

Thank you for comments and re-assurance yesterday.  I hate forgetting what I'm supposed to be doing but hopefully the fog of grief(lovely description Mary) will clear so I can get more done without wandering about in a blur or spending more time than I want fiddling online.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Seems Like a Good Plan

I saw this on Lovely Grey's Blog, it's from HERE. ( Apologies for pinching the idea for a post!)
I've copied it to print out.


 I don't know anything  about the organisation, but this seemed like a good plan whatever the month.

Contrary to what it might seem like by my blog posts, I've not been gliding through the first 2 months of bereavement without some hitches.
Someone commented that they knew people who had had car accidents after losing a loved one - lack of concentration being the problem and although I haven't crashed the car yet - Touch Wood - some other things have happened that have made me realise how not with-it I've been sometimes. Yesterday I put the water on to fill 2 water butts and meant to come in and set the cooker timer, yep, you guessed ..................didn't put timer on and only remembered the water about an hour later. Expensive.

A few times I've decided what to have for dinner and got something out of the freezer only to forget before evening and have an omelette instead and I have to write even more lists than before just to remember where and what I'm doing every day!

But the worst one was a few weeks ago when I found the gas to the oven was out in the middle of baking and after trying to re-light it with no success I went out to the cylinders and found them both empty. Somehow I had left something turned on low for a couple of days without noticing, no idea how that was possible and had lost 1½ cylinders of gas. Dangerous as well as expensive. I had to fetch  the new spare  cylinder from the workshop and fix it up to finish cooking and then over the next few days had to buy 2 new full ones.

Hopefully my memory will improve as the months pass.

On a different topic, I saw an interesting report on local BBC TV Look East. Ipswich hospital has just merged with Colchester Hospital and they were there talking to Chief Executive and nurses (also part of a feature on 70 years of the NHS) The Chief Executive started in hospital as a Porter......I reckon all top staff should have worked their way up like that. They also said Ipswich  Hospital is one of the safest in the country. Then they were in the children's ward exactly where Youngest Daughter was with Florence last week. Weird coincidence.

And another different thing..........there is a big Fly Past over Buck Palace for HRH next week, celebrating 100 Years of the RAF and after their practice the other day the fighters all flew over here in 3 formations on their way back to their bases in Lincolnshire and Norfolk,  it was very exciting, I thought we were at war and no one had told me! Luckily Pat at Weaver of Grass stopped me worrying!

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Felixstowe Book Festival

Nearly two months ago I picked up the Felixstowe Book Festival programme and wrote about deciding which events to go to HERE but then didn't get round to booking until early June by which time the  Jenni Murray event   was fully booked .

As it's a 45 minute drive it seemed sensible to go to two events while there so in the end I booked up to see Damien Le Bas talking about his book "The Stopping Places".


 Damian is part of a traveller/gypsy family but won a scholarship to Christ's Hospital school and then went onto Oxford where he studied Theology. He grew up hearing his great grandmother's tales of life on the roads and in the  school holidays helped with his families florist business – for several generations they had a pitch in Petersfield market in Hampshire, which was an hour from their home.

 He read from the beginning of his book  about the journeys back and forth to Petersfield in a transit van 
 “daffodils packed squeaky tight and tall green buckets of chrysanthemums, yellow and copper and pink" and "uncles and aunts pointing to flat areas and verges by the roadside: “That was where Bill and they used to stop”, “I can see Granny sat there”, “Leslie’s layby, look, Dee”. These are the stopping places, or, in Romani, “atchin tans” .

The lady he was chatting with (Ros something, can't remember ) asked him about the use of the words "Romany", "Gypsy" and Traveller" and he read more passages from the book and talked about his experiences in the year he spent travelling the country researching for the book. He spoke about the reactions from his extended family to the book and how it's been received by the press and general public.
It was an interesting hour .

I've got the book on order from the library, it might be available for me to collect from the library van this week or I might have to wait until August.

The second event  I booked for was to hear Timothy Bentinck in conversation about his book " Being David Archer And Other Unusual Ways of Earning a Living" ( for readers from elsewhere "The Archers" is the worlds longest-running radio series HERE is the wiki explanation)

In the programme it said he would be chatting with his sister but it wasn't a sister who came onto the platform with Mr Bentinck! (I spent the hour trying to work out who the other bloke was, his voice was familiar. Thankfully there is a photo on the Festival Facebook page and it turns out is was Francis Wheen, who is often on the News Quiz on Radio 4)

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people on stage
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people on stageImage may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people on stage
I grew up listening to  the Archers and sometimes listened to the Sunday compilation  while doing the weeks ironing but haven't listened lately as  nowadays it's too much like any other soap - all tragedy and unhappiness!

It was a very entertaining hour and not much about the Archers at all because recording only takes a few days each month so Mr Bentinck has done many other acting jobs over the years. He was recently awarded the MBE for Services to drama.

When I booked the tickets I didn't know it was going to be a hot and sunny day when traveling wasn't something I really wanted to do.... so it was an effort to make myself put on good clothes and get in the car! But I'm glad I did and actually could have fitted in another talk to see Stephen McGann (the actor who plays the  doctor in "Call The Midwife") talking about his book, instead I filled the gap by walking around a few charity shops and sitting in the venue's gardens with my book.

While I was in the loos washing my hands before the first talk I recognised the voice of another lady there.......BBC Radio Suffolk Broadcaster Leslie Dolphin. I had met her on a couple of occasions in the past in connection with the Suffolk Smallholders Society and I also used to do a very early morning once-a-month 5 minute phone-in with her husband Mark Murphy (also a Radio Suffolk Broadcaster) and once they called into see us at the smallholding on their way to the coast. I said "Hello, you won't recognise me" but when I said who I was she knew, and said she'd read about Colin passing away in the Suffolk Smallholder Newsletter, she  has someone from the Smallholders Society in the studio with her to talk about the society a couple of times a year and she gets a copy of the Newsletter sent to the radio station.

I thought it was funny how three voices heard on radio had featured in my afternoon.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

July Flowers and Replies to Saturdays Post

On my table this week are Cornflowers from the cut flower bed, Golden Feverfew,  Lavender in two different shades of  er.......Lavender, a variegated leafy shrub  that is probably an Euonymus and the leaves from a perennial in the garden that hasn't come into flower yet. It must have been there last year, but I don't remember what flowers it had so I'm not 100% sure.......maybe  Phlox?

Cheering up the living room and making me smile.

There were lots of comments on Saturdays post and apologies for not replying. So here is a big thank you to everyone and answer to Athene - Yes Polly Cat can get "through" the chain fly curtain, there's a couple of inches at the bottom and she sort of puts her nose under and squeezes through. She doesn't really go through the chains and is very wary of the noise they make when I go through - she'll get used to it!
Thank you for the good wishes for Florence, she's now fine. They had 4 nights in hospital and got home Friday afternoon. She had antibiotics and steroids and an inhaler to sort out the chest infection or whatever it was and their local GP had already prescribed an inhaler for her last time she was wheezy. I hope this won't be a too frequent event but a little boy who was 2 years old and in the next bed to Florence has had many trips to hospital with the same symptoms since his first time. So Youngest may need to keep a bag packed! They've got the most wonderful playroom and outdoor play area at the hospital, so Florence was easy to amuse once she was well enough to trot around the ward, not so easy for Youngest daughter on the first day when Florence was confined to her cot on oxygen.
The plumber got the shower done, he was quite a good bloke really, just the company not good at telling me what was happening. Now I need to give the room a coat of paint (but not until Wimbledon is finished). I'll be contacting them again for the next phase which is taking the horrible old shower cubicle out of the bedroom and replacing it with a corner bath. Both the bathroom floor and the corner of the bedroom will need new flooring - vinyl type stuff, which will need sorting out before the bath is installed. Then my plan, after decorating the bedroom is to get an old fashioned four-fold screen to stand in front of the bath. In this way when I come to  sell the house sometime it will have more than just the one shower for a 4 bed house, and a bath behind a screen won't be such an eye-sore as the big shower enclosure.
I've got used to the ride on mower now. I often used one to cut the campsite at the smallholding way back, before we expanded it and Col got a mower for the back of the tractor, but that was just a big square field and the garden is a bit more fiddly to get round - only one near collision (with the cold-frame) so far!
How lovely to hear from Lynney in Illinois who will be up early to watch Wimbledon over the next two weeks, really good to share a  TV programme across the pond 😊

And finally - I had to find some positivity  or it would have been a Really Depressing Post!

Back Tomorrow

PS Coming home from swimming yesterday with Radio 2 on and there was the doctor on the Jeremy Vine programme talking about the diseases that you can get from swimming pools! I turned it off PDQ

Monday, 2 July 2018

July Days

 These are two of the July  pages from the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. Note the Bee-Orchid on the left hand page........just like the one I found in the cut-flower garden.


 July is named in honour of Julius Caesar, July usually contains some good hot days and these are sometimes referred to as Dog Days. At this time of year Sirius, the dog star, rises at the same time as the sun and was thought by the ancient Romans to give the sun extra heat.

From the poem by Sara Coleridge..........

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.

Gillyflower is an old name that seems to have been given to a whole group of fragrant flowers in the 14th-16th centuries. One definition says that the name means 'July flowers', derived from the French, juillet , (jillyflowers) This would make sense as French was the language of the Royal Court and was widely spoken. As time passed the name was used for mainly just for Pinks, forerunners of Carnations and the 'clove gillyflower' was Dianthus caryophyllus.

Another lovely page of illustrations, this time  from the Illustrated Country Year by Celia Lewin. This highlights the importance of stinging nettles for butterflies.

 July 15th is St Swithin's Day and everyone knows about the weather on that day being the same for the next 40 days......supposedly!

St Swithin's Day, if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain.
St Swithin's Day, if thou be fair
For forty days, twill rain no more.

There was also a belief about the ripening of apples. It was thought that if it rained on the 15th the Saint was christening the apples and there would be a good harvest. In many areas no one would eat an apple before this day but after the 15th windfall apples could be used for jam making.

There is a total lunar eclipse on the 27th between 8.45pm and 9.30pm. A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth is between the moon and the sun, casting a shadow across the moon. Full lunar eclipses are sometimes called 'blood-moons' because the moon takes on shades of red and orange.

Many thanks for comments on Saturday, I will answer the questions on tomorrows post - promise.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Last Week of June

What a week.

Dentist - expensive
Back there in 4 weeks
The antibiotics make me feel queasy.
Missed a WI quiz night.
Grand daughter in hospital, 4 nights in because although she was
OK during the day, her Oxygen levels keep dropping at night
Daughter had to cope there on her own
Her OH away working for 2 weeks - not even home for the weekend.
Friends take her clothes, walk her dog and help out
I took new clothes and nappies for Florence after the plumber had gone

Very Hot
No Rain
Fruit and veg looking sad
Plumber sorting bathroom, fitting walk in shower to replace huge ugly bath
A leak somewhere in bathroom
Puddle on floor in kitchen
Water travels downhill, hidden behind boxed-in pipes
Ants invading the kitchen again
  Stuck at home because of the plumber.
Thursday........no plumber - waiting for delivery of the shower wall, wish they'd let me know
No swimming all week

Missed Colin so much this week.
Everyone else is back to normal
I'm not


How lucky there were some spare tiles in the garage to match those in the bathroom
Made 3 tiny jars of redcurrant jelly from ¾lb redcurrants
Put some courgettes and mange-tout peas in the freezer
An abundance of cucumbers
Lovely green beans
Got the washing dry easily
Watched some of the Wimbledon tennis qualifying games
Read lots more crime fiction
Watched some football
Brother in law fixed up chain fly curtain
I cut the grass down the footpath with the ride-on mower and round the garden too, it might not need doing again for a while if it stays dry.
Made some buns and a sponge to pop in the freezer.
Lovely colours in the corner
My view from the kitchen window

Onward into July
And Wimbledon starts Monday

Thank you everyone for kind comments

Back Monday
Have a great weekend

Friday, 29 June 2018

In Memory

This is what Eldest daughter did between Colin passing away and the funeral.

She took all the photo albums and a big box of photos and scanned some into her computer, printed out  and arranged them on free standing boards to display after the funeral.

A wonderful tribute, but I'm not quite sure what to do with them now, I have all the original photos but they look so good displayed, just a bit big to keep easily.

Something else I have done is to get a Memory Box for photos and the cards people sent and other bits and pieces for the Grandchildren to look at in the future. This was suggested to me by husband of friend who was a Cruse bereavement counselor. It will keep everything together.

We had immediate family flowers only so there were 4 wreaths on Col's coffin. One was later put on his Mum's grave, one on his Nanna and Grandad's grave and I took one to my real dad's grave in the old part of Stowmarket cemetery.
My Dad was killed in a road accident just a few months before I was born. His grave is neglected and so is that area of the cemetery. The flowers were already looking very sad, and I pulled out some dead ones. I don't think there are many people left who would remember my dad. I ought to look after the grave now I'm back in the area.

The final wreath of roses is still here........... fading away.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday, 28 June 2018

St Mary's Church Battisford

Went shopping in Stowmarket and took a detour home to visit another church from the book  (100 treasures in 100 Suffolk churches)

  Another tiny church from the 12th Century tucked away in a very quiet village a few miles from Stowmarket. This part of Suffolk is close to where my Dad, Step Dad and Auntie were brought up and where their uncle and cousin lived. We were often taken to visit Great Uncle George and Aunt Nellie, somewhere in the village but not sure where. Age 7, I was a bridesmaid to their daughter when she married but I don't think it was at this church.

 This porch was full of leaves and the door had no handle so I thought I wasn't going to be able to get in but found a small back door unlocked.

The main point of interest in the church is the 18th Century musicians gallery across the west end of the church.

 The book says

 " it is one of few remaining that sprung up after many pipe organs were destroyed by Cromwell's Puritans and there was little to relieve the tedium of long services and sermons. 
The West Gallery Music Association claims this tradition came out of of a desire of parishioneers around the late 17th century to do more than sit in dull silence at the point where the psalm may be sung or said and soon great hymn writers such as thee Wesleys were inspiring village musicians all over the country, The locals would lead the congregation and, at Battisford, Fredd Mudd made stringed instruments using local wood and homemade tools. A wind instrument known as a Serpent was also played here and is now housed in the museum at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich. 

There is a small organ in the church now

 The font cover was presented to the church in 1967  to commemorate the presence of the Knights Hospitallers of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in the village.

The knights held a half interest in the church in the 12th Century ( info from the book, not sure exactly what that means).

Most of the windows are stained glass, but very pale patterns rather than pictures and they don't show up at all on my photos.

More details HERE on the Suffolk Churches website and if I'd read this first I would have found the way in easier and would have looked out for the other things mentioned.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A Very Small First Harvest

First raspberries
First Mange-Tout Peas

For a bigger harvest with enough to eat and freeze the garden needs rain. According to the weather lady on local TV June rainfall is under 10% of average, almost a drought. I can't remember when it last rained here.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday, 26 June 2018


The plan was ................the plumbers would be here, taking the bath out of the bathroom and preparing to replace it with a shower. I would be busy doing something, then later I would be out at the East Suffolk  WI Summer Quiz evening.

What actually happened...................The filling that I had 4 weeks ago suddenly caused pain on Sunday and before very long I had a swollen jaw so I rang dentist first thing and arranged to go in between other patients for the dentist to look. The plumbers were late arriving so I had to organise them before I could get to the dentist.
After 3 injections to numb the gum he managed to take out the filling without me yelling and packed in some anti-biotics and gave me tablets too. I have to go back in 4 weeks for root canal/nerve thingy, Very Expensive but no choice.

Home again, feeling as though I'd been kicked in the teeth by something large and a phone call from youngest daughter who is in hospital with Florence -  taken to hospital early hours of morning when she (Florence) was struggling to breathe. She has been admitted - seems to be asthma - although they don't call it that for small children apparently. Terrible phone connection so I didn't find out how youngest and Florence will get home tomorrow or if they need me there to help as Youngest's OH is supposed to be working away all week. ( Florence is OK with help from nebulizer)

Meanwhile the plumbers are making a channel for the pipes down the wall with something that sounds like a Extra Large Dentist drill!

Ring sister-in-law and apologise  to say that I can't do quiz as I don't know how much pain I shall be in when anesthetic wears off and swollen jaw is affecting talking and I may need to go to Ipswich Hospital to help Youngest Daughter. WI were already one short for the quiz team as one lady has gone off to Wales to see a brand new grandchild. Oh dear.

Why does everything happen all at once?

Back Tomorrow

(PS. I'm sure I should have commission from Amazon with everyone pre-ordering that new Shirley Hughes book!)

Monday, 25 June 2018

Haughley Open Gardens

Son and DIL moved to this village in February and it's a village I know well having spent many evenings here either at youth club or hanging around in the bus shelter - as you do - aged 14!

I drove over so we could walk around the Open Gardens, many tucked away behind houses and not often seen.There were 14 gardens open and Willow slept her way around 9 so after 10 we went home for her feed.

Just a few photos. Colourful corner
Garden behind one of the Big Houses of the village
Lovely little pond in another garden

Son asked about this porch on the front of a house, (sorry I had sunglasses on so didn't realise I'd caught the sun in the photo)
it has very old carvings and the owner said the story is that it came to this house in the 18th century when a manor house in nearby village of Westhorpe  was destroyed. Looking online for more details of the history of Westhorpe Hall I found the following.

Westhorpe Hall was a manor house in Westhorpe, Suffolk, England.
Westhorpe Hall was the residence of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk and of Princess Mary Tudor (daughter of King Henry VII and sister of King Henry VIII), a love match and second marriage for Mary and third marriage for Charles. He was previously married to the wealthy widow Margaret Neville, and then Anne Browne, mother to Charles's two eldest daughters, Anne Brandon and Mary Brandon. There, they raised their children, Frances (mother of Lady Jane Grey), Eleanor, and Henry Brandon, 1st Earl of Lincoln. Princess Mary Tudor died at Westhorpe Hall where her body was embalmed and held in state for three weeks.[1]
When the house was being demolished in the late 1760s, the site was visited by the antiquarian Thomas Martin of Palgrave:
"I went to see the dismal ruins of Westhorpe Hall, formerly the seat of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. The workmen are now pulling it down as fast as may be, in a very careless and injudicious manner. The coping bricks, battlements and many other ornamental pieces, are made of earth, and burnt hard, as fresh as when first built. They might, with care, have been taken down whole, but all the fine chimnies, and ornaments were pulled down with ropes, and crushed to pieces in a most shameful manner. There was a monstrous figure of Hercules sitting cross legged with his club, and a lion beside him, but all shattered in pieces. The painted glass is likely to share the same fate. The timber is fresh and sound, and the building, which was very lofty, stood as when it was first built. It is a pity that care is not taken to preserve some few of our ancient fabrics."[2]

So maybe this little bit was rescued and brought the 5 miles to Haughley to add to the front of this ordinary house in the street and who knows how many Lord, Ladies or Queens have walked through it!

On our way round we managed to call in at the village hall where the WI were serving tea and huge slices of chocolate cake or scones and jam, and very nice it was too.

I forgot to take a photo of sleeping Willow on Saturday but  managed to snap Florence with her Daddy when the family called in for a quick visit. She just Loves books, preferably 2 or 3 at a time, she likes  turning the pages and looking for dogs, cats, ducks or babies. Always plenty to look at in these lovely Shirley Hughes books which her Mummy liked too all those years ago.

This post was going to finish here, but then I got sidetracked into googling Shirley Hughes, she's still alive - aged 90! She has written and illustrated more than 50 books which have  sold 11.5 million copies - Amazing. As well as that she has also illustrated many books by other authors.

 I can't think  how it happened (!) but I seem to have pre-ordered a new book coming out in October,

Back Tomorrow
Thank you to everyone for all the interesting and lovely comments on Saturday's post, apologies for not replying to them all. Also Many Many Thanks to everyone who clicked the follower button and made the numbers go up and up. Big welcome to you all. Margaret asked why be a follower and what being a follower means and why is it important? And I have to say  it isn't important at all and I have no idea what it means apart from it showing up when someone goes into a profile.
But I get childishly excited by seeing the numbers creep up.......

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Another Week Passes

I found 2lb of last years strawberries in the freezer and Brother-in-law brought more from his garden at the weekend (and I have enough of my own to have some everyday for a few more days) so I made some strawberry jam, chucked in the half pound of gooseberries that were all I rescued from the 2 new gooseberry bushes (ruined by ants I think) to help it set and a packet of pectin too, just to be sure. I don't eat much jam, brother-in-law is now diabetic so can't eat it - I'll take some with me when I go anywhere and give it all away.

Then swimming. 4 lengths straight off (it's a small pool so that's only 80 metres!) and then about another 15 lengths with rests quite often. The 32 lengths without stopping I used to do years ago will be 40 lengths here and a long time away I think.

Home again and the first thing I noticed at the end of the lane was some cardboard boxes and a bin bag near the workshop door. "Surely not fly-tipping right up here!" was my first thought and then saw they were full of wood-off cuts, some bits my sister and BIL didn't want to store for winter. They were quickly chucked on the massive heap in the wood-shed. Winter alone but warm!

Time for lunch and the week of Queens Club Tennis started at 1pm on BBC2. The signal for me to get out some  cross-stitch and settle down to watch.

England Football in the evening. Whoop! they played until the end and won.

Tuesday -
A drive from Mid Suffolk to near the coast to see youngest and Florence. Took strawberries and jam. We had a walk round the charity shops. Lots of shops closing or moving in Leiston. The town needs Sizewell C Power Station to be built but from the health and safety point of view the people don't need it. Youngest said the last Building Society in the town - which closed a year ago will be opening as a charity shop soon. Just Barclays Bank left for all the businesses to use.
I had a Co-op voucher for Subway BOGOF so we had one each for lunch. I don't really get Subway.............it's just  a bread roll with a choose-you-own filling! but almost every Co-op in Suffolk has a Subway concession in it now, so perhaps it's a way to keep the East of England Co-ops running and young people seem to like them. (That makes me sound old!)

Home and a card through the door "We tried to deliver a parcel, you can collect from Debenham Post Office" - Bother, just drove through there on the way home.

Sat out in the sun and read for a while then it clouded up so in to watch tennis. Andy Murray back after a year off for hip surgery. He looked good for two sets but faded at the end. Britain's new number one - Kyle Edmund won his match, he has come on well over the last two years.

Decided to have a fight with the front path. The slabs are two feet wide but the grass had overgrown them so much that there was only a few inches of slab to be seen in places. Didn't take too long with the lawn edger spade and a bit of tugging to clear the path. One slab was a bit on the huh (as we say in Suffolk) potential "Trip Hazard", so I levered it up with a draining shovel  (the only bit of school physics that has come in useful in life was learning about levers!) and found big roots of something underneath, got rid of them and it still wasn't flat, repeat two or three times until it's level but a bit rocky. Oh well - best I can do, at least there's nothing for the postman to trip over.
The darker bit down the middle was all that was visible before I got busy with the edger spade

Afternoon to the dreaded dentist, for a big filling to rebuild the tooth that broke. It might not work for long and I've still got toothache from the filling he did a month ago although he said it looked OK, I may have to go back for a root canal thing on it if it doesn't stop aching. Oh Joy Unbounded!

Picked up the parcel - it's a fly screen for the back door, made of chains but I seem to have bought industrial quality as it weighs a ton so I'm going to need help with the fixings -Bother. I need to master the art of using a drill, I'm OK with using it as a screwdriver but never got the chance to try drilling holes.

Longest day or to be precise longest daylight hours. Forgot to do a Summer Solstice post - must remember - Next Year.
Absolutely Freezing cold North wind this morning. Had to get out of bed and pull in the windows during the night. It doesn't seem like June at all, I put a hat on when I went out early to fill the bird feeders - woolly hat in June - ridiculous!
At home all day, the on and off toothache was worse, probably aggravated due to the scale and polish he did, at least I hope that's the reason.

Vegetable Garden Harvest today

First French climbing beans and  courgettes. It's always best to cut the first courgettes when they are very small as that helps the plant to grow stronger - same with cucumbers, in fact I always pinch off the very tiny cucs when they first appear and don't let any grow to full size until the plant has really got going. Although saying that, I have 3 plants this year so did the above with 2 but let the third keep going with it's first fruit.

 I needed CAKE! Preferably with cream and the new strawberry jam so made a mini sponge as I only had 2 eggs left.

Rang to check the work in bathroom will start next week....... taking out bath to replace with shower. That's the first part. Then they'll take the grotty shower out of the bedroom and I'll see what's underneath it. May need new carpet, may put a small bath in the bedroom instead, might not!

Rang a local man who advertises in the Parish Magazine to get him to come  for ideas and quote for new kitchen units.They are 1970's or 80's mock wood, kick boards missing, a draw front missing and generally old and tired.

Tennis again, Oh dear Kyle Edmund knocked out by the same bloke who knocked out Andy M. The commentators keep saying how entertaining Australian Nick Kyrgios  is but although he played brilliantly today with loads of un-returnable first serves, I find his on-court antics a bit childish and his swearing isn't necessary either, and I know that's sounds like I'm too prim and proper but I really don't understand the need for constant efffffing!

 First cucumber and last of the strawberries - due to lack of rain the plants have flagged. It's too far down the garden to water them and with a water meter I'm wary of using the hosepipe too often.

Out shopping to Stowmarket. Quite quiet in town for a Friday morning..........except in the bank........always a long queue there. Bought myself a new pair of shorts AND trousers in M&Co - a very, very rare event. Some of my shorts are so old they are falling apart- despite mending. Now I can ditch the worst and I needed a pair of lightweight trousers, now that I'm out at things like WI in the summer months.

A gloriously sunny afternoon but the wind from the North is keeping temperatures down here so no good for sitting out ............. Tennis on TV instead  and Nick Kyrgios again,( serving aces like crazy and not so much mucking about) and more stitching but with so much time fiddling about on the blog it's not growing very quickly .................."it" being a Christmas card for a small person.

 So that's another week  gone, and that's what I did to fill my time, sometimes I feel I'm still waiting for Col to come home other times I'm OK........mostly OK.

Many thanks to everyone who clicked the follower button. I'm so easily made happy by seeing the numbers go up! and thanks for comments too.

Back Monday - Have a Good Weekend.