Monday 30 April 2018

April Thrifty Bits

Last day of the month........ was it a thrifty April?

Printed out a £2.98 Asda Price guarantee ever!
Bought 4 Epson ink cartridges for our old printer via a person on Ebay rather than a company...... saved £30!
Sold small box of books via Ziffit = £10
Sold the beach more expenses in that direction, sad, but a relief.
Collected half a roof-rack  full of large bits of wood when we took keys and collected cheque for beach hut (the people are doing a big re-furb on their house and had a garden full of stuff awaiting a skip)
Load of pallets and other bits of wood from a neighbour- cut and stored for next winter.
Took food and a flask to Addenbrookes hospital each time.
Ran cold water into jug while waiting for the hot to appear. Used jugs to flush loo.
Water-butt from car-boot sale for £1.
Eating our own Rhubarb and Purple Sprouting broccoli from the garden and mangetout peas from the freezer.
Clothes for Florence from car boot sale for £2.50
Books for grandchildren from car-boot sale£2.50
Brother-in-law came to split loads of logs ready for the winter.
Printed a £1.10p Asda Price guarantee voucher.
Picked up box of twiggy bits from the meadow to dry for kindling

The spendy bits
Got a window cleaner to do the  windows.........first time ever in  43 years of house ownership........9 big windows and he charged £20, seemed well worth it to me. Spurred me on to do the insides........nice clean windows are a treat!

500 litres of heating oil delivered £286. I'll get more in the summer when the price goes down........ I hope the price goes down in the summer. (equivalent amount last May was £206)

Paid TV licence £150.50p ( I don't  begrudge this........ we get our moneys worth, when you are poorly TV is very helpful)

Had repair done to a thermostat thingy on hot water tank (we'd been having 1 minute-before-the-water-cooled-down showers for the last month!) A Very Expensive job...... £322.

Dentist, first installment and then more in May.............. it's going to be HOW MUCH?!

4 diesel fill-ups this month..... that's over £100.

Thanks to the beach hut sale income was a LOT more than outgoings!

There are still big expenses to come later this year when we get the water pipes upgraded down the lane (although the costs will be shared by the other home owners - thank goodness new next door neighbours are more willing to fork out for work than the old ones were) and get the ridiculous huge bath replaced with a shower and the shower removed from the bedroom.

So I'll carry on being thrifty where I can.

Have a good out for WEATHER!
Here's the warning from the BBC Weather's a YELLOW one!

Weather Warning

Issued by the Met Office YELLOW WARNING OF RAIN for East Midlands, East of England, London & South East England, Yorkshire & Humber
Updated 27 April at 1028 BST
Valid from 2100 BST on Sun 29 April to 2359 BST on Mon 30 April
Headline: Heavy rain is likely to affect much of eastern, southeastern and central England on Sunday night and Monday along with strong winds.
What To Expect: Spray and flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures.
Where flooding occurs, there is a slight chance of delays or cancellations to train and bus services.
There is a small chance that homes and businesses could be flooded, causing damage to some buildings.
Heavy rain is likely to reach southeast England and parts of East Anglia later on Sunday then spread further north and west overnight, probably reaching much of eastern, central and southern England by Monday morning. The rain is expected to last for much of Monday. Although it is unclear how far west the heaviest rain will extend, accumulations of 25-40 mm could occur quite widely with perhaps 50-70 mm in places during this period. The heavy rain will be accompanied by strong to gale force northerly winds and it may be cold enough to produce some snow on high ground although this seems unlikely to settle..
This warning has been updated to extend it further north and west across England

Oh lovely!

Thank you for all the comments about our week and welcome to new followers

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Saturday 28 April 2018

A Week Flies By

It's been a busy week, rushing toward the end of April. Good thing my posts have been short or pre-prepared.
 Monday morning Col had a hour of being well enough so that we were able to finish cutting a pile of odd bits of scrap-wood to add the the wood shed but since then he has been really rough. Mainly due to not being able to eat much because of the sore mouth then add in new chemo tablets and antibiotics for the chesty cough and a tablet mixture destined to make anyone feel sick and tired.
On Monday night I bit a piece of chocolate that had been in the fridge and broke a tooth.Serves me right for being greedy! Luckily the tooth is the only one that has had root canal done so it doesn't hurt at all.

 Tuesday I took the bundle of boot-sale summer clothes over to Florence. Her mummy thought it very funny as I unpacked each item and showed them to Florence....."Pink top?", "Stripey shorts?", Flowery top?"
She nodded at some but shock her curls at others! Then she got busy moving the pile of clothes from table to chair and then back to table again....... easily entertained.
After that we settled down with two books - also boot sale treasures. She does like a new book to look at.
Here is our poppet enjoying a small piece of fruit tea bread - she eats anything and everything, easily fed too!

 Wednesday morning we went to Stowmarket and I dropped Col off at the solicitors to meet his brother and sister. They are doing more to sort out his Dad's will. His Dad died last July and it's taking an age to sort. While he was there I rushed round Asda for shopping. The lady on the till said have you got your car-park voucher? and I realised I'd forgotten to put money in the machine!........thank heavens no parking attendant had been round and given me a fine.......phew .....lucky escape.
Once home I then had to go out again to the dentist, luckily they'd had a cancellation so I could have a check up and he could sort out what to do with the broken tooth. EXPENSIVE is the answer to that one. I will try and find an NHS dentist again after I've had this course of treatment but I'm not hopeful, it could mean  traveling miles which seems silly.
Wednesday afternoon was housework

 Thursday the sun was shining but the wind was cutting. I got all the wild flower modules planted on the meadow, weeded the asparagus bed, planted the rest of the sunflowers, sorted out the things in the greenhouse - 3 courgettes seedlings have appeared at last, re-potted my Lemon and Calamondin plants (can't call them trees yet as they are only 18 inches tall). I used multi purpose compost but have a nasty feeling I should have got some special compost for citrus.
Then I put compost on the bit of the cut flower garden where the sweet peas will go and forked it in.
The afternoon was cross stitching.....finished a Christmas card for a small person.

 Friday and we were away early to Addenbrookes hospital. Once again Col was put in a little side room to wait and when I eventually tracked him down (I'd dropped him off and gone and parked) I found him laying on an examination couch  - half asleep. Three hours later we saw doctors and the nutritionist. She found him lots of high calorie juice drinks and milk shake mixes to make up for the calories he's not eating. News from doctor isn't good but we've decided to go ahead with the Photopheresis treatment which may help the Graft verses Host disease that's causing the mouth ulcers. So two consecutive days at Addenbrookes soon. Slow traffic and a lot of rain all the way home and it looks as if we are in for several wet days.

Have a good weekend everyone
Back Monday

Friday 27 April 2018

Book Review

I've recently finished the second in a series by Rory Clements. What a good writer he is.

book cover of Nucleus

Set in 1939 in Cambridge and Germany on the eve of war and featuring  the American History Professor Tom Wilde and his friend and neighbour Lydia Morris.

Tom Wilde, a History Professor at a Cambridge College has been lecturing and visiting his mother in the USA and  finds himself invited to the Oval Office to meet President Roosevelt and a member of the War Office. Wilde is asked what he knows about the science behind atomic fission and then asked to find out from his colleagues in Cambridge how far they have got in preparing a possible  bomb  and report back . In Germany there are people doing exactly the same - the USA wants to know who is nearest to making this deadly weapon.
He returns to his university in Cambridge to find Lydia, a Quaker, is in London assisting with the housing of the Jewish children who are hurriedly being moved from Germany to safety in Britain following the events of Kristallnacht 7 months earlier.

This is a fast paced book moving from the rich and famous partying at their country house to the scientists closeted in the laboratories and then to Germany where no-one is safe from the Nazis and anyone could be a spy. Add in the IRA who are bombing targets in Britain to destabilize the government, people who are not what they seem, the beautiful buildings and colleges of Cambridge  and you have a fascinating story.

To remind myself about the characters and story line I re-read "Corpus", the first book about Prof. Wilde, just before this new one arrived from the library. Now I shall look forward to the third which hopefully will be published next year.

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Thursday 26 April 2018

What Became of the Cut Flower Garden?

Last summer when we had 4 wooden posts left after taking down the eyesore-at-the-bottom-of-the-garden, Col made me a mini Cut Flower Garden.
The plan was to have 4 quarters.....1 with tulips, 1 with Alstromeria, 1 with annuals and one with something else.
I ordered some "Florists Favourites" tulip bulbs and Alstromeria plants from a garden catalogue and some Monarda (or Bergamot) from ebay, and picked up loads of cheap flower seeds from a car boot-sale.
The tulips are gorgeous, I've had two vases full indoors already.

 Col raked in the flowers seed - mainly Cornflower and Corn Cockle a couple of weeks ago. Some have appeared.

 But after the bed had been snowed on,frozen, rained on, dug up by the cat and walked over by ducks and pheasants(on their way between bird feeders, where they sit and wait for crumbs to drop) this is all that's left of the 6 Alstromeria plants. That tiny little green bit ought to be a big clump or even one of 6 big clumps.

And as for the Monarda - vanished - dead- kaput! They didn't look good when they arrived and didn't last very long at all . Serves me right for ordering cheap stuff off ebay

So the posts in the corners are ready for a bit of wire netting to make a fence to keep the wildlife off. I've sent for some more plants and there are lots of sweet pea plants growing slowly in the greenhouse ready for the 4th quarter.

By hook or by crook I hope to have  more flowers to cut later in the year.

Thank you for comments yesterday, apologies for not replying I'm having a busy week

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Wednesday 25 April 2018

Worlingworth Church

The next church visited out of the 100 in the book was Worlingworth . The village is about 8 miles from us. We went there on Saturday morning because  a coffee morning was being held in the village hall  to raise money for Addenbrookes Hospital. A fund  was set up 9 years ago when a young man died from a brain tumour at only 32 years of age. We had lived close to the family in Bacton during the 1980's, he was in my cub-pack and his parents are members of the chapel where Col's Dad went.
( People always say "never go back", but coming back to Mid Suffolk  has enabled us to meet up with people we've not seen for many years).

(and why do all my photos taken of high up things look as if I was drunk in charge of camera?!)

 Worlingworth church is another Suffolk church dedicated to St Mary, this dates from the 15th Century.

 The font cover at Worlingworth is even more impressive than the one we saw at Mendlesham, taller and painted too.

 The box pews date from 1630

and the hammerbeam roof spans the entire width of the church.

I love the old fire engine, standing in the corner and dating from 1670. Possibly last used on Guy Fawkes Night in 1927

That large piece of wood leaning against the wall just to the left of the engine is a wooden spit used to roast an ox in 1810 when the village held a Great Feast to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of King George III. There is a large painting of this celebration on the wall of the church.
Because of the reflected light the photo isn't good. No one knows who painted this, perhaps an itinerant  Italian artist.

Then in 2002 the village held a Great Feast  to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee, and two parishioners commissioned  Lowestoft artist John Reay to paint another large picture - this is part of it.
( I think I prefer the traditional painting of 1810!)

Below is a ledger stone memorial in the floor by the font to Susanna Barker,  who died aged 44 in  1622 it says she was Religious, Chaste, Discreet and Loving

Most of the windows are plain glass but these bits of stained glass are at the top of the window over the altar.

Another quick peep inside a Suffolk Church.

Thanks for comments on gorgeous Granddaughter post yesterday. 

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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Meeting Our New Granddaughter

Son and Daughter in Law brought 6 day old Willow Rose over to see us.

 We saw her but she was busy sleeping and then feeding and then having another nap!

She has lovely dark hair so I'm hoping she might be the only person in the family so far to have inherited my black hair.

For the third time Nanna Sue and Grandad Col are besotted with a new Grandchild!
Later in the day we had a Skype chat with Grandson Jacob in Surrey now coming up for 2 years old, how quickly they grow up! Hopefully we'll get to see granddaughter Florence this week too, she's now 1½.
I can see mayhem ahead in a few years time, with 3 grandchildren zooming round the house together!

Thank you for kind comments yesterday.

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Monday 23 April 2018

A New Phase

We had a VERY long day at Addenbrookes hospital on Friday.

But there was a reason for it and sadly the outcome isn't wonderful.

The Doctors have moved Col onto a new phase of treatment.......that is keeping him as well as possible for as long as possible.

We knew that that Mantle Cell Non Hodgkins Lymphoma is one of the most aggressive types of cancer...........treatable but not curable is what they said right at the start, and none of the options he has had have worked so far, so the change to a more palliative form of care wasn't a surprise.

I'm mentioning this here because that's what's happening and plan to keep blogging because I want everything to be as normal as possible so no histrionics and wailing and gnashing of teeth will be seen here!

(and none in comments please)

So normality this weekend just gone was a short trip out on Saturday morning, an extremely busy morning on Sunday when Col's brother came with his Heath Robinson log splitter (pictured here in March last year) and split about a ton of logs which are now safely stored in the shed and in builders bags...... Winter 2018/19 sorted and probably a good bit of 2019/20 too. A cooked dinner for 4 people ( Col's sister came too) and an afternoon with baby cuddles tomorrow. Then an evening of recovering!

Welcome to even more followers, happy to see you, hope you enjoy my scribblings from a cottage in Suffolk

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Saturday 21 April 2018

Gardening Mojo

Every March I get worried that my love of growing food has gone. I really don't want to go outside and fiddle about with pots and compost.
Usually I get up just enough enthusiasm to start with tomatoes as they are so easy and never let me down and always, by the time they've got big enough to pot on my mojo has returned.

This year has been the same, thank goodness the sunshine arrived just in time, and at last I was out there before 7.30 on Thursday morning weeding the bit where the climbing French beans will go.
The second-early potatoes have gone in and first-earlies earthed up. I've emptied a compost bin onto the bean/pea bed and Col has sown beetroot.
For the greenhouse........... the sweet-pointy peppers and aubergine seedlings have been transferred into bigger pots and I have 2 cucumber plants keeled over and all the tomatoes are looking good.

Now for a busy weekend  with mangetout peas and sunflowers and other garden  things.

Have a good weekend
Back Monday

Friday 20 April 2018

A Charm of Goldfinches and...............

 a trio of there a collective noun for Siskins?

The male Siskin isn't as yellow as a Yellow Hammer and has a black head. We have a pair of Yellow hammers visiting too, they are ground feeders so we don't notice them so easily from the windows.

Always something to see on or under the feeders and on the 16th I spotted the first Swallow of the year passing by, but until I see another I'll not believe I actually saw it!

Thanks for comments yesterday and welcome to some more new followers.......... Hello, hope you enjoy reading.

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Thursday 19 April 2018

Mendlesham Church

Remember I was short of ideas for blog posts?

I have a cunning plan..............thanks to this book, which has been on my shelves for several years.
It features interesting things from 100 churches all round Suffolk. We'll start with those closest to home.
Last week when we were out we had to come home via  MENDLESHAM  to pick up tablets from our doctors surgery, it seemed an ideal opportunity to stop at the church for a few minutes and find the things mentioned in the book.

The place-name 'Mendlesham' is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as Melnesham and Mundlesham. The name means 'Myndel's village'.
St Mary's Mendlesham

 First........... The Font cover made by a local man called John Turner in 1630. In the 19th century it fell into disrepair and was removed to the clock chamber where it stayed until it was repaired and put back over the font in 1908.

The same man carved the pulpit, I like the old stone steps, worn away by the feet of dozens of vicars

This carving on a pew-end shows a dragon biting his curled tail, a symbol of infinity. 

The book doesn't mention that  a room above the porch.......

  originally a priest’s room, contains a unique armoury - “the most complete armoury of any English parish church”. As well as the parish collection of armour, assembled at the time of the Armada, it contains part of an Elizabethan longbow, several parish chests, a ‘Vinegar’ Bible and other artifacts. It is open on the afternoon of the first bank holiday in May.

The man who is Vicar there has been there forever...........(well not quite.... but certainly since we lived in the area back in the 1980's). It's High Church with incense and all the trimmings  so more RC than C of E (More about Anglo-Catholic church HERE ) and they reject the ordination of Women. 
One of our neighbours where we used to live in the 1980's became a devout member of this church but only for a few years so her son (same age as our eldest) could get a free scholarship to a private RC school! talk about working the system!

1 Church down 99 to go!

Thank you for all the comments welcoming Willow Rose to the world. I hope these colds go so we can see her soon and we've also had to miss seeing Florence this week too. Wish someone had cured the common cold years ago!
Willow and I aren't the only shared birthdays in the family. Our Youngest shares her birthday with Col's sister and Florence shares her birthday with our nephew. 

And is it any wonder we talk about the weather a lot in this country when it goes from chilly....... needing a fire all day to well over  20 degrees C in the space of a couple of days!

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Wednesday 18 April 2018

No Problem Remembering This Birthday!

 Monday was my 63rd birthday and during the morning with very good timing our daughter-in-law produced our 3rd grandchild.
Welcome to the world Willow Rose.............. our second grand-daughter.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sleeping, baby and closeup

New Mum, Dad and baby all fine.

We've not seen her yet as both of us went down with nasty colds over last weekend but hopefully  we'll be able to say hello very soon.

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Tuesday 17 April 2018

Wood for Next Winter

 We've got through a lot of wood this year.....the long cold spring and Colin needing warmth to get better after the hospital stay has really eaten into the heap, so while he is feeling well enough - which might not be the case all year - we've been cutting some wood ready for next winter.

 Two builders bags full inside the wood shed, plus some small stuff just inside on the right, but a great big empty space in between.

Now we need Col's brother to bring the log splitter over to split the big bits of Ash on the left of the shed and the large chunks of a dead Walnut on the right of the picture which next-door-but-one neighbour brought round last weekend. He also brought some more wood pallets

 and some chunks left over from his work as a landscape gardener. The pallets are leaning up against the workshop to dry out as they had been laying out in all that rain over Easter. Colin is splitting the chunks with an axe.
At the back of the huge heap above is willow and poplar for the following winter.

Getting wood stored for winter is very reassuring.

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Monday 16 April 2018

Clothes For Florence and Other Finds

Our youngest was given a ton of clothes for Florence when she was small, friends passed on bags full of all sorts but the other day she found that she'd got virtually nothing for this summer. So I said I'd look out for some bits at the next car boot and luckily found some tee-shirts, shorts and a couple of dresses for her, 11 items should boost her wardrobe a bit and all for £2.50, which is what charity shops charge nowadays for just one thing.
My other finds at last Saturdays HUGE Saturday boot sale were a new photo album for 50p, a jar for my herb shelf for 40p (I'm gradually replacing the jam jars that held herbs with smaller kilner or similar), a tool carrier full of plastic tools was £1, that's  for Jacob (unless he's already got some already in which case I'll hang onto them for Florence or Grandchild # 3).

And somehow another small pretty jug was acquired!

Walking around the huge car-boot sale and looking at all the tables loaded down with STUFF makes me realise how few things we actually need. Was the photo album a need?..........well the one I had is full and I want to be able to save a few photos of our grandchildren. The kilner jar? No not really, the herbs are fine in jam jars. The clothes - yes certainly, the toys....well who knows? But the jug was simply a want, so it was lucky it was only 50p.
But then, when you start to think about it, 50p is a lot of money in some parts of the world, what could I buy with it? what should I have spent it on? How much guilt should I carry for buying something I don't need?

Frankly, when it comes to small pretty jugs, there is no guilt!

Thank you for comments over the weekend.

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Saturday 14 April 2018

April's Library Books

 I have new library books to read.
Collected on Thursday from the mobile library
Timely, as I'd read all I wanted to read from the MARCH collection.

Oh Good! Loads of lovely crime and best of all the next book from Rory Clements - Nucleus. I've just re-read the first in this new series ( Corpus) because I knew Nucleus was on the way.

There's another Mary Wesley which someone mentioned was possibly the best of her novels. 'The Year of Less' by Cait Flanders is something I saw mentioned (on a blog?) but won't bother reading, I've flicked through but it's very 'trendy young person!'
Not sure why I have "The Conscience King" by Stephen Martin, must have come across it somewhere,  according to that little sticker on the spine it's an historical novel which I don't usually read ....I'll see.
On the right is "A Green and Pleasant Land; How England's Gardeners Fought the Second World War". I know I've had this book before but it's not in my Book Of Books Read so either
a. I didn't read it at all
b. I read it but forgot to write it in my book
or c. It's rubbish and I didn't bother to finish it

Also there is 'The Last of the Greenwoods' by Clare Morrall. I've read one of her books before (After the Bombing)  hope this is just as good.

The short reviews of the books I finished from the March collection are on the separate Books Read page. I'll let you know how I get on with this lot.

Have a good weekend whatever you are doing
Back Monday

Friday 13 April 2018

"Ducks are a-Dabbling"

Or, in the case of this pair of Mallards," Ducks are a-Waiting".............for small birds to drop bits from the fat balls and seed feeders.
These two appeared last week to nest somewhere near the wide ditch opposite the house, could well be the same pair as last spring who hatched 6 eggs but then ended up a few weeks later with no ducklings. Ducks are such hopeless mothers, they either lose the ducklings when they take them off for long walks or the ducklings get killed by the moorhens who reside here all year round...cruel things.

Sitting and waiting for the sparrows to drop bits from the feeders above
Ducks Ditty is the only poem I remember from primary school

All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all.

Ducks’ tails, drake’s tails,
Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills all out of sight,
Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth
Where the roach swim--
Here we keep our larder,
Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!
We like to be
Heads down, tails up,
Dabbling free!

High in the blue above
Swifts whirl and call--
We are down a-dabbling,
Up tails all.

From The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame .

I'm miffed that Blogger has changed the way dates are written on the dashboard posts page.....from the English way.....Day/Month/Year to the USA way ....Month/Day/Year. I have to look twice to work it out! Seems Blogger likes to change things for no reason.

Thanks for yesterdays comments. I now have blog plans for a few more days and welcome to more followers, hope you enjoy reading.

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Thursday 12 April 2018


On Monday evening I was off to Big WI, a week late due to Easter.

 The speaker was  Tina Oldfield whose daughter had died from breast cancer back in 2004, leaving two small daughters. Tina, her husband, sister and brother in law decided that they would set up a fund to raise money for a breast cancer charity and do something that would really challenge them.......a trek to the base camp of Mount Everest in Nepal.

They gave themselves 18  months to get fit and prepare and set off over Easter 2006 as the decade long civil war was reaching it's violent climax.............. they were already on route as the government warned people not to travel there.

Her photos of the trek up the mountains towards Everest were amazing. There are no roads so everything is taken to the villages in the foothills by Yak or by manpower. The porters who help tourists and trekkers are paid the equivalent of just £1 a day........ Nepal is a very impoverished country. The lodges they stayed at during their 14 days were primitive. No electric and very  basic hole-in-the-ground toilets and few washing facilities.......... They were very glad they'd taken wet wipes. Only one of the lodges had anything resembling a shower!

They were two days away from their destination when they awoke to heavy snow, very unusual for April in Nepal. On limited time and unable to continue they very sadly had to give up. Back down at the airport they got stuck there for another day as terrorists threatened to blow up the control tower!

 Luckily all their sponsors paid the money and they raised over £3,000. On the way back down they decided they had to do it again the following year to complete their mission, so in 2007 they returned and in perfect weather with no civil war they completed their trek to Everest base camp.

Since then by giving talks and selling pens in memory of her daughter she has raised over £18,000.

Although most WI's no longer sing Jerusalem, there is one tradition that has survived the years......Birthday Posies.....when people with a birthday during the month are presented with a small posy of flowers.

This is mine for my April birthday.

Many thanks for comments yesterday, unless something Really Interesting happens in the next few days I shall have run out of ideas for posts by the end of the week, which is a slight problem...... Anyone got any bright ideas?

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Wednesday 11 April 2018


When I was a little girl we lived in a hamlet of 12 houses, plus a pub and a garage right beside a busy main road.......then it was the A45, now it's the A14 (and  thankfully for the people who live there it's been by-passed).
Right beside our house was a lane that once had been used for farm vehicles to get to the fields behind the houses although by the time I was growing up the lane was too narrow, with high banks and not wide enough for new tractors. We used the lane as a footpath to the fields and woods and on each bank of the lane every  spring would be lots of violets. And we picked them......... Such tiny little flowers, they would be taken home and popped in an egg cup...... there was no such thing as wild flower protection and no one had any idea that the next 40 years of modern farming would wipe out so many species.

Violets are pretty hardy and spread easily so they didn't completely disappear from the countryside but maybe not often seen on the edges of farm fields.

However, we've got plenty here in the grass all around the garden both purple and white.

The camera makes them look much more blue than they are in real life

Looking in one of my (many) favourite books

I found this page about Violets including how to crystallize them to use for decorating  cakes

And in another little book "Discovering the Folklore of Plants" by Margaret Baker, I read that "The colour and drooping head made the violet the symbol of death and ill-luck". 
 To dream of violets meant an improvement in fortunes, can't say I've ever dreamed about violets........maybe tonight.

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Tuesday 10 April 2018

Early Birthday Present

The car boot sale at Needham Market last Saturday was HUGE. It's always huge in the summer but I've never seen so many car-booters and so many visitors this early in the year.
Col came too and before he ran out of steam and went back to the car he found a hand-fork and trowel for youngest daughter, who now has a small garden since they moved from their  flat last year, they were 50p each and a water butt for a £1.That's for catching water off the back of the workshop which will be nearer if we need to water the new trees this summer.
I walked up and down about half the rows and all I could see was tat, junk and rubbish! Then I found a man selling some quite large shrubs including a few Camellias. I'd thought about one for the patio near the new table and chairs but they were £29.99 at the garden centre, his were bigger than the ones I'd seen and were selling for £15........... *brainwave* birthday is coming up fast and this could be my present. I then had a struggle to get it all the way to the car which was about as far away as was possible by which time I'd decided not to bother with the other half of the boot sale field.

Instead we just went home via the garden centre for a bag of ericaceous compost.
Awaiting planting into the big tub

 If the Saturday sales are going to be as big as this all year, I shall have to go on my own, take breakfast and have a break half way round!

No local Sunday morning car-boot it was raining and anyway  I was trying out  some Gluten Free cooking as we had friends coming for the day.............. GF pizza base turned out well.

Thank you for comments yesterday.The bus stops at the hospital are clearly marked but  I'm not techy enough for the phone ideas however  I can read a map, so I'll print one out and go on an adventure.....once we know how long the treatment will last each time.

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Monday 9 April 2018

Old Photos and New News

I found the memory stick so I could load on some photos of Jacob and Florence ready to take to print out......hope Asda in Ipswich still have the photo printing machine. There were lots of photos from last year on the stick so then I had to find the photo album to see which ones I'd already printed and it was while I was doing that when I came across this photo from Spring 2002.

Kev at An English Homestead did a post about his ewe who had 4 lambs - quite unusual, and I commented that we'd had one who had 4 once, but she'd broke her leg/ pelvis having them so we had to have her destroyed and we'd bottle fed the lambs with Col's home made bottle feeding device. There are actually 5 lambs in this picture as we were given a tiny orphan lamb as well but she was fed separately by hand. For any sheep connoisseurs out there these were Ryeland.....the 'teddy bear' sheep with a bit of Shetland in their mum, she was a brown Ryeland cross and the lambs were black when they were born gradually getting browner as they got older.
Lambing each Spring was never fun......getting up to check them through the night, and it was always blinkin' cold but once they'd arrived a lot of time was wasted watching them! ( don't read this next bit if you are vegetarian or vegan!) and we made a good income from selling the fattened lambs in half-lamb freezer packs

I also found this from Autumn - 2002, our first ever pumpkin harvest at the smallholding. Later in 2012/13/14 we grew even more to sell and had about 3 times this amount every year.
Happy memories but I'm glad we're not still planting and harvesting on this was hard on the back!

The New News is a cancer update and Great Joy (not) .........we now have to go to Addenbrookes 3 times a fortnight instead of just once a week! This is because they are trying a different sort of treatment called Extra Corporeal Photopheresis which in English means exposing the white blood cells to UV light outside the body. This is to treat the Graft versus Host Disease so they can get him off the anti-rejection drugs,so the donor stem cells can take over completely. The cancer has definitely moved to the Lymph glands and he is taking some chemo tablets that he had in 2016 ( they didn't work against the bone marrow lymphoma but should work to treat the enlarged Lymph glands). It's very important to battle on quickly. This new treatment (ECP for short) takes between 1½ and 3 hours on two days a fortnight and goes on for 3 months  before they review it, so lot's more traveling back and forth through most of the summer.

We are resigned, as the definition for that word says, " resigned to an unpleasant  situation or fact, we accept it without complaining because we realize that we cannot change it!"

Sums it up nicely.

I'm debating if I can pluck up courage to sometimes take myself by bus into Cambridge city centre  while Col is having the treatment. There are all sorts of wonderful places to visit but I'm terribly prone to getting completely lost in town centres! No sense of direction at all.

Thank you for comments over the weekend. I sometimes feel we were forced into retirement early but there is no way I could commit to part time work or even volunteering at the moment. So we will soldier on as we are.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 7 April 2018

Living So Simply

For years I juggled...................

First........ working full time and  looking after a home and being a Cub Scout Leader

Then ............2 small children, a housewife, an allotment and being a Cub Scout Leader

Next.......A Saturday morning  job, a housewife, 3 children,  after school childminding, helping at playgroup, a big garden, a few chickens and being a Cub Scout Leader.

Followed by..........A smallholding growing veg to sell, 3 children, keeping milking goats, breeding sheep, more chickens,selling eggs, small campsite, membership secretary of the Suffolk Smallholders Society, writing for their newsletter and The Penny Pincher Paper and selling second-hand books at country shows.

And finally after the children had flown........... 3 poly-tunnels and a big garden growing large amounts of fruit and veg to sell, baking for a Country market once a week, keeping goats, looking after 120 chickens, selling eggs and running a very busy campsite.

Somewhere in there, probably in that 4th period, I remember writing a list of everything I did and wondering which I could stop doing as life seemed so hectic.

Now, apart from the illness which we can't change, life is so simple. I love it. I do the things I want to do, avoid things I don't want to do, enjoy the quiet, read a lot, make a few cards, stitch a bit, look round car boot sales, grow some food, bake a little,visit youngest and grand daughter, tour charity shops, go to 2 WI's and write for the blog.

I don't have to prove anything or strive to keep up with other people  or justify my lifestyle. Enough is plenty.

Simply Living and Living Simply .

But...............I'm only 63 later this month, have I "retired" too early?

Back Monday

Friday 6 April 2018

Sowing and Growing

Sunshine yesterday meant I had enthusiasm for working in the conservatory and greenhouse  so I've potted on 21 tomato seedlings, I don't know why, as I only have room for 7 or 8 in the greenhouse! Old habits die hard and I find it difficult to abandon seedlings that have grown. I'm sure some will be put in pots outside,  against the garage wall might be warm enough for some late tomatoes.

3 Cucumber seeds germinated, I'll squeeze them into the greenhouse somehow. Just 3 Aubergine seedlings appeared and 6 Pepper seedlings, all are still tiny.

 Then it was time for a bit more sowing so into the propagator went  Basil, Parsley and a few more Aubergines from a new packet. Plus Courgette and Climbing French Beans and Nasturtium in the greenhouse.
 The mass of green seedlings in modules are a wild flower mix that Col bought. He has got them going nicely and will then plant the whole clump from each module out onto the meadow. Persuading wild flowers to grow from seed can sometimes be difficult but these are looking good. We'll see what happens when they go out. Also in the picture are some Sunflower seeds which have their two seed leaves and Sweet Pea seeds ......doing nothing as yet. Lettuce seeds are being difficult this year so I picked up a tray of small plants from QD last time I was in Stowmarket.

 We've had one bed covered with black plastic most of the winter and the soil underneath was dry and warm so the first sowing of beetroot is in the ground and now re-covered with a plastic cloche for a few days.

Next door-but-one neighbours brought round an old box pallet to cut up for our wood-burner but Col decided to save the bottom half, line it out and use it for a raised bed........somewhere?

Also growing are the flowers on the cherry-plum in the corner of the garden which were showing up well against yesterday's blue sky.

So good to see sunshine and blue sky even if it is just for one day at a time.

Thursday 5 April 2018

Five Years Ago Yesterday

On the 4th of April in 2013 I wrote my first proper blog post was short!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

New blog on blogspot 

Well, here I am on blogspot trying to write a new blog about a frugal and simple life in Suffolk and getting very annoyed when I can't work out how to do things right. 

I obviously got the hang of it because a year later......2014..... I was writing about the smallholding and the things I wanted to look out for at car-boot sales   HERE

Then on the 4th of April 2015, my post was about seedlings, Easter baking and opening the campsite HERE

I didn't do a post on the 4/4/16 but on the 6th HERE I wrote about being home alone in the small bungalow and going with youngest for her scan......the first sight of Florence!

Then last year we were here at the cottage and the post was all about BOXES OF BOOKS. I've already forgotten having 25 boxes of books stacked in the corner of the living room for several months while I dithered over spending hard-earned savings on bookshelves.

This is such a lazy way of filling a blog post!

Back Soon

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Open Door

Why am I showing you a picture of the open back door?

  Because yesterday we had a rare rain, a bit of sun and not too much wind so for 15 minutes I opened the doors wide to let the fresh air blow through. It felt lovely.

Then Col came in from outside and said "why are you letting all the heat out?" and shut them!

Tuesday 3 April 2018

April's Financial Outlook

In April 2017 we were still spending out large amounts of hard saved cash on things to do with moving house. Mainly my range cooker!
We also had to have repairs done to both cars.

Hopefully this April will be less spendy...........although there might be a takeaway for my birthday.

The TV licence is due and we will have to have heating oil....... just 500lt if the price is still high (and then another lot later when the price goes down in the summer........ I hope it will go down in summer!). No other big bills are due this month.

I've got a £2.98 Asda Price Guarantee Voucher to use, best ever! I've been religiously checking this on-line after each shop there, just wish I'd known about it earlier.

Overall, April should be a reasonably thrifty month......did I say that about March?

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday. We were surprised to be able to sell the beach hut so easily as I was expecting to advertise through an Estate Agent for months. It seemed the right thing to do and it's is one less thing to think about and look after.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 2 April 2018

Yesterday and the Sunday Before

Stupid wet weather each morning meant  No car boot sales on Easter Saturday or Sunday. The forecast for today is dire too. We plan to go through the books-under-the-stairs  Again as Ziffit are doing a 15% extra for any they want to buy.

 We went down to Felixstowe  yesterday morning to check the beach hut  and to bring home things we didn't want included in the sale.........Yes we decided to sell, it's just too much expense because of the council putting up ground rent each year plus  we are further away and probably won't use it much now we have a quiet garden to sit out in.
We opened up the hut and a piece of paper fell had been wedged in the top of the door. Someone who had just moved to Felixstowe was looking to buy a hut, so we rang the phone number and they came straight down and agreed to buy it! Our son  will be upset that we've sold, because he loved going down there but the money we've sold it for will keep us for a whole year and there is no way to justify £700 annual ground rent (up from £500 when we first had it) and another £100 insurance for just a dozen days of use. And they've also increased the car parking fee from £3.50 a day to £4.10..........rising costs are just never ending.
So we just have to sort out paperwork when the council offices open again after Easter,hand over the keys and get the money! It's sad but it served it's purpose when we were in the small bungalow and for Col recovering first time round.

We did get to the local car boot on the Sunday before last, we were early and there weren't many there but I found this table and two chairs  for £10.

When Col put a bit of fence up last year to protect part of the patio from the prevailing wind, I said we needed a table and chairs and looked all last year for second-hand without finding anything.
So my purse was opened very quickly when the seller said how much she wanted for these. They've had a wash down and just need a bit of a spray on some of the joints with the rust-cover paint and then some sunshine and warmth...........soon.......please.

Back Tomorrow

Sunday 1 April 2018

April Days

The April Pages from The Diary of a Country Lady by Edith Holden

The Romans named April Aprilis, from the verb Aperire meaning 'to open'. Perhaps referring to the buds and flowers opening?

April Weather, showers and sunshine both together

'Til April is dead, change not a thread

Turn your money when you hear the cuckoo and you will have money until he returns

Unlike other month's I couldn't find any weather sayings referring to specific days


April 15th was once called Swallow Day as that was the day that it was thought the swallows should return from their winter in the South  

 The 23rd is Saint George's Day, as well as being the patron saint of England he is also the patron saint of The Scout Association (memories of parading through Stowmarket with my Cub Scouts in uniform to the church for the District Saint Georges Day Service, no coats allowed and always cold!). 

At the end of the month expect the Blackthorn Winter, that is a few days of cold weather as the Blackthorn flowers appear in the hedges.

All I'm hoping for weather-wise is a bit of sunshine and warmth

Updated to say.......Sorry about the various font sizes, it appeared like that despite being normal in drafts. I've fiddled and updated until I got fed up with the silly blogger!

Back Tomorrow