Thursday 31 May 2018

The Suffolk Show Part 1

Our county show has been held on the Wednesday and Thursday of half term week FOREVER! and we are always being told it's one of the best in the country as it has kept it's true agricultural roots.

We used to go quite often when I was a child and took our own children a few times. Once we had the campsite we were usually busy at home through half term week so I'd not been for maybe 15 years, since Colin got me a Day Member ticket for my birthday. That was a good visit as members get into a special enclosure close to the Grand Ring and use the posh loos!

Anyway, I decided to go this year, it's something I'm happy to go to on my one to dictate what stands to look at or to decide when to arrive or leave. My only worry was losing the car in the car park among the many thousands of other cars. You wouldn't believe how many small silver-grey cars there are in Suffolk!

My plan was to arrive early, just after 8am and be close to the front of the car park and I was waved into a space right on the end of a row - no problem losing the car there.

I got the show guide from Brother in law last week when it was free with his East Anglian Daily Times (he gets in the show for free......lucky thing..... because of his 40 years Suffolk Agricultural Association long service award with the farm he works for) and found that if I got a EADT goody bag on my way into the showground - for £1 - it would have a newspaper, a bottle of water and some edibles - bargain!

I made a note on the map of the stands I wanted to visit because I like to see how many free cups of tea/coffee I can find!

Also noted down the times of the show jumping which I wanted to watch. So first stop The Grand Ring at 8.30 for the "The Welcome Stakes".

I would have liked to take my big camera but it was too big for my bag and I wanted to 'travel light' so it was the little Canon with the blob on it's lens!

I watched all the competition and then started to wander. This is one of the big ol' helicopters that flies over home sometimes.

Time for a free cuppa and  free cup-cake with entertainment by the Co-op Brass Band in the East of England Co-op tent.........just by showing my Co-op card.

And more wandering took me through all the stands selling posh country clothing, jewelry, hats, horsy things, doggy things, hunting shooting and fishing things and round to the sheep tent, some being judged here.
I popped into the goat tent but as always no-one there to speak to, no information about goats, not even anything on each pen to say what breed they were or who owned them. No wonder the BGS are short of members .....(it's something that annoyed me way back when I wanted to know more about goat keeping!....Nothing has changed)

Back to the Grand Ring to get a seat for the next showjumping and I arrived in time for the heavy horse pairs turnouts. They come from all over the Eastern Counties and further afield for this competition.

It takes hours to get them ready.

Then the 'International Trial' Show jumping was a good competition. Only 4 clear rounds out of over 20 entries. Top 5 come back for a second round against the clock and only one clear round which took the top prize of £2,000 - I think.

With 2018 being the 100 year anniversary of the ending of WWI there were several displays. This is a re-creation of the FANYS. (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry.A rather select higher-class organisation that had existed since formation in 1907, the FANY worked with the Red Cross organisations, principally as ambulance drivers. There were just fewer than 120 members of the group in France in August 1918. FANY went on to survive another war and indeed still operates today, (SEE HERE)although the nature of its work and the make-up of its staff has changed somewhat since 1918.)

More from the show  tomorrow................


Wednesday 30 May 2018

The (Very Late) May Library Book Photo

Another post that has been sat in Drafts for  weeks and now its only a week until the library van will be round with my June books!

Collected from the library van 3 weeks ago were lots of crime, four are reprints by forgotten authors.

 I find crime are my easy-to-read choice when I can't concentrate on non-fiction.

I've read 4 of the crime so far and flicked through Simplicite.
'Money in the Morgue' is interesting as it's a book started by Ngaio Marsh before she died in 1982 and finished by Stella Duffy just recently........ You can't see the join.

 I must have a look at Islander as the author is at Felixstowe Book Festival next month and I need to decide if I should go and listen to him talking about it or not.

More things were sorted yesterday..... first with the chaplain, then at the bank and at the florist. More forms filled in and posted.

Had a letter from electric supply company telling me my meter is old and they "need to replace it with  a smart meter". But as I would have to pay for the phone call to either arrange an appointment or to say I don't want one I shall ignore the letter until they contact me.......why should I pay (even if it only pennies for a phone call) when it's something They want to do!

And Her Maj's Revenue and Customs are on the ball, they soon sent a letter wanting to work out if enough tax was paid before Col passed away or maybe too much? Hopefully the latter.

Back Soon

Tuesday 29 May 2018


I picked this up last week, now  deciding which events to go to this year.

Two years ago I went to a talk about the British Library Crime Classics, didn't get there last year but there's a couple of things that look interesting.

Maybe Dame Jenni Murray talking about her book " A History of Britain in 21 Women" ? Or Timothy Bentinck ( David Archer of The Archers) in conversation with his sister about his book "Being David Archer and Other Unusual Ways of Making a Living". Perhaps Stephen McGann - The actor who plays the doctor in Call The Midwife, although he is talking about his book called "Flesh and Blood - The McGann family as told through seven sicknesses" which sounds a bit gruesome.
Then there is natural history writer Patrick Barkham. I have his book " Islander - A Journey Around Our Archipelago" on loan from the library van.

Must decide soon or the tickets will all be gone.

Another sunny day here in Suffolk yesterday and I enjoyed sitting outside in between tennis......... or tennis in between reading outside.........whichever!

Thank you for comments, would love to find out which house that is For Sale Traveler looked at in our area!

Back Soon 

Monday 28 May 2018

Bank Holiday Sunday

A beautiful morning.............sunshine and breeze. I was outside at 6.45am sorting out pea sticks for the mange-tout peas. Another job done. The radio said there were big thunderstorms in the UK last night, but not here, I had to water the peas to be able to get the sticks into the ground.

Then off to the local car boot sale where I bought this lot.
Guess what.....books for grandchildren! some cup-cake cases, preserves kit, two mugs, bunting and that large thing top left is a clay flower pot in the shape of a big boot. So I've chucked two mugs that had scratches inside, put the labels and jar toppers in the drawer ready for autumn, added the cake cases to the few I had left, put the books in with all the others ready for the next Jacob or Florence visit and the bunting away for next summer. The boot has been planted up with trailing geraniums (also from the boot sale). Total spend £5 for the boot and £2.90 for the other bits plus £1.40 for the geraniums.

Not so many car boots there this week and I was home again by before 10am. I put the TV on to see what time the French Open Tennis was due to start and it was already on -  well, the commentators were there and they were talking about it -  ITV4 have it on all day every day for the whole 2 weeks.

Outside for more gardening.

After lunch I drove over to see son, DIL and Willow for an hour or so. There was a flower festival and stalls in the village church so we went to have a look. I found another Mary Wesley book - 'Not That Sort of Girl' - on the  secondhand book stall........... one  the library don't have in stock.
Flower show theme was a book title.
This was 'The Dressmaker'

and this one 'Rabbit Stew and a Penny or Two' ( A book about life as a gypsy traveller)

We had tea and cake, I spoke to someone I'd not seen since 1978 and then  went home to watch more tennis.

Another day of getting through.

Back Tomorrow

Sunday 27 May 2018

13 little ducks............

.......went swimming one day, over the pond and far away.

(if you didn't put a tune to that sentence then you don't have children of the right age!)

This post were started a few weeks ago.

These photos were taken about 3 weeks ago........Mummy Mallard bringing them out of the wide ditch opposite the house, over the lane and into the garden to check out what's under the bird feeders. Then she takes them back again, and I've also seen her taking them all the way down the lane to the road - goodness knows why............ducks are slightly careless mothers and the resident moorhens are not keen on their company.

Two weeks later, there were only 9.......

And now.....
................................I've not seen them at all for the last week. I hope they are safe somewhere but I fear they were taken by magpies or killed by moorhens.

That's Nature.

Thank you everyone for comments.......couldn't find any clues among them as to who sent the book.

 Thought for the day............You know you are not concentrating when you pour boiling water from the kettle over a bowl of strawberries rather than into the coffee cup!

Back Soon

Saturday 26 May 2018

This Mystery Needs Solving

The post lady brought me a parcel, it arrived on the morning that I had been called into hospital. I had no idea what it was. There was no clue on the outside and I wasn't expecting anything.
Then I dashed off to Ipswich hospital and it was a couple of days later before I got to open it and found this book.  Nothing inside to say where it had come from except it had been sent from a company called Wordery, not a company I've ever used so I hadn't somehow ordered it by mistake!

I'd given this book a mention on the blog on the 1st May when I showed the photo of an illustration from a book by the same author called The Illustrated Country Year which I'd found in a charity sale in the Library in Ipswich and I said I'd like to find a copy of The Coastal Year sometime.
There are only a few people who read my blog AND know my address? But would they suddenly send me a book? So it's all very, very strange.

How  very kind of someone........It's another lovely book full of the authors water-colour illustrations.... but who sent it to me? .........what a mystery.

Now I love a good mystery story and who-done-it  but they are usually resolved at the end of the book.

But this time I haven't a clue!

Many Thanks for comments yesterday about gardening. I have lots more to do over the weekend.

 I've now been to the solicitors ..... Another errand ticked off the list. Still a few forms to fill in and send off.  Next week it's a meeting with the Reverend who is going to lead the funeral service and a day out  which will be good - lots of photos will be taken for the blog. Apart from gardening I'm not sure what else is happening over Bank Holiday weekend, probably a visit to see Son, DIL and Willow as there is a Flower Festival and Family Fun Weekend in their village, car boot sales for sure and the French Open Tennis starts on TV....the start of my favourite month of wall to wall tennis.....French Open, Queens club and Wimbledon.

Back Tomorrow or Monday

Friday 25 May 2018

Lots of Gardening Done Before and Since

This post was started several weeks ago...........
Before the 11th
After the cold of April gardening got started in the first week of May and a few things were done in the week before Colin became more unwell............... he helped me put the wire-netting fence  around the cutting garden. That's foiled the ducks and pheasants from taking a short cut right across it!

Col had sown lots of beetroot seed several weeks ago and covered it with fleece but what with one thing and another we hadn't looked underneath to see what was happening and when we did look it seems the wind and rain on the fleece hadn't protected the beetroot seedlings but rather rubbed them all out of the ground.....well not All but lots. So the fleece was lifted onto wire hoops and I shall be re-sowing in the gaps when the remaining seedling get going.

Next job was to finish  putting compost on the pea/bean bed  and fork it in. I put up canes ready for the French climbing beans and hardened them off for a while.

Everything in the greenhouse is fine except there was a disaster  when  both my remaining cucumber plants collapsed.......not really sure why, as they were covered with fleece when we had those cold nights. Replacements were found from the car boot sale.

Since the 11th
I've thrown myself into gardening, keeps me busy, so I've cleared along one side of the greens bed leaving just the spring cabbage, which are so late, then compost  was added and courgettes planted.

Lots of grass cutting, I can work the ride-on mower, but I'm a bit dangerous with it. Col hardly ever let me have a go and even cut the grass with it the week before he died. I'm much safer with the small rechargeable mower, it might have been expensive to buy but it certainly is an easy machine to use, starts easily, light to push, easy to empty, easy to charge the battery..... I sound like the TV ad!

The two gooseberry bushes that I planted just after we moved here are covered in fruit, the old blackcurrant likewise. Not sure about the raspberry canes yet. Strawberries have flowers. I'm hopeful for several days of my own soft fruit this summer.

I'd love to know why the only place in the whole garden where there is bindweed is in the end of the bed where I planted the asparagus crowns last year?  I'm pulling and digging it out every time I see a new bit. I think I'm winning. Horrible tenacious stuff. 9 out of 10 asparagus crowns have survived the year. Next year I'll be able to cut one or two to eat. I found the cat rolling in the dry dirt around the asparagus crowns so put lots of prickly bits of hawthorn hedge on the bed to stop her.

10 maincrop potatoes planted.....very late. The early potatoes look OK except for a couple - must find out why -. Leek seedlings have been re-potted. I think they will be the only winter veg I'll bother with as it's such a faff trying to protect the brassica family from cabbage white butterflies/white fly/pigeons etc.

Mangetout peas are all planted  under a fleece cloche. Climbing French beans are planted out. The Tomatoes, Cucumber, Aubergines and Peppers have been moved into big pots around the greenhouse and then I ran out of compost. Spring onion, lettuce and radish seeds sown in the half barrels on the patio and I rescued the Bay tree from the nettles that were growing up around it.

Still to do.........Sow runner beans in pots, I'm late. Put up canes for them. Do hoeing and more grass cutting and loads of weeding in the two front flower beds. Colin edged them with tiles last year but because I can't work the big strimmer it's just a mess.

Finally lots of watering every day because now the garden really needs a good rain, we had a short shower yesterday afternoon but it didn't do much good.

Back Soon

Thursday 24 May 2018

More Things You Have To Do

Thank you to everyone for supportive comments on recent posts. It is really wonderful that so many people are thinking about me and the family

 I still seem to be OK most of the time, managing to do all the legal and paperwork stuff and lots of  gardening. I guess because of spending so many weeks on my own at various times while Colin was in hospital it still seems a bit like that, so it will be later that I really feel things.

The next thing to sort out was financial stuff and the will.
So appointment made to go to solicitors with a list of what papers to take.

There are so many people to notify.

The registrar gave me a code number to use for the Tell-Us-Once service which deals with lots of things like passport and DVLA...... But when I went on line to do it I couldn't get into it - just an error message. So I phoned up and was told that the registrar had entered the wrong month online. The Death Certificates were OK, which was the most important many bits of paper are needed for's all very confusing. Try to get Registrar to tell them about the error and that's a busy number for all of Suffolk's Registry Offices. Leave message. Get new code number. Try again. All seems OK. Get right through until the end of the process, press submit and ERROR message Again! Try and find out why......not sure. Give up. Resolve to do everything individually and direct, which turned out to be almost as simple!

Except of course every phone number that you call  is a press button 1, 2, 3 etc and loud music while you wait......"we value your call".....?

Phone calls made, forms printed off, forms filled in, forms posted.

Council Tax notified....  there's a 25% discount for single occupancy -  every little helps - but it sounds so final and sad.

After all that I was glad that no one works  weekends so I could have a break from the phone.

Back to the phoning after the weekend.
My car needs it's MOT test done so phoning for that and appointments made all over the place.


Then off to sort the funeral - Col's sister came too to keep me company. It's only 10 months since she was there with Colin planning their Dad's funeral. Colin had decided the who, where and what he wanted for the funeral and we have ample time to sort things out. I certainly wouldn't want to do everything in just a few days. When I said the funeral wouldn't be for a while it is because of various commitments already made by people that can't be changed - it's not a problem.

Lots of people to notify now and more appointments to make then I had a  dentist appointment for a big filling, which if it doesn't work will mean root canal stuff - not fun. Worst of it is I still have to go back again for another filling or rather having a tooth rebuilt..... it broke a month ago when I bit a Toblerone(won in a raffle) that had been put in the fridge.....annoying! If that treatment doesn't work it will mean having the tooth  capped - all sounds horrible.

Thank you to everyone who thought of making a donation in Colin's name, that's a lovely thought. We are having donations to two things. One is Lymphoma Action and the other is the cancer ward support group at Ipswich hospital. But any Cancer research charity would be grateful for all the help they can get. It's amazing how many cancers are beatable now thanks to research but there is still more research needed for Non Hodgkin Lyphoma, as someone said in comments the other day, nothing much was known about it at all just 40 years ago but things are getting better especially for some of the more common types. The Mantle Cell type that Col had is one of the rarer ones.

Thought it was time for a new header photo as we head into June. Taken on Tuesday when the sun was making dappled shade through the big trees at the end of the meadow.

I have so many posts in drafts that were written weeks ago and if I leave them much longer some will be nonsensical so I'll start posting again more regularly for a while.

Back tomorrow

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Cards and Flowers and a Rose

So many people sending kind words and love in cards. Flowers from the small WI and a rose bush called "Thinking of You" from good friends.

Thank you everyone.

Back Soon

Sunday 20 May 2018

Things You Have To Do

Thank you for so many comments on my post. I still seem to be OK, with lots of help and support from so many people.

I had a whole load of posts in Drafts and I do love writing so I will keep blogging - a little bit of normal in between all the things that are not normal............and the Things You Have To Do are certainly not normal.

 Many years ago I worked in the Borough Library in Bury St Edmunds, an old fashioned library and every morning before the library opened we tidied all the shelves. 2 people did the fiction one week and non fiction the next, while another 2 people did the other way round and then we all finished off by doing the junior library. Strict Dewey Decimal for the non-fiction and alphabetical for the fiction, then all the books had to be pulled to the front of the shelves and moved around so that they weren't too tight on the shelves or too loose so that they all fell over.

Anyway, all that is a preamble to mention a book that always seemed to be on the shelves, no one seemed to borrow it. The book was a Which guide.......'What to do when someone dies'.  Of course no one borrowed it, we are a superstitious lot in Suffolk. Borrowing the book if you didn't need it would be 'tempting fate' and by the time you did need it it would be a hassle to have to rush to the library to get it.

Thankfully the hospital have a special booklet they hand out when someone passes away there. It lists all the official things that need doing. The first one is to ring the Bereavement Office and ask for the Medical Certificate to be completed by the doctor. This was a slow process because Colin passed away on a Friday afternoon and I rang and left a message on the Saturday which wasn't picked up until Monday and then the doctor didn't sign the certificate until late Tuesday, so the Bereavement Office people couldn't go up to the ward to get it until Wednesday morning and I couldn't pick it up until Wednesday afternoon. I rang the Registrars but couldn't get an appointment until Thursday morning and a death is supposed to be registered with 5 days and Thursday was 6 days. It was all OK as a note had been attached to the Medical Certificate to explain the delay.

The Registrars office is in Stowmarket, the same building where Colin and I were married in September 1979.
The Registrar asks a few questions and needs the medical certificate and birth certificate and other details and then issues the death certificates and a form that has to go to the Funeral Directors. So that was my next stop and an appointment made for next week, to sort things out. I'm so glad we are back in Mid Suffolk, it all seems so much more familiar - the Funeral Directors have been used for all family members - they've been in the town for 85 years! Strange really, that despite living over by the coast for  23 years, Stowmarket, the town that I lived in or near for the first 37 years of my life is much more like my  Home Town than Saxmundham or Leiston ever were.

Back in a while

Wednesday 16 May 2018

What Happened Last Week

Thank you to everyone for all the messages on other blogs. I couldn't believe all the blogging friends who had written special posts for us even though we'd never met and thank you especially to Pat who we had met.

I've usually shared what has happened with  Mantle Cell Non Hodgkin Lymphoma, one of the nastiest of cancers, so I hope you don't mind me sharing this final bit.

It's helped to write it all down,getting it all straight in my head.

 Over the Spring Bank Holiday Col didn't seem to be as well as he had been on Thursday and Friday and I called the hospital special haematology number and they said best call the  out-of-hours doctor who came out but his temperature etc were all OK. They prescribed a more powerful oral pain killer to try to help.

On Tuesday  night it was obvious he was getting confused and I rang for an ambulance straight away. They zoomed him to A&E and I followed along a few minutes later after sorting out what I needed.
I arrived not long after  the Ambulance and sat with him in A & E through the night as they pumped in antibiotics and saline. They were able to move him to the cancer ward about 6 o'clock in the morning and he seemed more with it but couldn't remember anything about the ambulance and A&E.

Mid morning Wednesday I went home for a while for a change of clothes and to feed the cat and spoke to him later on the phone where he said he was very tired. I felt too tired to drive having had no sleep but wanted to go back and see him so got my Brother in Law to take me up in the evening. Col didn't seem too bad, just very tired so I went home again.

On Thursday morning I got a phone call  saying things were not looking good and I probably ought to come up straight away. When I got there they had moved him into a side room, our lovely hospital chaplain friend, who had got to know us well over the years had been sitting with him through the morning until I got there and soon the doctor who had been treating him at Ipswich through the last 2 years came and said there was nothing else they could do. What was so lovely was the doctor wasn't even on call but came specially to see us, he reassured me that bringing Col into hospital a couple of days earlier wouldn't have made any difference.
 The Graft Versus  Host disease had quickly taken hold of his whole body and his lungs were affected. He had no immune system left to fight it.   I called the children with the news, our son and youngest daughter in Suffolk got there very soon . Our eldest was able to drive up from Surrey arriving early evening. It was obvious that he was very, very ill. At first he knew I was there but later he didn't .
His sister and brother in law and brother also came in to see him.

Youngest daughter went home to look after Florence as her OH was working away and couldn't get home and eldest daughter and son stayed on recliner chairs in the family room and I had a folding bed beside Colin and stayed awake almost all night with him. He was on Oxygen and a painkiller pump to make things easier.

The nurses were so lovely and kind and on Friday morning told me it would probably be that day. Youngest daughter came back and our children and I sat with him through the morning  and my sister and brother in law called in to see him. Midday I sent the children down to the canteen to get something to eat and a while later his breathing became more shallow so I buzzed the nurse and he came and sat with us and said this was it. I texted the children to come back to the ward and they arrived just as he very peacefully stopped breathing. So we were all together and stayed with him for a long time.
So proud of our children for being there with me and for each other. Eldest daughter was able to stay with me at the cottage on Friday and Saturday night and then went back to Surrey, Grandson Jacob has Chicken Pox, poor little fella and I wanted her to get back to him as they were missing each other.

At the moment it doesn't seem quite real as I've been on my own so many times when Colin had been in hospital for weeks on end. I'm guessing it will hit me later. The funeral won't be for a few weeks because of another Bank holiday and various people being away. There are plenty of things to organise which will keep me very busy, as well as the garden which had been neglected for a week.

Thank you again to everyone for all your kind thoughts, it's wonderful to know how many people are thinking and caring.

Back with proper blogging will be a little bit of normality.

Saturday 12 May 2018

Sad News

My wonderful Colin went downhill very quickly and passed away peacefully in hospital on Friday afternoon. I was with him and our children were all at the hospital too.
We knew it would happen sometime but not quite so quickly.
The saddest thing is that his grandchildren won't remember him and he won't see them grow up.

I will be back with the blog in a while.


Thursday 10 May 2018

Wednesday 9 May 2018

For Readers from the USA

This post is to answer some questions from several weeks ago, at last I've got round to sorting it out.

These are Custard tarts ( someone asked what they were)

Col likes them and they were nice and soft for his sore mouth, although now he can't even manage these. I'm not keen on them. Pity about the palm oil and what is Disodium Diphosphate......don't answer that.......I don't want to know!
I've tried making them myself - fiddly on this scale. Although Baked Egg Custard is easy enough.

Here's a Link to the WI ( whenever I mention WI someone always asks what it stands for)

Here are a few  prices in  $s of common foods from our supermarkets (a reader from the States was interested in comparing prices although it's easy enough to look on supermarket websites and then on Pound/dollar conversion sites, which is what I did and by now the exchange rate may have changed anyway)

6 Tomatoes 69p = 99cents
5 small bananas 49p = 70cents
6 eggs from a roadside stall £1 = $1.42
Loaf of Farmhouse bread from instore bakery £1.09 = $1.55
Cheap tin of plum tomatoes 29p = 40cents
1.5kg ( around 3lb)Own brand strong white bread flour 69p = 99cents
750g (around 1½lb) Own Brand extra mature (strong) cheddar cheese £3.90

And Teresa asked for a picture of our (now sold) Beach Hut. This was taken looking up from the beach  in June last year.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 8 May 2018

The Right Place at the Right Moment

We often see hares passing through the garden but rarely do I see one sitting still AND, even better, I had the camera to hand without having to walk past the window to get it.

He/she was busy having a wash and brush up

They aren't as clear and sharp as they ought to be,  because the inside of the kitchen window needs cleaning................ I keep putting it off as it's a very deep window sill and cleaning the window involves climbing onto the sink unit!
 Must do it today.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 7 May 2018

Car Boot Sale Chaos...........

and  a car boot sale without chaos.

 Saturday morning, I got Col sorted with a high calorie milk shake, washed up and headed out early.

Thankfully he is still able to get himself dressed and come downstairs. I'll be nice and early at the car boot sale...........I thought. Arriving at 10 to 8 there was already a sign out saying 'No More Pitches Available' and the car park was chock-a-block. I squeezed into parking space and started to look round but the organisers had put the rows of sellers so close together and with so many people trying to look it was difficult to see anything properly. I didn't find much and decided to abandon the sale about half way round......and then the fun of trying to get out of the car park! Ha! Dozens of cars trying to get out while even more were trying to get in and find a parking space. About half an hour later I was finally out, gave up plans of visiting Needham Market church and went to Tesco via the main road rather than through the town. Tesco was also heaving.

I though how funny it was that my parting words on Saturdays post were " avoid the traffic jams!"

All I found amongst the mountains of STUFF on Saturday........... book 50p, glove puppets of the "This little piggy" rhyme 50p, unopened cling film 50p and packet of Nasturtiums for next year 20p.
 I also got 2 cucumber plants to replace mine that collapsed, both F1  plants, one 80p and one was £1.

The Sunday car boot is 3 miles nearer, not so busy and much better access...... so no traffic jams!
I went early again and found these
A 3 sided frame for climbing plants was £3, 2 packets of spring onion seeds 50p, yet another book for grandchildren 50p and a colourful shoulder-bag for £1.50.
Then home again by 8.30am for a much needed coffee.

I spent the rest of Saturday and Sunday alternating between bits of housework, sitting outside in the sun and watching the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship on TV. Because of Col being poorly we've seen more of it than we usually do (it's on 3 times a day for 17 days, which must be hell for anyone who doesn't like it but is forced to watch!) and there have been some good matches.

We didn't get to the Middy at War event yesterday, didn't even hear the little steam train chuffing, what breeze there was came from the other way. We did see the Hurricane do a flypast, three loops and he'd gone back to Lincolnshire! Wonder how much they charge for a minutes flypast?

I'm feeling ancient today...........eldest daughter is did that happen? That's already a year older than I was when we moved to the smallholding........ which seems like only yesterday.
Happy Birthday Helen!

Back Tomorrow
PS Thanks for comments on Saturday's post

Saturday 5 May 2018

A Clever Machine

We've done our first week of two consecutive days at Addenbrookes for ECP treatment on his blood.

 Here's Col hooked up to the amazing machine they use. As you can see it doesn't hurt and  he is comfortable enough to nod off. The time taken varies between 1½ and 3 hours for different people, luckily Colin is one of the people where it works quite quickly, although we got held up both days waiting for a doctor to check him out and then  waiting for tablets to come up from pharmacy. But on a good day with no traffic hold ups it should be half a day rather than a whole day out.

Up until a couple of years ago people had to go to St Thomas' Hospital in London or a hospital in Nottingham for this treatment. So we are grateful that we don't have to travel any further than the next county.
 Photopheresis; Extracorporeal Photochemotherapy ...
The idea is to get the Graft versus Host disease under control so that his mouth isn't so stinging and sore and he can eat proper food again. Do hope it works, as being limited to high calorie milkshakes and juices with a few yogurts is a bit boring. The only catch is that it might take 6-9 months to work and we don't know how long he will be feeling well enough for the traveling.
Dates and times are booked for treatment in a fortnights time and the nurses said "do let us know if you can't come because setting up and running the machine each time costs £900!"

Once again how lucky we are to have  the NHS.

Weather forecast for the weekend is really good ....makes a change for a Bank Holiday. The  Middy in the War Years event just across the fields from us is on Sunday and Monday. Col is hoping to feel well enough to visit again, although it will have to be by car and wheelchair, rather than a walk across the field. Even if we don't get there we will hear the steam trains chuf-chuffing up the incline and see the flypast by a Battle of Britain Hurricane........ cancelled last year because it was too windy.

My other plans are gardening, another church visit and two car boot sales, all local and cheap!

Hope you all have a good weekend.......and avoid the Bank Holiday traffic jams if you are out and about in the UK.

Back Monday

Friday 4 May 2018

Playground Games

When I was writing about the Maypole Pub on the May 1st post it reminded me of something we had across the road in our primary school playground in the very early 1960s.

A lethal bit of kit that must have caused numerous injuries although I can't remember any.

This picture was found (after I googled "playground maypole with chains") on a short lived blog called 'Thus sayeth the bitter old bitch'........brilliant name ..........  dating from 2009. Hope the b.o.b doesn't mind me borrowing it.

 The b.o.b describes it thus.......
"The Octopus was a simple design. A huge metal pole in the ground, with attached  chains, allow the chains to swivel from the pole. Add kids, and you're done. Simply put, everyone grabbed on, you ran around as fast as you could until...LIFTOFF! Of course, half the time the sucker would throw you ten feet if you couldn't hang on, and you could be certain that someone or another  chain next to you was going to slap you in the face, and you were possibly going to slam right into the pole itself. With excitement and danger like that - it really is little wonder why we played all day long."

 Until the council bought the field adjoining the school we only had a small tarmac playground and a bit of rough grass and weeds and I remember this chain maypole being on the rough ground. It was something mainly for the Big Boys and Girls in the top class - there were only 2 classes! They would run as fast as possible and then swing their legs up to grip the chain....somehow. By the time I would have been old enough to have a go it had gone from the playground to be replaced by an equally lethal tall metal climbing frame over a sand pit.

The school closed several years ago and was used as a nursery school for a few more years but is now up FOR SALE  .

The Good Old Days

Thanks for comments yesterday and look over there on the right.....over 1,000,000 page views....good grief and over 2 million on the old blog.... 

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 3 May 2018

Granddaughters Together

Our family know how important it is for Col to see as much as possible of our grandchildren while he is able. So our son let us know when our youngest daughter, her OH and Florence planned to visit baby niece/cousin  Willow  so we could go too, for a little bit of precious family time.

Cousins studying each other closely

 Wide awake on her mummy's shoulder....... close up.... and looking a bit shocked!

Grandad Col and Willow

 We found some books for Florence to look at of course. She's not got many words yet but "Boo(k)" is one, as well as "more" whenever she sees something edible!

Happy memories to keep.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 2 May 2018

These Make Me Smile

Sometimes you spend a bit of extra money on something and it turns out not to be worth the expense.

But sometimes you spend a bit of extra money on something and it turns out to be worth every penny.

My third vase of tulips from the cutting garden to come indoors. The colours are even better in real life. I paid a bit extra for larger bulbs in unusual colours and it's  been well worth it.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 1 May 2018

May Days

To make a change from the Edith Holden Country Lady Diary photos, here is a May page from another wonderful book.
Taken from this book " An Illustrated Country Year" by Celia Lewis
 and a page of  her paintings of May wild flowers
( I found this book at a charity book sale in the Library in Ipswich when we were living there. It's worth quite a bit on Ziffit but I'm not selling! There's an Illustrated Coastal Year too, which I would love to own)

May is possibly named after a Greek goddess Maia or from the word maiores (meaning Elders) as this was the month when the Romans celebrated the older members of their families.

For ancient Celtic people May 1st was Beltane( Bel's Fire). The first day of summer and bonfires were lit to help the sun regain it's strength. A day of feasting and in many places there are still traditional events on this day, involving dancing round maypoles, May Queens, Garland dancers and Morris men and hobby horses.
The Maypole Pub in Wetherden, a village in Mid Suffolk.

I don't know how many pubs in England are called The Maypole but in the village where I went to primary school there is a one and a very old building it is too...... circa 1530. The maypole in the middle of the front yard wasn't there until a few years ago.

 Ne'er cast a clout till May is out.

Probably the best know of weather sayings because May can have hot sunny days and frosts too, don't rely on summer clothes too soon. Or does it mean May flowers on Hawthorn? No one knows!

But May Blossom should never be taken inside the house and bunches were traditionally hung outside above the doors and windows to protect against the devil.

Hawthorn blossom and Elder flowers
Fill the house with evil powers.

Although many Elderflowers are brought in to make Elderflower Cordial or wine, so I'm not sure what happens then!
During May the day length increases to 16 hours and 17 minutes by the end of the month and over 17 hours in Scotland.

Watch out for late frosts around the third week of May. These are attributed to Saint Dunstan (or St. Franklin in some versions). Apparently he made a pact with the devil in order to obtain good sales of his beer. In return for his soul the devil promised to attack the blossoms of the  apple trees in the orchards so that the cider makers would have less cider to sell.

Back Tomorrow