Tuesday 31 July 2018

Ickworth House

Saturday was a lovely day and so much cooler so Eldest Daughter said where shall we go? We looked on-line.......... not a lot on except a carnival in Felixstowe - Too Busy or a local farm park - too expensive and commercial  so she suggested a National Trust place with plenty of room for Jacob to run around and she's a member and neither of us had been to Ickworth House near Bury St Edmunds so that's where we went.

Jacob slept all the way there and then woke up in a grump and carried on being grumpy most of the time we were there and I forgot to take many photos but as I decided to join up (a £15 voucher tempting me in) I can go back another time and visit all the bits we didn't see.

So just a few photos

Here's a good word to impress your friends
And this is the entrance for the bats

The most famous part of Ickworth is The Rotunda and this is a terrible photo of it!

Ickworth is a HUGE house and the Rotunda is in between two wings and this is another bad photo, taken from the end of one wing up to the Rotunda. The other wing is the same size on the other side.

He did enjoy all the steps everywhere and  climbing up and bumping down

As always the best bits are 'Below Stairs'

I will go back - on my own - and visit the things we missed.

Many thanks for comments yesterday and hello and welcome to another follower.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 30 July 2018

July WI

I dithered about going to the July meeting of Big WI. The speaker was someone who I'd heard at small WI in 2017...............and he did go on a bit!

Anyway I went and he seemed slightly better second time round (or maybe the chairs were more comfortable!) although he did stretch his 45 minutes to an hour.

The speaker was a man who takes guided walks all around the area and had fantastic slides........ most were photographs he had taken himself and the subject was 'The Wildlife of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths' which was a similar title to what I'd listened to last July.
Given that we lived just a few miles from the Suffolk Coast and Heaths for 23 years I recognised most of the places he had photographed.
He said "this is an interactive talk" and put up photo's of birds and plants and asked if anyone knew what they were and there were several members who were good at naming birds and plants. Luckily several of his slides were different to what I saw last year so it was interesting.

A Lady from Suffolk East Federation HQ had come along to present certificates to one member who had won the first prize for best WI flower arrangement at the Suffolk Show in May and another member had won Chairman's choice prize for her cot quilt at the Show.

Lots of delicious cakes with coffee of course.

Two weeks later and the speaker at Small WI was  Dan Wheals a herbalist with his own Herbal Medicine Practice in Suffolk. (Herbaculture HERE)

  He  brought along lots of potions for us to sniff  and some to taste and told us all about the different uses of herbs for healing and how he makes extracts, infusions and tinctures. An interesting speaker but the talk seemed un-planned and me and sister-in-law both agreed we hadn't really learned anything useful.

Lovely cakes, savories and coffee again.

Small WI had entered a team in the Suffolk East  Federation Summer quiz and I should have been there but it was the night after I'd been to the dentist with the infection in the filled tooth and I was in a lot of discomfort so had to pull out. They did ever so well and came 3rd out of 40+ teams.

There was a change of plan for the August meeting which was to have been a theatre trip across the other side of Suffolk but as it was changed to  the Regal cinema at Stowmarket to see the 2nd Mamma Mia film and a meal at Prezzos I decided to join in. I didn't even know there was a Prezzos in Stowmarket and haven't been to one before. I'm not especially fond of Abba music but Colin liked it and the first Mamma Mia film was one of the few films he wanted to watch on TV. I expect I can survive 100 minutes of Abba in his memory!

Many thanks for all the comments on cooking for one, apologies for not replying or commenting much elsewhere, busy weekend with Eldest Daughter and Jacob here, a day out on Saturday and then all 3 grandchildren here for a while  on Sunday. Couldn't get a photo of them all together as the two older ones wouldn't sit still long enough.
I'm quite worn out!

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 28 July 2018

Cooking for One.................

.......................and saved by frozen vegetables.

I've cooked meals almost every night since July 1975 that's  43 years. 38 of those with Colin.

Say averaging 300 meals year (allowing for not cooking on Sundays just recently, takeaways, holidays and meals out with family etc) multiplied by 43 years, I make that roughly 12,900 meals planned, cooked and served, probably more.

That's why, newly alone, I've had enough of cooking a full meal, often with meat, at a set time and will gratefully never eat mashed potatoes ever again......especially with cold meat and pickles!
On the other hand I don't want to  eat supermarket ready meals, things in packets or raw food for the rest of my life either. I'm a live-to-eat sort of person rather than an eat-to-live, in fact I like food (some would say too much given that I'm overweight!).

I don't like meal planning either.................. I know....shame on me!

So now I'm on my own I've been eating things...............
  • that are shoved in the oven easy, like chicken thighs,  fish, fish cakes, veggie/nut burgers, pizza with home made topping. 
  • or pasta with home made sauces that I batch cook and freeze.
  •  every now and again I make a quiche which serves me for several days or 
  • cook sausages to have once hot for dinner and then cold for lunches 
  • or do a stir-fry with a chicken breast.(buying 1 carrot at a time!)
  • And the other day in honour of John  (Going Gently) I made scotch eggs! 

 But what to do about veg? I've got new potatoes, green beans and courgettes in the garden at the moment but not for every day and I've twice forgotten about fresh carrots lurking in the fridge drawer (Tut tut at the food waste!) and if I was to buy a whole cabbage or cauliflower I would be fed up with it before it was finished and as for a big bag of potatoes, that's something I'll never buy again.

To the rescue came these just 82p for 1kg and perfectly good, no waste, quick to cook too.
ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)

And these....................no waste here either.
Aunt Bessie's Crispy Homestyle Roast Potatoes (1.4Kg)

By the way...............I'm still  baking cakes........that's a totally different thing!

Any debate on healthy eating for one probably doesn't include cakes!

Coincidentally, a phone conversation with Eldest Daughter during the week, before she arrived to stay yesterday, went like  this...............
 Me "I'm shopping later what shall I get in for Jacob apart from yoghurt".
E.D "I was going to stop on the way up and get something to cook for us for Saturday dinner because I don't expect you are eating properly".
 Me "Of course I'm eating...............probably too much!"
 E.D. " I can imagine you just eating meals from the freezer".
 Me "well yes, most of the dinner does come out of the freezer but I've got batches of tomato and aubergine sauce and bolognese sauce in there that I've made and home made pizza topping and Asda nut burgers which are delicious in a bread bap loaded up with my Red Hot Relish and tomato, cucumber and lettuce - By the way I've got loads of tomatoes and cucumbers in the greenhouse so don't buy those"

I can't remember how this discussion ended. But it so up hot driving up  that she didn't feel like stopping for shopping at all!

Back Monday
PS Whoop Whoop we had good rain yesterday from 8.30pm and fantastic thunder and lightning.
( Which meant no sign of the lunar eclipse!)

Friday 27 July 2018

Colour in the drought

This spot of colourful California Poppies growing through heat and drought and the stones of the driveway probably wouldn't have been here if Col was still alive and well. He was always keen to spray weedkiller on anything in the wrong place and his council work,  in the early days involved spraying too. I'm not keen on weedkiller, never have been and who knows how much damage all that nasty stuff did to his health.

There are patches of poppies all over the driveway and in tiny gaps between the patio slabs and lots of mullein plants popping up too. How they are surviving without rain when nothing else is I don't know. I have no intention of spraying so they will stay.

Don't forget tonight there is a total eclipse of the moon between 8.45pm and 9.30pm, when the earth is between the moon and the sun. Moon eclipses are more common than solar eclipses but only 1 in 4 is a total moon eclipse. These are sometimes called 'blood moons' because the moon takes on shades of red and orange.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 26 July 2018

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Shall I bother to keep going to the local car-boot sale?

So many vases, mugs by the hundred, enough toys for several dozen children plus Things, Junk and Tat!

But it fills an hour or so on a Sunday morning and one day there might be treasure.

Last Sunday there were no children's  Christmas books or books by Shirley Hughes or pretty jugs so I came home with 1 book for the grandchildren - 50p, A shoe box with lots of farm and zoo animals  for £3 and 3 paper punches which I may or may not use for card making  at 50p each.

 So what have I been up to since Sunday

Monday - Dentist....... 'nuf said!

Tuesday -
  A bit of baking before the weather got hot and more beetroot cooked. Washing dry on the line in an hour.

Cheques donated in memory of Colin arrived from the Funeral Directors. Thank you to everyone who donated to Lyphoma Action and SomershamWard Support Group. A Grand total of £476 was divided between the two and I've sent them off to both charities and sorted out an acknowledgement note for the newspaper.

Someone has backed into the house name sign and broken it. It was a clay plaque and made by the sister of the lady who was here before us. Colin had mounted it on a wooden board and fixed it up on the other side of the lane opposite the house.

 We did wonder how long it would last as any big van backing out of next doors driveway could bump into it and that's probably what happened. I've taken the broken bits off the board and will stencil the house name in black paint and then when/if we get rain to soften the soil I'll bang it back in the ground by the front hedge where nothing can hit it.

I did what I said about the house sign, actually found the black paint without turning the whole workshop upside down. The sign looks OK. Propped it up out the front until the ground is soft enough to bang it in the ground.
 How the heck I'm going to sort out the workshop I don't know. I couldn't stop Col keeping all the things that "might come in handy" and I couldn't stop him bringing a ton of tools from the smallholding. Over winter I shall have to make a start. Most of the stuff will have to go off to the auction yard I reckon.
 Off to the pool for swimming (the over 50's session continues through the school holidays). Quiet roads but busy pool.........  Too many  old men! and they tend to stand around at the end of the pool nattering - getting in the way.
Poor Polly cat had a worrying hour as the combine was on the field over the track. Front windows were wide open so it was LOUD. She looked extremely worried each time it came close. Plenty of dust flying about but it was too hot to shut the windows. There have been numerous field fires in Suffolk and Norfolk started just by the combine hitting a flint or dust getting into the engine they think. Kept my fingers crossed as there is no water in the wide ditch and no pressure in the water taps so a fire in the field would soon jump over to the track with nothing to stop it. Here comes the combine......................

 And Closer.................................

 And heading back down the field with the straw chopper thingies on the back making all the dust
 Nothing to be baled so it might be oil seed rape on here next year sown straight into the harrowed stubble..............soon probably..........they don't leave fields empty for long nowadays.......... although they might have to wait for rain.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 25 July 2018

St Gregory Church at Hemingstone

This church in a village-without-a-centre 5 miles north of Ipswich stands  on a mound down a back lane with just a farm across the road for company.
More info here on the Suffolk Churches website

Porch on right and vestry on left

I think it's the most curious of all the churches I've been in so far, mainly because I spent all my time looking for "Ralph's Hole" without finding it. According to the book it looked like this

Well, I found "The Squint", a window without glass about 18 inches tall and  now with a wooden lift out door closing it off , but I couldn't find anything like this photo,  and when I got home and looked on the churches website it just says that the vestry - which I did go into - is still known as "Ralph's Hole", but no stained glass in the vestry.A mystery indeed.

Ralph Cantrell was the Lord of the Manor and had been a Catholic, so to avoid fines after the Reformation he built a chapel on the side of the church with a "squint" to see into the church so although he was technically IN church, he and his family could do their own thing out of sight.

That's William Cantrell's tomb, looking like an altar on the left. A bit earlier than Ralph in history.

 The church seemed gloomy despite the bright sunshine and I didn't bother with many photos

I thought I would find out who this man is when I looked on the Suffolk Churches website, but no mention of him and no photo.

Not the best of church visits - it felt remote and lonely there.

Back Soon

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Still Reading and Other Stuff

Finished another library book the other day, probably ordered due to  seeing on a blog, although I'm not sure whose blog it was - sorry. First novel by a new author.

This is what it says about the book on the library website.

 When Rene Hargreaves is billeted to Starlight Farm as a Land Girl, far from the city where she grew up, she finds farmer Elsie Boston and her country ways strange at first. Yet over the days and months Rene and Elsie come to understand and depend on each other. Soon they can no longer imagine a life apart. But a visitor from Rene's past threatens the life they have built together, a life that has always kept others at a careful distance. Soon they are involved in a war of their own that endangers everything and will finally expose them to the nation's press and the full force of the law. 

Rene Hargreaves is actually a Mrs, but she leaves her children with relations, leaves her husband and goes off to become a Land Girl. Elsie Boston needs help on her farm and so the two meet. But it is wartime and Elsie's farm is inspected and classed as Poor so is given to a neighbour to farm. Rene and Elsie have become reliant on each other so become itinerant workers, working for farmers wherever they can find a cottage to rent and share. A good story.

So far, from the books collected from the library van last time, I've also read Lucy Mangan - "Bookworm"(already reviewed on the blog) ."Death in the Wasteland" by George Bellairs - a crime book reprinted from the 1960s. "Shepherd of Another Flock" by David Wilbourn - The tales of a young  vicar in Yorkshire - reminiscent of James Herriot or Gervase Phinn. "Dying in the Light" by Gillian Galbraith - the 3rd in a new-to-me series of crime set in Edinburgh and "A Different Kind of Evil" by Andrew Wilson - the 2nd by this author using Agatha Christie as the detective. I'm now enjoying "A Winter Away" by Elizabeth Fair - one of the Furrowed Middlebrow reprints by Dean Street Press.
 I soon discarded unread "The Life Giving Home" by Sally Clarkson and "Metroland" by Julian Barnes and regretfully also abandoned a British Library Crime Classic"Murder of My Aunt" by Richard Hull -  it's about the planning of a murder and I couldn't be bothered with it.
 I think "Writers as Readers; A Celebration of Virago Modern Classics" will go back unread - as I'm not in the right mood for it. That leaves me with two non fiction and another George Bellairs to read before the mobile is round again next week when I know there are already 13 books that I've ordered waiting for me.

The dentist appointment was a bit of a trial. He used something I'd not had inflicted on me before which was a piece of rubber that went round the tooth he was working on to stop water spray going down my throat.
It was nasty, made me feel as if I couldn't breathe and I'm not sure which was worse - not having to try to swallow or not being able to breathe. Anyway the root canal is done, my bank balance has been hit and hopefully I won't need to go back until my 6 month check.

Got home from the dentist to find a note through the door from someone looking to buy a house in the area. Do I want to sell? No not really and No not yet, although this is not a property for someone who can't drive or very elderly. Not sure where I would want to move to either. Moving to Surrey to help with Jacob isn't an option but going back to the coast where youngest daughter lives to help with Florence would take me away from son, DIL and Willow and sisters and Brothers in law. Moving into the village where son lives to help with Willow? or back to the village we lived in through the 1980's (where I go to big WI) which has more facilities within walking/cycling distance. Luckily I don't need to think about it at the moment.

Amber weather warning in this area for Heat yesterday, that doesn't happen often in England we had bright sunshine  nearly all day, but even when it clouded up by golly it was warm, even the wind was hot. Turns out Suffolk was the hottest place in the country. The cat complained by mewing sadly and collapsing flat out on the wood floor.
I must be one of the few people loving this warmth - but it got hot even for me and  I'm lucky that I don't have to go to work. I can remember the Very Long Hot summer of 1976 when I was working on the mobile library van  in the days before air con - that was an uncomfortable summer. It was OK when we were on the move between stops but like being in a tin box oven the rest of the time.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 23 July 2018

Suffolk Archaeology Open Day

On Saturday there was an Archaeology Open Day at the company where our son works (as a Project Officer)  so I went to have a look.(He wasn't able to be there - previous engagement at a friend's son's 2nd birthday party!)
 Suffolk Archaeology was originally Suffolk County Council Archaeology Department but as with most parts of the County Council it was "divested" and became a Community Interest Company. Son M did his high school work experience with them when he was 14, worked for them again for a year after finishing uni and now has been back with the new version for the last few years.

The open day was mainly aimed at families with children and there were "have a go sessions" on whittling a butter knife from wood, making a Roman coin from clay and weaving on a Roman loom.

I thought their storage area looked fascinating, all those boxes full of finds, but it was fenced off

I was very interested in their display about  The lost Elmswell aerodrome.

I hadn't realised that below the old WWII airfield where I learned to drive (and spent a lot of time with a boyfriend from Elmswell who, with friends, kept an old car there to roar around in!) there was a much earlier airfield. Suffolk Archaeology helped Elmswell history group research and catalogue their finds.

One of the WWI hangers was moved to Stowmarket to become  a Cattle market and sale-yard from the 1920s' through to the 70's

 which I can remember. It was  demolished in the 1980's and this is where Asda and the main car park is now situated in the town.

More displays from excavations elsewhere in Suffolk

They had some trays of Roman pottery to handle. This is the poshest Roman Samian Ware pottery.
When the Romans left Britain it took nearly 1500 years for pottery of this quality to be made in Britain again - What The Romans Did For Us was forgotten.

I'm so pleased that M has been able to work in his chosen profession ever since finishing university.

So I got through another weekend........................hope I get through today................. dentist appointment for the second part of the root canal stuff - Dreading it!

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 21 July 2018

Book Collections and Weekend Plans

Weeks and weeks ago when I mentioned the finding of a Persephone book in a charity shop  to add to my collection, someone asked for more information about this publishing company and why I collect the books.

Persephone started to reprint books by forgotten authors, mostly female, in 1999. They only publish five each year  with their special grey covers making them look rather exclusive (and easier to spot in secondhand book shops!). 128 published so far.

 I have a shelf of their titles and also have some of the books they've reprinted but in the original publications. For instance "Few Eggs and No Oranges" by Vere Hodgson, a wartime diary which I had in its original covers long before I knew about Persephone.
They also publish their most popular titles in a cheaper edition with picture covers  - the two on the left are ones I have.

Each grey book has  front and end papers featuring a material pattern from the era of the original date of the book and every book also comes with a matching bookmark.
In 2013 they printed a catalogue with a full page of information about each book, but they've said they can't do that again as it was very expensive to produce.

The Persephone Biannually, is like a small magazine and has a short story, details of forthcoming titles and reviews of previous titles plus news of the events they have in their shop in Lambs Conduit Street in London.

Most of the books I possess have been found second-hand although a very kind blogger and blog reader who was downsizing a couple of years ago sent me  and some other people  3 or 4, which was handy and very kind. I've been able to pass some onto a friend when I've found duplicates and was given one to review on the blog by the publishers in 2016.

There are many that I know I would never read so have no intention of collecting all 128! especially as they are now £13 each when new. My favourites apart from "Few Eggs" are the other books from wartime  by- Mollie Panter-Downes " Good Evening Mrs Craven" and "Minnie's Room". Also by the same author " London War Notes" which I found on amazon the year before Persephone re-printed so that isn't in the matching grey cover either.

All that doesn't really answer why I collect them or why I also have a collection of WWII Home Front books ( some still to read) almost all of Angela Thirkell's novels of Barsetshire.( haven't read all these yet either). All the Miss Read books ( I've read all these twice). The whole set of ABC crimes by Sue Grafton ( Except Y and Z - she died before doing Z ) ( I'm up to L!). The set of Elizabethan Mysteries by Edward Marston (still some to read of this series too) and his Medieval Mystery series ( all waiting to be read) as well as a collections of books about folklore, countryside  and "quite a few" other books.

Back in February 2015 on the old blog, when we were at the smallholding I took photos of all our books, we had 1,482 but some went before we left the smallholding and  a lot more went when we moved here to the cottage. I'm still sorting, sifting and selling......... another £13 worth went off to Ziffit this week. So a lot less than a thousand now but I'm still looking for Persephone books and old golden age crime that I haven't read - I found 5 Dorothy L Sayers at the Debenham Yard sales last weekend, so a few books still coming in too.

Not sure what I'm doing yet to fill this weekend, one thing for definite plus  a car boot sale probably. Maybe a church visit and I suppose I'd better do the ironing.

I was pondering why weekends are the hardest to cope with and I think it's because I spent most of our married life looking forward to Col being at home at the weekend so we could work together on the smallholding.
I mustn't dwell on that thought.

Have a lovely weekend folks
Back Monday

Friday 20 July 2018

Up a Ladder and on a Chair in the Bathroom

Over a week ago I sanded down the bathroom walls ready for painting. It's only a small bathroom, one wall is almost all tiles, another wall has tiles, the bathroom door and the airing cupboard door, the third wall is part shower-wall and window so in theory there isn't too much to paint, but is darned awkward. Although one good thing, no doors, door frames, window or skirting board to paint - the doors are stained solid pine, window is plastic double glazed and the skirting and door frames are a sort of limed melamine type wood(?) which only need a wash down.

A day later was when my back went ping and that was the end of the decorating plans for last week.

So this week,  using a step ladder in the middle of the floor and a chair for other bits which is the only way to reach everything, I got started by filling a hairline crack in the ceiling and then got the paint out. (Dulux Bathroom colour Timeless- in case you are interested!)
 To reach the deep sides and top of the window recess means climbing over the basin and loo and  sitting on the window sill. Managed that OK and did the fiddly bits behind the loo and basin.
That was enough for day one, I want to get it all done by the last weekend of the month so plenty of time and no point in overdoing it and aggravating my back.

Last year when I painted the living room you got a blow by blow account!  (I was quite chuffed to do a whole room myself as in the past Colin did most of  the decorating while I did the small bits and the fetching and carrying! ) but I don't need to do a day by day description because I got the rest done all in one day. I didn't really mean to but had it done all except one wall in a couple of hours so thought I might as well press on to a finish.

Here's the new walk in shower, all nice a tidy. I'm still marveling at the fact that there was exactly the right number of wall tiles spare in the garage to add two rows to what were there to bring it up to shower height!

Replacing the huge, totally impractical Red bath which could never be filled as the water pressure is too low and impossible to climb out of too!

Picture from the sale brochure when we bought the house.

Clearing everything up and getting it all downstairs, cleaned and back into the garage took nearly as long.

 The next room to do ............but not until September at the earliest............... will be the big bedroom. It's a weird pink/biscuity colour at the moment and I have a bad feeling it might take two coats to cover it.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 19 July 2018

Embarrassing the Children

You're probably not supposed to embarrass the children when they are in their 30's and I'm over 60 but I did..................Great Fun!

It was at the after-the-funeral-get-together (because I refused to call it a wake.......it's not a word used much in Suffolk).

Towards the end of the afternoon, I was standing near some of the family and  a bloke came up to me and said "you don't know me do you?" I said  "No, but you must be someone who worked with Colin at sometime". "Yes, I'm C.M" he said. "Really!" I said with a big grin!

When Colin was a County Council road-man and then a supervisor in Central Area back in the early 1980's he was  based at the depot in Eye. C.M, also worked for the council as a road-man and he and his wife had rented the flat above the offices there and when Col told me who lived there I asked if this was the same C.M who went to the same secondary school as Col and was the same age as me and then I told Colin all about my first kiss! Colin must have told C.M that I remembered.

I introduced him to the family "here is the person who gave me my first kiss!" Certainly embarrassed the family!  Probably embarrassed CM too..........he said " I wasn't going to mention that if you had forgotten!"

Then we reminisced about that day almost exactly 50 years ago when I was a  13 year old helping on a stall at a one-off country fair event called "The Spirit of Suffolk" and he was there with Bacton Modern School to do a country dancing display......and not so shy!
It was quite surreal to meet again after 50 years!

I wrote a note in my " Letts' Schoolgirl Diary", I still have them from 1968 and 1969! Goodness knows why.

  (You have to be a certain age to remember them)  and lost a lot of respect for my Mum when she told me off for kissing boys,............ she'd been reading my diary.
 I must have vowed then that if I had children I would never read their diaries and I kept to that.

Thank you for comments yesterday.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Debenham Parish Church

Another church from the book

Debenham is a big village with a population of just over 2,000 and the church is the largest I have been to so far.

 And it is the only one so far where I've seen people! There were ladies cleaning and a man in the office.

Also the only one so far with a clock and a bell chiming the hours.

 The things to look out for according to the book are these stones on the corner of the tower, which were laid about 1,000 years ago. They are called quoins and alternate between horizontal and vertical which is the way Saxon masons worked.

The lower part of the tower is thought to date from the 11th century when Saxon and Norman styles of architecture overlap. The upper part of the tower dates from the 14th century and lost about 20 feet of height in 1667 when it was struck by lightening.
The large two-storey porch was added to the west of the tower in C14.

Inside has a floor of local red and yellow bricks, laid in 1871.

It's the first church I've visited with big marble effigies on a tomb

Plenty of room for everyone in this church and a few stained glass windows, difficult to photograph in bright sunlight.
The church has 8 bells and there are lots of plaques in the porch commemorating various peels that have been rung over the years.

I had to take a photo of this smiling lady by the main door (a sticky-out bit like this is called a corbel I think, although corbels usually support something and I don't think this carving is supporting much stonework above it). On the other side is a grumpy looking counterpart - a man - didn't bother to take a photo of him!

Many more details can be found HERE

Many thanks for comments yesterday, it was interesting to find that magazines were often called "books" by lots of  other mums and grans, and to hear which magazines other people read as a child.


Back Tomorrow

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.

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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!

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