Saturday 29 September 2018


29th September is Michaelmas, the equinox is past and autumn is really here. The autumn decorations were added to the mantel-piece after the chimney was swept but I forgot  to take a photo.
Much like last year except for the hare that came from the Suffolk Show in May and the brown jug and lantern from car boot sales this summer. The wooden fruit came from a car boot sale in 2017 . The only thing new was the leaf swag bought last year and safely stored away to use every autumn.

 Michaelmas was an important day when farm rents were due, annual employment terms ended, local courts were held and children would finally go back to school after helping with the  harvests. 

A couple of weather sayings for today

If St Michael brings many acorns, Christmas will cover the fields with snow

So many days old the moon is on Michaelmas Day, so many floods after.

A roast "stubble" goose - fattened from the barley gleanings on the fields after harvest =, used to be the traditional meal on this day and it was thought that eating goose on Michaelmas Day would bring financial prosperity in the year to come.

 Whoever eats goose on Michaelmas day, Shall never lack money for his debts to pay

And when the tenants come to pay their quarter's rent,
They bring some fowl at midsummer, a dish of fish in Lent,
At Christmas a capon, at Michaelmas a goose, 
And somewhat else at New-year's tide, for fear their lease fly loose .

Goose Fairs used to be held on this day and geese were walked to the famous fairs. There is a record dating from the C16, of over twenty thousand geese being walked to Nottingham goose fair from Lincolnshire and Norfolk. Their feet were prepared for the long walk by being coated by with a mixture of tar and sand.

 In one of my books it says that Michaelmas day is the last day that blackberries should be picked. It is said that when St Michael threw Lucifer, the devil, from heaven, he fell from the skies and landed in a blackberry bush making the fruit useless
BUT in another book this story is given for October 10th, this anomaly will be due to the change of calendar when 12 days were lost. In reality it probably depends on the weather and how damp it's been to make the blackberries mouldy.

Have a lovely weekend everyone............. the forecast is good for Suffolk although much colder than it has been.

Back Monday

Friday 28 September 2018

September Library Book Photo + House News

Here are the books I collected from the Mobile Library this week. All except one are books I've ordered on line and collected. Once again most are crime fiction.

From the bottom upwards - Gather is a cookery book to browse. Gill Meller was one of the people who worked with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall in the early days. The Handmade Apothecary is what it says on the spine! No idea where I got the idea for ordering the Book of Silence and also no idea what it's like yet. New crime by Ann Cleeves - it's her last in the Shetland series. A biography of Christmas - again  no idea. "Gallows Court" by Martin Edwards is the first in a new series by this author. I didn't like his Lake District Mystery series so not sure about this. I'll let you know. "Down Yonder at the Back End" is a small biography I took off the returned shelves on the van. "Crime on the Fens" by Joy Ellis a new to me author to try out. Another crime fiction by Ann Cleeves is a re-print from before she became well known with the Shetland and Vera books. Then another British Library Crime Classic reprint - The Arsenal Stadium Mystery by Leonard Gribble and the very slim volume on the top of the heap is Lucifer's House by Mel Starr, this is from a series of historical crime set in the 14C.
Which to read first, that is the question.

What did I read from last time? Below are the books picked up 4 weeks ago. They've all gone back to the library. The only one that went back completely un-read was the book by Peter James. I flicked through The New Spend Year but didn't bother to read it properly. The Life of Stuff isn't what I thought but  actually a memoir of the author, her mother and family and a type of depression that leads to extreme hoarding - an interesting read. All books I've read have been added to my Books Read 2018 page.
I've still got some non-fiction here from 8 weeks ago. I'm  preferring crime at the moment but I'll hang onto them a while longer just in case.


The downstairs bathroom is finally done so now I need to get out the paint again. It looks as if someone did a quick coat of white over blue sometime before we came here and I'm also going to grout the few tiles that the kitchen man fixed on the wall beside the new units. I wonder why that little bit was never finished, given that the tiles were in the garage all the time. He'll be back in about a month, maybe less, to do the second part of the kitchen replacement which is two wall cupboards above two cupboards. That gives me a bit of a break from Workmen and hopefully a chance to get out to some church visits etc.

Thanks for comments yesterday

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Thursday 27 September 2018

Quilt Fest

Another post that has been sat in drafts for weeks.

A couple of months ago ago when I was somewhere I saw a poster about a quilt exhibition. I thought it sounded good for a visit and a blog post but it was on a day I knew I wouldn't be able to go so I didn't note the place or time.........or where I'd seen the poster.
Then  a change of plan meant I could go but where the heck was it being held? I searched online.... Nothing. I even bought the East Anglian Daily Times on the day they feature local events....Nothing.
Oh well.

Anyway a few weeks ago  I headed out to a boot sale in a different place, their last of the season. I came home another way and then lo and behold...... big sign by the road QUILT FEST Today. Saxtead Church.

First find the church.

Ah, here it is tucked away among huge trees. It's not one of the 100 featured in my book.

T'was then it dawned on me - damn no camera!

Only the phone....... which I struggle to focus and  hold still. So awful photos but you get the gist.

A church is the perfect place for this exhibition as all the quilts were over all the pews........and so colourful.
This was my favourite - just love the colours.

 Apologies for the out of focus. I must practice more with the phone camera.

Back Soon

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Following on from Yesterday

Several people asked about the Cider Vinegar recipe. First I have to say I've never tried it before so have no idea if it will work or not.
It comes from this book

The Recipe

This was a messy job, seemed to end up with bits of apple everywhere!

I started of by taking out the cores and pips and chopping, then put the bits through the grater on the food processor and then into the liquidizer jug and finally into the straining bag.
I left it to drip then squeezed out as much juice as possible.

 Poured the juice into a big kilner jar added a couple of spoons full of the pulp and then a sachet of cider yeast. Which said "sprinkle on top leave 15 minutes and then stir".

Then Wait and see what happens.

I took a photo of the fruit cakes yesterday and forgot to add it to the blog post so here they are, looking and tasting good.
I'll add the recipe to the separate recipe page.

And while finding this photo, I also found a photo of my Big Spend at a car boot sale last Saturday, a total of £1.20 for 3 childrens activity books to put away for later and two small lock and lock storage tubs which I thought would do for storing a half onion in the fridge - instead of wrapping with cling film

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Tuesday 25 September 2018

This Week

I'm back to writing lists to try and remember all the things I want to do.

Picking up apples
Those windy days last week didn't do the apples much good at all. I've already picked up lots of cooking apples, peeled and sliced and cut off the bruises, dipped them in salt water and put 3 big bags full into the freezer.

A job for today is starting to make cider vinegar
Also using windfalls with the bruises cut off - a mix of eating and cooking apples

Yesterday I made fruit cakes
 I like fruit cake to be light and soft, Colin liked fruit cake to be firm and solid. The Victorian Christmas cake recipe on the separate recipe page is what I used to make for Christmas and with less fruit for the rest of the year and it's quite a heavy cake. So I tried a new recipe that I'd photocopied from somewhere sometime. I offered youngest daughter a piece when she was here and she knew straight away that it wasn't the usual fruit cake  and said it tasted like a shop one and that's what I prefer.
This amount is 1½ the recipe and makes 2 loaf fruit cakes (so I could use my loaf-tin liners prize for the cake I entered in the show in August!)
Quick and Easy Fruit Cake
12oz softened butter (I used Stork for cakes)
12oz dark muscovado sugar
1½ tablespoons black treacle
4 large eggs
12oz SR flour
3tsp mixed spice
2 tsp baking powder

Mix all the above together then fold in 3 grated eating apples and 15 oz mixed cherries and sultanas,
Divide into 2  loaf tins and bake in a preheated oven  for about an hour at Gas 4 ( 160 ° C fan oven) until a skewer comes out clean.
Freezes well.

I must cut back the lavender

There are 3 indoor  hyacinth bulbs that need planting

I bought some ericaceous  compost to top up the Camellia in its tub

All the pots I washed last week need putting away and the rest need washing.

The field is covered in twigs after the windy weather and I need to pick them up and put them to dry.

That will do for a start

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Monday 24 September 2018

The Elder Tree

 English summer begins with elder flowers and ends with elder berries

Autumn is definitely here, and except for the ones I turned into syrup all the Elder berries have been stripped by the pigeons. I researched this post a few weeks ago and it's time it was published.

The Elder page from the Readers Digest Book of Trees
Elder takes up 4 pages in the little book "Discovering The Folklore of Plants" by Margaret Baker. With so many sayings and superstitions attached it's an important tree in the countryside.
The book says
"The ambivalent character of Elder makes it at once beneficent and malevolent; kindly and spiteful"

These are just a few of  the Elders effects that have been recorded around Europe.............
  • It is thought the Elder is inhabited by Lady Elder or the Elder Mother and her permission must be asked before the tree was touched.
  • To burn elder wood brought death and disaster and if elder was added by mistake to a fire already burning the fire would promptly go out.
  • Elder growing near a well taints the water.
  • Elder used in a cradle would make the child pine away
  • Elder used as a meat skewer would make the meat bitter
  • Whipping an animal with an elder wand stunted its growth
  • The scent of elder flowers will poison anyone who falls asleep under the tree.
  • Adders are attracted to the tree roots of the elder
  • Food cooked over an elder wood fire would not be fit to eat
  • A pregnant woman who stepped on elder leaves might suffer a miscarriage
  • Witches conjured rough weather by stirring a bucket of water with an elder twig
Enough to put off anyone who had any thought of using Elder!

But on the other hand there were counter charms that could be used to evoke the  Elders positive character
  • Elders planted around a property would keep witches away
  • Drying clothes on an elder bush would bring good luck to the wearer 
  • A twig of elder in a riders pocket would save him from saddle-sores
  • Elder leaves picked on the last day of April could heal wounds
The folklore book quotes from a much earlier book "Adam in Eden"  by William Coles published in 1656

There is hardly a disease from the head to foot but it cures. For headaches, for ravings and wakings, hypocondriack and mellancholly, the falling-sicknesse,catarrhes,deafnesse, faintnesse and feacours.

 My sources

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Saturday 22 September 2018

Another Week Bites the Dust

 Apart from the off/on/off/on work in the downstairs bathroom  not a lot happened. No one turned up Thursday so I rang up Again............. " having trouble sourcing a small enough pedestal or wall hung basin"........WHAT, come on, this is 2018 - anything and everything is source-able surely. No one turned up Friday either so I rang up AGAIN " should be delivered here Monday will get it fitted first thing Tuesday as long as it arrives on time". Oh good, once that done the bathroom is finished.

Meanwhile I washed some flower pots, went swimming and shopping and the boiler got serviced - another thing done before winter. Heating oil was ordered and I bought a new washing up bowl and washing basket - I really know how to treat myself!

Weeding two of  the vegetable beds  was done early in the week while the sun shone - it soon got a bit too warm and I retired inside to finish a book.  This author has written dozens of books and this one combines characters from two of her series to solve the disappearance of a student 20 years ago. A quick easy read.


I went to Small WI one evening to hear a really good speaker, although she didn't speak much but got us all making a flower brooch from ribbon.  Originally from Australia she always wanted to make hats but was persuaded by her very conventional Australian/Greek parents to become an architect. Then she came here to work and met her English teacher husband, had 3 children and then eventually realised her dream and went on art and  millinery courses to learn the hat making craft.  Her business is called  "Madge Hatter" and she works with a friend who does hair and make up to create wonderful hats, fascinators  and tiaras for brides and bridesmaids and anyone else who wants something unique . She was very funny and delightfully OTT....... She told us she once wore a tiara to go to a quiz night at her children's school. Just because!
This is my rather poor copy of what she made - took her a few minutes - took the rest of us all evening! It has a brooch pin on the back.
T'was a bit windy mid-week............  Daughter and Florence popped over for a couple of hours and I worried in case there were trees down on their way home.

Cooked a meal for Col's brother one night and got him to demonstrate using the drill so I could finally get pictures up in my bedroom. I was so excited to finally learn a new skill. For 38 years I held the hoover pipe while Col drilled the hole, should have learned years ago. Brother in law said there would be no stopping me now, I'll be drilling holes everywhere!........... I hope he is exaggerating.

 This is my bedroom and the corner where the big ugly shower was. No one will ever know now..........note the baskets on top disguising the fact that the coving is missing!
New grey carpet instead of nasty old  dark pink. Nice light walls instead of the beige/pink dull paint previously. And a picture I stitched AND HUNG myself - whoop!

 One of the reasons for loving this house is  that the living room, kitchen and two of the bedrooms have what the Estate Agents like to call "double aspect". The double aspect from my bedroom is  a view west of the workshop and fields
 and a view North of part of the garden and garage

The weather forecast for the weekend is mixed so I'm not sure what I'll be doing yet. Hope you all have a good weekend with interesting things happening.

Back Monday

Friday 21 September 2018

Aldeburgh St. Peter and St Paul

A couple of weeks ago I took  a detour on the way to see youngest and Florence and called in to see the sea and the church at Aldeburgh, a small town I know well after all our years living just a few miles inland, and unlike all the churches visited prior to this, it's one I've actually been inside for a service.

The "treasure" that gives this church a place in the 100 treasures book is the memorial in the churchyard to the 7 men who drowned in a tragic event of 7 December 1899. The men were part of the 18 man crew of the Aldeburgh lifeboat which was hit broadside by two huge waves in heavy seas and capsized, trapping 6 men underneath.
 Aldeburgh was a much smaller town back then and everyone would have known the people who were killed. There's still a lifeboat stationed in Aldeburgh and they built a brand new building for it in the 1990's.

Into the church and this beautiful copper plaque gives the names of those who died

It's a very wide church with the side aisles almost the same height as the main nave, there are no windows (clerestorey? )high up so it felt a bit gloomy in the middle aisle as I entered under the tower.
I thought the alter cloth was interesting and the angels guarding the sanctuary
And the shields on the roof bosses
The banner shows the town crest
Compared to some of the churches I've visited the font is small and not situated in the usual place.

There is one person especially connected with Aldeburgh and he has a stained window in his memory and that's the composer Benjamin Britten. I'm not sure when the window by the artist John Piper was installed but Britten died in 1976.
I found these three architectural drawings of the church framed on the south wall,(sorry about the poor photo)

 Outside again and the South porch joins the pavement by the busy main road down the hill to the seafront and has archways through each side for a pathway....... might also be unique in Suffolk.......I don't know.

Lots more information about the church HERE

Just a couple of photos of the shingle, sea and  gulls on a sunny September  morning

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Thursday 20 September 2018

Heritage Open Days Part 3 Plus Other Stuff

My final visit on Saturday was to Broomhill Lido on the way out of town.

I mentioned this back on the old blog, when we were living in Ipswich because I used to walk past it on my way to Broomhill library next door
This is the photo I took back in 2016 and how it looks most of the time, all closed up with many warnings.
The Lido was opened in 1938  and such a favourite place for Ipswich people for 50 years until it was closed in 1988 when it became too expensive to repair and keep open. Recently it's been awarded a heritage lottery grant and with much fund raising hopes to re-open.

This display shows photos and newspaper articles from the past

 This is the main pool, covered in metal sheeting. Across the other side are what were the changing rooms. The far end was very deep and had 5 different level high diving boards.......One of very few pools to have these.

In front of the changing rooms were "sunbathing terraces"

Below is the shallow children's pool.

This display shows how it will look in the future

 I bought a raffle ticket to hopefully win ( I didn't) a large print of this picture below

 I do hope their plans go well so the pool can re-open, not because I will ever swim there but I remember the lovely times I had at Stowmarket open-air swimming pool in the late 1960s which was a miniature version of this pool. (Stowmarket pool also closed many years ago - late 70's  and has probably been built over by now! I shall have to have a look).


 Yesterday morning, much to my surprise, the bathroom guy turned up WITH the right metal trim for shower-board and  white grout for tiles, but WITHOUT wash basin. " They might bring it later" he said. Guess what........... They didn't! So he did what he could and off he went before noon. Wonder if he will be back today with the basin?

 And Finally
Does anyone else like watching Upstart Crow? I don't know why but I find it funny enough to smile at, which has to be a good thing the way the world is going...........or is it just me?
And I'm sure that sentence is written in Suffolk............ so completely in the wrong we do.

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Wednesday 19 September 2018

Heritage Open Days Part 2

My next visit was to a much older building, one of the earliest domestic buildings in Ipswich.........
Pykenham Gatehouse in Northgate Street .
This is what I found out about this interesting building

William Pykenham was born in Higher Layer, Essex in the mid 15th century. He studied at Oxford and Cambridge and entered into the church, where he quickly gained influential patrons. In 1471 he was named Archdeacon of Suffolk, which means he was the chief representative of the Bishop of Norwich. Pykenham held an ecclesiastical court at the church of St Mary-le-tower, just behind his official residence.
Pykenham was a man who knew his own worth. He is said to have had 19 servants at the time of his death. He also required residents of almhouses that he founded to say daily prayers for his soul and those of his parents. Historians believe that had Richard III triumphed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 he would have made Pykenham a bishop.
Pykenham found the old building too small for his taste, and quickly set about enlarging it to provide a suitably impressive house for a man of his standing. He built a ceremonial gateway opening into Northgate Street. The gatehouse and the flanking walls were made of brick, considered a fashionable material and a sign of wealth and refinement at the time. The rest of the gatehouse was timber-framed with a wattle and daub infill. At some point the gatehouse gained a stepped gable in Dutch style.
In the 18th century the medieval facade was rendered with lime and sand. This served not only to make the gatehouse look more fashionable but it helped seal the walls against draughts. The front wall had large buttresses, but these were just for show, and were removed in the late 18th century.

Double windows in the south extension
Over the gateway arch is a single room, best seen from the rear. This is jettied out over the arch and to the south. The fact that there is no jetty to the north suggests that it was once attached to another building that has been pulled down. Access to the room was provided by a brick stair inside the gatehouse.

Originally just one room maybe for a gatekeeper or perhaps for storage of important papers it was extended 100 years later with two small rooms and a new entrance on the right of the photo below......which is the view from inside the arch.
It wasn't until the building was being restored that this old staircase (mentioned in the information above) was found leading up from the street
This lovely carving was one of the corner posts of the jettied upper-storey of the original building. The extension meant this was then undercover so has been preserved for over 500 years.

This piece of  metal work - used to strengthen the original building is dated 1673

It was so interesting to finally see what was behind the big gates that are usually shut.

Thank you for comments yesterday. I am totally fed up with on-going work in the house............ Am I mad?.............. Doing all this to update and make it more saleable in the future? I'm beginning to think I must be.
Just have to remember that by winter it will all be done and I'll be able to relax and hibernate and if I do decide to sell, then it'll be right ready.
Anyway, the bath is in, but of course the guy hadn't got the right stuff to finish the job on Tuesday! There was supposed to be metal trim for the edge of the shower wall stuff which is going along the side of the bath but it hadn't been ordered.   The basin was damaged on arrival  but much too big anyway so a smaller  replacement will be ordered. There were 11 tiles in the garage  to match those already there and that was just enough to tile where the under-the-sink cupboard had been but it turned out the grout he had brought was grey - so no good for the pale pink marbled tiles!
He'll be back when the basin arrives to finish the where have I heard that before?

And I've been meaning to say welcome to new followers, numbers are now more than the old blog, not that I'm keeping a check on them or anything!

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