Friday 30 November 2018

Anything Frugal in November?..................

...........................No, Low spend November didn't happen.

There were big expenses as mentioned during the month
  • New hot water tank and all the work involved
  • Fog light glass repair on car
  • Car Serviced
  • New Passport

The only small frugal-ing was................
  • Used my small Tesco voucher to buy a raffle prize ready for the village over 60's meal.
  • Eating beetroot from the garden everyday.
  • Reading library books for free
  • Didn't use tumble drier all month (can't remember the last time I did use it)
  • Peppers, courgettes and mange tout peas from freezer
  • Used my one  home grown squash to form the base of a pan full of veg curry. Made 5 meals to put in freezer..
  • Won chocolate orange  at WI, put away for Christmas.
  • Picked up twigs and sticks from meadow for kindling wood
  • Ordered wild bird feed when they were doing a special offer and got free suet pellets
  • Made more chutney using free apples from a "Help yourself to windfalls" box outside a house in the village
  • And another batch of chutney using beetroot from the garden and apples as above.
  • Got things for 2 hampers from car-boot sale
  • Also chocolate teddies for 5 hampers
  • Clothes from charity shop 
  • Christmas presents for Grandchildren from Charity shop and boot sale.
One of the 3 tops  bought from the Ipswich charity shops a week ago looked awful on me and wasn't very good quality anyway, but it did have some nice embroidery, so it was turned into two birthday cards. I padded them with a little wadding and I think they look OK.

Haven't mentioned this lately but I'm still getting rid of stuff

OUT in November went 2 pairs of curtains - they'd already moved house twice so instead of putting them back in the airing cupboard after the new hot water tank was fitted they went into a bag for the charity shop along with a few more books.
OUT of the workshop went the two chainsaws and things that go with chainsaws and several clamps. They went home with Col's brother.
OUT to a fundraiser for the doctors surgery went some books
OUT to the charity shop went some shirts and jeans of Colins
OUT of the meadow went the old caravan. The kitchen man said he could tidy it up to use it and knew someone who could re-upholster the mouse-eaten seating. (it would have cost me £425 to send it for scrap and was no longer suitable to sell as it had deteriorated badly over the last few years).
OUT to an auction house went some jewellery that has been passed onto me over the years. Some will go into their regular monthly jewellery auction and one piece kept back for their specialist auction next year. It was all too chunky for me to wear so I thought might as well sell and buy another plain ring or I might get myself a watch that winds.(Battery watches always stop on me!)
ALMOST OUT  went the jigsaw puzzles plus  kitchen utensils from the caravan (into the car boot box under the stairs)

I'm very pleased at how I've got on with Christmas Day and Christmas present shopping, lots done so no panic next month, although there are things I want to do in the kitchen but the kitchen man has been here all week and at the rate he goes will be here for most of next week too......everything is double or treble seems to go on forever......I feel sorry for the person in the future who wants to remove this kitchen. It WILL be done eventually I know.

Thank you for all the comments about the cushion...........I hope everyone realised that I wasn't being at all serious! 

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Thursday 29 November 2018

They'll Think I've Gone Mad!

Me? the person who used to be a Christmas Grump, buying a Christmas cushion............ .................impossible!

But it's true

How many times have I scoffed at all the special Christmas furnishings?

You'll have guessed where it came from. 

Yes, you're right of course

A Car boot sale, obviously

For £1

The cover needs a wash but it zips off so that's OK.

Oh dear, looks like I've succumbed to all the Christmas hype and the buying frenzy!

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Wednesday 28 November 2018

St John The Evangelist Church Bury St Edmunds

Compared to some I've visited this church is modern, built in 1841 in Victorian Gothic style using local bricks from Woolpit Brick Company

It was difficult to get a photo of the outside because this church is on a busy road, with shops and buildings all around  and it was only when I uploaded this photo I found it was a good one of the rubbish bins!

The East end was re-modelled in 1876 and six tall candles on the altar lead the eye up to 

 The starry sky that was painted on the roof above

 The treasure that gets this church into the 100 treasure book is this painting by Iain McKillop which shows the Risen Christ. It was dedicated in 2008 after a challenge to the artists of the day to design paintings for the Stations of the cross around the church.


The  pictures at the other stations are much smaller

The font is painted and decorated and very fancy compared to the much older ones I've seen in village churches

This is a light, bright and wide church

There is lots about the history of this church HERE on the Suffolk Churches website.

Many thanks to everyone for comments about the chutney.
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Tuesday 27 November 2018

Beetroot Chutney

Deciding not to make things for Christmas Hampers and then changing my mind in late October has left me with less time than usual for getting things done.
But I came up with an idea for using something that's still plentiful in the garden.....Beetroot.
Not sure if I've ever made Beetroot Chutney before but it's certainly not a regular so I searched through recipe books to find one that sounded good and didn't involve many extra ingredients.
The Best Kept Secrets of the WI Jams, Pickles and Chutneys book had this...................

Their recipe used 3lb of beetroot and quite a lot of raisins and  made 6lb+ of chutney, I didn't want that much so altered it a bit. I used red onions and red and white vinegar to keep the colour.

2lb Beetroot, cooked
1¼ lb  onions chopped small
1lb cooking apples, peeled cored and chopped
6oz Sultanas
Just under 1½ pints vinegar 568ml + 284ml =  852 ( I used a bottle of red wine vinegar and then made up the amount with white vinegar)
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
20 oz granulated sugar

Peel and cut the cooked beetroot into chunks.
Put the onion and a little of the vinegar into a large preserving pan and cook to soften.
Add the sultanas and the prepared apple and a little more vinegar and cook again until apple is soft.
Add the beetroot, ginger, salt and half the remaining vinegar, simmer gently until starting to thicken.
Add the sugar and remaining vinegar stirring until the sugar has dissolved and continue cooking until thick again. (Total cooking time about two hours).

It turned out looking like this and tastes good already so should be even better by Christmas.

When I used to make chutney to sell someone once asked me how it was that my  chutney was all different colours? I must have looked puzzled because they said that whatever ingredients they used their chutney always came out brown like Branston pickle.
But I use different types of vinegar and white or red onions depending what the other ingredients are. Simple really but a bit more expensive, but if most of the ingredients are home grown or free then it isn't so bad.

The cost to make this was
Beetroot - free
Apples    - free
Sultanas - about 38p
Onions about 40p
Red wine vinegar 80p
White vinegar  about 35p
Ginger and salt - pennies
Sugar about 36p

Total of £2.29 if I've added correctly

This made 6 various sized jars enough for hampers and some for me.

Thank you for all the comments yesterday and hello to a new follower or maybe two, I've lost count but I hope you enjoy reading

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Monday 26 November 2018

"Black Friday" ...............I Did it My Way!

A change of plan so I had time to go to Ipswich and it happened to be so-called "Black Friday".  I wanted to look round the charity shops for some longer length tunic tops for wearing at home because I'd been round the Stowmarket charity shops twice with no luck and I don't want to buy new.
Also wanted a few Christmas bits.

 I wouldn't normally show a picture of all my shopping on the blog but as it was " Black Friday" I thought I'd treat you to  shopping spree my way................. everything secondhand or cheap!

From Charity shops I found 3 tops for a total of  £7
                                         Green crepe paper for  £0.25p
                            Tree Decorations for total of    £2.50
                              Xmas Present for Jacob  for   £3
 Another Christmas book for the grandchildren   £0.49p
From Poundland Biscuits  for Christmas Day      £1
                                                 Gold Spray           £1
                                            Party Poppers            £1
 Aldi  for Xmas  dessert cocoa coated...Nuts       £1.99

And finally, because I'm going to make an effort and put up a Christmas tree this year I got some new  lights for £9.99.

I didn't see anyone fighting over reduced stuff, the town looked no busier than usual for a Friday morning. I didn't bother with any of the big department stores and went home via the packaging place for the red crepe paper (couldn't find any in town) and florists tape......................I have a craft project in mind that I happened upon on a Kirstie Allsop Handmade Christmas Programme.

If it works you'll see it here, if it fails you won't!

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Saturday 24 November 2018

It's Saturday Again

I have no idea how the weeks fly by so quickly but they do.

Winter suddenly arrived on Tuesday when the windchill factor brought the temperatures down to near freezing all day. Although there actually hasn't been a frost here yet, unlike other parts of the country.The leaves had all come down at once over the weekend, the roads are caked with mud from the tractors and lorries doing the sugar beet and everywhere is suddenly looking very dismal.

Swimming was nice and quiet, only 7 people in for most of the time I was swimming. Six months ago I could just about do 8 x 20m lengths, two weeks ago I managed 20 lengths and this week I did  26 x 20m, with only a couple of pauses. On the way there a Barn Owl flew towards and then across the road in front of me which reminded me to look for any signs of one roosting in the wood shed this year, but nothing...........sadly.

 It's the food storage and  the baking equipment cupboards in the kitchen being replaced next week, so a big job of emptying everything onto the dining room table. I seem to have a good lot of food in tins, nothing too out of date except a tin of cheap custard BBE  Aug 2016, which I ate with a banana for two days, it was fine.

Did my stint at the charity shop, the books were in a right old muddle as I hadn't been there the week before. So my job was to tidy them all back into alphabetical order and bring more down. There is one problem with this shop - it's very old and only the shop is on the ground floor . Everything else is up steep winding stairs - 3 more floors! So when people bring in donations it all has to go up and then sorted and back down again. The lady who is the manager says she loses two pound in weight every week, but then puts it back on at the weekend. I can see this might be a problem if they get any very elderly volunteers, they'll never make it up and down....I struggle and I'm fairly fit - ish!

Interesting things learned this week
1. We might be getting an Aldi  in Stowmarket. There was one in town many years ago before the brand really took off but they closed down. The building then became a Poundland but blow-me-down that closed down too.............just before we moved back this way. If Aldi returns it will be in a different building  just out of town but within walking distance and closer to the centre than Lidl is. There isn't much parking at the proposed site so it might get turned down by the council as it involves change of use from offices to retail. I'll keep you updated!
2. The Wyevale Garden Centre in Woodbridge has turned into a Dobbies. Wonder if they all have.

Here's a teaser from somewhere I went this week. More photos will appear in my Advent 2018 posts during December (or before if I run out of ideas for the rest of this month!)

Welcome to new followers, hope you enjoy reading.

Have a lovely weekend, enjoy whatever you do despite the weather forecast, which is a bit dreary.

Back Monday

Friday 23 November 2018

The November Library Book Photo

When I picked up my requests from the library van it was quite a surprise because they've had a glitch in the system which was telling me only one book available to collect.

But there was a few more than one!

12 books collected and still have 8 here from last month and the Ngaio Marsh on the right is three books in one so that means a possible 22 books to read! Good Grief!

As usual most of my reservations are crime fiction........... old and new and some authors I've not read before.

Pick of the bunch? The new Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency book "Colours of all the cattle" will be an enjoyable read about sunny Botswana and also looking forward to reading "The Light in the Dark" by Horatio Clare which is about winter and has been described as "“Magical, moving and deeply atmospheric”.

Books read from last months batch have been added to the separate Books Read 2018 page. I did eventually read "The Salt Path"  and enjoyed it despite the terminal illness.

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday

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Thursday 22 November 2018

Always With Me

There is a company that takes  a teaspoonful of a loved ones ashes and fuses them with glass to make  items of jewellery.

At first the idea didn't appeal to me at all but then after the funeral I changed my mind and  decided I'd have a pendant. When it arrived I found I couldn't wear it comfortably as the chain was short, very close fitting and my thumbs wouldn't work to do up the tiny clasp when I'd got it on and if I did manage to do it up then it was very difficult to undo. So for months it sat in it's little box until I found a suitable longer delicate chain..........from a car boot sale of course! But then I couldn't get the pendant off the original chain to thread on the new one so it sat in the box for another few weeks.

Until finally I remembered to take it to a jewellers and asked if they could swap it over and yes they could. They have the tools and the magnification to open the tiny links and didn't mind that the long chain wasn't gold. ( A long gold chain would have been several hundred pounds)

  Now I can put it on without undoing, and the jeweller also changed the clasps so it is permanently done up.
 And even though you can't see the pendant when I have it on, I know it's there.

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Wednesday 21 November 2018

W.I x 2

 November  is the month when all WI's have their AGM's.
Big WI first........................Because Suffolk East Federation of WIs are celebrating their 100th year in 2019 they have requested all WI's have a group photograph taken to be kept for posterity. So we all turned up half an hour early  and eventually worked out how to fit 30+ people into the photo. The son of one of the ladies had come along to do the honours he took several photos and then later sent the best  photo to his mum's phone so we could look at ourselves -with trepidation!

After the AGM, which went quickly as we just voted everyone back in again, we had 3 games of Bingo. This took a lot of explaining to the older and (dare I say it )"posher" ladies who had never played it. It was all quite hilarious as they had borrowed a globe ball thingy, like this below which was supposed to let a ball out every time it was turned ..................but it didn't, so it was 3 slow games! The balls were tiny and kept escaping onto the floor with the lady who was doing it squinting to see the numbers on them.
Global Gizmos Traditional Bingo Lotto Game Set
Probably the funniest night I've had at WI - and probably not the usual thing to say about an AGM!

 I was pleased to get a line and won a chocolate orange, which has been put away for Christmas.

Last month at Small WI they tried taking the photo by using a selfie stick with everyone standing in a row behind each other with heads out the side (?) but it didn't work with 10 people so it definitely wouldn't work with 12. Thankfully the brother of one of the members came and snapped us.

Then we had the AGM and a new president was needed as Col's sister had done 4 years and wanted to stand down. Luckily vice president was willing to take over. A Royal Family quiz had been organized and then it was coffee and cake time.

The list of speakers and meetings for Small WI in 2019 looks interesting, I shall find out what's planned for Big WI next month.

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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Presents Getting Sorted

It was a fine and bright Saturday morning so might as well go to the big boot sale, after all it might be wet and horrible on the next 3 Saturdays and then there won't be any until February.
Good thing I did as I found some useful things
No one was prepared to do any bartering - too close to Christmas-  so I had to pay what they asked. The Portmeirion Holly and Ivy plate was £2.50 and new Christmas oven gloves were £2 as was the boxed collection of the Shirley Hughes books. The packs that say NOEL are sachets of fragrances for hanging in a wardrobe I guess.......they were 50p each. All except the plate will be presents....... the plate is for me - it's my 3rd bit of Holly and Ivy ware, all secondhand - 2  from car boot sales and one from a charity shop. I also bought some Lindt chocolate Teddy Bears from the man who does discount food and it was seeing them that gave me an idea. Something son said jokingly last Christmas "still hoping for a hamper". ( If you read this M or R....... FORGET you've read it straight away!).   

Leaving the boot sale I could either turn right and go and "do" another church and visit 2 charity shops in Needham Market or turn left and go back to the A14 and into Stowmarket.
But because of the idea that I'd had  it had to be turn left  for Stowmarket to get some more dried cranberries.

As I walked into town I noticed there was a big Charities fair on at the URC church so popped into have a look and on a book stall found this. It rang a bell - think it was mentioned in a bibliography of something I read a while ago. Paperbacks were just 20p so that was bought.
Another Charity had tables full of jigsaw puzzles - dozens of them .....had another brainwave - one could be a Christmas present to me from Col's brother. He doesn't go anywhere to buy secondhand and I would never bother with new jigsaws. I started buying a present for me from him a few years ago - he reckons it's a brilliant idea. I give him the present to wrap and he gives me the money!
Couldn't decide which puzzle to buy so bought two!

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Monday 19 November 2018

More Photos From Bury St Edmunds

From the car park in Bury St Edmunds I crossed over the road and into the Abbey Gardens.
Here again is the picture of how the abbey would have looked in the C14. Apart from the outer walls and a few pillars there is nothing left.

But for as long as I can remember there have been gardens, and play ground and open space among the ruins and of course the aviaries, with Parrots and Lovebirds and Zebra Finches. Always the first thing we wanted to see on our visits here in the 1960s. (Years ago there were also Peacocks but probably not PC to have them caged nowadays.)

This book made of wood wasn't here last time I visited. It tells the story of King Edmund and the Wolf

The formal gardens are newly planted up for spring so not as colourful as they sometimes are. This is one quarter of a huge circle and in spring and summer they look fantastic.
About  The Abbey Ruins

The Abbey of St Edmund was once one of the richest and largest Benedictine monasteries in England.
The site became home to the remains of the martyred King Edmund in 903 and the acquisition of such a notable relic made the monastery a place of pilgrimage as well as the recipient of numerous royal grants.

Visitors enter the abbey precinct today, as they have since the 14th century, through the impressive Great Gate,

 which originally gave access to the Great Court and the abbot palace; the north-east corner of the abbot garden is marked by a hexagonal tower, now a dovecote. The Great Gate is the abbey's best surviving feature and gives an excellent idea of the quality of the stonework elsewhere.
The precinct wall survives well in places, and still crosses the River Lark over the Abbot Bridge. Access to the abbey church itself was through the Norman Tower, which dates from 1120-48 (restored in Victorian times). Beyond is the once magnificent west front, into which are incorporated a range of houses built between the 16th and 18th centuries.
Enough remains of the abbey church to suggest it was an impressive structure. At over 150 metres long the church was one of only a few of its date to be built on such a large scale in this country. Construction began at the semi-circular (apsidal) east end around the high altar and shrine of St Edmund.
Below this and on the same plan was the crypt: the bases of its supporting piers and lower courses of its walls remain to show what a vast space this must have been, and the view from above is quite spectacular. Conspicuous among the standing remains are the piers of the crossing tower and the north wall and centre window of the north transept. The layout of some of the once extensive monastic buildings can still be seen to the north and east of the church.
The chapter house, north of the north transept, contains the graves of six abbots, while the monks cemetery and infirmary lay to the east of the church.
In 1214 King John's discontented earls and barons assembled at the abbey to discuss their grievances against him, and committed themselves to forcing the king to grant them a number of liberties. The following year John met the rebel barons at Runnymede and sealed Magna Carta.
The abbey continued to thrive throughout the 13th century but relations with the townspeople were rarely cordial. Matters came to a head in 1327 in a summer of riots, though disputes rumbled on throughout the 14th century. The abbey suffered other problems too, notably damage to the west tower through collapse and later a serious fire.
Despite these setbacks Bury St Edmunds remained politically important throughout the 15th century - Henry VI came for Christmas in 1433 and stayed for four months - and when it was surrendered to King Henry VIII in 1539 it still had a considerable income. Though the abbey precinct was quickly stripped of valuable building material, the abbot palace survived as a house until 1720.

All that's left of what must have been an amazing building MORE INFO HERE

The Norman Tower

About The Norman Tower

The Norman Tower, which was the principal gateway into Bury St Edmunds' great abbey church, houses a fine peal of twelve bells (with a thirteenth semitone bell) was built between 1120 and 1148 and is one of the oldest Norman buildings in England and one of the most complete Norman buildings in the UK as it has never been altered.

The original ten bells were cast by Thomas Osborn of Downham Market in 1785. The heaviest bell, the 'tenor', weighs just over 27 hundredweight and sounds a C# note. 

In 1973 the bells were re-hung by Taylors of Loughborough in a cast iron frame lower down the tower, with their original wooden frame preserved higher up. In 2010 an appeal was launched to augment the bells to a cathedral ring of 12, and two new trebles (lighter bells) were dedicated on Easter Sunday 2012, then hung and rung for the first time on Easter Monday. In 2013, a 13th bell was added. This helps learner ringers, as there is a requirement to learn on 8 bells before progressing to higher numbers (10 and 12) - a ring of 10 bells contains within it only 1 true octave, that comprising the 8 heaviest bells, but the provision of a 13th (semitone) bell makes a lighter octave available in the ring of 12.

Approximately 175 full peals have been rung since records began in November 1879. The bells are rung on Sundays from 9.00 am for the 10 o'clock Eucharist, and quarter peals are regularly rung before Sunday evensong. The bells are also rung for weddings and other special occasions. 

This part of the  ruins below are rather special - they are homes, built into the original West Front of the Abbey between the C16 and C18.

The statue of King Edmund was commissioned in 1974 to mark the joining of East and West Suffolk County Councils to form Suffolk County Council

Standing proud on the Angel Hill opposite the Abbey Gate is the Angel Hotel. It's been here a long time and mentioned in one of Charles Dickens books
In the middle of the town is Moyse's Hall Museum

Steeped in history, Moyse’s Hall has looked out over Bury St Edmunds market place for almost 900 years

The Pub below is supposed to be "The Smallest Pub" In England, although many other small pubs make the same claim

The Building below was once Bury St Edmunds Borough Library, where I worked for a few years when I first left school between 1971 and 1975. There is now a new library and this building became shops and now a coffee shop

The sign that the sugar beet from the fields all around is being processed are the clouds of steam from the Sugar beet factory  on the edge of town. BUY BRITISH SUGAR - BUY SILVER SPOON!

Just a  quick tour of another Suffolk  town that I know so well.

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Saturday 17 November 2018

Saturday Update and Here's Something.................

...............I hadn't heard of before..........................................Stove-top Pot Pourri

This is an idea from the States that I found on a blog, on a blog! ( Blog hopping again!)I think this could be an idea for the hampers.

One blog was using dried lemon and orange slices, on another website I found this mix with a whole lemon

Then this mix could be used or any combination really.

Stove Top Potpourri Neighbor Gifts - Three recipes + a free printable! // Delia Creates

I'm liking this idea and there are free print-out labels with instructions (bung in saucepan with water and simmer)  - see top picture............... think I'll import this from across the Atlantic............Thank you too 'A Working Pantry.Blogspot' and  'Delia Creates .com'.
(A strange thing happened when I printed out the labels - they came out fine first time on a piece of white paper - to test it was printing OK, but then on coloured paper the size of the circle shrunk so the letters were overlapping - very strange - can't explain that at all)

Another week of November has been and gone and I have hot water coming out of the taps fast enough to make bubbles at last. The hot water  man had to come back  (he was here on Thursday and Friday of the previous week) which meant I had to cancel my second spell of volunteering - not a good start.

The Slow, Very  Slow kitchen man has done another third of the kitchen.
He is such a worrier and perfectionist, drives me nuts. The cupboards look lovely but I discovered the wall cupboards are not as deep as what I had before which is a bit annoying as the dinner plates won't fit in. He  volunteered to put one of the old wall cupboards into the porch/utility, which was very handy and saved getting Col's brother over to do it.
I have a week without him here then he'll be back to do the last third. Then all the work here will be finished ................3 Very Loud  Cheers..

The second jigsaw of the autumn has been finished and all pieces present - which is good. I'll be able to label it "Complete November 2018" when I take it to a car boot sale next year and make a profit on the 20p I paid for it.

The Low Spend November has more or less been abandoned. Why? Because

  1. the window cleaner came on his  8 weekly visit. 
  2. then I thought I ought to renew my passport as it was about to run out - I might not go anywhere but you never know and it's very useful for ID. (Ever so easy to do online - not like 10 years ago for my first passport when I had to go for an interview and list  the addresses of all houses I'd ever lived in!)
  3.  the blue car needed servicing. I'm still using both cars until the MOT runs out on the old one, then it will be sold.
  4. and last but not least the bird feed peanuts were running low so I found a special offer from Garden Wildlife company who were doing some free stuff with orders over £20. So if we have very bad weather I have Suet Pellets for extra birdy protein

I'll doing Low Spend January instead...............maybe.

Have a lovely weekend everyone ............................hope you have good things planned

Back Monday

Friday 16 November 2018

A Children's Book Plus Other Books Read.

I know someone must have mentioned this on a blog otherwise I wouldn't have ordered a children's book from the library but it was the perfect  book to read over Remembrance weekend. Hilary Mckay is an award winning children's author and wrote this new book to commemorate the centenary of the ending of the Great War

The Skylarks' War

I would have to say this is for older children as it takes the families in the story through schooldays, the horrors of the Great War and onto marriage.

The story starts in 1902 when  baby Clary is born, sadly her mother dies just a while later, she has an older brother Peter  and they grow up in a house with their very remote father. He doesn't like children at all, and has nothing to do with them. Clary always believes it is her fault that her mother died and her Father doesn't care for them.
Each Summer they are sent to Cornwall to stay with their paternal grandparents and their older cousin Rupert who lives with the grandparents when he isn't at boarding school ( his parents having gone off to India without him years before).
Luckily both Clary and Peter are intelligent and manage to work their way through schools until it's time for Peter to be sent off to boarding school with Rupert.
While Clary works hard to try and get to University, some of their friends are out in France fighting and when one vanishes many things change at home.

The other books I've read this month are all crime fiction

Anne Perry- Triple Jeopardy. Historical Crime Fiction. This second book in a series featuring Daniel Pitt, a young lawyer. (the son of Thomas Pitt about whom Anne Perry previously wrote a long series of crime novels) These books are set in the Edwardian era, as the country looms towards the Great War. A Brilliant story well written as always.

Marsali Taylor  - Death in Shetland Waters. Crime Fiction A new to me author which I went for because of the title - being set in Shetland like Ann Cleeves books. I didn't realise this was the 6th in a series but it was a really good story. The action all revolves round the crew of a Tall Ship sailing from Norway to Dublin with trainees on board and a stowaway. Really enjoyed this, it had me reading even more quickly than normal.

Chris Nickson -  The Hanging Psalm. Historical Crime Fiction. This author has written several different crime series set in different periods of history. This is first of a new series. In Leeds of 1820 thief-taker Simon Westow is hired to find a kidnapped daughter but the real answers to this crime come from his own past. Fast paced story showing the darker side of Leeds.

I was really looking forward to reading The Salt Path but as it starts with a diagnoses of terminal illness I was a bit put off. I will get back to it.

Library van due next week and  I've still got several un-read, but there might not be many to collect so that's OK

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Thursday 15 November 2018

In Suffolk We Have No Motorways and No Cities but................

...........................we do have a Cathedral.The Cathedral Church of St James and St Edmund (The dedication to St Edmund was added only in 2009)

The Cathedral is in Bury St Edmunds and of course gets a mention in the 100 Treasures in 100 Churches book.
A couple of weeks ago I drove west to look round the town where I worked  way back in the 1970's .
Many years since I'd been in the Cathedral but I happened to pick a day when it was full of primary school choirs practicing to sing at a concert, which meant it wasn't possible to get right around the inside.
But here's what I saw.
The Treasure mentioned in the book is this sculpture of King Edmund by Elizabeth Frink and commissioned in 1974.
The Cathedral complete with proper tower taken from the Abbey gardens, the top section of the tower was only added to mark the millenium in 2000. It took several years work to finish something started many years earlier.
The font with tall font cover

Couldn't get down the front of the cathedral due to the school children.
Note the perspex figures - put in place for Remembrance Day -  The figures were put in several churches to remember those people lost from the villages and towns

The figure in close up.

The kneelers in the Cathedral were created in the 1960's. each have the name of one of the villages in the Diocese.  I would have looked round to find my local villages if the place hadn't been full of schoolchildren!

A Model of the cathedral and at the back is the beginnings of a larger lego model being built brick by brick as the bricks are sponsored to pay for more refurbishment.

Poppies in the cloister to mark the centenary of the ending of the Great War

Another view of the Cathedral from the side

On the left of the photo the buildings are newer, but matching the old and housing offices, a cafe etc

The Norman Tower stands beside the Cathedral - the original way into the abbey ( more about this another day)

This is a drawing of how the abbey would have looked back in the C14, all gone apart from the few ruins and the Norman Tower which is easy to spot with what was then just the  parish church of St James to the left of it and the Abbey Gate on the left edge of the picture and St Marys church - bottom right corner. So many houses in the town must have been built using materials from the abbey after Henry VIII and the dissolution

The Suffolk Churches website explains how we come to have a Cathedral without a city

         In the early years of the 20th Century, the Church of England was at the apogee of its influence and self-confidence. The time was right to carve up the dioceses of England into smaller patches which could be more easily in touch with their parishes. Parts of the Diocese of Norwich and the Diocese of Ely were brought together to form a new diocese which would eventually take the name of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

And yet it might not have been called that at all. The first task for any of the new Dioceses was to choose a church to become its cathedral. For some this was easy and obvious - Essex's new Diocese would inevitably be seated at St Mary, Chelmsford, and that of south Hampshire at St Thomas, Portsmouth. But the new Suffolk diocese, which would cover all of the county except for the Lowestoft area, had a problem. There was no obvious church that stood out as a potential for a new Cathedral. The chosen building had to be big, but it also had to be suitable for expansion; historically important buildings would not lend themselves to being knocked about. Ipswich had nothing to offer except St Margaret, which was not big enough and too architecturally important for ruthless expansion, and St Mary le Tower which was big enough for a starter, and not historically important; but on too confined a site for expansion, and in any case without the gravitas a cathedral requires. Southwold, which is near to what was at the time believed to be the original Suffolk see at Dunwich, was big enough; but it was too valuable to be extended, and in any case too remote. The other great Suffolk churches, Lavenham, Blythburgh, Long Melford, Stoke by Nayland, and so on, were obviously too remote, as well as being too important to touch. The choice came down to the two Bury St Edmunds churches, and the final choice seems to have been made because St Mary had too many medieval survivals to make extension acceptable. No, only St James would do.

Many thanks for comments on the favourite music posts

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Wednesday 14 November 2018

More Tracks of My Years

More of my favourite bits of music, these 5 are a bit quirky which is what I like

I was too old to be devastated when Take That split up but heard some of the tracks from this album on the radio and picked it up at a car boot sale
  Robbie Williams - Road to Mandalay From his Album Swing When You're Winning 2001

Chris Difford -  Cowboys are My Weakness from the album I Didn't Get Where I am from 2003, Back in the early 2000s we didn't watch much TV but in the evenings we would listen to Three Counties Radio where the presenter - whose name I can't remember was really good and played all sorts of interesting music - not just things from their playlist. He was forced to leave in the end which was sad. Anyway, one of the people I was introduced to by his programme was Chris Difford. He'd been a member of Squeeze and I liked their Up The Junction track but nothing else of their music. After Squeeze broke up Chris Difford wrote for other people but finally produced the album of his own music in 2003. Its full of good tracks.

The Divine Comedy -Absent Friends From 2004 From their album of the same name. Another piece of music I first heard on the radio back then. I don't think I'd ever heard of them before this although they were formed in 1989. But I loved the voice of Neil Hannon straightaway. Now Ken Bruce occasionally plays their track " The National Express. Quirky

 I wrote a post about Josh Groban back in September when he was on TV promoting a new CD.
So She Dances is a track from an early album Awake which came out in 2007. It's one of the lesser played bits of his music.

 To bring things right up to date. I would have to add this............... one of Colin's favourites and played at his funeral back in June. Disturbed  and "The Sound of Silence" from 2015. I don't know where Col first came across this - he used to listen to stuff on the laptop with earphones and would sometimes say" listen to this" and unplug the earphone so I could hear it. Some of what he listened to I didn't like (Heavy Metal and Rock) but this was so different.

Back To Normal Tomorrow

Tuesday 13 November 2018

A Repeated Post...............With Music!

There's not a lot happening here at the cottage so I found this post from November 2016 and completely updated it , I've crossed off all the older bits of music I had listed 2 years ago so I could include more favourites.

It's the Tracks Of My Years...........................  
If you have ever listened to The Ken Bruce programme on Radio 2 weekday mornings you will have heard a celebrity choose 10 music tracks that have featured in, have a special meaning or are favourites in their lives.

Here are my tracks of my years and the reasons for choosing. 5 today and more tomorrow

 Matt Monroe - Born Free 1966

 Don't know why I like this but I just do

 The Kinks- Waterloo Sunset from 1967

For some reason this reminds me of summer holidays at the Beach Station Caravan Site in Felixstowe. Mum owned a caravan there which was let out but we would go down quite a lot in the summer holidays. We roamed the site making friends with other children whose parents owned caravans there and with people who were just there for a weeks holiday. A girl whose name I can't remember ( but her Dad owned a butchers shop in Mendlesham) and I would sit by the check-in place on Saturdays to see if any nice looking boys were arriving...........We were about 12 or 13 years old!

 David Essex - Myfanwy 1987

This is a song from what was to have been a musical about John Betjeman . The musical never got made but I have a CD of  his poems that were set to music and performed by all different artists. David Essex is more gorgeous now than he was back in the late 70's

The theme from Dances With Wolves by John Barry  1990

  Just a couple of minutes of this  and  I'm in floods of tears......... weird. I didn't know much about Kevin Costner before this but managed to acquire lots of his DVDs afterwards

Take That - Back For Good 1995

Yes I was a 40 year old Take That fan!

More Tomorrow


Monday 12 November 2018

A Few Pictures

Thank you to everyone for the lovely kind comments yesterday. You are all wonderful.

I got through the day by keeping busy as usual  and watching the Remembrance service on TV.  I made a Christmas cake in the morning because the kitchen man is coming back to do some more of the new units so I might be kitchen-less for a while and in the afternoon Col's brother came round and fixed the lock on the garage door. I'd managed to get the old broken yale lock off but couldn't get the new one on. There's been some reports of theft in the village recently so it needed doing and he'd promised to get over in daylight sometime. Sunday evening was Dr Who and Strictly.

 Saturday's post  was lots of writing and no photos, so to put that right here are a few photos from the last few weeks without much writing.

A Kestrel hovering against a blue sky sometime in October

Sunset from the back door on the 24th October

Went to Son and DIL's for lunch on Saturday and  Youngest and her OH and Florence came too. Lovely to get them together for a few photos.

Me and my grand daughters

My poppet Florence loves books

Willow and what happens when she's given a piece of broccoli!

Florence's  "I'm doing a funny smile for the camera" face!

The Turkey Oak in Autumn finery

Thank you for helping me through the first 6 months, blogging has been such a huge help and support.

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