Monday, 20 May 2019

Watch Out For Frosts

Watch out for late frosts around the third week of May.

 In Devon May 19th, 20th and 21st were once known as Frankanmass, the feast of St. Frankan, (or Franklin) who is a saint unknown anywhere else. Not surprising as he seemed to have sold his soul to the devil.
Exactly the same story in other parts of the country says it was St Dunston........... St Dunston's Day was 19th May.
The story goes that Frankan/Franklin/Dunston was a brewer who had severe competition from the cider-makers so made a pact with the devil that he could have his soul in return for the guarantee of a frost every year on the 3 days in May, just the right time to attack the blossoms of the  apple trees in the orchards so that the cider makers would have less cider to sell.

This year the blossom has mostly been and gone and as yet it's impossible to see how the fruit has set and how many apples there will be

Little apples be gone away avore sheep-shearing and won't be back 'til harvest.

Other sayings about the this time of May I found

Saint Urban drives his mother form the fire
Urban brings summer.

St. Urban's day was 24th May and hopefully by then all frosts have finished and Urban's mother can venture outside instead of sitting by the fire!

There were a couple of early morning frosts  last week. They didn't do any damage as far as I know.
In most of Suffolk we usually don't get a frost after the third week so everything ought to be OK now and there's nothing too cold in the forecast for this week.

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Saturday, 18 May 2019

Saturday Round-up Again

It's been so good this week to have a few warmer days, Wednesday was the best as the East wind dropped away making it warm enough to sit out a while in between gardening and grass cutting. My gardening mojo came back with the sun - thank goodness and I spent a while clearing a huge patch of hooligan "foreign" bluebells out of the oval rose garden. What started as one small clump two years ago had got to an area nearly a metre round. They are pretty but just so invasive. I've replaced them with the rose "Thinking of You" that friends had sent last year when Colin died. Also started the big job of edging round that has two rows of bricks, laying flat set into the ground that grass and weeds grow through........ and I'm also weeding in the quarter circle muddle - it's full of aquilegia again, they are invasive too but in a nicer way.

 My shabby-chic ladder isn't so shabby this year as I gave it a coat of paint before putting it away in the autumn.

 It's almost planted up, I managed to drill holes in the clay flower pots (which were here when we moved in) to thread a wire through so I could wire them onto the ladder sides, that saved me spending more money on things to stand on the ladder. Just 50p spent on the two little square baskets from a boot sale. Must find something for the bottom rung -  perhaps 3 pots wired together.
To the right of the ladder (dreadful photo - I was in a hurry) are my two small Blueberry bushes that came with the bargain offer from T&M earlier in the year. One is looking better than the other but both are much healthier and bigger than when they arrived. Above are the two flat backed baskets waiting for Tomato Cascade to be planted. I'll need to put something else in to hold compost as the Poundland coir liners aren't big enough. Some plastic at the back and sides should do it.
 I was pleased to see a frog return to the mini pond, hadn't seen one in there since I hauled out lots of oxygenating plant last autumn

It's only a tiny pond but keeps a couple of frogs happy.

 Swimming early for the last few weeks  at a general swim-for-all session is working well, aiming to leave home by 7.45am, in the pool by 8.15 and out before 9,  home by 9.30. With plenty of morning still left to get some housework done. Such a good way to start the day, if I lived within walking distance I'd go every day............maybe.

It was nice to catch up with friends for coffee during the week, they are off out to the States in June for 4 weeks to Pittsburgh where their eldest son, wife and two grandsons live. They go out every year if they can. Their eldest is the same age as my eldest daughter and while living next door to them in 1981 we both had our second child within a day of each other! and they became godparents to our son.  I'm so glad I kept in touch through the years we were across the other side of the county.

I finished reading the excellent "The American Agent" crime fiction by Jacqueline Winspear. Such a good series, the first pubished in 2003 and set in 1929. This new book - the 15th - takes the story through the 1940 London Blitz. It re-introduced a character from three books past, which I now need to re-read because that was back in 2016 and I've forgot the circumstances in which Maisie first met the American of the title. I really recommend these books if you haven't come across them but it's best to start at the beginning with the first..... "Maisie Dobbs".

Thank you to everyone for comments about the photos of the houses we rescued. I'm sure everyone thought we were mad to keep moving but we were young, had no money but plenty of energy and didn't stop to think of the problems, we just wanted to own some land and be as self-sufficient as we could. All the house restoration programmes that are on TV now weren't thought of back then so there was nothing to put us off!

This week I'm grateful for
  • A few warmer days
  • The garden to keep me busy 
  • Coffee with friends 

And finally........
Hands up if you have ever got up one morning, gone in the kitchen and found a mole limping across the floor toward you?
T'was  a bit of a surprise,  Polly cat must have brought it in, makes a change from mice.
I won't tell you what I did with it as that would upset animal lovers!

Have a super-duper weekend wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

Back Monday

Friday, 17 May 2019

Speaking at the Big WI

At W.I's all around the country May is Resolutions month. Instead of a speaker we discuss the Resolutions that have been decided on to be put forward at the National AGM. The W.I is a campaigning organisation. Every year all groups can put forward suggestions which they feel strongly about, then these are whittled down to 1 or 2 which each WI debates and tells their representative how to vote at the AGM .(More about this years resolutions next week)

This doesn't take very long and to fill up the evening Big WI  ask 3 members to talk about something interesting in their lives, somehow I agreed to take part this year and decided to talk about how we kept moving and renovating houses so that we could buy a smallholding.
To make it a bit more interesting I printed out some photos that could be handed round as I spoke.

The other two ladies had had careers, one as a podiatrist and entrepreneur and the other first as a nurse and then working with clinical trials for new drugs. They had both written down what they would say and read their bits but I decide to go freestyle and printed out photos of some interesting pictures from the house we renovated and then at the smallholding and used those as prompts to talk about our life of moving up the housing ladder from a two up two down end terrace with garden to 5 acres. I wasn't nervous but found my voice going all shaky - not like me at all! at least my knees didn't knock!

The first 3 photos are of the house we brought from being "unfit for human habitation" to a lovely home in 1984/5. Taking 2 children under 4 to live in a caravan while the work was done. Mostly by Colin in the evenings and weekends.

Then I had 2 photos of what a mess the smallholding was when we bought it in 1992, that was 7 years and two more houses later than Appletree Cottage above

A photocopy from the newspaper when we were interviewed to promote the Suffolk Smallholders Society in 1998

How the smallholding garden and campsite looked in 2013. After 21 years of fun and much hard work.

Then I had a couple of photos that were taken for my old blog of the stall we had at the front gate with some of the things we grew to sell and a photo of some of the fruit we grew. Raspberries, redcurrants and apricots.

I think all the ladies enjoyed hearing our house moving story and seeing the photos......... They said they did or maybe they were just being polite!

Thank you to everyone for comments about the colours of the trees up the lane and around my meadow. The tree that I didn't know down the lane in a neighbours garden is definitely not a Goat Willow, I have one of those at the end of the garden and we had several at the smallholding. I went back down the lane and zoomed in for a better look and have decided that looking at the leaves with their red stems that it's a type of ornamental cherry, one that gets very big!

Welcome to some more followers, hope you enjoy reading

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Thursday, 16 May 2019

Up and Down the Lane in May

It was a beautiful blue sky day when I took photos up and down the lane this week

From the road end of the lane, everything is looking very green and glorious. The only trees not yet in leaf are a couple of Ash on the left
The sky was so blue I just kept looking up. In one of the gardens at the road end of the lane is a Red Chestnut and a Scots Pine

And this big tree............ I have no idea what it is?

Honeysuckle on the hedge

A Walnut tree in the garden on the other side of the lane another beautiful colour against the sky

The plants my neighbour put in opposite her gateway are beginning to flower, I'm pleased that they are mainly native things like Foxglove, Red Campion

A few weeks ago a lady from UK Power Networks was round looking at which trees needed trimming away from the power lines. Then I came home from swimming last week and couldn't get home due to two trucks and the big tree-chopper-up thingy whose name I can't think off were in the lane. He said they'd taken bits off the oak out the back and a branch off the Turkey oak and were cutting this willow right down, heavens knows why, it only needed a couple of metres off the top to take it away from the power lines. It will grow back, but has left a gap.

From the house house end of the lane looking down to the road.

"My" Turkey Oak.
 I had to look it up when Mrs F (who we bought the house from) told me what it was, info  HERE

Turkey Oak, house and the lane

Looking down the meadow, the footpath is easy to cut with the ride-on mower. I wouldn't want to cut it with a push mower!

The Poplar trees, again the colour against the sky is wonderful.

I'm so lucky to have all this to enjoy every day.

BUT oh dear, this Ash is looking decidedly sad. It was alive last year and parts may still have leaves later in the spring but I think the majority of it looks very dead. I may have to get it cut down, it might be affected by the Ash Tree Die Back Disease that arrived in this country a few years ago.
Wood for the wood-burner if it does need removing

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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

The Church at Pettistree

St Peter and St Paul's at Pettistree.

(This post has been sitting in drafts for a few weeks now, I went there just after Easter and haven't been to a church since, so will need to get out visiting again soon.)

Another village church in another small village but each one is different. This one has very high nave walls and you can see where there was once a clerestorey (High windows) which has been filled in.

View down the nave toward the altar. I noticed that a bit of painting  will be needed soon! The stencilled wording on the arch says " Worship the Lord with Holy Worship"

Such an unusual font. Instead of round or octagonal and made of old stone. It is square and looks very modern, although the plinth it stands on looks much older.

This is interesting, all about the bells, how they work and their history. How bells are made and rung and the pattern for ringing one of the many "changes" there are in bell ringing. ( I was married to a bell ringer for 3 years BC -  Before Colin- so know all the jargon - he ran off with another bell ringer!)

(whatever was that green box in the corner? with a hole in the top? didn't noticed it when I took the photo. Very odd)

I've never seen this in a church before, do all village churches have vaults? in our wet heavy clay soils of Suffolk it might have been difficult.

Below is the feature which gets this church it's mention in the 100 treasures book. It is a rare stone  altar slab found in 2005. It features four of the five consecration crosses. It would have been covered in the C16 Reformation. All stone altars had to be broken up  and replaced by wooden tables  by a law of 1540 but instead of breaking up the sacred stone many were just plastered over.

A corner of the back of the church is curtained off for storage . I liked that they had had a special post carved to hold the curtains
As it was the week after Easter when I visited the church was still full of the most beautiful flower arrangements.

There are many memorials to this family in the aisle

These brasses of Francis Bacon (not any of the famous men called Francis Bacon)and his two wives is dated 1580 and is on the wall instead of the floor.

More about this church HERE on the Suffolk Churches website.

Thank you for all the comments about my bargains on yesterday's post.

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Tuesday, 14 May 2019

I Reckon His Wife...............................

.............................wasn't best pleased when she got back to her car boot table.

He was explaining to someone else that his wife had just gone to look round and he wasn't sure on prices.
I picked up these and said "How Much?" . He said " Oh I'm not sure ....£3?"   " Will you take £2?" I asked and he said yes. So I paid up and left PDQ.

Because I'd spotted the label that said £15!

My first thought with these was to use them for planters, the small one was just the right size for the top of the "shabby chic" ladder. But on closer inspection decided they were too good to use outside, and I don't think I really need them indoors, so they'll go back to a boot sale for a profit!

My other purchase was this box of hot chocolate drinks, the sort of thing you buy for people for Christmas when you don't know what they want. I bet it was about £6.99 at Christmas. I paid 50p.

After the pricey Olive tree at Saturdays boot-sale, £2.50 was a much better spend for Sunday.

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Monday, 13 May 2019

At the Saturday Car-boot Sale I bought an Olive Tree...................

 .............................................and then I went to Lidl and bought another one!

I didn't go to Lidl to buy an Olive tree but when I saw them I thought maybe two would be better than one for pollination or whatever ( although I think they might be self pollinating). The car-boot one is trained as  a standard and already several feet tall. The Lidl one is only 9 inches tall - hopefully I can keep it alive, hopefully they'll produce fruit but if not they will cheer up the patio as they are evergreen but a totally different colour leaf than the Camellia.
The Lidl one was £2.99, the car boot one was ..............quite a bit more! It was a cheer-up a sort-of- sad Saturday purchase and when I look at them I will always remember that I got them exactly one year after Colin died, it will turn a sad memory into a happy memory as they grow.......and Col's Mum's name was Olive so another memory.

According to the card attached to the bigger of the two trees, Olive trees can live for 2,000 years ........that's a lot of time to look after a tree in a pot!

Many thanks for all the caring comments on Saturday, thank you to everyone for the support. It was an OK day after all, I kept busy, went out and about, spoke to lots of people, came home and read a good book.
 Hello and welcome to some new followers - up to 500 - goodness me.

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Saturday, 11 May 2019

One Year On

A year ago today was the awful day when Colin died. In the third year of treatment for Mantle Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma the end came suddenly after what we thought would be just a week in hospital on antibiotics like he'd had so many times before. But this time he didn't get home again.

It's been a strange year since then - that's Suffolk Understatement! and this last week especially hard, back to loneliness with a bump after the holiday with family and  then a Bank Holiday Weekend, when everything  always seems to be organised  for families and couples to enjoy, but not for people alone.................  I didn't know that some days would feeler harder to get through now than they did a year ago.

 I've learned a lot in a year........ how to do things I couldn't do before, how to organise jobs that Colin would have taken care of. I've also found that some people who you think will help actually don't and some friends can't cope with being a friend to a single person. I'm really glad I have children and grandchildren to help fill the hollow empty-ness, something that is so difficult to describe and unlikely to be filled by anything.

But I've have got through a year by myself and life goes on and on the whole I've found out how to manage alone. My way is to find things I like doing, to keep busy and to make life as interesting but as normal as possible.

So there's no point dwelling on sadness, it won't make Colin come back and as it's Saturday again here's the happy things  I did last week............................

😊Flower "arranging" .........................I brought in the last of the tulips from the cutting garden


😊Bargain hunting....................... last Saturday, around a village which had garage/yard sales but blimey the wind was cold. I found a lovely Gap cardigan for Willow for £1 (no point in knitting......not that I can........when secondhand finds are as cheap and good quality as this); a Duplo truck; more books for the grandchildren and a little step to go by the toilet for Jacobs next visit. Then it started to snow! which turned to hail and  rain and I went home to keep warm and watch the snooker.

😊Gardening................sorting the outside pots and then mainly in the greenhouse, putting the tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines and peppers into the big pots and fixing up canes. On Bank Holiday Monday morning I planned to tackle the grass cutting but found both the ride-on and the small mower had flat batteries.....(Duh! note to self - put batteries on charge more often) so that job had to wait until afternoon and luckily it stayed fine although very grey and cold.  Looking at the rows that should be beetroot seedlings there are huge gaps - I've never had much luck with sowing things straight into the ground which is why we had His and Her jobs at the smallholding. I'll try and fill the gaps with more seeds. Courgettes have been planted out and covered with a plastic tunnel cloche. Squash and peas have been sown in pots in the greenhouse ....a bit late really but they'll catch up hopefully. I bought some cheap flower plug plants from Asda for the shabby chic ladder then discovered all the things I used to plant things in that fit on the ladder steps have fallen to bits/gone rotten/vanished.

 ☔☔☔Keeping dry and warm.........................we've had plenty of rain now - it can stop please, as the water butts are all full and as well as rain it's been chilly all week. 🔥I lit the wood-burner a couple of times.

 The forecast for the weekend is better and warmer for next week too - hope it's right so I can get out to some boot sales.

I really have to think hard to find things to be grateful for this week, not the best of weeks.........

  • Rain for the gardens after several weeks dry
  • A lovely collection of library books 
  • My home in the peace and quiet of the Suffolk Countryside
Hope you all have a good weekend, tell your loved ones that you love them.......often.                                                                      
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Friday, 10 May 2019

The May Library Book Photo

Another wonderful collection of library books this month. They are all ones I've ordered but some are by authors I know nothing about so I must have seen mention of them somewhere.

The new to me authors are Caroline Goldsworthy, Vanessa Robertson, Jonathon Coe and Kate Atkinson. Apart from all the crime there are a couple of non-fiction to look at.
I'll let you know how I get on - I think the Jacqueline Winspear  will be read  first after I've worked my way through an old crime book .....Christopher Bush ...Murder at Fenwold reprinted by Dean Street Press, it's a bit complicated - lots of characters, only known by their surnames

Below are the books collected last month and I actually read them all - quite unusual - the details are on the Books Read 2019 page along with other books read last month, some leftover from March and some of my own.

The poor library van driver was in a tizz, THEY - in their wisdom have decided to scrap the 3 large purpose made  library vans and swap them for small box vans with no facilities and virtually no space for books. He says that's it.......... he will leave - don't blame him. I thought when Suffolk County Council handed management of libraries to a Community Interest Group they would have more sense than the high-up's in the council, but obviously not. I know this has already happened in other parts of the country but I can't see how it will save money.

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Thursday, 9 May 2019

Wartime at The Middy

Living just across the fields from a heritage railway, holding their annual wartime event with half price entry for locals there is really no excuse for not walking down to have a look. Although I think it was rather a waste of a fiver and need you to remind me not to bother next year!

There wasn't much happening, hardly any stalls certainly  less there than 2 years ago although they had found a air raid siren and sound recording of planes attacking and ack-ack and the "home guard" did some shooting at the imaginary planes.

I looked round at what was there, took some photos then the battery went flat on the camera so I walked home again. Ho Hum.

 I'm counting my £5 as a donation to a local charity and just calling it a good walk on a chilly day!

This is the little shunter called Serapite. It usually lives at The Long Shop Museum in Leiston, where it only has a short bit of track to run on so here it gets to show off on quarter of a mile!
 The "Home Guard" doing a spot of marching drill.

Later after I was home again a Spitfire from the RAF Memorial Flight did it's flypast over my house and the museum. 2 circuits and off back to it's home in RAF Conningsby (which I photographed from the top of Tattershall Castle last week). On Bank Holiday Monday an old Bomber based at Conningsby should have done a flypast but I didn't hear it.

I  asked when they will be laying the rails to extend for another quarter of a mile but as it's going to be done mainly by the volunteers they are just hoping the work will be done sometime in the next two years!

Don't think I'll bother to visit again this year.

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Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Lincoln Castle

We spent a morning at Lincoln Castle. Another place difficult to photograph all at once.  Son and DiL loaded Willow into the carrier so we could walk all around the walls.
So most of the photos are taken at various places around the wall walk.

The 3 Cathedral towers in the background and the courthouse in the castle grounds

Prison vans arriving from Lincoln Prison with prisoners who will be going to be tried in the Crown  Court. I wonder if it's the only courthouse in the UK which is in buildings inside castle walls?
This is the Victorian prison now a museum
This strange structure houses the lift to take people up to the level of the Wall Walk. I walked up the stairs!

This photo is for Rachel in Norfolk - the rooftops of Lincoln
All around the wall walk were these board showing the history of the castle
Willow in the carrier telling her Daddy which way to go
Another information board - they didn't photograph very well

Model of the castle

I didn't  take as many photos as I could have done so more photos and information HERE.

I've found Country Days and Cottage Days blog has gone private ........Rustic Pumpkin - let me in please!!

Thanks to everyone for comments about the Cathedral and apologies for running out of steam for replying. Information about the imp we forgot to look for is HERE

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