Tuesday 30 April 2019

Looking back at April..............

.....................Ins, Outs and Frugal bits.

There was some  income........
In the workshop I found some bits of copper pipe, about a dozen, some 5 foot long and a few less than a foot long and also a small roll of lead. I could have cleared them out by taking them to the Household Waste Recycling centre but decided to take them to the big Scrap metal place where we used to take stuff from the smallholding. I'm glad I did because it put nearly £27 into the bank.

The ring that was too chunky for me that went into a higher value jewellery sale  in April netted me over £70.

Almost two years on from his passing away the final money from Colin's Dad's will arrived - all a good help for me until state pension time.

 The expenses this month have included all the usual stuff......food for me and the cat, diesel for the car, charity, phones and broadband direct debits.

Then I had to spend out on ......
 - more peanuts and fat balls for the birds - bird feeding costs a fortune, but how do you stop once you've started? and hopefully I'll never have to.
- another 500 litres of heating oil at the beginning of the month when the weather turned chilly again and I don't like the tank getting too low.
- The TV Licence (and please don't say it's not a "have to" spend- it is for me!)
-Extra food for family weekend
- Hotter shoes for summer - replacing ones that had got very tatty over the last two years - I was really pleased they had done some prettier shoes in their wider fitting.

 The things  that money was spent on that technically (but only technically!) weren't needed....................
  •  I promptly spent the scrap money on a ticket for The Suffolk Agricultural Show! Made sure to decide early enough this year to get an early bird ticket. Last year, because of everything that happened, I couldn't make up my mind to go or not and ended up missing the cheapest offer.
  • And while I was spending on tickets I bought a ticket for one of the presentations at the Felixstowe book festival too. I did two last year and would have gone to one or two more this year  but there was nothing else I fancied.
  • 4 elder saplings to make up for the one the neighbours cut down in the lane
  • dressing up/fancy dress clothes, books and toys for grandchildren
  •  a tunic top in the Morrisons sale and a long summer dress  from a charity shop ( comments by kids - "haven't seen you in a dress for years -except at weddings and funerals!") plus a cardigan from a charity shop.
  • and some jeggings that actually fit me from Asda ( usually jeans that fit my thighs and bum are miles too big round the waist and tum - Oh Poetry!) ( For someone who doesn't spend much on new clothes this was a big spree.)
  • A book for my birthday
  • edible Easter pressies for the family
  • A takeaway Chinese meal when Eldest was here

Was there anything at all that could actually count as frugal?

No..................... apart from using my Morrisons More £5 voucher and  finding the cheap printer ink.
The usual things like free library books
Rhubarb and chives and two servings of asparagus from the garden.

Could be classed as a very un-frugal month I think............Ho Hum.

Still clearing out..........
  • The scrap mentioned above
  • A couple more bits of rubbish from the workshop into the bin
  • A box of car light bulbs and fuses to Col's brother
  • A couple of old Hi- Viz jackets into the bin
  • Old panniers off my bike into the dustbin
The car boot sale stuff is still under the stairs, hopefully it will come out and get sold in May.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 29 April 2019

Weekend Bargains

A couple of weeks ago I decided to sort out my bike. I've only ridden it once  or twice since we moved here - there's nowhere to bike with purpose - and the tyres were flat.

Pumped up the tyres with the compressor and they were OK, then I took off the really tatty and almost rotten panniers and  unfixed the rusty back basket. Then I remembered that last time I rode it it was painful on the old tailbone on the rough country roads round here.

So while I was in town two weeks ago I went to the bike shop and got a gel seat cover, brought it home and it wouldn't fit - not deep enough. So last week I took it back and paid a bit more for a foam spongy seat. Got that home and found it was harder than the seat I already had.........so back to the bike shop on Saturday with BIG apologies to the Bike Shop Man and got my money back.

Anyway, as I was in Stow for the second time in one week (annoying) I did a tour of some of the charity shops and discovered a whole row of the River Cottage Handbook Series (Bread,Fruit, Fish, Cakes, Preserves etc) but I was very good and left them there because I've already got the ones I want at home! Now and again I have to remind myself that I no longer buy to sell! Then I noticed something tucked in the end of the shelf - Oh Goody........ a Grey Persephone.
Persephone No 114 Gardeners Choice - one of their few non-fiction books. First published in 1937. Snapped it up for £2 PDQ.
 The authors were artists who were both at the RCA , he a tutor and she one of his pupils. After working together on a huge mural for a private school in Kent they collaborated on this book. The line drawings of all the plants and the little drawings of gardeners by Evelyn Dunbar are so good. She was such a talented artist and was the only salaried woman war artist during WWII. There is a summary of her life and work in an Afterword to this book by her nephew Christopher Campbell-Howes.
This got me curious about her biography written by Gill Clarke but sadly the library don't have it in stock and it's a bit pricey on Amazon. But the library do have a book about The Women's Land Army also by Clark that features some of Dunbar's paintings, so I've ordered that instead.
 I love how finding a book in a charity shop - that I would never have thought about looking at otherwise - leads to a journey of discovery about someone I'd never heard of.

The book is laying on my other weekend bargain - a nice cardigan also from a charity shop for £3.50.

So two trips to town in one week wasn't such a waste of time after all.

On the subject of Persephone Books, the Persephone Biannually booklet arrived this week with information about their two spring publications and their plans for their 3 Autumn re-prints. They are still getting worried by Brexit as their books are published in Germany (they were so strongly Remain and very anti- The Leavers vote that it upset a lot of their readers). I do nothing to help their cause by only buying Persephones second-hand!............. And had one from my Amazon wish list for my birthday too. I now have a lot more than I did IN 2015! Thanks in part to a very kind blog reader who passed some to me a few years ago. On the old blog I had a Persephone Books Label but not here, so I've rectified that and if you want to see more about this company the post is HERE.

Storm Hannah blew through on Saturday bringing heavy rain to parts of the country. What did we get up the lane? 2 spits and a spot that dried up straightaway with the wind blowing a hooley around the house and garden. Although the weather was rough enough to put paid to weekend boot sales.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 27 April 2019

Another Week in Suffolk

What a glorious Easter weekend it was for family get-togethers. Sunny and warm.

There were a plethora of one year olds at Willow's birthday party last Saturday as DiL had invited some of the families she had met at NCT classes. So interesting to see them all the same age, bar a week or two, yet all so different.

This was my Easter Mantelpiece, the light up chicks came from the charity shop on my last morning there. (The clock doesn't usually live there, but had been moved out of reach of three small people and not moved back)

On Sunday it was my turn and all the family came for an old fashioned Easter Sunday tea and an Easter egg hunt.
Son, AKA Uncle M hid the eggs and had just as much fun as Florence and Jacob helping them find them again. (Why does it make me feel very old to have a son who is an uncle, seems even older than a son who is a Dad as my Uncles always seemed so old!)
 The two older grandchildren had huge fun together and in a year or so Willow will be tagging along behind while Jacob and Florence who are almost two years older will be getting her into mischief too.(My next job here is to organise some fencing and gates!)

Colin's sister and husband and Col's brother came too so all of us together did the scattering of Col's ashes around the trees in the birthday wood.  It wasn't too sad to do because the Colin I knew for 38 years isn't the ashes but the memories in my head, although family times is when I miss him most and after everyone goes home it can be really difficult.

But enough of all that..............

Monday was spent finishing the clearing up, not too much as the grown-up children had cleared the toys and washed up and Sister in law had done another heap of washing up after tea.
I planted out the Elder saplings and sat out with a book. Unfortunately the book I was finishing "Three Things About Elsie" by Joanna Cannon is so sad in parts that it was no help in cheering me up. (It's on the Books Read 2019 page now)

The electric was off all day on Wednesday - a planned outage- I got a text message to say the UK Power Network had a "Welfare Van" parked down in the village which would make hot drinks and provide free wi-fi etc for anyone who wanted to call in - never had that message before - must be a new thing. I didn't need to use the welfare van as I went out  to visit Youngest and Florence in their new home. It's in a much quieter spot in Leiston than anywhere they have lived before, but further out of town so Youngest is planning on a bike with a bike seat to get to work and childminders.

Shopping - not much needed although two Cadbury's Easter eggs reduced to 50p somehow jumped into my basket. (That's my brexit store restocked!! along with the Lindt Lindor Youngest gave me for my birthday).
Swimming, housework and a haircut and that's another week gone.

This weekend I need to go and get some decent multi-purpose compost as the stuff I got from the Wyevale-that's-now-a-Dobbies is the weirdest looking compost I've ever seen. Then the tomatoes need potting on again  they are not really big enough for their final large pots. The aubergines that I thought had had it due to cold nights have recovered and growing well, as are the peppers and cucumbers despite the cat attacking them. I also need to get dwarf beans and sweetcorn sown, suddenly I feel all behind with the growing season.

This week I am grateful for
  • 2ml of rain - in the hope that every little helps?
  • My children and grandchildren - as always 
  • Vegetable plants still growing in the greenhouse
  • More tulips from my cutting-garden

Have a happy weekend folks
Back Monday

Friday 26 April 2019

April Flowers

A page from the beautiful book "An Illustrated Country Year" by Celia Lewis that I often use on the blog.

From L to R
Bluebell, Golden Archangel, Bugle, Forget-me-not, Petty Spurge, Wood Spurge, Ransoms, Cuckoo Flower or Lady's Smock, White Dead Nettle

How many can I find around the meadow?
Just four?

Or maybe not! because what I thought were Bugle (2nd L) are a type of Ground Ivy but there are Bluebells, Ramsons (flower not open yet)  and White Dead Nettle

(There are plenty of all these on my meadow so picking one of each hasn't done any damage.)

Ironically I forgot the Forget-me-knots which creep through the quarter circle flower garden each spring and I have to haul out a while later when they get attacked by mildew.

I thought "why don't I know Yellow Archangel?" so looked in a wild flower book which shows which areas of the country it appears and it seems to be absent from Norfolk and Suffolk. Petty Spurge doesn't appear in my wild flower book at all and if I did find any of the Spurge/Euphorbia family I wouldn't pick them as their sap is nasty stuff. I also don't know the Cuckoo-flower, but that likes wet damp spots according to my book so not common in dry Suffolk.

Thank you to everyone for all the lovely comments this week. As usual Apologies for not replying individually

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 25 April 2019

Another St Mary's

This one is in a tiny village called Burgate, among fields with just a few houses. On the Suffolk Churches website HERE Simon Knott says there isn't another church like it in the county.

The reason this church gets a mention in the 100 treasures book is because of this big WWI memorial.

Benjamin Appleyard was the rector from 1919 until 1940, and had been an army chaplain in the Great War. He organised this memorial to be set up in a blocked arch in the chancel and used vessels and ornaments that had been made from shell cases  in 1917 by wounded soldiers in the Godwaersvelde hospital near Ypres. The woodwork was made by a local carpenter.

These small steps go up inside the wall and I meant to look outside to see if I could see where they went, but forgot.

Although the church is small it has all sorts of interesting things, like this cross, most were added during the time of the Rev. Appleyard.
But this is very unusual. Taking this photo after just stepping inside the door, there is a partition dividing the nave from the back of the church making a baptistery,with the font.
The light was catching all the different colours in the old brick floor, although the photo doesn't show it well.

A good stained glass window

and pews with doors to keep the cold draughts from the feet of the worshippers

A small room to the side of the organ has been made into a little chapel dedicated to St Edmund where the photos of so many past rectors keep watch over the people in a communion service.

When I got home and looked at the Suffolk Churches website I found I'd missed several other interesting items. Better go back sometime for a second look.

Back Soon

Wednesday 24 April 2019

April WI (part 2)

Carrying on from Monday's post..........................

Small WI  was really interesting too, especially for those of us born and raised locally.
The speaker was a founder member of the Stowmarket History Society and gave us a brief history of Stowmarket. He does much more specialised talks to History Societies, so is used to speaking and had really good photos.
Starting with the Romans - a small Roman Villa was found  when the bypass was built. Next the Angles (Not the Anglo Saxons, which is how we usually think of them because they invaded at the same time) The Angles lived mainly in Norfolk and Suffolk - The North Folk and South Folk, whereas the Saxons were south in Essex - The East Saxons, Sussex - The South Saxons and the old area called Wessex - the West Saxons.
He had information about the early industries,( Maltings...... even more the Burton-on-Trent which is known as the home of brewing) the coming of the railway and the old canal which was once navigable all the way from Ipswich to Stowmarket. Lots of the history I knew - like the story of John Milton (the bloke that wrote Paradise Lost) who stayed regularly with the vicar of Stowmarket in what was then the rectory but is now the council offices and registry office ( where Col and I married in 1979);  The  Explosion at the Gun-Cotton factory in 1871 in which 24 people died, buildings in Stowmarket collapsed and vibrations from the explosion were felt 30+ miles away;  and the story of the only WWII bomb that fell on Stowmarket - flattening the Congregation Church (my late mum was a teenager in Stowmarket at the time).
I didn't know that there had once been two smaller churches at the same time on the graveyard around  what is now one bigger Parish church - how strange.And none of us knew that the one remaining maltings in the town make the barley malt extract that goes to make  Maltesers

Photo from the Maltesers and Mars website, belongs to Mars

I wouldn't mind going to Stowmarket History Society meetings, but they clash with small WI meetings - typical!

Small WI always do a big spread, not just coffee and cakes but sandwiches too - I ate too much this time and regretted it all night!

My birthday posy from small WI

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 23 April 2019

St George and his Dragon?

The Irish celebrate like crazy on St Patrick's Day but us English have virtually forgotten about St George's Day. It's not surprising really as there is nothing much known about him or even if he ever actually existed.
The legend seems to date from the C12, when crusaders returned from battle and historically he might have been a high ranking Roman Christian martyred in Palestine in AD 303. Edward III made him our patron saint in the mid 14C when he founded the Order of the Garter. Wiki describes it HERE.

For centuries the day was celebrated with feasting and jousting and mumming plays on the theme of St George and the Dragon . The traditions carry on in a few places.

Where the dragon story comes from is another mystery...........

 This is something written by John Aubrey in the 1680's ( an English writer and philosopher)

"To save a mayd, St George the dragon slew,
A Pretty tale if all is told true,
Most say there are no dragons;
and this say'd there was no George;
Pray God there was a mayd." 

G.K Chesterton wrote.......

St George he was for England,
And, before he killed the dragon
He drank a pint of English Ale
Out of an English flagon.

This is the traditional day for picking dandelions to make Dandelion Wine (but only if the sun is shining so the flowers are fully open)
Pick 2 quarts of flower heads, (about 1lb in weight) discarding as much of the green as possible.
Place in a food safe bucket or non metal bowl and then pour a gallon of boiling water over the flower heads and leave to steep for 2 days AND NO MORE. On the 3rd day pour everything into a big pan, add the peel of 4 oranges and boil for 10 minutes. Add 3lb of sugar and stir until dissolved. When cool add the prepared wine yeast and nutrient starter. Strain through muslin into a demi-john. Fit an air lock. Rack into bottles when clear and it should be ready to drink at Christmas.

There are certainly plenty of Dandelions about this year, I did make Dandelion wine once......never again!

Another of  Cecily Mary Barker's Flower Fairy illustrations

And the poem that accompanies it.

 Back Tomorrow

Monday 22 April 2019

April WI (part 1)

You might have wondered why there was suddenly a combine photo appearing on the blog yesterday.
I did too! Got quite a surprise when I turned on the lap top this morning.
I found the photo from last summer to show Jacob what the real one looks like as we have a small toy one here - although ours as Jacob pointed out,  has no man driving!
I must have pressed publish as we don't really have combines in Suffolk in April!

Thank you to everyone for comments on Saturday, it was a busy weekend and lovely to have Grandson Jacob staying again. He grows up so much in between times - unfortunately the getting-up early-very-excited phase is still ongoing!

Today's proper post

In your birthday month it's a tradition to have a bunch of flowers as a gift at WI. These are my tulips from big WI. I think they had been bought several days earlier as they soon flagged.

We were all given a pin badge to celebrate 100 years of Suffolk East Federation. How do I remember to wear it for the meetings this year?

Our speaker at Big WI was very interesting. She told us all about being an umpire at Wimbledon, this year will be her 38th year.
 It takes many years to become qualified enough to be one of the team that works at Wimbledon through the two weeks of the tournament - when I say works they are all volunteers and are not paid. They also have to pay for their accommodation,  she said she is lucky as she has friends in London who have a flat she is able to use for the duration. But they do get vouchers to use in the restaurants for 3 meals and snacks each day. They are also given all their uniform - jacket, trousers and skirts for the ladies, hat and shirts. They have to go for a fitting every other year so mustn't put on weight in between!
To keep qualified they also have to volunteer at other tournaments through the year so not something lightly undertaken. Wendy  is a single lady and runs her own business so is able to take the time needed.
There are 366 officials at the tournament either line umpires or chair umpires and they will officiate at over 650 matches. When they arrive each day they get a schedule to tell them which team they are in and on which court and they then work one hour on and one hour off right through from 11 in the morning if they are on the outside courts and possible until 10 at night if they are on Centre Court with the roof closed and the lights on. There are 9 in a team on the main courts and 7 on the lesser courts.
At the end of the tournament they are given a certificate and  special  trophies after (I Think) 10, 20, 30 and 40 years. She wants to keep going until her 40th year.
She told us how rude some of the players are to the ball boys/girls and to the umpires which doesn't sound fun at all, and how some of the young players have a competition to see how many items of Wimbledon memorabilia like towels they can acquire while they are there.
She will be there again ready for the first day on 1st July - I'll be watching.......on TV.

The speaker is always followed by coffee and cakes of course.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 20 April 2019

A Good Week

I've enjoyed the last couple of days of warmth, it's cheered me up that's for sure.

Last Sunday I took a trip out to the local car boot sale on it's 2nd week of opening and it was  full up with booters even though the weather was still pretty cold. My "What to look for at boot sales" list got some more things ticked.

 Here's how the list has changed from mid February up to date.
  • For Willow....  young children's classic books like  Very Hungry Caterpillar (Still looking for a copy of VHC but have found others)
  • For Willow...............Wooden fit-the-shapes-in puzzles
  • For Florence.......winter clothes aged  3 - 4 .....ready for next winter (Few found but need more)
  • For Jacob's birthday ? (must ask eldest what Jacob needs)✔ Sorted
  • For me..............vest tops in light colours (None found yet, may buy some cheap new ones)
  • Things that would make Christmas gifts (No luck yet.... except for Grandchildren)
  • Printer cartridges - Epson with a cheetah picture - vain hope! ✔ Huge surprise, found 3 out of the 4 colours at the local sale on Sunday!
    I grabbed this pack of 3 out of the 4 colours needed for my printer £3 instead of £30 something
  • A lemon balm plant  Found one growing in the garden
  • Kilner or similar bottles (Not jars -have plenty of them) for flavoured vinegar gifts  ✔ ( Found 3 in a charity shop in Diss for 99p each
 Added to the list after 19th Feb........
 A stacking toy for Willow✔ at the local boot sale and given for part of her birthday pressie
I'm sure there are other things I'm looking for but didn't make a note of and can't remember now

I swam and shopped and of course there was the birthday outing on Tuesday, thank you for all the Happy Birthday wishes.

And then I had the house valued!
 I have no intention of moving but a card came through the door from one of the big Estate Agents  a few weeks back  (but wouldn't use them to sell) offering free valuations.So out of curiousity, just to see how the improvements that have been done have increased the value, I showed a man around. He thought it was wonderful (they always say that!) worth more than his research had indicated (they always say that too!). He had at least 30 families who would be interested in viewing straight away (not sure I believe that). Anyway the value has increased by about £50,000 and maybe a bit more, on what we paid 2 years ago, which is what I thought. I'm happy with that and still plan to stay until I can't manage here or get really fed up with having to drive absolutely everywhere.

And yesterday the Surrey part of the family arrived for more birthday and Easter celebrations over the weekend.......................... A lovely busy family weekend ahead.

 This week I am grateful for
  • The fun of searching for things at boot sales
  • Sharing a birthday with a granddaughter
  • Warm and sunny days.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Back Monday

Friday 19 April 2019

Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns..............

One a penny, Two a penny, Hot Cross Buns.
 If you have no daughters, give them to your sons
One a penny, two a penny 
Hot Cross Buns!

This is the rhyme we used to say as children. Back in the days when Hot Cross Buns were only available for Easter.

This version is in this years Country Wisdom and Folklore diary. It says the rhyme is from Staffordshire and the Black Country.

 Hot cross buns, hot cross buns,
One a penny poker,
Two a penny tongues,
Three a penny shovels,
Hot cross buns

Anyone from that area reading? is it well known? I did wonder if tongues was once tongs because then it would be all the items in an old fashioned fireside companion set.

According to my book 
The English Year : by Steve Roud (2006-10-26)

the first reference to hot cross buns was found in Poor Robins Almanac from 1733

Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs with one or two a penny hot cross buns.

Marking food with a cross used to be normal practice for bread too.
Hopefully I shall rustle up some Hot Cross Buns this morning  and they'll be a bit tastier than the bland supermarket all-year-round offerings.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 18 April 2019

Warming up for Easter

Whoop, whoop, we had warmth and sunshine yesterday afternoon and I'm loving the look of the weather forecast for the weekend. Outdoor things are planned.........

Easter is almost upon us, it's the main festival of the Christian church, and is a moveable feast. Why.....?.

Easter Day falls anytime between 21st March and 25th April. The date depends on the first full moon of spring. It is calculated  as the first Sunday after the full moon on or after the 21st March. But if the full moon falls on a Sunday, then Easter is the following Sunday. 

Hope that clears that question up?!

Pagan traditions give us the English word Easter coming from the word Anglo Saxon word Eostre , meaning openings and that comes from the Saxon goddess of the dawn Eostre.

The weather at Easter could have an impact on the harvest

Rain on Good Friday or Easter Day,
A good crop of hops, but a bad one of hay.

If the sun shines on the altar during the service on Easter Day, there will be a good harvest .

Fair weather from Easter to Whitsuntide,
Butter will be cheap with cream on the side

Easter Sunday is the proper day for exchanging Easter eggs. The egg is the symbol of new life and because they were forbidden during Lent, people gave eggs as presents to their friends and servants once Lent was over, often decorating them with natural dyes.

In the past Easter was often the time for a new set of clothes for Sunday best. This would have included a new hat for the ladies.........  so   Easter Bonnets.

I'm ready for an Easter Sunday egg hunt!

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 17 April 2019

Birthday Girls (or one birthday girl and one birthday old lady!)

When you share a birthday (my 64th) with a granddaughter (her 1st) it is an excellent reason for a trip out together.

Son, Daughter in Law, Willow and I spent our birthday morning at Baylham House Rare Breeds Farm (just up the road from where I go to the big boot sales) followed up by lunch in a pub.


Willow liked looking at all the animals and the dozens of children who were also visiting. It's very much a farm aimed at children to visit.

I had lots of beautiful cards from family and friends and some from pen-friends included letters which is always lovely. More celebrations for both of us at the weekend.

Thank you to everyone for the Happy Birthday wishes yesterday. It was a lovely day, and I got through despite missing one important person.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Walsham le Willows Church

Before the church tour I must say hello to more followers who have clicked the Follower button...........creeping to 500 ....wow!

Also thank you for comments yesterday

Walsham le Willows is another church dedicated to St Mary. Its a big village with a big church to match. It even has a clock which is quite unusual for a village church. The church was gifted to Ixworth Priory and rebuilt - probably around 1541 and then again, as with so many churches, it was  modernised by the Victorians.

The pinnacles on the top of the tower were hauled up there in around 1475 and depict the armorial beasts of Edward IV.

Wide and light because of the big clerestory windows.

This little wooden medallion is the reason for this church getting a mention in the 100 treasures book.
It records the death of Mary Boyce aged 20 in 1685. The book says.............
 It is thought to be part of a maiden's garland, also known as a virgin's crant or crown, from the German word krantz meaning a wreath. The disc is made of elm wood and below the name is a heart pierced by an arrow because it was said that Mary died of a broken heart

The custom was to hang a garland in the church as a funery memento for a chaste young woman cheated by death of her marriage. In earlier times the disc would have been hung with garlands annually.

In Shakespeares Hamlet it says " yet here she is allow'd her virgin crants, her maiden strewments."

 Below is the alter reredos, The Last Super, made by terracotta artist George Tinworth in 1883

This modern stained glass window is so colourful. It is a memorial window featuring St Dorothy for stained glass artist Rosemary Rutherford who was the sister of the rector. She died in 1972.She designed it but didn't live to see it completed

This painting is by the same lady

In the aisle
The medieval oak roof with some of the colour remaining

Fragments of the medieval glass were collected and used in the octagonal lozenges in the east window below.

The porch with amazing chequer board flint-work.

Many more photos and information at The Suffolk Churches Website

Back Tomorrow

Monday 15 April 2019

Best Ever Cheese Straws

I may have mentioned these before as the recipe was already on the recipe page, but I'm a bit short of ideas for blog posts so thought they were due a re-print.

I made a big batch of these when the family were all here in early March. The box which was full on the Friday was nearly empty by the Sunday night.

Over the last few days I've made them twice more and put both lots in the freezer, one box full for Willows birthday party and another for Easter Sunday tea ( saving just a few to eat now of course)

8oz cold butter
12oz plain flour
Ground black pepper
Teaspoon mustard powder
1 egg
8oz Cheddar cheese - preferably nice and strong
Beaten egg to brush over

Rub butter into flour and salt, stir in 2oz of the cheese add egg and maybe a tsp ice cold water to make a stiff dough.
Wrap in cling film and chill for half an hour (I don't bother to do this and they are fine)
Then form dough into an oblong, roll out very thinly and sprinkle half the remaining cheese over half the rolled out dough. Fold over the plain bit and repeat....roll, sprinkle, fold.
Roll out again - just less 1cm thick trim the edges and cut into fingers, as neatly as possible
Brush with beaten egg.
(You could sprinkle some finely grated Parmesan or paprika over. I don't.)
  Lift with a spatula onto a greased baking sheet then hot oven 220C/gas 7 for 10 to 12 minutes.
Lift off tray with a spatula to cool on a wire rack.

Health Warning!
High calories and very more-ish

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 13 April 2019

The Second Week of April

Because of school Easter hols the swimming pool is used for children's lessons like canoeing, snorkeling and junior life- saving and the Over 50's one hour  session gets really busy.So  I went swimming in the early-bird adults only session, got in the pool at 10 past 8! It was good and quiet just a handful of swimmers and as I was poughing up and down it dawned on me that I must be fitter than a year ago because back then I would have needed an hour of moving around after getting up just to be flexible enough to swim.  Quite a good thought.

It was blinkin' cold on the morning I went to the midweek car boot sale. One of the people selling was the mum of the children I used to look after when I was doing after-school childminding. She said she had phoned her husband to say "remind  me never to do a car boot sale this early in the year ever again!"
I came home with a pile of colourful stuff............. all for the grandchildren - AGAIN.

3 more dressing up or fancy dress costumes - again all for girls, 2 are Disney so haven't a clue who they are supposed to be;  a lovely warm GAP jumper - to fit Willow in the winter; Elmer for whoever hasn't got a copy and a bundle of Duplo to add to what is here or maybe for whichever of the oldest 2 are playing with the  Duplo they have at home.

The other thing I brought home was a tray of lettuce plants, they are in the greenhouse until after the frosts have finished, as are the Elder saplings which arrived looking a bit sad and squashed. And sadly the frost  on Wednesday night made my aubergine plants keel over despite being covered by fleece. Start from scratch again or buy some plants?

During the week a parcel of dies arrived from a very kind blog reader for me to try on the Spellbinder Sapphire cutting machine that I found at a boot sale. I was keen to have a go but couldn't puzzle out how they would work. The picture on the box and the instruction leaflet showed thin metal shapes with raised ridges and what M had sent were fatter, soft squidgy tops and hard plastic bottom bits. I emailed M and she suggested looking on you tube, so I watched several demos of the Spellbinders Sapphire and they were all using thin metal/hard plastic shapes with raised ridges.
I've tried various combinations of plates but that makes things too fat to go through the roller thingys.
So if anyone can give me an answer to if these type of sissix dies will work with this mini cutter, I'd be very pleased to find out how. If they won't work then M doesn't want them back so I'd be happy to pass them on to someone with the right sort of machine.

So that was my week, apart from a bit of baking, a bit more clearing in the workshop and the usual shopping I've also been list writing. Getting ready for Easter weekend when the Surrey family are here for Willows first birthday party at her house and then an Easter Sunday tea-party with other family here.

This week I am grateful for
  • Swimming in a quiet pool
  • The first tulips of the year from my mini cutting garden
  • The kindness of blogland

Have a lovely weekend everyone, I'm just hoping it warms up a bit because over here in the East the wind all week has been really cold.

Back Monday

Friday 12 April 2019

The April Library Book Photo

Not so many from the library van this month.

3 Crime fiction, two old and reprinted and one is the first in a new series by Alys Clare. Katie Fforde for a bit of light and fluffy reading and the one by Joanna Cannon I know nothing about but I did enjoy her first book - The Trouble with Sheep and Goats.

Last month I brought home all this lot, and still have several here, those I've read have been added to the Books Read 2019 page. Several have gone back unread. Couldn't make sense of "Breathe". "The Spring Watch Almanac" isn't much good as a library book as it needs reading day by day as spring unfolds. "Red Rag to a Bull" was too wordy
Hopefully enough here to read through the month, and plenty of my own if I run short.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 11 April 2019

April Nature Table

We always had a nature table at primary school, everyone walked to school some had a mile and a half to and from. Just half a mile for us but the road verges  had all sorts of interesting things so the nature table was always full.

This is my nature table, although mostly virtual because its not a good idea to pick wild flowers any more and my photography isn't good enough to catch birds way up in the air.

First some Pheasant feathers

We called these Shirt buttons but the proper name is Greater Stitchwort.
These were so common back in the 60's not quite so numerous now, but there are a few on the road verges close to home

Cowslips aren't as prolific as primroses but there are a few down the road from home

I can almost always hear them singing way up above the field beside my meadow. Sometimes it's possible to work out where they are but too high for photos. When I walked the footpath across the field on Monday,

  I spotted 3 all singing and rising vertically. The clip below isn't mine, I've borrowed it from
from youtube

Also on my Monday walk I zoomed in on something singing heartily from the top of a dead tree, which I think might have been a Linnet.

I wonder what will be on my May Nature table? (it's another way of filling a blog post!)

Thank you to everyone for frothy coffee comments yesterday and hello and welcome to new followers.

Back Tomorrow