Monday 30 September 2019

End of September Financial etc. Round-Up

Well, that's ¾ of the year done and dusted, I'm sure September has less than 30 days as it's whizzed by. The shops have been gradually filling with Christmas stuff as the month progressed..............
The Christmas magazines, the boxes of biscuits and the chocolate oranges are all there already. None of those have been brought home and won't be. The Christmas magazines in my opinion (and lots of people wouldn't agree!) are the biggest waste of money.....variations on the same every year and not even edible!
Apart from making things for the hampers I'm not thinking about  the 12 days yet.

 Looking back and my month has consisted of lots of inexpensive visiting.....WI centenary fair, Heritage Open Day in Ipswich. Car boot sales, a rural bygones auction, archaeological dig, book sale, village garage sales, churches and family.

Preserving has been done namely Chilli Jelly, Beetroot and Ginger Chutney, Rosemary and Redcurrant Jelly and my "Branston" pickle which I'm still waiting to test for accuracy on BiL.

The Great Autumn Garden Tidy-up has begun......slowly......... I shelled and stored this years saved climbing French beans seeds and chucked out some that were 4 years old and I've looked in the seed tin to see what I need for next year although as I didn't actually write anything down I'll need to look again! and the garden catalogues have arrived. Most of the greenhouse has been cleared and I've cut back lots of stuff outside. I daren't write a list of what still needs would be too long.

 The frugal bits
  • Eating from the garden and greenhouse.......beetroot, potatoes, butternut squash, last courgette, peppers, tomatoes, last cucumbers. Autumn raspberries, few cooking apples, few figs, very  few eating apples and pears. Hazelnuts.
  • Beetroot from BiL for making chutney
  • More boxes of roast vegetables put in freezer, homegrown except for carrots
  • Things for presents for Grandchildren from boot sales
  • Books from car boot sale
  • Still mixing milk half and half with water
  • Still using bread-maker for my bread
  • Made home made play-dough for Florence
If you have children or grandchildren and buy play-dough this recipe could save you a few pennies. It's probably 25 or more years since I made any but thank goodness the recipe was still in my folder.

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 Tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 cups water
Food colouring
 Cook the mixture in a pan over low-medium heat, stirring all the time to prevent sticking
Stir like mad as the mixture starts to thicken and remove from heat when the mixture comes away from the side of the pan.
Tip out onto a hard surface and knead well as soon as its cool enough to handle. Leave to cool. Store airtight in a plastic bag. Keeps very well.

The Financial Ins................
Nothing except the County Council spouses pension and some bits of interest and repayments from family. Lots of savings were needed this month.

The Financial Outs............
The usual food for me and the cat, diesel for the car, direct debits for phones and charity.
A big expense this month was my dentist visit. I had the big tooth rebuilt with a massive filling and  a check-up, scale and polish. An hour in the dentist chair - horrible!
Also spent on peanuts etc. for bird feeding, DiL Birthday, paid for the WI birthday meal, the window cleaner, firebricks for the wood-burner, hair cut and boiler service.
 And Gates ............ I'm having some gates to make everywhere safer, to better define the boundaries and to stop everyone driving up the lane, round the oak tree and out again. My next-door-but-one neighbour runs his own garden maintenance company and is doing the gates and fencing, fitting them in with other work as I said there was no hurry. He had one gate that he could use already so that's saved some money. I've paid for the other gates, hinges and catches and will pay for his time when he's finished. Suffolk County Council Public Rights of Way have sent me some new little Footpath arrows ready for when the small gate is fixed. It's going to have one of those spring things so it will just push open and close again.

I kept the (easy for me) pledge to buy no new clothes in September - actually didn't buy any secondhand either.

And clearing right out of the house continues.............
21 books to charity shop to make up for several that came in
2 items of clothes ditto
1 jigsaw puzzle ditto
Some children's books to grandchildren

Looking forward.........
 October might be a  good financial month,  chimney sweep and the septic-tank emptying are the only definites ...............unless I go on a world cruise!!

And looking forward to six more weeks of the new BBC programme World on Fire . I thought it was very good but why am I and so many other people still so fascinated by WWII?

And last but definitely not least Hello and Welcome to new some followers who've clicked the button. Hope you enjoy reading.

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Sunday 29 September 2019


  The 29th is the Feast of St Michael and All Angels or Michaelmas, a Quarter Day when farm rents were due, annual employment terms ended, local courts were held and children would finally go back to school after helping with the  harvests. In some places it was called Pack Rag Day because the poorest farm labourers would be packing their few possessions to move to a new job.
  Two weather sayings for today
As many days old as the moon is at Michaelmas Day, so many floods shall we have after.
St Michael's rain doesn't stay long in the sky
 A roast "stubble" goose - fattened from the barley gleanings on the fields after harvest, used to be the traditional meal on this day and it was thought that eating goose on Michaelmas Day would bring financial prosperity in the year to come. The Michaelmas goose tradition was once more important  than eggs at Easter.

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

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

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

Origins of Nottingham’s Goose Fair | Nottingham Hidden ...
Picture from the Nottingham Hidden History website

The history of the Goose Fair in Nottingham  is HERE.

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Saturday 28 September 2019

The Last Saturday in September

It was good to get some rain at last during the week, far too late for plumping up apples or beetroot but it will help the trees. As usual we didn't get as much rain as other parts of the country, so no flooding, just muddy fields which will mean muddy roads as soon as the sugar beet harvest starts
There were enough dry spells to get some more garden clearing done, still rather a lot to do.

During the week I made a few jars of Redcurrant and Rosemary Jelly with the 3lb of redcurrants I got off the bush earlier in the year and fired up the bargain bread maker to try a malt-loaf. The instructions said "add sultanas at the bleeps during second kneading". I think the bleeps must have been much earlier in the programme than I thought, so I ended up with sultana-less malt loaf. Next time I'm going to swap the black treacle in the recipe for more malt to give it a bit more maltiness.

I've been dithering about ordering more peanuts etc. for bird feeding as it's getting quite an expensive business, costing over £200 in 2018 - for feeding all year round. Going out to top up the feeders was always Col's job and when I was feeling a bit down it seemed like just one more thing I had to do. Anyway I've not been feeding through the summer and wondered if I started again would the birds return? The feeding station was in the front garden, positioned for Colin to watch them from his chair but not in my direct eye-line so I moved it closer to the living room window, cleaned everything and filled up and waited. It didn't take long, first a Great Tit, then Blue Tits, followed by the Long Tailed Tits, Sparrows and finally the Coal Tit. Just waiting for the Goldfinches on the Niger seed. They do all fly off in a rush if Polly decides to sit on the window-sill but seem to know that she's behind glass and soon come back.............she quickly gets bored with watching anyway.
So fresh peanuts and some suet blocks have been ordered and they are coming with a free gift of pre-filled jumbo insect feeder - whatever that is.

Last weekend Needham Market boot sale was HUGE, Stonham Barns on Sunday was much smaller but between them I had some good book finds and a couple of other bargains.
Someone had a box with the sort of books I love and at 50p each I soon snapped up one about Wassailing, another called the Treasury of Tree Lore and The Spirit of the Hare.

Tom Tiddlers Ground was a good spot, luckily the spines of the Furrowed Middlebrow reprints are quite distinctive. It's another of these books from Dean Street Press that the library haven't bought for stock. I paid £1.
I was pleased to find a decent road play-mat to keep here for the grandchildren - paid £5 and it looks hardly used. I bought the doll feeding bundle for 50p and the Frontline for the cat - 5 doses in this box and well in-date for £3. The box labelled 'Start Saving Water in the Garden' is full of pouches of crystals and mats that hold water to add to containers for next years basket tomatoes. I expect they were originally given out for free although not from the water company here, but I was OK with paying 50p.

This week I am grateful for
  • A lovely quiet swim
  • Watching the birds feeding
  • My granddaughters close enough to see each week
  • Car boot bargains

Back Tomorrow with Michaelmas Folklore

Friday 27 September 2019

The Worryingly Small Library Book Haul!

 Lots of the books I have on order are new and not yet in stock or have very long waiting lists so only 4 to collect - much reading from my own shelves this month I think, although the Lettice Cooper book is quite a long read as long as I can get into it.

The Offing was read on radio 4 a few weeks ago and was highly praised. I've read a few of Barbara Kingsolver's books in the past, not sure what this one is and just one crime............ by Cora Harrison, which it turns out is the second in a recent series set in Victorian times and not, as I thought, her most recent in the Reverend Mother series set in Ireland. So I hope I can make sense of it.

These are the books I collected 4 weeks ago

Some went back unread - either I couldn't get into the story or I couldn't be bothered and I still have Erica James to be read, I know it will make me cry and I don't feel like crying!.
Books read from this heap have been added to the 2019 page as have some of my own books that I read too.

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Thursday 26 September 2019

St Mary at the Elms, Ipswich

Another very old Ipswich church, more Anglo-Catholic than many others in Suffolk, it was  open both for the Heritage Open Day and because it was Church Cycle Ride day. It's just a little way out from the town centre and feels so welcoming inside. 

The tower is made from Tudor red bricks brought from the Netherlands and thought to be originally for Cardinal Wolseys College, which was never built.
The Norman porch has three niches containing recent sculptures by Charles Gurrey. A  triptych with Christ flanked the Blessed Virgin and St John.

 A closer view with a photo from the Suffolk Churches website

Christ with the Blessed Virgin and St John

 In the C12 there were 39 churches in Ipswich which was a prosperous port at that time, among the 39 was St Mary's Chapel which had a carved figure of Our Lady of Grace or Our Lady of Ipswich, visited by the great and good of the time but in September 1538, during the Reformation the figure was taken to London to be burnt. The story says that it was saved by Catholic sailors and taken to the Italian town of Nettuno and experts have said that the old wooden statue at Nettuno know as "Our Lady of The Grace" is the one from Ipswich.
In the church now is a new oak replica, carved by  local man Robert Mellamphy and  placed here in 2002 and it is this that get the church it's mention in the 100 treasures book.

The Stations of the Cross are also carved wood

Across the churchyard is St Mary's Cottage dating from 1467 and thought to be the oldest occupied house in Ipswich.

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Wednesday 25 September 2019

How Many Trees?

I watched the youtube video on Thelma's blog last week

 and it got me thinking that I had no idea how many trees there were here on my acre up the end of a Suffolk lane, there were several even before we started planting little saplings two years ago.
I did a tree survey.............

1 Large Turkey Oak 
4 Blackthorn with not a sloe between them
1 Leylandii
11 Willow 
25 Poplar -two different types
1 Christmas Tree
5 Ash
1 Sumac
1 Lilac
1 Bay
1 Sweet Chestnut
2 Scots Pine
3 Walnut
2 Spruce
3 Hazel
1 Damson
1 Cherry Plum
3 Silver Birch
2 Holly
1 Weeping Pussy Willow
5 Hawthorn
2 Blue Spruce
2 Eucalyptus
2 Field Maple
2 Apricot
2 Pear
5 Apple
1 Plum
2 Elder
and  finally 1 very small English Oak, that's just appeared this year.

Is that 94 Trees? Lots of these have been planted since we moved in and many of those are still under 2 feet tall. I think there's another holly and some small elders somewhere too. Muntjac Deer and two dry summers took their toll on  Colin's Birthday Wood as I just wasn't able to look after them properly and get water to them, 8 out of the 10 silver birch died and a few others including a Sweet Chestnut. The best I can do is to cut around the new trees with the small mower.

Mrs F, who was here before me, used to cut all the meadow,this is how we first saw it

but we decided early on to just cut the footpath and in our first summer we had a few orchids,(and even more in 2018 and 2019) something that  Mrs F had never seen here. It would look tidier and bigger if it was all cut but there would be so many heaps of grass cuttings and no orchids and hopefully it's more wildlife friendly too.

I'm waiting for some wet weather to plant out 2 Hornbeam and a Rowan that I've got in pots.

No wonder I don't want to move yet - where else would I have so many trees?

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Tuesday 24 September 2019

The Archaeologist

My Archaeologist son is supervising volunteers on a dig in Clare Castle Country Park, on the Suffolk/Essex border.

 DiL, Willow and I went to have a look at the dig last week. Son showed us around, I'm glad he was there to tell me what was what as they just look like holes in the ground to me!

They are digging in the bailey below the Castle Motte, an area that was more recently a goods yard for the old railway to see if they can find exactly how big the moat was and also further down to find anything to predate the Norman Castle and also another nearby trench has been put in to find out the area of a cemetery relating to the Minster or Monastery that was also on the site for some years. They found burials further away from some found in a dig a few years ago. I took a photo but son told me off ! Not done to take photos of burials he said. The bones are to be recorded and left.

The diagram on the bench shows a cross section of the Castle keep on top of the motte, the moat and inner and outer baileys

The silver half-coin below dates back to William 1st not long after 1066. The key-plate is probably from a medieval box or casket. Top left is decorated glass 

A bit more about the first week finds HERE

There are up to 20 volunteers each day of all ages including some older children who are being home-schooled - a better way of learning some history than being sat in a classroom....... I'm a big fan of home schooling.

Just after we left Son was on BBC Radio Suffolk talking to one of the presenters about the dig and the finds so far. The dig finishes soon but there is funding for another 3 weeks next summer. 

Willow needed a play on the climbing frames, slide and swing and then we had lunch in the Old Station Cafe.

 It makes me so happy to know Son is doing a job he loves and thank goodness when Cotswold Archaeology Company  merged with/took over Suffolk Archaeology CIC they kept their Suffolk office so he didn't have to move away. I would certainly miss seeing my littlest granddaughter now.

Thanks for comments about the autumn decor - it's good to have a bit of a change now and again.

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Monday 23 September 2019

Pulling Autumn Out Of The Cupboard

Mabon, as the Autumn Equinox is called in Pagan folklore, thought to be named after the Welsh god of mythology is a turning point in the wheel of the year and Autumn is really here so  I hauled my box of odds and ends out of the cupboard under the stairs, fished out Autumn and put Summer away until next year.

Illustration from "Ceremonies of the Seasons" by Jennifer Cole.
Having been without a  mantel shelf for many years at Fareacre it was during our first Autumn here in 2017 that I  found some things to make the room a just little bit different for a few months. Now it's become a regular thing.  BiL is having a woodburner installed in his house and he said it's no longer permitted to have a wooden mantel shelf......... "elf and safety". Ho Hum

So Autumn on my mantel shelf  and it isn't much different to 2017 and 2018.

My Hare stays through all the seasons and this is the third autumn for the leaf swag, fir-cone, pottery acorn, jug and wooden fruit and the new addition of the wooden mushroom.
I think it cheers things up for a few weeks, bats and pumpkin will be added for Halloween. Need to keep my eyes open for a few different bits for winter.......second-hand of course.

It was only after I'd put everything out that I remembered the chimney sweep will be coming in a couple of weeks and I'll have to take it all off again!

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Saturday 21 September 2019

21st September and a Saturday Round-up

Last Saturday I was worried.........worrying about things that might not happen, things other people don't worry about.

So the other side of the coin...........the things that don't frighten or worry me that maybe worry some people
  • Live mice in the bedroom in the middle of the night
  • Large spiders walking round the living room
  • Earwigs appearing on the kitchen work top (they'd come out of some cooking apples)
  • Standing up and talking in front of a room full of people
  • Living in an out-of-the-way place on my own
  • Being seen without make-up
  • Strange noises in the night! -  It will be a Muntjac  although it can sound like someone being murdered.
  • Going into a room/meeting/whatever, where I don't know anyone

Haven't found anything at a car boot sale to blog about for weeks until last Sunday, when I found this lot. Mainly books for the grandchildren again, 2 are specially for Willow who will be a big sister in January. Two are sticker books to put away until they are older.  The "Verdict of Twelve" is a British Library Crime Classic that I've not read because the library don't have it. £3 for the 6 children's books and 50p for mine.

 A tube of toothpaste and two clip top bottles all for £1 each. I'm not having much luck with finding bottles for the limoncello that I'm going to make for the hampers. I found one that had a stain inside that just wouldn't clean and another that didn't keep tight closed. They both went in the glass recycling bank. These two are better and even buying 4 from boot sales and chucking out two is still cheaper than buying 2 new.
Packet of Nasturtium seeds for next summer for 50p and also 50p for my third try at making a scrapbook of country sayings and cuttings from the folklore diaries. I got  books from boot sales earlier this year which I thought would do but the pages were too thin in one and another didn't have enough pages. Both of those were re-sold when I did my 2nd car boot sale.

Another week of being tired, so a bit of gardening and a bit of resting and no swimming (tut tut!). The autumn garden clearing looks a big job when I think about doing it on my own, but if it's tackled a bit at a time I guess I'll get there in the end, just like last year.

This week I'm grateful for
  • Having some quiet days
  • The boiler being serviced with no problems
  • Time spent with DiL and Willow on a trip out
  • Being a pensioner - for cheap fish and chips!

This weekend the  Rugby World Cup has started, so I will enjoy watching the games and it carries on all through October, although because of the time difference (it's in Japan), all the matches are on TV in the mornings, some at early as 5.45- don't think I'll be watching those live. Also hope to visit a village garage sales event and coffee morning............not my village.............nothing happens here!

Have a good weekend
Back Monday

Friday 20 September 2019

St Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich

At last this town centre church was open for both the Heritage Open Day and the Suffolk Churches Cycle ride. It's right in the middle of town and is the civic church of Ipswich for all official occasions .

There was a church here in 1200 but this church is completely Victorian. As usual with town churches it's difficult to get a photo of the whole thing.

This is the reason for this church being in the 100 treasures book. It's the memorial for William Smart who was MP for Ipswich when he died in 1599. The memorial is an oil painting on wood showing a panorama of Ipswich at the time and the words are an Acrostic of what can be seen each starting with the letters in WILLIAM SMART. Because all the lights were on I couldn't get a head on photo as there was too much reflection.
Visible landmarks include 8 churches, a monastery, a mill and the river.

View down this wide church to the altar

Beautiful stained glass everywhere so I don't know why I only took one photo. You can see all the other windows in their glory HERE.
Very elaborate carved pulpit

There are angels and saints on the choir stalls

There is a grand gilded altar piece dating from 1895

On columns are wrought iron stands to hold the Mayors mace and sword during a service

The font dates from early C15

It was good to be able to visit and see what was here as usually the gates are locked so you can't even get into the churchyard.

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Thursday 19 September 2019

Why I Don't Regularly Shop at Farm Shops

I was on my way home from Ipswich when I remembered that there was no fresh fresh fruit for the weekend but coming home the back country road way meant I didn't go by any shops except being near the Hog and Hen farm shop that opened two years  ago.

So I called in and bought a few local things that I wouldn't usually buy, an experiment - and a weekend treat.

  • The James White Pear and Raspberry is locally produced fruit juice, it's delicious........but expensive. BUT then I noticed in small print "made in Suffolk from imported produce". Not so local after all then.
  • The punnet of Strawberries were local, and tasted better than many I've eaten from shops this year...............but expensive and by the end of Sunday even though they were in the fridge some had gone squidgy so I think had been in the shop a few days.
  • The mushroom - just 1 large one for an omelette, well it was local but was just a mushroom! and when I came to slice it up it was more akin to leather ....old I think.......and VERY expensive.
  • The "misc cheese" wasn't cheese but Butter from Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses  where I visited with WI a couple of months ago. The owner said they were about to become the only place in Suffolk producing it's own butter so I thought I'd try some.It's beautiful butter but £3.25 for  250g is also VERY expensive.

I thought about doing a Blog Challenge of shopping and eating only local foods for a month but maybe it will be for just one week or I'll be bankrupt!

Thank you for all the comments about them, but only fresh....much too gritty when dried.

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Wednesday 18 September 2019


These were an unexpected treat.

The fig tree is only a few years old, brought here in a pot after I bought it from Wilkinsons for £3.50 in January 2017, just before we moved here.
Col took up a paving slab from the patio to make a sheltered spot for it and I watered it all through last year's and this year's dry summers.

I wasn't expecting any of the small figs to actually get big enough to eat before frosts stopped them, but I've been watching them slowly get bigger until at last they started to turn brown and were quickly picked and eaten.

There were 7 more after these two ............delicious.

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Heritage Open Day

Thank you to everyone for comments about the auction on yesterdays post, sorry for not replying, I had a day off!

On Saturday I had a lovely morning out in Ipswich, visiting some of the places only open to the general public on Heritage Open Days.
I've put in some links which explain more if you are interested.

First of all must show you the Cornhill "modernisation" now the concrete henge has been removed. Here's how it looked a few weeks ago. Very strange concrete things put there just a year ago and already falling to bits

And now ....gone!
My sister said there was lots in the local paper about the changes.

Anyway, back to my real reason for being in our county town

The front cover of the brochure shows the Unitarian Meeting House reflected in the Willis building. Both open for visiting but I had other places to go.

And this is the actual Willis Towers Watson Building now 40 years old (originally it was Willis Faber). Famously designed by Norman Foster it was revolutionary in the 1970's. An open plan office building that even had a swimming pool and still has a roof garden. It caused much controversy when it was built but we are all used to it now.
It was open for visiting but modern buildings like this don't really interest me so I didn't bother

Just two photos of the outside as I walked by.

Now this is much more interesting to me. 3-5 Silent Street. (The only Silent Street in the country?) A medieval Grade II listed timber-framed building. Originally part of a much larger building built as an Inn. Just a small part open on Saturday, one ground floor and one first floor room...on the left of this photo below

The two buildings here were once one Tudor Inn- One of the most complete and important Tudor Inns anywhere in the country.

 There were lots of information boards to look at in this building, now empty since it closed as a second-hand  book shop in 2011 and a leaflet had been produced to explain the history.

It seems it was always an important high status Inn because it lay opposite an important house, now demolished, called Curson House.  Cardinal Thomas Wolsey hoped to use Curson House as his retirement home (he didn't live long enough to retire!) and people from the entourages of the visitors to Curson House would have stayed at the Inn. Catherine of Aragon visited Lord Curson in 1517 and Henry VIII in 1522.

This map of Ipswich showing Curson House with Curson Lodge opposite dates from 1610

Wood panelling in the downstairs parlour is thought to be original 17th century, although it has been cut and moved since then. (The bunting is for Heritage Open Buildings)

There was once a rear courtyard and gallery which would have given access to people staying in the upper rooms at the Inn and these windows which now look over the stairs would have looked down into the courtyard

Photos show the uses of the building during the first half of the 20th Century.

Photos of some of the wallpapers found under the modern paint and plaster. The earliest dating to Georgian period

 I also visited the Bethesda Baptist Chapel. I'm sure I've been here in the past when taking part in singing competitions as a member of Wetherden Baptist chapel. Bethesda is huge chapel built in 1912 in classical style on a site used by various religious groups since 1782.

Polished granite two storey columns at the front and wide steps leading up to the big doors.

There is an upper balcony on 3 sides of the chapel with the organ up on the 4th side. The church was full of donations for Harvest Festival - lots of tins of food rather than the fresh produce with which we used to decorate our village chapel in the 1960s.

From the entrance to the front

And from the front looking back to the entrance. I had a nice chat with the lady who was welcoming people by the door, she had once lived in Great Finborough near Stowmarket and knew the leaders at Wetherden Chapel when  I was going there.

I also visited two Churches that get a mention in the 100 Treasures Book. One I've tried to visit before but it's normally locked. I've written separate posts for them which will appear sometime later this month.

Still many other interesting locations to visit on next years open days.

Another thing to mention is  spotting an Ipswich Town FC legend!......... GEORGE BURLEY  In Costa in Debenhams just enjoying a coffee with his wife, several people noticed him, you could see them nudging each other........ but no one bothered him.
He was playing for Ipswich back in the days of 1973-77 when I used to go and watch with boyfriend of the time. 
It's fair to say he was a better player than Manager - as a manager he kept getting sacked!

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