Saturday 30 May 2020

Strange Times End of Week 11 and (Almost) End of the Month

Rounding up the week and the month today.

Another mostly sunny week in Suffolk - no rain again so much watering has been needed and now the water butts need filling with the hosepipe .
This is a sunny sitting-out spot although it hasn't been really hot in my bit of Suffolk all week as the wind is East and quite breezy.

I've been half listening and watching the Dominic Cummings stuff all week - wondering what it feels like to be so hated by so many people, not just recently but for a long time and thinking what a idiot he is if he thought no one would notice and do I care anyway? I think it's all making me tired and lethargic.......that's how I've felt most of the week and it can't be because of working too hard!

More relevant  for bloggers is the latest change to the layout of stuff in the drafts pages bit - do wish Blogger would stop modernising. It's OK but takes longer - a bit like shopping! Speaking of initial thought about all shops opening in a few weeks was Oh Good. Then "but what do I actually need to go out and buy?.........Can I be bothered with all that queueing?" ..............On Tuesday I had to go and pick up a prescription and post a parcel both in a village 5 miles away and it took an hour - usually it would have been about 20 minutes. What a good thing I now have all the time in the world for everything!

I've been thinking about what will happen as we return to normal and get to see more people after all the isolation - being  reminded of what happened to many ancient tribes in Africa and South America when they were discovered by Europeans who brought with them things like common colds which then wiped out the native people as they had no resistance. Hope we haven't all been isolated so long that we've lost out immune system for ordinary ills!

  Now a few frugal bits from May
  • Rhubarb, lettuces and herbs from the garden
  • As always catching the cold water in a jug before the hot arrives and using elsewhere.
  • Boiler not used for ¾ of the month
  • Mixing milk half and half with water
  • Washing dried on the line all month
  • Cut my own hair
  • All bread was home made
  • Hardly going out - no coffee and cake at charity coffee mornings!
  • Not going to the Suffolk Show - cancelled of course, but I would have gone and a ticket would have been over £20

 3 good savings made this a low spend month

A very good saving on heating oil in the middle of the month when I ordered 600 litres for half the price of the 500 litres bought in January. The oil tank is now full and since then it's been warmer and the boiler hasn't switched itself on at all . The solar thermal panels on the roof have heated the water and the stored warmth from the conservatory has warmed the living room every evening.

The price of diesel is also at it's lowest for donkeys years so I've been keeping the car full. I put in the grand total of £13 worth this month..........compared to an average of £70 a month before Covid and price collapse.

The third saving was the car breakdown insurance - I rang to cancel to see what they would offer and got a years cover for the price of 9 months.

Food spending was just under average even though prices of fruit,vegetables and many other things are going up. The cat got food of course and the direct debits for phones, broadband, council tax and charity went out as usual plus there were two family birthdays in May and I've been buying the Saturday local paper which has the weeks TV listings and a double page of puzzles - giving me an extra choice of things to do.

My other spending was nearly all online, mostly secondhand - Games and puzzles and craft things for grandchildren (plus postage to send them)  also sent for a new pair of soft summer Earth Spirit shoes that I can wear sockless. Almost identical to my old tatty pair so I knew they would fit and be comfortable. ( I can't wear sandals comfortably due to needing an arch support). My old tatty pair have become summer gardening shoes. I'm never bothered about what clothes look like but shoes Have to be comfortable.

The only spending on gardening was a bag of multi-purpose compost and beetroot seed.

Oh and I bought books. ..............Confessions to come later!

Looking ahead to June when the electric bill is due plus the window cleaner will be round sometime and there is one family birthday so as long as I stop looking on ebay/amazon it should be another low spend month.

This week I'm grateful for
  • Plenty to read
  • My hoover to hoover up the flying ants that are emerging from the old chimney in the kitchen yet again
  • Lots of tidying done in the garden

Have a good weekend everyone
Back Monday

Friday 29 May 2020

Word Association

There are big patches of Red Campion along the road verges not far from home. They are so pretty and being taller and very pink they show up really well.

But what I don't see so often is White Campion which were so common along the road edges when I was very young. We walked half a mile to primary school every day and got to know the names of all the plants we saw along the way.
At this time there was a TV programme called "Champion, The Wonder Horse" with a very distinctive theme tune and White Campion became and was sung as  "Campion The Wonder Flower"!

And I still can't say "Campion" without starting to sing...................

"Champion the Wonder Horse! Champion the Wonder Horse!
Like a streak of lightnin' flashin' cross the sky,
Like the swiftest arrow whistlin' from a bow,
Like a mighty cannonball he seems to fly.
You'll hear about him everywhere you go.
The time'll come when everyone will know
The name of Champion the Wonder Horse!" 

I see from Wikiwotsit that it was on TV in the mid 50's but as we were walking to primary school between 1960 and 1965 it must have been repeated again and again......just like programmes now!

Garden flowers brought in for the table this week - 3 Peonies

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 28 May 2020

In the Distance

  Go on .........Sing it......................"Draw those curtains wide"

And I do (draw the curtains wide NOT the singing!) every morning and look out on empty fields, hedgerows and trees and sometimes someone with a dog walking the footpath across the fields.

So when something looks just a bit different, it's easy to notice.

And I rushed downstairs for my camera

And I zoomed in right across the field and saw three deer, proper deer, not the pesky Muntjacs that show no fear and eat the trees.

 I stood watching through the zoom lens for a while and then as they started to move off  I counted five

If you look up Fallow Deer it says "relatively common and widely distributed throughout southern England".

That may be true but not often seen from my bedroom window!

Back Tomorrow

PS Oh Goody Blogger is changing all the way things are done on blogs - do wish they wouldn't bother.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

How Much Food Can One 'Old' Woman Grow.............

and still leave time for reading?

Growing food has been something I've done ever since 1978..............mainly because of wanting to be as self reliant as possible.
I've never been on any gardening courses - always trial and error at the start and what I called 'seed packet gardening' - i.e buy a packet of seeds and do what it says on the back!
This country only produces around 60% of it's food and if they can't find enough pickers and packers or if some smaller farmers go out of business due to rising costs and the new agricultural policy after brexit, then food prices will rise and there will be a shortage on the shelves and not just in this country. Some estimates say that up to 50% of the worlds population will be unemployed and hungry........Doom and gloom? Scaremongering? - I don't know. Although history tells us there have been food shortages after plagues in the past.

Whatever happens it can't do any harm to grow more for ourselves. I'm now doing as much as I can being here alone and leaving time to do other things.

My food production area here is 4 beds that are 6 foot by 12 foot, the top fruit bed which is 10 foot by 12 foot.Plus the two 6 x6 beds for raspberries and strawberries and lots of pots, a greenhouse and the fruit trees - I'm Very lucky (although we wouldn't have moved here without somewhere to grow food).

This year I'm growing aubergines, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in the greenhouse. I've got onions, beetroot (sparse), early potatoes, climbing French beans, runner beans, a row of mange-tout peas, courgettes,a few leeks and 4 each of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts plants outside. The asparagus has to be left now for this year but I've had a few once a week for the last 5 weeks. In pots outside I've got 5 squash plants, 2 pumpkin plants, some lettuces and 3 tubs of strawberry plants. Plus 2 tomato plants in baskets on the garage wall.

 I'm sowing runner beans late so they will carry on until late autumn.

There are strawberries, raspberries, 1 blackcurrant and a few gooseberry bushes, a couple of small blueberry bushes in pots and my small fig tree.

 Two apple, two pear and a plum tree and 2 damson trees in the hedgerow. I also have two young apricot trees - no fruit yet.
I've also got herbs here and there.

You know how I like a list so  thought it would be interesting to keep a running total of food produced here (this may be short lived if I forget to keep a count - which is very probable)

So far   

  •  6 small lettuces (very small - as in about 8 leaves each!)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • a few asparagus spears
  • lots of rhubarb

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Ogham Tree Alphabet May into June

From my little book  The Ogham sketchbook by Karen Cater.  The Hawthorn is the tree that stands for the letter H written in Ogham top left below. Also representing the number 6 for the 6th Lunar month.

The Saxon name for the Hawthorn was Haegthorn = hedgetree

 One of several big hawthorn trees on my meadow.

Several superstitions surround the Hawthorn

 For protection
Beware the oak, it courts a stroke,
Beware the Ash, it courts a flash,
Creep under the Thorn,
It will save you from harm.

From the mid C17 it was considered unlucky to bring Hawthorn blossom into the house due to the fact that people with the  plague had the scent of  May flowers about them.

Before that time Hawthorn branches were woven into a globe and hung in the rafters of the kitchen to protect from fire. Taken down when the May flowered the following year it was then burnt and the ashes scattered on the vegetable garden for fertility.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 25 May 2020

A Lazy Fool (in a Jug!)

Such a lovely crop of rhubarb this year. I've made some crumbles but this has become my favourite way to eat it.

I cooked up the rhubarb - without sugar - and stored it in a tub in the fridge.
In a jug put a level desert spoon  of  custard powder and 1 heaped Tablespoon of milk powder and a little sugar, stir in water up to the ¼ pint mark and shove in microwave for a minute, take out and stir and repeat for 30 seconds at a time until it's thick and hot. Spoon in as much cold cooked rhubarb as you like and add a dollop of squirty low-fat cream on top. (Squirty cream vanishes so it can't possibly have many calories!)
Eat it straight out of the jug as there's no one else here to do the washing up.

Back Tomorrow

Sunday 24 May 2020

Suffolk Dialect in Lockdown!

This is how we say it in Suffolk!............Easy for us to understand!

Image may contain: text that says "STAY HOOME YEW MARN'T GOO OWTSOIDE HOWD YEW HAARD"


(This was on the Stowmarket Past and Present Page. Thanks to Don Egan for making it and allowing it to be shared around.)

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 23 May 2020

Strange Times:- End of Week 10

What a week of lovely weather we have had (well, here in Suffolk anyway). The sun has shone on most days and it's been really warm and when Santon Downham in  West Suffolk (on the sandy Brecks) reached the highest temperature in the country on Wednesday there was a good breeze here which kept it more comfortable. Just ten minutes of rain on Thursday night - could have done with much more.

This weeks flowers for the table were rose buds (complete with greenfly - discovered after putting my glasses on!)

The quarter circle flower garden is full of aquilegia, some of which I'll try and dig out again when they finish flowering. Some very pale Irises in among the muddle.

This - something - that I got from the boot sale last year has done well and getting bigger. I could look it up to see what it is but  there's no need as someone reading will tell me!

In amongst everything there are Forget-me-nots - which look lovely until they go over and make a mildewy mess - although they have shallow roots so easy to pull up - unlike the Aquilegia.

Around the corner in the flower bed by the conservatory I have these, a clump dug from BiL's garden last autumn. A bit like a Crocosmia  but purple? I know how they got into his garden because I dug some from a big clump we had at the smallholding and gave to MiL - which must have been 20+ years ago. The smallholding ones didn't survive the dry summers but they clung on at BiLs house even after all these years.

What else have I been doing this week................. apart from taking photos of flowers........... 

Well, I went shopping to Asda in Stowmarket. 9am and no socially distanced queue to get in so straight in, plenty on the shelves except SR Flour - but I got a bag of Bread Flour.
Went into the town centre to the Post Office which is also a newsagent and small convenience shop and found a bag of Self Raising flour there. So strange not to be doing a tour of the charity shops which I would usually do when  in Stowmarket.

I stopped feeding the birds this week because the only things on the feeders were magpies and starlings - starlings haven't been around much here until this year  and the magpies are nesting in the top of the poplars again........... such noisy bullies. And anyway I needed the heavy cast iron stand that the feeder pole was using for my parasol on the patio - it's original and proper use.

Today I'm delivering some courgette plants to Col's sister and calling in at the fruit and veg shop in Debenham on my way home for beetroot, they are one of the few places to sell bunched fresh beetroot........... can't stand those squidgy vacuum packs. I've sown more beetroot here in the LARGE gaps where my earlier seed didn't grow. Also popped a packet through the letterbox at BiL's house several weeks ago after speaking to him on the phone..........."Have you got room for another row of beetroot? "Why?" "Because whatever I do my beetroot seeds never germinate well" "Why?"  "If I knew that I'd be better at growing them, but have you got room to grow me a few?" "Spose so". Weeks later it looks as if every single seed from the packet he put in at his house have grown. So what the heck do I do wrong?
This is why Colin used to do the outside seed sowing and all my seed sowing is done in the greenhouse!

This week I am grateful for
  • Good weather to get jobs done in the garden and greenhouse
  • Online shopping instead of having to go to Ipswich
  • Being able to post games to the grandchildren

Back Tomorrow with a quick extra post

Friday 22 May 2020

The Greenhouse - Last Year Compared to This Year

May 21st  LAST YEAR
Left hand side
 5 'pointy' Pepper plants plus five Aubergines in big pots. French Climbing beans to go out as are the Sweetcorn - baby ones for stir-fries. One more big pot ready for another yellow tomato. 2 trays sown with mangetout peas. 2 pots sown with nasturtiums - no sign of them yet. Some small tomato plants to go in the hanging baskets and at the end  are 2 cucumbers. Also some squash seedlings just emerging

Below on 21st May THIS YEAR
Left hand side 
It looks much emptier than last year because the climbing French beans and all the other plants are already outside either in the ground or in pots. Plus I'm not growing baby corn this year. This years 4 Aubergine and 3 Pepper plants in big pots are not so well grown as this time last year because they didn't get going so well and the failure of all but one of my own pepper sowing meant I sent for some which held things up. The 2 cucumber plants look bigger than this time last year and of course there is the sacrificial cucumber plant I wrote about last week.

There are a couple of empty pots out of shot on the left of the door waiting to see if I did or didn't add pepper plants to the order when I sent for the brassica collection and melon plant.(Hope the melon plant arrives soon - time is marching on) There is also a small very slow growing aubergine on the left out of shot, to be potted up soon.

21st May LAST YEAR
Right hand side
9 various tomato plants with French Marigolds also in the pots to encourage insects in for pollination and another cucumber in the big pot at the end.

21st May Right hand side
 The 4 Ildi yellow plum tomato plants are much forwarder than this time last year, as I sowed them first .4 Big Mama Tomato plants slightly later. The tomato with masses of flowers on the right of the door is one of the cascade trailing mini tomatoes. Last year I squeezed all 4 plants into the baskets on the garage wall. This year I still grew 4 plants but put just 1 in each basket, one in the greenhouse and one in a pot outside the greenhouse door.  No French Marigold  plants this year as I usually pick up a cheap small tray from a car boot sale. There's a pot of parsley there too. One pot full has gone outside already. The third big cucumber at the far end with a small pepper plant. One empty pot on the right waiting for the final Aubergine plant to get a bit bigger to pot on.

 The blog is so handy to be able to see the differences from one year to another.

Back Tomorrow


Monday 18 May 2020

What Was in Your Diary?

How many things in your diary have you crossed out in the last 8/9 weeks?

I've missed
First day of shutdown BiL was supposed to come and cut wood
The Surrey Family visiting at Easter and the family Egg Hunt and Easter tea
All the visits to the two Suffolk families
All the rest of the 12 week OneLifeSuffolk Weight Management course (A Lost Cause!)
Polly going to the vet for her annual flu jab
A couple of jumble sales
4 WI meetings so far
2 Library Van visits
Birthday outing
Dentist (only delaying the fear!)
Going to visit a windmill on National Mills Day 
Several lots of swimming

AND lots of Car Boot Sales

And this week I was supposed to being watching the 3½ year old granddaughter  at a little ballet show.

Ho Hum!
I've ground to a halt on things to write about so I'll have a few days off to peruse my books for ideas and enjoy the warm days we are forecast to get here .

Back in a day or 3


Saturday 16 May 2020

Strange Times :- End of Week 9

It took me an age to finish this book. Not because it was long or uninteresting but because it just didn't grab me and make me want to rush through like my previous read.

This is what it says on Amazon...........................
Known for her bestselling historical fiction, in Nothing to Report Carola Oman delightfully evokes E.M. Delafield’s Provincial Lady in her portrayal of an English village cheerfully, hilariously, and sometimes bumpily progressing from obliviousness to the war’s approach to pulling together for king and country.

But in my opinion it's not a patch on Provincial Lady, it just sort of plods along until the end, which perhaps I should have known from the title!

I've got the follow-up "Somewhere in England" to read sometime, perhaps that will be better.

The frosts on Monday night, Wednesday night and Thursday night didn't do the potatoes much good. I'd earthed them up as much as possible, just have to hope they recover and it doesn't let blight in. And I'm also worried about a couple of the tomato plants which have some brown blotches on the leaves, surely it's too early for blight?
The tomatoes on the Ildi plants which are a yellow mini plum are beginning to set

and luckily I have some Tomato feed left from last year. I think that's something they will have at the hardware shop in Debenham..........don't want to have to go to a Nursery - for one thing it will be so busy as we don't have many around and they are nearly 15 miles away.
I've made some more 'fences' from sacking stapled to wooden stakes so I could plant out the rest of the French Climbing beans. The fences give a bit of protection from windy weather until they get well rooted. Also yesterday the peas that I'd sown in a bit of guttering got planted out and covered with a plastic tunnel and I also put the 16 Brassica plants in the garden, surrounded them with the wire-netting panels that BiL made for me last year and covered the top with a net.
 Next job is to sow more beetroot seed in the many gaps and get the courgette, squash and pumpkin plants out and I must soon sow Runner Bean seeds. There's weeding  in the soft fruit beds to do too and grass to cut of course, those jobs should keep me busy for a while!

I'm not planning to do much driving anywhere this weekend even though we are now allowed to drive to walk, that's something we didn't do much wherever we've lived, so no "flocking to a beauty spot" for me. My spending on diesel through last year averaged around £70 a month.......That's a big chunk and I was  only regularly driving to swimming pool, visiting family, car boot sales and shopping. Then add in all the other trips to things now cancelled and some weeks I was driving somewhere every day. That's something that I'm hoping to slow down on.

With no boot sales to visit I've not been able to find any bits and bobs for grandchildren and what I did get last year have now been posted off to them to keep them occupied at home. Perusing ebay I found a big bundle of secondhand Orchard Games toys - lots of boxes for different ages -  and managed to get them at a decent price. I think it would have taken several trips to bootsales and charity shops to find all these

 So now I've stocked up again and have some things for Eldest Grandson's 4th birthday later this month.

This week I'm grateful for
  • Secondhand toys for grandchildren
  • Time to cross stitch
  • My greenhouse

Have a good weekend - Stay Alert!
Back Monday

Friday 15 May 2020

The Sacrificial Cucumber Plant

We put enough wires in the greenhouse for tying up 2 cucumber   plants..........  so I squeeze in 3....of course. To get 3 plants I sow 4 seeds just in case and in the last couple of years have had all four germinating.

 3 plants are put into big pots and are staked until they reach the wires and most of the teeny cucumbers and some of the side shoots are pinched off  to start with so they put all their energy into growing a strong main stem.

 But not wanting to abandon one plant I put it in a smaller pot and let it grow without pinching off any of the baby cucumbers.

That's how I get cucumbers in mid May.

This plant will outgrow its small pot and run out of energy within a few weeks and then it will be emptied into the compost bin, the other three will get fed and watered and should last several months.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 14 May 2020

"Recommended For You"

Like so many other people I have an Amazon wish list. Mine is used to keep a note of books I'd like to own or to remind me  to order them from the library.
But a favourite page is the bit where it recommends other books that I might like. Sometimes they are definitely books I wouldn't like..................

Like this..............Do I need a book on darning? even if it is a cult book featuring visible darning?  No not really.

Return to product information

These are some recent ideas Amazon has suggested for me........This looks interesting. I reckon Sue in Wales needs this for one of her challenges!

This is a bit pricey at the moment, I'll suggest it to the library. It might just repeat stuff that I already have information on.

Return to product information

This book appeared as a recommendation with a different cover, I'm sure I've borrowed it from the library but it's not listed in books read and I certainly don't have it in my WWII Home Front collection. So perhaps wasn't much good and I didn't finish it.

This keeps popping up - but new cookery books are never on my wish list to buy. Another one to borrow from the library sometime

There are several British Library Crime Classics due out later this year, they appear on Amazon long before they are available from the library.


I think the middle one above is the one I've got on order from Waterstones for free with the voucher I got although I can't get back into their site to find out so when a book arrives it will be a surprise!

Another book to request from the library

This looks intriguing too, the library already have this so I'll make a note to reserve it when they start working again

There's always something to look forward to reading........ thanks to the recommendations.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Strange Times; Wednesday of Week 9

I have these on my table for a few days. They are so pretty but grow like a weed in the quarter circle flower garden. Cross pollinating and seeding themselves and however many I dig out they still smother everything again the following year.
It's a shame they don't last long indoors.

That wind was blinkin' cold on Monday, I was glad there was no need to venture out except for walking up and down the meadow a couple of times. Stepping out of the meadow onto the farmers field the first thing I spotted was this..............A heart shaped stone with the corner chipped off, just about right for the anniversary of Colin's passing away I thought.

Ventured out to the Post Office yesterday and the 4 envelopes containing the 1,000th post  giveaways have been posted. I thought it quite random that they went to Scotland, Wales, England and that other country.............. London! (Well it was Essex-on-the-edge-of-London really but at the moment that is almost another country!)
When I asked about getting a copy of the owl scissor case chart after seeing the kit on ebay someone said that another kit the same had come up for sale on there again. I watched to see how much it sold for.........£9! Plus postage - blimey! So thank you again to everyone who found a way of getting a copy online for free, the first stitching has been started. I'm hoping to make a few of these for Christmas gifts. Luckily I have pieces of felt needed to back the stitching - when I cleared out lots of craft stuff it was the cross stitch things and some material including felt that I kept (as well as some paper craft/cardmaking bits) what a good choice that was.

Thank you again for all the kind and caring comments on Monday, seems several people reading have had a loved one pass away recently. As  my SiL said .....there is an amazing caring support network in Blogland. Thank you also for comments yesterday. I was so busy trying to remember to write down everything I did for the Mass Ob. diary that I only replied to a few and had a fail day on leaving comments elsewhere too.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Mass Observation 12th May Diary

Today I will be writing a MASS OBSERVATION 12th May Diary

"In 2020 the Mass Observation Archive will be repeating its annual call for day diaries, capturing the everyday lives of people across the UK. The written diaries will be stored in the Archive at The Keep and be used by a wide range of people for research, teaching and learning. This is the 10th Anniversary of the 12th May Diary project.
In 1937 Mass Observation called for people from all parts of the UK to record everything they did from when they woke up in the morning to when they went to sleep at night on 12th May. This was the day of George VI’s Coronation. The resulting diaries provide a wonderful glimpse into the everyday lives of people across Britain and have become an invaluable resource for those researching countless aspects of the era.
As we post this call, the UK is in lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We don’t know how life will be on the 12th May, but we would like your help to document it. Please tell your family and friends. It will be valuable to have a collection from people of all ages across the UK."

You just need to include this below and then email your diary to them
“I donate my 12th May diary to the Mass Observation Archive. I consent to it being made publicly available as part of the Archive and assign my copyright in the diary to the Mass Observation Archive Trustees so that it can be reproduced in full or in part on websites, in publications and in broadcasts as approved by the Mass Observation Trustees. I agree to the Mass Observation Archive assuming the role of Data Controller and the Archive will be responsible for the collection and processing of personal data and ensuring that such data complies with the DPA.”

Mass Observation were also asking for lock-down diaries for however long it takes and I started to do a daily diary of thoughts and observations  but I kept forgetting to write so gave up!  Hopeless!  -just like I am at writing letters nowadays, how the heck I manage to ramble here everyday heavens knows.

Thank you to everybody for all the lovely comments yesterday.

Back Tomorrow


Monday 11 May 2020

2 Years Ago

Well, it's the 11th May and I've been on my own for 2 years now. Thank goodness we didn't have Covid 19 back then with no families being able to visit people in hospital and hardly anyone allowed at funerals. I feel so sad for the people who've had a loss in the family at the moment - a 'proper' goodbye and funeral is one of the things needed to help with the grief I reckon.

The loss of someone you've spent nearly 40 years with isn't easy that's for sure. It leaves a Bloody Great Hole.

But mostly I'm OK, there's really no choice.

The family, the grandchildren, the garden, books to read and my friendly blog readers have helped me through.

Thank you.

Back Tomorrow

PS  Thank you Debbie I now have your address - that's all four parcels now ready to go.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Giveaway Results

All the names were written on bits of paper and put into 4 tubs. So many people would have liked the books, sorry I only had the two of them to give away.

I shut my eyes and fished out one from each tub.........................

 And Drum Roll..............................................

The Card making bits go to Jo

The Seeds to Jennie Bovey Belle

The Cross stitch and threads to Lesley Duncan

and the 2 little Books to Debbie

Sorry to disappoint everyone else

Comment moderation is working ( I thought it wasn't) so  if you leave your address on a comment no one else will see it.  I'll get them in the post ASAP. They are all in the envelopes waiting and stamps ready but I'd better check them at the Post Office just in case, don't want anyone to get charged for excess postage!

(Edited  - Thank you Jennie and Jo - I have your addresses now. Now also have Lesley's address . Now have Debbies address too)

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 9 May 2020

Strange Times; End of Week 8

It really is Saturday again, even though it felt like Saturday yesterday,  funny how it comes around  quickly even when doing nothing.

Morrisons was my choice of shops for my fortnightly supermarket excursion. I'm loving driving at the moment, everywhere is so empty. Diss has one main road right through the town and it's usually a crawl through until the Morrisons roundabout, but now it's virtually empty - just drive straight in. I got to Morrisons just after 9 and there was no queue. Like everywhere else the flour shelves were empty but I'm still OK for flour, otherwise plenty of food for everyone.

Something very strange happened on Monday with my "Looking for a Cross Stitch Kit" post. It's so far got over 12,000!!!! page views. Normally each post gets between 700 and 1,500 depending on how boring it is. I'm not sure I believe 12,000 that's just silly, although the post from last month "A Little Bit of Stitching" also went mad with over 3,000 page views. Is stitch  or stitching some sort of code word?


Another strange thing happened overnight Wednesday. I went out onto the meadow Thursday morning and saw several of the plastic mesh barriers that Col made to go round the new trees were off the trees and laying in the middle of the footpath and the stakes that had held the plastic were broken and strewed all over the place. On closer inspection another couple of trees had been nibbled. So I reckon the culprit is a deer but this time one with antlers and as they put their head over the top of the plastic fence to get to the trees they got stuck and dragged the plastic off the trees with the wood stakes getting broken and dragged out of the ground too. Dear little Deer! Hooligans and vandals! Colin's Birthday wood has shrunk from the 40 we planted down to less than 20. High voltage electric fencing would be an answer! but perhaps not an idea for a meadow with a public footpath.

The vase on the table this week contains a collection of wild flowers from the meadow, just for a few days - they don't last long indoors. White dead-nettle, Cow parsley, Wild Geranium - perhaps they have another name - I forgot to investigate, and a bit of speedwell. It will be Aquilegia next, they don't last long indoors either.

 My 16 Brassica plug plants - 4 each of 4 different things-  arrived in the post on Thursday...............Just in time for heat followed by cold! So instead of planting them out I've done the equivalent of "heeling in" and popped them in some pots, covered the roots with soil, watered well, labelled them and stood them in a shady and sheltered spot where they will be OK  until one day next week.  Just waiting for the Melon plant now.

Yesterday I did the 6 mile bike ride around all the parts of the village to have a look at the bunting and flags, lots of people about and bunting and flags in several places. This village has the second largest acreage of all the villages in Suffolk so it's no wonder it's 6 miles around and even then it doesn't include two little bits.

This Hosta's looking good, it's outgrowing a huge pot so heavens' knows how I'm going to re-pot it into something bigger..

Don't forget to leave a comment on the Wednesday  1,000th post  if you would like to go in the draw for one of the 4 little giveaways. I'm doing the pull-a-name out-of-the-plastic-tub tonight and will let you know tomorrow who won.

This week I'm grateful for
  • The Brilliant blog readers who tracked down the cross stitch chart- Thank you everyone
  • Sunshine

Back Tomorrow with results of the draw for the little giveaways.

Friday 8 May 2020

V.E.Day and Preparing For Cold Weather

Another Bank/Public holiday in this Strange Times. We should have been at street parties and special village events.
A stay at home street party could work if you live in a street, but it will be a bit strange at the end of the lane on my own.  I like being "detached" and quiet but it doesn't make for much of a party!
From my front door I don't see a soul unless they are walking the public footpath down my meadow.

This is the suggested time-table to follow that's been put on various villages Facebook pages.

No photo description available.

The 2 minutes silence on the doorstep should be easy!

But I do have some Union Jack bunting that I found in a charity shop when we were living in Ipswich  to put on the field gate

 and maybe bake a cake and put it out on a table so that walkers can help themselves and if no one walks by because they are all at home in their front gardens then I'll have a treat for the weekend!

Hope your VE day 75th Anniversary Celebration goes well.


 So...........why on the 8th of May am I writing about preparing for cold weather?

Have you ever watched the disaster film "The Day After Tomorrow"?

This is what happened on the film............


And this is what a weather person said is going to happen on Sunday.......


I don't think we are going to get snow as far south as Suffolk, but I will be wrapping up the greenhouse plants overnight  and the poor little tomato plants in the baskets on the garage wall plus the Climbing French Bean plants outside.
My wood-burner hasn't been used for several weeks but it's laid and ready to put a match to  and a basket of wood is still indoors.
With any luck we won't see wolves roaming the streets and I won't need to burn all my books to keep warm!

Back Tomorrow


Thursday 7 May 2020

Making Me Feel Old

My Beautiful Eldest Daughter is 40 today .

Eldest daughter at 6  months - what a smiley baby

Happy Birthday H. Hope it's the best possible day even though not quite as planned.

Back Tomorrow

(Don't forget the 1000th post giveaway, leave a comment on that post yesterday with your choice.Thank you to everyone for entering so far and for the all the lovely comments about the blog. Apologies again for all readers from the USA, Australia and other parts of the world. It's crazy expensive to post overseas nowadays. )

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 6 May 2020

POST 1,000

This is the 1,000th post on this blog and to celebrate I'm doing a little give-away. Just things that fit in a small envelope and will bring a small smile when they plop through the letterbox.
 I learned my lesson about give-aways on the old blog when I had a big pile of books to giveaway on my 500th post which went to someone who never commented again not even to say they had received them. So this time it's just little bits and bobs......... 4 different themes so just pick which one you could make use of.

1.A few card blanks, envelopes and toppers for birthday cards

 2. A cross stitch kit and some DMC Threads
 3. Two little books
 4. Some seeds

Leave a comment with your name and which item you would like and I'll do the name-in-a-hat (plastic tub) thing on Sunday. Sorry UK ONLY -  I can't do overseas it's just too expensive nowadays.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Strange Times Wk 8; Result! + TV In Lockdown

Warning................This is the most boring post this week! BUT first of all BIG THANK YOU to Angela (and everyone else) who tracked down online the page of the Cross Stitcher magazine with the owl scissor case so I can copy it. I spent ages looking online and she found it in a few minutes! Joy also found a photo online of the made up case. So I'm sorted.
My printer leaves lines over things but these came out good enough to see.
I'm so pleased I was able to print them out.  Sometimes it surprises me how I'm actually able to write a blog because I'm really tech adverse! It took me umpteen tries and hours the other day to try and send a video to someone on email and then when I managed it I had no idea how, which means that if I need to do it again it will be trial and error all over again! ((sighs in frustration!))


The  £157.50 that I paid last month to renew my TV licence is worth every penny to me during these strange times. Perhaps if I wasn't alone it wouldn't be quite so important.
In a normal year in the last week of April and beginning of May I would have been watching the world championship snooker and probably reading at the same time.

But there are lots of things on now that are specially made for the times or shown on mainstream for the first time. It's wildly exciting!

Last Monday
The Brecon Beacons with Iolo William, beautiful photography. This presenter is often on BBC Wales.
Grayson's Art Club
The first part of a new series with Grayson Perry . Portraits this week - interesting to see him at home with his wife. He's a fascinating person.

Last Tuesday
There were repeats of Classic Snooker Games on all week to make up for the absence of real life and today I watched a bit of the game from 2003 with the lovely Paul Hunter who died tragically young from cancer just before his 28th birthday.
I caught up on the Daily Live Cooking programmes from last week with Jack Monroe and some old series of DCI Banks

Last Wednesday
The Repair Shop has to have some of the cleverest people on TV and proves to me every week that I never would have the patience to do what they do - let alone the knowledge.
The Great British Sewing Bee is something I've never watched before, so many people have said they enjoyed it so I thought I'd give it a go...............more people doing things I wouldn't have the patience for!

Last Thursday
The Lakes With Paul Rose - some more good photography of beautiful places in the Lake District.
Spring at Jimmy's Farm - made specially for Covid times. Jimmy Doherty is a great mate of Jamie Oliver and the farm has featured in lots of TV programmes. It's just on the outskirts of Ipswich. As well as the pigs he started with back in the 90's he now has all sorts of animals including Meerkats. It started as a Farm and Farm shop but is now a "Tourist Destination". We went just once when it first started and even then his sausages sold for £8 a pound - that £1 each!

Last Friday - Game Show Night
Question of Sport - made brilliant by the madness of Phil Tuffnell
Have I got News For You always good -even virtually

All week I've watched Richard Osman's House of Games, The One Show which is actually better without guests in the studio!  and the Government Briefings from Downing Street - just in case they announce something interesting.

Last Saturday
How did I miss trailers for a new series of Hunted? that strange yet compelling programme about staying hidden for 5 weeks to win a huge sum of money. It was on TV in February and March and now I've found it I'm watching the series on catch-up. There was a celebrity version too. Boris Johnson's Dad giving himself away by frequently using cash machines!

 I didn't read the book back in 2008- probably because it had so many people saying how good it was - puts me right off. But I watched the film on Saturday night.........  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society but stupidly missed the first 30 minutes and had to catch up on catch up later. I loved the film but was glad I wasn't in the cinema as it has................ SPOILER ALERT............... a snuffly happy-crying ending.

Last Sunday
Countryfile from the Lea Valley.
The second of the new Van Der Valk..........they've only made three - what a shame.

Next Saturday the film "The Darkest Hour" is on TV. I was going to borrow the DVD from son but will watch this instead.

That was a week of TV up the end of a lane - I'd be lost without my TV for company and I know people who don't own one and won't understand this.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 4 May 2020

Looking For a Cross Stitch Kit

I've finished another little cross stitch picture for a card

Koalas with googly eyes.

I have a you do cross stitch or know people who do. Please could you ask around and see if anyone has a chart for the little owl on the right. It would have been a free kit on Cross Stitcher Magazine but no idea how long ago -I'm guessing within in the last 10 years.
The  kit made a scissor case which, with the scissors in the case, made the handles look like the owls eyes. I don't need the kit - just the chart.
I saw these 3 kits on ebay and they sold for.........wait for it................. £19!!!

This is probably a vain hope but while I keep fingers crossed I'll start another little picture for a card.
Purple Irises this time I think

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 2 May 2020

Strange Times, End of Week 7

What have I been doing all week?
Much the same as the week before and the one before that.................. except this week it rained.

I had to search out some photos for something and re-found an old one taken at ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) in Stowmarket from perhaps the 1950's? I put it on the Stowmarket Past and Present Facebook page and almost straight away there was a comment from someone who I was at Stowmarket Grammar School with in the late 1960's.(now living overseas). From my grandad's surname he had wondered if it was me writing? A while later another person commented to say the man on the left was their late father - How brilliant to have a name! The power of Facebook!
My family had lots of connections with ICI, my Mum worked there as a paint colour tester and met my Dad, a machine operator there. My Dad's sister met her husband there through my Dad. Then my first husband was a apprentice machinist there when I met him in the 1970's.
 The man on the right in the photo is my grandad, perhaps he worked there too although I didn't know he had. My cousin might know.  ICI in Stowmarket was a huge employer back in the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's and 1980s. Producing the famous Dulux paint. The factory is still there- even bigger but was taken over in the 90's I think, it's probably still a big employer.

I'm sure the rain this week has done the garden a lot of good - hopefully it will have helped the fruit trees and bushes. The cooler weather was good for the young plants in the greenhouse........... until they get a good root system they tend to flag in hot sunshine. Years ago I used to paint the greenhouse with some white stuff specially made to keep the heat down but then on dull days not enough light gets through.
I've planted the cascade tomato plants into the baskets on the garage wall. Hope it's not to early but the bricks of the wall hold a lot of heat so hopefully that will keep them warm and today I have to venture out to deliver the remaining tomato plants to my BiL . The first lot of Climbing French Bean plants are now outside. I always put a little  fence round them made from sacking stapled to stakes, to protect from wind and frosts and animals. I'll leave sowing runner beans as late as possible in the hope they'll keep producing right up to the first frosts.
There were only 2 spears of asparagus this week but I pulled and cooked lots of rhubarb.

According to something I came across on a local facebook page, the Post Office are stopping Saturday deliveries of letters supposedly to "ease the burden on postal workers". Although they are still delivering parcels and collecting from letter boxes.

This week I am grateful for
  • Rain for the garden
  • Food in the cupboards
  • My greenhouse 

Hope everyone has a good weekend. As well as dropping tomato plants at BiL's house, I'm picking up a bag of compost from a company who've just started to  run a fruit and veg stall in a village hall car park (with social distancing of course) and posting a birthday card - that's my excitement for the weekend!

Back Monday

PS - One day next week I get to the 1,000th  post - with giveaways!!