Saturday 30 January 2021

January Round Up - The Ins, Outs and Frugal Bits

The new header is my house from across the field in front......... on a cold and frosty morning during the week. Since swimming stopped in December I've got very unfit so started with short walks of a mile and this spot where I stopped to take the photo is half a mile from home along the's too muddy to walk the footpaths across the fields. A mile sounds rather pathetic but it's just about better than nothing.


 I know I'll be much better off financially after moving (the Council tax will be at least £40 less each month for a start)  but actually getting there is expensive...... I'm expecting February and March to have very high outgoings so it's a good thing January wasn't too spendy.

Eating my way through the freezer stocks has meant I've only bought fruit, veg, milk and things I don't like to run out of. I had one pensioners Fish and Chips bargain lunch at £3.50. Other spending included a present ready for Youngest Grandsons 1st Birthday and un-birthday lock down gifts for the other grandchildren. Then there were the usual direct-debits and exciting house things -like a new mop!
The sewer pump out was £109 - that's a £10 increase from last time. I've also paid deposits to the solicitor for the buying and selling work. A couple of times this month I've treated myself to The Radio Times, I like all the other information apart from the TV schedules. The Saturday East Anglian Daily Times has a weeks TV listings but their print size (apart from the main channels) is so tiny, that it's almost impossible to read whats on.
I've also paid for 500 litres of heating oil as I don't like to see the tank getting too low and the weather could be really bad between now and moving. The price of heating oil has gone up from it's very low point last May but still not as high as pre-covid levels. 

I sent some more books to Ziffit early in the month but I've gone right off them because books that were worth something when I registered them were rejected because of "Expired" - not my fault they took a week to get there with Hermes and another week to be unpacked. Very annoying. From now on they will be donated to a charity in one way or another as soon as things are back on track......Autumn? As we've now been locked down until March 8th at least - can't see much happening until late summer.
January Income was the usual County Council Spouses pension, income from savings, £13 from the scrap-yard and £7 from Ziffit.
The frugal things were as usual.............
  • Mixing whole milk half and half with water
  • Catching the cold water in a jug before the hot arrives when washing up
  • Home made bread
  • No books bought -reading library books all month
  • No clothes, shoes, hair cuts, make up etc etc bought
  • Puzzle pages from the newspaper from my sister
  • Hardly any diesel used for the car, just one top up of £16
  • Nothing spent on the garden

The biggest excitement of the week was a trip to the Recycling Centre (AKA the Tip). I cleared out the rusty topless and bottomless dustbin I used to force the rhubarb - while I knew what it was for it would look like junk to anyone else. Small electricals and random wires and cables went and some old plastic boxes and two mouse-eaten sleeping bags - used for lagging the big freezer in power cuts- no longer my problem.
Next weeks excitement is  Youngest Grandsons 1st Birthday lunch and cake. Plus picking up my prescription meds. from the doctors pharmacy - which will be sure to include another Pensioners Discount Fish and Chips meal........... ......what an exciting life! 
When I move I'll be able to walk to the doctors AND the fish and chip shop............. or bike so I can get home with them still hot.


Have a good weekend, I'll be back Monday.

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Nothing To Say

Thanks to everyone for so many comments yesterday....the good, the bad and the ugly. I just ignore the snarky and didn't bother to delete any - giving everyone their say.

Today I'm short of ideas for blog posts...............not a lot happening except sorting stuff, packing boxes then moving empty shelves and cupboards to clean behind them.

I'll be back when I've something to say or Saturday, whichever comes first!


Tuesday 26 January 2021

Who Are These People?

I bought the local East Anglian Daily Times newspaper on Saturday. One of it's main headlines was..........

I can understand reporting gatherings of people but how do the neighbours know who is "leaving their home for reasons not among the exceptions".

Who sits at their window watching their neighbours going in and out? and wondering where they are going.

 more from inside the paper................

On the other hand why are they only fining people if the gathering is more than 15 people? How many bubbles have 15 people in them?

How many people are actually paying these fines, and if they do where's the money going?

 So many questions. 

Thankfully despite the illegal gatherings Covid cases per 100,000 are falling in all parts of Suffolk.......

The population of Suffolk is around 760,000.

I'm trying hard to keep would be easy to despair.

Thanks to everyone for comments yesterday and it was fine and sunny here and in many other places for St Paul's Day, another reason to be cheerful?

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Monday 25 January 2021

St Paul's Day....... January 25th

 There are some weather  sayings connected to today January 25th, which is St. Paul's Day.

If St.Pauls Day be fair and clear,
It doth betide a happy year;
But if by chance it then should rain,
It will make dear all kinds of grain;
And if the clouds make dark the sky,
Then neate* and fowls this year shall die;
If blustering winds do blow aloft,
Then wars shall trouble the realm full oft.

* Neate is an old word for cattle
According to my Book of Saints January 25th actually commemorates The Conversion of St Paul. A man who hated and persecuted Christians. He was on his way to Damascus  to seize the Christians there and bring them to Jerusalem for punishment when the famous conversion took place.

Changing his name from Saul to Paul after his conversion, his writings and letters had a great influence on other people at the time and much later.

The illustrations on the page in the book are from a painting by Carravagio and from a stained glass window in Lincoln Cathedral.

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Saturday 23 January 2021

Saturday Round-up

 Not much to round up this week. I delivered the things that had been here in a cupboard for 3 years back to their owner, chatted to the window cleaner for a few minutes on the doorstep, Brother in Law rang one evening and that was about it for social interaction!
  After snow and gloom last Saturday there was blue sky and sunshine last Sunday, which was good as I'd been waiting for a fine day to defrost my small freezer,which lives in the back porch. I'm leaving the big chest freezer in the garage as it's very old and has been moved  twice already, which really doesn't do them much good and it will take up too much room in the small garage at the bungalow. I won't need so much freezer space in future as there won't be fruit to freeze and I'll be closer to a village shop.
Defrosting the little freezer means hauling it out of the back door so the ice melt doesn't make a big puddle - hence needing a fine day. Another job done.
After a couple of dry days it was back to rain and windy weather again before a fine Friday.Thankfully  we didn't get the storms and rain in Suffolk that have caused so much flooding in the North and around Manchester. Huge problems for everyone advised to evacuate .........where do you go in a pandemic? 
On Wednesday I wrote about enjoying reading British Library Crime Classics and most have been good. Some are not so good. The one I've just finished was rubbish! It was "The Woman in the Wardrobe" by Peter Shaffer and first published in 1951. An amateur detective helps the police find a killer in a seaside hotel. I skimmed over the last pages just to get to the end. This is the first by this author that they've reprinted, if they do more I won't bother to borrow.

Box packing is going along steadily, one or two each day and some bits are heading to the bin instead of into a box. I'm sorting the craft room/office now and have decided to leave my small desk for the children who are moving in - if they want it, as I'd rather have my bigger table that's currently in the living room here to use there. The bungalow isn't huge but the main bedroom is big enough to have my craft and office space at one end. 
 16 boxes in the dining room so far and more upstairs in the bedrooms and craft room and a couple more in the living room. Beginning to wonder if it will all fit in the bungalow!!

I'm not holding my breath while waiting for over 65's turn to be vaccinated here in Suffolk. They've only done 36% of over 80's so far compared to 80+% in other parts of the country. No one has come up with a definitive explanation on why we are lagging so far behind. I suppose they'll catch up eventually.

This week I'm Grateful for
  • A couple of fine days with real sunshine.
  • Archaeologist Son has finished isolating so I can visit my 'bubble' this weekend. His work colleague who tested positive wasn't really ill, and none of the others on the dig had any symptoms - thankfully.
  • Finding some more TV Crime series to watch ( The Bay Series 1 and another Icelandic series Rebecka Martinsson........extreme snow!)

My adventurous weekend will include a trip to the Post Office and a visit to the two youngest grandchildren and their Mum and Dad of course, I'm managing to pass 4 items from the cupboards/garage on to them too................whether they want them or not!

Have a good weekend, I'll be back Monday

Friday 22 January 2021

Cheese Making

 When I found the cheese making kit at a car boot sale last summer ( do you remember that time when we were actually allowed out?.......sigh......) I had every intention of  making at least 4 out of the 5 cheeses that had instructions  in the booklet. .

Wouldn't bother with Mozzerella as that is so cheap to buy and only gets used as a topping anyway.
I started last August with Ricotta and it was delicious. And then..........................
...........the kit was put in the cupboard, not really forgotten but not made use of either. Eventually I bought a two litres of Gold Top milk and really planned to make Halloumi. But when I had a closer look at the recipe it said the milk must not be homogenized and the supermarket gold top was. So it remained in the freezer until this week when I had a couple of days clear to make the Ricotta again and then the Ricotta and Spinach Lasagne - which is what I used it for in August. 
It's incredibly easy to make. 2¼ litres of whole milk. (Half the recipe in the book). ¾ tsp citric acid dissolved in 25ml cooled boiled water. Very gently stir the water and citric acid into the milk using a gentle up and down motion. Then heat the milk gently until it gets to 185℉ or  85℃. Stir  gently at the bottom of the pan now and again to stop the curds catching.
The curds should be well separated  Remove from heat and leave to stand for 20 minutes.
 Then tip gently into a muslin cloth in a colander. (Sterilize cloth by pouring some boiling water through it first) Stir in 1tsp salt then leave to drain.
Spoon into the cheese mould and leave to drain again. I put it on a sloping tray so the whey runs away
Then keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Verdict.......Very Good just like last time. This home made Ricotta is a whole different thing to the stuff in a tub from the supermarket.
I used most for  3 Cheese, Spinach and Pine Nut Lasagnes like I did in August.

 So I've emptied the freezer of 2 bottles of gold top but put in 7 portions of lasagne instead!  Not a helpful way to eat my way through the freezer stocks!

Once I move and get organised I'll go and get some proper Full Cream un-homogenized milk from the farm shop and have a go at the Halloumi. 

Many Thanks for comments yesterday and apologies for not replying. I was either making the above, washing up after making the above or packing boxes.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 21 January 2021


Monday was exciting, not because of my trip to Morrisons for shopping but because I spotted my first ever Treecreeper. All because I forgot to post a letter on my way out and all the time I was out, so turned into our track and stopped to post it on my way home again and when I got back in the car something in the tree beside me moved and caught my eye, and it's white front was much too white for anything else and by the way it was moving at great speed up the tree trunk it just had to be a  - Treecreeper!
Photo from the RSPB  website

They aren't that uncommon, but just difficult to spot.
 It's the RSPB Great British Garden Bird watch at the end of the month, I'm no good at sitting still long enough so won't be doing it myself plus I've only got fat-balls out for the birds at the moment as I didn't want to order any other wild bird food until after the move.
It's surprising how garden birdlife varies so much. At the smallholding we often saw lots of Goldfinches and Long Tailed Tits and we did here until magpies started nesting in the top of one of the poplars on the meadow in 2018. But we never saw house sparrows there whereas here they are everywhere all the time.
Also interesting to note that years ago spotting a Kestrel hovering would be something to remark on, now it's unusual not to see one perched on the wires or hovering by the road edge. And I can remember how exciting it was when we first saw Buzzards at the smallholding and again now it's quite common to see one lifting off from a field or perched in a tree whenever I'm out. 
The bird that's now rarely seen is a Song Thrush. Years ago you could often see the remains of a snail shell where they had been bashing it. I don't think I've seen one here at all.
Back Tomorrow
 (has the delete button for comments disappeared on other blogs, or is it just me? Annoying if it's been removed - means no way to get rid of published rubbish.)

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Three Cheers For The British Library

  For several years I've sung the praises of The British Library Crime Classics - reprints of old crime fiction that have been forgotten.

 Now they have a new series that I'm very happy about........  The British Library Women's Writers series.  This is the explanation............

 " The Women Writers series is a curated collection of novels by female authors who enjoyed broad, popular appeal in their day. In a century during which the role of women in society changed radically,their fictional heroines highlight women's experience of life inside and outside the home through the decades in these rich, insightful and evocative stories".

Each book has details of what was happening in the world at the time the book was written, information about the author and an afterword about the book itself.

The first of the 7 books published so far  is "O The Brave Music" by Dorothy Evelyn Smith originally published in 1943 and the first of 11 books she wrote over two decades.




O, the Brave Music Cover


 In this story set just before the First World War  Ruan Ashley looks back on her childhood. At the beginning of the book Ruan is 7 years old and lives with her Father - a strict Non-conformist minister, her beautiful but unhappy mother and her much prettier older sister Sylvia plus the baby Clem in the Manse in a town on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. There is so much tragedy in her young life and events take her from the manse to Cobbetts, her mothers ancestral home and then to a farm on the moors. All through the book there is recurring kindness of Rosie Day, a young women and chapel goer living with her factory owner father Joshua and then there is David - adopted by Joshua and aged 12 when the story starts. David who is special from their very first meeting .

Dorothy Evelyn Smith (1893 -1969) was herself the daughter of a Methodist minister who lived in Yorkshire, then in London and then after she married she lived in Essex where this book was written in 1943 "on the end of the kitchen table with bombs falling around the house"


I loved this story and coincidentally Dean Street Press have recently published in their Furrowed Middlebrow reprints,  another of her books........ Miss Plum and Miss Penny which is on my wish list as the library don't have a copy. Waiting to be read from the library I have another British Library Women Writers reprints "Tea is so Intoxicating" by Mary Essex.


Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Ogham Tree Alphabet December Into January

 The tree for this part of the year and the first lunar month is The Birch and this time last year I couldn't find any locally to photograph that were not in someones garden.(Which is why I didn't start these posts of trees last January) Contrary to what people think about re-wilding the countryside, Silver Birch tree's don't appear if you leave land untended and they don't even grow easily if planted. We put in 10 here and all were eaten by deer despite tube protectors. We planted 25 at the smallholding - I wonder if they are still there and growing?

Luckily on one of the few car boot visits last summer I spotted some Silver Birch at the car-park near the big car-boot sale site in Needham Market, so called in there on my way back from the scrap-yard on Friday. This land is owned by the local council, so these trees would have been protected and cared for when they were small.


 The Birch pages from "The Ogham Sketch Book by Karen Cater. Top left corner of the top photo  and at the bottom of the second photo shows how the letter B or number 1 would have been written way back in the 6th Century in Celtic nations.

Maybe I'll plant a small group on the grass out the front of the bungalow - just to carry on the tradition of trying to grow them in each new home.

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Monday 18 January 2021

Snow Problems

 I love the local Facebook pages........... a good way to find out whats going on around about when you're up the end of a lane and can't see anything except fields

This was on Facebook Saturday morning after our Very Small amount of snow.An accident on the A140  shutting the road between Diss and the A14.


Image may contain: tree, sky and outdoor

Later there was a message from someone in one of the small lanes where traffic was going to avoid the road blockage..........

"Don't come down through Thwaite Road as bus broken down and then truck tried to come through and is now stuck fast in my garden"

 Later on the next village Facebook page, very close to where I'm going to be moving to

"Bend at bottom of hill past the church is solid ice under the snow, no grip at all

And there was a short video of the children playing on the sloping school playing field down in the village.........they weren't finding the snow a problem at all!


Back Tomorrow

Saturday 16 January 2021

Halfway Through The Month

I forgot to schedule this to appear at 7am this morning, which means I can tell you that we have that quite unusual sight for Suffolk in January........SNOW. It's falling steadily but only tiny bits not huge fluffy flakes so probably won't last long once it stops. Quite windy too, blowing it off the open fields. Not a morning for going out anywhere.

Last night the first of a new series of The Last Leg was on Channel 4 - if you want to laugh and don't mind jokes that are not quite politically correct then have a look on the 4 catch up channel. Goodness knows why Adam Hills should come back from Australia to host it - after his film of the sea and sunshine and people enjoying themselves in a country with very few cases of virus.....think I would have stayed!

 So here we are over the hump and heading down the January hill thank goodness. January is my least favourite month of the year. February is shorter and much more hopeful although not necessarily warmer!

I took my boot-load of metal things to the scrap-yard yesterday - always an adventure! It's a busy place full of huge trucks being unloaded by the giant cranes and magnets so my car load of tins of nails, hinges and unrecognisable stuff looks very small in comparison. Brother in Law said it wasn't worth the journey but I had to clear the workshop somehow. I came away with the grand total of £13.33 transferred into my bank account. It works out at a 24 mile round trip so I ended up in profit by a little! and now the workbenches in the workshop are all clear ready for the new owners.  The young bloke buying this place is a joiner so he'll make good use of the workshop- I'm pleased about that.
Other than the above it's been a very uneventful week, my only other trip out was to the Co-op and hardware shop in Debenham  for apples in the first and for black sacks in the second. I'm packing  the spare duvets and curtains into double layers of sacks rather than boxes. Things like that take up too much space in a box. What might be useful would be those bags that you suck the air out with a hoover but the last time I had one it soon started leaking air so I won't bother again. There's no airing cupboard at the bungalow as the new boiler is out in the garage so spare things will have to go under the spare bed - not very good for Feng-shui but then I'll not be sleeping in it!
There's a job list for next week which includes making more cheese with the bottles of gold top that I put in the freezer about two or three months ago and never got round to using and delivering things that have been stored here for a couple of years to the person they belong to.  Plus of course packing more boxes.

This week I'm grateful for
  • The removal company getting the boxes to me so I can pack something everyday
  • Clearing almost everything from the workshop
  • And as always some really good reading.

Have a good weekend
I'll be back Monday

Friday 15 January 2021

Forms, Boxes and Scrap Metal

 Oh how I wish the solicitors still worked with paper! I had two emails on Tuesday one all about the buying of the bungalow and the other questions that had been raised about selling this house.

Attachments that won't open, pdfs that won't download, pages that disappear = all part of the fun of trying to do things online by someone whose computer knowledge is frankly............ limited. And just to add to the fun my laptop charger connection has decided to only work if its jiggled about and then laid down very carefully in a certain position.

Hopefully I managed to answer all the questions but couldn't print off  a map that was needed so I could mark the footpath. I'm sure there was a map with the footpath marked among all the bundle of paperwork that the solicitor already has.

The only query that came up on the bungalow was why there was no certificate for the last boiler service which was supposedly done last year.

The 15 boxes that I got off amazon are all packed and luckily the removal company man brought me some more + parcel tape and wrapping paper so I can get going on everything else.

The weather yesterday was just so nasty, rain which turned to wet snow and then back to rain all day. Then just to add to the depression Son rang to say he'd been working with someone up until Monday who had just tested positive for Covid. Which has put paid to even meeting with my "bubble" for 2 weeks. Hope he doesn't get it and spread it to my two youngest grandchildren and DiL.

Today (after ringing to check it was legal) I'm heading to the Scrap Metal Merchants with a car boot load of tins of weird rusty metal bits and bobs from out of the workshop. Brother in Law said it probably wasn't worth the cost of diesel for getting them there but the alternative is to put them in the metal skip at the Recycling Center (aka The Tip) and that means climbing up and down a metal staircase 2 dozen times to be able to chuck them in. And the skip then goes off to the same place as I'm taking the scrap anyway! So I might as well get the cash (although they don't do cash anymore as it has to be transferred into a bank account nowadays) for myself and cut out the council.

Thank you to everyone for comments about the bibles yesterday and it was lovely to hear of the other people who'd done Scripture Exams with their Baptist Chapels back in the 1960's. The Bibles are all in now packed in a box  so the decision about which to keep has been put off for another day.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 14 January 2021

Bibles - Large, Small and Very Old

 How many Bibles does one person need? and what to do when they have old inscriptions?  How sentimental should I be?

Having sorted through the books on my shelves numerous times, these bibles remain and I'm about to start packing all my books. I guess they'll move with me although it does seem a bit silly.

There is a huge Family Bible that goes back several generations and a teeny weeny even older bible that I found in a Jumble sale years ago. Both these have brass fasteners - a very small one on the little bible

One of the others was given to his father by Col's Dad and then has Colin's name in Aged 11.

One is a Gideons bible given out at school, but I don't think it's mine. Another was my late Mum's bible given to her by Aunt Nellie in 1939.


And the one in the red slip cover is mine, awarded to me for a scripture exam. It was an honour back then to get a good enough exam result to be awarded a bible as well as a certificate. Being competitive I really loved doing the annual Scripture Exam and have several certificates to prove it!


The photos below are from inside the front cover of the tiny bible with dates of 1893

and back even further to 1845

This is what it says inside the Huge Family Bible. I think William Baker would have been my Great Great Grandad

My Dad had it rebound in the 1980s and it has some colour pictures and long lists of births and marriages - but nothing written in for years.

At the back is something that came in very handy when I was at Sunday school's a concordance and gives details of where in the bible various words can be found. Handy for Bible quizzes back then.


The family Bible seems to be passed to the oldest in each generation so one day I'd better give it to Eldest Daughter - goodness knows what she'll say about that!

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Wednesday 13 January 2021

87 Books Read in 2020

 I read 87 Books in 2020 and looking back at my lists on the separate pages this is the fewest (least?) I've read since moving here. Odd really considering most of the year was spent at home.

Sorted into different genres of reading and those with 5*****'s for special favourites. I don't bother finishing books I'm not enjoying so none of those are listed here.

More Info on the books read is HERE


Shaun Bythell - Confession of a Bookseller. 
Esther Rutter - This Golden Fleece; A Journey Through Britain's Knitted History*****
Caroline Taggart - Christmas at War.
Eve Diett - Diary of a NAAFI girl.
Janet Corke - A Hidden House in the Gwydyr Forest.
Ronald Blythe  - A Year at Bottengoms Farm.
Laura Dawes - Fighting Fit;The Wartime Battle for Britain's Health.*****
Mike Parker - On The Red Hill; Where Four Lives Fell into Place.
Erik Larson - The Splendid and the Vile; A Saga of Churchill,Family and Defiance During the Blitz.*****
Laura Thompson- The Last Landlady. 
Kathleen Jamie - Surfacing. 
Jan Morris - Thinking Again
Kate Humble - A Year of Living Simply.
Raynor Winn - The Wild Silence. 
Tamsin Calidas I am an Island.
Walter J C Murray - Copsford.



Tracy Chevalier  - A Single Thread.*****
Suzanne Goldring - The Year the Lights Went Out. 
Liz Trenow - Under a Wartime Sky.
Susan Hill - Lanterns over the snow 
Mary Wesley - An Imaginative Experience..


OLDER FICTION pre 1960's - (mostly republished by Virago,  Dean St Press or Persephone and a more recent company called 'Handheld Press')

Jane Oliver & Ann Stafford -  Business as Usual.
Elizabeth Fair - The Mingham Air..
Richmal Crompton - Family Roundabout. 
Marjorie Wilenski -  Table Two. . 
D.E. Stevenson - Mrs Tim Gets a Job.
Barbara Noble - The House Opposite. 
 Angela Thirkell - Growing Up. 
D.E. Stevenson - Mrs Tim Flies Home.
Rose Macauley - The World My Wilderness.*****
Pamela Hansford-Johnson - Winter Quarters.
Carola  Oman -  Somewhere in England.
Carola Oman - Nothing to Report
Angela Thirkell - The Dukes Daughter.
Ruth Adam- A House in the Country.*****
Noel Streatfield - Saplings.*****  

NEW OR FAIRLY RECENT CRIME FICTION written since the 1970s

 Alexander McCall Smith - To the Land of Long Lost Friends.
Nicola Ford - The Lost Shrine. 
Linda Grant - A Stranger City.
Kel Richards - The Sinister Student
Laura Carlin - Requiem For a Knave.
Elly Griffiths - Now You See Them
Rory Clements- Hitler's Secret *****
Alys Clare - The Indigo Ghosts
Frank White - There was a Time.
Deborah Crombie - A Bitter Feast. 
Candace Robb - A Conspiracy of Wolves. 
Kate Ellis - The Burial Circle. 
Candace Robb - A Choir of Crows. 
Mick Finlay - Arrowood.  
Elly Griffiths -The Lantern Men *****
Anne Perry -  A Question of Betrayal.
Mel Starr - The Easter Sepulchre.
Anne Granger - A Matter of Murder. 
Donna Leon - Unto us a Son is Given.
Robert Barnard - The Killings on Jubilee Terrace.
Edward Marston - The Silent Woman. 
Edward Marston - The Roaring Boy .
The Medieval Murderers - The First Murder. 
Anne Perry - Death in Focus.
Jill McGown -  Murder at the Old Vicarage.
David Williams - Murder in Advent .
Ann Cleeves - The Darkest Evening.*****
Edward Marston - The Mad Courtesan.  

OLDER CRIME FICTION  ( Many republished by British Library Crime Classics

Kathleen Hewitt - Plenty Under the Counter.  
John Dickson Carr - The Case of the Constant Suicides. 
 Michael Gilbert - Death in Captivity; A Second World War Mystery.  
Francis Duncan - Murder for Christmas.
Carol Carnac - Crossed skis; An Alpine Mystery.
John Bude - Death in White Pyjamas. *****
John Bude - Death Knows no Calendar.*****
Agatha Christie - N or M. Crime Fiction
George Bellairs - A Knife for Harry Dodd
Josephine Bell - The Seeing Eye.
E.C.R. Lorac -  Checkmate To Murder.*****
Margot Bennett  - The Man Who Didn't Fly.


Laurie Ogden - The Chimney Swallows. 
Emma Smith - No Way of Telling.  
Dylan Thomas - A Child's Christmas in Wales. 


Mary Stewart - The Wind Off the Small Isles/The Lost One
Tony Medawar(editor) - Bodies from the Library. 
Martin Edwards (Editor) - Settling Scores; Sporting Mysteries.
Ann Cleeves - Too Good To Be True. 
Anne Perry -  A Christmas Secret.
 Edited by Cecily Gayford.  Murder on Christmas Eve. 
John Lewis-Stempel -The Wood in Winter.(Pamphlet "instead of a card")
Angela Thirkell - Christmas at High Rising.  

 Most of these have been library books so thank goodness for libraries. But more were bought than any other year before.
Not many of  these are still on my shelves.......... I had a count up and found that I still have 13.  The rest they've either been gifted or sold and of course the library books were returned.
(For some reason Suffolk libraries are completely closed in this latest lockdown, last time people could reserve books and book a slot to pick them up from their nearest library. This time even the reservation process has been stopped.)
 I've still got most of  library books picked up in December  to read and then have a pile of 11 others that I won't be packing in boxes yet. 

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 12 January 2021

The (Usually) Failsafe Scone Recipe

I discovered some more recent comments on the "Where have you lived? " post and found  a Jane who had lived in Knodishall and Saxmundham at the same time as  we were at the smallholding on the edge of Knodishall and just two miles from Saxmundham - now that's a small world for sure! I wonder if she ever bought her eggs and vegetables from our stall out the front?


Do you know the thing I'm most fed up with in this 3rd lockdown? It's constantly being told how other people are behaving! I really don't want to know. There's only one person I can be responsible for and that's me.


Didn't realise that my scone recipe wasn't on the Recipe page until I mentioned squirty cream and Carruthers mentioned buying scones and I said home made were better!

 This is the recipe that I made regularly to sell at the country market. I used to do 1½ times this which made 7 large scones. Packed in 2's to sell and 1 left over for the cook!

Apologies I don't do metric unless I have to!


Pre-Heat the oven to Gas 7 (425F 220C 200C fan oven). They need to go in a really well heated oven or they'll flop.

Grease a flat oven tray.

Tips - use  cold butter in a cold bowl with cold milk

8oz SR Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
2 oz  cold butter, cut into chunks
2 oz caster sugar
¼ pint milk.
Beaten egg 
By hand or in a mixer rub butter into flour, stir in sugar. Add the milk a little at a time until it all comes together - you might not need all the milk, don't make it too wet. Handle the mix as little as possible. Roll out without pressing too hard to about half an inch or a wee bit more. Use a small or medium cutter, this will make about 7 small or 4 bigger scones.
Put them on the greased tray then brush carefully with the egg, try not to get the egg running over the edge of the scone as that stops them rising evenly.

In my oven Gas Mk 7 I set the timer for 8 minutes, then turn the tray round and give them another 3 minutes then check again - maybe a minute or two  more. ( Back to electric oven when I move so will have to re-learn all the temperatures)

Scones, homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream - what a treat! (these are small sized cutter)

I always use the rest of the beaten egg to make a scrambled egg sandwich for lunch, so it doesn't get wasted. 

Back Tomorrow

Monday 11 January 2021

It's Definitely Winter Now

Firstly apologies for not replying to comments over the weekend although I did read them all and I've hardly commented elsewhere either and I haven't even got a good excuse.

 Ski Sunday on TV shouts WINTER to me, it started in 1978 apparently ( I looked it up) so that's quite a while. I've never been skiing and  no intention of doing so and anyway the hills and snow in Suffolk aren't really suitable! But I do love watching the downhill races- just for the scenery. I'd quite like the programme to have less of the presenters and more of the scenery. It started yesterday for a 6 week series.


I should get more reading done this week as Snooker is back on TV and I can read and half watch that at the same time, whereas for the last couple of weeks I've been watching The Bridge which of course is subtitled so needs watching properly.
I've got to the end of season 2 of The Bridge and I think that's enough, shan't do any more. 
Monday night is still my favourite night of TV because of the quizzes and now  a new 6 part BBC crime thing called Traces, part 3 tonight.
There's a few other crime dramas coming up this year too, they must have filmed them all in 2019. Line of Duty is back for a new series. Something called Grace -  based on books by Peter James(? I'll look him up) and a return for three more stories of  McDonald and Dodds set in Bath. ...... two completely different detectives forced to work together.

I've really appreciated my TV for keeping me company in the lockdowns.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 9 January 2021

Week ?? of Strange Times

Thanks to everyone for comments yesterday  about house moving, lots of people moving here there and everywhere!

No idea how many weeks its been since the first mention of "being careful" which was quickly followed by the first lock-down and  I have no intention to count them - too depressing.

 It's been a very grey week here in Suffolk and I've not been far at all but it's been a good week for sorting things out from drawers and cupboards. So far I've moved out to the workshop........a chest of drawers and the old dresser top that sat on them and a small table with a drawer. The local facebook page doesn't allow selling and there's no local selling site for out here in the wilds so  I'll try and  give them away. Still waiting for Youngest Daughters ex partner to come and collect things from the garage, he might want the chest of drawers.

I got a quote from the removal company that moved me from the smallholding to the Very Small Bungalow (I say me because Colin was in hospital that week) and moved us from the Very Small Bungalow to here (Both of us that time) - Blimey removal prices have gone up since 2017. Did you know there is a shortage of cardboard boxes? No neither did I. The governments idea of removing the Stamp Duty until the end of March  is good for me and brilliant for the young family buying here(they couldn't afford it if had to have another ? thousand pounds added on) but is making it hard for conveyance solicitors who have everyone wanting to complete by 31st March and the removal companies who are likely to have lots of people all wanting to move at the same time. 

Not much of excitement to mention this week although I made up the tin of orange cheats marmalade that was in the cupboard and used whisky to replace some of the water. I'd found a new bottle of whisky in my "wine cellar" (a crate in the garage) when clearing it out last week. No idea when it was bought and what it was planned for - not to drink that's for sure. It should liven up the marmalade a little!

Now I can pack away my jam pan and other preserving bits - won't need them again for a while and all remaining  jars that were in a box in the garage can go in the bottle bank. 

Yesterday was the dullest day of the week with fog and frost staying all day. I went out in the garden to see if there was a frosted cobweb to photograph but couldn't see one and it was too nasty to stay out for long so just a frosty seed head and a foggy meadow.

So what am I grateful for this week?

  •  A wonderful stock of books to read
  •  Clearing out more things and getting boxes packed - less to do later.
  •  A warm house

 The weather forecast for the weekend here is a bit better than the last week- no idea what I'll be doing apart from digging up part of the Chives plant to pot up and take with me and I spotted a self sown Rosemary seedling somewhere too. Plus  I need to empty one of the water butts if it isn't frozen solid as I want to load all the gardening tools into one to take with me.

Back Monday

Friday 8 January 2021

Where have you lived?

 On a local Facebook page people who had been born in East Suffolk were writing from where they lived now - places all around the world and saying how long since they moved away.
Some people live in the same house for years - others have jobs that make them move much more frequently, some people move across continents or to the other side of the world. 
University students often have 3 addresses in 3 years and then many more as they enter the world of work.

I didn't go to uni and obviously  not adventurous as I haven't moved very far........ this is my house move time-line - always in Suffolk

1955 - 1975  With my Mum and Dad and sister in a very old house in a builders yard - then 3 miles to

1975 - 1978  A new build chalet bungalow on the edge of a brand new housing estate in town  then 1 mile to

1978 - 1981 A Victorian end of terrace - 2 Up 2 Down with a kitchen and loo tacked on the back in the same town. Then   6 miles to

1981 - 1983 A 1970's end terrace in a village then  2 miles to

1983 A Caravan in the garden of the house we restored in another village, then 50 yards to

1984 - 1986 In the house we restored - semi detached dating from the 18C, Then 2 miles to

1986 - 1991 A 3 bed (then a 4 bed after an extension) detached bungalow back in the first village Then 6 miles to

1991 - 1992 A rented house back in the original town, Then 25 miles to

1992 - 2016 A 5acre Smallholding not far from the Suffolk Coast. Then 15 miles to

2016-2017 A bungalow in Ipswich then 13 miles to

2017 - 2021 Here on an nearly an acre in Mid Suffolk

2021..................Moving just 4 miles to a bungalow again. Hopefully to stay a while! But who knows?

There was always a good reason for all those moves!

Where have you lived?

Back Tomorrow

(When I can't think of a suitable photo for the header I always go back to the postbox at the end of the lane)

Thursday 7 January 2021

12 Days of Treats Finished and Now Onto January Proper

12 days of Christmas treats all finished, I definitely won't  do it again next year.... although nothing I bought will go to waste it did seem a bit extravagant, especially as I had enough chocolate and biscuits given me to last for months so didn't need to have bought myself any. 

Now I can get back to normal posts


 A January Morning

The glittering roofs are still with frost; each worn
Black chimney builds into the quiet sky
Its curling pile to crumble silently.
Far out to westward on the edge of morn,
The slender misty city towers up-borne
Glimmer faint rose against the pallid blue;
And yonder on those northern hills, the hue
Of amethyst, hang fleeces dull as horn.
And here behind me come the woodmen's sleighs
With shouts and clamorous squeakings; might and main
Up the steep slope the horses stamp and strain,
Urged on by hoarse-tongued drivers—cheeks ablaze,
Iced beards and frozen eyelids—team by team,
With frost-fringed flanks, and nostrils jetting steam. 

Archibald Lampman, a Canadian Poet (1861-1899)


The weather in January could be terrible with heavy snow and hard frosts or maybe just dull and grey, whichever, it will probably be cold but not as cold as centuries past. 

Many old weather sayings look forward to snow ......

When oak trees bend with snow in January, good crops may be expected.

In January much rain and little snow is bad for mountains, valleys and trees



Am I the only person who always -  without fail - every year - finds one Christmas decoration left after all the rest are packed away? 


Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 6 January 2021

On the 12th and Last Day of Christmas

 On the 12th day after Christmas

My Christmas treat will be................

Oh dear another book

3 Chocolate Melts
Yet Another book
A Pack of paints
4 Steaming puds
Some Salted Cashews
The Radio Times
Choca Mocha Coffee
A New Craft to try
Chocolate Liquers 
A Paperback book
And a Big Tub of Chocolates just for me.

The last day of interesting new things. One each day since Christmas Day (NOT the whole list everyday as someone thought!)

"Limit the number of people you come into contact with" is the main piece of advice for avoiding picking up the virus. I was thinking how easy it is to isolate when you live alone and don't go to work and how glad I am that my hobbies are mostly things done at home.

One such hobby is doing the puzzle pages of the East Anglian Daily Times. (My sister passed lots onto me a few weeks ago and will save more for me) There are  3 crosswords that I can't do, and a couple of weird things I don't bother with, but also a word spiral puzzle where each word starts with the last letter of the last word, an Arrow-word puzzle and a word wheel where you have to make words always using the centre letter. But my favourites are the Battleships, The 3 Sudokus (Hard Medium and Easy) and the Codeword. And because my sister is so organised she always gives me the papers all in order so when I do the codeword  I can check I've worked out the right letter for the right number......I don't cheat...honestly.

How about this to cheer a Very Wet January day when the only thing to do is to stay at home. It's one of the hot chocolate melts treats, the mini marshmallows float to the top as the chocolate ball melts and I topped it all with squirty cream. It was very good.


 Back Tomorrow




Tuesday 5 January 2021

On the 11th Day of Christmas

 On the 11th Day after Christmas.................
My Christmas treat will be
3 Chocolate melts



Yet Another book
A Pack of paints
4 Steaming puds
Some Salted Cashews
The Radio Times
Choca Mocha Coffee
A New Craft to try
Chocolate Liquers 
A Paperback book
And a Big Tub of Chocolates just for me.

Todays treats go in a mug, pour over hot milk (or hot milk and water) the chocolate melts and mini marshmallows float to the top..........sounds pretty good to me....... Pictures tomorrow!

Up until Sunday I didn't know anyone who had had the corona virus but a relation of someone in my family is currently poorly, thankfully not in hospital, down in Devon. Someone who lives alone but mixed with other people over Christmas. I also heard that one of Cols cousins - a nurse in West Suffolk - had the virus during the early summer. DiL has a friend who is a nurse locally and heard how many people are now ill in Ipswich hospital..........many more than in the early lock-down, it's certainly getting worse around here, in fact if numbers are to be believed it's 10 times worse than a month ago.
Hopefully the vaccination programme will get going quickly but do wonder if starting with 80 year olds is the right way to go. (Apologies to over 80 year olds reading this!) I understand it's to help protect the NHS staff as it's the oldest people who end up in hospital but many very elderly are staying at home anyway. It will be a while before 65 year olds are vaccinated but I would happily pass my vaccine to some one younger, working in a school or hospital.
I didn't listen to Bo Jos latest spiel on BBC1 at 8pm last night about what we're not allowed to do now as Only Connect on BBC2 was bound to be much more interesting and there's sure to be enough about it on the news today.

Apart from that there's not a lot happening today except getting the septic tank sewer pumped out and I shall carry on packing boxes and clearing stuff out. I'm staying at home almost all week except I need to venture to the bank and get the milk I forgot on Saturday. Think I'll have it delivered after I move although the Milk and More website tells me the postcode doesn't exist......Oh Yes it does!

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday....... much appreciated.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 4 January 2021

On The 10th Day After Christmas.....

 On the 10th day after Christmas my Christmas treat will be......

Yet Another book
A Pack of paints
4 Steaming puds
Some Salted Cashews
The Radio Times
Choca Mocha Coffee
A New Craft to try
Chocolate Liquers 
A Paperback book
And a Big Tub of Chocolates just for me.


 Several months ago I read her book Thinking Again,  a diary of her life as it is now (approaching her century) in North Wales with memories of her past travels. I'm just going to read the first part of her diaries  'In my Minds Eye' which I have on loan from the library. But the library didn't have the book above so I found a cheap copy secondhand as it sounded interesting. 

Then I heard Jan Morris had died aged 94 in November. Before reading 'Thinking again' the only thing I knew about her was her change from male to female in the 70's - quite a story back then when I first started work in the library and the fact that she wrote travel books which people were always keen to order but her obituary mentioned her involvement with the first Everest ascent and more about her travels when she was younger.

Talking about books - I must look through the Books Read 2020 list and do a blog post about my favourites out of the 88 books read this year. That's 6 less than the year before which is odd considering how much more time was spent at home.
 AND after thinking about where things will go in my new home I really need to downsize more books. Here I have my two big bookshelves upstairs on the landing - which is big. At the bungalow no landing - obviously - and the hall areas are only the width of a door so no room there either. The main bedroom is a good size so I'll have my craft/office stuff in there but no separate dining room so my big dining table will take up a lot of room in the living/dining room and I'm not sure there will be room for the two tall bookcases plus the one I have downstairs by my armchair. 
So going through the bookshelves again is my job for today. Ruthless - that's what I need to be! 

Back Tomorrow

Sunday 3 January 2021

The 9th day After Christmas

 On the 9th Day After Christmas

My Christmas treat will be..............

A Pack of paints
4 Steaming puds
Some Salted Cashews
The Radio Times
Choca Mocha Coffee
A New Craft to try
Chocolate Liquers 
A Paperback book
And a Big Tub of Chocolates just for me.


I had a plan to try painting pebbles, like many other people did during lock down. Just need some pebbles - only sharp flints around here - not very tactile.

Have I said that the bungalow I'm buying (all being well and God willing) belongs to the Mum and Dad of my next door but one neighbour in the lane? (I didn't know that beforehand) I asked R if his Mum and Dad would let me have another look round or I could do it through the Estate Agent if they preferred it. Then on Christmas Day I saw R and H, their daughters plus the Mum and Dad walking down the footpath and went out to wish them all Happy Christmas and they said of course I could go round without the Estate Agent.

So I have and realised that there's enough room for the greenhouse on the patio which means I can get it done relatively quickly. I also found that the dishwasher isn't built in so they'll be taking it with them.... shall I have a big gap or buy my first ever dishwasher? I shall also have to buy a tall fridge/freezer - looking forward to that after the last 4 years of small fridges under the work-top. The good thing about downsizing is that there's enough money left over to buy all the things needed.

 Lunch with my bubble family today - looking forward to that as I've not seen them since before Christmas. We each had different family visitors on Christmas Day so thought it best not to meet up for a while just in case. 

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 2 January 2021

On The 8th Day After Christmas

Thank you to everyone for all the Happy New Year wishes over the last couple of days.

Are you still singing the 12 days of Christmas?

On the 8th Day After Christmas my Christmas treat will be.............

 4 Steaming Puds
Some Salted Cashews
The Radio Times
Choca Mocha Coffee
A New Craft to try
Chocolate Liquers 
A Paperback book
And a Big Tub of Chocolates just for me.
I shall save the puds in case we get really cold snowy weather in January or February as I'm still feeling over full after Christmas!............ And I haven't even started the "big tub of chocolates just for me".
A couple of months ago I had a letter from the Office of National Statistics telling me that I'd been randomly selected for completing an online questionnaire to help the government deal with Covid and  after completing it I'd  get a £15 shopping voucher.  It was all quite genuine. When I got the on-line questionnaire which only took a few minutes with multiple choice questions  like "did I understand the government briefings" etc to fill in and got to the end it the option came up of a print out shopping voucher or get one through the post I opted for posting as my printer can be temperamental  and was then informed that there would be a delay........due to...........Covid! Ha!
Anyway a couple of weeks later I had another letter thanking me for doing the survey and asking me to do another, this time it included a cloth shopping bag as a thank you gift and said I'd be getting an email with survey to complete. No email survey appeared. Then a few days later I had a phone call and a lady said could I quickly do another online survey which needed completing before the next day. I said I'd still not received my vouchers from the last survey, she said I would get them eventually when people weren't working from home. So I found the email and did the quick survey and then received another email the only choice being to print out the vouchers. There were lots of shops to choose from. I did Asda - for food. The printer worked..........
And Voila .......
Hope Asda will accept them. I'll find out later today

Back Tomorrow

Friday 1 January 2021

New Years Day and the 7th Day After Christmas


 On the 7th Day after Christmas  My Christmas Treat will be.......

Some Salted Cashews
The Radio Times
Choca Mocha Coffee
A New Craft to try
Chocolate Liquers 
A Paperback book
And a Big Tub of Chocolates just for me.

 Love cashews, daren't buy them often as I can eat them in 10 minutes flat!

I've been hopeless at commenting on other blogs recently. Apologies. One reason(excuse?) is that lots of people are posting regularly in the evenings and my laptop has already been switched off so I don't see the posts 'til next morning when it seems a bit late. And truthfully I've been watching lots of the various police crime series on catch up channels, things I didn't see when they were first on. So far I've watched all 4 series of Cardinal (Snowy Canada) Wisting (Snowy Norway) Valhalla (Snowy Iceland) and I'm now on The Bridge ( Snowy Sweden and less snowy Denmark).
If anyone has any ideas for others similar that are on the catch up channels I'd love to know.

Back Tomorrow