Saturday, 27 February 2021

Last Saturday in February

What's been happening this week that I've not already written about.........

Well, Tuesday was SO exciting - I went to the library in Debenham! After weeks completely shut Suffolk libraries have opened for collecting reservations so I altered my pick up point for reservations from the mobile library to Debenham library- just until the mobiles start up again. And my first book arrived there. Due to watching all the police crime dramas from around the world I'd not finished a book for weeks but I got straight into this one................

Thumbnail for The Decent Inn of Death 

 This is the 6th in a series featuring  John Madden

"On a trip into Winchester, former chief inspector Angus Sinclair learns of a tragedy that has taken place in the village he is staying in. Beloved church organist Greta Hartmann has slipped and fallen to her death in a shallow creek, and while investigations conclude it to be an accident, her friend and housemate, Vera, remains unconvinced. After learning that Greta was the widow of a prominent anti-Nazi German preacher, Sinclair meets with the distraught Vera, and he resolves to dig deeper into the story. His investigations lead him to the stately manor of Julia Lesage, where she lives with her devoted staff that includes her secretary, cook, and driver. Though confined to a wheelchair, Julia is an electrifying spirit with a sharp wit, and those who know her adore her. Among those who do, a gentleman with dubious business dealings is also staying at the house--and Julia appears to be in love with him. A blizzard hits, keeping Sinclair, and later Madden, on the grounds with little to do but analyze the case of Greta's death, until a murder takes place, and everyone becomes a suspect."

The interesting thing about these books is the big gaps between publication dates and the equally large gaps between the period in which the books are set. So the first of the series is set in 1921 and this latest  is set in the early 1950s.

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Also on Tuesday Brother in Law came over with his trailer and picked up the pots and gardening things that I want to keep, plus tools and DIY stuff from the garage and the strimmer and mower. He is going to put some things in his garage and the rest will be covered on the trailer and left tucked away at his friends farm. He also looked around for anything else that might-come-in-handy (he takes after his brother!) so things that I would have left here as I had no use for them have now gone to his garage. 

In the afternoon I had a heart stopping moment when a lady from the company through which I'm renting the holiday let rang to check that I wasn't actually going to be on holiday. For one dreadful moment I thought she was going to say I couldn't stay there after all. But all is well. Holidays in self catering are Not allowed yet but letting to do with business or house moving are OK. Phew! I breathed a very big sigh of relief.

On Thursday there was an email from the company that run the swimming pool to say that fingers crossed, all being well and God Willing the pool will reopen on 12th April.....will I get a swim in before my birthday?........ only time will tell.(and will my swimming costume still fit?!)

And then here we are  - Saturday again. 

This week I'm grateful for

  • Being able to get organised for moving
  • Library books again
  • Time with Grandchildren

Just editing in to say how sorry to hear that Jill at Land of the Big Sky has passed away. I've enjoyed her posts for so many years and the photos of the sea were always a treat. Sending condolences to the DP and her children and grandchildren.

Have a lovely weekend. 
Back Monday
Sue


Friday, 26 February 2021

A Breath of Fresh Air

 The Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket has opened it's grounds for "exercise". Each day between noon and 2pm anyone can go and wander round and say hello to the ducks, turkeys, donkeys, Suffolk Punch horse, large black pig and the sheep.

DiL asked if I'd like to join her and the two youngest Grandchildren for an hours walk. It was about 10 degrees warmer in town than at home......... I must live in one of the breeziest places in Mid Suffolk. 

Youngest Grandson was most excited by the ducks as his first word is "Duck", we're not sure why! 


The museum has several buildings that have been moved there from elsewhere in Suffolk including this windmill which is a water pump. 

A really bad photo of the donkeys on the hill.

And my Bubble grandchildren. Youngest Granddaughter decided she didn't want her photo taken and hid behind the pushchair. She was in a bit of a grump after the turkey gobbled loudly and made her jump.

We had an hour in the sunshine, a change of scenery and it blew away the cobwebs. I think the grandchildren will want to go back with daddy at the weekend. 

(And just in case anyone says we were going against the rules of lock-down, DiL was also picking up books from the library and I popped into Asda for the things I forgot in the Co-op!, so "yah boo sucks to you!!" and I've just looked this up and wiki says it's a "childish expression of derision or scorn!)


Back Tomorrow
Sue



Thursday, 25 February 2021

The Art of Lent

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday. Good to know Scouting continues in some areas.

 Plans to post about a painting a day through Lent from a little book I bought went to pot when I ended up writing about the stress of moving!

 

 The Art of Lent: A Painting A Day From Ash Wednesday To Easter by [Sister Wendy Beckett]

The paintings and writings are divided into sections illustrating Silence, Contemplation, Peace, Joy, Confidence and Love

Some of the paintings in this book are famous, some less well know and some  are strange - not things I would choose to put in my house for sure, but then I don't really know much about "proper" art, I just know what I like.

Illustrating 'Silence'.........A painting called Three Greys by Yuko Shiraishi, is just 3 stripes of different greys. Sister Wendy says   "A quick glance at Three Greys and we might walk away thinking it drab and over regulated. A slower glance and the painting reveals an infinitude of subtle hues and shifting verticals"

Just looks like three dull stripes to me!

 I prefer this painting from the book, also depicting 'Silence" . The Magdalen Reading by Roger Van der Weyden. c.1445



"The Magdalen Reading is one of three surviving fragments of a large mid-15th-century by the painter  Roger van der Weyden  It shows a woman with the pale skin, high cheek bones and oval eyelids typical of the idealised portraits of noble women of the period.She is identifiable as the Magdalen from the jar of ointment placed in the foreground, which is her traditional attribute in Christian art. She is presented as completely absorbed in her reading, a model of the contemplative life, repentant and absolved of past sins. Iconography of the Magdalen commonly shows her with a book, in a moment of reflection, in tears, or with eyes averted."

"The background of the painting had been overpainted with a thick layer of brown paint. A cleaning between 1955 and 1956 revealed the figure standing behind the Magdalene and the kneeling figure with its bare foot protruding in front of her, with a landscape visible through a window. The two partially seen figures are both cut off at the edges of the London panel."

 

Since Colin died I've not enjoyed silence in the house but I can easily sit out in the warmth of summer sun in silence in anytime.

I think everyone  is looking forward to the warmth of summer and being outside in 2021.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

When They Were Young

Short of ideas for a post so...............................

 Sometime last year I took a photo of this photo which was originally taken by an East Anglian Daily Times photographer in about 1974/5? . It's been stored on my camera ever since so I thought I'd let it out of the camera, surprise Brother in Law and  share it on the Bacton village Facebook Page! (and on here)


The photo shows Colin.........several years before we married........ being presented with his Chief Scouts Award by the District Commissioner for Scouting in Suffolk  on the official opening of Bacton Scout Hall. 
I had just started helping with the Cub Scouts at this time. The person in uniform in the background between the DC and Colin is Col's brother - my BiL . 
I've got years of good memories of being a CSL until we moved away across to the coast in 1992.
Sadly, the Scout Hall which Colin helped to build in his late teens, stands empty and unused- not because of Covid but through lack of leaders.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Fair Trade Fortnight

Fair Trade Fortnight started yesterday. I've not heard much about it this year, usually I get an email from the East Of England Co-op who seem to have the only shops that take any notice of Fair-trade and locally produced.

This is what happened last year................

 

 

I usually buy Fairtrade Divine drinking chocolate from  the Oxfam charity shop but of course they are closed and online it is out of stock almost everywhere and where it is in stock the price has doubled or trebled. I'm eking out what little I have left by only having half a cup full. I've got to go to the Post Office in the Co-op later today so I'll look at what Fairtrade drinking chocolate they have. Some (like Cadbury's) is far too sweet for my taste.

Just editing in to say ....... Big Welcome Back to Suzanne at Life at Number 38 
Suzanne is having a busy time at the moment so I can't comment there to say how good it is to hear from her again.

 

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Monday, 22 February 2021

Did We Find Treasure?

Did we find treasure?............. Unfortunately not.

Archaeologist son thought he would bring his metal detector and swish it over the meadow before I moved away, don't know why we'd not thought of doing it before, but he had been looking at "finds" maps of the fields around about and discovered that a few treasures had been found not far away.

So we all dressed up in our warm clothes (the forecast for a mild weekend forgot about Saturday's chilly wind blowing across the Suffolk fields) and stood around while he waved the detector backwards and forwards waiting for bleeps.

The first bleep found a ring-pull, next bleeps found a teeny piece of lead and an equally tiny bit of copper.

Then a lump of old iron. By which time I'd decided that I would never have the patience to be a metal detectorist!

Wiggly worms were found, I held one on my hand and Youngest Granddaughter asked "does it tickle?" But when I put the wiggly worm on her hand so she could see how tickley it was - she soon shrieked. Youngest Grandson was watching all this well wrapped in his pushchair.

More bleeps and  a large "find" was a Stanley knife, clogged with mud and lost by someone years ago and then finally, before we gave up and went in for a warming cuppa he found a couple of points from archery arrows.....not ever so old but a little bit interesting.

Who had used the meadow for archery? we wondered...... maybe the son of the previous owner.

One thing I learned about digging for treasure is how cruel it is for earthworms. I'm sure a few were inadvertently chopped in half!

Back Tomorrow
Sue


Saturday, 20 February 2021

What a Week

Before I get onto "What a Week", thanks for all the comment yesterday and suggestions.
I've already been to Australia and New Zealand with Miss Fishers Mysteries, Brokenwood and Dr Blake as they've been on terrestial TV here for ages so I've seen them . I'm saving Inspector Montalbano in Sicily for later as there are so many of them. Haven't heard of  Zen and Single Handed and had forgotten about The Killing.
Lots of good ideas for later so thank you everyone

 Anyway as I was saying.........What a weird, stressful week................ and I won't go on about it anymore!
(Except to say that Thursday I had the Equity Release hitch explained to me by the Estate Agent for the bungalow and now I understand what's going on and the reasons for the delay....she knew more than the solicitors, and the delay might not be as long as I feared)

On Tuesday  I pootled over to Debenham Leisure Centre for my Covid Vaccination. It was well organised  with volunteers everywhere pointing people in the right direction. Just a few minutes wait outside and then sitting in a cubicle inside and then 15 minutes afterwards to make sure there were no sudden side effects.  And there have been no side effects at all - no arm aches or fever or chills which some poor people have suffered. My 2nd vaccination is already booked for May 1st. Brother in Law Andrew who is 4 years younger than me had a surprise call to go the next day and he hasn't had problems so far either.

Other than the above I've not really done much this week - saw my two bubble grandchildren when DiL popped over with them for a change of scene and yesterday I delivered the wheelchair that we'd borrowed for Colin 4 years ago  back to his sister and husband. They are still shielding and thankful that this Brother in law has also had his first jab.

My task for the weekend will be to sort out what things to take with me for 4 weeks in a holiday home which includes unpacking a couple of boxes and a box of books......must have books. The forecast for today and tomorrow is for a couple of warmer days...... although it's so windy it's difficult to know if the temperature is really any higher. There's still snow in the ditches in some places.

Then next week I need to start phoning to cancel things for moving out - that will be fun - I don't think. 

 This week I'm grateful for
  • Eventually understanding the reasons for the house purchase delay
  • Finding somewhere local to stay while I wait
  • Good TV to take my mind off the above

 Have a good weekend

Back Monday
Sue

Friday, 19 February 2021

Around the World in TV Crime Drama

 I've been all over the place with the police of numerous different countries in the last few months.

 The Bridge in Sweden and Denmark

Wisting in Norway

Spirals in Paris - but only the first series as they then used jiggily hand held camera- made me feel seasick!

The Valhalla Murders in Iceland

Cardinal in Canada

Rebecka Masterson in the Arctic part of Sweden

The Nordic Murders in Germany/ Poland

And sunny Mallorca - catching up on the first series of Mallorcan Files

Most recently all around Europe with 'Crossing Lines' - which suddenly finished series 2 with half the cast being killed and started series 3 with some different people and hardly a mention of what happened 6 months earlier.

 I feel quite well traveled this winter 😃

And all without leaving the house!

 

Back Tomorrow
Sue  

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Moving House

Moving house.............. Why, why, why is it so stressful?

Thanks for all the comments yesterday. I didn't really explain properly that everyone - even me- knew about the Equity Release that had been taken out on the property that I'm buying but what no one knew until Tuesday afternoon was that there would be a long delay. My Estate Agent said it might  be because of them having to pay a penalty for early repaying of the equity release? There might also be a delay because they are moving to Kent which is apparently notorious for very slow legal searches.

Some  of the problems are caused by the Government's Stamp Duty holiday which finishes on 31st March. For people who don't know Stamp Duty is a tax paid to Her Majesties Revenue & Customs on top of the house price..... The higher the cost of the house the more stamp duty the government get. The stamp duty holiday was done to keep the housing market afloat through Covid (and hence keeping all people like builders, carpet fitters etc employed) but it's just caused so many problems with everyone trying to get  all sale and buying completions done by the end of next month.

 I debated taking this place off the market but that seems silly when I know I don't want to stay as it's just too big with too much work (plus potential problems) and  I  have a buyer ready and waiting who I don't want to lose. They can't afford to move here if they have to pay another £15,000 Stamp duty on top of the purchase price.So I'm going into a holiday let for a month (at least) and putting the furniture in storage - all this is going to cost me a lot of extra money so it's a good job that I'm getting a really good price for this house.

My only worry is if the bungalow sellers decide not to sell for any reason or if the Equity Release thing is more complicated ................then heavens knows what I'll do. As my solicitor said "it's a risk selling without completing on a purchase". The removal man said "the most common reason for people having to put everything in store is due to house purchase delays".

At least I have a plan - 4 weeks in a holiday let  until after Easter to start with and if things drag on any longer then I think I might buy a static caravan and spend my summer by the sea in Felixstowe!


Back Tomorrow............as long as I've not given up the will to live!
Sue
 



Wednesday, 17 February 2021

It's All Gone Belly Up

 Would you believe it!

The owners of the bungalow I was right ready to buy took some sort of Equity Release thing on it as well as a mortgage and this can't be sorted until April at the earliest.

I agreed to buy it in November and they've  left it until now to drop that news to the solicitors.

In the morning I was told to sort out a completion date with the removal company and in the afternoon....... BOOM it all goes wrong!

The young couple are ready and need to move in here ASAP to avoid the return of stamp duty.

So......................I'm looking for something to rent, which I really didn't want to do as it means unpacking and packing boxes twice unless I can find a holiday let and some places aren't allowing that due to Covid ban on holidays and risking losing their licence. There's not much around to rent anyway which is difficult.

 I know nothing about Equity Release except what I've seen on the TV adverts so no idea how long it will take to sort out and I'm wondering if it would be better to pull out of the purchase and wait for something else to turn up.

All jolly good fun......................NOT!

Back Tomorrow
Sue



Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Alone v Lonely

 Last week there were blog posts from various people about being alone or being lonely - not the same thing at all. 

When Brother-in-Law came over on Saturday to pick up some old ladders and a table it dawned on me that he was the first person I'd had a face to face conversation with since I went to Son and D-i-L's  for Youngest Grandsons 1st birthday on the 4th of the month. 9 days with no conversation except to saying thank you to people in shops and to the post-lady. I've not got lots of people to phone either, chatting on the phone never ever came easily and was certainly discouraged years ago.

But on the whole I'm not lonely even though I'm alone.
 
Loneliness is what I felt in the first years at the smallholding when we moved halfway across Suffolk. Colin carried on with his County Council Bridge Inspectors job, the children all made new friends at their new schools but I left behind the Cub Scout Pack that I'd been involved with for 20+ years and neighbours and friends in the villages we'd lived in for 10 years. Things got better as we got busier on the smallholding with our goats, campsite, the Smallholders Society and growing for sale but that way of life doesn't  give much opportunity for getting to know people well. 
 
Loneliness was what I felt through periods of black depression, when no one knew how to help me. 
Luckily help was found eventually and the depression  was never so bad as to be hopeless - Thank goodness........... as  that's a different thing altogether.

There wasn't time to be lonely we had to deal with Col's illness although I can see how some people feel very alone when coping with cancer. We seemed to spend all our time traveling to hospitals or waiting in waiting rooms.
 
It's lucky too that I'm OK with my own company and  don't get bored either, always something to interest me in books, on the blog, in the kitchen, with the family or on TV and in the garden when the weather is better. 

And I get complete control of the TV remote and choose what I want to eat and when. Being alone isn't all bad as long as you are not lonely.


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Yesterday the weather man kept say "it's much warmer today" but it didn't feel like it here, the snow was disappearing fast but I'm sure it just made the air very cold. At least I was at last able to do a load of washing as the washing machine outlet defrosted. We are forecast to have some warm days later this week which ties in with my First Of The Month weather saying ........"There is always one warm week in February".

Back Tomorrow
Sue


Monday, 15 February 2021

What Happened to "Small Steps to a Smaller Footprint" ?

When I wrote about food waste on Friday I was reminded that  last year I tried a couple of things in an aim to use less plastic, but never reported back on how the plan went

This was one thing I bought to try and be rid of liquid hand-wash in the small basin in the downstairs bathroom.

 

 It didn't last long because after a few weeks - and despite trying to rinse it - it got so gungy that I chucked it in the compost bin.

 I am still using these vegetable bags both in the fridge and when out shopping

 

Although there seem to be even fewer fruit  and vegetables to buy loose thanks to the pandemic and perhaps avoiding food being handled.

Another trial last year to try and replace the cheap sponge scourers

This was another fail (and waste of money). It was rather big and if used to scrub mucky cooking things all the gunk just got caught in the fibres - nasty. I use a hand knitted dishcloth for most dish washing and this little brush below usually works after first soaking pots and pans, this was a Christmas gift from a friend a couple of years ago and is still last well. They are easily available now and last longer that a synthetic sponge scourer.

I  still use Bi-carb for cleaning the sinks, basins and drainer.

 

Wonder what other things I can try that are NOT a waste of money.

I'm having trouble with my internet connection again. It righted itself a couple of weeks ago and was showing as being properly connected but has now reverted to telling me it's not connected - sometimes I can get online and sometimes not - all very odd. I can get online on my phone for emails but it's too fiddly for blogging (for me anyway, sure it's fine for people less technically challenged!). So if I disappear that will be why, although I've not a clue what to write about tomorrow so I might not be back anyway! 

Sue

 

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Another Saturday

Thank you to everyone for brilliant comments yesterday. They made me feel much better. 

 This was the Camellia in the corner of the
 patio in the first week of February 2020. It even had a flower opening. I wrote about it HERE


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the Camellia this week 2021 - photo taken Thursday.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a difference a year makes! The Camellia is moving with me and there is a sheltered patio behind the bungalow......when I eventually get there. 
I heard quite quickly from my solicitor and Estate Agent last Tuesday after threatening to take the house off the market if the buyers solicitor kept asking the same questions and refusing to accept the answers. The buyers have been notified of the reason for the hold up. Meanwhile I've signed and posted off my side of the contract for buying so just waiting for things down the line to be sorted.

I've continued to pack things into boxes, and wipe down shelves in cupboards as I empty them. All the wall  and base unit cupboards in the kitchen are now either empty or just have things on one shelf. Most of the furniture is now labelled with where it's going in the bungalow.

Sort-of good news from Suffolk libraries this week. After being completely shut in this latest lock down.............they've not even allowed reservations since December, they are going back to reserve and collect or request a miscellany to pick up from Monday. It's only sort-of good news because the mobile library won't be re-starting yet so my reserved books that have arrived are still stuck in a crate, although I'll be able to change those books that are still in a waiting list so I can pick up from a library building....if I have time for reading after moving!

An unexpected text message on Thursday told me to go online or ring up for my  Covid vaccination. I didn't think they'd finished the 70+ age group yet. But then on the  news they said 65+ were going to be asked from Monday. I went online but rather oddly everyday for the next 4 months seemed to be booked up so I tried the phone which just said sorry we are very busy ring back later. Wonder if the text message was sent too soon? I'll try again next week, not bothered, not going far so no rush.


This week I've been grateful for

  • Not needing anything while being "snowed in"
  • An idea and a book for blogging through Lent

 There's still too much drifted snow in the gateway ( we even had another snowfall yesterday) for me to get out this weekend but Brother-in-law is popping over sometime to pick up a couple of old ladders and an old table which he is going to cut up for firewood, so his 4x4 should flatten  the snow and then the temperatures are due to rise after Sunday so I'll be able to pop out for some fresh vegetables and fruit next week.

Have a good weekend

Back Monday
Sue

Friday, 12 February 2021

Admitting to Food Waste

 Unlike many  people I've not done much "Zoom-ing" during the pandemic. We've done family ones which is OK and I tried WI but that  just didn't appeal and then if I do hear about something that I'd like to join in with - I forget - Hopeless. The East of England  Co-operative Society did a online presentation about food waste, food banks and growing food which sounded interesting. I registered for it, saw the reminder email in the morning and then promptly forgot until bedtime - bit late then as it was on at 6pm! Luckily it was  available a day later on You-Tube so I didn't miss much except the chance to ask questions - which I doubt I would have done anyway.
 
A nudge about food waste was much needed......... as I'm horrified by the food waste I seem to have created while emptying the cupboards and eating down the stocks.
 
If anyone had asked me if there was any very out of date food in the cupboard I would have said "no of course not" but there was. In a tub a pack of really old short grain rice....2010! - and I don't even like rice pudding and this pack had moved house twice.....HOW? There were some things that were bought for Colin..... so that's 3 years ago.....a couple of tins of soup which I don't really like but could have eaten but kept just in case. Just in case of what? Now they are too old to go into the food-bank collection box at the Co-op.

In the big freezer in the garage there were portions of home made food which I'm eating my way through and much prefer to a tin of soup BUT why did I buy a pack of Yellow-Sticker chicken thighs and then put them in the freezer without splitting them? When I defrosted there were 10 small thighs. 10! for one person...........I'm eating them as quickly as I can but don't even like meat much anymore.
Certainly find it much more difficult to avoid some wastage now I'm on my own.
 
 What is worse is that I watched a programme that said now - in 2021 - 45% of our food is imported and only 16% of the fruit eaten here is grown here so food is travelling miles to be chucked out.
 
I enjoyed the 'challenge' weeks of eating really local food so with that in mind plus being unable to produce much food of my own and hoping to reduce waste, once I'm settled I'm going to try much harder......remind me please!
 
Back Tomorrow
Sue

 

Thursday, 11 February 2021

The Week So Far

 The roads are clear, the lane is almost clear but between my garage and the gate to the lane the snow has drifted to nearly a foot deep, so at the moment I'm still stuck at home. Hope it will melt a bit soon as I'll need to get out at the weekend.  I might ask Rob at next-door-but-one to run over it with his 4x4 a few times to squash it down a bit.
The post-lady walked through the pristine snow to the front door yesterday, she hadn't driven right up the lane as they usually do but I managed to wheelbarrow my bags of rubbish (clearing stuff from the garage) down to the end of the lane, luckily the bin-men are running a day late as they didn't go anywhere on Monday - another thing learned from the local Facebook pages. 
 
Ben Fogle's "New Lives in the Wild" on Tuesday night was interesting.......... he visited the author Mark Boyle who lives off grid in a small home in Galway. I've read two of his books "The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living" where he gave up using money for a year. With the money from the book he bought the smallholding in Galway. One building there is a place where people can go and live for free for a time to find out how to live simply. Marks other book "The Way Home: Tales From Life Without Technology" was a good read too. ..............No running water, no car, no electricity or any of the things it powers: the internet, phone, washing machine, radio or light bulb. Just a wooden cabin, on a smallholding, by the edge of a stand of spruce. 
Always good to see an author doing what they write about but as Mark and Ben sat down to a snack of raw kale I decided that living THAT simply wasn't for me!
 
Many Thanks for comments yesterday. Last night was forecast to be the coldest night in Suffolk for 10 years so I hope all in Suffolk survived the night!!
 
Back Tomorrow
Sue


Wednesday, 10 February 2021

The Ogham Tree Alphabet January into February

 The tree for this period of the year in the Ogham tree alphabet is the Rowan or Mountain Ash.

Representing the letter L and the number 2 for the second Lunar Month



It was on a cycle ride last September when I found a Rowan with berries to recognise it and in a good place to photograph about 2½ miles from home.

They are much more common in Wales and Scotland and although we had a couple at the smallholding that got to over 10 feet tall while we were there, they rarely had more than a few berries.

I've never used the berries to make a jelly, mainly because it needs an awful lot of sugar to take away the astringency and I usually had redcurrants anyway. In history it was also used to ward off evil spirits and witches.

Back Tomorrow
Sue


Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Rare Photos of Suffolk Snow

 After snow all day Sunday, the teeny bits falling had added up to several inches and with the strong winds this had blown into drifts nearly 2 feet deep in places......like right outside my wood shed. Luckily I always keep the log basket topped up and  several boxes of wood in the garage so didn't need to venture through it.

It carried on snowing on Monday, the same small stuff adding another layer and as I had to fetch in some small wood and things from the freezer in the garage I thought I'd better capture some snow photos for posterity.

Only two people and their dog had walked the footpath so far. They are a couple who've walked by every morning, whatever the weather, since the first lock-down. They march along, never speaking. She's always several steps ahead of him and they never look left or right . Love the way dogs never walk in a straight line.


Here's the drift outside my wood shed. The snow has blown through the hedge opposite and landed here

 

It reminded me of all the years that Colin worked as a supervisor for County Council Highways and every year he used to supervise putting up (and taking down) the snow fences along the A140 - not many miles from where I am now. The fences were set back in open fields along the road and were meant to slow the snow so it formed drifts on the fields rather than on the road. Eventually, after years with no snow they stopped doing it. Bet it would have been a good idea for this years snowfall.

I went down the track to the road to see how much traffic was moving. My next-door-but-two neighbour had gone down the lane and turned right.


Not much coming or going the other way. I'm glad it's not moving day today as the removal truck would never get here.



  My solicitor emailed yesterday saying that the buyers conveyencer will not accept my answers to questions about the septic tank and the solar thermal panels. I had to send replies for the 3rd time. Same answers each time - half the questions I don't know the answers to and the questions about the solar keep asking about electric feed in tariffs! I've explained twice the panels are for heating water and not electric. Seem to be banging my head against a brick wall!
I've emailed the Estate Agent explaining why there is a hold up and if the conveyencer keeps on refusing my answers then I'll have to take my house off the market  as there is no point answering the same questions over and over again.
That should stir things up!

Back Tomorrow
Sue


Monday, 8 February 2021

How Many Words For Snow?

We have several inches of snow here in Suffolk, the last time there was this much was March 2018.
 It fell all day yesterday. Teeny tiny bits that blew in the wind and didn't really look like snow..... not like the big 'proper' flakes that you can catch. 
That made me wonder...... Do the Inuit/Eskimo/Indigenous people of the frozen countries really have dozens of words for snow?

I investigated.

One website lists 47,  another 52, another debunks it all saying there are just a few specific words including

qanik snow falling
aputi snow on the ground
pukak crystalline snow on the ground
aniu snow used to make water
siku ice in general
nilak freshwater ice, for drinking
qinu slushy ice by the sea

 

Maybe if I had this library book that's sitting waiting for me in a crate marked Ipswich Mobile Library Route 7,  I would know for certain!

Thumbnail for Snow The biography 

By the time the library van gets going again the snow will be long gone.....I hope.

And the reason there are no photos of our unusually snowy weather is because I didn't step outside the back door all day!

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Saturday, 6 February 2021

First Week of February

If the 21st of November(the last time I counted) was week 36 of  STRANGE TIMES  this  must be ....roughly week 47.......... so can't really be called Strange Times anymore - it's become quite worryingly normal. 

My week went like this.................
 
Monday................. I'm not a huge fan of Estate Agents - they always seem to have their own agenda (money and fear of losing their commission!) but it's difficult to sell without them. Mine rang me on Monday saying how worried he was that nothing seemed to be happening - he'd left messages with no replies - did I know anything as sometimes no replies to left messages signaled a problem.  The young couple buying here are desperate for things to happen and they keep ringing my agent. I rang the agent selling the bungalow and she said things were on track - Heavens knows what's actually happening.
I'll just carry on packing and hope for the best. There's 7 weeks until the end of the Governments Stamp Duty  Holiday and  in my experience there's always a hold up somewhere before it all comes together in a mad panic at the end.
 
Tuesday................Gloomy and dull.  Dull and Gloomy.  Lots of box packing and tidying, then I went to pick up my prescription meds from the doctors and got my Pensioners £3.50 Plaice and Chips. The sun finally came out at 3....for half an hour
I'm watching another subtitled crime drama - this time it's from Germany/Poland - no snow. I had to find a map to work out where the island was that seemed to belong to both countries....who knew there was such a place?..........amazing what you can learn from crime dramas.

Wednesday......................Guess what..............packing more boxes. Then a selfie hair cut - a 6 all over, it was much needed.

Thursday .......a very small first birthday party for youngest Grandson, being an almost lock-down baby means he's hardly seen anyone except his Mum, Dad, Sister and me since he was born. Everyone one in the extended family and friends made up for this by sending or delivering more toys than you would see in  a toy shop.😀
 
Friday...........Fine and sunny after rain over night. I nipped out to get a few things just in case we have as much snow as is forecast for Sunday and Monday. The postman brought me things to sign for buying the bungalow........... moving in the right direction albeit slowly.


This week I'm grateful for
  • Time spent with 2 youngest grandchildren
  • Some sunshine 
  • Hopes of getting moved before the end of the month.

Today I'd better get my signature witnessed on the forms and get them into the post before the bad weather. Then home to watch the first games of the 6 Nations rugby.

Usually on a Saturday I say "Back Monday", but at the moment I've no clue for things to write about next week so may not be back until something....... or even anything happens...... the heavy snow forecast for Sunday will be fun...........?.
 
Sue
 

Friday, 5 February 2021

Trying To Read Two Books

Apologies first.......sorry for not replying to any comments yesterday, it was youngest Grandson's first birthday so son cooked dinner for us all and DiL made a cake. He had so many presents -  there are some clever toys out there nowadays. My favourite was the magic touch piano - I spent ages trying to remember how to play "Doh a Deer a female deer, Re a drop of golden sun"!

Then I must say  Hello and Welcome to some new followers, I was going to say that the other day but then they disappeared again!

 I really wanted to read this book which I have on loan from the library.

 

Nature's Mutiny: How the Little Ice Age Transformed the West and Shaped the Present

The description from Amazon says...........

"Hailed as an "arresting" (Lawrence Klepp, New Criterion) account, Nature's Mutiny chronicles the great climate crisis of the seventeenth century that totally transformed Europe's social and political fabric. Best-selling historian Philipp Blom reveals how a new, radically altered Europe emerged out of the "Little Ice Age" that diminished crop yields across the continent, forcing thousands to flee starvation in the countryside to burgeoning urban centers, and even froze London's Thames, upon which British citizens erected semipermanent frost fairs with bustling kiosks, taverns, and brothels. Highlighting how politics and culture also changed drastically, Blom evokes the era's most influential artists and thinkers who imagined groundbreaking worldviews to cope with environmental cataclysm. As we face a climate crisis of our own, "Blom's prodigious synthesis delivers a sharply-focused lesson for the twenty-first century: the profound effects of just a few degrees of climate change can alter the course of civilization, forever" (Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History)."

It sounded fascinating but I'm struggling with it as the print is so small in the libraries paperback copy. I've moved my lamp to give me a bit more light which has helped, and it is really interesting but it's not going to be a quick read .......very wordy!

The second book tried recently was this, a British Library Crime Classic reprinted from 1938.

I started reading but it didn't seem to be going anywhere, got to page 120 without anything happening but by then so many people had been briefly introduced that I hadn't got a clue who was who.

I gave up.

Still a few library books here and a pile of my own that I haven't boxed up just-in-case.

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Eco Thrifty Living?

A lady called Zoe Morrison got a mention on a TV programme last Thursday evening "Going Green: Saving Money." They said she was a blogger so I investigated and found........

The Eco Thrifty Living blog was started in 2011 when Zoe wanted to quit her job and be a stay at home mum. She needed to work out ways to spend less, but wanted to be eco-friendly too which can often be more expensive. It took her a year to work out how to save enough money in eco-friendly ways to be able to afford to quit her job. Ever since then she has continued to pursue her passion.


She also has a book............Eco Thrifty Living - 


 Linked to her website she is running "2021 - The Eco-Thrifty Challenge year". It says........

Now it’s your turn. I am starting up a private members group where I set you a challenge each month for a year, a bit like my year of eco challenges. However those challenges will be focused on spending less and becoming more eco friendly. Some of those challenges will be specific to the group and at times we will be joining in with wider campaigns e.g. Plastic Free July. At times there will also be bonus challenges along the way.

All sounds very good..........I read on ........until I got to this bit............

 As I said you can join in with January 2021’s challenge for free. Thereafter, it will be £30 a month. There is also a money back guarantee – if you don’t feel you are benefitting after your first paid month, get your money back, no questions asked.

 £30 a Month!!!

Well, I really hope people who sign up find it worthwhile but it seems an expensive way to find out about eco-thrifty living! 

Back Tomorrow
Sue

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Out of Condition

 The sunshine on Sunday morning got me out on my bike to do the 6 mile loop, halfway round I realised it was probably a couple of months since I last cycled it , too late to make it a shorter bike ride.

There wasn't really much to see ......several walkers with and without dogs, 3 cyclists - two in lycra and one normal like me! One lady on her horse and about half a dozen cars. Pre lock down there would have been fewer walkers but otherwise just the same.

I took my camera just in case ........

But only stopped for 3 photos.....one  of the chicken rearing farm not far from home. It's been closed and empty since Covid started, so they must have been raising hens for the catering trade.

 

The speed recording device that moves about the village....not by itself......obviously. 😃

My sister and her husband cycle regularly and she told me they just got a milometer for their bikes and cycled 14 miles one day last week.... AND she said if the speed recording thing for their village is set up on the down hill stretch on their way home they can make it register 12mph. - Blimey!

After all the rain we've had the Dove-brook was flowing fast under the Old Mill House down in the village.


 Then I walked up the hill and finished cycling home, where I collapsed in a heap for half an hour!.

Back Tomorrow
Sue


Tuesday, 2 February 2021

February 2nd Candlemas and Hazel Catkins

Today is Candlemas, commemorating the purification of Mary in the temple in Jerusalem, 40 days after the birth of Christ.

 If Candlemas day be fair and bright
Then winter will have another flight
If Candlemas day be clouds and rain
Winter is gone and will not come again

 In my book "Ceremonies of the Seasons" by Jennifer Cole is says that in churches today the priest blesses the candles that will be used in the church through the year. This is the only place I've read this and need to know if it's correct as I'm not a church goer (Church of England or Catholic) and this isn't something that happens in Baptist or Methodist Churches - as far as I know.

 

 The Flower Fairies are back ............a harbinger of spring or just a photo of late winter?

 
 
 Here she is, the Hazel-Catkin Fairy from Cicely Mary Barker's 'Flower Fairies of The Winter'. Originally published in the 1920s.




I like that last line "One day the land shall leap to life".............soon I hope - in so many ways.

Back Tomorrow
Sue



 

Monday, 1 February 2021

February Country Days

February  was the Roman Februaruis  and comes from the Latin verb februare  meaning to purify because the Roman festival of purification took place on the 15th.

February weather sayings include

A February spring is not worth a pin

and

If the cat in February lies in the sun, she will creep under the grate in March 

and the well known

February fill dyke be it black or white

which was really a plea from the farmer for plenty of wet weather ready for sowing seeds in March. Rain or snow, it's bound to be a wet and cold month, although there are often a few warm days

There is always one fine week in February

 The February page from An Illustrated Country Year by Celia Lewis is Magpies..........the bullies of the garden!


Numbers of magpies seem to have increased and it's rare for a day to go by without seeing them somewhere in the garden, meadow or lane.


My little book of country poems has one titled

AFTERNOON IN FEBRUARY

The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead 

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.
 
The snow recommences;
The buried fences
Mark no longer
The road o'er the plain;

While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
Slowly passes
A funeral train.

The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell;
 
Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within
Like a funeral bell.

Henry Wordsworth Longfellow

If you weren't miserable about February weather before reading this then you would be afterwards!

 
February 1st is also .......... Imbolc (pronounced imulk) - The ancient Celtic feast day held to celebrate a stirring of life after winter and fertility at the beginning of the lambing season. The word Imbolc may derive from old Irish meaning 'in the belly'. The celebration  was presided over by the Goddess of youth and fertility -Brighid (later St Brigid) I wrote about St Brigid on the 1st February last year.   and made a St Brigids cross with paper strips which I kept until I cleared the "dresser" shelves ready for moving.   

 

Back Tomorrow
Sue