Saturday 31 July 2021

Last Day of July

A Saturday and a last of the month round-up.

It's been a mostly dull week........... that's the weather...... not my I'm having a great time making the most of the opportunity to watch as much Olympic sport as possible!

Once Upon a Time I used to do a round up of frugal things on the last of the month but as this month I paid for the concreting of the greenhouse base, the greenhouse itself and a whirly washing line and May and June were equally spendy there's not been much thrifty-ness for ages. Am I right in thinking prices of fruit and vegetables seem to be at a high - or is that just because I've got none of my own and I'm just not used to buying.
With my first proper State Pension going into the bank and HMRC now 'kindly' taxing my spouses pension, I now know what my monthly income is and hopefully I won't need to dip into the downsizing savings/kids inheritance quite as much as was needed in the last 3 years.
There should be much less spent in August as all I need to do here has been done for the moment. I also need to spend less to fund the second-hand book buying!!

 Shopping in Asda in Stowmarket is now a frustrating business, they are still re-arranging and modernising the whole store so it's a muddle with lots of empty spaces (due to the delivery driver shortage I suppose) but my biggest gripe is the absence of manned (or woman-ed!) check-outs. They've cut down to just 3. The rest of the space has been taken by a bigger area for self-service checking out - one bit for trolleys and another for baskets as a staff member bossily told me when I entered the wrong bit - oh dear me! They've also got a huge bay of hand held self-scanner things  - no idea how they work. I guess you have to have a credit card registered before you can use one. 

'Flowers on the Table' this week - although they are on the bookshelves for a change - are a mix of colour from the garden. Mostly Dahlias - gorgeous big orange and dark pink.

 Summer of Sport Olympic update........
Blue, Colors, Competition, Event, Fiveit's getting more and more the athletics begins.
It was raining and dull yesterday morning(Storm Evert apparently) and I got up late for me, so by the time the TV went on GB had won loads-a-medals on Day 7. Duncan Scott in the swimming pool won his 3rd of the games. Then another Bronze in the pool. A medal for trampolining. Then 2 medals in the BMX .... A gold for Bethany and a Silver for Kye. The first sport I watched was the men's Kayak slalom but a mistake saw the GB man come 6th.
Much discussion today about the lack of medals for the Rowers after the last 3 Olympics when they won several. Lots of money thrown at the sport so there will be talk of them losing funding no doubt.Watched some hockey, football and on the track the 4 x 400m mixed relay. I think GB& NI ended the day with 24 medals.

This week I'm grateful for

  • Enough fine weather to get the grass cut
  • Lovely heap of library books 
  • Being able to watch all the Olympic sport from the comfort of my armchair

I'm hoping for some help with getting the whirly washing line sorted this weekend. BiL will supply the tools and knowledge and son will provide the brute force to get the spike in the ground. (BiL is now waiting for all the hospital stuff connected with needing a stent - just like his brother in 2013, so is having to be a bit careful. I've re-assured him that Col was fine after having the stent and it had nothing to do with all the later illness)

Also hoping to get a car boot sale (or 2) this weekend - the weather has been dismal every boot sale morning so I've not bothered to go for ages..............well, just a week and a half but  seems ages to me!

Have a lovely weekend
Back Monday

Friday 30 July 2021

The (2nd) July Library Book Photo

 Nowadays I never seem to read every book I request so thank goodness library requests are free in Suffolk!.......they charge in some parts of the country........poor people.

How many of the 10 books or really 12 (the Ngaio Marsh is a 3 in 1) that I'd requested and picked up from the Mobile Library yesterday will be read? 

From the bottom up 
James Strawbridge - The Artisan Kitchen. This a how-to-do-it book about all forms of preserving and outdoor cooking. I don't want to build a pizza oven or a cold-smoker so this book will go back to the library quite quickly.
Neil Ansell - The Circling sky. One of the books nominated for the Wainwright Prize I've read a couple of his other books.
Ngaio Marsh -  This is the 3 in 1 volume starting with Clutch of Constables. Crime from the 1960's
Hope L Bourne - A Little History of Exmoor. Borrowed  this because of  THIS POST
Hilary McKay -  The Swallows Flight. This is a childrens book. A follow up to The Skylarks War.
Ronald Blythe - Stour Seasons. The 10th collection of his Word from Wormingford columns from The Church Times.Every time I read one of his books I always check he is still alive - and yes, he is now 98 years old! I wonder if he is still living in the wonderfully named Bottomgoms farm on the Suffolk/Essex border.
Chris Nickson - Brass Lives. Crime Fiction latest in a series set in Leeds in 1913
Charles Foster - The Screaming Sky. A small book about Swifts.Also nominated for the Wainwright Prize.
and the 2 on the right are
Jessica Bruder - Nomadland. Borrowing this after watching the film it's only recently been published here.
and finally a British Library Crime Classic - Guilty Creatures - Short Stories from authors from the past.

Quite a variety this time.
Blue, Colors, Competition, Event, Five
Day 6 of the Olympics in the wonderful summer of sport and I turned on the TV just in time for the women's slalom canoe final with a Silver medal for GB. The 18th medal had come at much the same time in the trap (clay pigeon) shooting - and that was a Bronze. I think they were the only medals as there were a couple of 4ths in the rowing including Helen Glover making a comeback after retiring and having 3 children....mad!
Didn't watch much yesterday as the weather was better so it was a grass cutting and weeding day.
Back Tomorrow

Thursday 29 July 2021

Devorgilla Days..............A Book About Hope and Healing

 This is the second book I've read recently about women who have serious health problems. In June it was Josie George's book 'A Still Life'  The  memoir of her life with an unexplained painful illness that sometimes reduces her to having to rest for days on end. She writes about her small world between her home, her son's school, her friend's home and the community centre. It is beautifully written, noticing all the small things and finding joy in life as it is for her. The book sprang from her blog.

Now I've just finished "Devorgilla Days" by Kathleen Hart and this time her book came from her Instagram Account.,204,203,200_.jpg

Eight years ago Kathleen Hart was diagnosed with breast cancer but there were many complications after her surgery and she was ill and in hospital for months. But even before that she'd had other health problems so that eventually her partner left her and bailiffs took away her furniture as he'd not been paying bills. She was advised to try yoga to recover from her illness but then had serious back problems and ended up flat on her back for months and it was just after getting back on her feet that she came across the details of a small cottage for sale in Wigtown - Scotland's book town. Hundred's of miles north she visits and buys it straight away.
She names the cottage Devorgilla after a feisty Scottish C13 princess. The book is about her first two years there, the friends she makes, learning about bee-keeping and Scottish dancing and getting really immersed in life in the town. The book also charts her cold water swimming in the bay at Garlieston and the people she meets who all help in her healing.
Many years ago me, Colin and Lucy the dog, stayed on the Caravan Club site at Garlieston on our tour of Scotland - and Col decided it was somewhere he would love to live. We visited the bookshops in Wigtown and drove to the pilgrimage village of Whithorn and I can remember many of the places she mentions in the book.


Summer of Sport 2021 - Olympic Update Day 5

Blue, Colors, Competition, Event, Five

Woke yesterday  to hear that there had been another Gold in the pool - 4 x 200m freestyle relay, Andy M had been knocked out of the Tennis Men's Doubles and the GB team in Rugby 7's had lost their match too and then the first thing I watched was the 3m springboard synchronized diving. It was a bad day at the office for the GB lads. I'm just amazed at how they fit all the twists and somersaults into 1.8 seconds between board and water.

There was an unexpected medal in rowing but  then the other men's 4's didn't get a medal they were supposed to win. Swings and roundabouts  So many things going on at once that BBC kept flitting between one thing and another and then changing from BBC 1 to BBC 2 for some reason that only they know. After a look at Gymnastics they changed to the Individual Dressage in time to see Charlotte Dujardin. (How on earth do they get the horses to lift their feet like that?) Charlotte won a Bronze  - her 6th Olympic medal in total - more than any other British woman.

I think GB ended the day with  a new running total of 16 medals

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 28 July 2021

The Buddleia appeared..............

...and so did the butterflies.

I knew it was a Buddleia  but didn't know what colour, so pleased to find it's a lovely dark purple. As soon as the flowers were out they were visited by butterflies - and this was only a day or so after commenting on Simon's blog (Careering through Nature) that I'd not seen many in the garden.

Small Tortoiseshell
Red Admiral - this one is on the bag of compost that I'd laid on the veg bed, sunbathing on the warm plastic. Altogether there were 3 flitting about the bush

There were a couple of Peacock butterflies too but they were up so high I couldn't get a photo.

The weather men have been forecasting rain for days but it finally fell yesterday afternoon, came down in torrents just for a few minutes. I'm glad my bungalow is up well above the road level.

There was soon a small river flowing down the hill.


Summer of Sport 2021 Update.... Day 4 of Olympics

Blue, Colors, Competition, Event, Five

Woke up yesterday morning to hear there had been Silver medal in the women's triathlon (despite a flat tyre) to match the men's yesterday and a Gold AND Silver in the men's 200m Freestyle swimming, the race was shown later and they both came from behind to win......well done them! As some sports aren't being shown on BBC (lost the rights a few years ago - thanks to Dc at Frugal in Norfolk for that info) we seem to have seen more Taekwondo and it still looks a bit vicious to me but there was another Bronze Medal.
The women's team gymnastics came on TV and the electric went off! When it came back about an hour later I found that they'd won a Bronze medal - first time a GB woman's team had been on the podium since 1928 I think they said.............that's quite a while! Also another medal with the horses in the team dressage. One statistic that was amazing - a German lady won her 7th ......... 7TH! Olympic Gold medal in their team dressage.
  My neighbour came home to find the electric off and knocked on my door to see if it was just them or a wider area. Luckily I was able to tell her about the UK Power Network Text Messaging service, where I'd already rang and found out that there were 400 homes off. I knew all about power being off and the Text message thing as at Clay Cottage the electric went off at least every few months. Here, if it goes off in winter I'll have no heat - that's when I'll miss the woodburner. I must get my gas camping stove back from BiL who borrowed it for an overnight trip to a stock car meeting. I've still got a wind-up radio and a re-chargeable lamp plus candles and a torch of course.

 Going back to BBC losing the rights to show some sports at least they have Wimbledon for a few more years until 2027 but we won't see the French Open on terrestrial TV here any more as Eurosport - a 'paid for' channel now have exclusive rights. And I'm not sure that BBC will show any of the Olympics live in 2024 as Eurosport seem to have the rights for that too. It's all about the money.

Back Tomorrow


Tuesday 27 July 2021

The Vicarage Plantation

 After the photos of the old part of the village took my camera again for another short walk to show you a bit more.

A garden outside a house just down the road is what I call a glorious muddle!

 Turn right up a footpath, sadly there is permission to build on the field on the left.

A good amount of Rowan berries on this tree


The old primary school - in a terrible state of repair, it's in some sort of trust connected to the church and there is no money to do anything with it and it can't be sold either.

 Along a field edge to the village woodland


Footbridge over a ditch into the wood. This is one of three ways in


It's not many acres but is now protected against being built on


Well used paths. Not sure how muddy they will be in winter, but good and dry now


Younger trees planted more recently. The wood is shaped like a backwards capital E with the big  Victorian vicarage in the middle of one space and the fields in the other.


In among the trees are two open fields for a change of habitat


This small area is fenced - maybe for flowers- I don't know

I didn't go right round as it  was gradually getting hotter so out of the wood onto the road and home.

Summer of Sport 2021 update............ 
Blue, Colors, Competition, Event, Five
Turned on the radio when I woke up and heard the news that Adam Peaty had won a Gold in the pool, then they started talking about the start of the Diving so got up to watch. Tom and Matty had some amazing dives. You don't have to understand the scoring and judging system (I don't) but it's easy to see the synchronicity and amount of splash and I'm so pleased they got the Gold. Then they showed the Mountain Biking and another GOLD! That made a total of 6 medals by 8.30am our time and 4.30pm Japan time on the 3rd day. Later there was more Taekwondo with another Silver followed by Gymnastics and a quick look at one or two other sports. So by the end of Day 3 GB had 7 medals.😄
I can remember the bad years when GB hardly won any medals and it almost (but not quite) makes me feel guilty for never playing the National Lottery - as that's where a lot of the money has come from to fund the improvement.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 26 July 2021

Church Fete

 The next but one village from me had a Church Fete on Saturday afternoon, thought I'd better go and look, especially as the poster said they'd got a book stall. It's the village where I go to Big WI (although  I'll need to rejoin, but as yet they still have no plans to restart proper meetings).

Everyone looked so happy to be out and about and even the weather co-operated. The fete was held on the front lawn of The Grade II*  Manor, which for many years was a Christian Rest Home for the elderly.

Manor House Christian Rest Home
Picture from wiki - from the time it was a care home

Col's Mum worked in the kitchen there for many years. Now it's a huge private home (quite big for 2 people!). Nice to see the front lawn being used again - it was a bowling green in the 70's when I first became a Cub Scout Leader in the village.

There were one or two people there that I knew and I found a couple of books.


Everyone said how wonderful it was to do something so normal again. 

Summer of Sport 2021 update 
Blue, Colors, Competition, Event, Five

Olympics.........So far I've watched the last part of the men's cycling road race - (They looked so exhausted), the last bit of the women's ditto, one match of GB men's hockey, some more GB women's football, a bit of gymnastics, a couple of Taekwondo bouts with a Silver medal winner......and some swimming.

Apart from Olympics there is also cricket on TV which Col would have enjoyed. It's a new type of match of 100 balls for each team, haven't quite worked out the whys and wherefores except that it's city based and everyone looks as if they are enjoying it.

 Just editing to say - TV on early this morning to see Tom Daley and Matty Lee win Gold - amazing! Well done them. Tom's 4th Olympics and Matty's first.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 24 July 2021

The 4th Saturday in July

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday.

I sometimes find blogging very strange. When a post about happiness and contentment gets more comments about face masks than anything else and the post about the joy of the Olympics gets several comments about who doesn't buy the Radio Times! I don't mind - I'm grateful for all comments as otherwise I'd just be talking to myself - but it sometimes seems odd.
One comment from Susan included a quote which I liked "The quality of your life is determined by the focus of your attention."

Not much to mention in my Saturday round-up this week although it's been good to see all 3 of the Suffolk Grandchildren  including looking after Youngest Grandson (17 months old now) while DiL took youngest granddaughter to her swimming lesson. I started singing the "I'm a little tea-pot" rhyme which we were looking at in a book and for some reason he found my singing hilarious. Humpty Dumpty was just as funny......I've no idea why!

I would love to tell you about  the fun I had at 3 am on Tuesday morning when the LOUD bleeping from the smoke alarm told me that the battery was low, and after climbing the step stool ladder and finding it was mains operated.........something I've never dealt with before....... Then  I'd love to tell you how I  sat in the altogether googling "how to open and change back up battery in mains operated smoke alarm"...... Only to find I would need to go outside to the garage and turn off the relevant fuse! I would like to tell you how I tried to sleep with a pillow over my head until daylight so I could do the above. I would love to tell you all this but you would probably fall about laughing!😀

This week I'm grateful for
  • Speedy delivery of a builders bag full of topsoil for the veg. beds which I shall spend weeks barrowing from the front round the back sometime between now and the spring.

  • Sorting out the smoke alarm......eventually

 Have a good weekend. Weather forecast is a bit iffy for car boot sales.I'm not sure what I'm doing - maybe a church visit or maybe nothing much at all.

Back Monday

Friday 23 July 2021

The Olympics

 A week after the end of Le Tour we now have the return of the Summer of Sport 2021 for those of us who enjoy watching sport

Blue, Colors, Competition, Event, Five

Today we can see  the opening ceremony which usually goes on far too long but the sport started Wednesday with ladies football and the GB team won their first match.
 The time difference might make watching some events difficult because I'm not that keen to stay up late or get up extra early but BBC have gone Olympics crazy and somehow have something on all day and the  Radio Times (one of my down-sizing treats that I'm loving) has helpfully provided a special edition with all the times of all the sports right through the whole 16 days.

Thinking about why I couldn't remember much about the 2016 Olympics I searched the old blog and of course it was while we were in the Very Small Ipswich Bungalow and Colin was in and out of Ipswich hospital when all the early parts of the treatment for the Lymphoma caused  so many problems. 4 years earlier the  Olympics of 2012 and we were still at the smallholding . It was the first year that Col went from full-time work to part time and working for ourselves with growing and selling more. We cycled to Saxmundham to see the Olympic Torch going through but were working so hard through the summer that I can't remember much about what we watched.

This year I can enjoy watching all the different sports that are not usually seen on TV as well as favourite things like the tennis, cycling and athletics.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 22 July 2021

After 3 Days of "Freedom"..........................

..................... what exciting things have I done?

Well I went shopping without a mask, other than that ........nothing. Surprisingly I wasn't in a queue for a Nightclub to open at Midnight and also haven't waited to be served at a pub bar either. 
And I've not been "pinged" as I didn't fall for that temptation to add the app to my phone! Apps? what are they?
Unlike those people waiting for clarification for their foreign holiday booking  or for things to "open up" I'm no longer waiting for anything. I've come to the conclusion that everything I want to do is already available to me.
What else do I need except my family, a home, a garden, access to all the books I want, lots of hobbies and a TV to keep me company. Life is Very Good.

So................. the only things I'm waiting for are the 15 books I have on order from the library .
Here's what I'm waiting for...............a  Good List to fill a blog post..................!
The Eastermost Sky by Juliet Blaxland
The Widow of Bath by Margot Bennett
Till Death us do Part by John Dickson Carr
Murder by the Book - Edited by Martin Edwards
A State of Fear  by Laura Dodsworth
These Names Make Clues by E C R Lorac
Loved Clothes Last by Orsola De Castro
Clutch of Constables by Ngaio Marsh
The Comfort book by Matt Haig
The Heron's Cry by Ann Cleves
The Joy and Light Bus Company by Alexander McCall Smith
Woodston - Biography of a Farm by John Lewis Stempel
Transient Desires by Donna Leon
The Stone Chamber by Kate Ellis
Easy Vegan by Brett Cobley 

and that's not including the 9 books that will be on the van for me when it comes next week. Yes, life really is VERY good  especially with the warmth and sunshine.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 21 July 2021

The House Clearance People Are Back

 Needham Market boot sale at the weekend was much bigger than previous Saturdays but still not as busy as pre-covid days. There were several large vans there full of all the miscellaneous bits and bobs from houses they've cleared. Furniture and bigger household items etc probably go off to auction or sold elsewhere so what they bring to boot-sales is stuff just hauled out of cupboards and piled into boxes.
If my back and knees didn't object to rummaging through boxes on the ground then I'd probably look for longer so all I just picked up the two part-used boxes of  baking paper for 20p.
From a different seller the childrens doodle pad was 50p which is pretty good considering the label on the back saying it was bought from Heffers big bookshop in Cambridge for £5.99. It will be something  for Eldest Grandson to do when they visit next month. The only other things bought were the plants and pot on yesterdays post, a bunch of big  beetroot and a punnet of local strawberries...........

and I was still home in time for breakfast!
When I searched for a picture to see what plants I'd displayed on the old shabby chic ladder at the smallholding and the cottage I couldn't find one. But yesterday looked again and found this

That was the sort of thing I'd planned for the plant stand............... but I'm liking my new idea better.
Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 20 July 2021

I Seem to Have Decided........................

.............................what I'm going to display on the plant stand...........without really thinking about it.

 Because at Saturday's boot sale I bought these 3 small plants for £5, Thrift, a Succulent and a trailing thing that I've forgotten the name of

 and found this old pot and saucer for £1

So it's going to become a sort-of rockery/cacti/succulent display stand.  There are plenty of stones from the veg beds to put in the bottom of the pots and lots of small shingle from the front drive to top them so hopefully all good for drainage.

Just one more pot and one more plant needed. Completely different plants to my first idea but that doesn't matter.


Back Tomorrow

Monday 19 July 2021

The Village Churchyard

 Not far from my home is a gate into the lower, newer part of the churchyard. I walked round with my camera (not yesterday, which was too HOT to go wandering anywhere!) Mostly it's overgrown with long grass.

The most recent burials


These two below mark the graves of two of my distant relatives from long ago. One, the same name as my grandad died in the year my Grandad was born  so two or three generations earlier?


A monument for a family called Hendry with names from 1922 right up to the 2000's


These 5 below are all from one family, with daughters dying in their teens and twenties. They  have a familiar surname but as far as we know not relations, as Col's Dad's family came from Yorkshire.


Below is a monument remembering the members of the 34th American Airmen stationed on the airfield not far away during the latter years of the WWII. This monument was once closer to the airfield but right beside a main road where no one could visit. It was moved across to the church sometime in the last few years

Around the end of the church to the other side and heap of old gravestones, piled in a corner and forgotten.
The area that was used for burials more recently

Below is the side of a gravestone only visible from the road. I waded through the long grass to look at the other side


and it turns out to be the grave of a Minister of the United Reformed Church who died in 2003.


And finally a 22 year old who died in the Military Hospital in Felixstowe in 1918

 Just when his light was brightest,
Just when his hopes were best
His country called, he answered
With God he's gone. To rest.

Back Tomorrow