Tuesday 31 August 2021

Ladybird books

  Years ago, when the children were young we had lots of Ladybird Books . They were always around at jumble sales and cheap to buy. Mostly they were in the series of 'Well Loved Tales' or 'Children's Classics' We also had some of the 'People at Work' set, some of the bible stories and some on various subjects I found to use with my Cub Scout Pack.

Going back to many many years before and I remember being bought the Ladybird book of Queen Elizabeth I to help me with finding out about her for a primary school project. I had no idea who she was, I'd chosen to be in the group writing about her because I thought she was the present Queens mother.!(In my defence I was only 8 at the time.). We also had a few others - mainly the baby stories including some of the early ones like - Bunnikins Picnic Party.

About 15 years ago we were on holiday somewhere and I came across the set of "What to Look For" for the four seasons dating from the 1960's. The illustrations in these are famously by Charles Tunnicliffe, a well known Natural History Artist.

 I discovered they've been reprinted and modernised and the covers are below but I've no idea what they have inside now.

 I thought I'd look out for some of the old Ladybirds that we didn't have and found this in a charity shop for 49p, some of the rarer, older Ladybirds are expensive second-hand online.

There is one form of Ladybird books that I really don't like - that's the recent "humourous" Ladybird books for Grown-ups......tacky. I think they are given as jokey Christmas presents - and are often in charity shops, so perhaps other people also don't like them much.

I found a list of all the original Ladybird books HERE

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Monday 30 August 2021

More Useful Finds

First of all must say thank you to everyone for lots of comments on Saturday about the Red Arrows. I've only had the pleasure of watching them do an actual display twice but have been lucky enough to see them fly over a few times all due to being on the East coast and close to their flight path when they go down to London or to Clacton Air Display. I was annoyed a few weeks ago when I read on the local Facebook page that a big noise I'd heard one evening was the Red Arrows going over - missed them!
Someone asked about the rose, afraid I don't know the name of any of the roses here apart from one (not this one) which has a label and is called "Happy Retirement".

 Apart from the Barbie Doll and her clothes and the toy cash-register which I picked up two weeks ago, there haven't been any decent car boot finds since the first week of August.  I've been going because I enjoy my early morning walk, but usually coming home with nothing to speak of (all I got on Saturday at the big Needham Market boot-sale were some 3 for £1 packs of shortbread biscuits!)

There were lots of people selling at Stonham Barns yesterday and I found a few useful things amongst all the junk, stuff, toys, ornaments and yet more stuff. As usual it included things for the Grandchildren. My total spend was £7.

I knew that I'd found at least 1 Richard Scarry book before but wasn't sure if it was here or  had gone down to Surrey, so brought home 2 which can stay or go to Youngest Grandson. The Ladybird Wheels book is also for him - just like oldest Grandson he's a great fan of cars and trucks.The Fairies Activity book will be for Oldest Granddaughter to do when I look after her in the Christmas Holidays.

The replica Blitz pack is for me to look at and then pass on when Grandchildren do their WWII projects.I'm pleased with 2 cushion covers in excellent condition to replace a couple of mine and another cushion and cover was needed too. I'd already picked up a cushion from another seller and put it down again when the person said it was £4- Too Much! Good thing I didn't buy it as the one here was £1.
 Finally the new Trowel and Fork set. I bought it thinking it would make a good gift but actually I could really do with new ones myself as mine are ancient . Colin repaired my handfork about 25 years ago by fixing a piece of a leg of old metal folding stool as a new handle!
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Saturday 28 August 2021

Last Saturday in August

Heading to the end of August and still no proper summer weather this week, some sun appeared between the clouds, enough to get washing dry but no real heat, no rain either. Everywhere's getting very dry.

 I had an enforced 3 days rest from Sunday to Tuesday, can't remember when I last had a snotty, grotty, feeling yuck head cold but "they" said that once things got back to sort of normal and seeing more people inside we'd catch all sorts of things. The cold disappeared in time for me to go to the Wednesday morning boot sale - lucky!......not that I found anything interesting - just a punnet of plums and a couple more things for the grandsons car collection - red double-double bus and a tanker lorry.

A tingly moment on Thursday.............. I was driving along a country lane and saw the Red Arrows fly across - all 9 of them!!   Looked online at their schedule  and found 521714N 0010901E E OF THORNDON - 11.47am. How lucky to be in just the right place...............at just the right moment .Love seeing them!

Flowers on the table this week ........ roses from the garden.

This week I've been grateful for

  • Watching the inspirational athletes in the Paralympics
  • Being able to have a couple of days doing nothing much without responsibilities
  • BiL reconnecting the compressor pipe so I could pump up my bike and car tyres (Turns out I should have been pushing and clicking rather than turning.....Duh!) 
  • Finally organising the repair of the car windscreen  for next week

No idea what I'm doing for this long Bank Holiday Weekend. Son, DiL and the two youngest grandchildren have been away on holiday so I'll probably see them sometime. Otherwise some reading and gardening.......and getting organised for next week which is a bit busier.

Have a good weekend whatever you are doing.
Back Monday

Friday 27 August 2021

The August Library Book Photo

 Picked up these from the mobile library yesterday. All books I'd requested on line. There's a definite crime shortage and even one of the two here I'm not sure of as it's a new to me author.

From the top down

  • Juliet Blaxland - The Easternmost Sky. Second book by this author about living with coast erosion 
  • S.J. Bennett - The Windsor Knot - new to me author. The Queen solves a mystery ( sounds odd)
  • Ronald Blythe - A Writers Day Book. I'm gradually reading my way through his books
  • Margot Bennett - The Widow of Bath. Another British Library Crime Classic
  • Clare Leighton - Country Matters. A Little Toller Books reprint with short pieces and her wonderful engravings
  • John Lewis-Stempel - Woodston;The biography of an English Farm. Latest book by this well know author of country writing
  • Sarah Maine - Women of the Dunes.Saw this on a blog I think. New to me author. Not sure if I'll like it.
  • Brett Cobley - Easy Vegan. I'm not vegan or even vegetarian but gradually moving towards eating meat only a couple of times a month. 

Only 8 books including a few I'm not sure of so I reckon I'll be reading from my shelves before the next van visit - which will actually be a Very Good Thing! 

 So how did I get on with last months books?

I read The Screaming Sky (a separate post about it HERE), Brass Lives, Stour Seasons, A Little History of Exmoor,The Circling Sky and Guilty Creatures and skimmed through Nomadland (seen the film taken from the book and decided I didn't need to read it all properly). Then I went to Sowmarket Library after the boot sale last Saturday and picked up a copy of The Skylarks War by Hilary McKay  so that I could quickly re-read it before starting  The Swallows Flight. They are children's books but better than some adult books I've tried recently and well deserved of the prizes they've won. I zoomed through them both as they are so good.
More details about these on the separate Books Read 2021 page.

I didn't read the Ngaio Marsh 3 in One - couldn't be bothered and the print was really small and the cookery book was mostly about building a home smoker and pizza oven.

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Thursday 26 August 2021

On the Washing Line...............

 This took me back to childhood........

 ..........when I was about 4 years old  washing doll's clothes and hanging them out was guaranteed to keep me busy for ages.
 These are some Barbie clothes that I found at the boot-sale last Saturday with a doll  for £2, I also brought home a toy cash register for a bargain 50p because apparently playing shops is Youngest Granddaughter's new favourite game.


These toys are all staying here........not sure where, as the single bedroom/toy room is getting full. I thought I'd be able to pass the baby toys on elsewhere soon but with grandchild number 5 arriving in late September or early October I've got to hang onto the baby stuff, the Duplo and the Play People for another few years yet.

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Wednesday 25 August 2021

Wednesday Allsorts.....................

.........but mainly seen, read or heard.

This  weeks copy of the Radio Times has news of lots of crime dramas for Autumn TV.....Very Exciting.............for me anyway.

Vera is back for a short run and a new Shetland series (Thought they said there wouldn't be anymore). Ann Cleeves really is earning money because The Long Call - first of her new series based in North Devon will be a 4 part TV programme on ITV later this year.
Endeavour is back on ITV in September and P.D James' detective Adam Dalgleish will feature in 3 x two part series set in the 70's on Channel 5 later this autumn
Vigil  sounds good but claustrophobic as it's about the investigations into a death on a Royal Navy Submarine, and Silent Witness returns again. I've been watching on iplayer from the start, think I'm up to about series 15 now and have got to the point when I might have seen them before.
Although this week, I'll be watching the Paralympians in Tokyo. I'm always amazed by their skills of succeeding despite their disabilities.
(Also mentioned in this weeks RT was news that the age for getting free prescriptions will be raised to 66 -very soon, to match pension age, another bit of bad news for people struggling with poor health and poverty, (bad news buried?)

  I'm very attracted to books that have chapters for the months of the year or for the seasons , so when I picked up this below in a charity shop and opened it to find it had things to do to celebrate the wheel of the year it had to come home with me.



The Channel 4 programme on Monday night "Summer of Wild Weather" highlighted this summer's extremes of weather around the world..........Suffolk missed them all......no heatwaves, no floods, no storms, no wild-fires......... Thank goodness, although just a teeny bit more warmth would have been good.

And finally............ on the Radio 4 Today programme Chris Packham said "every time you buy something containing palm oil you are helping to destroy a little bit more of the habitat of so many wild animals". That's why for many years I've been checking labels and cheered when I found Aldi were now stocking peanut butter that only contains peanuts - no salt, no sugar and definitely no palm oil.

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Tuesday 24 August 2021

The Church of St Peter & St. Paul, Bardwell

 It often puzzles me when I go to visit churches how difficult they are to find. Often the tower can be seen from a long way off but then once I get into the village actually finding the church is sometimes quite difficult. Trees, houses and small lanes and the church vanishes. Bardwell was a case in point. The tower is 87 feet tall and I could see it all the way across the fields as I approached the village but when I reached a junction there was no way of knowing which way to turn. I got there in the end!

It's surrounded by trees - impossible to get a good photo

The reason for this church being included in the 100 treasures in 100 churches book is because of the age of this stained glass. It dates from C15 and is one of the earliest and most complete in Suffolk. It is a portrait of Sir William Berdewell  (giving his name to the village) who is thought to have built the tower,the hammerbeam roof and the south porch

The 100 treasures book says "Look closely to see his gold-rimmed glasses" but even zooming in I coudn't see anything.

 The hammerbeam roof still has some of the paintwork which would have decorated it in the past. It has been dated to 1421 from a book held by one of the wooden figures on the brackets - about halfway down on the right hand edge.


View down the Nave

It isn't a bicycle on the right of the photo above! but a coffin bier, now used to display leaflets about the church.

The other stained glass windows in the church are more recent and more colourful than the one from the C14


 Elaborate tomb in the chancel

The remains of a wall painting, which would have been painted over in later years

The 100 treasures book also says to look at the colourful modern kneelers depicting scenes of modern life in the village but the kneelers were all stacked upside down on some of the pews which were taped off (can you really catch covid by kneeling on a tapestry kneeler?! or sitting on a wooden pew?)

All except the one below which was on the bench by the war memorial on the north wall at the back of the nave. If they are all as colourful then it must be wonderful to see them spread out around the church.

The porch is huge and decorated with flintwork panels, small carvings of flowers plus the saints

I'm not sure what these remnants of stonework are, I guess ancient stones from the graveyard, they are on the bench in the porch.

As usual there are more photos and information on Simon Knott's  Suffolk Churches Website

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Monday 23 August 2021

The Yew

 The Yew hedge between my front garden and next door neighbours front garden has had a trim last week. It didn't take me long to cut with the electric hedge trimmer. Much, much easier than the many metres of hawthorn and privet at the Cottage. I raked up all the biggest bits and then hoovered the rest up with the lawn mower The hedge must only be 7 years old according to neighbours but has got very wide and tall in that time. I couldn't reach some of the top middle bits but next door neighbour was able to quickly get rid of the straggle. He also volunteered to clear all the small stuff from his lawn - thank goodness. Hopefully it only needs cutting once a year - there's conflicting advice online.

I've not had much to do with Yew trees or hedges- none anywhere I've lived before but of course they are famously long lived and found in churchyards all over the country including over the road. Back in the Middle Ages they made the best longbows for archery

Here's the Yew pages from the Complete Flower Fairy Book by Cicely Mary Baker


Looked in my book about the Ogham Tree Alphabet and discovered it's the tree that represents the Winter Solstice so I've made a note to write a blog post about it then.

Wordsworth wrote a poem about them too but it's a bit long to include here, this is a small part.

This solitary tree! - a living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay
Of form and aspect too magnificent
To be destroyed

and Arthur Conan Doyle wrote "The Song of the Bow" HERE

 That's enough about the Yew for now

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Saturday 21 August 2021

Saturday Round-Up and the Donated Meal

A quiet week - in several ways. The weather didn't do much, cloud, drizzle and just a few bursts of sunshine and the road that goes out of the village to the A140 is closed for 10 days so the amount of traffic going by was cut by about 99% .

On Tuesday evening I walked just a few minutes up the road to the WI meeting . It was the first real meeting since covid. Now here is an odd thing - when I started Small WI in 2017 the only person I knew was the President (my sister in law). When I started Big WI at Bacton a few months later one of the 3 people I knew was the President (she was the Mum of one of the Cub-Scouts in my pack in the 1980s with a son the same age as Eldest Daughter). Now in this WI the only person I knew was ........yes...... The President (she was Cub-Scout Leader in this  village in the 1980's when I was Cub Scout Leader in Bacton) Reckon I must be well connected!
 As it was the first proper meeting since March 2020 there was no speaker because a lot of sorting out was needed and disappointingly one of the things that came up was the desperate need for a new Treasurer and Secretary. If no one comes forward by the November AGM this WI will be suspended. Bother! Just as I find somewhere I can walk to! This is such a shame as it's a good sized WI with 40 members.
I'm waiting to hear when Bacton WI will get going with real in person meetings again as I want to carry on going there  - it still works out well with meetings in alternate weeks and I'm closer now too.

A couple of odd things have happened to the blog this week. 
When I go into posts to start a new post or to add to one in drafts, I get the page in Html format = gobbledygook - so that I have to click top left to change to Compose Mode. A warning comes up
Switch to compose mode?
Your HTML content is invalid. Switching to the compose mode may lose a part of your content.
Invalid content?  What on earth does that mean . Once in compose mode it's back to normal, for a while.
Also the ability to add/delete blogs to the "blogs I read" sidebar has been complicated by needing to go into the layout page.
Then on Wednesday my post didn't update on other peoples "blogs I Read" list. I tried logging out and logging back in again - but that made no difference. Ho Hum!
When I met up with Rachel-in-Norfolk for coffee yesterday we agreed that so many blogger changes seem completely pointless - especially if it was working perfectly well before.

Many years ago, so long I'd forgotten, we used to celebrate our early vegetable harvest by having a plateful of fresh vegetables from the garden with some cheese sauce.  I only remembered when I was given some runner beans from my sister and a courgette and sweetcorn cob from BiL Andrew. I couldn't be bothered to make cheese sauce so just grated some cheese on top......and a bit of butter on the corn. Everything straight from their gardens to my plate....delicious! Thank you to both.

Back Monday

Friday 20 August 2021

The History of The Post Box

 When I was sorting out the chest of drawers in the crafting half of my bedroom I re-found this book of postcards all about Post Boxes.
I've had it for ages, from a car boot sale probably.
The first pages in the book of postcards tell the story of the post box

 Some of the postcards feature commemorative postage stamps from 2002. Had a look to see which ones of the set I had - but just two out of the 5 which were issued. (Many years ago we trimmed stamps for a charity and I have a good collection up to the year 2000 which is when the charity stopped delivering and picking up) after that I have very few and rarely see any commemorative stamps on my post now.

other postcards are copies of old posters.
 "Post Early For Christmas" isn't a new plea - the copy of a poster below is from 1961      
and even further  back in 1945 they were still asking the same thing

The Post Box below featured quite often as my header as it was at the other end of the lane from the cottage. It was a very annoying letter box with a slot marked "letters only" and there was literally no space to get anything in that was bigger than postcard size. Birthday cards and Christmas cards needed a bike ride down the road for a mile and a half to one with a bigger slot.


My nearest post box now.....plenty of room to post all sorts and just 200 yards away from home

One of the 10 oldest post boxes in the country is in Suffolk. I go past it when driving to visit youngest daughter and one of the few  Edward VIII post boxes is also in Suffolk.

I feel a new hobby starting.........................watch this space!

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Thursday 19 August 2021


 This small book  contains all you ever want to know about Swifts unless you are even more obsessed than the author.


It's been shortlisted for The Wainwright Book Prize for nature writing.

The Publishers  website describes the book............................... 

 Swifts live in perpetual summer. They inhabit the air like nothing on the planet. They watched the continents shuffle to their present places and the mammals evolve. They are not ours, though we like to claim them. They defy all our categories and present no passports as they surf the winds across the world, sleeping in the high thin air, their wings controlled by an alert half-brain. Common swifts – a numerous but profoundly un-common bird – are Charles Foster’s joy and obsession. The euphoria of their springtime arrival gives way to such painful bereavement when they depart that he tries to stay with them – manically, lyrically, scientifically – as they travel, catching up with them in Mozambique, over the cliff-tops of southern Spain, and as they mingle with worshippers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Fiercely rejecting the idea that swifts are ‘just’ birds – indeed that anything is ‘just’ anything – The Screaming Sky is a radical engagement with the infinite complexity of a species. It steps back, looks to the skies, and stands in awe of these magnificent birds.

The only place I've lived and been able to see swifts all summer was during our year in the very small Ipswich bungalow. Looking up almost anytime they were always about - there must have been good high nesting places in town. At the smallholding and at Clay Cottage they could be spotted occasionally  but never everyday through the summer. Here in the village there are some that use an old pub for nesting and I've seen them several times when walking down that road.

 I should think they've left early this summer to fly south - the weather has been horrible. As I type this it is 14℃ and raining. At the moment it sounds good to be a swift and follow the summer!  
An interesting read and as I often say................thank goodness for the library......otherwise I wouldn't have read it.

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Wednesday 18 August 2021

Framlingham Castle

 Last week we took Grandson to Framlingham Castle. This was on my list of places that I'd not been to for many years, the list I wrote before the covid thing shut everything down.

We had to book online the day  before but went a bit early so we could picnic and meet up with Youngest Daughter and Eldest Granddaughter. 

Before meeting we popped into two charity shops where I handily picked up a guide to the castle for 50p instead of the £4 for a new one................not that there was anytime to look at it while actually at the castle as the two grandchildren were on the move all the time.

A late C12 castle built by Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk and home to the earls and dukes of Norfolk for 400 years. Briefly owned by Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII in C16. In 1635 it was sold to a rich lawyer Sir Robert Hitcham and in his will he left it to his old college - Pembroke, Cambridge with  instructions for it to be turned into a poorhouse. The new poorhouse building was erected in 1729 after years of legal wrangling and lasted there for 110 years. It was then used for a Parish Hall and then Pembroke College Cambridge gave it the the Ministry of Works in 1913. It was handed into the care of English Heritage in 1984.

 The first thing we did was to climb up the winding old stairs to  walk the walls, giving a good view all around


This building below is the Poorhouse. Inmates were fed and clothed but had to work.

The Tudor chimney tops are one of the features of this castle. Each chimney has a different pattern.
The supports for the old Tudor bridge which went from the castle to the gardens

One of the boards around the wall walk

The castle sits on a small natural rise in the landscape - not really a hill or a rocky outcrop but gives a good view of the land around


We found a shady place to sit for a coffee

It was one of the few really sunny and warm days of this summer
The two stone chimneys below are the earliest surviving cylindrical chimneys in England, dating to about 1150. The chimneys were extended in Tudor brick.

A poor photo of the entrance


Looking up at the walls from down in the moat - no water - just a footpath all around the castle


The ropes are holding down some netting covering areas that are being repaired

There's also a small local history museum in one of the rooms but as we had two 5 year olds with us we didn't really get a chance to look properly!

Much more recently it is the subject of Ed Sheerans song "Castle on the Hill"


If you want to know more look HERE

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Tuesday 17 August 2021

Lime Marmalade

Years ago my Mum used to buy Roses Lime Marmalade, I remember it being really good (and greener)

Lime Marmalade
but when I tried a jar more recently it didn't seem to have much flavour.
A few years back I tried making Lemon and Lime Marmalade by mixing limes in with a tin of the prepared lemons for marmalade but the pieces of lime ending up really tough.......not nice (and even worse was I'd given some away before I knew about the tough bits!)
Then during my 9 weeks in holiday lets (and how quickly I've forgotten about them!) I bought a jar of Tiptree Lime Marmalade.....it was very tasty but expensive. (Tiptree are a company based in Essex)

So I searched on line for recipes and found this and made it a few weeks ago

Lime Marmalade
  • 12 limes
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1.5kg (3lbs) jam sugar
  • A clean 30cm (12in) square of muslin, or an unused J-cloth
  • String
  • Four or five sterilised glass jars.
  1. Scrub the limes to remove any wax. Halve the fruit and squeeze them (reserving the juice). Place the lime halves in a bowl, cover with water and leave covered in the fridge for 12 hours.
  2. Drain and discard the water. Halve the pieces of lime, scrape out the flesh and membrane, then wrap this - together with any pips - in a bag made from a clean square of muslin or an unused J-cloth. Secure the top with some string.
  3. Slice the peel thinly and place in a large saucepan along with the muslin bag. Then add the lime juice, lemon juice and 1.5lL(48fl oz) of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 1 hour. The peel should be tender - cook a little longer in needed.
  4. Remove the muslin bag from the pan and, using tongs, carefully squeeze any liquid back into the pan.
  5. Discard the bag. Stir in the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes or until setting point is reach (see below).
  6. Allow the marmalade to cool for 20 minutes, then stir and spoon into sterilised jars. Seal and label when cool.

Just in case it wasn't very good I used half the recipe.........which I'm glad about because the faff of preparing the 6 limes reminded me why I only use the ready prepared tins to make marmalade nowadays!

The 6 limes made this much...............4 small jars

It tastes good with a nice sharp tang but is a very poor set, I considered pouring it back in the pan for a bit more boiling but that's no fun. I'll have to eat it all quickly!
Conclusion............. don't bother again.
 Sorry I didn't reply to comments yesterday. I was doing some Nanna duty that involved a lot of driving and playing all day - bit tiring.
I've run out of church visits saved in drafts now so need to go out and about again further afield.
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