Tuesday 30 November 2021

No Spend November? Did It Happen........er....No!

One small bit of extra income this month was £16.50 from selling several secondhand books through Ziffit. Other than that it was the usual pensions  and small bits of interest from savings bonds. Plus the £200 winter fuel allowance went into the bank.

Then it was No Spend November which is an annual challenge plan to only buy food, fuel, Christmas things and pay bills through the month. The idea is to save some money to use in December to finish the Christmas food shopping. Lots of bloggers used to do it when I started blogging in 2013. I've never taken it as a serious rule - actually that's my take on life in general!

I didn't take it seriously at all this year because as well as Christmas presents for the Grandchildren and Youngest daughters birthday gift, I bought a spring tine leaf rake, a dalek compost bin, a metal cage for the leaf mulch,compost,  2 pear trees and the seed order .  Everything for the garden! My Mum would have had heart failure! She wasn't keen on me buying books or garden things with my money - it was supposed to be used for things for the house - she was quite house proud - I'm most definitely am not.
As well as the above there were all the usual things like the 4 weekly Electric bill, charity donation, food, diesel for the car(price up yet again this month), the window cleaner came and phone bills. Then the biggest spend was a 500 litre heating oil order which will fill my tank and last me through the winter and most of spring.

Therefore it ended up being a Very Spendy Month - to make up for this I shall do a No Spend January (she says - with fingers crossed behind her back!)

Any tiny frugal things? Only the usual.........

  • Mixing whole milk half and half with water
  • Making big batch of vegetable/paneer curry and put in freezer for family visit at Christmas (will save a takeaway)
  • Library books for free
  • Somehow avoided using tumble dryer all month - finished things off on radiators
  • Made a pair of leggings last longer by threading in new elastic and mending tiny holes.
  • Ordered some Grandchildren Christmas presents with a Black Friday discount
  • Pensioners discount Fish and chips
  • Home made bread
  • Made Christmas cakes for the hampers (not really frugal but better than buying more shop bought items ) 
  • Charity Christmas cards for £1 from a charity shop.
  • Avoided temptation to buy expensive diary (the Country Wisdom and Folklore diary for £12)- and got one for £2 from The Works 
  • Avoided more temptation to buy gorgeous traditional picture advent calendar - saving myself another tenner at least! 
So not a frugal month but at least I can say I have everything needed to get started with growing food next spring and Christmas present shopping is done as the Grown up children all get money - makes life easier. The two hampers are finished and BiL just wants some new work boots - so I'll give him some money and he can get them.
I have a small list of food things to make next month - spiced nuts is at the top of the list, but I daren't make them too soon or I'll eat them and have to start again. Plus Cheese straws and mini vegetarian nut roasts. Then I'll be ready for whoever and whenever visitors arrive and if it doesn't happen then I'll have plenty to eat all through January!

Back Tomorrow, which is the 1st December so straight into Photos in Advent 2021


Monday 29 November 2021

St. Mary's Church in Hadleigh

 St Mary's Church in Hadleigh is a very large church, another one funded by the importance of wool in the past.

Below is a photo of a postcard of the church which I bought because.............................

.........this is how it looked when I visited a couple of weeks ago

lots of repairs going on under what is the oldest spire in the county which is 71 foot tall on top of the 64 foot tower.

Zooming into see the clock with bell cast around 1280

 The church gets a mention in the 100 treasures book because of it's magnificent ancient carving of the wolf with the head of King Edmund. The wolf is thought to be a caricature of the clergy at the time.

 It's much bigger than many pew end carvings although I have seen smaller ones elsewhere and probably dates from the C14. BUT if you follow the link at the end of the post Simon Knott thinks it is something different.

The large church has many stained glass windows and several include dedications for the person in who's memory they were made.


In the window below each panel is for a separate  person

A more modern window on the north aisle

 This photo below show how large and wide this town church  is

 In the south chapel the window tells the story of Rowland Taylor who was burned to death in 1555 by Catholic Queen Mary because of his enthusiasm for the previous Protestant religion

This wooden cross has a  board explaining it once held the weather cock on top of the spire

Many more photos and a much fuller explanation of everything in the church is on Simon Knott's Suffolk Churches website HERE
I took a few other photos that didn't come out very clearly so haven't included them
Back Tomorrow

Saturday 27 November 2021

Last Saturday in November

This week I've raked up more leaves, read a book, fiddled about on the blog for far too long, made a huge batch of vegetable/Paneer  curry and popped it in the freezer for a  Family Christmas meal, made a small batch of 4 mini chocolate and meringue gateaux also into the freezer, wrote lists, been Shopping, worried that my bread-maker had gone wrong (it hadn't - it was just bad yeast) had a visit from DiL and the two grandchildren and had my Covid booster vaccination.
And Yes I did know what I was doing, I've NOT been forced into it like some poor people in other countries and I signed the petition asking the Government to debate and stop employers making vaccinations compulsory. I'm as much my own person as anyone else! I don't believe this is a way to control the population, people should be free to choose and as the world always changes people have been frightened and worried about  those changes forever.
It was once thought that traveling by the speed of trains would cause women to miscarry their babies or make them infertile! There was a huge fear of flying as no-one could understand how the planes didn't fall out of the sky. Television was thought to be so dangerously bright that it had to be watched in a dark room and tomatoes were too poisonous to eat.
It's a funny old world and always has been. My motto for  my life is to do what I think is right at the time as long as it doesn't hurt anyone and then to have no regrets afterwards.
Have a good weekend.
I shall return on Monday by which time my covid vaccination will have turned me into a Zombie.
But anyway it doesn't matter as  the apocalypse is coming, the earth will either hit by a meteor or civilization wiped out by a massive volcanic eruption!
(But while we are waiting for that to happen, if you live in the N.E of England or Scotland please take care - the weather forecast is dire, damaging winds and blizzards and very cold)

Friday 26 November 2021


 What on earth to write about today? 

I'll have to do one of those "looking back at this day in previous years" post

Which didn't start well because when I looked for 26th November 2020 last year I found I'd just accepted the offer for the house and took a few days of blogging to start sorting things out and packing.

In 2019 my 26th November post was photos of a walk across the field near the cottage and around a small lane and back along the road


In 2018 my post was about some so called Black Friday Shopping   that I'd done in Ipswich the week before. 
"From Charity shops I found 3 tops for a total of  £7

                                         Green crepe paper for  £0.25p
                            Tree Decorations for total of    £2.50
                              Xmas Present for Jacob  for   £3
 Another Christmas book for the grandchildren   £0.49p
From Poundland Biscuits  for Christmas Day      £1
                                                 Gold Spray           £1
                                            Party Poppers            £1
 Aldi  for Xmas  dessert cocoa coated...Nuts       £1.99

And finally, because I'm going to make an effort and put up a Christmas tree this year I got some new  lights for £9.99.

I didn't see anyone fighting over reduced stuff, the town looked no busier than usual for a Friday morning. I didn't bother with any of the big department stores and went home via the packaging place for the red crepe paper (couldn't find any in town) and florists tape......................I have a craft project in mind that I happened upon on a Kirstie Allsop Handmade Christmas Programme.

If it works you'll see it here, if it fails you won't!"

(The poinsettia party poppers were a fail - The party poppers are still in the Christmas draw!)


On November 26th 2017 my post was about a trip to Felixstowe the week before. Colin was just about to go into hospital for the stem cell transplant and was feeling not to bad.

"We went down to the beach hut on Friday to check and oil the padlocks and to bring home anything that might get damp - like the coffee in a jar.
It was a beautiful morning, the sea was flat calm

The next time we went was the following spring, Colin wasn't well, the stem-cell transplant didn't seem to be working and we sold the beach hut to someone who had left a note in the door. 

I didn't write a post on 26th November 2016

In 2015 I was repeating the ideas for 30 ways to a £1 and on the 26th it was Making your own bread

Back to 26th  November 2014 when I was writing Christmas cards early (need to do that this year really!)

Finally 2013 and November was the month when I did 30 ways to save £1 for the first time so the post was again about making bread.

Blimey what a extremely boring day 26th November has often been!

Today on the 26th I'm off to the pharmacy/chemist shop in Eye for my booster vaccine. A very strange place to get done - it's a very small shop.

Hopefully it will be like the previous two = with no side effects.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 25 November 2021

25th November - St. Catherine's Day

 I wrote a bit about St Catherine on the25th November 2019 as she is the reason that lace maker and author Julia Jones wrote the book Cattern Cakes and Lace. 
In the introduction to the book the author says she heard about Saint Catherine when reading about lace makers in Tudor times celebrating their Patrons Day with merrymaking. 
St Catherine had become the protector of young unmarried women when stories of her Martyrdom on a wheel of fire were brought back from The Holy Lands by returning Crusaders. As well as lacemakers. unmarried women she is also patron saint of wheelwrights, millers, philosophers and librarians.
 Several months later I found the book of Saints so here's a bit more about today's Saint.
In the year 305 the Emperor Maxentius(or Maximinus II) carried away many women - the wives and daughter of the citizens of Alexandria. One of them was a rich Christian woman named Catherine who was only 18 but well educated and beautiful. Pagan philosophers were called to convince her that her beliefs were foolish. But instead she converted them to Christianity and Maxentius put the pagans to death. Catherine refused to marry him and was beaten and incarcerated. While the Emperor was away one of his wives and an officer named Porphyrius visited Catherine and they too were converted. Maxentius returned and had them killed as well as 200 men of the imperial guard who Porphyrius had converted. Maxentius had them all killed and decided Catherine had to die too.
First a wheel, covered in knives was used but when Catherine was tied to it the wheel broke and killed many people watching. 
Finally she was beheaded in 310 and for years afterwards claims were made that her bones oozed oil that could cure illness.
According to my Calendar of Saints book the painting above is "Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine of Alexandria" by Jacob Jordaens. BUT after the mistake they made on another painting which I didn't check (on a post a few months ago) I thought I'd better check the accuracy - and after a quick search I can't find any mention of this painting by this artist elsewhere. I didn't have time for a deep delve into the internet so have no idea if the description is accurate or not.
There's also a mention of paintings of The Mystical Marriage Saint Catherine of Sienna and maybe the lace maker link is a mix up with Katherine of Aragon who possible introduced Lace making to this country.

So who knows - it's all a long time ago!

Best wishes to everyone celebrating Thanksgiving today
Back Tomorrow


Wednesday 24 November 2021

St. Peter's Church in Elmsett

This church appears in the 100 treasures in Suffolk Churches book because of something that's just across the road from the church.

It's a memorial from 1935. The sun was the wrong way for a good photo but if you scroll down the page I've copied some bits from the website with a better photo and all the information about the tithe war that was just one of many between church and farmers at that time.

 Elmsett St Peter's is a typical small village church. It sits right at the edge of the modern day village above a valley in South Suffolk.

The wood on the porch is ancient it dates from C13

 With an equally or even older door. People have been entering the church this way for more than 700 years!

As it was not long after Remembrance Sunday there were poppies on the font

  and on the pulpit which dates from the early C17 and was moved here from St Mary-at-Quay, Ipswich

All the way down the nave

How odd that just a week or so after visiting Brent Eleigh Church and  saying that a three sided altar rail is unusual (as quoted from the Suffolk Churches website) here is another at a church in much the same area with another three sided rail dating from C17.

Memorial to Edward Sherland in the chancel dates to 1609. There's a scythe and an hourglass and two skulls all symbols of death

At first I thought it was some sort of trick of the light, but the Chancel really is painted in a pale green, different to the white of the rest of the church.

The Coat of Arms originally for Queen Anne (1702-14) was re-dated 1757 for King George II.

The organ sits up above the Nave on a balcony

More about the church on Simon Knott's Suffolk Churches website HERE

Connected to the tithe wars his mention of the Suffolk fascists was all news to me......." It is salutary for us to recall that the tithe controversy has lingered well into the collective folk memory of modern Suffolk. This part of East Anglia gave strong support to the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s, who were vocal in their support for the tithe rebels. George Orwell documented the struggle in his novel A Clergyman's Daughter. A fascist councillor was elected by the tithe protesters at Eye and, in 1936, massed lines of police confronted fascist blackshirt thugs protesting against the tithe system outside Wortham Rectory. Hard to imagine, now.


As far as I know we don't have many/any fascists in Eye or Wortham - both close to home - anymore!
Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 23 November 2021

The Raspberry Bed + This and That

 Another job has been done in the garden, thanks to a lot of help from my BiL. He's still wanting to keep busy after a year of retirement, mostly mending things  like cars and lawnmowers and other bits of machinery but he doesn't mind a bit of gardening. 
The wood surround are re-used from the shuttering for the concrete greenhouse base. He is going to see what he can find for a post at each end ready for attaching the wire to hold up the raspberry canes. The two other photos are how I'm filling up the garden with productive things.......
My new pear trees, on the left
The nasty plastic edging around the lawn has gone and  the 3 new vegetable beds, with bags of compost laying on the top of them ready to be spread next spring are over on the far side by the fence. On the patio by the trellis is where the 3 Minarette apple trees will go.

.......compared to how it was before, when it was just grass. Probably a lot of people would prefer it how it was!
I need to apologise for not replying to comments promptly. I often turn off the lap top early especially if there's plenty of good reading waiting. I don't have a thing set up on my phone to tell me when a comment arrives either  - wouldn't want that.
On Saturday I missed seeing that Joan hadn't understood about the connection between singing and covid (it's all about the breathing out!) so didn't get to reply properly until Sunday... ...a bit late..

This photo has been on my phone for a month - the Mobile Library has been wrapped! I thought painted because it was white before and without the colourful panel but the library lady said it's a sort of plastic wrapping that stuck on by heat. There's no chance of it hiding now!

Hopefully this means that their idea of getting rid of the large van and swapping to something half the size that just delivers books has been dropped.

 A couple more  photos..........Living opposite the graveyard I don't see many signs of life! but watched two blokes setting up a grave stone  last week. The tree in glorious yellow leaf is now completely bare after just a week - the windy weather and drop in temperature soon made them all fall.

 Does anyone else watch Countryfile on Sunday evenings and shout at the TV "Let them stand still while they're talking!" I do.

I also watch Doctor Who and go "?" except for this latest series when it's been more like "????" 

I went mad on Sunday and popped over to the last Sunday Market/CarBoot Sale at Woolpit, it was freezing and hardly anyone selling but I found some more old flowerpots for my plant stand to replace the one that was too big ( it tipped the plant stand forward after a particularly wet day) and for the succulent that's still in a plastic pot.

From the Christmas Fair on Saturday I found a concrete frog. I had one like this but it got left somewhere and I've been looking for one all summer. So my next job here will be to dig a mini pond so he can sit beside it. My tiny pond at the cottage attracted frogs most years, although here I'm surrounded by fences so not sure they will find a way in.  I need to make a frog and hedgehog tunnel somewhere.

Bit of a muddle of a post  and definitely This and That.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 22 November 2021


 One of the reasons I got my seed order sorted last week was because when I went to buy the leaf rake from the local hardware place their seed stands had lots of empty spaces already and when I looked online at one of the seed companies the 'Sorry Sold Out' note came up on several varieties of many of the vegetable seeds.
It seemed a good idea to buy ready for sowing next spring sooner rather than later especially as I like to pick either things I've grown before or something completely new for a change.

Looking to choose which tomato seeds I wanted to grow this year reminded me that several years ago, when I wrote for the Suffolk Smallholders Newsletter I did some pieces about the things we were growing, looking at the history of where they'd originated and how to grow them. (The newsletter editor was always desperate for things to fill the pages because despite 200 families in the society hardly anyone got round to contributing, so anything I wrote was always included!)

Being a bit short of idea for blog posts I searched through my folder of "Diary From Fareacre" pages, which I've managed to keep through all the house moves and found my piece about tomatoes.............

A Closer Look at .........................................TOMATOES 

 Probably originally from western South America, but it was first cultivated in Mexico and other parts of Central America. It's likely the name 'tomato' derives from the Aztec 'xitomati', which means 'plump thing with a navel'. 
They reached Britain in the 1590s, but we are not really sure how they arrived or who brought them. It was mentioned in Gerard's Herbal, which was published in 1597. For centuries they were believed to be poisonous, and were only grown as ornamental plants. The fact that tomatoes were actually edible seems to have spread from Italy around the Mediterranean. By the early nineteenth century there were three colour forms, red, yellow and white, although they were still not eaten by the middle and working classes of the time.
In the seed catalogues tomatoes are usually labelled as Indeterminate or Determinate/Bush

Indeterminate tomatoes also known as Vine or Cordon tomatoes. The tall plants (up to 3m/10ft if left unstopped) keep growing and producing tomatoes over long period of time, until frost kills the vine. The plants require staking, tying and side shoot pinching (These are the small shoots that appear on the main stem adjoining a leaf stem)

Determinate tomatoes also known as Bush tomatoes. The plants are smaller (up to 90cm/3ft tall) and rather compact, with many side shoots which shouldn't be removed. They can be grown with or without support.

Tomatoes come in many different shapes and sizes....Cherry, Grape, Plum, Salad and  Beefsteak. 
There's now a Super Beefsteak where one tomato is so big it needs two hands to hold it and a tiny cherry with fruits the size of a red-currant .....and everything in between.
Most seed catalogues and seed packets will give information to explain the best places to grow each different type. There are those that will do best in a greenhouse or polytunnel, some specially bred for outdoor growing and a few which can cope in or out and now more are being bred for disease resistance especially for blight which has become a problem in recent years in this country with changing weather conditions. Tomatoes grown outside need a sunny sheltered position with protection from winds.

Tomato seed can be started as early as late January if they are for indoor growing but they will need keeping somewhere frost-free and light during spells of cold weather in March and April. For outdoor growing, seeds should be sown about 6 weeks before the date of the last possible frost. They are easy to germinate given a little warmth and actually seem to prefer to be pricked out from a seed tray to a small pot and then transplanted into a 3 or 4 inch pot before being transplanted to their final growing position.
Tomatoes are hungry plants and need good soil and compost and regular feeding at least once a week as soon as the first truss has set. The special tomato grow bags sometimes don't contain enough compost to last the life of the plant, so if possible use the compost in bigger pots with room to add water and plant food.
Inside or outside they need regular watering as irregular watering can cause Blossom End Rot - when a brown patch appears at the bottom of the tomatoes and spreads upwards. Although they need watering at the roots they prefer dry air around the plants, so don't use a sprinkler or water the leaves.

That was most of my bit about tomatoes apart from going on to say what we were planning to grow in that particular year (2007) which were Sungold, Shirley and San Marzano. 
This year I won't be raising the 40+ plants we needed for the poly-tunnels back then- I think half a dozen with a couple started later will do. I searched through the two seed catalogues that had arrived by post to decide what to buy this year  - only plum tomatoes now as they have less seeds = better for my stomach! and they are so much better for chutney. 
A few years ago I came across news of a white variety which were supposed to be less acidic, and better for some people who find tomatoes aggravate arthritis but they've never appeared anywhere (that I've seen) since. 
Anyway two types of Plum tomato seed were ordered for 2022  - Sun Grape - small one-bite and delicious. Plus Super Mama -big and  easily skinned for my Red Hot Relish.
Then I was fiddling about on other online seed companies and came across Thompson and Morgan with a packet of seeds called Artisan Mixed and they had free postage on Sunday and arrived a few days later..
Seems I'm now growing 3 different varieties after all!


Back Tomorrow

Saturday 20 November 2021

Saturday Round-Up Again 20th

What have I been doing this week?.........apart from raking up leaves which are falling fast now......

Around the country all WI's have their AGM in November. Ours was pretty straightforward as luckily people had come forward to take on the jobs of treasurer and secretary. The President was willing to stand again and everyone is happy about that - makes life easier if there is continuity and we don't have to vote!  We had Coffee and cakes of course. No singing Jerusalem this month as apparently there's a lot of Covid positive tests going round the village...........I had no idea.
A couple of quizzes had been organised. The first one had us rummaging in our handbags - all WI ladies have handbags! we scored points depending on which things we were carrying around and I had hardly anything compared to some of the others ...........no stamps, no photographs, no perfumes, no real handkerchief and because I cut them all up the other week I didn't even have a loyalty card that gets stamped each time (like the Grape Tree and Greggs and the hairdressers used to do). 
I walked home carrying a Holly Tree, bought off the bring and buy stall for £1. Not sure where I'm going to plant it yet but it needs straightening up when I put it in the ground.

 I had a good morning out on Wednesday visiting more churches and picking up a couple of charity shop bargains in the South Suffolk town of Hadleigh. There were no charity shops there last time I visited (about 15 years ago) and now  at least two.
 First another Diary of an Edwardian Lady plate - this time for April, cost me £3. (The one I found earlier in the year from a boot sale was October) .This will appear on my seasonal shelf next year.

 And most of a box of Charity Christmas cards, also for next year, for £1

 I came home from Hadleigh via the Garden Centre and got my seed compost, and the seeds I'd ordered last week were sitting on the doorstep waiting for me, so I'm right ready for spring.

I didn't have any flowers last week but this week bought a bunch of mixed flowers that are colourful.


This week I'm grateful for

  • Some good weather for gardening clearing and I even got the grass cut
  • A nice morning out
  • Getting ready for growing some food next year

There are Christmas fairs I could go to today but then I'd probably just feel guilty about not buying any of the craft things again............so maybe not.  Perhaps I should make a start on the library books.

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

Friday 19 November 2021

The November Library Book Photo

 A huge heap of reading collected from the mobile library yesterday. They are all books I had ordered online, and often with waiting lists, so there's no way of knowing how long it will be before they arrive but I think I can safely say this is a VERY good month!
And so many crime fiction by favourite authors 

From the top down -Transient Desires which a recent Donna Leon -set in Venice
These Names  Make Clues is another British Library Crime Classic by one of their  best re-printed authors - E.C.R. Lorac
A Christmas Revolution is one of Anne Perry's Christmas Novellas, set in Victorian times
The Riverwoman's Dragon is the new book by Candace Robb about Owen Archer and set in C14 York
Anne Perry - Three Debts Paid  which is her most recent in the Daniel Pitt series set  in London in the early 1900's
 Ancestors; The Prehistory of Britain in Seven Burials is a Non Fiction book  by the brilliant Professor Alice Roberts.
Another Non Fiction - By Jeff Young and titled Ghost Town;A Liverpool Shadow Play not sure why I've ordered this, a quick flick through tells me I won't read it!
The second of the Very Well Publicised  Richard Osman series set in a retirement home
On the right
Non Fiction - The Hedgerow Apothocary by Christine Iverson.
Mike Hollow - The Canning Town Murder. Set in WWII London
The most recent Julie Wassmer Whitstable Pearl crime novel - Strictly Murder
And almost lost on the right is one of  the Little Toller reprints - An English Farmhouse by Geoffrey Grigson first published in 1948.

I already know I'll enjoy all the crime fiction so that's 8 books to read, even if the non fiction isn't so good.

The big question is...........where to start?

The books I collected last time and have read are listed on the separate Books Read 2021 page.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 18 November 2021

Just Two More No-Meat Products

 I'm  enjoying trying all these new-to-me vegetarian things, well, I say "enjoying" but that's not been true with all of them. Here are the previous taste testings.

 This one below comes from Aldi.

This is the description Wholemeal seeded pastry case filled with chedder cheese, feta cheese and spinach in a savoury custard with cream and free range egg.Topped with feta cheese,red peppers and pine nuts.
Several of the things tried previously have been tasteless but this was the opposite, it had a bit too many flavours. As well as all the above there was garlic and thyme in there too. So many different things that it was difficult to work out if it was good on not. And it was Very Big for one person but not really big enough and much too squishy for cutting in half.
Wouldn't bother buying this again, it's just a glorified quiche! So I could make it myself but with fewer ingredients and with the new chest freezer now holding a store of home-made pastry cases, I can  whip up a quiche to last me several days in no time at all. 
And finally Linda McCartney Burgers. I never eat meat burgers anywhere but tried these a few weeks ago and they were surprisingly good. I'll be buying them again.

I reckon that's enough of trying things unless I come across something completely different somewhere.

Back Tomorrow