Friday 31 December 2021

31st Dec The Annual Round-up in Photos

My Annual round up of the year is mostly photos connected with moving, which took forever. Six months from having my offer accepted to actually moving in. Luckily it's like childbirth, soon forgotten once it's done!

  January. We were locked down and I started packing boxes and lived with them all around for weeks.


February saw more snow fall than we've had for many years. I was stuck up the end of the lane for several days with a drift in front of the garage.

 March and my buyers were keen to move in so we exchanged and I moved out into a holiday let bungalow in Old Newton a village only a few miles from both old home and my new bungalow. It was tucked into the end of a cul-de-sac - no view!

 Hopes of getting moved quickly faded and as the holiday let was needed I spent a couple of weeks in a caravan at the Stonham Barns before moving back to Old Newton.


Finally there was completion on the bungalow and I moved in during the first week of May

In June things were getting back to normal and for me that means car boot sales and my best bargain was the plant stand. Which was a bit rough but after sanding down and painting slate grey it stands on the patio looking very good.

I got my greenhouse sorted in July and I'm very ready to start growing as soon as possible in 2022.

In August Eldest daughter+ bump and Eldest Grandson came to stay for a week and we went to Framlingham Castle

Also in August I watched lots of sport on TV and picked up small bargains from many boot sales.This photo is just one haul

In September I hauled all the "things that shouldn't have moved with me" out of the garage and joined in the village yard sale event

October saw the arrival of Grandchild number 5, my third Grandson.

Every month I add the photo of the library books I've requested and collected from the mobile library to the blog. Always lots of  comments saying "thank you for ideas" which is good to know and I also love to get ideas from other blogs too.


December. Now they are growing up I try not to include grandchildren photos on the blog but now and again one just has to be shared. 
This week I got to meet the newest grandson and we managed to get together 3 times while the Surrey family were visiting Suffolk. Best of all we persuaded them to sit still for a photo. There was a small discussion about who should hold the baby but as Eldest Grandson said " He's MY brother!"

Left to right Youngest Granddaughter and her brother Middle Grandson- who live the closest to me. Eldest Granddaughter who is over near the coast is holding her cousin. Then Eldest and Youngest Grandsons...... the two Surrey boys.

And that was 2021. 

Thank you to everyone for reading and commenting through yet another year of My Quiet Life in Suffolk.

I shall be back next year.......... which happens to be tomorrow.

Tuesday 28 December 2021

28th December. After Christmas and Before New Year Again

Cards and Presents

On Christmas Day there was a mystery present!

It arrived a couple of days before Christmas and was obviously a book so I assumed it was something from my Amazon wish list from one of the family who had sent it direct in case it was late, so I didn't open until Christmas morning. But it wasn't from my wish list - it was a book mentioned on the Monday of the week by Jennie on her blog...........  Alison Uttley's Country Things.

  But How? and Who? I have no idea where this has come from and who has sent it. And this is the second mystery book this year. It's very kind but embarrassing. Thank you.

Lots of other lovely gifts too, I'm a very lucky woman.

Picture frame, shortbread,chocs, writing paper, nest box, craft bits and that's a bar of chocolate wishing me Happy Christmas in Gaelic! With my new Pinking Shears I'll finally be able to cut the material to make the wax food wraps and two penfriends knitted me finger-less gloves/wrist warmers - how's that for coincidence! BiL made me a this........

Can you guess what it is?....................................
It's for putting my wellies on - upside down outside. Very handy because of not having a proper back door and he also brought my present from his sister - books and DVD.

All my cards are beautiful.

Four Candles (as in the Two Ronnies,) Jane Austin and two post boxes

 A sleigh all the way from Canada, 3 robins and from EG's primary school, designed by EG herself (poor parents are now expected to buy cards and mugs as well as the usual School photo!)

9 Kings!!

 And there were Christmas trees,baubles and snowy villages too.

 The Surrey family are coming up to Suffolk today and will be here for the day tomorrow along with the rest of the family - it will be a squash for 12, but we will squeeze in! 

Wish me luck cooking for us all, I don't do many big meals nowadays - so have had to write a time table..............haven't done that for years.

I'll be a bit busy for a couple of days, so will be back Friday with the Review of the Year in Photos.

Enjoy the rest of your in-between week


Monday 27 December 2021

27th December After Christmas and Before New Year

 Many, many thanks for all the Christmas greetings on and before the day.
This is what the hampers for the two sister's (my sister and husband and Col's sister and husband) looked like before I wrapped the whole thing in red cellophane.
The only things bought from shops were the After Eight Mint sticks and the Christmas plates (made of bamboo!) that the cakes are sitting on. The insect hotel and the baskets came from boot sales and everything in jars is homemade. - A Candle, Chutney, jam, marmalade, Elderberry Syrup and that pickled cabbage mentioned last week and finally just a small bag of spiced nuts. (Only a small bag because after the necessary taste test to make sure I'd added enough spices, I  kept most for me....... they are so good 😄)
 Hope they liked all the goodies.

On Christmas day I travelled over to the coast to have a Christmas dinner with Youngest Daughter, the excited 5 year old Eldest Granddaughter, EG's Daddy and one of his mates.  EG painted my nails! Presents were exchanged, dinner was delicious. Then later in the afternoon I came back to Mid Suffolk and spent some time with Son, DiL, excited nearly 4 year old Youngest Granddaughter and laid back  nearly 2 year old Middle Grandson, Dil's Sister and Dad. Presents were exchanged and lots of toys admired. Then I went home and caught up with the Strictly Christmas Special and the Queens Speech.

On Boxing Day BiL came round, he was going to help me dig a mini pond but it rained nearly all day. I fed him a home made veggy curry , because he's a meat eater and says curry is always too sloppy! He actually said it was good.
I've proved there's a huge difference between a home made curry and a takeaway!
Back Tomorrow




Saturday 25 December 2021

December 25th

Wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas.


Hope you too are Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time .....just like this......

Back Monday

Friday 24 December 2021

Advent Photos 2021 December 24th - T'was The Night Before Christmas



 The poem, originally titled A Visit or A Visit From St. Nicholas, was first published anonymously on Dec. 23, 1823, in a Troy, New York newspaper called The Sentinel. 
It wasn’t until 1837 that Clement Clarke Moore accepted credit for writing A Visit. He reportedly wanted to keep his authorship secret initially because he was a professor and the piece wasn’t considered a scholarly work at the time of its initial writing. 
Moore is said to have based his vision of Santa Claus on both St. Nicholas and a local Dutch handyman where he lived in New York. Legend has it that the handyman operated the sleigh that took Moore home. Four handwritten copies of A Visit are known to exist, with three in museums and one purchased at auction by an anonymous media mogul for $280,000 in 2006.
Twas The Night Before Christmas
Info and photo from internet
 I picked this cushion up for pence from a car boot sale a couple of months ago. After Christmas I'm going to use my stitch picker to unpick a seam and give the cover a good wash - and see what's inside - a separate cushion or just stuffing. I should have done it before but completely forgot it was in the cupboard.

Back Tomorrow....briefly........... but if you don't get back to read it - Happy Christmas to everyone.

Thursday 23 December 2021

Advent Photos 2021. December 23rd and ?

?.......... Why ? ..........Just run out of oooomph  for a proper Advent post today - it was supposed to be all about mistletoe......... but I got sidetracked by watching a film.(I really must venture out and see if the mistletoe I spotted within reach last year is still there). 
This is the Nativity Scene by the main gate of the Church. It's lit up at night.
And this has appeared on top of the post box, not a good photo I'm afraid  as the sun (which was a pleasure to see after so many dull days) was just wrong for a better photo.

  I made something for the two Christmas hampers this week that I shall Never EVER do again. It was very simple, it was only pickled red cabbage but blimey I ended up with bits of red cabbage all over the place and purple chopping board, colander and sink.
The first jars I used were too big  so I had to sterilise some smaller ones and move the cabbage from one to t'other and the kitchen smelled horrible from the pickling vinegar even though the extractor fan had been on.
Apart from that it was fine!
Although I don't even know if it will be edible..... Hey Ho.
Next year I won't be moving house or living in holiday lets so hopefully will be able to do more proper chutneys.

One  hamper has gone to my sister and I'll give the other to BiL to take to his sister on Christmas day, as he is calling in on his way past. She thought I'd said I didn't want to do presents anymore (why would I say that?) so my gift will be something off my uptheamazon wish list ....but maybe late! (I did say please don't worry and I love making the hampers anyway, which I really do.)

(Photos of hampers on the 27th)

I've been shouting at this book below all week. As I said on my Library Book Photo post it's by an American author so how good it was depended on the authors research. Well. The book is obviously written for  American readers and no effort has been made to change the words we don't use here. So taps are faucets (Now if I know a faucet is a tap then why can't American readers know that a tap is a faucet!)
 And in all the books about WWII I've read, the Anderson shelter built into peoples gardens to help  protect them from bombs and shrapnel  was NEVER called an 'Andy!' NEVER!
There are several other weird figures of speech too, in fact too many to list. But I'm persevering just to see how many more times I'll be shouting!
Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Advent Photos 2021. December 22nd. The Holly and The Ivy

 A huge holly in a churchyard I visited recently and there's one taller but not so wide in the churchyard over the road.


And in the same place an Ivy covered tomb, plenty of that in the churchyard here too.

I'm not bringing in any Holly and Ivy this year. There's no one here until after Christmas so I'll leave it for the birds.
I've planted two small hollies out the front of the bungalow. Perhaps I'll live long enough to see them with berries!

A traditional arrangement of the carol about the Holly and the Ivy

I planned to write lots more about Holly and Ivy but I've run out of steam for these Advent posts!

Back Tomorrow.....................probably another short one!

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Advent Photos 2021. Dec 21st and the Winter Solstice

Thank you to everyone for comments on yesterday's Boar's Head post. It was interesting to find it was called Head Cheese in Canada. When I was a girl we often had it for tea at a weekend with salt and pepper and bread and butter and it was always tasty which is why I wanted to make it myself when we kept pigs. I'm now going to investigate the few proper butchers shops that are left around about to see if they sell it.

So.........onto today's post...............................


 Last year I did lots of posts about the Ogham Tree Alphabet.

The Ogham Alphabet is the only native British writing system devised over 2,000 years ago and carved using notches onto wood or stone. Although I knew of it, this book found at a boot sale 3 years ago really describes everything well.


 Each tree represents a letter and a month and there are also trees for the other special days in the circle of the year.

The tree for the Winter Solstice is the Yew

I've written about Yew trees before HERE so won't repeat myself but this illustration for the Yew tree representing the letter I comes from the book.


So with the shortest hours of daylight  today it's all is on the upwards and onwards from now. Between the 21st and the 31st daylight  over here in the East will increase by..............................6 minutes!

And once again I have to include this poem, which I love

Susan Cooper was born in the UK and emigrated to the US in 1963, she mainly wrote children's books

This poem was written for the Christmas Revels, which I looked for information about and found.........

On Christmas Eve in 1920, John Meredith Langstaff was born into a music-filled home where a rousing, wassailing carol party was the peak of his family's year. Half a century later, his inspired Christmas Revels was born, a theatrical weaving of traditional song, folkdance, and drama that has become a beloved institution across the country.

 and this

Revels is a contemporary series of American seasonal stage performances, incorporating singing, dancing, recitals, and theatrics loosely organized around a central theme or narrative. The folk-tradition-based performances started in 1957, were restarted in 1971, and now occur in multiple cities around the US. 

 Wonder why we don't have similar here or maybe we do?

Back Tomorrow

Monday 20 December 2021

Advent Photos 2021. December 20th and The Boars Head

 Now this is something you don't see dished up on the 25th December nowadays!

The boars head in hande bring I
With garlands gay and rosemary
(These are the words from an original Boars Head Carol printed in 1521)

Although it would have been quite common in Medieval and Tudor England and the tradition was carried on in some Oxford Colleges into the C19, and perhaps it still is.

 This dish was always served with mustard and is actually what we know now as brawn, something that I made a few times when we kept pigs. Although we always had the head cut in half before getting it back from the butcher as there is a surprising amount of meat on a pigs head, and I would put it to set in a bowl rather than putting it back in the cleaned pigs head skin!

This is the Carol sung by Steeleye Span

 I wonder if butchers still sell brawn (or a pork cheese as it was often called in Suffolk)? I doubt many people under 60 even know what it is!

Back Tomorrow

Sunday 19 December 2021

Advent Photos 2021. December 19th and An Idea For Advent 2022

 The Scouting motto is Be Prepared and after 20 years as a Cub Scout Leader I still like to be ready for anything so when I spotted this in a charity shop it was bought straight away ready for next December's Advent blog posts!


Now I just have to remember this in 11 months time - can someone remind me please!

And the mention of carols reminds me that sometime this morning I must walk around to the United Reformed Church to see if this evenings carol service is on or maybe there will be a big CANCELLED stuck on the poster. I really hope not.

I so enjoyed the final of Strictly Come Dancing last night - some sparkle and happiness among all the news of doom and gloom.

Back Tomorrow


Saturday 18 December 2021

Advent Photos 2021.18th and My Week

I found this chart below on a blog but then lost where it was. It made me smile (the tiny writing on the right says it's © Mattsurlee. So hope he doesn't mind me putting it  on my not-for-profit-non-money-making blog!) 


Hope this isn't applicable to anyone out there? Although the 31st used to happen to me every year and it's only now looking back I can see exactly what we accomplished and wonder what I thought I'd missed.

This week...................

On Monday I went and had my eyes tested - about time too as it had been 3 years. No problems, although I need 2.5+ reading glasses to replace my 2.0+. Youngest daughter is going to look through the companies they order from to see if she can find me some snazzy-jazzy decent quality. 

After that the rest of the week turned into one of those weeks that I don't really need too often
  • I hope I avoided doing over 30mph just round the corner from home, where the speed camera van was unexpectedly parked.

  •  Christmas Day plan fell through  - I was expecting it really. Other people have been invited but "there wasn't room for me" !

  • The so called silver shimmer icing for the Christmas cakes (including the two for the hampers) was more grey than silver and looks a bit odd
  • WI was cancelled because so many of the older ladies were  shocked by the PM saying "emergency" 5 times on his unexpected Sunday night broadcast, that they'd rung the president with apologies.( I didn't watch it so had no idea until hearing the news on Radio 4 at bedtime)
  • The house was stone cold one morning when it should have been warm 

  • I  went shopping but left my list at home.


It was rescued by Ian, the heating engineer, (who solved the problem last week by phone) fitting me into his day to come and look - and this time it was a speck of dirt jamming something up. 
 my children still love me so I will be with other family for Christmas Day!
the Christmas cakes will taste alright even though the icing is rather grey
plus a book I've never seen and have been wanting to own for years, dropped down in price by a few pounds and I decided  to treat myself for New Year and it actually arrived 2 weeks before expected so I can enjoy over Christmas. Lovely. (Photo after Christmas as I've hidden it away!)
and  luckily I didn't miss anything important from the shopping list (despite this below, which happened 15 minutes before I arrived and was ongoing and looking very serious and had shocked staff and customers  alike. The shoppers on the 'Border-Hopper' mini bus were all being treated for shock in the cafe.)

An 80-year-old woman was airlifted to hospital with "serious injuries" after being involved in a collision with a minibus in a supermarket car park in Diss. Police, fire and ambulance crews attended the incident outside Morrisons in Victoria Road just after 9.30am. Firefighters from Diss and Harleston released passengers using hydraulic rescue equipment, while an ambulance and the East Anglian Air Ambulance were also at the scene.A Norfolk police spokeswoman said the woman suffered "serious injuries".An East of England ambulance service spokeswoman added: "Crews treated a female patient at the scene before airlifting her to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for further assessment and care."

I hope the lady has survived and is recovering.

I have many things to be grateful for after all.
Not a lot happening today - I was looking forward to the Strictly final but with AJ having to pull out due to injury it won't be quite so good. 

Back Tomorrow

Friday 17 December 2021

Advent Photos 2021 December 17th and Christmas Reading......

.......... aka.... The December Library Book Photo.

These are the books I collected from the Mobile Library yesterday. All are books I've reserved over the last months. Several non-fiction again, so I hope they are more readable than last month. 

From the top of the pile going down
2 new-to-me crime authors Marion Todd and Jim Eldridge.
'Forecast; A Diary of The Lost Seasons' is a book about weather and how climate is changing the way birds and animals behave
'October, October' is a children's book that I noticed on a book blog somewhere
Anne Perry's book - 'A Christmas Legacy' is one of her recent Christmas Novellas
'Sitopia - How Food Can Save The World' - Not sure why I ordered this, looks a bit serious.
'Green Gifts' - just in case there are any new ideas
'Veg in One Bed' - I almost borrowed this earlier in the year but as it took me another 6 months to move here and have vegetable beds it will be more useful now.
'The Natural Cook' has recently been reprinted with a different title (why do publishers do that?) so I was glad to find that out before I asked the library to get a copy of the newer title.

On the right
'Little Stories of Your Life' is one I actually did ask the Library to buy. I think it's about journaling etc
The latest Elly Griffiths - 'The Midnight Hour'. This may well be the start of a new series for her, as it has as it's main character Emma, wife of Detective Edgar Stephens, who features in her Brighton Mysteries. Emma has just started her own private detective agency. Set in  the 1960's
'The Last Bookshop in London' is set in WWII - hence my interest, although the author is American so how good it is will depend on her research from across the pond!

In November I collected these 12 below and HERE is the list of what they were. I read 7 out of the 12 and they are now on the 'Books Read 2021 page'. I abandoned the Richard Osman after only reading a third of it. 3 of the non fiction were a bit dull and I wasn't in the right mood for them. The Hedgerow Apothecary is still here so I can decide if it's worth the purchase or perhaps just some photocopying.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 16 December 2021

Advent Photos 2021. December 16th and Shortbread

First of all must say thank you to everyone for comments over the last two days that I've failed miserably at replying to for no good reason that I can think of.

Anyway onto today's post..................

Why do the shops sell more shortbread at Christmas than any other time of the year?

Shortbread originated in Scotland and was expensive to make, so was often given as a gift at Hogmany and weddings. The idea might have first come from French pastry chefs when Scotland and France were often allies. 

According to wiki the first printed recipe, in 1736, was from a Scotswoman named Mrs McLintock. In my book 'Christmas Fare' by Judith Holder and Alison Harding they include a recipe from a 19C cookery book by a Mrs Dalgairn which includes 'caraway comfits' (sugared caraway seeds) and then 50 years later the more well known English cook Eliza Atkins gives a recipe for 'Good Scottish Shortbread' which was remarkably similar to Mrs Dalgairn's ..........

With one pound of flour mix well two ounces of sifted sugar and one of candied orange-rind or citron sliced small; make these into a paste with from eight to nine ounces of good butter, made sufficiently warm to be liquid; press the paste together with the hands and mould it upon tins into large cakes 1 inch thick, pinch the edges, and bake in a moderate oven for twenty minutes, or longer should it not be quite crisp, but do not allow it to become deeply coloured.

 Another recipe included in 'Christmas Fare' is said to come from Ayrshire and is a rich shortbread using cream and eggs and no peel and was always made into a round and cut into 'petticoat tails'. So named because of their shape or maybe a corruption of the French petits galettes  - little cakes.

Walkers Shortbread Petticoat Tail Shortbread, 150 g
photo from internet

For years I had a recipe for Shortbread given to me by Great Aunt Ann, who I think was originally from Scotland. It used a mix of flour and cornflour along with butter and castor/icing sugar - but somewhere in the last 20 years that recipe disappeared from my folder to be replaced by a recipe from the lady who made shortbread biscuits every week for the WI Country Market in Framlingham. Wish I hadn't lost that old recipe as it was made by pressing the mix into a round tin whereas the more recent has to be rolled into a cylinder shape, chilled and then sliced - more fiddly.

This is the WI recipe, very traditional and using only 3 ingredients in 3:2:1 ratio

9oz Plain Flour
6oz Butter
3oz castor sugar
Mix until it forms a ball, gently form the ball into a cylinder shape, wrap in cling film and chill in fridge for ½ hour. Slice into thin rounds, lay on non stick paper on baking sheet then preheated oven 160℃ for 5 minutes, then 1 minute at a time watching closely until just beginning to colour - don't let them brown.
 I like shortbread, preferring them to any other biscuits and the bought ones are often made from the basics without any weird added ingredients. I bought some to pop in the cupboard, just in case, not in the specially made Christmas tins, but just in the normal cardboard box packaging.
They come with a bit of history.................. Although Paterson's have been taken over by Burtons and probably no longer even made in Scotland.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Advent Photos 2021. December 15th and Posting Early

 Here are the leaflets printed this year to remind us general public how to help Royal Mail deliver the 900 million cards, that I mentioned yesterday, in plenty of time for Christmas.

(With one of the 900 million delivered showing a delivery from 2000 years ago!)

The Post Office have been pleading with people to post early for over 70 years. This postcard shows the poster from 1958

and even further back in 1945 at the end of WWII.

This year the dates are 18th for second class and 21st for first class and you are way  too late for Australia and New Zealand!

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Advent Photos 2021. December 14th and The Christmas Cards

Below is a picture of what is thought to be one of the first  commercial cards sent dating from 1843. Designed by John Calcott Horsley RA. after 1,000 were commissioned by his friend Henry Cole

The first commercially produced Christmas card, sent by John Calcott Horsley to Sir Henry Cole in 1843

 - a very important and busy man (including founding the Victoria and Albert Museum and being assistant to Rowland Hill in the creating of the Penny Post), who didn't have time to write letters with seasonal greetings to all his friends  and associates.

They were a financial failure - much too expensive at 1 shilling each. But the idea didn't disappear and after printing became cheaper and the postage for cards and unsealed envelopes was reduced, the postmen of the time were soon delivering 1 million cards every year.

 Now 900 million Christmas cards are sent in the UK each year.......poor post people! and for many charities Christmas card sales provide one of their most important revenue sources.

I like to buy charity cards - preferably bought in their January sales- and probably send cards that have pictures on that I would like to receive - that is, old fashioned village scenes, lots of snow and maybe robins, pheasants or owls. But really I'm just happy to receive any cards at all!

Back Tomorrow

Monday 13 December 2021

Advent Photos 2021. December 13th and The Robin

 More photos of the  reproductions of Victorian Christmas cards that were sold as a fundraiser for the RSPB sometime in the last 20 years.

Robins everywhere on cards at  Christmas, maybe because they are one of the few birds to sing through December?

But often thought to be because the first postmen delivering the first Christmas cards when the penny post  was introduced in 1840 and cards became popular  after 1843, wore red coats and were nicknamed the "Robin Postmen".

My first half a  dozen cards arrived but none with robins but then a card with robin popped through the letter box on Friday - so thank you to my penfriend W for providing a photo for the blog! (and thank you for the parcel too)

Back Tomorrow