Tuesday 31 May 2022

End Of The Month Round Up

Seems to have been quite a long month with all sorts of different weather including hot enough for sitting out and then cold enough to wish I'd not altered all the boiler timings. Last Sunday was particularly cold and nasty....... I'm sure the cold weather was due to me buying new bottles of suntan and after sun lotions!.....Jinxed it.

 As predicted May was less spendy than April and there was extra income with that £150 government "help for price rises" going into the bank...............I was thinking how useful that would have been when we had 3 small children and a mortgage with interest rates much higher than now. Other income was the two pensions as usual and the State pension went up a little bit  - always handy.

Outgoings were the normal food, household stuff, direct debits for Council Tax, two phones and broadband and charity. The breakdown insurance was due for the car and two lots of expensive diesel plus the leaking tyre was sorted - a new valve needed. Hope that's cured the problem of slowly losing air and the pressure warning light coming on. 
Then I finally got round to buying myself a new bigger phone after originally going into the Tesco phone shop(the only place to buy a phone in the area) last November just as their computer went down - 6 months of procrastination! Luckily the sim card fitted.
I've now got all 4 water butts collecting rainwater so have filled in the forms to apply for a water meter.
Scottish Power electric bill was paid on an estimated reading. Seemed a lot but of course prices have gone up and I shall be reading the meter again this week so should find out the true cost.
My personal spending was on the various outings and a couple of second-hand books and two new bras.
Despite me saying last month that garden spending was virtually finished I still had to spend on some short canes and some wire for the greenhouse, the plastic things to fix the bean canes and the patio weeding tool, but at least all those things won't be needed again.

Only a few frugal things
  • Several Children's Birthday cards from boot sales for 50p each
  • Made a Wedding Anniversary card from stash
  • Bought new schoolbag for Grandsons birthday present, but filled it with items previously found at boot sales.
  • 2 tee-shirts for home wearing found at charity shops for £3 each.
  • 2 items bought for Christmas Hampers from boot-sale
  • Several things from boot sales that will save me money i.e foil, parchment paper
  • Mostly picked the right days for hanging out washing but I did have to use the tumble dryer once
  • No lights needed mornings and hardly any in the evenings now.
  • Altered the heating thermostat timer to lower temps for the summer so it rarely comes on.
  • Always mixing whole milk half and half with water
  • Reading library books for free.
  • Home made bread
  • A cauliflower for 88p made me two meals of Cauliflower cheese and two times side veg to go with other things
 I bought 2 of these Coconut Bird Houses for £3 each from the car boot sale ready for the Christmas Hampers. They had a huge pile of them the week before but wanted £6 each but needed to clear out the last two - bargain!

Back Tomorrow

Monday 30 May 2022

Small Car Boot Finds During The Month

 Boot sales are getting a bit repetitive already and finds were few and far between this month, this first lot all came out of the boxes of one of the house clearance people early in the month.....£2 the lot.

The dustpan is for keeping outside in shed or greenhouse, where I already have a soft hand brush and  has straightaway been used for clearing up the bits when I weeded the patio. Saving me traipsing through the house to fetch one from  the kitchen. The other items were the last saucer I needed for the plant stand, a lock and lock box - always handy for storing in the freezer and the bags are useful to have just-in-case.

 Then I had a couple of weeks finding nothing except for buying bunches of fresh beetroot, the plants mentioned earlier in the month and a lime green Heuchera for the front garden which the man told me was called "Lime Marmalade".

A Wednesday boot sale toward the end of the month was more successful as I once again found useful things. From the people who do house clearance I bought a brand new roll of baking parchment and a nearly full roll of clingfilm in one of the sturdy Lakeland cutter boxes. I popped them in the cupboard with the others found from boot-sales and decided I really don't need to buy anymore - there may be enough baking parchment to last me out.............and none bought new!

The Make Your Own Farm will be for Grandson in a year or so and the Insey Winsey spider game was brand new. A card for a granddaughter birthday is handy, and  finally the set of measuring spoons will make a WI prize or part of a Christmas gift. Total spend £5.50.

Next finds were a brand new magnetic world map jigsaw, which will be a birthday or Christmas present, another Granddaughter birthday card and a pack of small modules for seed sowing next year, replacing some that split this year.  £2.80 spent.

And finally a new purse ready for when the one I'm using (also from a boot sale several years ago) falls apart. Plus a few more birthday cards ........£3 total.

Nothing wildly exciting but several things that are cheaper than their new shop price so will save me money in time.

Back Tomorrow

Sunday 29 May 2022

An Extra Post to Answer Questions

 I often turn off the lap top early so miss lots of comments which is what happened on Friday on the Bury St Edmunds Cathedral post.

Here are some replies

 Bonnie said............. That is an amazing cathedral! I would love to hear that pipe organ. The lego copy is great too!

Someone was using the organ when I was looking round, I won't say playing it as they were doing some sort of scales. Playing very high notes and then I could hear someone say "Higher" and they would pull out some stops I guess and play an even higher note! 

Jackie said............What a lovely cathedral. The pipe organ, the ceiling, just perfect. Now I am wondering what you mean by no cities. Surely there is at least one??? Here in my province anything over 10K is considered a city.

To be a City in the UK you have to be given city status by a royal decree (or something similar) so No we really don't have any cities in the little county of Suffolk although we have a Cathedral and plenty of towns bigger than 10K. Norfolk next door has Norwich and Essex to the south has Chelmsford and to celebrate the Queens Platinum Jubilee Colchester has just been given City status too. 

CLM at Staircase Wit said.......................The cathedral is beautiful! Thank you for all the photos. How far is this from where you live, Sue? When I think of Bury St. Edmunds I think of Norah Lofts - this article says her former home is the best house in town: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/realestate/a-house-that-inspired-a-british-novelist.html

Bury St Edmunds is only about 25 minutes away from home now. I used to work in Bury St Edmunds Library when I first left school in 1971 and Norah Lofts was very well known in the town then. She always went by her proper name of Mrs Yorrich (not sure of the spelling!). She never came into the library herself but the lady who did all her research work for her was often in the Reference Library and would request all sorts of historical books to be borrowed from other libraries.I wonder if she ever dedicated any of her books to her helper who did so much of the work for her!!
This is Northgate House where she lived - big house but now on a very busy main road in the town

Susan said....................This cathedral is very beautiful. The ceiling, pews, stained glass and tile floor are amazing. The soaring ceilings and floor space make it one of the most spacious churches I've seen. I have to wonder if the church fills with parishioners on Sunday and do they have a devoted following? City center churches vs. country/rural churches are quite different. 

I'm not sure how many people would be at a normal daily service but it's always full for many events there.People go there from all over the County of Suffolk for special church occasions.


Back Tomorrow

Saturday 28 May 2022

This Week in Suffolk in Photos

Picked this up at the Christian Aid Coffee Morning last Saturday. Didn't know if I'd read it or not as he has done several of these collections from his pieces in The Church Times. Luckily I hadn't.


On Monday I saw this very Royal Letter Box Topper outside the Abbey Gateway in Bury St Edmunds

 The first roses are my flowers on the shelf this week. The Hare, Blue Tit and Wren are still there but it's nearly June and June means summer so as well as the June plate appearing I'll have to have a change round of the other things here.


Below is  the Jubilee Torch Relay passing by on Tuesday afternoon, part of a 588 mile trip round Suffolk which will end up at a Jubilee Pageant at The Suffolk Showground on the 1st June. It went by at great speed with music playing - round the corner then came back and stopped down the road. Where a van picked up the motorised  rickshaw and took it off to the next village. The people carrying the torch in each village have been nominated by their villagers for their community work.


The Foxglove in front of the shed door is now flowering

I really enjoyed this book below, one of her books that Dean St Press have republished thanks to collaboration with Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow Blog. Originally published in 1953 it's a gentle story told through the eyes of a boy growing up in rural Scotland, then going to school in Edinburgh , working in London and finally the last windows are in a country cottage for his new wife.


 This was good to see...............teeny weeny wren taking some nesting material into the new bird box. Very busy on Thursday afternoon but no sign of it on Friday, obviously a female and she's changed her mind!


And that was my week.........a bit of  an 'off' week - as I've been strangely tired all week. Hope to recover soon as it's the Suffolk Show next week and that means a long day of walking round.

Hope your weekend is a good one.

I'll be back on Monday

Friday 27 May 2022

Bury St Edmunds Cathedral

 Last time I did a post about Bury St Edmunds  Cathedral was way back in 2018 HERE  and this is how we have a Cathedral but no cities in Suffolk.

         In the early years of the 20th Century, the Church of England was at the apogee of its influence and self-confidence. The time was right to carve up the dioceses of England into smaller patches which could be more easily in touch with their parishes. Parts of the Diocese of Norwich and the Diocese of Ely were brought together to form a new diocese which would eventually take the name of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

And yet it might not have been called that at all. The first task for any of the new Dioceses was to choose a church to become its cathedral. For some this was easy and obvious - Essex's new Diocese would inevitably be seated at St Mary, Chelmsford, and that of south Hampshire at St Thomas, Portsmouth. But the new Suffolk diocese, which would cover all of the county except for the Lowestoft area, had a problem. There was no obvious church that stood out as a potential for a new Cathedral. The chosen building had to be big, but it also had to be suitable for expansion; historically important buildings would not lend themselves to being knocked about. Ipswich had nothing to offer except St Margaret, which was not big enough and too architecturally important for ruthless expansion, and St Mary le Tower which was big enough for a starter, and not historically important; but on too confined a site for expansion, and in any case without the gravitas a cathedral requires. Southwold, which is near to what was at the time believed to be the original Suffolk see at Dunwich, was big enough; but it was too valuable to be extended, and in any case too remote. The other great Suffolk churches, Lavenham, Blythburgh, Long Melford, Stoke by Nayland, and so on, were obviously too remote, as well as being too important to touch. The choice came down to the two Bury St Edmunds churches, and the final choice seems to have been made because St Mary had too many medieval survivals to make extension acceptable. No, only St James would do
 I ought to have looked back at that post before my return there last week as I'd forgotten how few photos I'd taken because the place was half full of schoolchildren practicing for Christmas.
So just a few more to add to those from 2018 

Unlike some Cathedrals that sit in a large open Cathedral Green, the entrance to Bury is from one of the main roads.

 The tower was finally finished in 2006. This view is from the area outside the cafe. There is a really good video of the tour of the tower HERE  not a tour I'll be doing .....202 steps!
The altar and it's surroundings are suitably magnificent for a Cathedral
What about this for a fancy church organ!

Love the lights
Every window has stained glass
Each kneeler in the Cathedral is stitched with the name of the parishes in the Diocese
Not as big as some Cathedrals in the UK but beautiful
The ceiling is incredible

Bury St Edmunds is one of 4 Cathedrals in the country doing the Lego Cathedral project, it's grown a lot since my visit  in 2018.  There will be 200,000 bricks used in total. Now it's lit, the miniature stained glass windows look amazing.

This is the Cathedral's website
I need to go yet again and capture more details
Back Tomorrow


Thursday 26 May 2022

There are old books......................

....................... and then there are VERY old books. The ones I went to look at on Monday morning fall into that latter category. My cousin and her husband had just been to see them last week when they called in for a cuppa on their way home  or I might not have heard about them.

The books were in a special exhibition at the Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds .............................

Because the books were on display in the small Treasury room visiting was by booked but free tickets. So I booked a free ticket online and went to have a look.

Hope you can read the leaflet below which explains that only 270 of the 3,000 books in the abbey survived the dissolution of the monasteries and 154 of those are in the Cambridge Universities libraries. Pembroke College has loaned seven to celebrate the 1000 years of the Abbey (it was actually in 2020 but you know what happened then).

No photos allowed of the illuminated manuscripts but they were very special . There was a screen showing a little of what they look like.


 I loved the Illuminated Letters that start each chapter.

Apologies for the poor photos of some of the boards that explain about the abbey and the Benedictine monks

Here is a link to look at the manuscripts in the collection at Pembroke College  https://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/pembroke/1    copied from the handout below which also mentions a new book ...... Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts of Pembroke College Cambridge ....available for £95!


Below explains the colours used in the manuscripts

Briefly this is how the Abbey came to be here


Edmund, King of East Anglia, was killed by The Danes on 20 November 869, after refusing to give up his Christian faith. He was tied to a tree and shot full of arrows before being beheaded.

In 903 the remains of Saint Edmund, the original the Patron Saint of England, were moved to the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Beodericsworth (later known as Bury St Edmunds) where the site had already been in religious use for nearly three centuries.

St Edmund’s body was moved to London in 1010 for safe keeping when The Danes were again marauding through East Anglia but three years later his body was returned to Bedricesworth.

In 1020, King Canute had a stone church built for Edmund's body and the first abbots arrived. This was the beginning of the Abbey of St Edmund and it became a site of great pilgrimage as people from all over Europe came to visit St Edmund’s shrine.



I wrote more about the Abbey when I visited back in 2018 HERE

or the website about the Abbey is HERE

I took a few photos of the Cathedral too - for tomorrow's post

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 25 May 2022

The Big Plastic Count

 I thought I'd do the The Big Plastic Count after reading about it on Ang's Tracing Rainbows post a week or so ago (and I was short of ideas for blog posts anyway!)
This latest effort to reduce plastic is not aimed at telling people off but to actually get some sort of idea of how much is being used.

My ancient printer printed out the paperwork to remind me to do it and to list everything ready for sending off the results.

I did something similar  back in 2019 (this is different to Zero Waste Weeks that happen in September each year) and also investigated what we can recycle in Suffolk but since 2019 we've had Covid and the recycling centre in Stowmarket  (AKA The Tip) closed and then re-opened but only if you booked a slot online and they liked that so much they've carried on the same system ever since, not making it easier to drop things in as you pass by.

 I've read about a new eco group in Stowmarket who collect some things for Terracycle, namely

- medicine blister packs
- dental hygiene products and packaging
- cheese nets and wrappers
- plastic stationery e.g. pens, correction fluid bottles, mechanical pencils
- flat and empty crisp packets 

  but only on the 4th Thursday of the month in the town centre between 10am and 12noon (or 9.30-11.30 depending where you read about it). 

But then I found Asda have a big plastic recycling bin and take more - hopefully it's then sent somewhere to be recycled into something and not just chucked or exported.


Anyway, I collected all the plastic for the week on a tray in the kitchen and filled in my chart and logged the results. I'm not sure it was a typical week as there didn't seem much. Although multiplied by 52 the heap would be quite frightening.

After uploading my results some of these went into recycling bin and I've started a box for taking the relevant bits to Stowmarket...................  See the halo😇 

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Another Vegetarian Taste-Test

 Keep trying and one day there will be something worth buying again...........

But probably not these

After 40+ years of cooking from scratch everyday, now I'm on my own it's good to sometimes have something that can be kept in the freezer and made into a meal in half an hour without any effort and these fit the bill and looked good but they didn't have a lot of flavour. They were a good size and a nice firm texture but not tasty enough to bother with again.


Back Tomorrow

Monday 23 May 2022


 Jack-By-The-Hedge is a very common plant on the banks and under hedgerows everywhere but I came across a huge patch of it in one place where I walked last week. It's just beginning to go over now.

It's Scientific Name is Alliaria petiolata but apart from Jack By The Hedge it's also called Garlic Mustard, Hedge Garlic, Sauce Alone and Poor Man's Mustard.  

I read that the plant contains a natural antifreeze so the over wintering rosette can be found and eaten even in the depths of winter. Although I've tried it and have never found much flavour of Garlic or Mustard even in early spring on the fresh leaves so I can't imagine it being very tasty in winter. 
 I thought I would find it mentioned in The Folklore of Plants book - but nothing. Although I did come across the possible reason for it's common name. Perhaps once called Jakes by the Hedge and Jakes were the old name for a toilets and this plant is supposedly to smell like an old toilet! but can't say I've noticed that either.

It's uses were described in a mid 18th century book of edible plants

"The poor people in the country eat the leaves of this plant with their bread, and on account of the relish they give, call them Sauce-alone. They also mix them with Lettuce, use them as a stuffing herb to pork, and eat them with salt-fish"

And of course I had to find the Jack-By-The-Hedge Fairy from Cecily Mary Barkers book of flower fairies

Back Tomorrow



Saturday 21 May 2022

Saturday 21st

What have I been doing this week?

 Well, it was dire week for interesting things on TV so I've been frightening myself by watching Luther on iplayer - I didn't watch it way back in 2010 when it started or anytime up to 2019 when it finished. Blimey it's a violent series! but I can see why Idris Elba  is such a popular actor. I think he might have replaced Kevin Costner as my favourite.
 I see Silent Witness is back for a short series next week - looking forward to that.

In the  glorious warmth and sunshine on Tuesday and Wednesday  I sat out for a little while just lapping it up. Overnight Wednesday/Thursday there was supposed to be thunderstorms and heavy rain which were going to fill my new water butts but we had no thunder or lightening and just a bit of rain but then yesterday morning there was another few hours which has done the plants a power of good and at last filled the water butts.

Lots more gardening done with Alstroemeria, Osteospermum, Sweetcorn, Leeks and French Climbing Beans planted out.The canes are up ready for Runner beans later and I've left a space for some Brassica plants coming in July. That just leaves me with 3 squash plants to squeeze in somewhere they can spread.

After visiting the midweek boot sale I popped into town for fruit and veg and to check out all the dire warnings of food shortages. Someone had mentioned Aldi were limiting how much people could buy of some items but everything looked OK to me, so shortages haven't reached Suffolk yet but I have a feeling it may well happen as so much of last years wheat is stuck in Ukraine and there will be nowhere to store this years crop if it gets harvested.

My Flowers on the Table  bookshelves this week is the only Iris from the garden. It was hidden in the border behind the greenhouse, so might as well bring it in for a day or two where I can see it.

This week I've been grateful for

  • A visit from my cousin and her husband
  • Lots of gardening done 
  • Discovering something new to watch on TV

So that's what I been doing this week .......Not a lot really.....nothing to moan about or to get stressed about ....I try and avoid all that!

The diary is a bit empty for the weekend but I shall find something to do.

Back Monday

Friday 20 May 2022

View Over the Village Mid May

 Thought it would be interesting to chart the changing seasons over the village by walking up the lane and taking photos from the one very small hill close to home.

My May walk was on the 17th and I saw my first Painted Lady Butterfly of the year

This singing fella below sounded like a skylark but it was so far away it could be something else.
From part way up the lane without zoom


First Dog Rose of the season and Cow Parsley everywhere


Zooming in from a bit higher and the church tower appears, wheat field on the left.

Spotted an Elder that I'd not noticed before. There are surprisingly few around so I like to note where I see them ready for making Elderberry Syrup in the Autumn. Last year I picked most from just over the road from home because the road was closed and there wasn't much traffic and I could climb up the bank without fear of being run over!. But this Elder tree will be easier to harvest.
And finally zooming in from the 'highest' part of the lane (not high at all compared to most of the country!) Sugar Beet growing in this field and in the centre of the photo a huge pile of sweet smelling pig or cow muck that has been dumped, somewhat oddly, in the middle of the wheat field. It will be even more pongy when it's spread after harvest.

 Then half a mile back down the hill and home.

I'll write myself a note to remind me to take the photos again in mid June.

Back Tomorrow