Thursday 30 June 2022

End of June ..... The Round Up

My favourite month was a good one, lots of sunshine and warmth after the first week, the garden started producing and tennis was on TV.....what more is needed!

Now I've been here a year and got all the big expenses out of the way (until the en-suite rebuilding is done) it's easier to work out how much I need to live on - and it seems to be OK. My normal outgoings are less than my normal income........which is the right way round! That means that the down-sizing savings are available for whatever I want. It was definitely the right thing to do - and at the right time too. (I'll write more about about my reasons for saying that sometime)

My income was just the usual 2 pensions - nothing extra this month.
Normal outgoings were for food,  Direct debits for phones and broadband, Council tax and charity donation. Plus diesel - now costs me over £45 for half a tank full, a few months ago it was well under £30. I heard someone say that we shouldn't fill up our cars with fuel as it adds weight - and it's better to keep running it at about half full all the time. But after all the hassles there were just a few months ago with shortages I prefer Not to let it get too far under half full before I top up.(Saw the first diesel at over £2 a litre when I was out on Tuesday- what an horrific price)
Not too many big  expenses this month although having said I didn't want to spend anything else on the garden I forgot that a bill would arrive from the District Council for the Garden Waste collection service, as I've now had it a year..... £54.40p but a lot easier than taking lots of green garden-waste to the recycling centre which is 6 miles away and there's a limit to how much grass can go in my small compost bin.

The car was taxed - costs me nothing - How? because it happens to date from when that size engine was free to tax and we happened to buy it secondhand six months later ......... Just before the government changed things. A very good reason to hang on this car for as long as possible. Also had to buy a new container of widescreen wash. The rain during the month was very dusty again as well as lot's of dust off the road so I have to wash widescreens every time I go out. Typically the window cleaner came to do the house a couple of weeks before the mucky rain!

Personal spending wasn't too bad even though I've started swimming again - it's £2.50 a session so not a huge expense. I bought a phone cover for my new phone. I had a haircut - clippers again which is cheaper than a dry trim and much cheaper than having it washed and cut. Car boot spending was small with useful things for  50p each and books also 50p each.

I made a big batch of Fruit Slices and Chocolate Cappuccino cakes and boxed up for the freezer- this is to stop me buying a luscious cake from the "Cake Lady" at Stonham Car boot sale on Sundays! Neither is frugal! Also made a tin full of chocolate biscuits for when the family were here(and then they were unable to come!) They aren't frugal either but at least they have no strange ingredients.

I'm still being frugal on the small things ..............

  • Still baking home made bread
  • Still mixing whole milk half and half with water
  • Washing dried outside all month 
  • Strawberries from the six plants in the pots on the patio gave me some everyday for nearly 3 weeks
  • Strawberries from Brother in Law for jam
  • 11 ounces of gooseberries from my one new bush here (into freezer for jam with the strawberries above)
  • Cucumbers from greenhouse from mid month
  • Courgettes from garden also from mid month
  • Beetroot from 24th onward
  • Reading books from my shelves after running out of library books
  • Pot of Basil for 67p made 7 plants.

Still moving stuff out of the house, this month it was  16 books, two little jugs that I no longer want to display, some CDs. and a storage jar all off to charity shop. Plus a book sent off to a friend. 

I'd better have a look and see what bills are due in July 

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 29 June 2022

View Over The Village

Firstly I must say thank you for comments over the last couple of days and, as usual, apologies for not commenting elsewhere - time keeps running away from me.

 Forgot to walk up the road and take photos in Mid June so I've missed all the dog-roses which had all finished with rose-hips beginning to form. Then I forgot to zoom in to see the village from the top of the hill like I did last time.....which, along with a few pictures of the wild things, was the whole point of the label "View Over The Village!"

Some of the photos are not so good - my camera doesn't like too bright sunshine on auto setting.

This is from halfway up the hill over the wheat field on a lovely sunny Monday morning

The wheat is just beginning to change colour




Blackberry flowers are starting to appear

Hoverfly on a thistle flower

The field of Sugarbeet is coming along nicely

Large White Butterfly on Bindweed flower
Huge bramble patch looks like a good place for picking blackberries later
Elderberries are beginning to form

Field Beans look as if they have been decimated by pigeons or rabbits


Then I went home for a coffee

I'll try and remember to take photos in Mid July

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 28 June 2022


 I've not bought Basil seeds since someone in blogland shared this tip

Pot of Basil from Aldi 67p. I cut off 4 pieces just below a leaf node, took off the lower leaves and popped in water. The pegs around the top of the jar just prop up the shoots so they don't fall right in.

Roots appear within  a week and then pot up. The rest of the bought pot of Basil shoots I divided in 3 and planted into bigger pots of fresh compost. So now I have 7 pots of Basil in the greenhouse growing nicely.

Plenty of Basil to make some home made pesto for a Courgette Crumble to go with the "few" courgettes I have already (four plants is 3 too many as I knew they would be but planted them all just-in-case!).

Back Tomorrow

Monday 27 June 2022

Wainwright Book Prize for Nature Writing Long List

 The Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing is the only book prize I have a look at when they release the long list. This is it for 2022

  • Otherlands: A World in the Making, Dr Thomas Halliday
  • Otherlands: A World in the Making - A Sunday Times bestseller
  • 12 Birds to Save Your Life: Nature’s Lessons in Happiness, Charlie Corbett

 12 Birds to Save Your Life: Nature's Lessons in Happiness

Goshawk Summer: A New Forest Season Unlike Any Other, James Aldred

Goshawk Summer: The Diary of an Extraordinary Season in the Forest


  • Much Ado About Mothing: A year intoxicated by Britain’s rare and remarkable moths, James Lowen


Much Ado About Mothing: A year intoxicated by Britain’s rare and remarkable moths

  • On Gallows Down: Place, Protest and Belonging, Nicola Chester 




  • Shadowlands: A Journey Through Lost Britain, Matthew Green 

 Shadowlands: A Journey Through Lost Britain

 The Heeding, Rob Cowen, illustrated by Nick Hayes 

The Heeding


The Instant, Amy Liptrot

  • The Sea Is Not Made of Water: Life Between the Tides, Adam Nicolson


The Sea is Not Made of Water: Life Between the Tides


  • The Trespasser’s Companion, Nick Hayes


The Trespasser's Companion

  • Time on Rock: A Climber’s Route into the Mountains, Anna Fleming (Canongate)


 Time on Rock: A Climber's Route into the Mountains


  • Wild Green Wonders: A Life in Nature, Patrick Barkham 

Wild Green Wonders: A Life in Nature

 I haven't looked them up to find out more as yet and usually when the long list is announced I find I've at least read one during the year but this time none at all so I've ordered the '12 Birds To Save Your Life' and 'The Sea is Not Made of Water' from the library then I'll find out about the others.

Other posts about this prize in previous years are HERE.  

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 25 June 2022

And Now It's The Last Saturday In June Already

The first thing I want to say about this week is "I want my £600 that you gave away!". Twice I've heard Grant Shapps the Transport Minister say that during the pandemic they helped out the rail network with millions of £s, equating to £600 per household. (This is one of those fairly meaningless things that politicians come out with). I don't use railways so can I have my portion here instead please! The transport minister has been interviewed a lot this week due to the Rail Strikes. Causing so many problems for many people trying to get to work, school exams etc etc. The railway unions want more money (who doesn't) and no modernisation of working practices (back to steam?). Hope it's not the start of a "Season of Discontent" - I remember the last time! 

 Whoops, straying into politics - better get out ....quick.

  A few small pretty things in an old jar for this week's Flowers on the Table. The Alchemilla Mollis, Pinks and Astrantia are all things planted since I moved in and the Lavender was here when I came.If only they looked as good in the jar as the Flower Festival Arrangements in yesterdays post! But I'm a shove-it-in-the-vase flower arranger with no patience for fiddling!

More sitting in the sun and reading has been done, although I'm a bit torn, as the BBC had some Wimbledon Qualifying on the red button  which is interesting to watch for the up and coming players.Plus Eastbourne Men's matches were on Amazon Prime. (Women's was on BBC2 but I can never get into Women's tennis because they seem to come and go and I never know who they are plus they  shriek and squeal  too much.) The new kids on the block for GB men are Jack Draper and Ryan Penniston who have both done well and Cam Norrie has been seeded 9 for Wimbledon next week which is all looking hopeful.

The reading has actually been re-reading, one accidentally and another on purpose. A copy of a book of Agatha Christie's short stories was on the shelf - While the Light Lasts. Her early writing from the 30's. It didn't take me long to read  and then when I went to write the title in my Book of Books Read I found it  already there - Oh well. Most of Christie's books were listed, I read lots in the 70's when I first started work in a library. I've now made a note of the few that I've never read and will look out for them. 
The other re-read is this, a favourite book, dating from 2009.

"Challenged to prove her claim that an 18th-century diet was better than today's, for a full year Fiona J Houston recreated the lifestyle of her 1790s rural Scottish ancestors in a basic one-roomed cottage, cooking from her garden and the wild, often entertaining family and friends, and surviving on her own resources. She learned lost crafts and skills, making nettle string, quill pens and ink as well as cheese and ale, lighting her fire from flints, and dressing in hand-sewn period clothing, with nothing but an old range stove and candles for warmth and light."

This picture below is my reason for not eating Wartime Rations like Carolyn is doing on her blog with a few other people joining in. Although it's interesting to read about, I'll wait until rationing is forced upon us - and hope it never is.
 I love fresh fruit and this has been my fruit 'ration' everyday for two weeks with strawberries from my tubs, a small English apple from Aldi (6 for 89p) and a few grapes also Aldi now £1.75 for 500g. The grapes will survive for most of a week in the fridge and I layer the bunches in their punnet with a couple of bits of kitchen roll to absorb any moisture.

This week I've been grateful for

  • Sunshine
  • Tennis on TV
  • Strawberries

Hope you all have a good weekend......Finger's crossed for fine weather as we have a family get together this weekend. We are all over to my Sisters for her special Wedding Anniversary. Eldest Daughter etc was due to come up from Surrey and stay overnight here but Son in Law was away working in France and came back with they won't be coming - sadly. Blasted Covid is still around.

Back Monday

Friday 24 June 2022

Church Flower Festival

After the Art Exhibition in the village primary school I crossed over to the church for a quick look at the flower arrangements. "Poetry in Flowers".

Instead of one arrangement to illustrate the poem "Ode to a Cow" from The old Farmers Almanac 1936 this lady had done lots and all in cow jugs

And again lots of arrangements to illustrate The Lily by William Blake
A 'Happy' Arrangement for the poem "My Heart Leaps up" by William Wordsworth

Loved this round design, not sure of the poem it was for.


"The Glory of the Garden" by Rudyard Kipling is the poem this arrangement demonstrates.


The arrangement below is called "Wimbledon" it's done by one of the joint presidents of the other WI I go to. The poem is by Jim O'Donnell, who I was surprised to find is a proper poet! (apologies to Mr O'Donnell!)

 Wimbledon comes but once a year
For just two weeks of every year
Come rain or shine the game goes on

To aim to be champion of Wimbledon

The centre court the main event

Where all their skill and energy’s vent

The ball it flies at great speed
With hopes that your opponent is beat

To hear the roaring of the crowd
When all around you shouting loud
The pressure’s on you keep your cool
Willpower drives you through the pain

The match is yours you won the game
To join the honors list hall of fame
The cup it’s shining in the light
Because you were on your game this night


And in the porch were two arrangements done by the primary school to illustrate some of the Flower Fairy Poems of Cecily Mary Barker who often pops up on my blog.The Snapdragon Fairy and the Cornflower Fairy I thought I took a photo of both, but hadn't.


Then it was off home again

Back Tomorrow


Thursday 23 June 2022

Village Art Show

 I do enjoy an Art show - and admire what others can do. This one is in a village not far from home so I popped along to have a quick look.

A few photos of various pieces in different mediums that I liked and the one I wouldn't have on my wall at any price!

The Art Exhibition was in the school and windows and things on the school walls kept reflecting in the glass which ever way I tried to take the photos.

The first two photos are flowers on silk I think, by Christina Barber. The small ones on the table were £10 each and the 4 displayed were £40 each

This oil on canvas by Bob Hogan below was very large and colourful - and not for sale


Some wildlife photography prints included - gorgeous Barn Owl by Steve Abbot- really bad reflections I'm afraid


And a Little Owl in oils by Peter Leeding for sale for £200


No idea why I particularly like lino cut work because in paintings I prefer originals to prints and lino cut are usually done in 10s or more. These are by Helen Maxfield, whose work I've seen before and sometimes bought greetings cards, but she didn't have any for sale here. Crow and Pied Flycatcher were £75 each and the flowers £70 each.


This pen, ink and watercolour by Linda Seager is another look I like. Could have bought this as it was a very reasonable £20 but I'm saving funds for car diesel!


And the oil on board cabbage painting below is the one I wouldn't let in the house! Apologies To Dorothy Wilkinson. A good representation but............................

Just a short visit and then I crossed the road to see the Flower Festival in the Church.

Which will be tomorrows post


Wednesday 22 June 2022

Yet Another Vegetarian Taste -Test

As my service to man(and woman)kind and being a glutton for punishment, when I saw these in Aldi I thought "haven't tried those,  better give them a go".

They were bought and the first one tried and ..............

not particularly enjoyed.......again!
The pastry was nice, the chia seeds added nothing, and the inside was a bit gloopy and tasteless .

Someone thanked me for trying out all these different things so they didn't have to! 
You're welcome!

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 21 June 2022

Suffolk Day June 21st

 Suffolk Day logo

  Today is Suffolk was started and promoted by Mark Murphy of Radio Suffolk in 2017 (Mark recently got a MBE for his work in Radio and for championing Suffolk and I spotted him and his wife in the congregation at the Queens service) . Suffolk day hasn't exactly taken off, Covid didn't help and this year someone decided it would be part of the Festival of Suffolk - a summer of events to celebrate the Queens Jubilee.

Mark is a Suffolk boy through and through and I got to know him a bit when I used to chat to him for a few minutes once a month when he did a Countryside and Farming slot on his Radio Suffolk Breakfast programme. I talked about what was happening on our smallholding and in the Suffolk Smallholders Society. He popped into the smallholding once when they were on their way to speak at a meeting in Aldeburgh.
 I stopped listening to Radio Suffolk Breakfast when they changed presenter and introduced music to the early morning programme - which I couldn't cope with! But I think they've reverted back to an all speech programme at that time and I ought to try and listen again - if only to find out what's happening round about.

Searched online for Suffolk Day events, discovered just a few things happening but I found a special piece of music with words was written in 2018 . It's on You Tube.............

Today is also the summer solstice when the sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer and daylight hours are the longest for us here. The Druids and many others will be celebrating at Stonehenge. I'm celebrating by strolling past 4 houses and having a hair cut - I'm now having clippers with a 6 comb all over just like I used to do myself. Nice and short is my preference.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 20 June 2022

Last Week In Suffolk

First of all must say a BIG Thank you to everyone for comments on Saturday, lots of discussion, food for thought and ideas. Some I've already tried and didn't like (charity shop) and others aren't practical for where I live. I already belong to 2 WI's and an Over 60s group so that's enough of the "joining stuff" done! Coach trips are a no - as I really don't like traveling by coach or being on holiday with other people (except for family- I can just about cope with them!) I'm never bored at home so will keep thinking..........and blogging.
 My tomatoes in the greenhouse are behaving very strangely, shooting up very tall but with hardly any flower trusses. The first flowers are just beginning to set, must start feeding them. I've left side shoots to grow on a couple of plants to see if they'll give me some extra tomatoes and will pinch off the growing tips on them before they get up to roof height.

Cut the first cucumber from the greenhouse.It wasn't fully grown but thought I might as well use it instead of buying one, there are lots more coming and it will be the usual giving-them-away thing, they are always boom or bust!
Looks bigger than it was!

 While tying in the cucumber and tomato plants on Saturday I found myself covered with Ants - tickly! They had set up home, with dozens of eggs under one of the Aubergine pots which I had moved to stand on top of the water butt I have in the greenhouse. I'm afraid that ant powder was deployed as a 'herd' of ants inside a pot can be very destructive.
Hopefully I've bought the last bunch of beetroot (£1.50 at Carboot sale for 8 smallish in the bunch) for a while although mine are far too close together and we've not had much rain to fatten them up so are very tiny but that means they won't take long to cook. I'm loving beetroot again this year after being off them for a while.
 Last Monday I nipped off the first tiny......very tiny....... courgettes so the plants can get more established, didn't waste them, even though chopped up they were hardly more than a tablespoon full, but added them to my curry.
My 6 strawberry plants in two tubs are doing surprisingly well  with some every day for 12 days ranging in number from 4 to 14. I had to search the blog to find out when the plants had been put in the tubs and discovered they were runners from some I had previously at Clay Cottage - so this is their 2nd fruiting year.
I stopped by Brother-in-Laws house to see how his strawberries were doing and as usual he'd not told me there were any ready and there were loads getting too ripe. He said he was picking some for his sister and would take off some for me too. He dropped them in on his way through later, so 2lb are in the freezer for jam - even if they are a bit too ripe- and some turned into a couli and popped in the freezer to go with ice-cream.

Quickly read over the two very hot days was the first of the six bargain books of country writing that I picked up at the car-boot sale last Wednesday.

Simon Barnes was for many years a sports correspondent for a big newspaper but now is free-lance writing books about wildlife and traveling to Africa in his work with a conservation trust. This book is about the acres of marshland he owns and cares for near the River Waveney in Norfolk and also about his son Eddie who has Downs Syndrome but who knows nearly as much about the birds and wildlife on their land as Simon does. A lovely book as he writes really well. Recommended.
Below is a mummy(?) Red Legged Partridge and one baby just by my front door on Saturday morning. They had a nest directly opposite me in the long grassy bit of the churchyard......much noise and alarm calls earlier in the year gave their position away! The sad thing to tell you is that earlier last week she had brought 11 babies across the road to see what they could find on the shingle of my driveway. Why she found it necessary to bring them over the road is a mystery when there is a couple of acres of grassland behind the churchyard. But after less than a week just the one left.  Cats or birds of prey have taken the rest I guess.

 Back Tomorrow

Saturday 18 June 2022

( Blue Sky) Thinking........... very enjoyable on a blue sky sunny day but my thoughts were worrying . ( Not worrying in a really worried sort-of way, just in an "I need to sort this out" kind of way)

When Colin died 4 years ago I was 63 and  remember saying to someone that if I kept well I might live for another 15 or 20 years on my own and whatever would I do with myself? It seemed such a frightening prospect.

Another thought came to me, something a friend, who developed MS much too young and was quite poorly right from the start, said to me at the beginning of her long battle. She said "it was important not to give up and retire too early" - she kept going out and about when ever she was well enough right to  the end of her life.

One of the things I had written in my diary for last weekend was Open Gardens In Eye, but in the end I didn't go -it didn't appeal enough to take me out on my own. But that made me think about J. Her husband P. was Col's boss for a long time in the Suffolk County Council Bridge Office. He was less than 10 years older than Colin and retired at 60 and then had a brain tumour and died a few years later. J came to see us at the smallholding one day and said she'd been on one of the Open Garden visits in a village nearby  and realised that if she didn't sort herself out, visiting gardens would be the only excitement for the next 20 years. So she bought herself a camper-van and carried on doing the things that she had done previously when P was alive..

Made me wonder................Have I retired too early? Am I mouldering away in my bungalow - going out to things just for the sake of it? Is my life going to be the same for the next 15 years? I don't feel particularly bored and never have been, I enjoy the things I do but should there be More or Something Else! ( not a man for sure - couldn't replace the one I had!)

Or maybe it's because I've not had a proper holiday for many years. I've always said that there's no point going on holiday when you're retired and live alone, because any day could be a holiday, but of course it doesn't work like that. 

 Like I said,  need to think about this and sort myself out before I get any older!

So................this weekend? ............Car boot sales  if the weather is fine and there's a Flower Festival in the Church and an Art show in the school in a nearby village. I visited it in 2019 and hope to go again, because I do enjoy an art show. 

Then maybe I'll do something very surprising!? but what?

Back on Monday - God Willing



Friday 17 June 2022

Someone Liked the Same Books As Me.

(Or should that be "as I". I got told off by a pedantic Roderick (whoever He is) last week when I inadvertently missed an apostrophe - one apostrophe good grief!)


Anyway.............  These were a surprise find at the Wednesday Car-boot sale. They were (yet again) in the boxes of house clearance stuff and only £3 for the lot. 


 I said to the man selling that they must have cleared a house belonging to someone who had the same taste in books that I do.

Two are the lovely Little Toller Books books and perhaps if I look on Ziffit they will all be worth more than the 50p each I paid for them, although I'd better read them first as I've not read any of them before.

I started straight away on the one by Simon Barnes which is about his home close to one of the Norfolk Broads and is a really good read.

Back Tomorrow