Saturday 31 December 2022

2022 in Photos

As usual for the 31st December here are some photos of the various things that have interested me through the year.

In JANUARY I went searching for a very old Post Box This is the only known survivor of the Ludlow wall boxes with the cipher of Edward VIII. It's at Bawdsey in Suffolk.

In FEBRURY................a  photo from another church visit. The C16 Bell Cage at East Bergholt.

MARCH and car boot season started, as did seed sowing - 8 "Pointy Peppers" seeds germinated

Going to WI meetings is something I enjoy, always good and mostly interesting speakers too. We heard about The Lost Bees in APRIL

In MAY is was lovely to go to the Suffolk Show again for the first time since 2019. I've already got my early-bird ticket for the 2023 show

Every month I change around the top of the bookshelf and I'm so glad that I found the 12 plates at a boot sale in April featuring Edith Holden's illustrations from the Country Diary book.

Here's the 1st JUNE with the June plate and a few summer things

JULY and this is what I did with an overgrown courgette that wasn't quite a marrow. From a recipe in the Good Housekeeping preserves book

 and using dried apricots that had been in the cupboard since Christmas 2021 I also added grated ginger and it made the most delicious jam. Something I could easily make again next year.

AUGUST and so good to be growing and harvesting things again after the moving house year of 2021. These were the giant plum tomatoes called Super Mama. I'm definitely growing them again in 2023. They were so good for chutney and relishes.

During SEPTEMBER I had a few days out - one to Dunwich on the coast. Dunwich was once a large town but has mostly been lost to the sea over the last 500 years.

OCTOBER was the month of "The Builders" doing my new en-suite and the installation of the new heating oil tank. I no longer have to think about the macerator pump suddenly going wrong and at last I can have a shower in a room with a radiator - well worth the upheaval. 

Mid October - nearly finished

Through NOVEMBER I wrote blog posts for each letter of the Alphabet, it was fun to do and made me think more about subjects to write about - good for the brain!.

Q is for Questions was the most popular with 2,256 page views!

This little book came in so handy for Photos in Advent this year!  - Which was my 8th year of posting a Christmas or Winter photo all through DECEMBER.

That's another year of blogging that has whizzed by - onwards into 2023..................

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Friday 30 December 2022

All About Books in 2022

 I read 116 books in 2022 and if I've counted right they divided up like this..... 

Non Fiction 31
Recently Written Crime Fiction 45
Pre 1990's Republished Crime Fiction 8
Short Stories 5 (several were British Library Crime Classics)
Fiction 25
Children's Fiction 2

Most were library books but because the mobile library missed a couple of visits during the year I also read lots of my own including the Alexander McCall Smith series about Isobel Dalhousie which I'd collected many of over the years. Many of the books that I owned and have now read have gone off to charity shops.
I went to 3 charity book sales through the year and found many books at car boot sales, a few at charity shops and one or two in random places - like the For Sale shelves in church porches.

Best Car Boot book finds was the day I found someone selling all these

The pick of the month of January was one of my own books from the shelves...........Joan Strange - Despatches From the Home Front; The War Diaries. Non Fiction. (Edited by Chris McCooey. Published 2013).From January 1st 1939 to the end of the War, Joan Strange kept a diary. From the dramatic happening in other parts of the world to the local problems in Worthing. The book also includes a few newspaper  cuttings which are interesting.

Writing this post helped me find an author I'd completely forgotten....... In January I read a crime fiction book by a new to me author called Roz Watkins and for some reason I'd not looked to see what other books she has written until I started writing this post. The library have two more - good news.

Best Book of February was another from my shelves.............
Esther Rowley - Dogs, Goats, Bulbs and Bombs;Wartime Diaries of Exmouth and Exeter. Edited by John Folkes. (Published 2010)These diaries were found in an auction and thanks to a letter found among the pages could be attributed to Esther, a single woman who was in her 30's and lived with her mother in a large house in Exmouth. It's a fascinating look at the life of those who had money at the time and were able to purchase things that many found difficult to find. Esther is in the ATS at the beginning of the diaries in 1940 but later has to leave to take care of her elderly mother. She spends lots of time out and about walking her dogs, visiting neighbours and friends for tea. playing tennis, swimming in summer and having picnics. Gardening is her main pleasure and there are good details of all the plants she buys - things I didn't think were available during the war.

Favourite book from March
 Duff Hart-Davis- Our Land at War:A Portrait of Rural Britain 1939-1945. Non Fiction (Published 2015). A thorough look at all the events of WWII which had any effect on the countryside. From farming to evacuees to air bases and Land Army Girls to country houses and secret hideouts. A very good read.

In April I enjoyed the latest Elly Griffiths in her Ruth Galloway series, the next of this series is due out in January and I'm sure I read somewhere that it will be the last she writes about Ruth. (I've just remembered to reserve it and I'm number 331 in the queue! might be waiting a while)

Through the year I've been able to read and enjoy many of the D.E.Stevenson books that have been republished by Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow blog and Dean St Press. I read some back in the 70's when they were really popular in the library but they are a good gentle read that make a change from crime.

Two good books in June were the latest by Rory Clements - The Man in the Bunker. This is the 6th book featuring Professor Tom Wilde. The war is over, so many countries are in ruins and Tom Wilde is asked to go to Germany to find out if Hitler really did die in the bunker. This is a really good story and so well written.
And a much older book by Phyllis Bottome - London pride. Fiction (Published 1941) Ben, a boy of the London dockyard slums is 7 years old and the main character of this book he spends his time during the days of the Blitz looking after his little sister Mabel. His mother is a char lady, his father and eldest brother work on the docks. An older sister works in a shop and the twins are sent off as evacuees to Cornwall. Ben's best friend is Emily next door a street wise nine year old whose parents are not as caring as Ben's. Together they do a bit of looting, get buried for 48 hours in a bombed house and then get bombed out of the hospital too. Such a unusual story. The TLS at the time said "her knowledge and understanding of  the character of the London slum child in particular cannot be done justice to in an outline of the book".

It was so hot in July I read loads of books while keeping cool indoors. One was from the US 
Kristin Hannah -  The Four Winds. Fiction. (Published 2021) Elsa Martinelli was rejected by her family- she was never good enough but by 1934 she has found a life she loves with family and farm. Drought and dust storms force her and her two children away from Texas to find the 'land of milk and honey' that everyone is talking about in California. A sad story but good for finding out more about the Depression, migration and dust bowl of 1930's USA.
After reading this I picked up a copy of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath to re-read but it's still waiting many books little time!

In August I specially enjoyed Sarah Steele-  The School Teacher of Saint-Michel. Fiction (Published in 2021). A duel time line story. In the present day Hannah finds a letter sent to her by her late much-loved grandmother Gigi. Gigi wants Hannah to travel to France to find someone called Lucie Laval to apologise - for what? Hannah has no idea about her Grandmothers past.                                                    In 1942, at the end of the day, a school teacher checks that her children have their identity passes before taking them to the border post between occupied and Free France which cuts their Dordogne village in half.   A lovely story based on real happenings of the time showing the bravery of the people, living in fear of their German invaders.

In September I finally got around to reading the much-hyped book  by Delia Owens - Where the Crawdads Sing. Fiction (Published 2018) Kya Clark is the 'Marsh Girl' living alone on the North Carolina coast from a very young age after her drunken father is the last to walk away, she is a mystery to the people of the nearby small town. I enjoyed it but didn't bother to go and see the film - I'll wait until it's out on TV.

Octobers biggest book was Robert Harris -  Act of Oblivion. Historical Fiction. (Published 2022) 
1660 England and General Edward Whalley and his son in law Colonel William Goffe board a ship bound for the New World. They are on the run, wanted for the murder of King Charles I.
Now 10 years after the beheading Charles II is in power and the 59 men who signed the death warrant and took part in the execution have been found guilty of treason under the Act of Oblivion. Some are already dead and others have been captured and hung. But Edward and William have escaped.
Richard Naylor secretary of the Regicide Committee is given the job of finding them - dead or alive. A period of history I knew nothing about but Robert Harris is such a good writer that I always enjoy his books whatever the subject.

November and Decembers reading were mainly all crime fiction and that's the end of my 2022 books. There are  already 7 books on the reserved shelf for me to collect when the van comes round in January and I've made a note of the first charity book sale of the year at Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Lackford Lake Nature Reserve (25th March).

Thank you to everyone who says they enjoy the library book photo every month and to other bloggers who give me ideas for reading. 

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Wednesday 28 December 2022

A Good Christmas

How was your Christmas? Hope you all had the best time possible.
It was good that the weather was decent here for everyone to get around easily and there certainly seemed a lot of traffic on Christmas Day as I drove to Son's via Sister in Laws house.
But what awful news from the States where so many people have died after being trapped in their cars or fallen through ice in the exceptionally snowy, freezing weather. Very Frightening.

My Christmas was lovely although 3 excited, sometimes grumpy, grandchildren (ages 6, 4¾ and nearly 3) on two consecutive days days is quite exhausting. I suggested next year we have two days in between Christmas Day and Boxing day to recover - for them, their parents and me! I've got lots of tidying to do now but plenty of time to put the house back together.

I thought I'd not bought too much in the way of extra food for feeding 8 on Boxing Day but there seems to be  plenty left (even though I sent some home with them) so I wont need to do much except re-heating for several days - Leftovers is always the best thing about Christmas!

I'd put new towels on my Christmas wish list as some of mine were getting really thin so I was  pleased to receive  3 big bath towels and 2 hand towels from various family, now I'm well set up and can have a sort out so that the oldest, thinnest can go off to the RSPCA charity shop in the New Year. They sell the best in the shop and send the rest off to their animal rescue centre.
My other lovely pressies were some flavoured coffees, a stitched bowl cosy that can be used round a bowl in the microwave to make it easier to take it out without getting burned, some sweets and a bird feeder and this year just 1 book.

E for Embroidery etc for the ABC posts in November got me thinking about doing another stitching project so this was the present I bought and passed to BiL Andrew to wrap up to give me for Christmas. (He got himself a new watch and gave me to wrap - makes things so simple!) 
Now I'll have something interesting to take to the WI Knit, Stitch and Yarn group - it will make a change from my dishcloth knitting.

Just need a clip frame to mount it on for stitching then I can get going.

The rest of the week I've got lots of TV to catch up on, plenty of library books still to read, a new diary to fill in, the 2022 paperwork to sort and Thank You notes to write. Plus blog posts about 2022's best books and a review of the year to prepare. Then I'm just waiting for the postmen to be working to bring my bank statement so I can do the annual accounts and after that I'll be looking forward to mid January and a visit to Suffolk from the Surrey family.

Back in a day or so

Sunday 25 December 2022

Saturday 24 December 2022

December 24th

The last day of the 24 days of Advent Photos 2022 . I think I've managed not to copy many posts from the last seven years of Advent Photos.

Todays photos are more pages from the little book  -A Christmas Album.

There's no mention of the artists name

What are your jobs to do today to be ready for Christmas visitors? 

 I'm cooking a ham for the first time in many years, the two Suffolk families plus BiL are here on Boxing Day and then the ham will be my meals for a week! Proper ham in a sandwich is one of my reasons for not being a fully signed up vegetarian - it's completely different to any pre-sliced vacuum packed stuff which I never bother with nowadays.
I've also got to deliver a hamper after I've finished making spiced nuts to add to it and wrapped it all in cellophane. I didn't want to make them too soon before Christmas as I'd have been tempted to eat them rather than put them in cellophane bags to give away! I'm delivering the other hamper on Christmas Day especially so I can say hello to my Nephew and his Fiancée and my niece and her partner, they've been together for nearly 3 years and I've still not met him.

Our weather systems in this country mostly arrive from the West, and the extremely cold weather that's occurring in the US right now sounds very nasty, so will it cross the Atlantic? That's the question. Hope all US bloggers and readers are OK over there - stay warm and safe.

Have a good day
I'll be back (briefly) tomorrow

Friday 23 December 2022

December 23rd

Thank goodness that nasty cold I had went far enough away so that I could get to the exercise group on Tuesday. Although it still hasn't completely gone - hanging around far too long in my opinion. No swimming this week - it's school holidays so the only lane swimming sessions are early morning or evenings.

Postmen have packed up early for Christmas by going on strike today and tomorrow.  I've had some Christmas cards through and the bill for the boiler service last month finally got here. My post usually arrives about 1pm but because of missing some days it's just meant they have needed to work much later and it was almost dark when he popped cards through the door yesterday. Lots of Robins on cards this year. 

I was pleased to find I could watch The Battle of the Brits tennis on TV, this was a two day tournament between England and Scotland organised by Jamie Murray. It was on the BBC iplayer and there were some good matches. I've also been watching the Finals of  this series of Countdown, one young fella has broken all records with his high scores and University Challenge Christmas Alumni quiz - it's quite strange sometimes to find these brilliant brainy people - all specialists in their fields - don't know some everyday basics.

 And finally as requested here are some more photos of the pages from the book.....

Decorating the Christmas Tree, December 1944 by John Worsley. The Red Cross crate in front of the Christmas tree shows that the two men are decorating their hut in a prisoner of war camp

A tank crew of the 44th Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment, part of the 4th Armoured Brigade, unpack a Christmas parcel to reveal a pudding inside.
Behind them is their camouflaged tank

The sorting of Christmas mail is undertaken on board the battleship HMS King George V, Christmas Eve 1943

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Thursday 22 December 2022

December 22nd

 Around about the day of the winter Solstice I always try and go out for some nice bits of greenery to bring in for Christmas.

I've got Holly and Ivy from the same places that I've collected from for the last few years, a sprig of Yew from the Churchyard, just a little clipping from my Bay tree (I'm going to need to repot it or plant it out next year as it's probably getting pot bound). Plus the Mistletoe which came from a Christmas Fayre a few weeks ago.
I stupidly left the mistletoe out in the greenhouse in a jug and discovered it had frozen solid and broke the bottom of the old blue and white china jug - which I'm quite sad about.

The Holly has been decking the halls far longer than any other Christmas decorations and the well known song goes back a long way too. Originally a C16 Welsh song for New Year with new words written in the  1800s.

Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
'Tis the season to be jolly:
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Fill the meadcup, drain the barrel,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Troul the ancient Christmas carol.
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

See the flowing bowl before us,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Strike the harp, and join in chorus:
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Follow me in merry measure,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
While I sing of beauty's treasure.
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

Fast away the old year passes,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses:
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Laughing quaffing all together,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Heedless of the wind and weather.
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

I've written about Holly and the Ogham Tree Alphabet HERE  and Ivy HERE

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Wednesday 21 December 2022

December 21st

 A Green Man for the Solstice. The ancient symbol of fertility and nature probably dating back to the very first farmers. Often seen in surprising places - church fonts for instance.
  I bought my new one from a Christmas Fayre last month. I had one at the smallholding and at Clay Cottage and left them both to guard the land for the new owners.

He is still in the shed at the moment, waiting for someone to hold the ladder while I use hammer and nail and put him up on the Flowering Cherry tree.

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Tuesday 20 December 2022

December 20th

 The Winter Solstice can be on the 20th or 21st December. This year the moment that the sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn is at 21.48 on the 21st, after that daylight increases by 6 minutes to the end of the month. The word Solstice comes from Latin sol stetit , meaning sun stood still. And  for 6 days in the Northern Hemisphere the sun appears to rise and set in the same place, which must have been frightening for ancient peoples, wondering if the sun would move again? would the daylight grow again?

I've been saving this little book to read at this years Solstice, the 12 stories come from all parts of the world, passed down through the generations. 

The Return of the Light

We often get our coldest weather as the hours of daylight increase but this year we've already had many days that have been colder than an average December. The long range forecast for January is a bit vague or as they say "confidence is low" which I take to mean "we don't really know"! So we'll have to wait and see.

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Monday 19 December 2022

December 19th

 A couple of weeks ago I had a big tidy up of my fat recipe folder - which is polythene pockets in a very old ring binder. Some of the pockets had split and every time I moved the folder half the things fell out.

A big sort out and many recipes that had been saved but unused for years have gone into the recycling. The useful recipes put into  some new polythene pockets and everything is tidy again.

At the back of the ring-binder were 2 polythene pocket things full of Christmas Cuttings and clippings from old magazines, some dating back to the 70's.

When I started maternity leave in 1980 one of the ladies I worked with in the library gave me a whole pile of old Family Circle Magazines to keep me occupied during the rest of the waiting time. I seem to remember it being  a nice little magazine, more down to earth than many that came later.

Perhaps pages from one of those old Family Circle mags is that discoloured collection in the middle, featuring Mary Berry - years before she became more famous through Bake Off.
I use her Christmas cake recipe and there are cuttings there that I refer too when I'm doing the spiced nuts each Christmas, but other than that I've not looked at them for years.

I put all the Christmas cuttings back in their pockets - perhaps someone will find them useful after I've gone!

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Sunday 18 December 2022

December 18th

 My good intentions of visiting the decorated  Christmas Trees displayed in Stowmarket church for todays post was a fail.

It was too blinkin' cold and I'd run out of energy after  just 10 minutes in town! 

Back to the settee and my books and the TV. Plenty of time for thinking...............

This will be my 5th Christmas since Colin died - it gets no easier. 

There was a funeral and burial over the road in the cemetery last week - the mourners looked frozen, the vicar looked to have at least 10 layers on under his surplice. Everyone followed the hearse down the road from the church to the graveyard gate. Next time I was in the kitchen at the front of the house just an hour or so later the gravedigger was back-filling the grave . All over so quickly.

Remembering a past Christmas.......... Me and Eldest daughter both down with horrible colds just before Christmas  and sitting at the dining room table making Christmas Crackers - feeling so rough I don't know how we got finished.
I used to make everything......... crackers, a wreath for the door, napkin rings, 2 or 3 deserts, you name it and Christmas was homemade. We always had Col's Mum and Dad and Brother around for the day, it was a good family day.

Listening to the radio in the early hours of a broken night about the people freezing in Ukraine and Russia continually bombing power stations and the reactions of defiance by the Ukrainian people reminded me of Aesops fable of the North Wind and the Sun. know the one I mean I'm sure..........

The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak.

“Let us agree,” said the Sun, “that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak.”

“Very well,” growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler.

With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler’s body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.

Then the Sun began to shine. At first his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders. The Sun’s rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak, and, to escape the blazing sunshine, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside.

And we all know the moral of that story

Here is another photo of a page from the Wartime Christmas book

No more to be said really.

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Saturday 17 December 2022

December 17th

 Lots of blogs I've read this week  have included temperatures recording this unusually cold spell of weather we've been having. I can't tell you the temps here as I don't have a thermometer - but it's been cold for sure! (Not cold compared to Canada etc! just cold for England!)
Even if I had been well all week I don't think I would have ventured far but the aching all over cold hung around for several days, added a sore throat and a cough, went away for a day, came back, kept me awake but has now more or less gone. Thank you everyone for wishing me well  and Apologies for not getting around to commenting on many blogs this week.

So what have I been up to while resting up and drinking plenty of water?
I've wrapped some of the Christmas presents, just a few more things needed now, read a couple of my own books and eventually ventured out for shopping. 
Washing had to go in the tumble dryer - not because of rain but it just froze on the line with temperatures below freezing all day and all week. 
One of the guys from the building company came and tightened up the joints on the new shower where there was a bit of a leak. And I gathered up enough energy to walk up the road to collect my library Christmas and January reading. 10 books I'd reserved and quite a mix this time.

Including this very aptly titled..........

I might have already abandoned two! 
At the bottom of the heap The Kitchen Front is such tiny typeface that I can't read it easily (and it's not my usual reading anyway) and A Murder of Crows looks to be a bit too cosy crime - although I'll try it. At least I know I'll enjoy the Donna Leon - which is a newly published copy of her very first Brunetti crime series from 1992 and the crime book by Ann Granger.
 'Behind the Seams' is another American Cosy Crime but I've read some of her books before and know they were OK to read. Top of the pile is another I know nothing about and have no idea why I ordered it especially as I've just noticed it says Science Fiction Classic and I Never read Science Fiction!
I've got Thunderstone back to try again and the most recent book from Ronald Blythe - another collection of writings about his village, church happenings and the countryside over the last 25 years- perhaps his last book as he is now 100 years old.
Also in the pile there is Frostquake - which is the story of the REALLY cold winter of 1962/3, I was 7 and remember some bits but it will be interesting to read more.

Below are the November books from last month. I sent some back unread, and still have one of the D.E.Stevenson books here. I decided not to read "The Ink Black Heart" as the series of her last Cormoran Strike book is on TV and I thought it would get a bit complicated reading one and watching another- anyway it is a gigantic book. I'll wait for it to appear on TV. I didn't read Scenes from a Prehistoric Life either - it was a bit dry.

The books I actually read have got a mention on the Book Read 2022 page

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Friday 16 December 2022

December 16th

 Another page from the Wartime Christmas book.

They worked all through the they are on strike! 

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Thursday 15 December 2022

December 15th

 This picture and the poem below comes from one of my small Christmas books  " A Christmas Album".  A collection of poems, pictures and little stories published in 1987.


Now the frost is on the pane,
Rugs upon the floor again.
Now the screens are in the cellar,
Now the student cons the speller,
Lengthy summer noon is gone.
Twilight treads the heels of dawn
Round-eyed sun is now a squinter,
Tiptoe breeze a panting sprinter.
Every cloud a blizzard hinter,
Squirrel on the snow a printer,
Rain spout sprouteth icy splinter,
Willy-nilly this is winter.

Summer-swollen doorjambs settle,
Ponds and puddles turn to metal,
Skater whoops in frisky fettle,
Golf club stingeth like a nettle,
Radiator sings like kettle
Hearth is Popocatepetl.

Runneth nose and chappeth lip
Draft evadeth weather strip,
Doctor wrestles with grippe
In never-ending rivalship.
Rosebush droops in garden shoddy 
Blood is cold and thin in body,
Weary postman dreams of toddy,
Head before the hearth grows noddy.

On the hearth the embers gleam,
Glowing like a maiden's dream,
Now the apple and the oak
Paint the sky with chimney smoke,
Husband now without disgrace,
Dumps ash trays in the fireplace.

                                                          Ogden Nash 1902 - 1971

I googled to see when this was written and found it doesn't seem to be as well known as another of his poems which has often  been included in books of children's poems.

Winter Morning Poem by Ogden Nash

Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snow men
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes.
Smooth and clean and frosty white,
The world looks good enough to bite.
That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue!
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing.
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.

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Wednesday 14 December 2022

December 14th

 Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday.

A spell of very cold weather landed on the UK  - quite unusual for many places to have snow in December. I've gone down with a cold  too- first for so long I can't remember when I last had one. It's an aching all over and headache type cold. Decided against going out to the exercise class and swimming but I really need to go shopping as soon as I can.

Last Sunday I went to visit Father Christmas in his grotto at Bressingham Steam Museum and Gardens. 

This video - if it works - dates from a few years ago , but it was much the same.

Of course I didn't go on my own but with Son, DiL and two grandchildren.. It was a frosty day but not too cold walking around. 

We went on the train and looked around the museum. Grandson was very excited by the model railway, especially after he found he could push a button to make the train move. I think he would have stayed all day, climbing on the step to watch the train then climbing down saying "press the button" and climbing back up to watch it again.

No sitting on Santa's knee here, he was fenced in!

This sort of thing didn't happen when our children were small and if it had we wouldn't have been able to afford it anyway. The Santa they saw was in a home made grotto made from a clothes horse, covered with a curtain at the Scout's Christmas Fayre.

Just one way things are so different now........

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Tuesday 13 December 2022

December 13th


One of the new books added to my Christmas book collection was this one above. It's full of interesting bits and photos and illustrations about people's experiences during both World Wars.

Below is a page from the book about the difficulties of shopping in wartime written by a lady called Mrs E.J.Barnicot from central London.

A Children's stocking from 1940

I'd forgotten about this type of Christmas stocking that we used to get. They were made of net stuff and edged with a sort of red crepe paper. I think they are still around for pets! By the late 50's they didn't have cardboard or small wooden items items like those in the photos. It was more likely to be a small bag of marbles, or a tiny tracing book or one of those puzzles where you have to move squares around to get the numbers in order. Plus one of these clicky ball and catch things.

I loved these simple toys - in fact I might get some for the grandchildren seeing that I've found them on amazon.

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Monday 12 December 2022

December 12th

Had a very quick trip out recently to look at some Nativity cribs on display in a church.

They didn't have anywhere near as many as I saw at Grundisburgh Church in 2018  but still a treat to see them all.

Sadly Grundisburgh are unable to have their display anymore as most belonged to broadcaster and author Libby Purves - who was looking for a permanent home for them or to the vicar who has moved on.

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Sunday 11 December 2022

December 11th

  After my post about lost bloggers on Friday there was a lovely catch up message  from Trish who was in Norfolk and now down South. Perfect timing. And I think I got confused in a reply - getting Dove Grey Reader mixed up with Lovely Grey - two different people I'm now thinking.

Still very cold here, with freezing fog rather than snow. I braved going for a swim at the pool on Saturday - it was worth the effort as there was only me and one other lady in the Slow Swim half of the pool.

Found this photo on the old blog - Photos in Advent 2015.

That's how many Christmas books I had back then

and now..............

Several have gone in the intervening years and 3 moves, but I do seem to have added a few new ones surprise there then!

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Saturday 10 December 2022

December 10th

Winter got here on Thursday, greenhouse looking like an ice house and car frozen up, so it was the first outing this year for the windscreen cover  which was a really good buy last year, saves running the engine to defrost the windscreen, which is what my neighbour does at 4a.m.! or scraping like crazy or having to buy that nasty de-icer spray stuff. Colin used to pour a jug of warm water over the windscreen of his works van - but that's not recommended and if it gets into the side windows it stops the electric window opener switch from working until the whole thing has dried out.....ask me how I know!

Finally got the Christmas cards (with notes written) into the post box, just in time as I'd not heard about the earlier posting dates due to the strikes. I just have one more letter to put with one more card and parcel and a few to hand deliver locally and that's the end of the cards. I've had 2 cards so far, one from WI and one from my penfriend on a windy Scottish Island - thank you W for beating everyone this year despite being so far away! (and thank you for pressie and the Robin who has been added to the tree!)

And I've nearly sorted presents. Eldest Daughter and Son in Law are getting a voucher towards a new hoover - boring but useful. She said they'll get it in the January Sales - "Good Plan" I said. Son had no idea really but then said he really needed to replace their utility room door so another voucher for a well known DIY store has been purchased. Again not very Christmassy but useful. Son gave me a good idea for Daughter in Laws pressie so that's sorted, which just leaves Youngest Daughter but as she is in the middle of moving house this weekend, and a move always means something is needed, I expect she will be grateful for some money. I'm a very lazy parent when it comes to buying presents was much easier when they were little! Plus now of course there are also 5 grandchildren to puzzle over.

This fella 

or actually these fellas, came from a Charity shop last month.

I felt a bit guilty because as I went into the shop a lady was looking at him, but then put it back in a box of lots of decorations and moved further into the shop. I swooped in and grabbed him and then heard another lady say to first lady "I'll have the Russian doll Santa's if you don't want them" by which time I was at the counter paying £1. I saw first lady go back to box to get him and of course he was gone! "Oh" she said "where's it gone?"

I was on my way out of the shop by then!

This is not my first set of nesting Santas, I had some many, many years ago. They stood on the mantelshelf at the smallholding every Christmas when the children were growing up until the heat from the wood-burner warped them and made all the paint flake off, by then the children had grown and flown and I expect the Santas were added to the fire!

My bargain charity shop buy is probably missing a larger Santa and teeny Santa #5 has been permanently stuck inside Santa #4 but for £1 I won't complain and the  two grandchildren who've seen them were still fascinated anyway.

 I wrote about how Santa came to look as he does HERE in a 2021 post.

I've just tried to see more than the 10 most recent posts in my list of "Blogs I read" on the right and the Show More thing isn't working - which is a tad annoying. Hope it rights itself.

Back Tomorrow

Friday 9 December 2022

December 9th

Christmas time is a time for remembering people we don't see so often.

 I was looking for something on my old blog and found a long list of blogs I used to read but they don't write far as I know....or maybe they are still around with a different name.

 I know some are probably too busy to write, some have had illness, some just decide not to write anymore. But I do hope they are all OK and wish them all a Happy Christmas.