Tuesday 31 January 2023

The End of January Round-Up


I don't like January - it goes on too long - I tried to embrace it this year but by the 22nd was quite fed up with it! 
I could have stayed in, kept warm and  read more books but then I would have missed swimming, exercise/wellbeing group, shopping, W.I Knit and Stitch meet-up as well as finding things to blog about. So I was out and about in the cold - and it was my own fault!

Income this month was the usual two pensions, small amounts of interest from savings plus the £66 from the government 'Help with Heating' handout.

I spent rather a lot on myself in January with the Radio Times Subscription, The British Library Crime Classic Book Subscription, swimming every week, dumbbell weights from Aldi, a hair cut and two exciting second-hand books (more on those later!) Plus coffee and cheese scone out a few times for my new "treat myself a bit more often" thing.
Other expenditure included two lots of diesel, postage stamps, the regular phone/broadband payments, the monthly electric bill, vegetable seeds, food and all the normal smaller things needed for a house and home.

Anything Thrifty in January? (These are the places I economise so I can afford to spend in other areas)

  • Eating up all leftover Christmas food.
  • Negotiated reduced price for Radio Times Subscription rather than just paying the new price.
  • When I went to buy toothpaste recently I found it's double what it was not so long ago. But I discovered it half price on Amazon and even less with a regular order - yes I'm guilty of aiding exploitation of workers.
  • Still mixing milk half and half with water
  • Home made bread
  • Choosing the right days to do the washing so it can half dry outside before I put it on the radiators, only used tumble dryer when I did the new towels before using them.
  • Using things from my cupboard (from car-boot sales) for half of Middle Grandson's birthday present.
  • Having the cheapest type of haircut
  • Eggs still £1 for half dozen at roadside farm stall on way to swimming
  • Reading library books for free
  • Exercise group is free
  • Dumb-bell weights at Aldi were £4.99 instead of  around £10 on Amazon
  • Found bags of Wonky Pears at Morrisons 5 for 79p - wish they had their wonky fruit more often.

News came of how heating oil users are to receive the £200 government "Help with heating costs" handout. It is to be credited to our electric bill in February, worked out by knowing which postcodes don't have a gas supply. With two more months of the £66 from the government, for me that means I probably wont have to pay anything for electric for the next 5 months but will still have to fork-out about £600 to fill up the oil tank next month.

Out of the house this month have gone - books, old towels, storage jars and some Christmas craft things. All to charity shops.

Looking ahead to February and the extra expenditure will be on having new trellis and posts in the garden and filling up the oil tank.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 30 January 2023

I Bought A Mountain

I first read this a VERY long time ago. I know it was a long time ago because it's on the first page of the 'F' section in my little book-of-books-read which started not long after I began work in libraries in 1971

Originally published in 1940 this is a new edition..... "rediscovered".  I noticed it on the new books page of the library website and thought it would be good to re-read.

Thomas Firbank was born in Canada, of English/Welsh parents, went to school in England and had had two years working in a factory in Canada when he returned to the UK, aged 21, needing to work outside.
He heard about a Welsh farmer wanting to retire from his 2,400 acre hill farm. Firbank first visits Dyffryn in the middle of a November gale.
"I jumped out of the car, and the wind frogmarched me at a run to the back door. The door opened unasked, and I stumbled inside"

 There are no maps in the book to show exactly where the farm was but it must have been somewhere just SW of Capel Curig with mountains on each side and Snowdon just down the road.

Photo of a road map showing the area, the farm was on the southern slopes of the Glyders.

So in 1932, for £5,000 he bought the 2,400 acres of steep grazing land, a farmhouse, two cottages and 3,000 sheep. Jumping into a change of life in a foreign country, with no experience and not speaking any Welsh.

He must have been an amiable young man as he seems to have plenty of help from his own farm workers and the neighbouring farmers even though he got off on the wrong foot by getting builders from Liverpool to alter the farmhouse. He also married a local girl which must also have helped him settle in.

The weather is a main feature of the book, the house is plain...... 
It possessed strength and utility, and seemed to say "Well! Here I am. Take me or leave me. I have no frills, but I know my job" And the house did know it's job. No one who has not experienced them can believe the strength of Dyffryn gales, nor the destructive force of heavy rain flung at sixty or seventy miles an hour against stone and mortar.


The book goes on with chapters about lambing, the year the snow came, shearing and dipping the sheep. But not content with just sheep he diversifies with forays into keeping pigs and chickens.

They also have a go at running a snack bar down by the road for the summer visitors to the area and then buying a gypsy caravan for people to holiday in.

One chapter covers the time they became record holders for climbing 'The Three Thousands". 14 peaks in the area that are above 3,000 feet. In 1938 with two climbing friends and much practice, preparation and planning they break the record and get featured in national newspapers.

Another chapter tells the tale of getting electricity to Dyffryn by means of their own Hydro Electric set up, and there is a drawing to show the way they dug a lake to catch the water before it rushed down the mountain. Too much rain was soon a problem and then dry summers meant no electric too.

Patrick Barkham, who writes the introduction to this new edition, says that by the time the book was published in 1940 Firbank had already left the farm due to the 2nd World War to join the Coldstream Guards. His marriage broke down during the war and he later gave Dyffryn to Esme where she carried on running it for many years with her new husband. The farm is now owned by the National Trust. Firbank was awarded The Military Cross and after the war he went on to write more books, lived and worked in England and Japan returning later to Wales where he died in Llanrwst in 2000 aged 90.

Re reading this now made me wonder if Elizabeth West (Hovel in the Hills etc) read this before her adventures in the area in the 1960s. There are similarities.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 28 January 2023

Heading Towards the End of January

 The tyre pressure warning light came on as I arrived in Southwold for the church photos, but the tyres all looked OK so I drove home carefully and the next day hauled the compressor out from the back of the garage and managed to get air in all the tyres although the gauge on the compressor is broken and checking them with the little hand-held gauge thing was a bit random. So I ran the car round to my friends at the car repair place and got them checked with their proper gauge.....seems I'd got too much air in 3 and not enough in 1 .....or had the one gone down again........we shall see. Son and DiL etc were going to come over and I asked him to bring his small battery air tyre thing but they had car problems too so didn't get here......I wish there was a way of living without needing a car!

According to the lady doing the TV weather forecast the coldest temperature recorded in the country so far this year was on the night of Sunday 22nd January  at Santon Downham in Suffolk  -10℃. I think they said it was the coldest this winter for East Anglia ? (Not sure about that). Santon Downham is over in the North West corner of Suffolk in an area known as The Brecks, where the soil is light and sandy. It gets extra cold there in winter and hot in summer. I've not got a outside thermometer any more so no idea what is was here, but the car was well iced up on Monday morning and I'm glad I have the windscreen cover thing.
I saw a really nice, large outdoor thermometer recently, it was in a charity shop glass case - where they put the more expensive stuff. The thermometer was advertising Michelin Tyres - so obviously meant for a garage . Unfortunately the price on it was £44.99! I didn't buy it.

The frosty days disappeared and from Wednesday on it was mainly grey and gloomy and  temperatures, above freezing which might be a good thing - if this weather saying is right 

If in January, the sun much appear
March and April pay full dear.

But as I've no idea how many days were sunny and how many dull - who knows what will happen.

When the sun shone briefly on Friday   I took a few photos of the rooflines and very small windows of the old houses in the village street.

This week I've been grateful for
  • A lovely quiet swimming pool
  • Plenty of time for reading
  • Brief glimpse of sunshine
Have a good weekend
Back Monday

Friday 27 January 2023

Bobby Robin

 When I was growing up Pied Wagtails were always called Penny Wagtails, Wrens were always Jenny Wren and Robins were always Bobby Robin.........I don't know why...might have been a Suffolk thing, who knows.

Anyway, this is my Bobby Robin - probably the bird most often seen in this garden. Perhaps the most recognisable bird we have.

And here's the illustration of the Robin from the book I've mentioned several times now (apologies for repeating myself - but it really is a lovely book, and handy to use for a blog post when I'm short of ideas) (I ought to earn commission!)


I read something about the Robin that I'd not known before and that was it's old name, used by Chaucer was The Ruddock, that changed a century later to The Redbreast and then in the C16 finally changed to Robin.

In 2015 it became, by popular vote, the UK's official national bird. In some parts of the country they were considered bad luck because they are often seen close by when grave-diggers are working. (although I guess not now graves are dug by a mini-digger !) According to some they are friendly and can be easily tamed, but not so friendly to their own species as they are very territorial and defensive.

A Robin Redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.

(Two lines from the C18 poem Auguries of Innocence by William Blake) 

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 26 January 2023


When I moved here I cleared out several box files of random paperwork. One was labelled "Old Stuff to Keep". I got rid of lots of bits and put the rest into a smaller cardboard envelope folder and labelled it the same. Now I'm going through various folders and boxes having another clear out - although I need a new paper shredder before I can do all the old self-employment tax stuff from the smallholding. 

Some of the odd "old stuff" I've kept include these certificates. 

They are from Scripture Exams we did at the Baptist Chapel I went to, dating from 1964 -1969. We did the exam each year after studying a bible subject including "Peter", "Moses", "Jesus Crucified and Risen".
I remember enjoying the exam - being quite competitive even back then, and seems I did fairly well. First Class with Distinction looks like a good year! Although I have a feeling everyone who did the exam got a certificate.

The other random certificates I still have include my Scouting Wood Badge for Leaders, a City and Guilds Library Assistant Certificate and one for  Typing - earned at evening classes in 1976/7 - no idea why I did that - in theory I should be able to touch type! 

Oddly, one I ought to have, but it's been lost sometime is for the 6 'O' levels in 1971 - the least enjoyable one I earned. And now no one even knows what an 'O' level is!

One day I'll clear these out too.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Southwold Church

 This post is not as good as it should have been, I took the new camera only to find it must have been left on and the battery was dead. So I had to use the phone and it's not easy (for me!) to hold steady for zooming. Plus just as I arrived there the Tyre Pressure light came on in the car, so all the time I was there I was wondering if I was going to have a flat tyre or get home again! Plus it was too blinkin' cold to linger.

There are fewer photos than there should have been - some were too blurred to include.

 Southwold St Edmund stands proud in the centre of this busy seaside town.

The porch is very impressive and there is St Edmund, all tied up, over the door.

And the reason it is included in the 100 treasures in 100 Suffolk churches book is because of the magnificent rood screen which stretches right across the church. Each section is like a medieval 'Old Master' although each face has been damaged later by the Puritans.

This is just a small part

This is the view down the nave of this long and wide church

The East window shows Edmunds life 

Sorry, this is a fuzzy close up of the Altar background 

The ceiling of the chancel is very beautiful

Colourful cushions and kneelers in the front row of the Choir stalls

and interesting carved arm rests in the back row. 

Carved angels toot their horns on the top of the organ pipe surround 

The 'wine glass' Pulpit it highly decorated and it's a surprise that it survived the puritans - sorry - it's another fuzzy photo!

A huge and ornate font cover on the font stretches high above

On the right you can see the Clock Jack, he used to strike the bell with his axe every hour. These are quite rare and just two in Suffolk the other being at Blythburgh not far away

Much better photos HERE on the Suffolk Churches website

I will go back - when the weather is warmer and with a full camera battery (and hopefully no tyre problems!)

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Craft Stash Shrinking

  I found a few old  Craft Creations decoupage papers at the bottom of the Christmas drawer among some other bits that I've had for years.

I used them up to make 3 cards for Grandchildren for this year, just need to stick on Happy Christmas labels. Then I put everything else into the Charity Shop bag.

More 'stuff' going or gone.

It was interesting yesterday to read all the comments about the three authors mentioned.   

 I'm just happy to read what I like and leave everything else to others.

Back Tomorrow

Monday 23 January 2023

Recently Read

 Two of the books read in the last couple of weeks have been very readable and both very connected to the Church of England.

First - 

'Next to Nature; A Lifetime in the English Countryside' by Ronald Blythe. For many years Blythe wrote a column every week for The Church Times. These were later collected into books beginning with 'Word from Wormingford'. Next to Nature is the final collection prior to his death, aged 100, this month. Going through the year he writes about his home at Bottomgoms Farm in the village of Wormingford  on the Suffolk/Essex border, the natural world and farming, the village people and the church year. All of his writings show his incredible memory for things that had happened in his long life, his love of reading and learning and all the friends he knew.
His writing is very lyrical and descriptive. I've opened the book at random...........

The Village bakes. Sudden winds fan the heat about and creamy plates of elderflowers cense the hedges.
 The news is dreadfully unwise at the moment - very unexalting. But then, it was very unwise of me to stand on a wasps' nest and receive three stings. "Vinegar", David says. The stings fade into an itch. More wasps on the wrong side of my bedroom window. I let them out into the smoky darkness.

One of my childhood autumn sounds was to hear a big spider negotiating the ancient bedroom wallpaper where it had become loose on the uneven wall. September spiders now appear in the bath, and have to be carried to the garden by the glass and postcard method. In fact, the latter spider transport is an essential September fitting, by the soap. 

(I've just reserved The Bookman's Tale - one of my favourites of his books to re-read.)

The second was the first novel by Rev. Richard Coles  - Murder Before Evensong.  Rev. Coles is well known in this country for being the multi instrumentalist member of The Communards in the 80's, before becoming a C of E Vicar.  He presents a radio programme - Saturday Live and was once on Strictly Come Dancing and is often on TV panel shows and quizzes.

Canon Daniel Clement is Rector of Champton, living at the rectory with his widowed mother and two dachshunds. When he announces plans to remove pews to make room for a toilet in the church the parish is unexpectedly divided, and then there is a murder - the first of three. Is there a connection or is the reason for this brutal killing somewhere in the past? The Patron of Champton, living in the "Big House" Champton Hall is Bernard De Floures and the first person to be killed is Anthony Bowness, murdered in the church and found by Daniel. He was a cousin to Bernard and had been delving into the village and Hall history using papers from the library. Another village man is also interested in the history of the Hall especially the time it was used during the war by the Free French. He is the next to be murdered.
Daniel has the job of helping the police - because of his knowledge of his parishioners- and keeping the village together, while organising the funerals.

I enjoyed this and found it better written than books by that other TV personality turned author Richard Osman.
But I was puzzled by some of the reviewers on the back cover who thought it "funny". It is cleverly plotted but I certainly didn't find it funny.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 21 January 2023

This Week

Thank you to everyone for comments this week and apologies for not replying every day. As usual I forgot to look in spam and found several there again - now let out onto the page. Thank you also to people who don't comment often - lovely to hear from you.
I found this from the  1st of  month that I'd missed............

As one of your long time "lurkers", it’s been an interesting year of posts. You always manage to mix things up, along with the regular pieces we enjoy, churches, books etc… looking forward to more lurking ahead! Karen S

It's good to hear that people enjoy reading - I do enjoy writing and tracking down ideas to write about must be good for the brain. Although sometimes it's difficult to find something to fill a post everyday which is why this week has been mainly Saints and poems!

Last week there was yet another funeral over the road in the graveyard, the third in as many weeks. I also heard about someone else in the village who had died, a man who was at secondary school with brother-in-law and my sister (that means four years younger than me). Hearing and seeing death so often very close like this, certainly makes a person wonder how long they have left! Although I don't dwell on that thought for long.

 I discovered that British Library Crime Classics are publishing one new book each month this year and doing a subscription service at a reduced price and free postage, I thought "what the heck - go for it!"
How good it will be having a new book through the letter box for the next six months........ I never buy new fiction books.....until now.
Here's my first, arriving one day after being posted - speedy! Probably my favourite of the BLCC authors

The 9.30 swimming session was nice and quiet again. 3 mums with 4 toddlers between them, the lady swimming very fast again and a man who is often there and spends most of his time talking to the lifeguard - loudly - after hearing him at various times over the last 5 years I could almost tell you his whole life history!

The weather turned much colder as the week went on. Exercise group was OK but I was very lazy and didn't head out to WI in the evening - tut, tut! apart from being really cold I'd heard the speaker on his subject ( The American G.I's in Suffolk in the 1940s) at the over 60s group last year. Plus I was well into a good book and it was nice and warm snuggled on the settee.

Tomorrow - the 22nd - is St Vincent's Day with a weather rhyme attached

Remember on St Vincent's Day,
If the sun his beams display,
Be sure to mark his transient beam
Which through the casement sheds a gleam 
For 'tis a token bright and clear
of prosperous weather all the year

Hope everyone has a good weekend.
I'll be back Monday

Friday 20 January 2023

20th January is St Agnes Eve

Agnes was beautiful and wealthy and became a Christian in the early 4th century when she announced that "Christ is my bridegroom .....I shall be his alone" Many men wanted to marry her and the Roman governor at the time decided she should be in a brothel for any man to abuse her but she was so meek and pure that no one would touch her. So she had to be killed and was executed.

Jusepe (José) de Ribera - St. Agnes in the prison
St Agnes in the prison by Jusepe de Ribera around 1641

In the past St Agnes Eve was an important night for young women and John Keats wrote a looooong poem with the title - this is a small bit. 

 St Agnes' Eve - Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limped trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold.

They told her how, upon St Agnes' Eve,
Young virgins might have visions of delight

And soft adorings from their loves receive
Upon the honey'd middle of the night,
If ceremonies due they did aright;
As, supper-less to bed they must retire,
And couch supine their beauties ,lily white;
nor look behind, nor sideways, bur require
Of heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.

John Keats - The Eve of St Agnes 1820

According to my book "Cattern Cakes and Lace" if you want to dream of your future partner you must keep your wish in mind, pick pins from a pincushion and stick them in your sleeve. Then you must go to bed and be sure to lay on your back with your hands behind your head - having done all this you will dream of being kissed by your partner!

Don't think I'll be bothering!

Thanks to wiki for the following.......
The church of Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (ItalianSant'Agnese fuori le mura) is a titulus churchminor basilica in Rome, on a site sloping down from the Via Nomentana, which runs north-east out of the city, still under its ancient name.[1] What are said to be the remains of Saint Agnes are below the high altar. The church is built over the Catacombs of Saint Agnes, where the saint was originally buried, and which may still be visited from the church. A large basilica with the same name was built nearby in the 4th century and its ruins can be seen near Santa Costanza, in the same site. The existing church was built by Pope Honorius I in the 7th century, and largely retains its original structure, despite many changes to the decoration.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 19 January 2023

Long -Tailed Tits

 I don't see so many birds on the feeders here as I did at Clay Cottage or at the smallholding and I stopped feeding peanuts as they just went mouldy in all the wet weather we have had.

But one day last week the Long-Tailed Tits arrived all at once - as they do, and having found out why I couldn't get my new camera to focus on zoom (thanks to my son), I was able to get a nice photo.

I wondered what the illustration was for Long Tails in this book which is always on the shelf beside me

And this was it..............

On the page facing each illustration is a description and information about the birds featured.
'Tit' is short for 'titmouse'. One of the first signs of autumn is the visit of a family of long-tailed tit-mice, colloquially 'bumbarrels', to the birdbath. In they swoop .......................Then, as suddenly, they move on, acrobatically upending as they make their busy way from one tree's canopy or hedge to the next.

The country poet John Clare wrote a whole poem about the nest of the Long-tailed Tit which is  a "domed marvel of avian architecture".

The oddling bush, close sheltered hedge new-plashed,
Of which spring's early liking makes a guest
First with a shade of green though winter-dashed
There, full as seen, bumbarrels make a nest
Of mosses grey with cobwebs closely tied
And warm and rich as feather-bed within,
With little hole on it's contrary side
That pathway peepers may no  knowledge win
Of what her little oval nest contains -
Ten eggs and often twelve with dusts of red
Soft frittered -

- and full soon the little lanes
Screen the young crowd and hear the twitt'ring song
Of the old birds who call them to be fed
While down the hedge they hang and hide along.

(From Bumbarrel's Nest)

The nests have been deconstructed and found to contain as many as 2,300 feathers and covered with up to 3,000 flakes of lichen and all constructed in as few as 3 days - busy little birds!


Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 18 January 2023

18th January - A Random Post

 This is a page from this weeks Radio Times that  might be handy - especially if you like watching sport on TV - Ignore this if you don't. 
The Australian Open Tennis is always the first big sporting event of the year - unfortunately it's only on a paid-for TV channel and of course completely the "wrong" times here! so I won't get to see it. Odd that there's no mention of the snooker that's on this week. I'll just look forward to the Rugby Six Nations stating in early February and Tennis in July - lovely summer it will be then - seems a way off at the moment. 

I bought myself a new camera - just an updated version of my old jammed up one - or so I thought - but it turned out to be completely different in so many ways, so I've been struggling to get it to connect to the lap top by the cable - which meant the only way to transfer photos was by using the memory card - taking it out and putting it back which I knew might be a sure way to lose it somehow. However after much googling and fiddling about and trying all sorts of things I got  this photo of my living room off the camera and into the picture folder - but will I be able to do it again - that is the question?

Sometimes I really don't like being such an ignoramus when it comes to tech!

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 17 January 2023

Family Time

The Surrey family were in Suffolk for the weekend - for a late Christmas get together.
 All 5 grandchildren were together again for the day on Saturday - it was slightly manic! It's Youngest Grandson who had changed most since I last saw him. He's  now 15 months walking well and understanding all sorts, his big brother - Eldest grandson is 7 in May and growing up quickly as  they do. The three grandchildren in between these two I see more often but they still seem to shoot up another inch between times. It will probably be Easter before I see the Surrey boys again, what with school and their Mum working and starting a children's after school art and craft club plus running children's birthday art parties too - life is hectic for them.

I don't often share grandchildren photos on the blog as they grow up, so once a year is enough.
It took a lot of persuasion to get them all lined up for a photo, so I had to click quickly before they got grumpy without looking to see what was all around . (For some reason the girls had decided to get ready for bed 5 hours early!)

Back Tomorrow

Monday 16 January 2023

The January Library Book Photo

9 books that I'd reserved were brought home from the library van last week and I still have 3 left from December too. 

5 are crime fiction, 3 ordinary fiction of which 2 are D.E Stevenson reprints plus a recent book by Erica James and one non-fiction by Thomas Firbank which is a re-read from a very long time ago.

Plenty to read while the weather turns cold and I stay in and hibernate this week, although not as much as I'd like as there  is swimming, exercise group and shopping.

Last Month I brought home these below. Four went back un-read and  I've just finished reading Next to Nature by Ronald Blythe (another wonderful compilation of his countryside writings). I started Frostquake which I thought was about the weather of frozen winter of 1962/3 and it is, but more about everything else that was happening at the time - like the threat of nuclear war, the Beetles topping the charts and the Profumo scandal. I stopped reading halfway through but will have another go at it later. Thunderstone is also still here - waiting for me to try it again  after failing when I borrowed it several months ago.

Edited in to say that the Suffolk Author Ronald Blythe died on Saturday aged 100, just as I was finishing his last book. 

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 14 January 2023

Saturday Snippets

 For a few worried minutes this week I thought my washing machine had gone wrong. After the programme had finished  the things inside were much wetter than they should have been and when I put it on a spin-only programme it seemed to just be turning everything over and doing nothing but then - thank heavens it got going, spinning properly. Phew - sigh of relief.

You know I like watching sport on TV so it was good to find the Masters Snooker on this week - the top 16 playing except for two young Chinese guys who have been suspended while charges of match fixing for betting are being investigated. I've never understood match fixing in any sport, how do they know what might or might not happen and how to fix a particular thing?. But then I've never understood gambling either....just a fast way to lose money for the majority.

Had a letter telling me my Radio Times subscription was changing from £49 for 26 issues to £75 which is a heck of a jump. So I rang up to cancel and the guy said there must be some mistake(?) and offered me another 6 months at the original price. Not sure how they continue to do it at less than £2 a week including postage but I'll carry on for now while they are as I don't buy any other magazine and the RT has lots to read.

Heard on the radio that millions more people are to be offered statins - I've not seen a doctor for years now so haven't had the conversation lately

After missing a few weeks I had a good swim this week -  risked a general public session rather than a lane swimming session as they are few and far between in school term and struck lucky with just 3 Mums with 4 small toddlers and one lady going up and down at great speed, so there was plenty of room. Very good to get back in the pool again - I did 40 minutes with some pauses for a breather which isn't too bad. I'll try for the same session next week and hope it's no busier.
 I also got back to the exercise group after missing a week for Nanna duty. Took my new "middle aisle Aldi" 1kg dumb bell weights - much better than a bottle of water. There are 7 more weeks funding by the Community Interest group but after that no one is sure how it can operate unless we fund the village hall hire  ourselves.

This is the only colour in the garden at the moment Viburnum Bodnantense, it didn't like the frosts in December but has come back looking good - although it also doesn't like heavy rain.....but other than that it's quite pretty!

I've searched everywhere that they were planted, but there is no sign of  the "in the green" snowdrops that blog reader Jan kindly brought me last year..........no sign of them at all which is a bit sad - hope they will appear in time, surely they can't all have been lost in the dry summer.

 The Surrey family are in Suffolk this weekend and it will lovely for us all to get together, which I'm looking forward to. 
Hope you have a good weekend. 

Back Monday

Friday 13 January 2023

St Hilary's Day

Depending on where you look St Hilary's Day is celebrated on the 13th or the 14th of January and many old weather sayings state that its the coldest day of the year. This idea could have begun because  the Great Frost of 1205 started on this day and lasted until the 20th of March. It was on the 13th and  14th January that the River Thames froze over in both 1716 and 1814 - the year when the frost fairs were held on the ice. Although in 1814 the frost didn't last so long.

But it certainly won't be that cold in Suffolk this year, where the forecast is for around 9℃ which is about 48℉, so far in January we've hardly had any frosts at all (although plenty of winter still to come).

St Hilary was persuaded to become Bishop of Poitiers by the Pope around the year 350, despite only becoming a Christian late in his life and not really wanting the honour. Later after refusing to attend a synod he was sent into exile by the Emperor Constantius. While in exile he became the first Latin hymn writer of the Christian Church although most of his hymns have been lost 

image borrowed from a website called https://www.prayersandpetitions.org/feast-of-saint-hilary-of-poitiers-13th-january/

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 12 January 2023

Seeds to Sow in 2023

 Looked in my seed tin and found left from last year...........

Plenty of Chard
Very few Tomato -Super Mama
Enough Butternut Squash  -Hunter
A dozen or so Sweetcorn  - Moonshine
Plenty of Leek - Neptune
Very few Red Sweet "Pointy" Peppers
2 or 3 Sweet orange block pepper - Kubista
Very Few Aubergine - Genie
2 or 3 Cucumber- Louisa 
3 or 4 Courgette - Tuscany
Climbing French bean seeds saved from 2019 and 2020} Decided it was time to start afresh
Few Runner bean seed saved from who knows when     } with both sorts of beans in 2023

I perused the seed catalogues......... I love reading all the different descriptions and finding out about new varieties each year.

Seed prices have gone up a lot since covid and vary from one company to another as do the number of seed in a packet. I straight away abandoned Thompson & Morgan as they didn't have much choice (perhaps this wasn't their full catalogue) .The D.T Brown catalogue had everything I wanted but many of their packets were 50p+ more than those in the Marshalls catalogue. Kings didn't have any of the tomatoes I wanted but their prices were significantly less than both the others.

I decided that even if I had to pay postage on two different orders it would still be cheaper to get most things from Kings and just the tomatoes from Browns.

To add to what I have left I'm going to be buying .............

Super Mama and Sun Grape tomatoes.
Incredible Sweetcorn
Thor and Kubista Peppers
Aubergine Genie
Cucumber Pepinex
Courgette Defender
Cobra Climbing French Beans
Benchmaster Runner Beans
Beetroot Moneta - they will come from Browns too as they are  a Monogerm variety so I should be easier to spread out when sowing. Kings don't have any Monogerm.

I'm not bothering with things that are easy and cheap to buy - carrots and onions. Or lettuces which need regular sowing and I don't eat enough for when they all grow at once.

That's probably all I'll have room for in the greenhouse and 3 vegetable beds although I might find some Kale plants later in the year and attempt to keep them free of critters - which was a total fail this year.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 11 January 2023

Making a Start

Finally got a clip frame to stretch my long stitch tapestry Christmas present, and loaded it on,  I've never had a clip frame before as years ago they were different  - took me a while to sort out how to do it as there wasn't a lot of spare canvas to roll around the bar - had to go sideways but that doesn't matter. I've made a small start and will do more at the WI.  Knit, Stitch and Yarn group.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 10 January 2023

Were The 2022 Car-boot Bargains Used?

 Someone once questioned if my home was full to overflowing with stuff I find at Car Boot Sales. The answer is No....... things do get used in one way or another, I don't often find that something I've bought is wasted. 

Here's a few photos as a reminder of what I found  last year. 

The card was used, digger is in the car box, card making book on the craft shelf

The Journal will be used as a raffle prize, the book list book went for a Christmas present. One of the little trinket pots was stitched and became a little gift, the other is still here waiting. The starting school book will be given in a while.

The vehicles are in the car box, the jars have been used and the little Lego packs went home with oldest Grandson in the summer

The books have been added to the bookshelves and will then go to a charity shop, cards are in the card box and I'm working my way through the Sudoku book. Dinosaur Pairs are on the toy shelf

Several of these cards have been used already, the rest will be.

Christmas paper was used this year, The cushion making sewing kit became a raffle prize, bathroom cleaning sponges have been used. The quoits game gets used in the summer, the mallet is in the garage, Christmas badges will be for next year now as I forgot them this year. 50p was wasted on the tin of marmalade which was well out of date and unfortunately definitely unusable.

The lock and lock storage box is in use as is the dustpan outside in the shed. The plastic bags are being used and the pot watering tray is outside in use.

The peat pots will all be used for sweetcorn this year and next year, Christmas paper is still to be used, the book was passed on to my cousin, the petrol can is in the garage ready for the next fuel shortage.

Christmas Crackers were used on Boxing day, and the window decoration was stuck in a front window all December. Greaseproof paper is in the cupboard, the bangles went off with eldest granddaughter. Middle Grandson was not impressed with the jigsaws so I'll pass them onto youngest grandson and the Easter craft book will get used this year

The wasp trap was used through the summer, the head band decorating set is in the cupboard for a birthday present this year, the chalks get used whenever the weather is good and grandchildren are here. Cards are either already used or waiting and the book about Stowmarket road names has been read and enjoyed.

Still a while to wait for 2023 car boot season to start but I'll be there - I enjoy the search