Monday 31 July 2023

End of July Round Up

In June I thought about moving again. A bungalow came onto the market in another village which would have given me the opportunity to help more easily with two of the grandchildren. It was a bit bigger than my bungalow with a slightly bigger garden and not on an estate but at the same price as mine was valued at because it needed a lot of updating- all flooring, kitchen, bathrooms and probably the boiler too.  The housing market is a bit odd at the moment - over 200 new homes are being built in that village - plenty for sale but difficult to find a definite buyer. 

In July after a month with virtually no interest in my bungalow, the other one was sold and  I decided against trying to sell and bought some second-hand books from my wish list instead!

Income for July were the 2 pensions, small bits of interest on savings and I sent £14's worth of books off to Ziffit.

No big extra expenses in July so main outgoings were "just" Council Tax, Phones and Charity direct debits plus the monthly electric bill, food for me and diesel for the car and all the small bits needed around the house. I bought myself a new pruning saw so I can trim some of the branches off the magnolia, lilac and buddleias that are too big for the loppers. Also another pair of shorts and tee-shirt. A few other expenses were new jars for all my pickles, grandchildren's craft bits and Lego. Also got that sink from the auction  to make a pond and a small bit of pond liner to line it with as I reckoned cement wouldn't work to plug up the plug-hole.

Personal spending was Too Much! - I finally got around to having the Chinese takeaway that I promised myself after doing the value range experiment right back in March/April. I had coffee and cheese scone out a few times, food at Ickworth and  bought second hand books also had a proper haircut as I couldn't face doing it myself again. There was weekly exercise group  to pay for but not many swimming sessions as they change the programme for the summer with the only lane swimming for adults being early or late - and public swimming is full of children - not conducive for going up and down.

 The vegetable garden really got going through July. I had a lovely lot of raspberries for nearly three weeks and I'm now eating courgettes, aubergines, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans plus a few beetroot. Despite all that my spending on food was up again. I'm sure prices are still rising. For instance I noticed that Allinsons bread flour which only a couple of years or so ago was £2 for 3Kg, went up to £3 a while ago but jumped up to £3.40 recently.

I'm still doing all the usual things I do to save pennies and still clearing things out and out of the house this month went 2 pairs of shorts  - one pair were too big and went to charity shop and the other into the clothing recycling bin. Also out to charity shop went 8 books and some small craft kits that I'll never do.

Just a very small car boot haul yesterday for 50p and 25p. I got a couple of bean cane fixer things similar to this online but they  are smaller, keeping the canes a bit too close together. This one should let a bit more air around. Plus a pad of nice cream writing paper

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Saturday 29 July 2023

The July Library Book Photo

 There should have been 14 books ready for me to collect from the library van on Thursday but 6 had gone missing, probably on a wrong shelf back in the depot. So I shall be short of library reading matter this month - not a problem - plenty of my own to read. (They are showing on my Library Dashboard as "ready for collection" so hopefully will  be in the right place to bring for me in 4 weeks time).

Below are the books I did carry home.

'The Taste of War' - on the left is a book I've borrowed before but perhaps didn't read right through and 'The Garden Apothecary' I  had last year when I didn't have a photocopier to copy a few useful pages so it's now borrowed again to do that. 'Foxash' is a new to me author and 'Cacophony of Bones' was the one from the Wainwright prize list mentioned last week -(very speedy delivery! it must have been on the mobile shelves). The others are by authors I know and I'm most looking forward to 'The English Fȕhrer'.

4 Weeks ago I brought home these below but only read four. Giving up on Rev Richard Coles, Greta Mulrooney, Peter May and Frances Lardet  for various reasons and the little book on the top by Miranda Keeling only took me 10 minutes to read so I didn't count it as a proper book!

Several from my shelves were read last month too. Everything I read is always on the Books Read page.

Have a good weekend

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Friday 28 July 2023

An Amazing Collection

 Apologies again for not replying to comments - still have a small energetic visitor! Easy to schedule posts - can't do that with comments!!

This incredible collection was up for sale nearby so I went to take some photos. I had no idea this person, who we knew before we moved away  (he died just a few years ago) - had such a lot of carriages, gypsy caravans etc so close to home. Apparently he used to open now and again- like a museum- but that was when we were living across at the coast.

It was advertised as the lifetime collection of horse drawn vehicles- and it certainly must have taken him his whole life to collect, starting in the 1950's when things like this were being thrown out and worth nothing .

I could have stayed for an hour taking photos but wanted my lunch!

So just a few photos to give you an idea of what was hidden away in those buildings for so many years.

Horse drawn hearses 

Small carts


Early Fire Engine

Larger carts and traps

Fairground Roundabout

Inside one of the beautiful gypsy caravans

And all the others

More carts and carriages

Beautiful model fairground

As well as the full size there were models of all sorts plus everything needed for horses like saddles, bridles and bits. There were carriage lamps and indoor lamps, tin plate toys, paintings, butter churns and bellows. In fact a huge quantity of all sorts. 

If only I had room and several thousand pounds to spare I would have loved a gypsy caravan!

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Thursday 27 July 2023

Ickworth House

Making use of my one year National Trust membership while visiting Little Saxham church last week, I went to Ickworth House and Estate which is a few miles outside of Bury St Edmunds. I'd been once before but with Eldest Daughter and Eldest Grandson when he was just a little fella and we didn't get to see much inside.(Just worked out that was 5 years ago just after Colin died)

The Rotunda is probably the most photographed part of this grand house. This ordinary photo is just a part of the whole.

So I tried a panoramic shot and got a bit more in - there's still more off to the right - it's big! The wing over to the left is now a private hotel - not National Trust

The Porters Lodge just inside the gates, now a small cafe.

Below I've copied some of the information about Ickworth from the website. Plenty more about the estate there.

Building Ickworth House

The house you see at Ickworth today – with its distinctive Rotunda – was the vision of the 4th Earl of Bristol, known as the Earl Bishop. Upon inheriting the estate in 1779, he aspired to build a house that would, in his own words, unite ‘magnificence with convenience’.

The Earl Bishop’s vision

The Earl Bishop had spent his life travelling in Europe, and had secured a vast collection of art and treasures. Started in 1795, Ickworth House was to be the home of this extensive stash, with the Earl Bishop hoping to create a gallery that would enlighten and educate receptive minds.

Irish architects the Sandys brothers brought Italian designs to life and society held its breath as the building began to take shape. Nothing like it had ever been seen in this country before, and it is unique even today.

Sadly, the Earl Bishop’s collection was confiscated by Napoleonic troops in 1798 and he spent the remainder of his days trying to recover his losses. Ickworth House was still just a shell when he died in 1803.

Completing the project

After the Earl Bishop’s death, his son Frederick, the 5th Earl (later the 1st Marquess), took over the building project, eventually moving his family into the completed house in 1829.

Frederick changed the original concept of a magnificent central house with two wings, preferring to make the East Wing the family home and the central Rotunda a gallery and entertaining space to impress visitors.

The West Wing was simply built for symmetry, and remained empty, occasionally being used for storage until 2003.

A few photos of inside. All the bedrooms and living areas etc are kept with shaded windows so as not to spoil the furnishings so I didn't take many photos.

'Below stairs'  is the servants hall, where they ate and relaxed - if they had time! Look how many servants they would have had.

Another part of the servants quarters for them to do their own washing

One photo of the 'Above Stairs' - The dining room

The Estate is huge and a lot of areas are open to the public for walking

Thank you for comments yesterday and apologies for not replying - I'm doing a bit of Nanna duty for a couple of days.

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Wednesday 26 July 2023

Old Wedding Photos

 I've got a box full of old photos as well as 8 photo albums. Rarely looked at  and I guess after I've gone they will all be chucked out. Which is understandable but sad. I'll share some on here then they'll be around for ever  -or until the internet is succeeded by the next technology!

This first is my Grandad and Grandma on their wedding day in 1924. This Gran died when I was just a baby - they had a small farm and she is one of those people I would have loved to have known.

And Grandad's son -  my real Dad - marrying Mum in 1951 at Stowmarket Church. The same steps used now for getting into the church and the Osier cafe - for the best cheese scones.

The bridesmaids were my Mum's younger sister, my Dad's twin sister and Mum's niece (her elder sister's daughter) - my cousin. Best Man was Dad's friend.

My Dad died in a road accident a few months before I was born. I would have liked to have known him too. The two Aunts, my Mum and my cousin all died from cancer well before old age and my Grandad - Mum's Dad on the right- from the nasty lung disease after working with asbestos and dust all his life - and from heavy smoking of un-tipped cigarettes. So much cancer in the family - quite frightening really.

I still have Mum's wedding dress - because I'm not sure what to do with it, seems wrong to throw it out yet that's what I'll have to do - it's gone a very strange colour.

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Tuesday 25 July 2023

St Nicholas Church, Little Saxham

 A church featured in the 100 treasures in 100 churches book because of the tower. The base of which is thought to be Anglo Saxon but mostly Norman from the 1100's - including the belfry - that's old and impressive craftmanship!

Also unusual is a stained glass window in the tower.

The view down the Nave.

There are several other features that date back 100's of years, like the medieval pews with carvings of animals and some have a hole in the top which is where the candles or tapers would have been put.

A Lady praying.

A tusk-less Walrus

The East window has some very good stained glass

The C18 alter rail is curved which is unusual. It was rescued from the abandoned church at Little Livermere.

Another grand pulpit with sounding board.

The arch below has always been a mystery as it now has no purpose and no one knows what it was.

This bier for carrying a coffin or shrouded corpse dates from the C17

Round tower churches are special. We have 38 out of just 180 in the whole country according to this leaflet from the Round Tower Churches Society.

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Monday 24 July 2023

The Wainwright Book Prize

Each July I always look to see what's in the Wainwright Prize Long List for Nature writing. Some years I've already read one or two but not this year. 

This is the description from their website

This year’s James Cropper Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing longlist is rich and abundant with unique tales of our natural world. Interweaving stories of the sublime natural landscape around us with personal narratives, this year’s talented longlisted authors seek refuge and knowledge in nature both on their doorstep and afar, connecting with the ebbs and flows of nature that continue amid tragedy and love. The ancient land, ritual and myth is elsewhere explored, as authors navigate the complexities and meaning of place, time and home. Strong voices and lyrical prose abound, will all our authors ultimately exploring how nature defines us as humans, and the urgent need to protect it at all costs.
These are the 12 books in the longlist and the only one I'd come across during the last year is the book by Raynor Winn and I didn't read it - too much description of serious illness - which is something that I can't read about now.


The Swimmer: The Wild Life of Roger Deakin, Patrick Barkham 

The definitive biography of Roger Deakin, beloved author of cult classic Waterlog. Delving deep into Roger Deakin’s library of words, Patrick Barkham draws from notebooks, diaries, letters, recordings, published work and early drafts, to conjure his voice back to glorious life in The Swimmer.




The Flow: Rivers, Water and Wildness, Amy-Jane Beer 

A visit to the rapid where she lost a cherished friend unexpectedly reignites Amy-Jane Beer’s love of rivers, setting her on a journey of discovery. Threading together places and voices from across Britain, The Flow is a profound, immersive exploration of our personal and ecological place in nature.



Where the Wildflowers Grow, Leif Bersweden

Leif Bersweden has always been fascinated by wild plants, but it is a landscape that is fast disappearing. Climate change, habitat destruction and declining pollinator populations mean that the future for plant life looks bleaker than ever before. Many of us are also unable to identify, or even notice, the plants that grow around us.

Now a botanist, Leif goes on a journey around the UK and Ireland, highlighting the unique plants that grow there, their history and the threats that face them, proving that nature can be found in the most unexpected places. An intriguing and timely exploration of the importance of Britain and Ireland’s plant life. 

Twelve Words for Moss, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

Glowflake, Rocket, Small Skies, Kind Spears, Marilyn . . .

Moss is known as the living carpet, but if you look really closely, it contains an irrepressible light. In Twelve Words for Moss, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett celebrates the unsung hero of the plant world with her unique blend of poetry, nature writing and memoir. Making her way through wetlands from Somerset to Country Tyrone, Burnett discovers the hidden vibrancy of these overlooked spaces, renaming her favourite species of moss as she recovers from her grief at her father’s death and draws inspiration from the resilience and tenacity of her plant – and human – friends.


Cacophony of Bone, Kerri ní Dochartaigh

Two days after the Winter Solstice in 2019, Kerri and her partner moved to a small, remote railway cottage in the heart of Ireland. The pandemic arrived and their isolated home became a place of enforced isolation. It was to be a year unlike any we had seen before. But the seasons still turned, the swallows came at their allotted time, the rhythms of the natural world went on unchecked. For Kerri there was to be one more change, a longed-for but unhoped for change.

Cacophony of Bone maps the circle of a year – a journey from one place to another, field notes of a life – from one winter to the next. Fragmentary in subject and form, fluid of language, this is an ode to a year, a place, and a love, that changed a life.

Sea Bean, Sally Huband

Sea Bean is a lyrical and evocative story of communion with nature on the stormy beaches of Shetland. When pregnancy triggers a chronic illness, Sally Huband begins beachcombing – a path that opens a world of ancient myths, fragile ecology, and deep human history; a path that brings her to herself again. 




Ten Birds That Changed The World, Stephen Moss 

For the whole of human history, we have shared our world with birds.

We have hunted and domesticated them for food, fuel and feathers; placed them at the heart of our rituals, religions, myths and legends; poisoned, persecuted and often demonised them; and celebrated them in our music, art and poetry.

This is the story of that long and eventful relationship, told through ten birds whose lives – and interactions with our own – have changed the course of human history.

The Golden Mole: And Other Living Treasure, Katherine Rundell, illustrated by Talya Baldwin

A lavishly illustrated compendium of the staggering lives of some of the world’s most endangered animals, The Golden Mole is a chance to be awestruck and lovestruck – to fall for the likes of the wondrous Pygmy Hippo, the seahorse, the narwhal and, as astonishing and endangered as them all, the human.


Belonging, Amanda Thomson 

Reflecting on family, identity and nature, belonging is a personal memoir about what it is to have and make a home. It is a love letter to nature, especially the northern landscapes of Scotland and the Scots pinewoods of Abernethy.

Beautifully written and featuring Amanda Thomson’s artwork and photography throughout, it creatively explores how place, language and family shape us and make us who we are. It is a book about how we are held in thrall to elements of our past, it speaks to the importance of attention and reflection, and will encourage us all to look and observe and ask questions of ourselves. 


Why Women Grow: Stories of Soil, Sisterhood and Survival, Alice Vincent

Women have always gardened, but our stories have been buried with our work. Alice Vincent is on a quest to change that. To understand what encourages women to go out, work the soil, plant seeds and nurture them, even when so many other responsibilities sit upon their shoulders. To recover the histories that have been lost among the soil.

Why Women Grow is a much-needed exploration of why women turn to the earth, as gardeners, growers and custodians. Alice fosters connections with gardeners that unfurl into a tender exploration of women’s lives, their gardens and what the ground has offered them, with conversations spanning creation and loss, celebration and grief, power, protest, identity and renaissance. 

A Line in the World: A Year on the North Sea Coast, Dorthe Nors, translated by Caroline Waight

This is the story of the windswept coastline that stretches from the northernmost tip of Denmark to the Netherlands, a world of shipwrecks and storm surges, of cold-water surfers and resolute sailors’ wives. In spellbinding prose, award-winning writer Dorthe Nors invites the reader to travel through the landscape where her family lived for generations and which she now calls home. It is an extraordinarily powerful and beautiful journey through history and memory – the landscape’s as well as her own.



Landlines, Raynor Winn

Written in her trademark luminous prose, Landlines is the inspirational story of Raynor and her husband Moth who, faced with the latter’s ailing health, embark upon a healing journey from North-west Scotland back to the familiar shores of the South-west Coast Path. On their incredible thousand-mile walk, Raynor and Moth map the landscape of an island nation facing an uncertain path ahead.

I've reserved Cacophony of Bone from the library for now and might order others later.

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