Saturday 30 September 2023

End of September

 And before we had time to appreciate it September has gone.

A decent month here in the East weather wise compared to many parts of the country, no storms and quite mild so the grass kept growing and the patio doors were often open.

My Low Spend September was foiled by paying the second half of my sofa and chair but as I would have paid it in October anyway it doesn't really make much difference.

As promised here are pictures. The colour is a sort of green/gold which hasn't really come out well in the photos. I do like plenty of scatter cushions to liven things up! 3 came with the sofa and chair, 4 from boot sales and two cushion covers bought from Dunelm have been put on old cushions.

I'm very pleased that I moved shelves around so that the space between the leather recliner and new settee was big enough to get through and  I was able to fit in a slightly larger 3 seater as it's now big enough to lay on properly.
My old sofa was just 4 inches too short for stretching out and I do like to stretch out of an evening when I'm reading!

I've got a quote to replace my patio outside of those patio doors next spring. Some of the old slabs will be used round the corner where the old oil tank once stood and the rest will be stored down the side entrance way ready for relaying sometime in the future. Making the path there two slabs wide instead of one and to stop the  mess of weeds/plants/shingle.

Apart from the furniture the rest of spending was just below normal. Only one fill up with diesel for the car which  means there will be two next month and food spending was lower than usual and that just means it will be more next month! No getting away from buying food and diesel and paying Council Tax, electric and phone bills.

My last two books read in September have both been really good. 

Book 7 was  Jane Thynne- The Words I Never Wrote. Fiction. (Published 2020) This is the story of two English sisters  Irene and Cordelia born in the early 1900's. As they grow they are very close always confiding in each other but when Irene marries a German Industrialist in 1936 she is whisked away to Berlin. Cordelia then gets a job as a journalist in Paris. As Europe heads towards war Cordelia begs her sister to leave Germany but with her husband being a Nazi sympathiser it's not as easy as it sounds.  70 years later, in present day New York, Juno Lambert buys a 1931 Underwood Typewriter which once belonged to  well known American journalist Cordelia Capel and finds an unfinished novel.  Juno decides she wants to know more about Cordelia and Irene to fill in the blanks about why the sisters became estranged.

The 8th book of the month, finished yesterday has been a fascinating read. Published in 2022 after Monica Wilde decides to live off foraged food for a year. This isn't as crazy as it sounds because she is an expert . Here is her website  

Luckily she lives in Scotland where many things are available that are not found here in arable Suffolk and it's just incredible what is available if we just knew about. It took me several days to read and I really enjoyed finding out about her year of foraging.

Lots more lovely free library books to read in October - thankfully because in October there are more family birthdays to buy for and a visit to the dentist on Monday - Lovely! Plus all the usual expenses and I'll keep an eye on the heating oil measuring thing and get the tank filled before the end of the month.

Hope you have some enjoyable things planned for the weekend

I'll be back Monday

Friday 29 September 2023


 I'm very disappointed with my Charles Ross apples from the 2 Minarette trees.

It's not the number - I wasn't expecting many as the trees are new, and it's not the size - they didn't get as much water as needed, but they are tasteless and  the texture is odd  -not nice and crisp.

They are supposed to be dual purpose but however small they are  I'm going to peel, core and slice and put them all in the freezer for winter. If I turn them into crumbles they'll be quite edible.

I hope next year the other Minarette, which is Falstaff, will have some delicious tasty apples like it did in it's first year.

In contrast to poor apples I've been eating a bowl of Autumn raspberries every other day for a couple of weeks and they are a really good treat.

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Thursday 28 September 2023

Too Windy?

 I wanted to show you wonderful views of Felixstowe from the top of this temporary structure. 

I checked the forecast for a calm day and checked the wheel's opening times and tootled off down the A140 and the A14.

But when I got down to the sea front the big wheel was closed even though everywhere was calm and the sea was flat.

So I went up the town and round the charity shops and the big second-hand bookshop instead, thinking perhaps it would be working later in the day.

But no luck - still no-one there and no signs of movement.

I came home via Dunelm in Ipswich and picked up a nice big cosy throw for my new sofa and two new cushion covers to go with the cushions already found at car-boot sales and the ones that come with the sofa.

The wheel is supposed to be open through October before it's dismantled and taken away but if it was closed on a calm day I'm not sure it's worth another trip.

Gutted that I only heard about it a couple of weeks ago or I would have been there earlier - in the queue on the first day!

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Wednesday 27 September 2023

Herring Gulls

 I'm seeing several gulls - too far away to see exactly what sort- from my front windows this summer due to the building work going on on the far side of the burial ground. They dug out a lot of soil to make a level spot for the two bungalows by the road and heaped it up along the edge. Now it's being levelled over all the rest of the  large site behind where the bungalows have been started. Gulls are very fond of newly turned earth.

The Herring Gull. Illustration from 'A Sparrow's Life's as Sweet as Ours by Carrie Ackroyd.

Each bird illustration has a page of information written by John McEwen.

 Herring Gulls have a wingspan of up to 5¼ feet and up until the second half of the 20th century were usually to be found by the sea. Lack of fish made them move inland and become a problem in many places where they often make newspaper headlines by stealing food from peoples picnics and violently excreting what they've just eaten when angry.
Apparently numbers have halved since the 1970s and they were Red Listed because of their rapid decline.

The photo below is from the time we had a beach hut at Felixstowe for a couple of years when Colin was poorly.

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Tuesday 26 September 2023

St. Mary's Church, Coddenham

Coddenham is an old village - going back to the Romans - in Mid Suffolk, it isn't far from both the  A140 and the A14 and has tight bends and narrow streets not meant for heavy traffic.  I visited early on a morning when they were having a flower festival and some people were getting everything ready to serve coffees.

The tower is in an unusual place which might mean an earlier church was in a slightly different position.

The porch sits slightly at an angel to the church so that it faces directly up the road to the village

The church is wide with side aisles and a long chancel and clerestory windows let in lots of light

A couple of the lovely flower arrangements

And two of the stained glass windows

Memorial from 1855

Old clock mechanism on display in the church

Along with the flower festival they had a small display of old photos and information about the village

Stairs to the Rood Screen mentioned above

Just a short visit but much more about the church on the Suffolk Churches Index HERE

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Monday 25 September 2023

The September Library Book Photo

 These are my books reserved and collected from the mobile library van last week - A Great Ol' Heap!

I've no idea where I got the details from for several of these and only know a couple of the authors. There are a lot of non-fiction this time and not so many crime....quite worrying ! 

The crime/thrillers on the left are The Crime of Black Dudley  by Margery Allingham which is the very first Albert Campion story and The Lady Vanishes by Ethel Lina White which has just been reprinted in the British Library Crime Classic series - I thought they were concentrating on books long forgotten but The Lady Vanishes is easily available elsewhere and the library copy is a reprint from 2017.

Bottom of the pile is The Year of Miracles which is a cookery book and a story of grief and I've already abandoned it. No idea about Louise Doughty - A Bird in Winter. Many Deadly Returns are 21 short crime stories.
October, October by Katya Balen is a children's book which popped up somewhere because the illustrations are by Angela Harding, although the story sounds intriguing.
The Words I never Wrote by Jane Thynne is a historical novel set in two time periods and places. I've already nearly finished it - a really good story.
No idea about Hermit and The Wilderness Cure but I have a feeling that The House on The Irish Hillside might have been read before but with a different title, haven't got round to investigating yet.
Highland Fling  by Sara Sheridan is one of a series that I've read before so I know I'll enjoy that.

On the right Belonging by Amanda Thomson - is another one I have no idea about. The House By the Thames is a story of people who lived in one of the oldest remaining houses near the river. 
Country Remedies is an old book of East Anglian Plant Remedies and the social conditions that made them important.
And finally Nightshade is another crime book by an author I've not read before and seems to be the 5th in a series - so why didn't I request the first?

I'll let you know how I get on.


Back Tomorrow

Saturday 23 September 2023

Saturday 23rd and The Weekly Round Up

Thanks to everyone for comments yesterday, sorry I didn't get round to replying and thank you to Debbie at Rustic Pumpkin for more information on the word Mabon
Will Mabon ever be a word on Wordle? which I did in 2 (CLOSE) on Tuesday, blimey! well chuffed! can't remember the rest of the week but no fails.

 Low spend September continued............ although I spent out on bits for the Sink Pond = £9.50 - a marginal Water Geum, oxygenating plant in the water and water snails hopefully making this mini-pond more welcoming to frogs etc..

I swam and went to the exercise group and bought postage stamps, fruit, eggs and milk, and a cheap 2024 diary from The Works and that's was all the money spent this week.....until the company who I'm getting the sofa and chair from rang to say it was in - a month earlier than expected. So I had to pay the other half and that was the end of low spend September! Delivery is next week. 

Eating from freezer and garden really does continues

Sunday - Courgette Crumble with the last of the runner beans
Monday - Thai Red Fish Curry - home made-  from freezer with rice.
Tuesday - Quorn Bolognese sauce - home made- from freezer with spaghetti
Wednesday - Fish Fingers, sweetcorn cobs and fried tomatoes
Thursday - Leek and Bacon Pilaff....again.. still plenty of leeks
Friday - Courgette (very few and small now) and pesto pasta.
Today - Omelette and tomatoes

I actually found some  free food - such a rare occurrence around here. Half a dozen nice big cooking apples from a box labelled 'Help Yourself ' on my way home last Saturday. They've been peeled, sliced and added to the freezer for winter fruit.

During the rest of the week I got lemon marmalade made - from a tin of prepared lemons. I left it plain this time instead of adding in a tin of grapefruit. Two jars for the Christmas Hampers and 4 for me. Also baked a cake for the week, did a bit more garden clearing and fished out a partly done cross stitch kit to finish for a little gift.

Have a good weekend
I'll be back Monday with the Library Book Photo.

Friday 22 September 2023


 Looking through books about old weather lore you won't find the word Mabon anywhere as Mabon is the name of the modern Pagan festival celebrating the Autumn Equinox, which this year happens at 7.49am tomorrow morning. It is the midpoint of one quarter of the Wheel of The Year.

The equinox marked the end of all the harvesting and the end of the years cycle and is the beginning of astrological Autumn.

One of the things suggested for modern pagans to do is to draw a circle on the ground, marking it's boundary with natural things. Split the circle into eight segments representing each part of the year that has just finished and put  suitable things in each segment to mark your own year. Walk around the outside of the circle and meditate on the year passed and that which is to come.

There are many old  weather sayings for yesterday which was St Matthew's Day but I did a whole post about him two years ago so won't repeat those this year. However I found one prediction  centred on the equinox which said.........
A quiet week before the autumn equinox and after, the temperature will continue higher than usual into winter.

It wasn't a quiet week here - very wild and windy on Tuesday and Wednesday, thankfully not as much rain as other parts of the country and still not too chilly. I found the radiators warm one morning when it must have been really chilly at 6.30 but that was the only time the heating has come on. I got round to dipping the oil tank and the watchman is correct as it's still half full - surprisingly.. The boiler juice company are recommending filling up heating oil tanks now rather than later as prices are rising again, so I may well do that soon. Apparently we now also have another few years to change from heating oil to an electric based heating system.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 21 September 2023

Finished at Last

 The long stitch tapestry started in January is at last finished .

And it's a perfect fit for the frame found at a boot-sale. I've added it to the seasonal display, swapping it for the  Edwardian Lady plates this autumn.

I bought this kit last year after doing the A-Z thing in November when E was for embroidery, cross stitch etc and that gave me the nudge to do another picture. It was supposed to be my present from Brother-in-Law but we didn't even get round to swapping money for each others presents last Christmas so I bought mine and he bought his!

 I had a look for something to do next and found this. It's much smaller and stitched with embroidery threads rather than wool - it will be fiddly to do - need to get a new pair of reading glasses before I start.

I stopped in at B-in-L's house on my way to exercise group this week - he's rarely at home, always out mending things for people or getting wood ready for delivering all winter- but as he was there  I stopped to tell him I'd bought  my Christmas gift from him already and he'd better think of something he wants. He said he wasn't sure he could afford that much this year!! Ha!

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Wednesday 20 September 2023

A Curious Find

 Sometimes I spot something at a boot sale that really needs looking at closely to find out more about it. This little find  set me back 50p from a box of house clearance stuff . I wanted to take the back off the frame to see if it really was something painted on a piece of old paper or just a print or a page from a book.

At the bottom it's just possible to read W805A  Courts??? 'Copyright 1957 Colbeam Palm???????.

It was easy to take apart as it was just a photo frame - with revoltingly dirty glass - and I found it's hand painted in oils on a board. I think the title might be "Courtship".

I googled as much as I could read and found Colbeam Palmer, were  makers of Paint by Numbers kits  - from the USA although  Colbeam Palmer had a London address in the 1950's (importers?) But in the States is the Colbeam Palmer Museum of Painting by Numbers.
Wiki says

In 2008, a private collector in Massachusetts assembled over 6,000 paint by number works dating back to the 1950s from eBay and other American collectors to create the Paint By Number Museum, the world's largest online archive of paint by number works. In 2011, the Museum of Modern Art in New York accepted four early designs of paint by number by Max Klein for its Department of Architecture and Design, donated by Jacquelyn Schiffman. 

I seem to remember doing a children's paint by numbers kit sometime in the 60's but no idea what the picture was, what it looked like when it was finished and what happened to it.

 Paint by numbers kits are still available - with dozens for sale on Amazon - some look extremely complicated with many different coloured paints and there are easier ones like the swans.

It was worth the 50p to send me on a small voyage of discovery! and after I'd given the glass and frame a good clean  I've added it to the picture wall.

The friends who visited last week asked where I'd found all my small pictures and it turns out that although two were from an art exhibition and had to be framed and two are my own stitching all the rest are from car boot sales. I've added a new label - Picture Wall - and found the posts where I bought most of the pictures from boot sales in the past.
There's room for a few more and then I'll have to start swapping them round or find a new home for some.

And from the same seller a small bundle of old or repro postcards for £1. These are for adding to my scrapbook - something that started when I found someone's old scrapbook at a boot sale.

The card on the left is 3D  and someone has written Happy Xmas on it and a message on the back about an enclosed gift of a magnifying glass. It looks very old but things can be deceptive because in tiny lettering on the bottom of the back it says -

Printed and Published by Mamelock Press Ltd  ©1998. Northern Way Bury St Edmunds.

Who seem to be still in business but now in Cambridge selling reproduction Victorian greetings cards and the scrapbook scraps that I found at a boot sale years ago and similar to what we had as children. 

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Tuesday 19 September 2023

Crowfield Church Without the Flower Festival

All Saints Church Crowfield  is where I go every August for their flower festival because they have a very good second-hand book stall at the same time.

The church is tucked away behind what was the moat for the long gone manor house and is over a mile out of the village.

The moat is covered in duck weed at the moment - doesn't look like water at all.

Then you turn the corner at the end of the path and find the most unusual small church. 

With the only timber framed chancel in Suffolk

As I mentioned when I wrote about the flower festival, this little church was built as a chapel of ease for Coddenham in the 1400s.

A chapel of ease (or chapel-of-ease) is a church building other than the parish church, built within the bounds of a parish for the attendance of those who cannot reach the parish church conveniently, generally due to distance away. Often a chapel of ease is deliberately built as such, being more accessible to some parishioners than the main church.

It's odd that Coddenham village is further away than Crowfield village, parish boundaries must have changed.

Many of the stained glass windows have words from the bible

There are some very good pieces of wood carving 

Under the embroidered altar cloth the altar table was rescued from the redundant Mickfield Church

The little spire for the church's one bell was rebuilt to look better 20 years ago as before that it was described as 'stumpy'!

More about the church in the Suffolk Churches website HERE

Apologies to several people whose comments - old and new - had disappeared into spam comments, where I'd forgotten to look for ages. And thank you to other people who had commented on old posts and I'd not been back to look........I'm a Very Bad Blogger!

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Monday 18 September 2023

10 Years Ago

 I have lots of posts in drafts half finished and haven't had time to complete and write properly so in the meantime here is a re-posting from the beginning of my old blog, when we were living on the smallholding. Him Outside is Colin of course and this was a just a few days after he had the second stent done in Papworth Hospital. He'd hardly had a day off work in his life but suddenly had serious heart problems in the summer of 2013, went in hospital for one stent and then a few weeks later had the second. He was very well again for 18 months until the beginnings of the Non Hodgkin Lymphoma blood cancer reared it's ugly head.

 18 September 2013

What a lovely day

It's been a really beautiful day here. If every Autumn day was like this it would make winter seem much shorter.

I took a wheelbarrow out to the field to start the harvesting of pumpkins and squash to put out for sale. These small pumpkins are bright orange already and much smaller than I wanted. There are some bigger which are still green.  There are also a few plants of some that are slightly different- not quite round, and paler orange ( the one on the right) I don't know what they are as they don't fit any of the descriptions on the packets of seeds I planted.
Some of the butternut squash are HUGE, much bigger than I wanted for selling. I spent ages last year, going through the catalogues and trying to find a variety that wouldn't get that big and with the dry weather we have had I'm surprised at their size. I have no idea how much squash cost in the shops so put these out at £1 each - because I sell everything at multiples of 50p to make accounting easier - and they soon all went.


 It's a really good time for seasonal eating with both the end of the summer and now autumn produce available. Today from our garden we could have tomatoes, sweet pointy peppers, green and red block shaped peppers, chilli peppers, cucumber, white cabbage, red cabbage, chard,  lettuce, radish, courgettes, butternut squash, pumpkin, potatoes, parsnip, sweetcorn, leeks, onions, beetroot, runner beans, pears, autumn raspberries, apples, figs, greengages, plums and the herbs of course - parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme ! and oregano and chives too.

Him Outside has been resting and as I had nothing that desperately needed doing I thought I would have a lazy-ish afternoon too. So when I fished a heap of our local newspaper - The East Anglian Daily Times, out of the campsite paper bin I sat down and had a good read. It's interesting to see what local news we miss by not having a  paper.

Making a cuppa this afternoon, I glanced up to see a weasel trying to carry something through the orchard. I realised after a second look that it was a pigeon. He was really struggling with it. Who knew weasels could catch pigeons?

I miss my smallholding life

Back Soon

Saturday 16 September 2023

Halfway Through September.............

 ..................already.................and the 2023 Strictly Come Dancing launch show is on TV tonight so we know it's Autumn.

This week in Suffolk....................

Lots of garden clearing done, although I can't do as much at a time as I used to - and there is still so much to do but after I'd cut down just half of one of the three buddleias  the council garden waste bin was straight away three quarters full again. 
A couple of weeks ago I managed to empty one compost bin into the wheelbarrow plus a big tub thing  and turned the full bin over into the empty one,(really hard work!) but buddleia and rose prunings are too tough for rotting down in my bins so they have to go out in the waste bin.
The compost made is a year old and looked good but I can't get it onto the garden yet because all the vegetable beds are still covered with plants so there's nowhere to put it. 

I was pulling out weeds and grass from around the supposed-to-be-red Hazel and a frog hopped out-  which is hopeful. I've put a terracotta pot upside down in the sink- pond to make a temporary step in case he finds his way in. Perhaps this weekend it would be an idea to get some plants to add in even though I've not finished around the outside of the pond yet.

Out the front of the house the previous owners made a very narrow flower bed running down one side of the path - it's very shingly poor soil, lower than the 'lawn' and the grass  keeps spreading over it but  I've not really got the energy to dig it wider, so I've taken out the Lady's Mantle and a small clump of pinks and moved them into the border in the back garden. One more plant to move then some soil needs adding to level the bed and I'll be able to mow right to the path.

One more job done was to remove the small stepping stone slabs that I put between patio and greenhouse door two years ago. The grass just kept growing over them and I got fed up with having to cut round them with the edging spade. I've refilled the holes I dug with dirt and the grass will soon cover them again. 

So how's  low spending September going?

Week two wasn't too bad................

Food shopping last Saturday £14.61 (fruit and other things that were running short)
Printing out the photo of Eldest Grandson for the frame  55p
Parcel back to him of something he left behind £3.79
Swimming £3
Half a dozen eggs from roadside stall £1.25 (they were £1 until recently)
Exercise group £1.50

My main meals since last weekend using things here already
Sunday - The 3rd piece of vegetable/cheese quiche made on Friday eaten with sweetcorn, runner beans and courgette (all from garden)
Monday - The 4th and final piece of a quiche with sweetcorn and beetroot(both from the garden).
Tuesday - Last of the "Artisan"-expensive-never-to-be-bought-again-burgers and roast vegetables (from the garden except potatoes)
Wednesday - Leeks from the garden used in a Leek and Bacon Pilaff -(a new favourite 30 minute meal)
Thursday - Home made vegetable pasty from freezer plus sweetcorn and runner beans from garden
Friday- Stir fried vegetables -home grown except carrot with belly pork slice in hoisin sauce and noodles. Think the pork had been in the freezer for months - it's something I'll not buy again.
Today- Pizza on a home made base with home made topping which I batch make and freeze - plus salad of cucumber, tomato and red pepper - it's the last of the cucumbers.

Every other day this week I've been picking a handful of Autumn raspberries from the canes that were already here - nice extra treat.

 I'm reading from my shelves until library day next week and choose one of the books picked up from the church sale - H.E.Bates - Fair Stood the Wind for France. Why had I never read this before? It's a good story .
Perhaps it's because it's described as a Modern Classic and I used to avoid anything that said it was a "classic" - the word makes me think of dull, dreary and hard work = Dickens or Austen (apologies to fans of their work but I'm Not!)

If you watched Only Connect on BBC 2 on Monday and do the NYT Wordle did you get the answer to one of the sequences? It was the words that pop up when you get the word in 3,4,5 or 6 goes. 6 is Phew! and that was what popped up for me on Friday's Wordle - a tricky one with lots of possible words for the letters I got right just  keeping my current run of 33 correct words going. 6 missed out of 195.

And that's my week rounded up in a few sentences .

Bring on the weekend!

Back Monday

Friday 15 September 2023


 I used to buy these sometimes many years ago, when the children were small as they were really cheap - harking back to the days when Woolworths sold bags of broken biscuits for pennies. (Before my time obviously!)

 Dunkables - An assortment of whole biscuit, biscuit mis-shapes and part biscuits. Ideal for dunking in your favourite beverage.
They used to have large pieces, often chocolate Foxes brand or McVities which were quite a treat back then.

I hadn't thought about or seen them for many years, so when I noticed them in QD recently I bought a pack out of curiosity but they were a disappointment as there were more crumbs than biscuit pieces and what biscuits there were tasted a bit dusty. I ate the bigger bits and bashed the rest into crumbs and tipped them into a saucepan with some melted butter. Then used the mix to line a large flan case, wrapped it well and popped it in the freezer. It will make a banoffee base or something similar for Christmas

Then I gratefully went back to normal and baked a big batch of peanut biscuits

8oz Plain flour         }
1tsp baking powder }     sieved together
Pinch salt

4oz butter
4oz caster sugar
1 egg

(I always add 2oz plain unsalted peanuts but variations could be coconut, currants, chocolate chips, lemon zest or coconut)

Rub fat into flour, add rest of dry ingredients then add beaten egg, mix to bind.
Roll out as thin as possible, cut into rounds, put onto greased trays and bake at a medium heat for 10 - 12 minutes, until just changing colour. Put straight onto wire trays to cool and crisp up.

My children and the children I child-minded after school when they were 8 and 9 years old loved these when they came in "starving!"

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Thursday 14 September 2023

What's Happened to my Red Hazel?

 For reasons I don't understand, my Red Hazel bush (bought in a pot from a plant sale in May '22) which had put on good growth this year, has reverted to green. It had lovely red leaves right up until a couple of weeks ago but now just common green.

I googled and found this

If the weather is unfavourable to a particular plant, it may revert just to get a competitive advantage. Once the leaves revert to all green, the plant can increase its harvest of solar energy, which in turn gives it more fuel to produce bigger and stronger growth.

Below on the left  is how it looked after buying it last year.

Will it go back to red? That is the question.

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