Tuesday 31 October 2023

That's The Way The Money Goes!

 I like October - I also like the other 11 months of the year!  But October feels like the month to start preparing for winter so I got the heating oil tank filled, there was more oil left  than I thought so it was less than I'd originally paid giving me a refund and the total was £548 spent in a just few minutes to keep warm for several months (6 months + with luck) I hope.

The dentist visit started off the October spending  and there was also all the usual expenses of Council Tax, phones and charity direct debits, monthly electric bill, food, diesel for the car and the usual household necessities  and I used a £10 off voucher  to stock up on some kitchen things and Christmas stuff from Lakeland. 

Then there was all the threes..........

3 birthdays that needed presents all within 6 days  and I got tempted into a special offer of 

3 patio fruit trees from Thompson and Morgan and spotted a nest of 

3 pine tables from our local second-hand furniture place. The smallest one was just right to go in a space between the bookshelves for my lamp and radio, the biggest was exactly right for between the new sofa and the wood-burner, with room for the kindling basket underneath while the middle one's gone in the spare bedroom as a bedside table. 

Personal spending was more than some months but all good as I bought the two items that are my only Christmas food treats and a ticket for "an evening with" event at a theatre -it will involve a 45 minute drive in the dark both ways in November but I'm determined to go as it also involves a free book! I'll write about it next month. Compared to those expenses,  swimming and exercise group are both much cheaper.

Thank goodness I can think of a few frugal things that make up (in a very small way) for the spending

  • Mended some tiny holes in two pairs of leggings.
  • Turned the top over and threaded new elastic through one pair of  loose leggings.
  • Bought a giant Savoy cabbage from a car boot sale for £1 and by wrapping it tight in clingfilm and cutting off wedges and re-wrapping it was used in 7 meals!
  • Found some double sized tins of grapefruit segments at Morrisons reduced from over £2 a tin to £1.29. I stocked up on 6 tins and they last me a week each as one of my fruit portions.
  • Made red onion 'marmalade' chutney, with two jars for the Christmas hamper presents and also bought jars of local honey and bottles of local apple juice so that the two hampers (actually they will be in a Christmas themed jute bag bought for 50p each from a boot sale this year) are finished.
  • Reading library books for free
  • Mixing milk and water
  • Using courgettes and leeks from the garden and a few late Autumn raspberries .I even found a handful of late and still edible green beans when I cleared the leaves, vines and canes.
  • Haven't had to use the tumble dryer all month by picking the right days to do the washing.
  • Only using 2nd class stamps (did you know 1st Class are now £1.25! good grief)
  • Sorting out what car boot finds I have for Grandchildren's Christmas presents - only a few more bits needed for 4 of them and something for youngest grandson.
  • Deciding what food treats NOT to buy for Christmas!
  • Cheap hair-cut.
  • No magazines, newspapers (other than the Radio Times subscription) make up, alcohol, jewellery bought. There never is!
  • Daughter in Law kindly put the pine book shelves that I no longer needed on the facebook selling page for me and they went for £40. Sadly so far no one wants a chest of drawers or the table I no longer have room for.

And also a help was the government letter telling me that as I'm old and alone I'll get £500 Winter Fuel Payment including Government Pensioner Cost of Living Payment in November or December which will certainly be handy - very kind of them!

A bag of no longer needed 'stuff' went out to the charity shop this month including a few books, old clothes, postcards and a few kitchen bits I've not used since moving here.

And that was October gone

Back Tomorrow

Monday 30 October 2023

Almost The Last Day of October

 The Big Question for November..........

Shall I do an A-Z on the 26 blogging days of November just as I did through November last year? Last year I managed to find 26 things to write about, all things that I was interested in or had a connection too, would I be able to do it all over again without repeating myself?

So Q for Question

Shall I find 26 things, another  A-Z to blog about?

Think I need ideas for X and Z!

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 28 October 2023


 Odd weather this week. Cold sometimes then mild  then wet  sometimes, then everything all at once. Floods have gone off the roads but I called in at Brother-in-Laws to see how he is drying out and it's going to take a while for the concrete floor of his kitchen, bathroom and utility room to dry, and he'll need new flooring and new kick boards for all the base cupboards.

We got back to the Keep Moving Group after the two weeks off due to the village hall having work done and the W.I that I go to has started a Reading Group that any members could attend, they had one before but met in peoples houses which was limited to six people which didn't seem fair. Now it's going to meet in the church community room with plenty of room for anyone who wants to go and they are doing  the same with a scrabble/games group ( I really do need to move back to that village!). So I went. We're not always going to all read the same book, which I'm glad about as I have enough library books without too many extras.

There's still some colour in the garden with  a few late roses - slightly rain damaged.

And this vine thing which I am forever cutting back

I've got lots of baby water snails in the mini sink pond - really teeny things, too small to see

And the tiger grass has 'flowered'.

After my post about washing all the big greenhouse pots there was a good comment from an anon about getting jobs done in the garden........... to paraphrase -  "my spring self will be pleased at what my autumn self got done" which is so very, very true.

But at the moment my Autumn self is just fed up with the boiler which decided to stop working for heating again one evening and then the next day the heating came on again but not when it should have done and weirdly I still had hot water all the time. It did this a few weeks ago too, that was before the issue with the low pressure which I could fix. Nothing looks wrong on the boiler so I'll have to call the heating man.

Have a good weekend. I'm waiting to see what the weather is like before I decide. Although car boot sales are now all finished due to the rain last weekend so that's something I won't be doing.

And it's clock change weekend - UGH..... Embrace it - don't hate it! - I'll try.

Back Monday

Friday 27 October 2023

Sweet Chestnuts

 Many thanks for comments yesterday - apologies for not replying - just got side tracked by other stuff.

These are  Sweet Chestnut trees, two of several dozen all around the entrance roads and paths at the National Trust Sutton Hoo site.

I don't think I've been anywhere with so many fallen chestnuts, the grandchildren thought they looked like baby hedgehogs - it seemed really bad to walk over them - walking over something edible was all wrong.

I brought some home to cook. 

But then I remembered that the last time I'd tried this they had been really small and had fallen to pieces when I tried to peel them and, come to think of it, I don't really like them anyway!

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 26 October 2023

Another Weather Folklore Book?

There were several house clearance people at a Saturday boot sale a few weeks back, they always have boxes on the ground with everything all mixed up so it's back breaking to look through - especially as early in the morning as 8am.

I found this book  - and thought "oh, a weather folklore book I've never seen before" 

I picked it up as well as this old guide book to Sutton Hoo ready for my visit, and offered the bloke 50p for both which he took.

I soon found out why I'd not seen the weather book before

It's from the US, although all the weather sayings linked to the months of the year in the first few pages are ones that are in my weather folklore books here although later in the book are some predictions I'd not come across before.

But I'd never seen this variation on the days of the month rhyme - not sure it's true of anywhere!

Once I have a good read of it there might be some bits to use on the blog.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Pots are Washed

 My big pots had been standing outside and the rain had cleaned some but  I got them done properly on Monday morning after I'd done a bit of housework. It was nice and bright and sunny in the greenhouse and the water butt water wasn't too cold for the job of getting them all clean. 

Still so much to do outside - The water butt now needs emptying, the horrible yew hedge out the front to be cut and the three Buddleias all need cutting back. I've still got a wheelbarrow three-quarters full of my home made compost to empty and the three new patio fruit trees to get into bigger pots. The problem is I need the wheelbarrow empty for cutting the hedge and can't empty it all at once because it's going to go on the veg bed that is a bit low on soil and that's where the purple sprouting broccoli is.
I've always had more than one wheelbarrow everywhere else, now I know why.

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Tuesday 24 October 2023

Debach and the Church That Isn't

 Daughter in Law took a different route to Sutton Hoo when we went than I do and we went down a road that was unfamiliar to me.

I spotted something beside the road that needed a second look.

 This is the font that was once in Debach church, covered by  something similar to a lych gate that was actually built from money left to the village by some residents - the metal plaque gives details.

The font and little building and a small part of the graveyard is all that's available to see of All Saints Church in Debach which was sold off during the 1970s to be turned into a house. It's now privately owned , and only just visible from the driveway.

On the Suffolk Churches Index Simon Knott last visited in 2008 and the font has been put there since that visit - he writes a short bit of history HERE

(BTW Debach is pronounced Debbidge)

Back Tomorrow

Monday 23 October 2023

The October Library Book Photo

Crime and more crime this month - In fact 10 out of the 13 that I'd reserved are crime and turned up all at once.

I think I requested that fat red book by Ken Follet  because it has the Sutton Hoo Helmet on the cover! it's an historical novel of the sort that I used to often read, although it's actually set in the Viking period. I've not read any of his books before.

Also there are books by authors I know = three Donna Leon, Deborah Crombie, Margery Allingham, Anthony Berkeley, John Dickson Carr and Mike Ripley. Mark Pryor is a new-to-me crime author and 'Lucy by the Sea' by Elizabeth Strout is a book I know nothing about - must have seen it on someone's blog and the smallest book there is Pharmacopeia; A Dungeness notebook by Derek Jarman which Pat Weaver of Grass mentioned a while ago.

After a wet Friday and a stay at home Saturday I've already finished the crime novel by Deborah Crombie. I have enjoyed all this series (there are lots) but get annoyed with each one because the author is American but the books are set in London, the characters are English and every now and again words are used that we don't use here - it grates every time! And do we really still have chestnut sellers on the streets of London at Christmas?

Last month I collected these 15 books below but only read eight. I discovered I'd already read the children's book 'October, October' and couldn't get into several of the others.

'The Words I never Wrote' was really good as was 'The Bird in Winter'. There's a bit about the books I read on the separate Books Read 2023 page. 

The small bit of flooding we had in the village on Friday  went away and the village became accessible again by small cars by Saturday afternoon. I didn't know until I saw photos on the Nextdoor information page just how many problems their were around Suffolk. Several villages that have normally small streams running through were flooded to quite a depth in places. Lots of damage to homes and cars too. It's not something we are used to in Suffolk.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 21 October 2023

Monday - Friday

 Sorry I didn't reply to all comments yesterday. I think the rain affected the wifi connection as everything went slow.

Typical! was my thought on Monday morning when I felt the en-suite radiator and found it stone cold, that was after I'd looked out of the bedroom window and seen the ice on the car windscreen. I pulled on some clothes, coat and hat and went to the garage to look at the boiler - yep - low pressure light was on and, Thank Heavens, that's the one boiler problem I've learned how to solve in my 2½ years here.

After I'd got warmed up and had breakfast it seemed like a good idea to do another thing I've had to learn  since Colin died - checking the car tyres and putting some air in. It's easy now I've got a hand-held battery powered compressor thing - it looks like a battery drill and the instructions, which I have to read every time I use it, are in plain English.

The cold weather didn't last and the rest of the week was milder with some damp mornings but I zoomed round the back grass one afternoon before the battery ran out again on the mower - it's not holding it's charge so long nowadays. Another job done this week was to give the inside of the greenhouse glass a good wash, I'm ready for next spring now except for the worst job of washing all the pots. I'll do that inside the greenhouse sometime using the water butt full of water that's in there all summer as a basic sort of heat-sink.

No exercise group again as the electrical work at the village hall had over run (No surprise there then!) So a trip out for a visit and for shopping and a walk up the road for a haircut and library van were my only outings.  
Friday was the day that we got the heavy rain that had been talked about all week and rain it certainly did.  This was what happened just  a few yards down the road on the corner.
The little ditch that usually has no water running through it was overwhelmed  by water running off the fields - the sewer pumping station is not far away on the right of this photo below - very worrying!

Water was coming up out of the drains

and 4 x 4's were going through gently

and it got worse a few hours after this photo. I was very glad I hadn't booked a swim as I wouldn't have got home and might not have even got to the pool anyway as there are several places on the way there that probably flooded. 
At midday I texted son to tell him that I'd heard that my village was more or less cut off for small cars and he'd probably have to use the works van to pick up Daughter-in- Law from our primary school here and the children from their primary/pre school in the next village. He rang back a while later to say schools had been closed  and said he'd had to try 2 different ways to get from his office to our village and been through rivers running down roads between our village and the children's school. There was a transit van floating in one place! and worse news was that they had no water out of the taps in their part of their village. I straight away filled up some jugs - just in case. This is all very unusual for Suffolk.

Very glad that my bungalow is several feet up above road level and a good thing that there were no burials being prepared on the burial ground over the road, the mini digger would have made a right ol' mess getting through the gate - coffins would have floated in any graves dug!

Places in Scotland had even more flooding than our little bit of Suffolk and I really feel for the people who've had to move out of their homes and will be going back to a dreadful mess.

 I'd thought about visiting another  National Trust property this weekend before their times change for winter but the heavy rain will have caused floods everywhere so maybe not.. I'll definitely be watching the second semi-final of the Rugby World Cup when England play South Africa. England have done so well to get to the last 4 as they were more or less written off after their poor performances in their pre-tournament friendlies. I've managed to watch nearly all the games but can England  beat South Africa ? that is the question.

 Hope you all have a good weekend.

I'll be back Monday with Octobers library book photo

Friday 20 October 2023

Sutton Hoo Part Two - Inside

There are two National Trust buildings at Sutton Hoo one has the shop, cafe and toilets and the other holds the displays telling the story of the Anglo Saxons and the burial.

Reconstructions of many of the items found in the ship are on display, the originals are in the British Museum

And the huge shield

Sorry this isn't very clear. They are reconstructions of the Lyre and lyre bag

Picture of the textiles specially for all knitting/crafting bloggers!

Son was interested to see this display, as his Archaeology company had done some work there. He said they'd also checked the ground where the NT had recently built a compost toilet on the Sutton Hoo site.
Rendlesham is just up river from Sutton Hoo. More about Rendlesham HERE

As we were living not far away from Sutton Hoo when we were at the smallholding we went to visit when it first opened to the public in 2002 but there wasn't much to see at all. We went a few years later when they had more of a display including a life-sized reconstruction of a section of the ship with the furnished burial chamber. That's gone now they've reorganised the displays which is a pity as it was quite effective.

Lots more about Sutton Hoo HERE but it's worth going for a proper look. I now need a visit to Woodbridge where experts and volunteers are in the process of building a full sized replica of the ship. It will be quite a sight when it's finished, their website is HERE.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 19 October 2023

Sutton Hoo Part One - Outside

 Son and Daughter in Law found an online voucher for free admission to a National Trust property for October and they hadn't been to Sutton Hoo for many years and I'd not been since they built the viewing tower and refurbished the displays in the main building so we all went together. Including youngest granddaughter and middle grandson of course.

Sutton Hoo is all about a ship burial containing an important man from the Anglo-Saxon period and his treasures - thought to be King Rædwald - and hidden beneath a mound in the 7th Century, rediscovered properly in 1939 and made even more famous recently with the film The Dig (wiki info HERE).

This is what I wanted to see .........the relatively new viewing tower. 81 steps up to see the view over the burial mounds - sorry the sun was wrong for this photo.

Below are the remains of the burial mounds. Much flatter than they would have been originally. The one with the rope around is the main ship burial.

(The dozens of little metal huts in the distance are for outdoor pig production - very big area for this all along the light land of the Suffolk coast)

This sculpture of the skeleton ribs below shows the size of this boat, must have been hard work dragging it uphill from the river and then burying.

Below you can just see the river in the distance down the valley, across the other side is the town of Woodbridge.

Lots of heathland walks all around the estate and son said they have recently been able to acquire land by the river which they hadn't had before.

Tranmer House, the home of Mrs Pretty who owned the estate at the time of the dig in 1939. It is laid out downstairs as a 1930s property and upstairs are holiday flats available to rent.

Tomorrow they will be some photos of inside the exhibition hall


Wednesday 18 October 2023

St. Marys in the Back of Beyond (2)

This is the second church I visited last week, also a St Mary's and the village is often called Preston St Mary. Another small village in narrow lanes between Stowmarket and Lavenham.

This is another church crossed off from the 100 treasures in 100 Suffolk churches book and gets a mention because of the large and beautiful porch with it's flint flushwork dating from C16. 

The church was struck by lightening in 1868 and most of the walls had to be restored with only the porch and tower as they were before

Inside the church is scaffolding for repair work on the clerestory windows. These windows hold a total of 52 heraldic shields which are a third of those collected by Robert Ryece of Preston Hall who died in 1638.

 Some of the other interesting things in the church are the Norman font which is on more modern base.

Below is a triptych with the 10 commandments, called a Decalogue. It might date back to Edward VI.

Another triptych of the Royal Arms of Elizabeth I  was also commissioned by Robert Ryece.

Wording over the arch into the chancel

The Altar and reredos are rather fancy!

And these panels are each side of the Altar

Inside the porch the door into the church is smaller and to one side because of this altar tomb, thought to be for the porch builder.

More about the church in the Suffolk Churches Index HERE

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