Thursday 29 February 2024

Leap Year Day

 Leap Year Day is properly called an intercalary  day.  In the calendar devised by Julius Ceasar the intercalary day was added after February 24th, which was counted twice. 24th February was sextus Kalendas Martias (sixth day before the calends of March) and then the following day was bis sextus Kalendas Martias ( twice sixth day before the Kalends of March) which was shortened to bissextus. The proper name for a  Leap year is a 'bissextile year'.

Everyone knows today is the day for women to propose to men rather than the other way round. This tradition goes back to 1606 at least. There is a tale that if a man refused he had to buy the lady a silk gown but nothing to prove this story has been found.

According to one book leap year day is also a good day to start something important but Chambers Book of Days says it's unlucky to start anything new, including marriage, in a leap year.
So take your pick!

This is a leap year saying from Scotland

Leap year was ne'er a good sheep year

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Wednesday 28 February 2024

Frugal February?

February has seemed like a very long month this year - I think because of the weather, the floods stopping outings and the general dullness - and there is still a day left. Surely March will have sunshine?

Frugal February? No, not with a heating oil delivery. Anyway................

Income from two pensions and savings interest, no extra from anywhere this month but no Council Tax to pay. I checked some more  books on Ziffit - but they didn't want them so they'll go to charity shop.

The usual expenses are Direct Debits for broadband and phones and charity. The wet weather and flooding meant I didn't go out very much so only one fill up of diesel for the car. I was expecting the half year water bill which was OK and the half year sewer bill which is always more than the water bill. Both are less than they were when I moved in because of getting a water meter.
I ordered 750 litres of heating oil but they only fitted in 730L which came to £544 - £100 less than the same time last year, should last right through until winter.  The bill came for the last boiler repair and I spent £13 on wild bird feed. Not forgetting the one-off spend for the professional oven clean.

The two nearest grandchildren's sand pit had disintegrated so I bought them a new one for their birthdays (one February and one April) and I found charity shop games to add to the shelves here.

We get used to amazon being the cheapest place to buy things but they aren't always, as I found when going to buy washing soda crystals for the washing machine. The cheapest on amazon when I looked were 3 bags x 1kg for £7.99 but I got a bag from the discount shop in Diss for £1.99. (I can remember when they were just £1 from Wilkinsons).

Personal spending was for the Keep Moving Group, flowers, photo corner stickers for my scrapbooks, a new letter writing pad, the Radio Times subscription, coffee and cheese scone out a few   or make that several times! 

Other spending was mainly small bits needed in bathroom, kitchen etc.

Frugal things

  • Mended tiny holes in two pairs old leggings
  • Mixing milk half and half with water 
  • Trying to pick good weather to do the washing and finishing it on the radiators - tumble dryer not used at all
  • Only using dishwasher every other day.
  • Home made bread, biscuits and cake
  • Eating lots of my own ready made meals from the freezer
  • Finding games for grandchildren at charity shop
  • Reading library books all month
  • Closing curtains as soon as it's dark to keep heat in

The coffee machine is saving me money as I'm buying coffee grounds and no longer buying coffee sachets. The cappuccino button on the machine does use rather more milk so I had a search round the charity shops and came home with this for £4. Another way to use the ground coffee.

 I realise I'm about 100 years behind everyone else in moving away from instant coffee - dragged into the 21st century (or maybe even the 20th) of coffee making at last! Nice to have a variety of ways for making coffee.

After their unexpected drive into a flood, Son is still waiting to hear if their car is written off - it's a 2008 reg so probably will be but until they know, there is no courtesy car, so my car is staying the night with them so DiL can get the grandchildren and herself to preschool, school and work and back again. I can use it between 9 and 3 if I walk to the school to fetch it! Luckily Son has use of a work van at the moment - his work place is the opposite direction from the schools.

Two bags of 'stuff' have gone out of the house to charity shop this month. Including some roll neck long sleeved tops that were last worn under jumpers for working outside at the smallholding - so it's about time they went. I've also cleared out some books, some Christmas bits that won't be used again and a few other odds and ends. I'm filling another bag to go out next month.

Back Tomorrow for Leap Year Day

Tuesday 27 February 2024

And The Final Food Shop of February..............

 ......from someone who never wanted to be a food blogger! but sometimes is short of ideas for blog posts...........

Once I was sure the floods had subsided I did the final February shop which came to exactly £29. After the third shop someone said I'd not spent much this month but this tops up my February food total to £114.70 which is a little below average for an ordinary month.

This last shop of the month was a pot of parsley (79p, for dividing and planting out later), cabbage, carrots, apples, pears and grapes. Cheese, butter and Stork for cakes; Icing and castor sugar, yeast, cashews, pack of three small boxes of apple juice (always in the cupboard for grandchildren); a jar of Malt Extract so I can see what a malt loaf made in the bread maker is like and finally a pound of sausages from the proper butchers, which will be split into twos before freezing. 
Proper sausages are quite expensive so nowadays I make two sausages feed me for two days- one day one sausage goes into a toad-in-the-hole and the next day the other sausage makes two sausage rolls. Every time I do this it reminds me of my Mum saying about our old neighbours that "they are so mean they only have one sausage each!". Two each was the norm in our house.
I don't buy sugar from Aldi - where most of my shopping came from - as I'm not sure of it's origin but at Asda they have Silver Spoon which is made in Suffolk or Norfolk. 
On the other hand Aldi have more British fresh veg than anywhere else. We've got to do more to support our farmers.

I don't eat much meat nowadays but last week had an odd wish for an old fashioned stew and dumplings, something I've not made for probably 10 years. So maybe March's meat purchase will be some stewing steak or even better some neck of lamb chops - I bet I'll get a shock when I find the price!

Back Tomorrow

Monday 26 February 2024

Following a Tree 2024

 I took a photo of the first Oak tree up the lane on the 27th January to start a year of Following a Tree

Here it is this month, after a month of frequent rain and  hardly any cold weather. It looks much the same.

I've realised this is not the best tree for photos as it's on the other side of the ditch so I can't get close up.

These are the two Oaks further up the lane, the right side of the ditch for photographing the trunk and close up of the leaves and buds.

Who lives in a home like this?

And Ivy is a home for all sorts and a food source for many insects too

Oak trees are one of 500 trees of the Quercus family. The largest and longest-lived of Britain's native trees.

The monarch oak, the patriarch of trees,
Shoots rising up, and spreads by slow degree;
Three centuries he grows, and three he stays
Supreme in state, and in three more decays.

John Dryden                             

In the past oaks were often used to mark the boundaries of English parishes and local dignitaries and villagers would "Beat the Bounds" and walk the boundaries once a year reciting passages from the gospels.

In plant lore the oak is a symbol of courage, independence, faith, longevity, fire, stability, honour and reward. The tree was sacred to the sky and thunder gods, particularly Jupiter, the supreme deity of Roman mythology and was known as Jove's tree and could not be struck by lightening in a storm.

The oak is a symbol of England and was on the badge of the Stuarts. A sprig of oak leaves was worn in button holes and caps on 29th May to commemorate the birthday of Charles II who hid in an oak after the battle of Worcestor in 1651.

The oak had all sorts of uses in medicine. Culpepper said the bark, leaves and powdered acorn cups 'bind and dry very much'. The inner bark and the thin skin covering covering the acorn was advised for those spitting blood, while the bark and powdered acorn was said to be an antidote to poisonous herbs and medicine.

Ground acorns have been used in times of hunger to make a flour but more usually used to feed pigs although there was some advice on this.

Though good store of acorns the porkling do fat
Not taken in season may perish of that,
If pig do start rattling and choking in throat
Thou loosest thy porkling - a pig to a groat!

Information from my book ' The Treasury of Tree Lore' by Josephine Addison and Cherry Hillhouse.

It was a foggy morning when I walked up the lane. I should have waited an hour because the fog cleared to give a day WITHOUT RAIN! Such a rare occurrence this month that it needs the capital letters.

It needs more than one day without rain to stop the water running off the fields - but the newly laid land drains are working well.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 24 February 2024

Reading The Seasons - SPRING

 I've  had a brilliant idea!  How about Reading The Seasons. Reading as many books as I can  with Spring in their titles during March, April and May, with Summer titles in summer etc etc

All because of one of the books that I picked up earlier in the month off the library 'for sale' shelf.

 I'll add a label and write about the books as I finish (or abandon) them. I could add books written by people whose name is Spring too I guess but that might make too many as there are other books to read each month as well - and  I read all of Howard Spring's books 45 years ago.

I had a search on the library website for others and spotted that ' Across a Waking Land; A 1,000 Mile Walk Through a British Spring' was on the shelves in Stowmarket Library so picked that up the following week.

And these are the others I'm going to reserve from the library to add to the two above.

'The Consolation of Nature; Spring in the time of Coronavirus' by Michael McCarthy
'Absent in the Spring' by Agatha Christie (writing as Mary Westmacott)
'Spring of Hope' by Cora Harrison

I might get fed up with the whole idea but it seemed like a plan at the time.

Anyone else want to join in?

No idea what's happening this weekend, and everywhere is still too wet to do much, but there's Six Nations Rugby on TV and more of the snooker and I ought to walk up the lane and take some photos of the Oak tree for the Following a Tree post. Son might want to borrow my car so they can go 'new' car hunting - haven't heard what's happening yet.

Back Monday.......if there's anything to write about!

Friday 23 February 2024

The Builder's Radio, A Free day, Books and Other Stuff

Why do builders always have those chunky Makita radios that go thumpity thump all day? My neighbours are having new fencing between me and them and having their patio re-laid and oil tank moved. The bloke who's doing it is the same man who laid a big patio through that very hot spell of summer two years ago for my neighbours the other side. 
That neighbour moaned a lot about this builder who he reckoned only did about 4 hours work a day.  I'm not sure how many hours a day he is doing this time but at least it's cooler for working (he said he got really ill working through that heat of 2022) and his radio is definitely thumpity thumping through the walls of my bungalow on the few fine days we've had - I'm glad this sort of noise always has an end date!
(Things like this never bother me now - once you have lost the most important person in your life there's not much else to be bothered by!)
I hope the man who's supposed to be sorting my patio later this year remembers he's doing it as I've not heard anything since I accepted the quote and got a message to say he'd taken on a labourer so it might be done sooner than May, which was original date. Hope he doesn't have the normal builders radio too.

Plans to go across to the coast to visit YD and the EGD on Wednesday were cancelled when we both looked at the weather forecast which said several hours of heavy rain were due over all of Mid and East Suffolk. YD is working with people who are travelling from Mid Suffolk to the coast everyday and they have been having real problems getting there - having to frequently detour - and after Son's experiences with flooding last Sunday it seemed much more sensible for me not to even try although the rain turned out to be not as heavy as forecast so I might have been OK getting there and back. No way of knowing.

That gave me a free day, so I baked cakes for the freezer instead! (and isn't it silly to say "baking for the freezer" when what is really meant is baking cakes for me!)

The flowering cherry in the garden suddenly turned pink this week as the flowers began to open, if only the sun would shine on them and we had blue skies they would look even better and I could take a photo.. The big magnolia looks as if the buds will open soon and there are tulip shoots popping up here and there but still on the whole not a lot of colour yet.

While staying at home in the dry I've been watching Snooker - The Players Championship from Telford while at the same time much reading has been done.
These books are on their way back to the library.


 I feel a bit guilty about the one on the bottom as I suggested the library buy it but found it a bit heavy going so it's going back un-read, which is a shame as I really wanted to enjoy it.

The last to be finished was ' A Venetian Reckoning' by Donna Leon which was originally published in 1995 and is the 4th of the Brunetti series set in Venice. This story starts with a terrible accident in the mountains when several girls from Eastern Europe being smuggled into the country are killed. Then an important lawyer is found shot dead in a railway carriage and as usual Guido has to find the answer to the murders while avoiding upsetting the high and mighty of Italy and his boss.
I'm glad the library have bought quite a lot of reprints of her books because for a long while they only had the most recent. I counted up and found I've now read 24 out of the 32 published - with another due out in July.
Details about the others read are on the Books Read 2024 page.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 22 February 2024

The Third Food Shop of February

 The 3rd food shop of February happened - before floods-  and I actually bought some meat.

The third shop was Feta, a tin of sardines, apples, pears, a head of broccoli, sultanas, chicken thighs and bacon and a leek off the market - which is the only place to buy one at a time. Not in the photo are fish fingers which I keep in the freezer for grandchildren. Total spend £16.88.
I always buy chicken as a pack of thighs, divide them into packs of two before freezing. Sometimes I buy a pack of two chicken breasts and cut each in half, wrap and freeze for stir fries and fajitas. This time it was 1Kg of thighs which was 8, for £2.85. I cook two at a time - one to eat hot and one cold.
The bacon is Aldi Essentials range which is quite thick and large slices.  1kg pack of bacon (£4.29) is split into packs of two rashers before freezing which is what I need for a quiche, a leek and bacon pilaff, a good bacon sandwich or to eat with fritters. This makes 7 packs. It will be several weeks before I need either chicken or bacon again.

Total food spend in February so far £78.07 + the fancy farm shop pie and a dozen eggs (which I had to buy from a shop as I'd not been swimming so hadn't passed the farm stall) = £85.70

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 21 February 2024

A Pie From a Farm Shop

 On the last of my vegetarian taste tests Tasker in Yorkshire mentioned buying vegetarian pasties from a farm shop - "now that's an idea" I thought and as I was near an 'award winning' farm shop when taking the Mustard Pot photo I popped in to see what they had. 

This is what I found and really explains why farm shops in Suffolk are for people who don't need to look at the price! and why I won't be buying another from there.

Small Sweet Potato, Spinach and Feta pie. This was £3.65. - that seemed a lot for one small pie.

Made by a company called Country Pies from near Ipswich. Unfortunately their ingredient list is as long as a pie made in a big factory anywhere.

Here you go.........................Homemade pastry(fortified flour(wheat flour, maize flour, calcium, iron, vitamin b1,vitamin b3) margarine (palm and rapeseed oil, water, salt, natural flavourings) water), puff pastry (wheat flour (calcium, iron , niacin, thiamine) margarine (palm and rapeseed oil, water, salt) water, salt, preservative e202, sweet potato 25%, vegetable stock (salt, modified maize starch, hydrolysed vegetable protein (soya colour e150), flavour enhancer  e621, non hydrogenated rapeseed oil, sugar  dried tomato, flavouring (contains wheat, barley) yeast extract, dried onion, dried spinach, colour e150c, pepper extract (salt, spice extract, herb extract) ground nutmeg, acidity regulator citric acid) béchamel sauce (modified maize starch, wheat flour, palm fat, maltodextrin, skimmed milk powder, sugar, salt lactose (milk), milk protein, yeast extract, sunflower oil, flavourings (milk) citric acid, onion) feta cheese (milk), spinach, pepper, salt, egg.

I nearly lost the will to live typing that!! so many parenthesis or are they brackets?

Do not confuse brackets [ ] with parentheses ( ). Parentheses are used to enclose additional information in your own writing; brackets are editorial marks used to insert comments into someone else's words that you are quoting, or to insert material into a passage already in parentheses.

It had more filling than the Lidl pies I tried but the overall taste was just pepper. I know many of the ingredients used are necessary for safety, but it still seemed rather a long list.

I've still got 3 home made vegetable bakes , that were made in January,  in the freezer so I need to eat those rather than trying anything else from supermarket or farm shop! Then I'll be making more of my own.

(Note to self - don't get side-tracked into things by comments on the blog!)

Apologies for not replying to all comments. I'm not opening the laptop in the evenings as I've got such a huge heap of library books!

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Floods Again

 I'd planned to go to an Antique Fair just for a look around on Sunday but when I looked out of the window at 8am and the water was running down the hill completely across the road I changed my mind. It had obviously been raining all night  and sure to be flooded again here and in many places on the back roads between me and Woodbridge.

And sure enough when it stopped raining and I wandered down the road to look it was like this. AGAIN! Cars were going through very slowly and this is the shallowest part, it gets deeper further along where the water is running down off the main road as well as out of the river.

There was an hour or so dry and then at 2pm  it started raining again. This is getting silly!

Hope I can get over to the coast to visit YD and EGD later in the week as it's half-term here so a chance to see them but it's a cross country journey and many spots that often flood.

Later in the day Son rang up to say they had gone out, through a deep unexpected flood that they couldn't see as they turned off the main road onto a small side road and their car had promptly stopped and will possibly be written off! Oh my goodness. And thank goodness for BiL and his 4WD truck who rescued them after a frantic phone call from son to his uncle when the RAC said they don't rescue people from floods! 

There were several photos on the local facebook group pages of many villages and roads that were flooded in the area. Some are spots that have always flooded (often called Wash Lane!) but many are places that flood where new houses have been built making lots of extra run-off. Years ago all farmers would have had their men clearing the ditches each autumn, now most farmers don't have farm workers.

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Monday 19 February 2024

History of a Toll House

Free carriage nature coach vector

Years ago when people travelled between large towns and cities they went by stagecoach and the  horses would be changed at staging posts - usually inns - on the way. But they would also have to stop to pay tolls, as roads were privately owned and each stretch of road would have a toll-house at each end.

This is one of those toll houses. It was built in 1760 to take the money from people going on what is now the A140 between Ipswich and Norwich.

Then in 1971 the road was due to be widened and the toll house was to be demolished. Luckily a man called Mr Sniechowski of Ipswich offered to pay for the transportation of the little house - only 20 foot square, to Needham Market.
In May 1972, after six weeks preparation, the roof was finally lifted by a 35 ton crane and put onto a huge trailer. It cost £2,000 to move, needed 22 workmen and could only travel at 10mph. The journey took six hours along country lanes. The walls of the cottage were then dismantled and re-erected within two months.
It was intended as a fishing lodge for the new Needham Lake but in 1982 permission was given for the toll house to be used as a dwelling for 5 years which was then extended.
Luckily during this time the District Council decided that as it was a unique building it shouldn't be allowed to fall into disrepair.
 Stowe Veterinary Group bought the building and in 1986 added an extension for extra space to be used at a vets surgery for Needham Market and the surrounding area.
Initially, newly graduated veterinary students working there, used the bedroom and lounge of the cottage as their accommodation but as the surgery got busier more space was needed for the waiting room and reception.

The Mustard Pot - as the building is called -  will be looked after and cared for as part of our local heritage.

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Saturday 17 February 2024

February 17th - Looking Back at My Week.

 It's been one day sun and then rain here this week, with occasional glimpses of sun late afternoon but mainly grey skies. There should be a rule about the number of dull days allowed in a month. I get quite fed up with them and they don't inspire me to do anything outside - although it's much too wet and boggy underfoot anyway.

Three TV crime series finished this week, two with 'happy endings' and one with a ? . Silent Witness and Madame Blanc with the happy endings  with After The Flood left wondering what happens next. Will there be another series - 'After, After the Flood' perhaps?
I found a thing called Bones to watch when there is nothing else on. I think it's new onto the 4 catch up channel, a crime series from the US that started in the early 2000's  and went on for years with more than a dozen programmes in each series based on a real forensic anthropologist turned author called Kathy Reichs whose books I've heard of but never read but now perhaps I ought to try them.

I've not been swimming for a couple of weeks for various reasons and next week is half term when they have a different schedule so thought I'd better get some exercise and took my bike out for a short ride. I went off cycling over a year ago when the bike went from under me as I was getting on it. Not sure how it happened but it was very off-putting. Just cycled a couple of miles this time and it was hard work. It's 3 years since I was doing the 6 mile ride around my old village, but not sure I could do that now.

Yesterday I had a professional oven clean, would never, ever have had that years ago but it seemed like a good idea at the time. A better idea would have been to keep the oven clean myself! but I needed a new bulb in the big oven and couldn't get the cover off. The previous owners left me a note saying the bulb had "only just gone" and I've been here nearly 3 years, so it was time it was done. I have to say it was worth the money as the oven looks like new and as the guy said, having a clean oven is more energy efficient and I have light in the main oven at last and opening the oven won't set off the smoke alarm any more as it had been doing occasionally. 

This week I've been grateful for

  • A good day spent with the MG here. I need to gen up on Marvel Heroes!
  • Meeting my friend from school days again for a coffee
  • Finding a couple of games in a charity shop for the older grandchildren

No rugby on TV this weekend so not sure what I'll be doing, depends on the weather as usual.

Have a good weekend. I'll be back Monday

Friday 16 February 2024

One More Vegetarian Taste Test


These were something I also bought from Lidl before Christmas. I think it's the only time they have them although I may be wrong. They were bought when I didn't know who would be here to feed but won't be bought again. 

The pies are quite large so no potatoes needed but the contents didn't really fill the pie. I wasn't surprised at some of the odd ingredients but it was the number of things they'd used  in the Vegetable Stock that amazed me - carrot juice concentrate, water, dextrose, salt, dehydrated onion, lovage juice concentrate, sunflower oil, yeast extract, leek concentrate, sugar, tomato concentrate, extra virgin olive oil, garlic concentrate, spices and herbs.........15 different ingredients! and who knew there was such a thing as lovage juice concentrate!

The pies were edible but not very interesting - more pastry than anything else.

That's the last of the  bought vegetarian things from the freezer except for the small party bits that I use one or two at a time with my home made curries or home made stir fries. I'm not going to stop buying them as they come in boxes of 12 (onion bhajis, vegetable spring rolls, vegetable samosas, tempura prawns etc) and by just having one or two with curry and rice or stir-fry and noodles. I make them last for ages.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 15 February 2024

Tulips Again, Shopping and Books

 The daffodils at Aldi looked as if they'd been packed in a box for weeks so I left them where they were and dithered by the flower stall on the market. Daffs or Tulips, Tulips or Daffs?

The tulips were gorgeous colours - so tulips it was. If it's grey skies all week I have a bit of colour right beside me in the living room.

Second shopping trip in February and another week of replacing things used, to build up a useful store in the freezer and cupboards (prep for being snowed in for weeks or WWIII!?) Cabbage, tomatoes, pears, apples and grapes. Butter and Willow spread, cheese and milk. I'm building up a stock of ground coffee to use in my new machine, so 3 different packs. I looked for savoury biscuits to eat with cheese that had the fewest ingredients and came home with Aldi oatcakes. Also there are a packet of cashews, two sachets of cheese sauce powder, a jar of olives and the tube of 'guilty pleasure' Pringles....sometimes I just crave something crunchy!

Not in the photo are two packs of frozen sweet potato chips/fries - they went straight into the freezer.

 Still  no meat as I'm still eating mostly my batch made meals from the freezer, and only a couple of things that could be called a UPF. Total spend £30.17

I picked up two books from the For Sale shelves in Stowmarket library. They sell off old books and get books donated to sell too.. On the left Rumer Godden - Peacock Spring. I know I read Greengage Summer many moons ago and I just liked the cover of this one. On the right is a follow up to Ring of Bright Water, which I was sure I'd read but it's not in my Book-of-Books-Read. Maybe we read it at school?  But I have read Island of Dreams by Dan Boothby which is all about Maxwell and his home and writing.

Wordle Tuesday = SCRAM in 2 = well chuffed! 

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Valentine's Day

 So who was Saint Valentine? Does Valentine's Day have anything to do with Saint Valentine?

And why have I never had a Valentine card except for ones made by the children at school when they were little? And why do some people make such a big deal of it. And why do shops have so much 'stuff''? Actually I know the answer to that last question........... it's all about the money.

There was probably more than one St Valentine, possibly one was a Roman Physician another a Bishop in Italy but one of these was a 3rd century martyr, and little is known about him but there is an undisputed history of people celebrating on this day going back 600 years. Chaucer wrote, sometime between 1376 and 1382, a poem telling how birds choose their mates on St Valentines Day each year and this day was supposed to be the first day of spring in many places. 

The Greeks and Romans observed a special day at this time of the year for their goddesses Hera and Juno who represented women and marriage.

 It was the Victorians who started sending cards and for a time these became comic and rude so that the tradition fell out of favour, gradually being revived through the early 20th century and now it's hard to avoid!.

I've found a couple of weather sayings for the 14th

                                             St Valentine Breaks the Back of Winter

                                         To Saint Valentine the spring is a neighbour

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Tuesday 13 February 2024

Around My Town

Thanks for comments yesterday. I had  4 year old MG - the dinosaur/marvel heroes expert - here for the day so didn't get round to replying.- poor excuse! but here are some answers...........

To Chris - thanks for the mention of a new Kristin Hannah - I reserved it and am 57th. We really are lucky to have such a good library service in Suffolk. The TV series of the Detectorists was made a few years before the book so not made from the book. 

 On Facebook  Groups I found a recent walk around the town that I've known all my life. 

Mine and Colin's first home together was in Bridge Street where Don walks after coming out of the river walk by the factory. It was ICI when we lived there and was the factory where my mum met my dad back in the late 1940's.

I've never done the walk as he did but wouldn't need a map as I've walked almost everywhere he went at some time or another and worked in the building now called Red Gables when it was Stowmarket Library. It was much smaller then. 

Probably boring for everyone but I'd thought I'd share it anyway!

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Monday 12 February 2024

The February Library Book Photo

 A bigger haul than recent months but it was only when I got home that I realised there were 4 missing that had said online they were available for pick up. I caught up with the mobile at it's next stop around the other side of the village to check and they weren't on the van so must be sitting on the wrong shelves in the Mobile Depot. Hope Rachel, the library lady can find them so they can come out to me in March, last time this happened the books disappeared for months and I couldn't re-order them because the computer said they were waiting for me to pick up.   

So these are 12 out of the 16 books I should have picked up, all had been reserved on-line. Five Non-Fiction, Five crime fiction - all by authors I know - and two general fiction. 
Mudlarking by Lara Maiklem on the right will be a re-reading as I know I've read it but it's not down in my Book-of-Books-Read. And Horatio Clare's book 'A Light in the Dark' was borrowed to re-read before his more recent book 'Heavy Light' . - Although  Heavy Light is one of the books that  have gone AWOL.

From  January's photo of the 9 books reserved and collected  I read 6, looked through two and failed on the other.

Details of those read are on the Books Read 2024 page.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday 10 February 2024

My Week and Things That Go Wrong

 First of all thank you for comments during the week and apologies for not always replying. Seems like several people have given away vases and regretted it. Perhaps I'll have daffodils next, still no sign of flowers here. I plant things and they shrink rather than spread. 

Thank you to a lady who has found my blog again, her husband died very recently after many years together. I'm so sorry for your loss, it's the hardest thing to cope with and grief is the strangest thing. Even after almost six years I still get angry, sad and unsettled - waiting for something that doesn't happen and have to resign myself for what is here and now.

Two of the people from Spot Wellbeing CIC who started our Keep Moving Group  18 months ago came to visit us this week. They were both originally Physios with the NHS, both got disillusioned with the things they weren't allowed to do for people who had come out of hospital after falls or operations and left to start their own Community Interest Company working at starting exercise groups all around East and Mid Suffolk and doing one-to-one physio. Now, weirdly, they are part funded by the NHS to do the very things they weren't allowed to do before. They also get some funding from District and County Councils but work one year at a time, never knowing when funding will stop. They were pleased to see how well our small group was going and they've now got similar groups running in many towns and villages. 

Does your heart sink when mechanical things go wrong?

First is was the car tyre pressure - which has been a recurring thing. Of course the car tyre thing always happens when I jump in to head off somewhere - obviously- and it's always raining. I've got my small hand held compressor but when I checked them to pump up one was extra, extra low. So I put air in and drove carefully round to my friends at the repair garage so  they could have a look for possible problems . They are brilliant and found time to check all the tyres and the problem was two of the valves. I have a feeling there was a problem with one valve when I had 4 new tyres a couple of years ago. The car is due for its MOT in March, hopefully it will be OK until then.

Second was when the TV built in Free-sat completely disappeared, I can't view via the built-in Freeview as I don't have the right connection wire. The catch up channel way of watching was still working, think that's wi-fi. 
The next day Free-sat was back but without lots of channels which I later found out had been withdrawn without any notice. I think I need to get a cable to connect TV to the aerial, just in case. While trying to discover what had happened I read about Freely which is going to amalgamate viewing with aerial and satellite sometime quite soon and be part streamed and part scheduled . It will be through wifi I suppose.

With not being able to go shopping due to the car tyres I intended to go the following day via BiL's to drop off the convector heater. The foot broke off it a while back and I did a temporary mend with gorilla glue which didn't last long, so I'm hoping he can find a way to fix it. Anyway, due to the many hours of rain I went through 3 floods in the three miles 'tween my house and his, so put off shopping again as it was still pouring and flooding was just going to get worse. I was out of fresh fruit, so very glad of the few bags of apple slices and the two boxes of stewed gooseberries in the freezer.

What other things can I mention from my  week?

  • Common sense at last as the bills for water use and sewer, which we pay to two different companies are going to come as one bill twice a year -instead of separate bills. 
  • And more common sense as the planning application for some stables over the road has been turned down even after the appeal. They wanted the entrance driveway to be on a bad corner and to build a huge stable block beside the two new homes that are being built.
  • I was excited to see three young deer running through the burial ground over the road - never seen 'proper' deer in the village before- only muntjacs. Muntjacs are small and much more often seen close to built up areas. I think what I saw were young Roe Deer - they all had white rumps.  .

This week I'm grateful for

Lots of library books collected ( I'll write about them on Monday)
At least the heating has been OK all week, so I've not needed the convector heater.
Continuous rain is slightly better than snow I suppose.

Rugby on TV again over the weekend and new books to start.
Enjoy your weekend, I'll be back Monday 


Friday 9 February 2024


 I felt in need of flowers last week, there were so many dull days and I hadn't bought any since Christmas and nothing in the garden.

Tulips from Aldi cheered things up - and by golly we've had enough grey days and rain to make anyone depressed.

In one of my moves, for reasons now forgotten, I cleared out some vases and now I never seem to have the right size/shape. Something for the "what to look for at boot-sales" list I think.... Not that they'd look any better in anything different as my method of flower arranging is to shove-them-in-the -vase.

Sadly the flowers only lasted a week - the rain and grey skies are lasting much longer.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday 8 February 2024

Moyse's Hall Museum

 A charity shop find from several years ago was this little pottery piece, made in Suffolk by Mudlen End Pottery in Felsham - no longer in existence. The pottery did all sorts of village houses and churches.

And this is the actual building which has been standing  in Bury St Edmunds town centre for over 800 years

I hadn't been in there for years so decided to pop in for a look round. Unfortunately I picked a time when they are between special exhibitions, so only their regular stuff was open to see but that meant the entrance cost was halved.

The Clock Room. These clocks and time pieces and many, many more once had a whole museum to themselves in Bury St Edmunds after being left to the town by Frederic Greshom Parkington many years ago. It closed several years ago and the clocks came here to  Moyse's Hall but they don't have room for all of them to be on display.

Everything below is in their Witchcraft and Crime and Punishment galleries which I'd seen before, many years ago. The Murder in the Red Barn items are the most famous and very gruesome.

William Corder murdered his lover Maria Marten in the Red Barn Polstead in 1827. Weirdly it was a well known story right into the 1960s

Below is the famous book with cover made from the skin and the scalp of William Corder

And another gruesome story in the museum.

Below is the only book from the Abbey to remain in a collection readily available for people to see. ( I went and saw some of the other  books in the Cathedral when they had them on display two years ago)

And some big lumps of carved stone from the abbey.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Vanellus Vanellus But We Call Them Peewits

Driving home from town two weeks ago  and on the edge of the village  I noticed a recently ploughed field covered with birds. At first glance I thought they were all gulls but slowed down and noticed Fieldfares and what we in Suffolk (and some other places) call Peewits, but are properly  known as Lapwings or sometimes Green Plover. When I pulled over and got out to take a photo they all went flying off to the other side of the field. 

So these photos of the Peewits is taken through the car window  and not as sharp as I'd like but you can just about see their wispy crest and the tinge of iridescent green, pink and purple.

As usual I had a look in my book "A Sparrows Life as Sweet as Ours" with illustrations by Carrie Ackroyd, but was disappointed. Usually the illustrations are lovely but this one was a bit of a let down, she hadn't caught the colours at all.

In my other book with beautiful illustrations - An illustrated Country Year by Celia Lewis -  is this below which gives a better idea of the colours - not that I could do any better!

The name Lapwing comes from the noise their wings make in springtime aerial displays. And their call is 'pee-wit, pee-wit' which explains that name. They generally live in large flocks, although in declining numbers when it isn't the breeding season and some are resident with others arriving on the east coast in autumn and winter.
They were once killed for their meat and eggs and selling the eggs was big business until the 1926 Lapwing Act. The chicks can run and feed themselves as soon as they hatch but the adults will defend the young by running off dragging a wing as if they are injured to lure away the predator.

And a poem from Edward Thomas to finish

Two Pewits

Under the after-sunset sky
Two pewits sport and cry,
More white than is the moon on high
Riding the dark surge silently;
More black than earth. Their cry
Is the one sound under the sky.
They alone move, now low, now high,
And merrily they cry
To the mischievous Spring sky,
Plunging earthward, tossing high,
Over the ghost who wonders why
So merrily they cry and fly,
nor choose 'twixt earth and sky,
While the moon's quarter silently 
Rides, and earth rests as silently.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday 6 February 2024

The Slightly Foxed Literary Review

 I knew I'd enjoy the 4 Slightly Foxed Literary Review publications that I found in a charity shop at the end of January because books about books are always good. 


I started with the Summer 2022 edition

These are the books and authors that are written about in this issue

I found that I owned 2 of the books written about in the summer 2022 issue as well as Pevsner's Suffolk (it's Pevsner biography from 2011 that's reviewed here)

I've written about Copsford HERE back in 2019 when I discovered there was a new edition. What I found interesting in the review in Slightly Foxed was that the writer, Grant Mcintyre had known Walter Murray much later in his life long after he moved away from the almost derelict home where he gathered and dried herbs to sell. Murray married his 'music teacher' and went on to start and run a small private school for 40 years until 1963, which Grant attended. Miki at Farms On My bookshelf has a post about him HERE and I discovered The Green Man of Horam by Tom Wareham is a biography of Murray. I suggested the library buy a copy - but had an email straight back to say they won't be buying.

That leaves Arthur Ransome's  We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea (I've got most of his books - son read them all and I kept them despite all the moves) which I'm not sure I ever read when I read some of the other Swallows and Amazons books. I have read it now and reminded myself just how much detail there is about sailing in his books and how much I loved them and enjoyed visiting the museums in the Lake District that tell the story of Ransome and his books and boats.

Back Tomorrow