Saturday 29 June 2024

Halfway Through A Frugal Year? but Could Be Subtitled............

............................where I spent money in June!

Income was the usual two pensions, and interest from savings and outgoings were the normal too Council Tax, Electric, Phones and Broadband, 2 lots of diesel for the car, household needs and food.

image from google freepik

It would have  been a  frugal month if I didn't keep deciding to have work done! I've found it impossible to get out of the habit of always planning what improvements are needed to house and's what we did for 40 years. This time it's the living room/dining room flooring that's planned and half paid for. I really didn't like the carpet the previous owners had down, a horrible colour and and very impractical for a room that's used for dining and with the 'back door' to the garden - used many times a day in Summer. The hard wood veneer flooring I wanted was out of stock (typical!), and the floor layer man very busy so the work won't be done for a while.

Personal spending was a bit extravagant despite no second hand books or flowers....................... 
A proper haircut started my spending and a new Puzzler magazine as I was fed up with only doing Sudoku's  and then the price of my Cappuccino  coffee and cheese scone treat is creeping up - had the most expensive so far in the Moments Coffee Shop in Stowmarket one day when the Osier in the church was closed.  Moments is also a charity run coffee shop raising money for St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich so at least it's for a good cause but £5.90 for the two things is getting a bit silly. I shall be disappointed if I have to stop these treats - one of the saddest things about being widowed is there's no one to say " do you want a cuppa?" 

I called in at the nearest picture framing place and he cut me a mount for that little print on a card that I bought from the Art Exhibition. It was just £2.50 and then  a few days later I found the frame mentioned the other day from the car boot sale. I still had some sticky velcro fixer things in the drawer so the new little picture is up on the wall and I'm pleased to say there is still room for one or two more.

When friends were here they asked me where all the pictures have come from. There are seven from boot sales, 2 stitched by me, two prints from an art exhibition plus the new card also from art sale. The owl and hare prints are annoying me - they need to be level or more uneven.

Exercise group numbers have dropped alarmingly and we may have to pay £2 each rather than £1.50 just to cover hall hire. Luckily I managed to find one quiet-ish session for a swim - hadn't been for months, every time I've gone online to book it's looked to be much too busy to be enjoyable. I struggled with swimming after the long lay-off so really need to get back to it again. Hopefully it will be quieter when the pool in Diss re-opens after it's makeover. 
Then when I thought I'd spent enough on myself I had to send for some new insoles for my summer shoes as the ones that were in them kept getting creased and not laying flat.

Garden spending was supposed to be zero except for the District Council garden waste bin annual payment but I got carried away by an ad that popped up for some Kale plants from T & M. As the sweetcorn plants are doing so badly due to the weather I decided I'd put in a few Kale for winter beside the sweetcorn. They are due to arrive in July. The sad looking sweetcorn is surrounded by fences to keep Crumble cat out and covered by netting at the moment and is just not growing. Usually it romps away - doubt I'll get cobs this year. I got another bag of compost too as I was right out.

House expenses apart from half the flooring were new printer inks and window cleaner.

There were a few penny saving things to make up for the spending

  • Lots of strawberries from BiL 
  • and even more Raspberries from here...and there really are lots!
  • Cucumbers ready to eat and also made into Sweet and Sour Pickles for winter
  • First tomato - just one so far!
  • Reading good library books for free
  • No second-hand books or flowers bought
  • Home made bread from the bread machine- I'm now doing 50/50 wholemeal and white flour - it's turning out very well. 
  • Having cancelled the Radio Times subscription as the price had shot up, I'm now just picking up one of the cheap TV scheduling magazines - not as good as the RT - no Radio schedule - and too much soap stuff but a big saving.
  • Running out of Ecover Clothes Washing liquid  so I sent for the £1 offer from Smol of samples to try. They seem to be fine so I'll be subscribing to a regular delivery as I have for their dishwasher tabs. Still using some washing soda crystals in the wash as it's good for killing any smells and keeping the machine clean.
  • Only using dishwasher every other day
  • Couple of things found at boot sales to use for Christmas gifts.

This week I have been grateful for - 

  • Sunshine and warmth for a week.
  • Tennis on TV - I've loved watching all the up and coming at the Wimbledon Qualifiers last week
  • Having savings for when I get home improvement ideas!
  • The bread machine, which I'm now using for all sorts of bread. 

I'm really looking forward to Wimbledon for the next fortnight. Then it's just another two weeks after that and the Olympics starts. Tour De France on TV as well........... Summer of Sport 2024 .........bring it on!

Have a good Weekend 
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Friday 28 June 2024

The June Library Book Photo + Reading The Seasons

 My third book of Reading the Seasons for Summer was Stephen Baxter's Historical Fantasy - Bronze Summer. 

Thumbnail for Bronze summer

 This is the second in The Northland Historical Fantasy series. Imagining that England is still attached to the continent where what we call Doggerland was the home of the people who had built a wall so tall that the North Seas are kept at bay and they have become rich from the fertile lands . 
Generations on from the first book and the  people of the Mesolithic period, this is now a different Bronze age. Volcano eruptions have changed the climate and have brought years of poor crops. The people of the drought affected Mediterranean areas are looking west to the wealthy Northlanders and war is brewing.
It was a very confusing read and I didn't enjoy it as much as the first but it is good to read a totally different genre to my normal now and again.

 Collected from the library van this time, just seven books that I'd reserved online.

Left to right - a cookery book that I think I saw mentioned somewhere. The latest by Kristin Hannah, I brought home her book 'Home Front' last month but didn't like the subject so didn't finish it. 'Made for Murders' by Peter Tremayne is a collection of short stories by this prolific writer. 

 Next is a non-fiction book that might be a bit heavy going. It might get read for my Reading The Seasons thing or it might not. Then I know I'll love 'The Comfort of Ghosts' by Jacqueline Winspear although it's the last in the Maisie Dobbs series which is sad. Then there is one more Donna Leon and finally 'Reasons to stay alive' by Matt Haig, this must have been mentioned somewhere as it's not something I would usually read. 

Last month I brought home these below plus two non fiction and some for the Summer Reading Challenge. I still have some here unread.

Those I did read are on the Books Read 2024 page. 'Close to Death' by Anthony Horowitz, 'Munich Wolf' by Rory Clements were both brilliant.

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Thursday 27 June 2024

Found a Frame and a Tin

 Last Saturdays car-boot sale was even bigger than usual but so many people are now selling regularly every week there isn't  much of interest as it's all been there before. Do they actually sell enough to cover their pitch fee?

Anyway, this time I did buy something as I found a frame for the card from the Art Exhibition - actually I found two, the first one cost me 50p but a bit later I found something better and that one cost me £1.50. I'll take a photo when I've sorted it out and it's up on the wall.

Then in among one of  the House Clearance seller's boxes (the people from Norfolk who don't give anything away for nothing - where I got the 6 year old coffee and the mini cafetière ) I found this.

Holds a big bag of flour and will keep  the cupboard cleaner (has anyone ever found a way of opening and using a bag of flour without it always going everywhere when it gets in all the folds of the paper bag) The lady wouldn't take £1 or £1.50 - so it had to be £2.

I reckon the chances of finding a similar big tin like this  for plain flour are about 1 in a million!

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Wednesday 26 June 2024

Family History

 I wrote about living - totally  by coincidence - in the same village as my Great, Great, Grandparents   HERE.

A couple of weeks ago on the local Next Door or Facebook website, a local man was asking if anyone with my maiden surname was still in the village as someone from the North of England had traced ancestors back to the 1750s when they all lived in the village and she had contacted him for help. He put me in touch with the lady - Wendy - who lives in Chester - and after emails back and forth it turns out she is descended from the line of the older Sister of my Great, Great, Grandfather  buried here.

She is a very enthusiastic amateur genealogist and had gone into the history of the family and turned up a bit of social history from the 18C that I was completely unaware of.

It's the story of the Home Migration Scheme This was set up between 1835 - 1837 under the auspices of the Poor Law Commissioners after the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. The scheme involved sending 5,000 people from the poorest farming areas of southern and eastern England up to the manufacturing districts of Derbyshire and Lancashire to work in the cotton mills. 

My Great, Great, Grandfather George was born in 1830 the 5th child for Thomas and Eliza who had married in 1822 - also in the village. Thomas was a farm worker earning about 10 shillings a week (and nothing if the weather was too bad for working) and the family qualified for Poor Relief from the Parish coffers.
In 1836 the family- by then there were 8 children -  were among 2,000 people taken (probably no choice given) from Suffolk by horse and cart to London and then travelling up to Derbyshire by canal boat.

In Derbyshire the family worked for a Horace Mason who leased the Lumford cotton mill in Bakewell from the Arkwright family. They were there on a three year contract and Thomas and 4 of the children (aged 14, 12, 11 and 10) worked in the Mill as cotton spinners. (Younger children also worked in the mills at the time- working under the spinning and weaving machines - clearing up the waste). Together they would have earned about 24 shillings a week. - A lot more than his wages in Suffolk.

The family were still in Derbyshire in the 1841 census and by then there were 11 children in the family and they had moved to another mill at Darley Abbey Mill Village.

By 1843 they were back in my village and four more children were born. 

So Great, Great Grandfather George was one of 15 children - he was born in my village, moving to Derbyshire and then back again, working like his father as a farm labourer and dying in the village in 1900.

Wendy wondered why the family would have come back to Suffolk after their time in Derbyshire but I said it was probably because Suffolk was their home and when you are born here and raised here it's always home and the only place they would have felt settled. me.

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Tuesday 25 June 2024

Courgettes # 1 to 5

 It's that time of the year when growing your own and  eating with the seasons  means every other main meal has to be one using courgettes and I discovered I'd been putting courgette recipes on here every summer since 2017 and maybe before that on my old blog.

This year Courgette number one was used in fritters, courgette two popped on top of a cheese, bacon and onion quiche and three and four used for a courgette crumble. Even the children ate this - as long as I served it up with chips!

I use cheddar and no pine nuts and the other courgette recipes are on last years post HERE 

Then there was a week or two without any - the cold and wet weather slowed down the outside plants and the two plants in the greenhouse produce male flowers instead - a hazard  of growing inside. 

Courgette number 5 was the next available and from outside and was used to make a courgette/ pesto sauce for pasta. 

# 6 and 7 will be ready any minute. I'll let one turn into a Marrow later in the season so I can do Marrow, Apricot and ginger jam as that is a real favourite now as a change from marmalade.

I don't buy courgettes from supermarkets out of season so make the most of them as almost free food.

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Monday 24 June 2024

Another Cheese From Snowdonia

 Will they have to change their name I wondered as I typed the title of this page. The mountain which we have known as Snowdon should really now be called  Yr Wyddfa which it's proper Welsh name.

I wrote about their Black Bomber cheese and the company HERE  and was keen to try another. 

Their website says.................
Red Storm is a cheese of serious vintage credentials, elegantly adorned in deep red wax. Aged for 18 months, it boasts an intense, nutty flavour and a refined texture. This exceptional cheese has been honoured with awards at the Nantwich International Cheese Awards, Global Cheese Awards, and British Cheese Awards. Its rich, complex flavour is perfect for cheese boards and recipes.

This was absolutely delicious! I'll be buying again, but not very often - bit pricey.

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Saturday 22 June 2024

Another Week Rushed By

This week................

June is rushing by so quickly that I didn't even mark the Summer Solstice on Thursday/Friday. It seems impossible that daylight hours will be decreasing when we've only had a week of decent weather this year so far. 
I used the search feature to look up when I last wrote about the folklore and traditions of the Solstice - and found it was three years ago and as it's that long ago I could start doing more of the 'First of the Month' and Folklore posts as everyone will have long forgotten!

I've been enjoying tennis from Queens Club on TV all week - except for seeing poor 'old' Andy M. pulling out through injury and Dan Evans having a bad fall and injuring his knee - maybe putting him out of Wimbledon and the Olympics. Andy still hopes to play at both but his body might not let him.
Then there was excitement on Thursday with two Brits ...... Jack Draper and Billy Harris, the first has been around for a few years while the second has popped up suddenly even though he is 29, both won through to the quarter finals but then they were both knocked out on Friday- It was good while it lasted!. 

The curser vanished on my lap top as I was adding to this post on Thursday. I tried googling via my phone but the ideas I found didn't get the curser back so I had to zoom up to Diss to the computer shop and she pressed one button and there it was again..........Duh! (F6 for future reference) Weird thing is that I tried that and it didn't work when I did it!

 The raspberries are coming along well, took some to BiL on Wednesday as a change from his strawberries. Big bowl full Friday - enough for two days. Just so good. I seem to have kept Crumble cat out of the vegetable beds since Tuesday when I found she'd got under a netting hoop and dug the leeks - AGAIN- B***** cat. I found some tiles and bricks from round the back of the shed to hold down the edges of the netting - it was pegged but still she got in. Maybe now the leeks will grow.

Strange thing heard this week...........Oxford university did a study and found more people are turning off the news and avoiding watching or listening due to so many awful things happening around the world - Well, I could have saved them money and  told them that -  just from the people who say this on blogs and in comments!

Information leaflets through the letter box - one leaflet from Conservatives saying "Look out Labour are only 9% points behind - they could win". From Green Party " Labour can't win in this new Waveney Valley Constituency - confidential insider information shows it's a seat they have already written off". All jolly good fun!

Also through the letter box - an Autumn seed catalogue - I thought NO not yet - please not yet, lets have more summer first.

Have a lovely weekend if you can and I shall return on Monday.
Sue . 

Friday 21 June 2024

Reading The Seasons - The 2nd Book for Summer

 My second book with Summer in the title was a children's book -  Cuckoo Summer by Jonathan Tulloch. This popped up when I searched for 'Summer' in the library catalogue. As it's set in WWII, I was keen to read it as it's the sort of adventure story I would have loved as a child.

It is summer 1940 and life is about to change for two children living in the Lake District. Sally is a mysterious evacuee living on one of the two farms in Woundale valley in the Lake District. Her best friend is Tommy, living on the other farm with his three aunties. Tommy's mother is dead and his soldier father has been reported missing in action in France.

One day a German plane crashes in the village but one of the airmen is missing and when Sally finds him alive but injured and hanging in a tree in the woods - his parachute caught in the branches -  she races off to tell Tommy. Tommy wants to report him to the police but Sally wants to keep him hidden, especially after Farmer Starcross, who she is billeted with, heads off with his gun to find and shoot the man. She knows how nasty he is as he keeps her short of food, makes her sleep in the barn and she's watched him drown a litter of kittens.

Keeping the airman secret and hidden starts a summer adventure and a chain of events that reveals Sally's past, and changes several lives for the better.

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Thursday 20 June 2024

Well Done That Man!

 Very well done to Jack Draper, new British Number 1, has just beaten last years champion and Wimbledon champion  Carlos Alcaraz! at the Queens Club in the build up to Wimbledon.

Very exciting - the year Andy M is probably going to stop playing and we have a new top player!

Once Upon A Time .....................

.................many years ago, there was a Castle in  Haughley. ( A Mid Suffolk village few miles from home)

This is the sign by the moat - sadly in poor condition for reading.

So I copied all the wiki info onto this page after my photos and intended to type it up properly but haven't got round to it. In case it vanishes all the info is HERE

The three photos below are what things look like today - all that's left of Haughley castle is the outer moat and  a huge mound - the Motte - surrounded by the inner moat now in private ownership and luckily open to view on the day they had open gardens in Haughley village - so I was able to take photos.

You can see the height of the Motte with the pine trees atop of it and the inner moat surrounding it.

Below the remains of the outer moat are still clear to see besides Duke Street  Haughley and I've been visiting here to feed the ducks ever since I was a little girl.

And here's the information from Wiki

Haughley Castle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Haughley Castle
Suffolk, England
Part of the moat of Haughley Castle
Haughley Castle is located in Suffolk
Haughley Castle
Haughley Castle
Coordinates52.2226°N 0.9633°E
Grid referencegrid reference TM025624
TypeMotte and bailey
Site history
EventsRevolt of 1173-4

Haughley Castle was a medieval castle situated in the village of Haughley, some 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) north-west of the town of StowmarketSuffolk. Prominent historians such as J. Wall consider it "the most perfect earthwork of this type in the county," whilst R. Allen Brown has described it as "one of the most important" castle sites in East Anglia.[1]


Haughley Castle was built in the late 11th century by Hugh de Montfort.[2] The castle had a motte and bailey design, with a very large motte, 210 feet (64 m) wide at the base and 80 feet (24 m) tall.[3] D. J. Cathcart King in his summary of mottes in England and Wales questioned this measurement, and suggested that the motte was probably closer to 40 feet (12 m) in height.[4] The bailey is rectangular, 390 feet (120 m) by 300 feet (91 m) across, with the entrance on the west side.[3] Both the motte and the bailey were protected by a deep ditch, fed from a diverted stream from the west to produce a wet moat.[3] Earlier investigations suggested that a stone shell keep had been built on the motte, but the foundations of this, if correct, can no longer be seen.[5] A further bailey may have originally surrounded the surviving earthworks, enclosing the local church as well.[6] The dimensions and scale of the castle has led J. Wall to describe Haughley as "the most perfect earthwork of this type in the county," whilst historian R. Allen Brown considers it "one of the most important" castle sites in East Anglia.[1]

Plan of Haughley Castle

The castle formed the caput, or main castle, at the centre of the Honour of Haughley.[2] The honour was sometimes known as the "honour of the constable", because the owner was obligated to provide castle-guard soldiers and knights to the constable of Dover Castle.[7] Hugh de Montfort became a monk in 1088 and the castle passed through his family until the mid-11th century.[7] Towards the end of King Stephen's reign the castle was given by the king to Henry of Essex, one of his supporters.[7]

By the late 12th century the Bigod family had come to dominate Suffolk, who held the title of the Earl of Norfolk and who were in competition with the Crown for control of the region.[8] Henry II had taken the throne after the death of Stephen and Henry d'Essex lost favour after being accused and convicted of cowardice during the 1157 Welsh campaign - Haughley Castle was seized by Henry II in 1163, and by the mid-1170s, the castle was controlled on his behalf by Ralph de Broc and a garrison of 30 soldiers. Conflict broke out again in 1173, during the revolt of Henry's sons and the Bigod's ally Robert de Beaumont, the Earl of Leicester, landed on the East Anglian coast and marched west, placing the castle under siege.[9] Ralph surrendered the castle, which was then smoked out by Robert's forces, although the revolt subsequently failed. The castle was fully rebuilt after its destruction in 1173 and a Manor House was built within the Inner Bailey and the Outer Bailey gradually filled. The remaining parts of the keep tower still standing were removed by Richard Ray in 1760. The circular foundations of over eight feet in thickness are visible today.[10] A major excavation in 2011 cleared the site and revealed extensive foundations and many remnants of intricately carved and dressed stone.

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Wednesday 19 June 2024

Greetings Cards From The Art Exhibition

 I didn't buy any of the paintings from the Debenham church art exhibition  but I bought 4 greetings cards, three to use for birthday cards and one to keep. All the artists had full size art works on show.

These first two have an interesting story

They are textile collage. I had a go at this craft many years ago - but like a lot of crafts I've tried I didn't have the patience!

This is one of her original pieces of textile collage - not for sale.

A card from an original by Felicity Tack. She works in watercolours.

I rather liked the colours and shape of this artist's (Jackie Dommet) work below, so won't be giving it away. It's part collage and part painting which seems quite a popular thing. I'm going to see how much it will cost to have a proper mount cut for it, then I can easily find a frame at a boot sale or charity shop - plenty of rectangular frames around but finding a second-hand square frame for the card I got a few weeks ago is more difficult so I'll probably use it for a card after all.

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Tuesday 18 June 2024

Debenham Church Art Exhibition

 This exhibition from local artists is always well supported, according to the catalogue there were 102 artists showing 524  paintings. Lots of people visiting too.

Hopeless for good photos due to all the light flooding into the church from outside, where it was actually sunny for a change, so I only took a few photos of some I found interesting.

Mixed media collage by Jackie Dommet

Gorgeous colours in these abstract trees by Barry Fox in acrylics 

Linocuts by Gill Thornton

The four small prints in black frames below are by Deborah Key. I have two by her  -an owl and a hare - on my Picture Wall, which weren't framed when I got them and seeing these in black I wish I'd had mine done in black frames too, they look better.

I liked these birds made of sea glass and perched on corks, someone had bought it already. Artist is Donna Jackson. 

These two below are by Penelope Conway and are glass and glass powders on a ceramic tiles. Really lovely but I think they way they are mounted on a piece of rough white board spoils them. £75 each and again  one is sold, the others hadn't.

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