Thursday, 26 February 2015

Notes from my diary and an idea for a Christmas card.

We have had some chilly weather over the last few days so still nothing happening in the garden, but most of Sunday was lovely and bright and I did another fast 20 minute walk before we cleaned out the biggest chicken shed. Then around dusk the wind got up, the rain started and by golly we had some rough weather. BUT the days are getting longer, the chickens are being shut up around 5.30 now instead of 4.15 just a few weeks ago, and I no longer need a light on to find my coat and  welly-boots when I go outside just after 7am.

On Monday we drove across Suffolk for the funeral of my eldest cousin. Although she wasn't old - just 68, with 4 young grandchildren who won't remember their Gran. So sad. We are a very bad family for keeping in touch and I didn't even know she had been suffering from cancer for 3 years. My cousin's mum - my Aunt - is 90 and has outlived 4 of her younger siblings,including my mum and now her daughter too.
 I really should try harder to stay in touch with family.

A very chilly wind on Tuesday but bright sunshine again so washing was out flapping all morning and was soon dry. Cats had to go to the vets today as it's a year  since we adopted them from Cats Protection. Mabel is an outside cat, we can pick her up for cuddles but carry her inside the house and she is off like a shot. Polly is the opposite, especially in this cold weather, preferring to be curled up somewhere comfy indoors.
Little Polly Flinders sits beside the cinders, warming her pretty little toes! ( Her fleece mat is made of 2 layers cut from Col's old fleece jacket, and stitched together - she seems to like it)

Colin was working at our neighbour's and she had been give a box of chocolates that she mustn't eat so passed them on to us. He put them on the back of the mower and then found they had fallen off and been run over by the mower trailer - one slightly squashed box of chocolates will still be enjoyed!
I got out my old sewing machine to stitch the 'things' I'm making for presents only to discover it had fallen apart. The motor still runs but rubber bits had perished and plastic bits had cracked and other bits had fallen right inside! I'd been wondering about getting a new one because several other things were going wrong, now I really will have to decide what to do. I know a new sewing machine is about the same price that I paid for this 30 years ago. Back then every town had a fabric shop or two and I use to make curtains and cushion covers. Now it seems cheaper to buy curtains ready made ( or better still to find them secondhand) and there is hardly anywhere in the whole of Suffolk to buy material.

Painting rooms is way down our list of favourite things to do but needs must as there are a couple of rooms that haven't been done for.............well, we can't actually remember when!
So Wednesday morning saw us clearing out a bedroom, and filling various cracks and dents. We have some paint left over from the new kitchen which will do for this room.Sanding down, washing down and a coat of emulsion rolled on on Thursday morning.
I popped to Saxmundham for Milk and fresh stuff first thing and stood outside the bank for several minutes waiting for it to open before looking at the sign and remembering they are now shut all day Thursdays - Duh!

Just after Christmas several people - me included, posted pictures of Christmas cards cut up to make tags for next Christmas. I started cross stitching some small pictures from my stash and decided to turn them into tags for cards and to make the front of the card as 6 more tags, ready made to be cut out.
Can my Penny Pincher Letter friends please look away now! Since the photo was taken some shiny red stars have been stuck on around the tags to brighten up the card fronts.

Now I'm not posting so often there is more time for other things , and all 7 that I need are done and will be tucked away for December.

Welcome to Helen and Andrea, both new followers on bloglovin'

That's brought you up to date with the scintillating news from the edge of Suffolk!
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Saturday, 21 February 2015

From Wednesday to Saturday in Suffolk

Hello, here I am again after a few days off, this is what's been happening here since my last post. I've definitely had more time for other things by not posting everyday.

 I read on a blog about a series of magazines that had been published last year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of  Womans Weekly.
 I expect lots of peoples mums took this back in the day - mine certainly did.
 Out of curiosity I looked on ebay -as you do - to see what they were selling for and watched as one issue went up and up and up to £16.10 - goodness, somebody really wanted that one I thought to myself.
 Then I Googled around and found they could have bought the same issue from Mags, for £4.95 including postage!  Looking on ebay again a few days later I spotted 3 out of the 12 about to go unsold and  put a bid in  and got them for 1p! Very Interesting they are too.
 I might look out for the ones about earlier decades.
 On Wednesday Tesco were giving away their Christmas long-life bags. I'm not sure how much they were before Christmas but I saw them reduced to £1.50 in January.
 This means we've had 3 free shopping bags in the space of 5 days.
 In the charity shop I picked up 2 books for 75p each and then found 8p on the pavement in town.
What a good morning! 
I have been through my cookery books and taken out 10 small ones for the car boot box  to make up for adding 2 more to the collection.
Col has given the campsite shower and toilets a new coat of floor paint plus the walls where they needed a bit of touch up painting.
 I've given the front door a coat of bright red gloss, it's only been waiting for 5 years to be done.
 I'm dreadful at glossing, it always runs. Oh well, better than the grubby undercoat.
 The gas-guzzling Jeep Cherokee with the dodgy electrics has been swapped for a Hyundai Tuscon. Col decided not to step down to a much smaller car because we still want the option of pulling a trailer or maybe a caravan. 
The engine is smaller so should use less diesel and the road tax is a wee bit less.

 Library van day came around again.
My favourites from last month were C.J Sansom's - Lamentations and Bill Coleman's - Gift To Be Simple - a book of photos of the Amish people. Below on the right is his photo of Amish Buggies in the snow, reminding me of a Bruegel painting from the mid 16th century

Here is what I brought home this time. I hope there is something I like here. How have I never tried Ngaio Marsh when they have been around for 80 years? 

On Friday while Col was pressure washing the big poly-tunnel and then the house fascias, I whipped up a few fruit and some cheese scones for a weekend treat.

A lovely start to the day on Saturday so I was able to bike to town for a couple of things forgotten on Wednesday. We've come to the end of our own potatoes so I got a few new potatoes to see us through until we can get a cheap sack- full from a market.

Welcome to The Quirky Bird Gardener, a new follower on Google and The Pumpkin Life, Fee and Di on Bloglovin'. Sorry you have started to read just as I'm posting less often but hopefully you will enjoy reading my less frequent posts.

Back in a few days

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Catching up - Potatoes and life in the garden after winter

It's back to normal now after the epic book thing, with a catch up on what's been happening here.

On Saturday we set off early to go the the 20th Annual Potato Day. We wanted to get in the queue in good time so we could get in and out and try to avoid some of the crush. By opening time at 9.30 there were over 100 people in the queue! It's the only event of it's kind in Norfolk and Suffolk so people come from far and wide. Luckily its only about 20 miles from us.
There were 90 varieties of seed potatoes to choose from but we  stayed with tried and trusted varieties this year. Rocket, Foremost and Charlotte. We're not bothering with maincrop  because of Col's health and the work involved with lifting them.
Crowds in the marquee

Potatoes in boxes by alphabetical order. They have lots of helpers filling up the boxes as the crowds empty them.
Our total spend was just over £20 giving enough for us for many months and a few to sell. The Rocket were planted straight away into the polytunnel when we got home for an extra early crop.
We picked up 2 free jute shopping bags from the District Council recycling stand. We've had 2 every year for about 5 years, we may never need to buy a shopping bag ever again!... and it's not even our own District Council.
Coffee was waiting in a flask in the jeep - penny pinching again.
As we were out we drove on a few miles to the next small town which is Needham Market. There are 2 charity shops and an Antiques emporium so we visited all three of course. In one Col found, for £1.50, a large thermometer that will fix on the side of the shed outside and be visible from indoors. Our small thermometer sticks on the outside of the kitchen window and doesn't seem very accurate. I found an old round wooden bread board for £3 in the Hospice shop. That's a better price than the one I saw last week in the Antiques centre for £38!

Dinner on Saturday was a herb omelette with the first few spring snippings from the garden. The tiny bits of fennel smelled lovely. It's good to see things to eat beginning to grow. Hurry up asparagus!

Sunday morning and 2 loads of washing drying out in the sunshine early. We cut a good load of wood, both logs and pallets. Col got a phone call asking for 2 metal drums that  he'd advertised in the Suffolk Smallholders Newsletter so they went on the trailer along with the 4 IBCs for delivering on Monday.

Lots of Rugby on TV over the weekend to keep us entertained. I prefer watching rugby to football anyday.  I remembered to watch Call The Midwife this week too.

Monday was grey and misty all day and in the morning Col decided to wash the clear plastic roof of the campsite toilet shed. Then we washed down the painted toilet doors which always get a bit mouldy in the damp winter weather. He also took out all the paper that's been covering the loos and basins and had a bit of a sweep out  because we want to get walls and floors painted over the next week or so to give it plenty of time to dry out properly before we re-open at Easter. We have already got a couple of bookings for that weekend so it must be done. We have also had a few bookings for later in the year including a family who came for a week last summer and enjoyed it so much they are returning for 3 weeks in August this year.
In the afternoon he trundled off with the jeep and trailer to deliver everything - not too far away - and came back with £160 - handy.
Apart from helping with the loo cleaning and cleaning indoors I also did a small heap of boring ironing and cut out the material I need to make 7 presents for my Penny Pincher letter friends for Christmas. Now I need to get pinning and sewing.

Today, Tuesday, has been bright and sunny all day which is lovely but doesn't half show up the dirty windows. I cleaned the most obvious - in the kitchen - but ran out of enthusiasm for doing any more. Col was working over at our neighbours all morning, cutting down the willows round her pond. Was it just a year ago that he did this and brought home lots of willow slips that we pushed in all around the caravan part of the campsite? Most are still alive and soon we will have a huge hedge like we have around the sides of the tent area.

I did say a couple of weeks ago that I seem to be spending a bit too much time online, I have other things that I need and want to do but seem to be picking up the lap top several times a day.   I want to wean myself off this, as it seems to be becoming an addiction. So  until Easter when we open the campsite and there will be more gardening to blog about too, I'm just going to post once or twice a week. I will pop in and read all my favourite blogs to keep in touch.

So back in a few days

Monday, 16 February 2015

That's it, the end, you've seen them all!

At last I have got to the very end of the book shelf pictures.

It has been an interesting experience. I've spotted a few books in the wrong place. Lots that can go when we downsize and many that I wouldn't part with ever. I don't have 2 of anything as far as I can see ( except The Hovel) and it's also amazing how few were bought new and I had no idea there were so many!

So here we go .....towards the end.
In the porch where I keep my campsite handouts and checking in stuff ready for people arriving on site are 4 shelves of overflow books that need sorting out. Most will go when we move.
Above are craft books in the craft room - some of these will go to a car boot sale.That giant book - The Quilted Planet  was bought for £1 from a charity shop book clearance about 4 years ago and it's cheapest price on Amazon is £10.20. So I got a bargain.
And finally, the two pictures above are the cookery books in the kitchen.

Then there are 5 Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House Books on top of the shelves in the hall that I've forgotten  to photograph.

(Also several books out in the campsite recreation room/library but they are for people to borrow or swap so I won't count them.)

5 +114 in the porch, 42 in the craft room and 75 in the kitchen is another 236 so the  great grand total is

 Oh my goodness. A lot of weeding out to do when we downsize. 

Welcome to Jill a new follower on Google friends.

Thank you to everyone who has said they have enjoyed the book pictures. Maybe it's given people a few ideas for things to read.

Tomorrow  I shall be doing a normal diary post with not a book in sight.

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Sunday, 15 February 2015

The penultimate bookshelves - Thank heavens

Page views have dropped by several dozens with these book shelf pictures so I shall be glad to get to the end tomorrow and get back to normal.

My newest collection are my Persephone Books they are publishers who search out books that haven't been seen for years, usually written by women, and reprint about 4 a year. They then also do the most popular in a special coloured  jacket ( That's the 4 on the left) The coloured endpapers which always feature a fabric pattern from the period and always a book mark to match make them very popular. When I go in a charity shop I often scan the shelves looking for the grey cover. I've recently gained two more and had a shuffle of books on the other shelves to leave a space for any more I might acquire in the future. On the right are some old books which I actually had before Persephone re- printed them - 2 by D.E.Stevenson which are  dreadful 1970s paperbacks with covers that bear no relation to the content or the period of the original books. Also Saplings by Noel Streatfield.There are also two other older books housed with the WWII books that I had before I knew about Persephone.
Under the Persephone Books are 4 books that are the first I bought when I started work in 1971. They are childrens books - The history Of Everyday Things In England -  I had loved these books at primary school where we spent ages tracing all the different costumes.

The  owl was given to me by my Cub Scouts when we moved away from Bacton  in Mid Suffolk where I had been Cub Scout Leader for nearly 20 years.

Next are all sorts of classics, bibles, poetry and other books that I ought to read but never will.

On the right of the photo above are two Penguin paperbacks that I've had for many years, they are the books written FROM the TV series of The Good Life. Usually TV programmes come from books but these appeared afterwards - all the words exactly as spoken on TV. They really should be moved to a different place.

Right at the bottom are some odds and ends and Shakespeare!
That is 110 + 1136 = 1246

I think I have some new followers on Google who I haven't mentioned so Hello to Chris and Gerry and andy on Bloglovin'.

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Saturday, 14 February 2015

More books - Mostly his this time

When we married I had several books but Col had none, he didn't read much and for many years I went to book sales on my own. But over the last 15 - 20 years he has really got into reading - although he doesn't read fiction. Now he has his very own collection.
Canal, railway and a few sports books are on his shelves. The books he borrows from the library are WWII RAF or Army biographies or similar but there are an awful lot of them so he doesn't collect them to keep.
I've read quite a lot of the canal books too and a couple of them were mine before I generously allowed him to put them with his collection!

This shelf above has some of my books as well as his. On the left - School without tears by Mollie Jenkins is the book that first got me interested in Home Schooling. I can see a Kevin Costner Biography - definitely mine. There are a couple of old Scouting books from my time as a Cub Scout Leader and a few more country books. They ought to be on other shelves - I shall have to sort them out.

244 here. Plus the 892 from before takes us to 1136.

We are heading towards the end - Thank Goodness

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Friday, 13 February 2015

This week

The weather this week.........

Was mainly grey and gloomy but dry, we had a couple of very mild days and a day with mist and today a very strong chilly South wind

We ate.......
From the garden - Brussels sprouts, kale, leeks and parsips
Our own produce from store - onions, potatoes
Our own produce from the freezer - cooking apples, plums, apricots and peppers

 This week we went ........

To get chicken feed (him)
To deliver 2 IBC tanks(us)
To get eyes tested(him)
To get a bit of shopping(me)
To an Antiques Centre (us)
To 6 charity shops(me)

This week we ........

Made 3 loaves bread (me)
Made gooseberry jam (me)
Did any  housework that shouted "clean me"(me)
Let chickens out and collected eggs everyday (me)
Put eggs in boxes after cleaning and sorting every day (me)
Littered chicken sheds and shut them up(him)
Chopped a couple more sacks of kindling (me)
Cleaned out 4 more IBC tanks-in-a-frame ready to deliver (him)
Worked for our neighbour and for the man up the road(him)
Barrowed and forked in compost onto 2 beds of the middle polytunnel (us)
Had sad news that one of my cousins had died - yet another family member with cancer
Heard about our youngest's wedding plans for 2017! (us)
Cleared up all the bits of conifer hedge that were cut off the top by our future son in law on Saturday (him)
Arranged to buy a car as a replacement  for our jeep-with- the-dodgy-electrics (him)
Sorted out things to advertise in next months Suffolk Smallholders Newsletter (him)
Cooked dinners(us)
Burnt hedge trimmings (him)
Washed and wiped the dishes several times(us)
Despaired at the problems with my propagator that cooked the first lot of seeds(me)
Spent far too long taking photos of books and blogging about them (me) 
Finished reading Lamentation by C. J.Sansom (me)
Finished reading A Likely Tale Lad by Mike Pannett (him)
Added several more things to the car boot boxes (me)
Found these interesting bits and bobs in charity shops in Leiston for total £2.60p(me)
A vinegar bottle, a pie dish, a small salt-glazed pot with lid and an ex library book that looks interesting.

That was the week that was.

Welcome to new followers Deb  via Google Friends and to Sandra and Beth via Bloglovin'
I hope you enjoy my Suffolk ramblings.
Thank you for comments yesterday.

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