Saturday, 28 February 2015

Was February frugal?

 Not with buying a car to replace the gas-guzzling jeep with the dodgy electrics. The car dealers took the Jeep as a trade in - thank goodness - as we didn't want to sell it privately.

Although apart from that things were OK.

Here are the ways we spent less in February -

 Food spending was well below budget for the second month in a row.
21 out of 28 days were no spend days
Fresh from the garden we had leeks,parsnips, kale, brussels sprouts and chard
We ate our own potatoes (until 24th) beetroot and onions from store and
apricots, cooking apples, pears, plums and peppers from the freezer
I made all our own bread again
Free heat from free wood again
Washing dried outside and over the Rayburn
Free library books for reading
8 books rescued from the man-up-the-road's rubbish, cleaned up and added to car boot boxes
Started making Christmas presents from fabric stash
Gooseberry jam made from gooseberries in the freezer
Tidied lots of cupboards and added things to car boot boxes
Used Tesco vouchers for cheap top up shopping
2 Free shopping bags from the Potato day and 1 from Tescos.
Our own compost into poly-tunnels
Using paint we had to do bedroom.

We have a freezing cold wind here today, I'm still debating if I should venture out to a very rare Jumble Sale or to stay at home in the warm and do some sewing.

Thanks for comments last time
Back in a few days

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!
Back soon

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.

Back Soon 


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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Thursday, 12 February 2015

It's a Crime!

........................well actually it's lots of crime. I do read some fiction other than crime but rarely buy to keep ( except for the Miss Read)

And, as we say in Suffolk , I seem to be slightly on the huh!

Some have been borrowed from the library and read and then searched for secondhand to keep, others have been collected but are unread.  I've only read up to J in the Sue Grafton Alphabet crime series. Some have been bought from Amazon ( Maureen Ash and some of Margaret Frazer) because they are only published in the States - which is weird as they are historical crime by American Authors BUT set in England. Quite a few are ex-library and are waiting to be read when the time comes that the libraries are so hard up that they don't buy new books! Or when/if we move to somewhere where they charge to reserve books.
 On the very bottom shelf are all the Ellis Peters Cadfael books. I read these as they were published and then a few years ago I kept spotting them in charity shops so decided to collect them, so that I can read them all again.
Do you see how big the 5 C.J. Sansom books are. It takes him 3 or 4  years to write each of these Shardlake series and I'm now reading the 6th - borrowed from the library of course . Then I shall wait for it to appear in paperback in a charity shop where I'll snap it up for about £1.99 instead of the £20 which people who don't use libraries will pay - MAD! ( Pot calling kettle black springs to mind when you look at how many books I actually possess!)

Now to count this lot.........................188 + 704 is errrrr...........892

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Gooseberry Jam and 5 Old Books

Due to putting loads of fruit in the freezer last Autumn, plus the half lamb  plus Christmas stuff we have had 2 chest freezers on for the last  5 months. Now both are about ⅔ full, so I need to sort out, use up and squash everything back into one.
Therefore today was gooseberry jam making day, it all went well which makes up for the redcurrant jelly disaster last week. Seven and a bit jars added to the cupboard. I don't eat any myself but Col likes a slice of toast and jam everyday. Gooseberry is one of his favourites and so is Plum and Greengage and Strawberry!
It's still mild here again today but rather grey and dismal. Col did a few odd jobs over at our neighbours and has started getting 4 more IBC tanks-in-a-frame ready for delivering next week.
After the jam making I didn't really do much at all.

Up on the top of the next bookshelves are 5 very old books.These were my Mum's but the Toytown Frolics dates from 1946 when Mum would have been 20 so I reckon it was something she bought for  her youngest brother  who died of Leukemia when he was very little.  I think Mum had one book a year for her birthday given her from her Auntie because most of them say To Joyce From Auntie Gladys!

The Bookano on the right includes a few pop up pictures, which fascinated me when I was little. These books have really thick paper and were much read by me many years ago which has made them very tatty.
 I'm glad I've managed to hold onto them as I got rid of all my books from childhood several years ago at a car boot sale when we were a bit hard up.

699 + 5 = 704

Welcome to Tess, Alison, Megan, Caroline, Catherine and Rosie who are new followers by Bloglivin'.

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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The last of the non-fiction - for the moment!

The bottom three shelves of the alcove under the stairs are my next lot of bookshelf photos.

There are all sorts of books here but mainly about living in the country. All were bought from secondhand book sales and charity shops or ex library when we searched out books to sell at shows. I have read some but not many and a lot of these will go to a car boot sale when we move ( sometime).
Angry Parsnip commented that I had hidden the books from the States with the odds and ends, but nothing is hidden . When I said round the corner it is just on one side of the 3 sided alcove. I don't want to upset my USA readers!

There are a few OS maps here, once this whole shelf was full of the Pink covered OS maps but I've put them into the cupboard in the dining room, to make more room for books. I'm so out of focus on this photo!

Many years ago- around the 1950s/ 60s there was a mail order Countryside Book Club, so many interesting books were available through them. The dust jackets were just cream with one other colour - Peacock On The Lawn below and The Field Of Sighing on the first picture. Some of these were quite obscure and have never been reprinted so they are good to look out for.

Below, on the bottom shelf are our Suffolk Books and a few travel books. Before the age of internet we always borrowed books about the places we were visiting on holiday  and once had many more than this, now it's just as easy to read about places online.

There are 4 books the wrong place on this shelf, one is Hall of Flagons a book I picked up from a charity shop last year. It is about the village of Buxhall in Mid Suffolk and mentions a few of my late Dads cousins who live there still. Beside it, and very tatty - The Batsford Book Of English Cottages - an old book with lots of black and white photos of how cottages were built in different periods of history.The Suffolk Street Atlas should be at the other end of the shelf. The book Mapping The Railways should be on the other side of the alcove with other random old tall  books. I have rectified all these out of order books!!

102 + 597 = 699 so far.

It has been so mild today, not like the normal damp February days we are used to. We have been working outside on and off all day and I also made 3 loaves of bread and brought in jars ready for washing to make jam tomorrow
Compost has been wheel barrowed onto 2 beds of the middle poly-tunnel and forked in, right ready for the earliest of the early potatoes and all the cut branches of the Leylandii hedge have been carted up to the bonfire heap. So we are still getting smallholding jobs done albeit more slowly than a few years ago.

Thank you for comments about books on the shelves yesterday. 

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Monday, 9 February 2015

The 5p morning spend and some more bookshelves.

We had another of those mornings when we cram loads of errands into one trip out.

1st - to the car sales place as Col is looking at something that might be less gas guzzling than the Jeep Cherokee but still 4WD in case we still need to pull a trailer/caravan, if/when we move.

2nd - to deliver a IBC container-in-a-frame to a member of the Suffolk Smallholders Society in Yoxford. ( including fitting a tap and delivery we sold it for £45).

3rd - as we were right next door to the Yoxford Antiques Centre we popped in to have a look. I'm STILL looking for a small shelf for the bathroom. The prices there are silly expensive. An old wooden bread board £38! was one thing I noticed. No shelf and nothing else interesting.

4th - to Framlingham where I had a look in the 3 charity shops ( Nothing bought here either) while he went and got the chicken feed.

5th - to Tescos on the way home for milk and fresh stuff, using the £5 Tesco voucher that came in the post last week my shopping came to 5p!

And home in time for lunch.

It's about time I put some more of the book shelf photos on the blog.
Here we go round the corner in the alcove under the stairs
On top of the shelves the five books in the Cazelet series by Elizabeth Jane Howard are being propped up Beatrix Potter. I didn't see these as a child and never got on well with reading them to our children but I love the paintings and have been collecting them from boot sales for the last few years. I'm just 2 or 3 short of the whole collection. At the bottom of the pile is a biography about Potter.
On the other end are the few old children's books I have.

In the two pictures above are some random odds and ends, including some of the books acquired at Christmas or with Christmas money ( sorry it's out of focus).  At the left on the top picture are two books by Elizabeth West ( Hovel in the Hills etc) that you might not have come across. They are called "Suffer little children" and "Insufferable little children", Both are fiction about a school secretary and the children and parents of a primary school, and both very funny.

Next two pictures below are all my shelf of  books from the States, some very weird and post apocalypse! Mostly are farming and simple living and off grid books. Then in the bottom photo on the right are my Amish books.

That's another 104 books to add to 493 from last week = 597

Three more shelves tomorrow then I'll be round the corner to my fiction books. There's quite a few of those too!

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Sunday, 8 February 2015

Letting light in

We have a Love Hate relationship with the Leylandii hedge between campsite and garden. On the one hand we are grateful to the people who planted it because it keeps the prevailing wind off the house and give us and campers privacy. On the other hand if it's not attacked with hedge-cutter and loppers at least every other year it cuts so much light from the house and poly-tunnels.
It had spread sideways and upwards in the last 2 years and really needed cutting and although Col managed to do the sides of the  hedge with the borrowed lightweight hedge cutter, the top would have been difficult because since the hardly-a-heart-attack he was told not to work  with his arms raised above shoulder level.
So yesterday our future son in law came up and together they worked their way along. Standing on the trailer on the campsite side all the branches went into the trailer. On the house side they used some scaffolding, so we will be picking up the bits to burn during the week.
Under the horse chestnut tree the primroses are fighting their way through the dead leaves

In other parts of the garden things are much slower - no sign of rhubarb yet and only a few daffodil shoots in the bed of daffs that we grow to sell. We got a bit of tidying done in the long flower bed this  morning and tulips look as if they have come through and then been damaged by frost. Our other morning job was cutting back the Autumn raspberry canes. Col has loosened the soil in one of the beds in the middle poly-tunnel and has emptied - by gravity- a tank of water onto it. Then we will barrow in some compost ready for planting the earliest of the early potatoes.

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Saturday, 7 February 2015

In the newspaper

While I was waiting for visiting time at the hospital back in October I came across a photo in a local magazine. (  Suffolk Lets Talk?) It was one of those flashback pictures that asks a question and invites local people to write in and say what they know about the photo. This picture was of a teacher and said " Who was the New Head Teacher at Wetherden Primary School in 1964, were you in this class?" I recognised Miss Lewis straight away and then on closer inspection there I was in the background. I know its me as I was the only girl with black hair! I took the magazine home to show the children ( we left another one in the Day Room as a replacement!) Then it got added to the other cuttings we have.
I came across the folder with them in while I was tidying in the craft room the other day. Seems I've now been in the newspaper 5 times! The two colour photos of me and Col were both done to promote the Suffolk Smallholders Society in 1995 and 1998. Then on the right was a feature about the changing face of Suffolk Libraries with several old photos of various libraries and I recognised myself in an old photo of Stowmarket Library, where I was working in 1977 or 78. The photo was taken to show how small the library was, and how a new library was needed for the growing town.     (Eventually Stowmarket got a new Library but not until nearly 10 years later). Those three photos were all in the East Angian Daily Times. On the left is a feature called Stepping Stones from the property pages of The Guardian (?). Our neighbour used to pass it to us for fire lighting and they invited you to write in and say how you had moved up the property ladder. (There was supposed to be a money prize if you were featured, which is why I wrote in, but I never got anything.) I'm standing in the garden holding onto two goats in this picture taken around 1997.

Thank goodness all that fame hasn't changed me one bit!!

Thank you to everyone for commiserations yesterday after the jelly incident. The wire frame I was using came from Lakeland donkeys years ago and the paint is flaking off the wire, so it was looking a bit nasty anyway, and a S.O.D. to put together plus it's two or three years since I used it so I think the elastic in the jelly bag was too stretchy. I will either move to a house with beams ( like Bovey Belle) or probably a cheaper option is to purchase a more reliable contraption. I used an upturned stool with string, muslin and pegs for many years, also a bit of a pain to set up and no stools in the house now anyway. Something to sort out before the next redcurrant season.

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Friday, 6 February 2015

Making redcurrant and apple jelly maybe not!

15 minutes after taking this photo
I came back into the kitchen to find the jelly bag had somehow slipped off the frame, splodged right into the bowl of juice so that the worktop,window sill and window were nicely splashed with a pint of juice.
Ho hum..............that's one way to use up some of the fruit in the freezer I suppose.

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Thursday, 5 February 2015


We had friends round for the day yesterday, which is why I went AWOL from the blogging world and as they usually come round on a Sunday I now don't know what day of the week we are on. The early afternoon was fine so we walked on the beach at Aldeburgh and just got back to the car before a black cloud turned into a short sharp downpour.

My first job this morning was ironing and Col was up the field burning all the conifer hedge cuttings and rubbish from where he was working at the house up the road. Bringing home rubbish from other places to burn is becoming a bit of a bad habit - in my opinion! Although there was a box of tatty, dusty old books that I had a sort through. Most were maths and physics text books so no use but there were 4 old ladybird books that have cleaned up OK. They've been added to the car boot box NOT my shelves. I also came across this
There are 400 recipes in this little paperback book - no pictures of course -  dating from 1959. I think it was the precursor to a very fat hardback book I had when first married in the 1970s. Nowadays recipe books have many less recipes and more full colour pages of photos - and cost 100 times more - £25 rather than 25p!

My next job was a bit of tidying of craft stuff. The craft room really needs a sort out. When we had the house valued back in October and I showed the estate agent bloke the room and said that it was actually big enough for  a double bed, he looked a bit dubious and agreed that there was rather a lot of Stuff and it was difficult to see how big the room was. But what to get rid of? Card Blanks? No, they will always be useful. Coloured and patterned paper and card?  No, because I will never know just what I need until I need it  (if that makes sense). Card toppers, ribbons, peel off labels, decorative edge scissors and more? How do I know what I will need in the future? It's all much too difficult! I ended up putting about 3 things in the car boot box - not a lot of help in making the room look bigger!

Thank you for all the interesting comments after Tuesdays post. I now have two people who must have been my sisters in a previous life as we have the same books on our shelves! ( Although I'm not sure that my real sister has any of the same books as I have so perhaps it doesn't work like that). Lots of people have The Victorian/Edwardian/Wartime/Tudor Monastery  Farm books. Chickpea said she is hoping to go to Morwellham Quay where the Edwardian Farm was filmed - I would love to go there too. We have been to the Acton-Scott Historic Working Farm in Shropshire where The Victorian Farm was filmed. A Fascinating place but the house they used on TV is now a holiday cottage and out of bounds to visitors. Our friends were talking about another 'Back to the Past ' programme currently on TV , its about several people who have been put into the Stone Age! Called 10,000 years BC I think. I haven't seen it and as it's yet another reality type programme, I've no plans to tune in. I think  medieval would be the earliest period in history that I would like to 'visit'. At least people lived in something we would recognise as houses and were past the hunter-gatherer stage.

 Apologies for not commenting on any other blogs at the moment. I'm getting worried that I'm spending a bit too much time on the lap top, my pile of library books is hardly going down. So if I don't put in an appearance everyday for a while it will be because my nose is in a book!

 Finally today, welcome to  Mendingmakingcrafting a new follower via Bloglovin'.

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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

More Shelves

Before I forget, welcome to Jill, Lana and Heather who are new followers by Bloglovin'.

I thought I might as well carry on with book shelf pictures as they were already taken.
 The top two shelves of the 3rd narrow bay under the stairs are full of small reference type books including ones with all the information about rhymes and sayings related to the weather.
 Then it's back to more country and natural history books, probably left over from when we took books to shows. When we downsize I think several of these will go as I've only read one or two and I'm not really bothered about reading the others.
My four books from the TV series.  The Wartime Farm book is hundred times better than the series was. Then some books by Katharine Stewart. If you haven't read Croft in the Hills and Garden in the Hills I can recommend them. Then  more Scottish books - I love these by Elizabeth Beckwith, written in the 70s, I first read them when I was working in libraries. I've had the paperbacks for years and then a couple of years ago at the book sale in North Suffolk that's held once a year I found the hard backs for 50p each and by chance the ones I brought home were all different to the ones I had already. I must re-read these again.

More odds and ends. Col likes these " Any fool can be a..........." I've never been able to get into them at all. Perch Hill by Adam Nicholson is about the restoration of a house and garden after a spell of depression. He is the husband of Sarah Raven who is now also well known for her books about food and flower growing.Finally right down in the corner are a few medical books and some more reference books.

Phew, another lot done. That's 102 + 391 = 493.

I popped to Saxmundham this morning,  the road past ours was slippery, so I'm glad I was driving rather than biking. The February shop of things that I can't get at Aldi was done and I found craft or dishcloth cotton in the Factory Shop - much to my surprise so I got another ball. 75p less than the craft shop.  Col meanwhile was ( and this statement deserves capital letters) TIDYING HIS WORKSHOP!!

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