Saturday, 30 May 2015

A Wedding Party

We have just spent a wonderful couple of days away in West Sussex at our eldest daughters wedding. She had worked really hard planning it all over the last 18 months and all went well except for a bit of a panic when all the electric went off just as the hairdresser arrived. Thank goodness it came back after 20 minutes or the results would have been different ( no hairdresser, no food, no light, no music PANIC).
Here is just one quick photo, that someone took on my old camera - there are dozens more!

Me , James our new son-in-law, Helen our gorgeous daughter and Col the extremely proud Dad whose speech made the whole room reach for their hankies!

Back with more pictures later

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Monday to Wednesday

Bank Holiday Monday and yet another grey day, yes it was mainly fine but no warmth at all. Disappointing weather for all our visitors on the campsite. At least the toilet floors don't get too grubby when the weather is dry.

Col decided not to bother with the boot sale so I popped up the road just after 7am. Loads of boots there today and I found some cheap wool to get me started. I've printed out a simple patten, well it says it's simple - time will tell. At the moment I've just started cross stitching again after not doing any for months.I also brought home £4 worth of paper-crafting stuff for card making. There are loads of sheets of various peel off labels and a huge bag of coloured backing papers. I got home and Col took one look at what I was carrying and reminded me we are going to be moving sometime. But the paper will go in the storage drawers I got ages ago and the peel-offs will fit into my folder.

Monday evening we were eating dinner and the kitchen TV blew up! BANG and a puff of smoke. It was our old TV, one of the great big box things. It didn't smell good,so how to get it out of the kitchen quickly when he's not allowed to lift anything heavy? The only thing we could think of was to bring a wheelbarrow in and tip the TV into it.  We won't bother to replace it as it will be one less thing to move.
I've been fiddling with my new camera and found the panorama button. Makes the pictures look as if they were taken with a wide angle lens. Is that right? The leaflet that came with the camera is very basic and I downloaded the more detailed instructions that were on a CD onto the laptop. I think I really need to print them out and read through several dozen times.( the problem is that there seems to be 200 pages!)

Tuesday and the weather was still mostly grey and not very warm. A bit of baking, some housework then French Open Tennis on TV. I've been very tired every afternoon recently, probably due to the blasted pheasant who keeps squawking every 10 minutes from first light - and that's about 3.45am!

Wednesday and at last we have a bit of warmth , lots of weeding done, especially the beetroot bed that had been under fleece for a bit too long. It was difficult to find the beetroot amongst the weeds.
Most of the campsite visitors have left today although there are 2 motor-homes due in this evening. I hope one of the families going are the ones who have been putting all  the rubbish in the wrong bins all week. I even found an almost full 4 pint bottle of milk in the general rubbish bag. How hard would it have been to have emptied it out, rinsed it under the tap and put it in the plastic bottles bin? Ho Hum....... the joys of other peoples rubbish.
Our youngest has been sorting out all the stuff that was dumped in the shed from their old house, she is loading everything onto a trailer ready to shift it into her new flat at the weekend.

What do you do when you have a mental block about what to have for dinner? My solution is omelets and tonight they will be served with asparagus. There will be one more cutting and then that will be it until next year - will we still be here, that is the question.

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Sunday, 24 May 2015

V.I.P Visitor

 Last week I had a visit from a lovely blogger, well known to many of you out there because she writes so fluently about her life on a Yorkshire farm. Yes, Pat AKA The Weaver of Grass came around with The Farmer for a cuppa while they were on holiday in Aldeburgh. Here we are after a look round the garden, I'm complaining loudly that I'm in baggy shorts and tee-shirt  so  not dressed for photos, but as John at Going Gently would say"Hey Ho!"

The weather wasn't the best for their stay in Suffolk, which was a shame but I hope they enjoyed their visit to the East coast.

Our local car boot sale was on today( and tomorrow because of Bank Holiday). I zoomed up the road to look early this morning and came home with a pair of thinner knitting needles for 50p. Hey Big Spender! Perhaps tomorrow will be more exciting. Although in reality I must only buy things that will be Christmas presents or are wearable or very small.
So why knitting needles? Well, I keep reading blogs about people who have learned to knit and all I can manage is dishcloths. Then I got to thinking that many years ago I taught myself to do Cross Stitch and I've made loads of pictures and presents and there are people who can't cross stitch or are only just learning. Therefore in theory I ought to be able to teach myself to knit something other than a dishcloth. Blogging is very good for opening new doors. Now I just need some wool, a simple pattern and time to watch knitting tutorials on You Tube.

Our youngest and partner ( the one she split up with a few weeks ago!) were here to watch the  Eurovision Song contest and both stayed over, so today before it rained Col got them to help with some heavy shifting and lifting and a few more things have now been tidied up. Our daughter moved back here when they split and  gave up the rental on their house. She has now organised renting a flat and will be moving in to it at the beginning of June. I'm not sure how much together/not together they are. We will see what happens. I gave up on watching the song contest and went to bed, when after several countries voting, the UK had only been given 1 point.

Lots of new followers,on Google Friends - welcome to Hina, A krafty girl and Jan and to Diane and wsheary on Bloglovin'. hope you enjoy reading about our quiet life near the Suffolk coast.

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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Asking for more for less and odd weather.

The name of the blog has been very apt as life has certainly been quiet since my Monday post. We had 3 nights with no-one on the campsite for a start and the only place I've been is Saxmundham for a bit of shopping. Col has taken the car to the dealers garage today as they have finally got the parts in to do the repairs we wanted done under the 3 month warranty.

The RAC breakdown cover for the car  was due for renewal this month so Col did a bit of on-line research and found a much cheaper quote, with better cover from Green Flag. He rang them to ask a couple of questions but for some reason the lady on the phone couldn't find anything as low as the online quote and said she would find out why and phone back.
We heard nothing more........ doesn't bode well for an emergency breakdown, does it?
He decided to ring the RAC and ask what they could do to match Green Flag and after a bit of negotiating we now have all the cover that Green Flag were offering for a few pounds less than the original RAC renewal cost - Result!

Whatever has happened to the weather?
Over the last few days we have had thunderstorms, hail, heavy rain, really strong cold North East winds with occasional bit of sunshine.
One minute hail, the next blue skies and sunshine
The climbing French beans outside are looking very sad and the broad beans which were about 18" tall were knocked every which way until we staked and tied them upright with a circle of string all round.
I fixed the runner bean canes up the other day  but with this odd weather I was a bit wary about putting the plants out, but they were getting rather tall so  Col decided to get them planted, and the leeks went out too so that's another job done.
In between the rough weather there has been a few hours dry and I was able to get the caravan site cut, we have two families arriving today and then more tomorrow and Saturday for the weekend. We are only allowed 5 caravans/motorhomes and they have been booked in for a couple of weeks but we have been getting phone calls all week for people looking for a pitch, I think they have left it a bit late.

The forecast is actually fairly decent for Bank Holiday weekend so  hopefully we/I will be able to fit in  a visit to a car boot and some reading and relaxing as well as welcoming people to the campsite  and cleaning toilets! Plus of course there is the Eurovision song contest to watch on Saturday night. Hope it's not Nul Points for the UK

Enjoy your Bank Holiday weekend ( and half term week if you are lucky enough to have the week off work).
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A quick sentence edited in to say - welcome to new followers I have just spotted, will say hello properly next time

Monday, 18 May 2015


Welcome to Martin and Amy new followers on Google and Amy and Jill who are following by Bloglovin'.

Col is on the mend, the antibiotics soon started to clear the infection and now he must take things easy for a few weeks so the operation site can really heal and not cause the nasty painful problems again.The only downside is the  antibiotics are making him feel very dopey and light headed, he went to get his blood pressure checked just to make sure the tablets were not having a bad effect mixed with his heart tablets but all is OK, he'll just have to put up with it until the course is finished. He is beginning to get bossy and grumpy because of not being able to do anything and  arguments have started already!

The weekend went by quickly, Col has been resting with occasional wandering outside and a bit of dish washing . On Saturday I drove to Woodbridge to find some flat shoes to change into on the evening of our eldests wedding. I just feel so uncomfortable in heels that I'll need to take them off as soon as possible.I found some flat sandals with pink straps to go with my dress and I can use them as indoor shoes here later.
 There is now a branch of The Grape Tree in Woodbridge that I didn't know about which is handy as it's so much closer than Ipswich. I didn't bother with most of the charity shops but got a bargain in the Oxfam shop of 5 tubs of Divine Drinking chocolate at half price because they were a few days out of date. I find most brands of drinking choc too sweet but Divine is luscious.

Sunday was car-boot day again. Loads of boots there even when I arrived early. I went up and down the rows looking for a posh cake cutting knife as requested by our eldest for the wedding photos and found one with a fancy silver handle for £10. Hope it's OK, she's getting a bit fussy with things for this wedding - a much more complicated affair than our registry office/reception in our Scout hall/honeymoon in a tent on the Isle of Wight event in 1979! There wasn't anything else I wanted but then I spotted a lampshade for 50p which suited the bedroom better than the one we had. Seems funny to add these finishing touches to the house just to sell it but I think that's what's expected by potential buyers nowadays.
Gardening is going along slowly with Col out of action although Brussels sprout plants arrived and have been planted out. Because in the past we had so many failures with plants grown from seed here, I now order young plants every year. The gooseberries are still being checked most days and I found some large sawfly caterpillars/larvae that must have been missed earlier in the week.
 Sunday afternoon I was quite glad to put my feet up and start a library book.

This morning we had awful weather - wet and windy. Most of the jobs I needed to get done were outside but I stayed in and made 3 loaves of bread, a few scones, a veggie curry for dinner, washed some flower pots and did a bit of ironing. Col spent a little while in the poly-tunnel taking the side shoots off the tomatoes but he was soon feeling tired and aching again. Thank goodness it stopped raining early afternoon and I was able to get the chicken shed in the garden cleaned out so we can bring a few of the others down from the big shed before we get rid of about a dozen. I need more dry weather to get the campsite cut again before we get busy for Bank Holiday weekend.

I nipped out to take  a few pictures of the shades of pink we have at the moment just to cheer up this wordy post.
Pale pink is the blossom on the Quince
Dark Pink is the candles on the Horse Chestnut
and both pale and dark are the flowers on the perennial geranium.  Our wonderful birdbath was left behind by the previous owners, we found it hidden amongst the long grass and weeds. It's got one corner of the base chipped off so you have to look at it from the right side. The large sink that we now use as a pond was also here when we came,it was half buried in the ground. I would like to take both with us when we move, Col says the sink is far too heavy to shift but I will take the birdbath.

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Friday, 15 May 2015

Things are OK 'cos it's Library book day!

Thank you for so many good wishes for Col after my post yesterday. Today he got an emergency doctors appointment and is now on antibiotics as well. The hospital told him he would probably get an infection after all their painful procedures and sure enough he has, no wonder he was feeling so rough.

I've been doing some more odd jobs outside and then went down to the library van to see what they had for me this month. I'd ordered some more by Rafaella Barker and another Barbara Kingsolver. The new Elly Griffiths was waiting for me too. Plenty to keep my mind off ill health and house moves for a few weeks.

Good news in the post today - Suffolk County Council seem to be giving me a pension after I turned 60 last month. For some reason they couldn't find me so tracked me down through the tax people. I worked in Suffolk libraries for 6 years before I had our eldest and if I'm reading the letter right    (which I might not be as it was in some sort of Double Dutch Pension Jargonese) they will be paying me the grand total of around £25 a month! Oh what fun I shall have with that. But really I'm grateful for anything as I remember taking some of my pension as a lump sum when I packed up proper work in 1980. There seems to be another lump sum to come of a couple of hundred pounds too. And more good news as HMRC are giving me a bit of a refund too for tax paid on interest last year. Every Little helps.

Thanks again for your good wishes
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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Being pushed towards a decision

Once again health issues are forcing us to think about our future.

A couple of weeks ago Col had an overnight stay in hospital for a small investigative operation in the Urology Department ( nuf said about that!). What he was told afterwards was no driving and no heavy lifting for 2 weeks. They did say that some people may need 4 - 6 weeks off work. Of course he didn't think  HE was one of those people. But he should have been because on Sunday evening another problem meant a quick dash to hospital and a 2 night stay with some quite nasty procedures - Ouch. Anyway he is home again and OK-ish but really must take things easy for a while.
This means that the man who had never been in hospital before 2013 has now been "inside" 7 times, and after each hospital stay we say we must cut down on what we do here, because of the way things are set up this is definitely a  two person smallholding.

We've decided that the chicken numbers will be cut again down to just enough for us and our neighbours and no pumpkins and squash will be grown out on the field after all. Once our youngest daughter has sorted out a flat rental and our eldests' wedding has been and gone -  the smallholding will go up for sale - probably!. All the internal decorating and tidying has been done and much of Col's might-come-in-handy stuff that fills the workshop could easily go in a skip, so really we are ready. We both fancy a move to somewhere completely different for a while and if we buy a house in a Suffolk town to rent out for income we will have somewhere to come back to in a few years time if needs be.

Meanwhile apart from all the mental turmoil that comes from having to decide what to do next things are relatively normal.

We are enjoying several delicious meals from the garden. Imagine home made bread toast covered with scrambled eggs with deep yellow yolks fresh from our hens and topped with our own asparagus spears. Followed by strawberries from the poly tunnel. Or we could have, also from the poly-tunnel, salad leaves with some chopped crunchy radishes and warm new potatoes mixed with a little mayo with rhubarb fool as a dessert.

The poly tunnels are all planted up.
Luckily Col had finished the job of staking the tomatoes in the big poly-tunnel before his unexpected  hospital stay.
I haven't actually counted how many tomato plants we have, I know there are 5 different types. Over on the right are 7 cucumber plants. I hope we can sell all their produce  without having eggs out on the stand to draw people in.
The middle poly-tunnel has salad leaves and radishes with the strawberries in growbags raised up on planks on benches. The potatoes we are eating are from the plants on the right, planted as soon as we got them from The Potato Day on Feb 14th. In the left hand bed are all the peppers and aubergines.
We are not growing much in the small tunnel as it is now too shady and dry from the trees. There is a circle of French Climbing beans at the back, a very sparse crop of early beetroot in front. On the left are more cucumbers in pots. Runner beans in trays and there are leeks too in pots waiting for better weather. Right at the front, all that green stuff that looks like grass is actually Garlic Chives. Whatever I do I can't get it to stop growing in here, it's very invasive and extremely hardy. Useful for Pesto too.

Not much has been done outside except I got the strawberry and raspberry beds weeded  yesterday and I've been checking for Gooseberry sawfly most days although we had that blasted  North East wind back again today and it's been really cold. No one on the campsite today so I got instructions for grass cutting and got half the site done, it wasn't a very warm job.

Two more books have been added to my Books Read In 2015 page, namely  Shadow of The Hangman by Edward Marston and Holy Spy by Rory Clements. The first was dreadful! I don't know why I bothered to finish it. Edward Marston churns out two or three of books a year. He has done many series of historical crime  starting with The Elizabethan Theatre series in the 80's through to The Railway Detective series with a new one of those due out next month. I fear just lately quality has been lost.
Holy Spy by Rory Clements is the 7th in the John Shakespeare series, set in Elizabethan England John Shakespeare is an intelligencer working for Sir Francis Walsingham on behalf of the Queen. This story is about the plot against Elizabeth by Mary, and her Catholic friends.

That's brought things up to date here and we are round to Mobile library day again tomorrow.

Back Soon

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Gooseberry Sawfly

It's time to start checking your gooseberry bushes for Gooseberry Sawfly Larvae.

I've been thinking I must get round to checking for the last week or so but if you read last weeks post you will know why I only managed to find time on Friday afternoon.

Look in the middle of the bushes near the top for the telltale sign of small holes in the leaves.

 Underneath will be a small caterpillar/larvae  eating his way through the leaf, you can just see this teeny one on the edge of the hole.

 They grow at a great rate, this one's nibbled a bit more and doubled in size!

I found several so it's a good thing I didn't leave it any longer. These little things can eat their way through all the leaves on a bush in a couple of weeks, no leaves = a dead bush! We can't afford to lose a bush to sawfly, the gooseberries we pick and sell each year equal at least 2 months housekeeping money.

I will check every day if I can to squidge as many as possible so that I don't need to spray.

Welcome to Missingangel 1966 and SimplyHappy who are new followers on Bloglovin'

Back soon with a diary update

Saturday, 9 May 2015

V.E.Day Celebration at Parham Airfield

We had a rare trip out this afternoon to Parham Airfield WWII  Museum. It's only a few miles from us but I hadn't been before although Col went with our son when he was researching his Uni dissertation.

 It's just a small museum, run by volunteers and based around the original control tower, which we went to the top of - bit windy up there!

 There were a few extra things to see as they were having a VE Day celebration including some US WWII Vehicles

They have a reconstruction of a Barrack room,loads of photos, various bits of planes, A small museum about the resistance movement, A reconstruction of an SOE hideout and of course a tea room. As admittance was free we made a donation by buying a cuppa and a cake. The tea room was full of Friends Of The Museum dressed in WWII uniforms and ladies also in clothing of the period - Quite surreal!
The most poignant thing there, which brings tears to the eyes is the huge long list of names of airmen and ground personel who lost their lives while serving at Parham during the 3 years it was used as an airfield

Our son is now community archaeologist  with The 8th In The East, a Heritage Lottery Funded project to record and share information about  the USAAF bases in East Anglia during WWII. I have "borrowed" the information below from their website about a walk around what's left of the airfield at Parham. I'm sure they won't mind.

It was outstanding and a real privilege to welcome ninety people to our second heritage walk  at Parham Airfield on  Sunday 11th January 2015 .
The turn out for our first event of the New Year was simply remarkable and we’d like today a big thank you the team of volunteers at Parham Airfield Museum for welcoming us – and to all of you who came  along and joined us on a sunny, if windy, Sunday morning.
Put simply, the construction of these airfields were the single most significant landscape change to take place in their locations. At Parham alone, twenty-three miles of hedgerow made way for the construction of the site.
The walk mixed airfield history with landscape change and explored the ancient buildings found in the area, such as the early 16th century Moat Hall, once home to a soldier of Henry VIII following his marriage to a lady-in – waiting of Catherine of Aragon.
The 3-mile walk was led by our Community Archeologist Martin Cuthbert, with great support and able assistance from Peter Kindred and John from the the 8th USAAF airfield museum at Parham, home to the 390th Bomb Group during World War Two.
The attendees, young and old,  shared a really great mix of interests and motivations for getting involved. Some were interested in landscape history, others had travelled from far and wide to explore the military and  airfield archaeology, whilst others  still fancied the chance to have a walk in the unique landscape of their local World War Two airfield.
It was also really good to welcome along several members of the Friends of the Eighth, who contributed to our  understanding of the military history of the airfield.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Some crazy busy days

 We seem to have been a bit busy over the last few days, the week went like this............

Saturday = To the car boot sale. Up at 6am away by 6.45. Home at 1pm. Tidy up. Egg collecting and sorting, campsite toilet cleaning, bin emptying. 3 New arrivals on campsite to welcome. Dinner and collapse in front of snooker on TV

Sunday = Clearing up and sorting out more stuff to sell, catching up on washing, housework etc. Eggs and campsite as above. Collapse in front of snooker on TV. Heard a Cuckoo - for the first and possibly only time this year.

Monday = To the car boot sale. Up at 6am away by 6.45. Home at 1.15. Eggs and campsite as above. Unload car, sort things out, bag up charity shop stuff. Dinner, tidying up and collapse in front of snooker on TV. Eyes closing, too tired to stay up, go to bed before the last 4 frames so after 2 weeks watching, miss the end!

Tuesday = Out before 9am  helping our youngest clear out the rest of their belongings from her house and clean it ready to hand back the keys to the agent ( she has split with her partner of 9 years and is moving in with us for a while, we now have a shed full of  their furniture and both their belongings.)Three trips back and forwards with car loads, piling into shed, back again to hoover and clean. Eggs and campsite as above + two lots of new arrivals to welcome. Work out where to put one goldfish in tank while our youngest is with us. Shift some furniture round to accommodate a third person permanently in the living room. Empty conservatory of plants into poly tunnel to make room for shifted chairs.
Dinner, collapse in heap

Wednesday =  Do heap of ironing.Travel around the east of Suffolk to collect chicken feed, do the monthly shop, get diesel. Extra shopping due to having extra person. Home by 12.15. Unpack giant heap of shopping, sort out and put away. Eggs and Campsite as above. Col planted out 8 Aubergines. 11 pepper plants and the some of the 50 ish tomato plants. Prepare and eat dinner, collapse in front of TV to watch George Gently ( Martin Shaw - better with age!)

Thursday = Colin away before 8am to work for his Leiston customer. I'm outside by 8.15 shifting barrow loads of compost into poly-tunnel. Plant remaining 4 Cucumbers into large pots. Dig out and put flower pots between 2 rows of tomatoes for ease of watering. Plant out a few Basil and marigolds with tomatoes. Start pulling groundsel  from where it has invaded the old daffodil bed. Eggs and campsite as above. Two new arrivals on campsite to book in and welcome. Bike down to the village to cast my vote ( Poll Clerk and Presiding Officer were a right pair of miseries! I'm sure I was much friendlier when I used to do the job).
Col digging in compost. Unpack car of work stuff and rubbish from this morning .

I just need to say something here " I'M FED UP WITH OTHER PEOPLES RUBBISH! We have campsite rubbish, our daughters rubbish and anyone else who wants to get rid of stuff brings it here for us to burn/deal with.And now Col is bringing it back with him from Leiston. Why?

Wait for sun to go round and down a bit then planting more tomatoes and put more pots in between. Col delivered bird seed, collected yesterday, to our neighbour. Wash some flower pots, Dinner, collapse with a book - nothing on TV.

Friday = Up early in eager anticipation of election results! No not really ... just up early because the sun was shining. As for the election results ... well, I don't do politics or religion on this blog preferring to keep to our quiet life and keep my thoughts to myself.
So I started the day by using up a few more pounds of fruit from the freezer to make a batch of red gooseberry jam. After the big shop for an extra person in the house the freezer was so full I couldn't do a bread bake until space was made. Surprisingly we still have apples, plums, pears and a few cherries in the freezer.
Col was out early too, delivering a huge bundle of rhubarb to one neighbour and emptying the big trailer of boot sale stuff that has sat on it in the workshop since Monday. Then he went over to our other neighbour to work for a couple of hours and I washed some floors and did a small heap of ironing before heading outside to start weeding.
Eggs and Campsite as above.

This afternoon I might just collapse with a book again!

Back Soon

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

May 5th 1992

23 years ago today we became the owners of a dilapidated run down 5 acre smallholding previously owned by a potty woman and an alcoholic Scottish bloke. She had to get him drunk to sign the Sale papers and he spent hours the first night we were here sitting in his van in the driveway!

The grass was knee high all round the house, the house had had almost nothing done to it since 1955 when it was built.It was very scruffy and needed everything that you could think of doing to it. There were 3 big buildings, all looking very rough. 3 old caravans were standing around falling apart  as well as several bits of farm machinery. A local farmer refused to cut the hay field because he didn't know what rubbish was hidden amongst the long grass. The only way to get from the garden to the field was to climb over a stile.There were no fences or gates that opened. Everything was held together or tangled up in old baler twine.There were bits of broken glass all around the garden.The "garden shed" stood on a base of broken rubble.The "fitted" kitchen was an old sink unit and an even older gas cooker and some shelves on the wall.

All the pictures below are photos of photos so not as sharp as they should be, but you get the general idea of what things were like in the summer of  '92

 This is how our son learned to drive aged 10!

I towed over a trailer full of stuff and Col towed the caravan, we arrived early as they were supposed to be moved out the day before.She was still here and the sheds were still full of rubbish.

We lived in a caravan and awning on the back "lawn" for the first two weeks but we had to buy a mower to cut the grass before we could get the caravan in.
The house had to be completely rewired before the Building Society would complete the mortgage so we had a bridging loan for a month to see us through.

There were apple trees, plum trees, cherry trees, gooseberry bushes, blackcurrant and red currant bushes, raspberry canes, loads of rhubarb and a huge walnut tree.

The electric company were still good old Eastern Electricity and they arrived on time and got the house rewired in two weeks.

The vegetable beds were there ( just buried amongst the grass)

The cattle shed hadn't been cleared out for years so there was a ton of well rotted compost for the garden

There were almost no neighbours, everywhere was quiet. The local schools were smaller.

It was the only thing of this acreage in Suffolk that we could afford, so we made the best of it.

*    *    *    *    *    *

We worked almost non-stop for the first 5 years tidying up and sorting out and it's only in the last 4 years that everything has been done and we can see it as a finished tidy smallholding.

And now we are thinking about moving!

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Monday, 4 May 2015

Our Bank Holiday Weekend and Car Boot Sale Tips

I love looking round car boot sales because you never know what you might find. I'm not so keen on doing a boot sale but it is by far the easiest way to get rid of small odds and ends.
That's why, after spending several weeks sorting cupboards and packing boxes, we loaded up the car  on Friday afternoon and headed off before 7am on Saturday. We went  to Melton near Woodbridge where they have a boot sale on the first Saturday of each month from May to September.
The morning was a bit grey but not too cold and  we were home by12.45 and  £123  better off.
When we got back  the leftover stuff stayed in the car and Col spent Sunday morning loading the big trailer with a ton of useful (?) things from his workshop and I found some bits from the shed that could be got rid of and lots of our country books off the shelves so this morning off we went again. This time a bit closer - just to our local boot sale. It started slowly but thankfully got busier and most of the workshop clear out stuff was sold. We were home again by 1.15 and this time took another £177!.
But the most exciting thing was when a lady bought some of our books, then looked at us and asked if I was Sue from Frugal in Suffolk Blog. We had a good chat - and it was lovely to meet someone who reads my ramblings.
When we got home each day there were campsite toilets to clean and eggs to collect and sort so all in all not a lot got done over our Bank Holiday weekend - because the rest of the time has been spent watching some very fascinating snooker finals.
Although I looked round both car boot sales I didn't really see anything very exciting so came home with these on Saturday - a Lakeland pudding steamer for £1.50 and three small frames for making cross stitch fridge magnets - all 3 for 50p.
This morning I spent £3 on 3 packs of Bic razors and 6 new tea-towels.
Col was very good and didn't spend a cent at either sale.

Our Boot sale leftovers will go to a charity shop if they are decent, on the fire if they are burnable, back in the cupboard or in the bin. Col is hoping to do a yard/barn sale here of books, smallholding and shed things if/when we move.

I know a lot of people might be considering using this way of making a bit of cash from unwanted items, so here are my tips for a successful day if you have never done it before.

  • Suss out the boot sale you want to go to, find out the best time to arrive
  • You'll probably need to get up early to have the best chance of selling to the dealers who are always there first.
  • Pack everything the night before.
  • Don't try and do  the boot sale on your own it's much easier with 2 people.
  • Unless you don't mind wasting some of your takings on food and drink  take a flask or two and plenty to eat, more than you would normally eat! - it's a long morning.
  • Wear something warm - it can be pretty chilly at 6am or before.
  • We usually take some work gloves for unpacking tables etc.
  • Know what you would like to get for your treasures/trash, it probably won't be as much as you want!
  • Some people label everything with prices, others label nothing. I like to label some items to give people an idea of what prices we are charging.
  • Take plenty of change, we usually take £40 float made up of £5 notes and pound and 50p coins. Then we sell things for multiples of 50p. Keep your money somewhere safe.
  • Expect dealers to flock around when you are unpacking. Just open one car door at a time. You could try telling them that it's just household rubbish and you've got nothing they would want.(Some places are worse than others for people grabbing stuff- we are lucky round here, it's not a big problem)
  • Keep your eyes open and look at everyone who comes to the table otherwise you mind find things walking away!
  • If you've got anything valuable to sell leave it in the car until you have unpacked everything else.
  • Everyone wants something for nothing and will haggle. Decide if you want to sell things cheap to get rid of it or if you are prepared to do several car boot sales until you get a higher price.
  • If you want to sell stuff then people need to see it. For instance lots of people just leave books  piled in boxes on the ground which is no good for a bad back bending down to sort through them.
  • I often see people putting things on a cloth on the ground in front of the table but if punters can't get to the table to pick things up they are less likely to buy.
  • Be friendly but try not to keep pointing everything out to potential purchasers - it puts me off if I have to listen instead of looking and thinking.
  • Don't go round and buy more stuff! Remember you are selling NOT buying!(Whoops!)
  • When you get home collapse in a heap for an hour to recover - after putting the kettle on of course.
  • Vow never to do another car boot sale again or that might just be us!

Hope this helps you make your fortune!

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Friday, 1 May 2015

Small But Perfectly Formed, Colour all around and getting on with things.

The small but perfectly formed in the title are our last cauliflowers.We had one each for dinner on Monday night along with a pie using the recipe that I borrowed and stretched from Frugal Queens blog last year. ( It's here if you want to look) This time I used a tin of condensed mushroom soup and made 8 pasties and a pie.
I should have put something beside these to show their size  but they were about 2 and a bit inches across.

 The sun was shining all day Monday although we had that horrible East wind back again. I thought I would share some of the colours from the April garden.
Dark green is a Bay tree in a pot that I've grown from a seedling and grey/green  is a birthday present I had from Cols Sister and husband. It's a standard Lavender, a Cotton Lavender? I think.

Above is a Red Hazel, also grown from a seedling, from a nut, buried by a squirrel from the original Red hazel which is now  nearly 15 feet tall.
Below is the absolute opposite of a seedling as it's a Mahonia that is at least 30 years old. Originally about 6 foot tall  it looked very sick 2 years ago and we cut it right back. It's sat there doing nothing much since then but suddenly produced a wonderful show of yellow this month. Whoops! there's a nettle on the right - missed when we weeded.

I wasn't keen on wallflowers until I got some perennial plants for free in with an order of shrubs and plants bought for the new front flower border two years ago. These  bright orange  and dark purple will be in flower for months IF we get some more rain.

Here is something that will be red/ purple in a couple of months - a bed of beetroot seedlings, under the fleece is a newly sown bed of more beetroot. We love beetroot! when I was young it was always called red beet, was that just in Suffolk or generally? I think it was to distinguish it from Sugar beet which was grown widely in Suffolk and known just as beet.
Plenty of white blossom on the old Conference Pear tree in the background - I hope the flowers set.

The first pink blossoms on the big Bramley Apple are just showing.

Below is the beginning of something Green which will keep me busy - I hope. Last year I picked and sold 233 x 500g punnets of gooseberries! Fingers crossed for a good crop this year.

All around our little 5 acre plot is a Field of Oil Seed Rape, now in flower. I don't mind the flower smell, it's when it dies off and smells like rotting cabbage that is not so good! 
And look at our Big Blue Suffolk sky. 

On Tuesday my bike was squeezed into the back of the car and I drove down to Leiston to take the car to the dealers garage for repairs while it's still under warranty. They have been brilliant at sorting out all the small and larger things that we have found  wrong. I did a bit of shopping, paid a bill at the bank and then it was a windy bike ride home. Col was working at our neighbours while I was out. Later I tackled the rubbing down of skirting boards in the small bedroom, I had done the walls on Sunday, we are not in a hurry so it's being fitted in with other work.

Wednesday was grey and windy and ideal for getting a load of compost from the bins into the poly-tunnel ready for the cucumbers, I loaded the wheelbarrow, pushed it across and Col dug it in. It's all about division of labour here! We have rather too many cucumber plants this year as I had 11 out of 12 germination which is Very unusual ( well, for me anyway). The 5 biggest are now in the tunnel and 6 smaller have been potted on. I'm not sure where they will go later, big pots probably. We should have enough cucumbers to sell at the gate this summer!
 We also had an hour cutting wood in the shed so as to clear a space for our youngest daughters furniture, she is moving back here for a while soon.
Later we got the dust covers all down again in the small bedroom - after giving them a shake outside - and Col put a coat of paint on the ceiling. We found we didn't have enough white left from the living room so we are using pale blue left from the kitchen instead.

Thursday - last day of the month, time to do the accounts. A few big expenses in April  - Campsite Electrical test, Cols 2 new pairs of glasses, the TV License and the birthday meal and of course Council Tax Direct debit kicked in again after our two months off.  Thank goodness for the small spending  -  Meat £4.50. Washing soda for clothes washing 99p.  A new clock for the living room - 50p.
 Meat £4.50? Yep that's all that was spent on meat this month. A Co-op off-cut ham pack is £3.99 and did us for a week of lunches, a variation of a spaghetti carbonara main meal and ham omelet for Col   ( I had a herb omelet) The other £1.50 was for 4 chicken thighs. Other meat used this month was from the freezer -  two half pound  bags of Sainsburys "cooking bacon". Half went into the pies and pasties on Monday and the rest was used earlier in the month in a Mac/Cheese/bacon meal and a quiche.  A roast chicken early in the month which fed the two of us for 3 days main meals and 2 days lunches. Bacon chops, also from the Sainsburys pack and 2 portions of Bolognese sauce. We ate veggie meals or Fish from the freezer the rest of the month. The freezer is starting to look a bit sparse in the meat department so I may need to spend a bit more next month.
The small bedroom had another coat of emulsion on the ceiling and one on the walls and now looks clean and tidy. The carpet is NOT so good but it would be daft to spend money on a new one if we are selling so I shall position the single bed to cover the worst of the marks, ( Don't tell anyone!). Just skirting boards and window sill to paint.

Which brings me  around to today, and I have to go to the Dentist, my second worst day of the year!  (The worst day of the year will be if I have to go back for a filling.)But like everything else here, I had better just get on with it.

Have a good Bank Holiday Weekend and I'll be back soon.


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