Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Bird Watching and Other Critters

We spend a lot of time bird-watching, usually when washing and wiping up. It's a good thing we don't have a dishwasher.

A few weeks ago I was at the sink, looked up and saw a bird on the path. It looked a bit stunned like they do sometimes when it's windy and they've crash landed. First glance and I thought it was a small pigeon, second glance I realised it wasn't but what on earth was it? I knew if I moved to get the camera or bird book it would be off, so I just stood still and looked hard. It's back was grey but the wings were lighter and all had dark edges to the feathers. After a minute a car pulled up and the bird was off. I went and got the bird book but couldn't see anything that fitted the description. When I told Col he suggested a  Cuckoo which was something I hadn't considered as I've never seen one before. So the bird book came out again and yes, that's probably what it was. Wow! It must have been on it's way out of the country. Wish I could have got the camera.
If we get the cold winter that several newspapers are forecasting the Blackbirds and Fieldfare will soon appear to find the windfall apples. I'm glad there are so many apples on the trees this year that we don't need to pick up many windfalls to use. Our Pyracantha is something else they they will feed on when the going gets tough.

This dead dragonfly  was on the floor in the craft-room a few days ago. How did it get in? No windows open in there.. Would a cat have brought it in through the cat-flap? There's always windows open upstairs and in the kitchen but they are not very close to the  craft-room. It was sad to see it but good to be able to get a really close look at the colours.

There were not many butterflies around here this year but Red Admirals love to feed off the fallen plums and to sunbathe. I managed to sneak up on this one on the Bramley apple tree.

This was a sad but interesting surprise. I found it laying on the path early one morning. We have 16 different types of bat in this country and I'm not really sure which one this is but it has big ears!

Then of course there is this bushy-tailed creature who I spot almost every time I look out of the window, usually carrying a walnut!

 So cute......BUT he's nicked all the good walnuts straight off the tree.

I'm so pleased that I can take close up photos like this with the camera everyone got me for my 60th last April.

Back Soon 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Good sunny days

Welcome to rproyle , a new follower to reading.

The weather lady on the local forecast said we were to get 5 days of sunshine, and that would be the most sunny days in a row since April. Really? I'm not sure, but I do know that after most of September being grey it is lovely to see the sun and blue skies.

We had a whole day out on Friday because we had to pick up the youngest and her bloke from Stansted airport and as that meant being close to our friends home in Essex we called in there too. Whereas on Sunday when Col took them to the airport in the early hours of the morning he got home in an hour and a quarter, on Friday afternoon it took us nearly 3 hours to get back - the traffic was awful.

On Saturday we set out to the wilds of High Suffolk to go to a second hand book sale. Yes I know I'm going to be packing all my books into boxes sometime for moving but................
It's such a good sale
and the books are only 50p or £1 and even less for children's books.
This is what I came home with

I've completed my collection of Arthur Ransome's books and picked up a couple of old fiction. I borrowed an old Elizabeth Goudge trilogy in one volume from the library after reading Furrowed Middlebrow wartime list, but the print was too small for me to read. The Rosemary tree is not set during the war but I thought if I read it and enjoyed then I could track down The Eliots trilogy in a newer edition - with bigger print.
 A Moment in Time by H.E. Bates is set during the war. H.E. Bates was the author of  The Darling Buds of May which was made into the wonderful TV series about Pop and Ma Larkin.
 My renewed interest in old children's books made me pick up the little book on the right - Footprints in the Snow - I've decided to collect any children's picture books that are about Christmas. There are already several in a box in the loft, saved from the 1980s when our three were small.
No idea what' Because of You' is about but it's set on the Suffolk and Norfolk Coast so that had to come home with me. The book by Joan Lock is an autobiography. 'Country World' contains excerpts from books by Alison Uttley. 'Touch and Go' is one for Col as it's about life on an aircraft carrier during the war. 'Dora Bell's Village Cats' looked interesting.
When we got home I was very good and took a dozen books off my shelves and popped them in a bag ready for the charity shop next week.
 Good to have Strictly Come Dancing back on TV again from now to Christmas, I know not everyone likes it but I love watching how the celebs cope with the hard work and how they improve - or Not - as the weeks go by.

Sunday was another lovely sunny day, we headed out for a walk straight after breakfast. It's a while since we did that particular circular route so I  measured it on the gbmapometer website but it was only 2.81 miles. Only a few calories burned   :-(    I say Only 2.81 miles but that's better than we've done since Cols heart event and my dose of pneumonia.
Later we went out and picked couple of lb of blackberries on the hedges near us, they are very late this year. Then it was a lazy afternoon of watching rugby and reading.

Monday, and sunny again. Col had to go to the doctors and the strawberry bed's been weeded - it was absolutely full of chickweed.  Sticky Chicken wings and stir fry veg. with noodles for dinner later. I couldn't remember which was the best recipe among the cuttings in my recipe folder so what a good thing I'd added it to my recipe page.

Thanks for comments on the last 2 posts and to Jules who is back blogging at Hidden Jem.
 In reply:-
It is unsettling that thoughts of moving are in the background but  in reality I doubt things could happen as quickly as 3 months so we're assuming we will be here but I daren't ask the children what they are doing at Christmas - they will say it's much too early and I'm starting to sound like My Mother!
Margaret P - We do bring in lots of holly, bay and other evergreens and Please read this post
Mmmmmmm Trifle - I usually do one for Christmas tea.
Mmmmmmm Pavlova - sounds good
I'm a dedicated list writer but although I wrote this one on the blog I didn't actually write it anywhere else so it was only by luck that I found it!
Isn't it good to find someone in blogland  who likes to read the same things.In this case Pat and books by Ronald Blythe.
Pamela - What was the comment you deleted - I'm intrigued
Sue in North Wales - I Really need to know about your off the wall notes-to-self!
Mikemax - I'm glad I've reminded you to make a Christmas Hamper and yes I was going to do one for us but decided I would be buying all we need anyway so didn't need to get any extra things just to put in a separate box.

Back in a few days

Saturday, 26 September 2015

That List on the 7th January

 I came across this post when I was searching for something else.It was written on the 7th January

I usually make a few notes in the start of my new diary to remind me of what's what, this year I will share them with you.... you lucky people!
  • Look out for wrapping paper at car boot sales
  • No need to buy any Christmas cards  as I have got enough for next year
  • But I want to make some special cards for the family ( Need to search for ideas - cross stitch?)
  • 12 people fit round the dining table but a bit too many for the living room
  • Having everyone here on one day was good, but left no time to chat much
  • The chocolate meringue gateau is delicious but we've had it 2 years running so find something different for next year.
  • I don't need to make Christmas puddings next year - two in the cupboard
  • Might do hampers for sisters and Bros in L? Write down ideas
  • Maybe find another cheap Christmas tree at a car boot as we have so many tree decorations that never get used.
  • Remember to use Scout Post for Ipswich relatives, need to be in Ipswich during first 2 weeks of Dec.
  • Look for small gifts at car boot sales for "tree presents" and maybe cracker fillers
 So how are the plans going?

I found some wrapping paper at a car boot sale, avoided buying anymore cards in the Charity shops' January sales, made some 3D decoupage cards for the family, crossed stitched some cards for my 7 Penny Pincher Letter friends and decided on hampers for the 2 sisters. I've  found almost nothing for tree or cracker pressies, didn't see a cheap Christmas tree at any carboot sales (but wouldn't have bought one anyway because of moving). I've made a note in the diary about the Ipswich Scout Post. I will probably just make some small Christmas puddings for Cols' Dad and the hampers, have no thoughts of what other desert I will make and we have no idea who will be where over the Christmas break.

3 months to get sorted - I expect we'll still be here.

Back Soon

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Monday to Thursday

Welcome to Joanne, Lisa and Dr stevie  new followers to reading my ramblings.

I got quite a surprise when I switched on the computer on Tuesday morning to find the Marrow and Apple Chutney recipe was posted on Monday as it wasn't meant to be there until Wednesday. I'd written it a few days ago and had gone into draft to copy it onto the recipe page and must have pressed publish instead of save before switching off. So there were 16 comments to a post I didn't even know was there - Duh!


The Great Suffolk Pastry Bake
 When I'm making pastry it seems sensible to do several things at once. 5 pastry cases, 2 Apple and Blackberry Pies, 1 apple and apricot flan and a few mince pies with the pastry trimmings and the last of last years mincemeat. All my flan cases, pie dishes and casserole lids have been collected from charity shops and boot-sales over the years. Everything except the flan went into the freezer.

Finally, At Last, all the junk useful items Col put on Ebay  have been posted or collected. They were all bits from the workshop that he didn't want to take with him when we move and didn't sell at the yard sale and the car boot. He's added up the total income which is £121. Another useful addition to the winter kitty.
We had to go to Ipswich to take the gel bike seat cover back to Halfords as it wasn't big enough for my bike. While we were there we nipped into Lidl again for another joint of their delicious ham. At £3.97 for a 1Kg joint of real proper ham it's a bargain. I also bought some limes as they were reduced to 10p each. They've been popped into the freezer until I can buy a tin of lemon Mamade, which will become Lemon and Lime marmalade. I wish we had a Lidl a bit closer than 25 miles away.
There are 2 charity shops next door to Lidl so of course we had to pop in and I found these two for £1.49.
At the back is a pad of crafting papers but I was more interested in the 11 mini coat hangers which I can use for card making. I've got some peel off clothing stickers that I can use with them.
The book looked interesting, I'm currently reading one of Ronald Blythe's books - River Diary - about his and the churches year at Wormingford on the Suffolk Essex border.
On Amazon, one of the reviewers says of this book " You don't have to have any religion to appreciate his descriptions of life in his corner of Essex/Suffolk; his faith informs his life and writings, but he expresses it without proselytising, and places it in the context of the mainstream of English cultural life" 
I'm not clever enough to write like the bloke above! So will just say I enjoy his writing.I've read several of his books of essays and can recommend 'The Bookmans Tale'  to anyone who likes books and reading. In fact I think I'll order it from the library again to re-read.

The Autumn Equinox and the last swallows have gone. We had one family with 2 late youngsters nesting in the wood shed but today when I went in there I didn't get dived bombed as has happened every day before.
 In my Pagan Book of Days it says - depressingly-  "A time when darkness overtakes light, and nights grow longer than days" but it turned into a sunny day until 4 o'clock after several grey dreary ones.
Colin has been cleaning out the guttering - one of the advantages of being a chalet bungalow(or any sort of bungalow for that matter) is that the guttering can be reached easily. I spent the morning making bread and deciding on a recipe for red tomato chutney. After lunch Col took our elderly friend to see his wife in Norwich hospital again.
The Dahlias were knocked about by the heavy rain last Friday and now there's not many flowers left in the garden to bring in except these Sedums, I don't like to cut too many as they are useful food for bees and butterflies. Last week I got a bunch of flowers for £2 from Lidl but they only lasted about 5 days,  I must go searching round the field for some teasels and add them to some evergreens.


 This really is the last chutney I shall make this year.My usual recipe for using red tomatoes has lots of red pepper in but our peppers have been really poor so I looked through all the preserving books and then ended up altering a recipe for Red Tomato, Celery and Apple Relish. Mine became just Red Tomato and Apple Relish by increasing the amount of onion. I left out the crushed coriander and mustard seeds that were in the original recipe and added a tsp of chili powder instead.
I used 2 and a bit pounds of Red Plum Tomatoes, 1lb of onions and just over 1lb of Apple. 1½ pints of a mix of Red Wine and Distilled White Vinegar, 8oz white sugar, tsp paprika, tsp chili powder, 2 small dried chillies chopped.
The tomatoes had their skins removed by covering them with boiling water and were roughly chopped,(also removing the hard stalk end) the onions were peeled and chopped small. The apples were peeled,cored and chopped. Everything except half the vinegar was put into a preserving pan, brought to the boil slowly and then simmered for an hour.Every now and again I stirred the mixture and added a little more vinegar. After an hour and a half the relish was still not thick enough to pot up so I stirred in half a tube of Tomato Puree and kept stirring for another 10 minutes. I then potted into sterilised jars and popped on the lids. This made 5 and a bit jars but I have no idea what it's going to taste like or if it will be a good keeper so if you make it I suggest either eating within 6 months or processing in a hot water bath. The recipe book had two extra ideas for using this relish, one was to mix a little with sausage meat when making sausage rolls or to spread a little on the pastry case when making a quiche.

I seem to have been inside making things for weeks. Outside we've had quite a lot of damp or really wet weather and the garden has been neglected, lots of things have finished and need clearing and the strawberry bed is full of chickweed. I think I heard that the forecast is better for next week so hopefully we'll get out and get on with tidying for winter. We are rushing to the end of September far too quickly for my liking.

Back in a while

Monday, 21 September 2015

Marrow and Apple Chutney

2015's cooking apple crop has been brilliant. 100% better than 2012 when it was a disaster and I went begging for windfalls, not as good as 2013 when we made a lot of money selling them but better than last years when we only just had enough to put some in the freezer.

Time for chutney making - Marrow and Apple
Easy, cheap and tasty. Keeps for ages, goes well with cheese and dolloped into a curry.
Autumn in a jar x 9!

 Marrow and Apple Chutney 

4lb prepared marrow ( peel and seeds removed, cut flesh into small chunks)
3 tablespoons salt
2lb prepared cooking apples ( peeled, cored and cut into chunks)
1lb onions peeled and chopped
1lb dark brown sugar
2pints spiced pickling vinegar
1tsp ginger

The day before you are making the chutney prepare the marrow and layer it into a bowl with the salt.

The next day rinse the marrow and leave to drain while you prepare the apple and onion.
Put HALF the vinegar into a large preserving pan add all the other ingredients and bring slowly to the boil, cook, stirring regularly until everything is pulpy.
Add the rest of the vinegar and continue cooking and stirring until there is no loose liquid ( probably about 2 hours in total)
Pour into sterilised jars, cover and label.
Keeps well.

Back Soon

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Keeping the home fires burning and a walk on the beach

As it's looking unlikely that we will move before winter Col decided to ring the skip hire place on Friday and ask them for a load of scrap wood. One load or two they asked? We get it for free as they are glad to get rid of it.The first load which arrived just 15 minutes later wasn't very big
and we soon got it shifted into the shed. The second load was bigger and was delivered just minutes before we had 5 hours of heavy rain. So we left it out until late Saturday to dry off a bit before piling it up in the shed out of the weather.
Some of the wood is quite small and a bit rubbishy (old trellis) but one of the rules of  heating your home with free wood is Never say No!

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Aldeburgh beach was almost empty when we went down for a walk  on Saturday morning, the first picture is the view North with the dome of Sizewell B Power Station, 4 miles up the coast, on the left. The grey buildings are Sizewell A which is no longer in use and is being decommissioned. The village is Thorpeness which is just a mile and a bit from Aldeburgh,  from here that you can see how far Thorpeness Point reaches out into the North Sea because Sizewell looks as if it is miles inland.

The Power Station is where the n of Leiston is on the map
 and then looking South to the Martello tower in the distance. This belongs to the Landmark Trust and you can rent it for a holiday home

Is this a giant rock with a hole through laying on the beach or a small hag stone right up against the camera lens...............
 My thumb in the corner gives the game away!

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

What does a good Dad do when he gets an urgent call from our youngest daughter to say their arrangements for getting to Stansted airport had fallen through and please could he pick them up at 2am to take them down to Essex catch their plane. Of course he said yes.
 So a bit of a disturbed night was had by both of us. I hope they have a good holiday!

Back when I've recovered  from lack of sleep

Friday, 18 September 2015

Walking to the village

This morning we walked down to the village for the Macmillan Coffee Morning which was held in the Chapel.

We saw the men painting the pylons
Rose hips ripening
Rose Gall
and Spindle berries
We had coffee and yummy sponge cake and then walked home again. We took brollies but the rain only began in the last 20 metres before we got home.

Anyone else watching  the new programme Hunted?  How difficult it is to avoid CCTV in this country nowadays and to just disappear. Col watched the first episode and spent the night dreaming about being chased! ( His heart tablets give him weird dreams every night) But I find it fascinating probably because for as long as I can remember and especially during my episodes of depression, thankfully now under control, my wish was always to run away and hide.
And who apart from me, Col and our son is excited by the Rugby World Cup on TV for the next few weeks AND I've just spotted Davis Cup Tennis on TV this afternoon and over the weekend. TV Heaven!

I'm now about to add the Mincemeat cake recipe to my separate page ( for readers from foreign parts - Mincemeat is still called mincemeat even though there is no meat in it unlike a couple of 100 years ago. Now its just a mix of dried fruit,apples,sugar, suet, sweet spices and brandy)
I'll have a look to see if my ( really it's Delia Smith's) Mincemeat recipe is already there and put that on too if it isn't.

Thanks to everyone for comments and special welcome to Faith, follower number 302 in the pictures on the right. Another Suffolk blogger - we are few and far between!

Back Soon

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Thursday.... Thanking, Baking, Harvesting and Welcoming

Thank you to everyone for commenting on the last post.
In reply
-- I  apologise to the people who were offended by my mention of people pushing trolleys with their elbows.
-- My Naan Bread recipe is on my separate Recipe page.
-- Thank you if you popped over to visit that most popular post and pushed up the views even more!
-- Thank you to Mum who replied in the same way as my post
-- I agree with Pam about children standing in trolleys
-- Simon's reply made me smile
-- I believe the stats when they are good but I'm sure the low page view ones are wrong!

Once upon a time when we had all 3 children at home and Col took a pack-up lunch to work everyday, I  baked cakes every week. Now I only bake about once a month.

A few sultana buns and plain scones

A Mincemeat cake using some home made mincemeat that had got forgotten at the back of the jam cupboard

I also made cheese straws using a new recipe in which the cheese was grated on top of half the rolled out dough, folded over, rolled out, more grated cheese put on top, folded over and rolled again before cutting into fingers. This worked well, more air gets in so the straws fluffed up nicely.
Most of the things I made went into the freezer for the next few weeks.

After saying we had no blackberries anywhere around Col found a few on the field side of the hedge where we don't usually go. Our autumn raspberries are coming along well, quite a lot of rain over the last few days will have helped.
Big Welcome  to Sonya and Joy new followers on Google in the little pictures on the right. Hope you enjoy reading. Blogger is mis-behaving again so I can't find out if you have blogs too.

Back again in a day or two

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

In a sentence

The Honey Mustard that I spoke about making was horrible, so vinegary. I shall not bother to share the recipe.

Looking at a blog I don't usually read I saw someone being very pleased for finding reduced naan bread at 2 for 49p. I thought " make your own, they cost less than half that!"

Why do some people push their shopping trolleys with their elbows so that their bums stick out a mile behind.

The Elly Griffiths short story -- Ruth's First Christmas Tree -- is available free on amazon Kindle at the moment. You can download Kindle for free onto a laptop.

According to the stats, the most viewed post on my blog is from 30th November 2013. I have no idea why as it is not at all interesting.

Col has spent all day sorting out the parcels, labels etc for the things he has sold on Ebay. He vows - Never Again!

Back Soon

Monday, 14 September 2015

3 books read recently

 Stella Gibbons - Cold Comfort Farm, Donna Fletcher Crow - An Unholy Communion, Clare Morrall - After the Bombing.

 Why had I not read Cold Comfort Farm before I reached the age of 60?
Probably because it is whats known as a modern classic, that title would have put me off.
This copy had a forward by Lynne Truss which was a great help in understanding what I was about to read. It  is a comedy story, written in 1932 and we would probably call it a spoof of all the more serious country books with their flowery way of writing that were prevalent at the time. Orphaned at the age of 20  after an expensive education, sensible and sophisticated Flora decides to go and stay with her cousin at Cold Comfort Farm and undaunted by everything she finds there she sets about sorting out all of her very weird family.

An Unholy Communion by Donna Fletcher Crow is the 3rd in a series of light modern crime, that I discovered recently. Donna is from the States but the books are set in this country and although the story-line is very unlikely they seem to be well researched so that you only realise the author isn't English when she says Fall instead of Autumn! The main characters are Felicity an American student at the " College of Transfiguration" and one of her tutors Father Anthony. This story follows them leading a group of young people on a pilgrimage across South Wales to St Davids, many strange things happen on the way- all explained at the end. If you are interested it's best to start with the first in the series - Look them up on Fantastic Fiction Website.

After The Bombing by Clare Morrall is a book I picked up off the library van shelves simply because of it's title. The story switches between 1942 and 1963 and is the story of Alma, a 15 year old at a boarding school in Exeter in the early years of WWII. In 1963 she is a teacher at the same school trapped by the things that happened to her during the war. There are 2 other main characters also deeply affected by their past.

These have been added to my seperate Books Read 2015 page 

Many thanks to everyone for comments on Saturdays mixed post

Back Soon

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Miscellany of news with pictures

Thank you for comments to Deborah (which by the way, is our youngest's middle name and she Hates it!), Pat, Simon, Frugal in Essex, Sue, Elizabeth, Rachel, Sadie, Bridget and our friend W. at Mid Suffolk Meadow. W works for a council so sent me info about excess noise from music festivals.  I did receive a reply to my Email to Suffolk Coastal District Council, they have offered to widen the area that they inform about the festival and to arrange a meeting with the organisers.

I finished my last post by saying we were about to try out the awning on the caravan. What a nice surprise we got when we pulled it out of it's bag as it is a modern Isabella  awning which is top of the range and in excellent condition apart from needing a few stitches to one of the zips. As this awning is worth well over £500 it means we got the caravan for £1,800 which makes it an even better bargain than we thought. We are so glad we risked Ebay to buy it.

Talking about Ebay, I recently bought something that I've always wanted - a proper patchwork quilt. I even thought about making one, especially after seeing all the quilts that Pam seems to rattle up in no time at all but truthfully I know I never will. I can do cross stitch, I can follow a pattern to make clothes if I needed to. I can knit dishcloths but none of those things make me want to spend more time sewing or making - It's just not me. I would rather be reading or writing, cooking, baking or gardening.
Patchwork quilts were originally made using bits of old cotton clothes and left over material, something we don't have now so few clothes are made from ordinary cotton fabrics. New fabric is usually used nowadays and I just cannot get my head round buying new lengths of cotton, cutting them up and sewing them back together!
After looking for months for the right colour/price this is what I found on Ebay recently. It's American but was in this country so no huge postage costs. Part machine and part hand stitched and I love it.  I couldn't have made it myself for the £35 it cost me.
The Ebay listing said it had been in storage and it certainly had a musty sort of smell, but it was too big to go in a washing machine so I hung it out on the line for several days and kept it in the conservatory on the airer each night and after a week it was fine.

Look what I spotted on the side of our sink-pond . A real Mrs frog examining the stone one.

We had one of those mornings when we try and pack in as many errands as possible to save time and fuel. It always seems like a good idea but usually ends up being exhausting.

First stop was here

 to see if anything I had highlighted in the catalogue was worth bidding on. Answer = No.
Then all sorts of places around the edge of Ipswich. ( To avoid going right into town and paying car-parking charges) Lidl, Halfords, Sainsburys, Poundland, Tesco to fill up with diesel before the special offer ends. Home via Woodbridge to call in at The Grape Tree and Boots.
In Lidl I got this tray of 6 plants for £1.69

 to fill up the spaces on  my Shabby chic ladder
 and these for £2 to cheer up the kitchen in case we get anymore house viewings

 In Halfords I got this
to make my bike seat more comfy

In Sainsburys I bought their really good value bacon bits - sadly only 1 bacon chop amongst the packets - we will have to fight over it!

In The Grape Tree I bought Yellow Mustard seed so as to make the Honey Mustard for the Christmas Hampers.

This afternoon - I did nothing!

Back in a few days

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The week so far

Big Thank you to everyone for the comments and commiserations after my last post. I'm almost back to normal now -Whatever that is - Thank goodness. I have contacted the council to inform them of how late and loud the music was but with any luck we will have moved by this time next year - Surely it can't take another whole year to sell?

So what's been happening here on the Suffolk Smallholding? Although it hardly feels like a smallholding now - so much has gone or been tidied.

After the car boot sale on Sunday there were several crates and boxes to sort. I filled 5 carrier bags full of books and 1 bag full of odds and ends which we delivered to the charity shop.
Col laid all his useful bits of tools and tractor bits out on a workbench and took photos and then spent an age putting them on eBay. He gave away a few bits to a local builder and made a heap of things that can go to the rubbish tip. Goodness knows if the stuff on eBay will sell.

The weather early in the week was grey and chilly over Suffolk and we have been lighting the wood burner each evening and the Rayburn in the mornings for hot water. On Tuesday I decided to dry some tomatoes while the Rayburn was alight. I don't usually bother to freeze tomatoes as they always seem very watery when defrosted and we  mostly sell all we produce, but this year, probably because we've no eggs to sell anymore and very little other produce, the tomatoes are not flying off the stall. I followed some instructions for oven drying found on-line but made them a bit too salty, better luck next time.

The building society in Leiston were having a secondhand book sale for charity, I had to go in to have a look.....obviously! picked up this - just in case we get our hovel in the hills of Wales.

 The cartoons are hilarious but in a bad way! Much as I'd like to learn Welsh from the book or anywhere else it's very unlikely. I did 5 years of French and failed my O level, me and other languages just don't mix.
 I love this sentence from the book........
 In case of difficulty when trying out your Welsh say: Siaradwch yn arafach. Rydw i'n dysgu Cymreag.
Translated this means - Speak slower. I'm learning Welsh.
 I think if you can pronounce the sentence then you must be doing well enough anyway.
 I can do "bore da",  and "diolch" . ( Good morning and Thank you).  I also need to  get my tongue around  "os gwelwchyn dda"  for Please, then I'll be sorted.

Wednesday was warmer and sunnier. Several peppers were put in the freezer, I just slice and open freeze then tip them into a bag. We are still eating some from last year and I had a freezer sort out to see what we had. We need to get to Ipswich so I can go to Sainsburys for some of their cheap bacon and nice beef mince. I don't like the look of any meat in Tescos. Col took our elderly friend to Norwich hospital again, it's looking more and more unlikely that his wife will  get home, she's been in various hospitals for almost a year and so many things have gone wrong while shes been in - it's very sad.
 Someone had left a 2014 National Trust handbook in the campsite recreation room and I spent a pleasant hour looking through to see which historic houses  have second-hand bookshops.

Today is lovely and warm, loads of odd jobs have been tackled and this afternoon we are actually getting round to trying the awning on the caravan. I've not really been able to settle to anything all week, still feeling fidgety. Given half a chance I would be off on holiday tomorrow!

Back soon

Monday, 7 September 2015


If I don't get enough sleep I get cross and GROUCHY and at the moment I'm VERY GROUCHY because on Friday night we were kept awake until 1.30 am and on Saturday night we were kept awake until 2.30am and last night, just after 10, when we thought everything was quiet and it was safe to go to bed, we had just got to sleep and then abruptly awoke by THUMP, THUMP, THUMP and the music was at full volume again for another hour.  Why? Because a B***** rich farmer 3 miles away decided in 2013 that he needed to earn more money by holding a Music Festival for 3 days each year.
 In year one it rained and there were not many there. In year 2 the wind was from the south west and we only heard it now and again but this year we might as well have been at the festival as the wind was North and the music was LOUD, and how are they allowed to go on so long?   It wouldn't matter if only I could catch up on sleep by staying in bed 'til mid morning but we had the trailer loaded for doing a car boot so we needed to be up at 6 on Sunday morning. So I'M SHORT OF 8 HOURS OF SLEEP.
So I'm GROUCHY and just to add insult to injury there were loads of boots and not  many buyers and we came home just £61 better off but with loads of junk still to be sorted. ( yes I know £61 is better than a kick up the you-know-where but I'm still GROUCHY!)

Phew, I do feel better for that, thank you for listening

PS. Sorry, forgot to welcome new followers and to reassure new readers that I'm not usually this GROUCHY!!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

My September reading

This is what I brought home from the library van yesterday

3 craft books to flick through including "Have Yourself a Very Vintage Christmas" - Yep, it's that C word again. 2 more of the British Library Crime Classic reprints, 2 very old books from out of County Reserve (stored in the hidden depths of Lowestoft Library) by Alison Uttley. Home Grown by Ben Hewitt is about Home Schooling, 3 crime fiction by favourite authors and Cold Comfort Farm, a classic which I ought to have read years ago.

Out of last months library books there were several I didn't read either because they were not what I was expecting or too weird or just plain boring. I hope this months collection is better.

Back Again very Soon

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Nothing much left to sell but still plenty to eat

After the big clear out consisting of  2 car boot sales(and another planned) 1 yard sale, 2 trips to the  scrap yard and delivering machinery and chicken sheds you would think we had found and sold everything we could.
Then Col was doing a bit more  sorting out his workshop and in a corner he discovered some lead which we think came from out of my dads sheds many, many years ago and is what's left from putting around the  chimney when it was rebuilt. There's not a huge amount, less than a carrier bag full, but obviously it weighs a lot so will add another few £ to the kitty when we deliver it to the scrap yard.
There's also not much left to sell from the garden, just tomatoes, beetroot and a few courgettes or marrows.
Thankfully we've still got plenty to eat from outside. Today we had  the first few Autumn raspberries, our lunchtime salad included  lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and beetroot and our veggie curry for dinner has cauliflower,courgette, pepper, onion and potato. Then the last of the plums in a plum fool for Col's desert.

There are some things in the garden that will be ready soon 
The early eating apples, they look nice and rosy but one bite will tell you to wait a while longer!

The leeks are still a bit small, they could be eaten if we needed to.
Kale will sit there all through autumn and winter weather. It's become fashionable in gunge (otherwise known as nutri drinks!) but personally it's the last thing in the world I would mush up to drink and it's quite a way down my list of favourite veg too.
Lurking under leaves are a few squash, only enough for us this year - none to sell.
.Yesterday morning when it was cloudy Col did an hours tidying in the poly tunnel clearing out the lower leaves from the tomato plants to let the light in. You can see a few cucumbers in the background, we are saving them all for us.

 It was really chilly last night and we lit the wood-burner. I would much rather have our wood-burner than a central heating system because  it only takes a couple of sheets of newspaper, a few bits of kindling wood and a couple of logs and the room is warm for the whole evening. There's no wondering if it's worth switching the heating on or worrying about the cost, just simple free warmth.
We brought in a the last bag of kindling  so today I went out to the shed to start my regular job of chopping kindling for fire lighting. We've got the boards from part of an old shed that we rescued from a friend ready to be cut sometime so plenty to last all winter.

There were black clouds all around us today but no rain so far. Col took our elderly friend up to Norwich hospital again yesterday and drove through showers all the way back but we had no rain at all here.

Library Book day tomorrow- Good

Back soon


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