Sunday, 31 January 2016

January - An expensive month

I do hope we don't have too many months like this one or the savings won't last a year, let alone until pension time.The money has zoomed out of the bank in all directions
Car Tax
New Mattress
New shoes
Electric bill 
Frying pan
Flea stuff and wormer for the cat
Bird feed
not forgetting the £2.99 for a new washing up bowl!
as well as the normal things like council tax, water and diesel. On the plus side the food bill was well down and my personal spending amounted to £2 for a bunch of flowers and £3.49 for 3 books.

Thankfully we now have 2 months without Council Tax and water and then we'll have moved, although the Council Tax in Ipswich will be the same as here - crazy considering the difference in size. In fact all our bills will be more in Ipswich which makes me wonder why we are moving!

 But we wanted to leave the garden looking like this
Summer 2013
rather than the completely overgrown wreck that we found when we moved here. We wanted to leave a campsite that could be taken on as a going concern and a house that was in good decorative order. It would have been difficult, even impossible, with Col's illness for us to do all the things that need doing when you own 5 acres  - and there's no way I could keep everything going on my own.
So we will squeeze ourselves into the little bungalow, get Colin well again and then decide "what next?" 

February will be better month on the expenses front. I'm having another no spend month - except food and diesel - like I tried last November, to make up for January I need February to extra frugal.

The form I mentioned yesterday wasn't too bad at all because at question 4 it said "do you have cancer?" and then  " if yes, you do not need to fill in the rest of this form except the last page". Col said "Oh yes I remember the Macmillan lady on the phone saying that!" So we just need to take the form to hospital with us next week to get the back page filled in by the right person and it can be sent. Good.We have a special ticket for cheap parking at the hospital - £3 for 10 visits which is better than £1 an hour and Col will get free prescriptions although he had a pre-payment card anyway because of the heart medications. So that's all that sorted.

I've just tuned into Andy M in the Australian tennis final and Oh Dear he's just lost the first set 6-1. Fingers crossed for rapid improvement!

(Edited in to say - just heard the sad news that Sir Terry Wogan has died age 77. I listened to him in the mornings way, way back in the 80s, he had such a good relationship with his listeners.)

Back Tomorrow - Probably but not definitely

Saturday, 30 January 2016

How one book leads to another

Toward the end of last year I read My Life In Houses by Margaret Forster.    I'd not read any of Forster's books before but it had  popped up on my Amazon suggested reading list because I'd looked up Angela Thirkell's - Three Houses.  A couple of people suggested her other autobiography "Hidden Lives", which I ordered  and picked up from the library van. Now I've just finished and enjoyed that - though it's not a particularly happy memoir - and thought perhaps I should check out her fiction even though I assumed they were a bit too literary for my taste but 'Diary of an Ordinary Woman'  sounded interesting. Now here's the weird bit ................. I went to Leiston this morning for milk and to check out the new EACH charity shop, in fact I went round all 5 charity shops we now have and found nothing I wanted/needed at all. So heading back to Co-op, passed the hardware shop which has a basket of  (usually tatty) second-hand books outside with a SCF collecting box attached, and there, sticking up in the top was Margaret Forster - Diary of an Ordinary Woman. How odd is that! needless to say I popped 50p in the collecting box and the book into my bag!

It's sods law  that the day after I posted  Cols doctors note form thing off to an office up north, attaching a stamp (to apply for any benefit he might be entitled to) we then get a letter in the post containing a pre-paid envelope for us to use? Damn - my efficiency cost me 54p!!
 But before that note could have possibly got to the right place we had a letter to say he is eligible for £73 a week -  that's good but in another letter on the same day, we had a giant form to fill in and return which says if you don't return it you won't get the £73 a week!
In all the 34 years Col worked for the County Council he only twice had more than a week off work and we never claimed a thing when he was self-employed and unable to work due to the heart problems. So it will be quite an 'adventure' claiming anything - but I fear not in a good way!

Thank you for all the comments yesterday

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Friday, 29 January 2016

The end of another week

How does it get round to Friday so quickly and why did it take longer to get to the end of the week when I was at school? ( don't answer that as I know it's an age thing!).

Nothing of any note to post about really.
 I've packed a couple more boxes, put another book and some tea plates in the charity shop bag. Which reminds me, Thanks for charity shop comments. I did know that most charity shops operate the one day rule so that items have to go out on the shelves for a day before volunteers can buy them and I also know that most volunteers are nice people but I can only say what I hear - in two charity shops in Woodbridge the other day I heard ladies moaning about their manager and the 2 ladies who work on Tuesdays in Leiston Hospice shop are always bitching about someone and rarely pause to say Thank You when you take in a donation. The EACH ( East Anglian Childrens Hospice) shop opens in Leiston today. I thought about biking down to see what they had in but it's blowing a gale, quite chilly and I wanted to listen to Andy Murray's semi-final from the Australian Open. I need milk tomorrow so I'll go and have a look then.

We had a lovely card and letter in the post yesterday from a penfriend who reads this blog. Her husband was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma 23 years ago, had chemotherapy and was declared completely clear 10 years later and is still well. That's the sort of letter that cheers up a grey day. So thank you SW in Birmingham for the letter and the gift. Much appreciated.

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Thursday, 28 January 2016

Thrifty Thursday and a not much news day

Yesterday after posting I decided it was time for a new header. It took me an age to remember how to change the picture, I should have made a note as I went along. The blog is heading towards 3 years old and this is my 3rd different header. Thank you to everyone who said they liked it, it's from a postcard.( probably copyrighted - whoops! but I'll do a new one once we've moved house). While typing this I was wondering how many of the blogs I read were around 3 years ago and it's quite a few, but many more are newer writers.

Thank you also for comments yesterday.
In reply :-
 I think Bovey Belle is right about some people getting the best picks in charity shops, I've often thought it would be good to volunteer in one but then sometimes  hear the volunteers talking and they are usually gossiping about the manager or the other volunteers. The Hospice shop in Leiston is the worst for this, there are two women who work there who are always saying quite nasty things about people they know. Not a nice atmosphere to work in.
The reason we have quite large bird feeders is because Col bought some mesh and made them years ago. We wanted some that were quite weighty and wouldn't blow about in the wind. The bottoms are jar lids wired on and the tops are whatever he could find to fit over.
Our son is a lovely fella, drove us nuts as a child as he spent his whole time tormenting his older and younger sisters!The job he has at the moment - working on old World War II USAF bases - is so perfect for him as he did his dissertation for his Archaeology degree on almost the very same subject. I think in a way he would still like to be just digging up interesting things! but there's not much of a living to be made in that sort of archaeology job.

Thrifty Thursday Thoughts - not many
 Cut an inch off the bottom of a pair of Col's trousers and turned them up to stop them getting grubby. They were from a charity shop and I've been getting around to this job for about a year!
Free heat and hot water as usual
Home made bread as usual.
Used our own beetroot, leeks and apples from store.
Reading library books for free
Celery soup from the outside stalks of a very poor quality head of celery.
I gave Col a free hair cut!

I see  Google Friend Connect is doing funny things again. 3 new people - welcome Carolyn, triplebc and Nessas crafty place but numbers are down by 4. Odd.

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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Bits and Bobs, Birds and Books.

Thank you all for so many interesting and helpful comments yesterday, food for thought.

We listened to Radio Suffolk yesterday to hear our son talk about the work he is doing recording the details of what's left of the Air Force base at Martlesham on the edge of Ipswich. He is teaching volunteers from the General Public how to record historic buildings. Each week for the next couple of months he'll be doing the same thing at all the airfields that were used by the USAF 8th in East Anglia. He then came over here for dinner and to bring a couple of loads of washing because their washing machine packed up. Mums are still good for doing the washing even when their children have been moved away for more than 10 years! He brought a beautiful bunch of flowers as a thank you, there were enough for two jugs absolutely gorgeous!
While here he helped Col move a few heavy things onto the trailer ready for moving to the bungalow and other stuff into the horse box trailer for storage.

I fancied a trip out so went to Woodbridge this morning, stocked up on more prunes from The Grape Tree and did a tour of most of the charity shops. A few years ago I would have relished a morning wandering round the shops but the chances of finding anything exciting in charity shops has diminished so much that's it's hardly worth the effort. All I picked up was a hardback copy of Agatha Christies "And Then There Were None' from the Oxfam Bookshop for £1.99.
 This was on TV over Christmas but we didn't watch it and I'd not read it. I hadn't realised this was originally called " Ten Little Niggers" and when that was a word that wasn't polite to use it was changed to "Ten Little Indians" which then again had to be changed. The TV film must have renewed interest in the book as there is a new paperback edition coming out next month.

Ipswich hospital join with MacMillan Cancer Care and Suffolk County Council to provide help and information for people with cancer and after a call from Col's link nurse, she sent forms and a phone number and Col rang it yesterday and it looks as if we are entitled to a bit of money - Good news indeedy! We thought that because we have savings we wouldn't qualify but maybe we do. Lots more phone calls, forms and information to sort and a meeting with someone next week, but anything that helps the savings stretch will be good.

 The weather has been really rough here today and the birds have been backwards and forwards to the feeders non stop.

Just wish they'd keep still long enough to get a decent photo.

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Coping with cancer

 We were talking about how different people we knew coped with cancer. My mum had breast cancer but was also severely disabled with rheumatoid arthritis and she never mentioned the cancer at all, almost pretending she didn't have it. Col's Mum had breast cancer which later spread. She was in hospital several times over the years and we heard every detail of every operation. Each time Col's Dad came back from visiting hospital he would spend a couple of hours on the phone ringing everyone to tell them the latest news. After Col's first chemo session his Dad rang to find out how he was and spoke to Col. But then he phoned again just a couple of days later, when Col wasn't here and I had difficulty telling him that Col was the same as he had been two days earlier and there just wasn't anything more I could say. I really hate having to go into all the details of illness. Tell people it's cancer, a bit frightening and worrying, yes, but then get on with coping with it. I'm not good on the phone unless it's a business call so if I answer the phone and it's someone wanting to know how he is I pass the phone over to him! I may even avoid answering the phone when he's not here! I asked him how he thought his way of coping was and he said "probably grin and bear it and moan a bit!" I don't know if this will change as we progress through.

 I'll miss this when we move.

 It works a treat over the Rayburn to finish getting things dry on short winter days. In the bungalow we will be gas and electric. We will miss our Rayburn and wood-burner but after doing all the wood hauling, fire cleaning and laying, by myself, for the last couple of months maybe I won't miss them as much as I thought!

Thank you for all the comments yesterday. Only John at Going Gently could have left the comment he did! Honestly that man has a 8 year old's toilet humour!

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Monday, 25 January 2016

Monday Memories

I don't really do Facebook - though I am on there somewhere but Col uses his page more often and he said everyone is posting photos of themselves when very young. You can guess where our photo albums are -  In- A- Box - and I refuse to open a box just to find a picture of Col aged 4!

But this is the photo our eldest put on her Facebook page. H and her brother M aged about 3 and 1½, we're not sure which beach, but I think Southwold. Cardi's knitted by Col's mum, a much missed Nana who made so many of their cardigans, jumpers, hats and mittens. Sadly Nana Sue won't be a knitting Nana, maybe I'll be the book Nana!- a wonderful excuse to search out lovely children's books from charity shops!

Son M - the now 6 foot plus archaeologist  will be on Radio Suffolk tomorrow afternoon talking with Leslie Dolphin about the Eighth in the East project. 

Out to Leiston this morning. Col went to the doctors to pick up a couple of things to help with the side effects of chemo, I went in the Co-op and Building Society which put me into temptation because they are fund raising for a charity by selling second-hand books for £1 each, and I found this, a hardback from the 1970's

a few years ago I wouldn't have looked twice at this but Persephone have re-printed 3 of  her books recently which I enjoyed so I thought I would bring this home and add it to the boxes. I looked on Amazon to see what they were selling for and some of her books are crazy prices. Not this one though - it's only worth a fiver!

I've finished the first of my library books - Silent Nights, Christmas Mysteries edited by Martin Edwards. One of the British Library Crime Classic reprints. It is short mystery stories dating from the 1890s (Conan Doyle) to the 1950s. Some were by well known authors  such as Edgar Wallace and Dorothy L Sayers and others long forgotten. A good read.

It's so interesting how the National newspapers have picked up Mean-Queen-Ilona's story from her local paper. I looked at the Daily Mail on line article where there were 100s of comments - some quite nasty and then Col said Radio Suffolk were talking about it this morning and her story had also been featured in The Sun on line. They seem to think she must be miserable living how she does but those of us who read her blog know she's certainly never miserable - a little odd sometimes maybe, but a kind, thoughtful and independent lady. I normally avoid anything to do with national daily papers but decided to register on line to have my tuppence worth and speak up for Ilona's thrifty-ness.
Many years ago we were featured in the local paper as being The Self-sufficient family and a few days later someone from the Daily Mirror turned up on the doorstep ( this was before the age of internet) and wanted an interview. I'm so glad I refused.

Many Thanks for comments yesterday
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Sunday, 24 January 2016

Grey Sunday Morning

A really nasty morning here this morning - Fog, drizzle and very grey and gloomy. No plans to go far today. I hope we don't get those HUGE snow storms  that they have on the East Coast of the USA. Hopefully by the time the weather system has crossed the Atlantic (if it's coming this way) the temperatures will have turned the snow to rain - but then we don't want that amount of rain on the already saturated countryside in Scotland and the North of England either.

I spent an hour yesterday shifting things from my garden shed into the big shed where we are putting all the outside stuff that we're taking with us. I had thought about maybe sowing a few veg seeds to have plants to take with us but maybe that's just making things a bit too complicated, so all the pots and seed trays I want have gone into one water butt and lots of other smaller bits into another. That should make it easier to put them on our trailer. We're moving all the outside stuff ourselves to save money and I want to get it all collected together in one place.
Then I packed another box of books. The dining room is filling up with boxes and the shelves are emptying.

One of the blokes that Col once supervised when he was a County Council bridge inspector, called in this morning to say goodbye as he had heard that we were moving to Scotland - where on earth did that rumour come from! He didn't know that Col had cancer so that news hadn't got around the workmen yet - it will now! It's very depressing to hear of all the money wasted now the workmen are contracted out to a private company. He told of a sweeper lorry that travelled from Welwyn Garden City to Suffolk - on 2 separate days to do half an hour of road sweeping each time. The company will charge the council for two lots of 12 hours when it was just one hours work. How can that be cost effective - it's MADNESS and surely a waste of our Council Tax.
I need to reply to some comments from days past and send messages

To my friend Mary In Bath - looked up the details of that book - The Narrow Road..... - sounds too grim for me! ( thank you for the card and thank you S too))

To several people - thank you for the ideas for Col and the chemo side effects. Luckily he hasn't got a metal taste in his mouth just an odd one sometimes and a bit sore and dry. He has tried the pineapple idea which is also mentioned in one of his leaflets.

Simon - Carrying books on the bike is not too bad as I used to bike with 2 small children - one in front on a converted cross bar seat and one on the back too!

Bovey Belle - I think the chemo-brain your friend mentioned is also affecting Col as he hasn't felt like reading since his first treatment. I hope he finds something light that appeals among his new books.

Hello Fran and Hazzy - good to hear from you.

To my penfriend D - I hope Michigan isn't affected by as much snow as the East Coast.

Beachcomber - Yes, - Can Any Mother help Me by Jenna Bailey is on my shelves, and soon to go in a box. When I read it a few years ago, I thought what a lovely idea for being in touch with people around the country and now we have blogging which does the same thing in a more instant way.

I think that's sorted out replies, lovely to hear from everyone.

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Saturday, 23 January 2016

It had to happen.......

.....................I've had to unpack two boxes that had been packed and taped up. Except that we still couldn't find what we were looking for!
It was all because we had a bill in the post for baling the big bales last summer, we knew we owed it but there was also a bill for 2014's baling and Col knew we had definitely paid for that at the end of 2014. We had the receipt....... somewhere.......but where the heck was all the paperwork for the 2014-15 tax year. So two boxes were opened and searched, with no luck. Then I checked in the box file laying on the desk which I knew held this current tax years bits and there was the folder labelled 2014-15. Ho Hum!
The two boxes that I unpacked  were old ones we'd been given, they've now been repacked into one of the large, better quality boxes from the removal company, so not a complete waste of time.

Thank you for comments yesterday, I will try and remember to do book reviews on here. My first to read is Silent Nights - Christmas Mysteries edited by Martin Edwards. It's one of the British Library Crime Classics.The short stories in this book are mostly by long forgotten authors. I'm very much looking forward to many more old crime fiction that will be republished by them this year and have just gone on the library website and ordered Death On The Riviera by John Bude. BLCC have already done 3 of John Bude's books and they were all a good read and didn't come across as too dated.

We watched the second episode of Shetland last night and the story still didn't finish. I'm also  watching Dickensian when it doesn't clash with something else but I'm getting worried that there may not be happy endings for some of the characters!

No other news of note except to welcome Jennifer who is a new follower

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Friday, 22 January 2016

Library day

Shopping first, trying to find tasty ideas to make Col feel better and to get rid of the horrible taste he has in his mouth all the time, yet another side effect of chemo.

Then down to the library van, not on my bike today as it was pouring with rain and very blowy. This is my haul.

Most are crime fiction but there are a few non-fiction that I've found mentioned on blogs. Now that Col isn't "him outside" anymore we thought you might like to see his  collection too. He orders on line as I do and gets his ideas from the bibliographies at the back of other books and ideas picked up from TV programmes, like the Simon Dawson Pigs in Clover featured on the Ben Fogle programme.  Not sure why he's ordered the Simon Dawson Self Sufficiency book as we've borrowed that before and we won't be at all self sufficient  in our bungalow in Ipswich!

I've just been listening to the news and the weather forecasts for the East coast of the USA - They have large amounts of snow forecast and a state of emergency has been called for many States. So please do take care those of you reading from the other side of the Atlantic.

Many Thanks for comments yesterday

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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Thrifty Thursday, frost and those birds are back

Thrifty Thursday this week instead of Frugal Friday because tomorrow is library van day - at last - so my library books will feature in tomorrows post,

Have their been any thrifty things this week? Not many

  • We took a flask and snack to hospital on Tuesday to save using the cafe ( and thank goodness we did as we were there 2 hours longer than we thought.)
  • Free heat and hot water as usual
  • Used home grown leeks, squash, Brussels sprouts, apples and beetroot plus apricots from the freezer.
  • Home made bread all week
  • Several extra portions of various dinners have been popped in the freezer, handy for me when Col is in hospital. 
  • Got a discount on feed by asking around for who wanted bird peanuts/feed to make up to 10 sacks
I can't think of anything else.

Today was a big bake day and Col choose sultana buns, I choose coffee sponge and by mutual agreement cheese straws were made too. Some are for the weekend and the rest have gone into the freezer. Plus sausage rolls for dinner and to put in the freezer and 2 mince pies with a scrappy bit of puff pastry that was left over from the sausage rolls. A few years ago that little bit of pastry would have been chucked out but not any more!

We rarely get  a hoar frost, the sort that leaves everywhere covered with  frosted edges, perhaps because the air is dryer or it's windier nearer the coast.This morning just for a while everywhere sparkled and I snapped the sage
and the conifer
but it was soon gone and we had a grey morning until the sun appeared.

I quickly grabbed the camera again later because the redpolls were back on the niger seed feeder and facing the right way to see the colours. They'd gone a second after clicking so only just in time.

Many thanks for comments yesterday, regarding which I have a dilemma. When I was posting just 2 or 3 times a week I had time to answer comments individually. Now I'm posting everyday I seem to have to choose between answering comments or reading other peoples interesting blog posts or spend longer on line which would leave me no time for reading which would be a Disaster! I do read all comments of course but what to do about answering??

Which reminds me to reply to Phil - Knodishall church is thought to be  built  in the 15th century around  an earlier Norman building. The tower is 15th Century, the buttresses 19th century but there are much later improvements. There is no record of a village around the church but it seems that the village as it is now grew in the 19th century around a green and mill  ( a mile away) rather than around the church. The Victorian primary school ( now a house) is actually half way between the church and the newer village almost as if they hadn't decided which part was more important.

Oooops nearly forgot to welcome Marjorie, follower 344 in the google pictures

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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Wednesday odds and ends

Thank you to everyone who said that the birds in yesterdays photo were Redpolls, we would never have thought of that because the picture in our RSPB bird book shows them more highly coloured.We looked on line at various pictures of Redpoll some looked to be a good match to our birds and others different. I've not seen them back today to get another look.

When we got home from Ipswich yesterday the house seemed extra cold despite the Rayburn having been banked up with coal  and even after we'd got the living room wood burner going I still couldn't get warm. I went upstairs a few hours later and found out why - I'd forgotten to shut the bedroom window when I got up- stupid woman!

Bread baking today, just 3 ordinary white loaves as the cheap malted wheat  flour that came from Approved Food several months ago has come to an end. I've also made 3 pastry cases and filled one for a quiche for lunches for the next few days plus I made a veggie curry for dinner tonight. We've not had curry for weeks due to it giving Col awful indigestion but as the indigestion is now bad all the time he said we might as well give it a go, and everything tastes odd to him at the moment anyway - yet another side effect of chemotherapy.

The car was due for it's MOT test just when he is next due in hospital so he took it in early and went this morning and thank goodness it passed, one less thing to think about. I start to feel panicky when I think of all the things that have got to be organised for moving but the box packing is going along nicely and we have quite a lot of empty bookshelves.

This afternoon was bright and sunny so I headed out for a walk, haven't walked far for a couple of months so I just headed down to the church via a field path, took a couple of photos to share on here and came back again.
Knodishall - St Lawrence church - a church without a village as there are just 4 large houses close to the church and the actual village which is known as Knodishall should really be called Coldfair Green and is just about a mile away. Our road, although part of Knodishall is almost a separate hamlet of 12 houses just over half a mile from the church.
I suppose at some time these buttresses were added all down this side to prop up the wall. I zoomed in on the  waterspout on the top of the tower and now I can see where someone got the idea for The Simpsons!

The church is quite small and stands in a lovely churchyard. Our son and fiancee plan to marry here in December so we will be back for that.

Welcome to Carolyn who is new to following.

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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Tuesday trip

Col delivered all the sacks of birdseed and peanuts yesterday afternoon, everybody knew he was coming.....nobody had any money in the house......everybody will bring the money up later in the week! We often used to find campers arriving on site with no money to pay for their pitch and it really seems as if we are heading towards a cash-less society. That was one of the questions the new owners asked us last week "do campers pay by card?" but as far as I know it costs quite a lot to get a card reader thingy like shops and businesses have so we always asked for cash - or cheques, but preferably cash! I suppose if we do become cashless everything will be done by phone app or by waving a card. We advised the new owners to ask for payment on arrival, not because people go without paying but if you wait for people to pay when they leave you are never really sure what time they are going.

Today was yet another trip to hospital for Col to have a post chemo blood test, which sounded as if it shouldn't take long. What they didn't tell him last week was that you then have to hang around for a couple of hours to wait for the results to check that you don't need to go on a drip for an hour ( no idea what the drip would be, he didn't ask!) anyway we went to Lidl and B&Q in between times. We've bought a small dehumidifier to use in the shed at the bungalow where we will be storing lots of things and I treated myself to a £2 bunch of white tulips from Lidl, we can't buy flowers at this price anywhere locally.

Bird expert needed! Are these just female chaffinches? though they don't seem quite the right shape or something more interesting. We've seen these two on the niger seed feeder several times but they never seem to be facing the right way, I think they have a slight pink tinge on their fronts. I thought about bramblings but not bright enough colourings. Someone will know I'm sure and I'll keep trying to get a better photo.

Thanks for all the comments yesterday. I love sharing a book title and hearing about other people who've read it or forgotten all about the author. It's funny how scarey proper librarians were back in those days. The chief librarian - Mr Fordham used to peer at people over the top of his half glasses and we though Miss Patterson a real old battleaxe although she probably wasn't even 40 when I started work. The hours we worked were awful - 2 long days a week until 7pm one of which would be either Friday or Saturday and either half a day or one and a half days off each week. We even worked 'til 7 on Christmas eve and New Years eve if it was our night to work. Happy Days? maybe not!

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Monday, 18 January 2016

The naivety of a 16 year old

I hope you enjoyed the local history links yesterday, it's always odd to go down that end of Aldeburgh and know that between the sea and the river there was once enough land  for a small village, but now all washed away.

Yesterday I finished Rose Cottage,
book cover of 

Rose Cottage 

a short fiction book by Mary Stewart that has been sitting on my bookshelves for umpteen years. When I first started working in libraries aged 16 in 1971, she was a very popular author. Her first book Madam Will You Talk was written in 1955 and was followed by several more which I think are classed as romantic suspense. Then she wrote a trilogy of really large 'meaty' books about Merlin and King Arthur. I think it was the first of these, written in 1970, that I enjoyed so much and thought it so good that I can remember asking the old spinsterish reference librarian  Miss Patterson (it was an old fashioned library and we were all called by our surnames!) if she thought it would become a classic. I can still remember her huge hoot of laughter as she said " I really don't think so!" I remember feeling extremely silly.
Front Cover

But look what is say's on the front of a more recent edition " THE FIRST IN THE CLASSIC MERLIN SERIES.
Ha Ha Miss Patterson, not a classic in the sense she meant but maybe I was right after all.

However, Rose Cottage was definitely not a classic and now I've read it I shall add it to the charity shop bag.

The birds need more peanuts and  the feed mill  does a discount for 10+ bags feed.When we had 100 chickens there was never  any problem buying more than 10 bags, so Col asked around everyone we knew locally and we managed to find enough people wanting bird food to take a trip to Framlingham and stock up on peanuts, wild bird seed and 2 bags of chicken feed for our elderly friend who had our last 8 chickens. It's so much cheaper to buy by the sack from the mill rather than tiny little bags from pet shops or garden centres. Col dropped me off in Framlingham so I could do a tour of the 3 charity shops but no pennies left my purse at all.

Thank you for comments yesterday
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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Local history links

I forgot to ask in yesterday's post if anyone had watched the first of the new series of  Shetland on Friday night. I'm sure I read that it was going to be a separate story in each of the 6 episodes, so we were waiting for a rapid conclusion as it got towards 9.45, only to find it carries on next week. I didn't like the scenes of the boy stuck in the container- another thing to put me off travelling in lifts!

Another bright but cold day here today, we had to pop to Aldeburgh to the chemists ( first side effect of Cols's chemo - let's just say it's the opposite of Dash In A Real Rush Hurry Or Else Accident! and we've tried prunes!) so took the opportunity to look at the sea. It was incredibly clear ( not the sea, that was as grey as it always is) and you could see right out to the shipping lanes with the big freight carriers coming out of  the Port of Felixstowe and the wind turbines off the coast.
We drove up to the Slaughden end of Aldeburgh where the most  Northerly Martello Tower ( now a Landmark Trust holiday home) stands between the sea and the river behind it. That's an Anthony Gormley sculpture on top of the tower, not somebody about to jump off! The river doesn't run out at Aldeburgh but several miles away at Shingle Street

 If the sea was to break through the ridge on which the Martello tower stands, it would flow inland across the marshes and would flood much of Aldeburgh turning what was left into an island.

Looking out to sea by the Martello Tower, the huge rocks have been put there to protect the bank  (I can never get the horizon level!)

and turning round to look inland with the river Alde and the flat marshes that stretch inland for several miles
Home for lunch and more of the delicious soup mentioned in Fridays frugal list. I've just looked to see how much a tin of Heinz Cream of  Tomato costs, and it's 95p (though on offer at 50p a tin at Tesco and Asda) which wouldn't have even made 2 big bowls full whereas my recipe makes 4, tastes the same and costs no more than 55p.

This afternoon we'll be watching the first part of the final of the Masters snooker that's been on all week and tonight things clash - Call the Midwife, Snooker or Endeavor. A problem there I think.

Thanks for comments yesterday

Back Tomorrow

Saturday, 16 January 2016

A sprinkle of snow

Goodness me, we had a cold start to the day today. Although the thermometer on the outside of the kitchen window said 2 degrees C it felt chillier because the weather has been so mild so far this winter. I put a bit of washing out and then we had a sprinkling of snow, luckily it only lasted 10 minutes before the sun came back.
Hardly enough snow to see
I had thought about a bike ride to Leiston to see if the EACH charity shop has opened yet, but staying in seemed a much nicer idea and two fires lit early to warm the house and hot soup for lunch soon had us nice and warm.

Today's packing was two boxes of books because the removal company have supplied special  boxes that are much smaller, I can get started on all the books I know we won't need between now and moving. I'm sorting out a big pile for Col to read when he has all the days in hospital being pumped full of chemicals. Talking about books I've finished another book in the historical crime series by Maureen Ash. That's three read one after the other. I think they are a good read and wonder why they weren't published here but all six are published by Berkley Crime, New York. Thank heavens it's library van day next Friday, there are a big pile for both of us awaiting collection, in my pile are several new books by favourite authors.

When I went to Tesco during the week I was pleased to see they had their broccoli/calabrese heads back at 49p each after they went up to 69p over Christmas, it's one of my favourite veg and so versatile. We had about a quarter as small sprigs in a mixed stir fry, a half for dinner tonight as part of a salmon,broccoli  and pasta bake and there is still some left to use as a veg accompaniment for Monday dinner.

Thank you to everyone who commented yesterday and welcome to Laurie M and Tracy G who are new in the followers pictures.

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Friday, 15 January 2016

Time to get packing and frugal Friday

I did have to turn out yesterday in the dark, cold, windy, sleety night to drive back to Ipswich to pick Col up again - The things you have to do for husbands! :-)   As he was able to have the bed quite early in the day they were able to do the first treatment yesterday rather than today. He has lots of leaflets, more tablets and dire warnings about what do if feeling ill. On the plus side  he found the food on Somersham ward (the oncology ward) is completely different to the rest of the hospital, they have huge meals and, when he is in for a couple of nights for the alternate treatments, he'll even get fried breakfasts!

The removal company dropped in a load of boxes yesterday so I can really get packing now. We already had a dozen or so medium sized boxes here which I've filled with things that can be put into storage in the shed. I can also start packing boxes of books. I've gone off the idea of taking the old  dark stained wood shelves with us so the books can stay in boxes until we get the living room carpet changed and then get some new shelving. By which time we will know how Col is and what we will do next.

 And finally, what  frugal things can I remember from this week ...............

Made 4 portions soup from the outside bits of a head of celery, a couple of carrots, half an onion and a tin of tomatoes

Found some unused 1st class stamps in my old stamp album when I was packing it away so have put them in the drawer to use them this year.

Ate homegrown beetroot, parsley, brussels sprouts, leeks and apples.

Made 3 loaves bread which work out at less than 38p loaf.

Free heat all week.

Took a flask and a snack to hospital to save having to buy at the cafe.

Cleared a blockage in the drains ourselves.

That's about it for today ,thanks for comments yesterday.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday, 14 January 2016

The beginning

This morning we went to hospital for Col to have the bone marrow sample taken. We were told 2 weeks ago that if they had a bed he would stay in and they would start the chemotherapy and he needed to be an in-patient overnight for the first treatment to check for allergic reactions.
Did they have a bed, yes but probably not until after lunch. We decided we would wait at the hospital.
Ten minutes after I had gone to put more money in the car park machine, we were told yes, he could go straight to the ward, so he checked in and I came home.

Just had a phone call from him to say I might have to go and pick him up again tonight as they may not do everything they planned at this first session. So I await a phone call for the 25 mile trip back to Ipswich again. Ho Hum!

Blimey, it's turned cold,wet and very, VERY windy. I hope that I can keep the fire alight if I do need to go and fetch Col later. I've got two cats curled up in the living room, both snoring gently neither will want to go far outside now.

I had photos of snowdrops and a primrose on yesterdays post and someone asked if they were early and yes they are well ahead of normal because of the mild winter we have had so far. Now it's gone cold they will stop growing for a while I reckon.
Dc at Frugal in Norfolk asked if the new owners wanted to extend the kitchen because I said I had to photocopy planning permissions etc and send to the solicitors. No, they want copies of the permission and completion certificates from when we had the new kitchen  and bedroom extension built in 2011. I thought I had already sent them and don't really know why they want them again. They were also querying the windows that were replaced in 2010 and 2011. Goodness knows why. I assume it's just their solicitor being pernickity and not the new owners looking for problems to get the price down, they seemed too nice for that.
And to answer Sandy expat, no we didn't make the tree men a cuppa. They were right up the top of the field and on the land under the pylons so too far away really and there were several men in  3 vans. They were working for National Grid. When ever we have anyone working here for us I always find a cuppa and cake on arrival helps the work get going really well!

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Wednesday odds and ends

We have snowdrops - I hope we don't have snow
A chillier day today, temperatures dropping, but nice and sunny. We've got a bit more wood cutting done. Col feels OK standing still and just moving the chainsaw up and down and we've been doing the odd half hour cutting so the heap doesn't get too low - we have no idea how he will feel during the chemo treatment.

Two other jobs outside today, the first we did together - involving the draining rods and lifting manhole covers all the way between house, septic tank and ditch, lots of plunging the rods through various places and pouring down buckets of water - the joys of being on "private drainage"! The second job was Colin taking an old  plough back down to Friston. He brought it here a few months ago, just before he started to feel ill. The plan was to clean it, get it working properly and sell it with the proceeds being split between us and the owner. But of course he hasn't been able to do it. He gave someone we know ( who deals in secondhand machinary) a call to see if he wanted to buy it as seen, only to find that the man had had an accident and was hopping about on crutches. So the plough has gone back to the shed it was standing in where it will probably stand for another 30 years!

We've got a tree sugeons here at the moment, they are working for National Grid trimming the trees that are under the high voltage cables and pylons. This is done every few years but this company actually asked if we wanted the logs and wood chippings, whereas last time a different company just left a right-old-mess behind them with heaps of chippings all along the ditch edge. They are leaving the logs in small piles and all the chippings in one giant heap ready for the new owners to use in any muddy bits in the campsite driveway.

A Lakeland catalogue came through the letter box this morning, full of lovely things and expensive gadgets. I opened at random and found a £49.99 replacement for a saucepan and spoon -it's a special popcorn making pan with built in stirring thing. I suppose someone will buy it. I like the look of the Mason Cash bowls in very dark blue but I have enough.

I'm still going round the house packing things away in boxes and sorting out stuff to go. Today I hauled everything out of the airing cupboard, there were a few  sheets that we won't need as there won't be room for an extra bed. Also found some curtain liners that I'd fogotten we had and a couple of  old pairs of curtains that might be handy in the bungalow, as we still haven't heard what is being left behind. I've asked our solicitors twice now to see what's happened to the form the vendors need to fill in. On the selling side we had an email wanting lots of information on planning permissions for the kitchen extension, which I'm sure I've already photocopied and sent.It's a good thing we have a photocopier to do them again.

And a few primroses appearing too
 Welcome to a new follower - Thrifty, and thanks for lots of interesting comments yesterday

Back tomorrow

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Tuesday Things ( with an edited in sentence at the end!)

Do you know that December, when the rest of the country was flooded, was our driest month here since June - weird. Col added up the rainfall measurements that he had written in his diary and told me I ought to share this with everyone.

Yesterday we  took a bag of glass to the bottle bank and I thought "Thank goodness we'll never have to fill the car with bags and bags (and even more bags) of empty booze bottles from the campsite." It never failed to amaze me just how much people holidaying on our site could drink. I would be worried about driving with some of the folks who've been here! and it was so embarrassing to be putting so many bottles in the bins. Not that anyone took any notice - it was just me who was embarrassed!

On my post of December 31st I mentioned that I was in a "fed up with blogging mood" because everyday there would be comments that seemed to be questioning what I did or making me feel I had  to justify what I had written. Now the same thing has happened to Sue at Our New Life in the country. The person or people who do this don't have a blog of their own but make little digs or perhaps I'll give them benefit of the doubt and say they don't realise what they are doing.  For example - I said we now had an artificial Christmas tree, several reasons for this described in this old post. But Goodness Me - How wrong this is! Surely only a real live tree will do! Never an artificial in THEIR house! So not a nasty comment and definitely not a troll. It's just when this happens on almost every post it gets a bit tedious.
Sue is starting out on the smallholding and self-sufficiency "journey" and we are at the end. I wasn't able to blog about our smallholding adventures because blogging didn't exist 23 years ago so didn't get the on-line "helpful" comments, instead we got them in person when ever we showed someone who didn't know us around the holding.
All the "Why don't you do..............." and then a list of ideas we could/should gave done. There would always be a reason why we hadn't. Mainly lack of time and cash! I stopped outside paid work in 1980 and Colin's job working for the County Council was always average wage. he worked full time right up until 2012. We had 3 children too - children aren't cheap.
Some of the suggestions that we were never able to do were 
  • Cover our  roof with solar panels (  we couldn't afford to and wouldn't have got our money back)
  • Start a produce box delivery service ( Never been THAT keen on growing and we did try this on a small scale with 2 of Col's work colleagues and it was fine until things didn't grow or there would be a week when there wasn't quite enough of one thing and selling at the gate worked much better anyway).
  • Keep and breed pigs/cows/sheep on a big organic rare breed kind-of way. (We only wanted to keep enough for us).
  • Expand the campsite to cover the whole field ( Not THAT keen on people!) 
  • Apply for permission for caravan storage - that was often suggested - but it was expensive to set up and we didn't want to have more caravans here.
And many other ideas I've long forgotten.

What I'm saying is do comment, comments are lovely,they  make people feel like friends but don't think you know better than the person writing the blog. And if you really do know better then start a blog of your own!

And on that note I shall say thank you to friends who commented yesterday and good luck to Phil's daughter who wants to be an archaeologist - we always say its more of a calling than a job - and our son has been lucky to have had archaeology jobs for 10 years but  knows that he may not always be so lucky, especially if you are not single and able to travel to another part of this country or abroad.

Back Tomorrow

PS I 'only' got 64 comments after my December 31st post and Sue in Wales got 160 after her yesterday post.
 Oh that's soooooo unfair I shall cry and stamp my feet!!
(Edited to say that is meant to be ironic and I forgot that other parts of the country/world don't do Suffolk Irony :-)

Monday, 11 January 2016

Beaten to it

I got all ready to write about doing the National Lottery - if that's what it's still called - then discovered I had been beaten to it by dc at Frugal in Norfolk. Actually I should say NOT doing the lottery as we never have, not even a scratch card thing. I didn't even know that they-who-run-it, is it still Camelot?, had added another 10 balls so as to make it even harder to win until the news featured the fact when speaking about last Saturdays draw and the gi-normous amount of money that could be won. Apparently the lottery system crashed as thousands of  people rushed to spend their hard earned cash trying to win.
I've read that you are more likely to be struck by lightening, win an Oscar or become an Olympic Champion than win the lottery.
The only good thing I can say about this backhanded way of  taxing people ( I know that's naive but that's how I think of it) is that it's paid our son's wages for the last couple of years. He is an archaeologist - and lucky to have been employed as one since he graduated. Many people who do an archaeology degree find it difficult to stay in that profession, contracts are short and jobs limited especially since County Councils stopped having their own archaeology departments. His job for  Eighth in the East is Heritage Lottery funded but finishes in September. They are hoping to get funding for another similar project. Fingers crossed for him.

A grey sort of day here today and chillier too. My turn for the doctors this morning - only a prescription review and then a couple of bits of shopping. I managed to leave the cat wormer stuff on the counter at the vets - duh! Popped a bag of bits to the charity shop. A new EACH ( East Anglia Childrens Hospice) charity shop will be opening in Leiston very soon, they were starting to put clothes in today.That will be the 5th charity shop in a fairly small town. The EACH shop is taking over the premises of the Job Centre which has been standing empty for several months - or longer. I don't know if they moved somewhere else in town because if you go online they are still listed at the old place. Heavens knows how someone in town finds a job nowadays.

I'm sure there ought to be a moral to this post............... but have no idea what it is, so will just say

Thanks for comments yesterday
Back Tomorrow

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Oh Dear - More Books and Sunday Shifting

Lots of windy weather here last night and some rain too, but no drop in temperatures like Scotland and Northern England. The forecast is for temperatures going down as the week  goes on. May need to get the long sleeved roll neck tops out for the first time this winter, and it must be winter because Ski Sunday is back on TV.

I spent a couple of hours this morning shifting stuff from the garden shed up to the big shed to try and get all the outside stuff that we're taking into one place. We are leaving more gardening things than originally planned as it's unlikely I'll ever grow 70 tomato plants and a dozen cucumber plants again I don't need to take dozens of  flower pots. We cleared out 3 sacks full of various pots when we had the yard sale. I've no idea how we came to have so many as we never bought any new.

Our youngest gave me an Amazon voucher for Christmas as she couldn't decide which books to get me from my wish list. So instead of buying some old 1p books, I went for a couple of books, recently published and on one of my favourite subjects.

 I've taken 2 more off the shelves and put them in the charity shop bag. The charity shops are doing very well from our downsizing and when you know you've got to fit everything into a very small space or keep it stored in a box in a shed then it's amazing what you find you can do without (and why had I kept an old large cracked Mason Cash mixing bowl when I have an identical perfect one, plus one smaller, in the kitchen?)

Many Thanks for comments yesterday and I think I missed welcoming sammie to the followers.

Now I'm having a bit of feet up session on the settee, had a horrible night of waking dozens of times in a panic thinking "What If?".

Back Tomorrow

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Saturday - a very short post

The new owners-to-be, Simon and Annabel, came to have a really good look at the house, campsite and smallholding today. We showed them round again in great detail. They had come armed with a list of questions which we answered and told them many more things they didn't know that they needed to know too!
Taking over a campsite and smallholding is just a wee bit more complicated than simply moving house. Luckily they are full of enthusiasm and plans and many years younger than us, so will be able to make a real go of it.

No other news today, thanks for comments yesterday.
Just noticed new followers,  so welcome to maria and Naomi.

Back Tomorrow, although goodness knows what with, as not a lot is happening to post about and I certainly don't want to go on and on about the health "thingy".


Friday, 8 January 2016

Lack of excitement and Frugal Friday

Nothing exciting has happened but I'm back anyway and thank goodness the weather is 100% better than yesterday.

I popped to Saxmundham this morning for Tesco and Post Office. Not a lot of shopping needed this month as we need to empty cupboards as much as we can before the middle of March but on the other hand I hate seeing the cupboards getting low at this time of the year when the weather could still turn nasty.
I'm still going round cupboards looking for things that I can give to the charity shop and packing other stuff that we won't need into boxes.
We've had 2 quotes from local removal companies, either will be OK to use and both can supply boxes well before moving day to give me plenty of time to pack.
I've also been making a list of all the people and companies we will need to contact, then I'm giving Col the job of finding all the phone numbers.

In between other things this week I've got well ahead by making some Christmas cards for my Penny Pincher Paper penfriends

Also been making a note of where we've stretched the pennies this week, thought I might make this a regular thing on a Friday if I remember.

Found 2p on the ground in town
Made 4 large portions of soup from 3 tired carrots, a small onion and a tin of tomatoes.
Ate leeks, beetroot, Brussels sprouts from the garden and apples from store
Col took the shower to bits, descaled it, fitted a new washer and got it working properly again.
Free heat from wood all week
Bought new shoes in January sales, saving £20
Found Tesco Christmas 7 cheese selection reduced to £2 and mince pies to 37p for 6.

Shall I list the non-frugal things? Nah!

Many thanks for comments yesterday. I think it's going to be a huge help to hear from other people reading who know someone going through exactly the same treatment as Colin. Thank goodness for blogging.

Back Tomorrow

Thursday, 7 January 2016

A bit of weather

We've had an awful wet day here today, got soaked just doing a few jobs outside, like fetching the wood in.
We heard of several roads closed due to flooding and then the wind picked up just to add to the fun.I spent the day looking for more things to go to the charity shop and packing boxes. We had a second quote from a removals company and Col had 2 visitors who called in for a cuppa.  Our youngest and bloke came round for dinner and shared a yummy scrummy joint of lamb,the first we've had for about 4 months, hopefully if I stretch it there will be enough for a proper shepherds pie tomorrow

Thank you for all the lovely comments yesterday.
I'll answer a few questions. We will be having removal men shifting everything on the day and my sister and husband, our youngest and bloke and our son and OH will all be able to help before and after we hope. I'm all for roping in as many people as possible so may ask Col's brother to help as he has a towbar and could pull the caravan or trailer if Col isn't well enough. We don't want to have to go backwards and forwards too many times.
Gill......... These are my first pair of Hotter shoes and seem lovely and comfy. I did try sending for some years ago before we had a shop in Ipswich but that was hopeless as they sent the wrong ones - twice and the right size didn't fit anyway! and I did see the answer but I don't think you word of the year should be "can't be arsed either!"
Liz, I'm glad to find someone else who hates buying shoes as everyone else seems to collect them by the dozen!
It's the garage with the yellow window and summerhouse/shed on the right of the picture, both will be used to store stuff in as we have a lot that we don't want to get rid of. We both think that as long as Col gets better we will move to somewhere a bit bigger and rent this little bungalow out. We are really only buying it because it was empty, detached, room for the caravan and on one of the older estates in a nice part of Ipswich. So not so crammed in as some new estates.
Thank you to Mrs LH for that happy info about a friend. Col will have a stem-cell transplant too at the end of the chemo, if everything goes to plan.
That crazy paving patio will definitely go as I shall move it piece by piece myself straight into a skip along with a Leylandii that will cut out the sun and the concrete rockery.

Our boy got himself into the East Anglian Daily Times again, leading a walk around one of the old wartime airbases, a huge crowd turned out. That's him in the bright yellow coat. A good thing he had it  as they had pouring rain round the last part of the walk

Apologies for not replying individually to comments and welcome to Liz, Fast SOS and Genea who are new to following.

Back Tomorrow, if anything exciting happens!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Long day out

It wasn't meant to be a long day out. We had made an appointment to have another look "our" bungalow in the morning then we were going to pop into the town centre and come home but on Monday Col got a phone call to go in and see the consultant with an appointment at 1.30. So that fitted in nicely except  for some reason there was no consultant and eventually we got seen by someone else and didn't get out again until quarter to five. There was news about treatment for the cancer, which is not the type we first were told but an uncommon sort of lymphoma, treat-able but not curable and thank goodness he will start  treatment next week- as long as there is a bed as he will need to be an in-patient for some of the chemo. It's a long course of two sorts of chemo spread over several months with dire warnings of nasty side effects. But as we said there is no alternative so we just want them to get on with it.

 Our bungalow

 seems smaller than I remember. Plenty of insulation in the loft - good - and the living room carpet was as awful as we thought but there are aconites and snowdrops out in the garden  already so it must be warmer than here.

  The "patio" made of broken paving slabs and bits of concrete
will have to go as will the 'rockery' which is also mainly lumps of concrete - a skip needed I think
 Room for veg beds if we get rid of the lawn
 And there is a lovely big Rosemary.

 We'll be moving right in the middle of Cols treatment - Ho Hum!

While in town I bought shoes. Buying shoes is quite a nerve wracking and unusual event for me. I Hate buying shoes, wear one pair for as long as possible and am about as far from Imelda Marcos as it's possible to get! But I went to Hotter and found some in the sale - nice and comfy - just what I was looking for. Bought a frying pan too ( not from Hotter-obviously).....heavyweight because the last one I got cheap went up in the middle after being used twice and I prefer to have a flat bottomed pan!

So a long day out, the cats were wondering where on earth we were - Starving they said.

I know there are new followers and comments yesterday, but no time to look today. Will say hello tomorrow.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Choosing a book to read - not as easy as you think

The library van didn't come in December as it was due on Christmas day so next visit is not until the 22nd and I've read all my library books except for the two non-fiction on WWII farming and food. The trouble is I'm not in non-fiction mood so I need to read something off my shelves and here is where the problem starts..... too many books to choose from!
How to choose............ first bypass all the non-fiction, still leaves 'quite a few' fiction. Something I've read before - No, so shall I read the second of the Maureen Jennings after reading the first one before Christmas to make sure the set was OK for a friend's gift.
Or, since I've been given the final book to complete a series by Edward Marston, I could now start reading them
Elizabethan Theater
1. The Queen's Head (1988)                                         2. The Merry Devils (1989)  
3. The Trip to Jerusalem (1990)                                      4. The Nine Giants (1991)
5. The Mad Courtesan (1992)                                        6. The Silent Woman (1994)    
 7. The Roaring Boy (1995)                                            8. The Laughing Hangman (1996) 
9. The Fair Maid of Bohemia (1997)                               10. The Wanton Angel (1999)
11. The Devil's Apprentice (2001)                                   
12. The Bawdy Basket (2002)
13. The Vagabond Clown (2003)                                    
14. The Counterfeit Crank (2004)
15. The Malevolent Comedy (2005)                               
16. The Princess of Denmark (2006)

Or I could read another of the ABC crime series by  Sue Grafton,   I'm up to K.
Or maybe try one of the random ex-library crime books I possess by an untried author. 

In the end I plumped for a series by Maureen Ash. These are historical crime by another author who once lived in this country but now lives in Canada. I borrowed the first from a friend and read it, tried to order the next from the library only to find they didn't have any of her books and they are not published in this country. So I put them on my wish list and over the years have collected the next five. Next, look in my Book-of-Books-Read to see which of the series I've read so far, then check Fantastic Fiction to see which one comes next.  Great excitement - there are 2 more that I didn't know about. Look on Amazon to add them to the wish list - Oh Damn - only published for Kindle - bother. Revert to finding the one to read  - A Plague of Poison. 
Settle down on settee only to find it's past 10 O'clock and bedtime.
I'll try again tonight.

Welcome to Sarah, Tina and Sheela who have clicked the google button recently and thanks for all the comments on Free or Not Free - That is the question!

Back tomorrow - I hope


Monday, 4 January 2016

Free?............maybe not

For the first time for more years than I can remember I won't be scanning through these, which arrived today, working out what we need and the best value, filling in the order forms and sending off a cheque.
Although we will have enough room to grow a few things in Ipswich as long as we don't want a lawn and I'm sure when we move in March one of the first things we will do will be to make some veg beds but I've probably got enough seeds saved for what we will need.

Do you see what it says on the front of the Marshalls Catalogue
Free Seeds
5 Free strawberry plants
Free Trial Probiotic Booster 
BUT does that mean what it says? Oh no.
To get the free seeds you have to buy 10 packets of seeds and pay for 9, getting the cheapest free
To get the free strawberry plants you have to spend over £20 on soft fruit plants, bushes or canes
The free pack of Foundation Trial Probiotic soil treatment is sent with any seed order, it's worth............ 65p. Marshalls are not really giving much away.

I try not to be tempted with offers like these although in the past  I have been known to buy a cross stitch magazine because of the free gift on the front. Not any more - I've enough cross stitch designs to last me a lifetime. There are also so called free offers on most of the garden magazines, perhaps seeds attached to the front cover or an offer of vegetable or strawberry plants for the price of postage. Sometimes these are worth spending out the £5 for the magazine but I don't really think this allows you to say you've got them free.
 No such thing as free when you have to spend first! 

Just seen a trailer for a new series of Shetland starting next week on TV. I'll look forward to that. The first 2 series were based on 4  books by Ann Cleeves. She has done 2 more books so I guess this series will be based on those. I spend the whole time muttering when I'm watching because the books are different to the TV series so I remember bits but not the whole story.

Welcome to Fiona and Val, new followers in the google pictures. Numbers creeping back after that weird blip a few weeks ago when Google had a spring clean and everyone lost people.

Thank you everyone for all the lovely comments. It helps to know people are out there.

Back tomorrow

Sunday, 3 January 2016

How 2015 ended and 2016 begun

Belated HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone.
Missed writing so it was only a very short break..........hardly a break at all ........apologies for that last post, feeling sorry for myself isn't something I usually do so thank you  to everyone who said they enjoyed reading about our quiet life, you gave me the kick up the backside I needed to keep writing, which I do enjoy.
 BIG thank you to everyone for the kind comments about Colin after my last post, especially all the people who know someone going through the same thing. I think we both felt a bit down because first we were waiting almost 2 months to find out what was wrong with him, now waiting to find out what needs to be done and I'm not good at waiting....... prefer to be getting on with it.........preferably starting now.......... not hanging around for another fortnight, but we are where we are.

 Anyway, my pen and paper diary has still been written so I can tell you what we've been doing since my last diary post.

On Monday 28th December we went across Suffolk to have a day at our Son and Future D-in-L's home. It's such a treat to be cooked for. Col's brother and Dad were invited as well, it was good to see them as Col's Dad isn't well enough to travel right over to us at Knodishall.

 Tuesday 29th December we were at home catching up on jobs and putting Christmas back in it's box, sealed and labelled to move to Ipswich. Col got the front loader on the tractor to take the last 3 builders bags of split logs into the shed.

 Wednesday 30th December we travelled down to Finchingfield in Essex to visit friends. We had a present swap and delicious food - I could quite get used to eating out at friends and relatives! We walked down into the village for a breath of fresh air. Although our friends will not be affected  -they will actually have a much quieter time - there is a   Huge debate going on in the village  because the bridge over the river is due to be closed for at least 4 months for replacement, with a 13 mile detour to get from one side to the other for small vehicles and 28 miles detour for big lorries -  4 months seems a long time. There is a petition in the village for a temporary bridge as several of the businesses depend on tourist trade which could be seriously affected.

Thursday 31st New Years Eve. A lovely bright day. I stripped the spare double bed - no one else coming to stay before we move- and our youngest came to collect it. They have been sleeping on a mattress on the floor for 7 months since their bed frame fell to bits.

New Years Day. Sorry but there are NO resolutions or NO challenges of any sort to read about on this blog. Just an ordinary quiet life adjusting to living on savings, coping with illness and moving house.
  The wind was in the right direction at last for Col to burn up a whole load of rubbish including an old armchair, sawdust from wood cutting and the top part of the tree - all ivy- that came down in the wind a few weeks ago. He did all the shifting with the mower trailer and tractor but was still shattered when he'd finished. I did boring ironing, boring sorting of last years paperwork in our filing system (bottom drawer of dresser) and boring filing-in-the-right-place of the papers that needed keeping! Actually it was good to get these jobs done so not really boring AND while sorting I re-read the pension gumph that Col got about his County-Council pension and I think he can get the whole amount at age 60 - in 2017 - rather than just 75% (which is how we had interpreted it on first reading) and as its currently standing at about £11,000, that will make a HUGE difference to how far the savings will stretch.
Watched the 5th episode of Dickensian and the Sherlock special -which left me totally confused but no nightmares afterwards - thank goodness.

Saturday 2nd January. Because we are leaving the bookshelves that are all fixed to the walls in the hall, we rounded up the three old stained-wood shelves that Col made years ago (one was in the craft room, one in the front porch and one out in the campsite recreation room) and trundled them up to the work shop where Col will sand them down - a bit at a time - and - hopefully- cover the dark wood-stain with light paint. At least that's the plan - is there a paint that will cover wood-stain? Anyone know?

Sunday 3rd January. After turning the mattress on our bed last week and finding the cover had split even more than a month earlier we decided to catch the tail end of the Dreams sale and go and get a new one. Do you know that you can pay over £1,000 for a mattress? Luckily we found one for a lot less than that - phew! Hope this mattress lasts as long as the old one as we think we've had that 13 years. Delivery due 12th so not too long to wait

So here we are up to date.
Apologies again for that self-pitying, down-in-the-dumps post. I'm feeling more up beat now. Ready to get on with what ever is thrown at us and anyway I've got books to read, dishcloths to knit, cards to craft and pennies to be stretched.

Back Tomorrow - almost definitely!

PS I've started a new page - Books read 2016. Will I top the 102 read in 2015?


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