Friday 30 September 2016

Active Lives?

What a frustrating time to get a survey thing through the post about how active we are. Had it have come a year or more ago I could have included shifting bales and cutting big areas of grass paths, cleaning campsite loos or walking round the field 3 times a day to see to the chickens. Now it's just 10 minute bike rides or walks to the shop. And as for Colin......his exercise at the moment is walking to the loo!
I really planned more walking once we got in town and started back in March with circular walks around the neighbouring streets early mornings but after a couple of weeks I got fed up passing the same houses and town started feeling claustrophobic. Then once I was driving to hospital everyday it was easier to fit in errands on the way. Oh dear I'm so unfit now.
 It was an Ipsos Mori/Sport England/Arts Council/ Public Health England funded survey and came with 2 codes for 2 people to do the survey on line.  It only took a few minutes but we have been rewarded with a £5 Amazon voucher each ...............When/if it arrives in our inbox. Now what to spend £10 on at Amazon? Silly Question :-)

The huge paper haul has been sorted. Labels on some packs saying £17! There was a lot of duplicate stuff I won't use so  that got  bundled up for the charity shop.  Quite a lot of the paper was scrap-booking pages. I've not done any scrapbooks since about age 13 and collected all the cuttings from the newspaper about Ipswich Town FC for a whole season. Maybe I should find out more about the modern way of scrap book making - I know it's big in the States. There's also some gorgeous patterned card stock which I shall look forward to using.

After the 4 hours in the Maternity wing with our youngest on Wednesday I had  another trip to hospital on Thursday, this time with Colin for what will be regular blood tests and review. The  problem is still the platelet part of the blood which is falling rather than building. He must be careful not to cut himself or blow his nose too hard as this could start a bleed that won't stop. At the moment they are not planning any intervention. There are  several reasons for platelets not improving and they are all quite worrying. I don't know how much more worrying I can manage this year!

Looking forward to Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday, it takes me a week or two to get into it and work out who to enjoy watching and who to cringe at. It's also good to have "Takes  Two" back with Zoe Ball on weekdays, means we don't bother to watch any evening news for the next 3 months.
Last weeks Aldi flowers were Alstromeria. Back to Gladioli this week

Back Soon

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Latest news from number 9

I've got a cold, I HATE having a cold, I went for years without getting one so it's now a shock to wake up sniffling and sneezing. Don't know where it came from but if it was caught from Grandson who was a bit snuffly when he was here -  he is forgiven!

My plan was to go to the Wednesday morning car boot and I got up thinking shall I or shan't I but the sun was shining and I was sure to feel better out in the fresh air so off to Needham Market ( This is despite going about 3 weeks ago and saying I wouldn't bother again......... must be withdrawal symptoms!) Anyway it was a bright morning and there were several boots there,although not much of any use.
This was my mornings haul

I thought I might as well get the child safety set for £2 as one or the other of the children will need it or we will ourselves. A huge bag full of craft papers and card cost me £3 and he threw in the book - D.E Stevenson's "Summerhills" for nothing. ( Did you see  the haul of hardback DE Stevenson books that Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow blog got at a Booksale in San Francisco the other day? I knew everything in The States was bigger than here but that booksale is HUGE!)

When I got back I found Colin was feeling well enough to have got himself breakfast AND he did all the washing up too which is a huge leap forward, although his legs ached from standing and he had to sit down for quite a while afterwards.

Late morning I headed up to hospital to meet our youngest and keep her company as they were going to try and turn Dot-The-Bump who is a real fidget and after her 37 week scan yesterday now seems to be laying sideways. It was quite a faff, involving ultrasound scan, monitoring heartbeat, injection to loosen womb muscles, waiting, then 2 doctors trying to manoeuvre baby to turn her/him round - extremely painful for poor A and it didn't work anyway! Then another hour of monitoring before she was able to leave and has to decide to either wait and see if baby turns, or they book a C section ...........or both or risk a breech birth or emergency C section........ Heck! . They brought her a sandwich afterwards as she had missed lunch but I had to wait until I got home at quarter to 3!

Now I have a table covered with paper to sort." Bewildering Cares" by Winifred Peck has arrived from Dean Street Press for me to review and I MUST get started on more hamper makes.

Back Eventually

Monday 26 September 2016

Heading towards the end of September

We had some lovely weather last week and Colin  was able to sit outside for half an hour each day and soak up some vitamin D which he must surely be short of after 7 weeks in a hospital bed. He's got his appetite back and is feeling OK except for having no energy or stamina. Hopefully it's just a case of time.
Today is much more Autumnal and the forecast for the rest of the week is unsettled so he might not be able to sit out any more.

For book lovers around the world here is my latest library book photo
 Lots of crime fiction again plus Trio - no idea what this is or who mentioned it;  A Woman's place which is a look at women's fiction in the first half of the 20th century and the Barbara Pym which according to my book-of-books I have read already, but can't remember so am reading it again after enjoying Glass of Blessings earlier in the month. I STILL haven't finished How To be a Tudor, got halfway through and then got sidetracked by crime fiction and I'm debating if I should finish The Past is Myself by Christabel Bielenberg - (and English woman's life in Berlin under the Nazis ) it's quite detailed reading. Sort of interesting in a hard work kind of way.

Still on the book theme, on Saturday morning I took myself down to Felixstowe library where, according to the newspaper they were having a "Mountain of Books Sale". Sadly their idea of a mountain of books wasn't mine and in reality there were just a few tables of donated books which they were selling for charity. I picked up another wartime Land-army biography and an Amish romance (why?).

As the sale only took 5 minutes to look at I went round the town and found a dress for son's wedding in December - phew (it's been worrying me for weeks that I'd not got anything), had to buy new but not for £150 which is the sort of price I kept seeing on line!( and deciding that was really silly). Then I found a hat in a charity shop for £5 which just needs a navy ribbon affixed over the cream ribbon. Now I need a long length glam cream cardi/jacket of some sort and cream clutch bag. Can I get away with the black shoes I wore for Daughter's wedding last year or will I have to find navy or cream, but cream shoes would soon be muddy in December? Could I clean black shoes with navy polish and see if they look more blue than black?
............. This is why I spend most of my time avoiding events that require dressing up..... but I suppose son's wedding can't really be missed.

Many thanks for  all the Jacob comments, he is a mostly happy baby and easily changed from tears to smiles. H with Jacob and D.I.L-to-be went to Leiston for youngest's baby-shower party yesterday and now it's only 3 and a bit weeks until another grandchild is due to arrive.....goodness me, that 9 months has flown. The nice thing is that we will be able to see this newborn straightaway as she(or possibly he) will be arriving at Ipswich hospital. H and Jacob are off back to Surrey soon and we won't see him again until son's wedding, he'll be 6½ months old then.

Welcome to new followers Theresa and Lesley.......... I think
Back in a trice

Saturday 24 September 2016

Small visitor takes over house

Steriliser and bottle making machine in the kitchen, baby clothing on the line, baby and daughter stuff in the bedroom, bouncer chair, play mat and toys in the living room, baby bath in the bathroom.

Yes, Jacob is here.

 How much better our grandson looks now he has had the operation for pyloric stenosis and is putting on weight. He is a very smiley baby except when a camera is pointed at him!

Then grandad made funny faces at him and we managed to catch the smile. Hope this picture works as it's off facebook,( because silly grandad deleted it from the camera before I had the chance to put it on here. If it doesn't we shall have to try again later.)

Back Soon

Wednesday 21 September 2016

More good things

Thank you for all the lovely comments ....72!..... welcoming Colin home from hospital. He is so pleased to be home but is  exhausted, it's going to take a while to build up strength again. Our eldest and baby Jacob are here this weekend and we are looking forward to seeing him again as last visit was just as he was beginning to be a poorly little man. Since he was fixed he has put on weight and from photos we can see how well he looks but having him here for a few days will be better. Colin has to be careful to avoid infections so apart from H and Jacob we will be having a quiet few weeks without visitors so he can rest and recover.

 Another bit of good news............Dean Street Press very kindly offered me a  proper book copy of Bewildering Cares by Winifred Peck after all. I'm looking forward to that arriving so I can read and review.
I really enjoyed "Housebound" by her that Persephone reprinted a while ago.
  This is what it will look like. All the books they are reprinting under The Furrowed Middlebrow logo
Product Details
 have lovely covers like this. 9 coming out in October including Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell which is also another book  about life in WWII and I'm being very extravagant and buying it new.

And finally, if I had bought the A4 cutting mat at Aldi at the same time as I got the storage box last week then I wouldn't have gone back and found they had A3 cutting mats in stock. An A3 is more useful and I snapped one up for £2.99.

Welcome to two new followers

Back in a while

Tuesday 20 September 2016



After 7 weeks in hospital at last he is home. Now we look forward to a few months of recovery and building up his strength, putting on a bit of weight and keeping him well.

Thank you for all your good wishes over the last few months.

Back Tomorrow 

Monday 19 September 2016

The Tidy Craft Shelves

I had to sort out everything on the shelves to make room for another box. It's only when I look at all my crafting things that I realise how many different crafts I've had a go at.

Encaustic Wax Art - love doing it but am hopeless (need a new electric hobby iron before I can do it again)
Cross stitch and long stitch - Been doing this craft for 30 years
Stamp art - I only have a few stamps - I'm not good at this
Heat embossing - goes with the stamp art
Bead stitching -  Threading the needle is too fiddly
Ribbon embroidery - Ditto
3D Decoupage - Enjoy doing this for card making
Papercraft card making - Grown up excuse for playing with scissors and glue :-)
 I tried paper quilling once but that was much too fiddly and I just ended up covered in glue!
I'd like to try scrap-booking some time too but doubt I'll ever get round to learning to crochet and knitting may never get further than dishcloths!

Probably enough choice of crafts to see me through?

Back in a jiffy

Sunday 18 September 2016

For Future Birthdays and a small disappointment

The other day when the jigsaw was finished I said the plan was to use the table for card making before starting another puzzle.

Here is work in progress............... I seem to make a lot of mess crafting!

 Almost all my craft stuff is stored in boxes on this set of shelves, quite a difference to Fareacre where I had a whole room for craft and office work.

This is what I made last week.
 Cards for ladies using some of the bits in that bargain haul from last Sunday's boot sale
Using odds and ends from the stash

 and making use of a sheet of card toppers free from Craft Creations many moons ago.
I will really miss getting their magazine 4 times a year. They are stopping it after 20 years because of a fall in subscriptions. At £12 a year it was a bargain, with one of their new products included each time, masses of ideas for card making sent in by readers and 10% off all their card making stuff.

Then I made just a few cards for men

 All my card toppers were in a muddle in a big square storage box.
Could never find a thing among all this lot when they were lumped in one box!
 So on Saturday morning I thought I'd have a sort through to see what was there and decided I really needed a better way to store them.
 When it stopped drizzling I walked round to Aldi to get some fruit to take in for Colin and look what they have in this week for £4.99 (and they've also got cutting mats - might go back for one as it would be handy to have another)

 Now I shall be able to see what I've got and the box they were in will become my 'current projects' box and my  current 'current projects' (!) box will store all my Christmas crafting stuff and that will free up a draw in the chest of drawers in my bedroom! In a bungalow as small as this every inch of space has to be well used.

And the disappointment?
Nothing crucial...........
I thought I was being offered a copy of a book to review from Dean Street Press who are collaborating with Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow Blog. I got so excited at the chance to read Bewildering Cares by Winifred Peck which is being re-printed in October with Scotts special logo and the lovely new jacket picture............but it turned out to be  the offer of an ebook.............and you know what I think about ebooks and "proper" books! Oh well, I shall keep wishing for it on my wish list!

Back very soon

Friday 16 September 2016

Not Preparing For Winter and Other News

Several years ago when we lived on the smallholding and I wrote for the Suffolk Smallholders Newsletter, I did a couple of pieces about preparing for winter, mainly written for people new to the countryside. There was a check list to prepare................
 Animal feed, lag outside taps, wood for woodburners, cylinder gas for cooker, coal for the Rayburn, examine welly boots for cracks or holes, warm weather and wet weather gear for outdoor work, emergency stuff in case of power cuts, spare diesel for the car and tractor etc etc.

Oh how much simpler life is in town .............not that I really want a simple town life but Hey Ho! All we have to do is to get the gas central heating boiler checked. That's now been done and Thank Heavens all was well despite the boiler being quite old (but apparently a very reliable make) so bill paid - sorted.  I was a bit concerned that the man would slap a red Do Not Use label on it which is what happened many years ago when we got someone out to repair the grill on a Calor (cylinder gas) cooker. He said the whole cooker was too old, didn't comply to regulations and stuck the label across the door. I'm afraid I just carried on using the hob and oven for several more months until we could afford a new cooker.

Very much enjoyed the above book which I finished while at the beach hut on Tuesday. Certainly doesn't glamourise what Londoners went through during the Blitz or soldiers caught on Malta during the siege. Here's the details from the library website..........
"When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up. Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss - until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided. Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she'd be a marvelous spy. When she is - bewilderingly - made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget. Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary. And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, and inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams."

The book finishes with a few pages about the authors grandparents who formed the basis of this fictional story. There is a mention in one newspaper review that he is working on a sequel set in the first years of peace. 

 Then I went to the beach hut again on Wednesday and read some of this

book cover of 

The Late Scholar 

The fourth book written by Jill Paton Walsh using the characters created by Dorothy L Sayers. Another well written story. When I worked in libraries all those years ago Jill Paton Walsh was a children's author so I've enjoyed discovering these books for adults and she also wrote four other crime novels set in Cambridge. I've now requested the first of these from the library.

I know parts of the country haven't been enjoying the mini heatwave that we in the east have had this last week. By golly it's been HOT. The grass in the back garden is brown apart from one small bit that's always in shade. Windows have been wide open and blinds closed, in hospital where they don't have windows that open wide, Col has had 2 fans running to keep cool. He does seem to be feeling better again although last time I said that he plunged down and had more problems so I won't say anymore.

Only a couple more days of Paralympics, it has been SO good and I shall be disappointed to go  back to regular TV. I think only in this country would we have a programme like The Last Leg!  BTW am I the only person who isn't getting agitated by Great British Bake Off moving to Channel 4? I've never seen a single episode, although if it was Strictly Come Dancing or Wimbledon tennis disappearing from terrestrial TV to Sky then I would be out there shouting!

Thank you for comments on the last post

Back in a jiffy

Wednesday 14 September 2016

One way to spend £1.60 and an unexpected windfall

 Gladioli from Aldi, a beautiful bargain I think. Although with all this hot weather they didn't survive for many days.

A few weeks back I opened a letter redirected here from Fareacre and found the company sending it were looking for my sister as they didn't have a new address for her. Totally puzzled I read through the jargon and didn't really understand what it was except there seemed to be a small amount of money involved so decided it must be something to do with our late Dad. I passed it on to her to sort out and it seems someone had discovered just over £100 owing to us from somewhere connected to our Dad who died 8 years strange. So I am in possession of an unexpected windfall of £50.......... and in case a tax man/woman is reading ..............Yes I will put it on my tax return!

Now what to spend it on?

Just think how many secondhand 1p (+£2.80 postage) books it will buy from Amazon!

 Or I could be sensible.

Back Soon

Just noticed new followers - welcome to you, hope you enjoy reading

Monday 12 September 2016


Second puzzle of the summer finished and no bits missing - phew, the only problem with charity shop jigsaws is you can never be absolutely certain it's all there until the end.
So I've mended the box, stuck on a label saying 'Complete'  and it's off to the charity shop.

I'm not starting a new puzzle straight away as I want to use the table for a bit of papercraft card making, speaking of which.........look what I found at yesterday's boot sale............a carrier bag full of crafting bits and bobs for £3. I had no idea what was in it for sure until I got home and unpacked although I'd spotted two books and a Framecraft Mirror  to put cross stitch in. There are always some on eBay selling for £8 each but luckily I've found several for much less over the years. I stitched 2 for Sister and Sister in Law last Christmas..... or was it the Christmas before?
When I sorted everything out I found quite a lot of useful stuff including 3 gluesticks, craft papers, a big bundle of silver tissue paper, some silk ribbon, foam glue dots, all sorts of bits that were free on the front of a cardmaking magazine and the mag was there too with ideas for using them. A good £3 worth that's for sure. One of the books and the cup-cake boxes will go to the charity shop. Perhaps someone running a Macmillan Coffee Morning later in the month will find them.
The only other thing I got  yesterday was a new pack of 16 fat wax crayons for small children for just 20p.

 The other day Sue in Wales asked if I had unpacked all our books .......I wish........... but this bungalow is Small and I mean SMALL. We only bought  the bungalow because it was detached, in a quiet part of Ipswich, with room for the caravan and didn't need anything doing to it. Space for over 1,000 books wasn't a priority. Back in January and February 2015 I took photos of all the bookshelves we had at Fareacre, they are HERE  if you want to see them..........13 separate posts!  We had room for all the books on shelves in the hall and under the stairs. I got rid of several books before we moved but there are 22 boxes still packed away. Here there is just room for one bookcase with 5 shelves and a lot of the books on the shelves are Col's that he thought he might want to re-read while he's recovering during the winter.
  The only books of mine that I've already read  are just a few that I couldn't bear to be without. (Hovel in the Hills for instance) Most of those piled up at the front have been acquired by me since we arrived here......whoops!  Annieb asked if we were going to move to somewhere bigger just for the books - yes as using a kindle instead would be far too simple!.............and we need room for the grandchildren! :-)
Now here's a funny thing ........... the other day I said I was reading my first ever Barbara Pym - A Glass of Blessings" so I go to write it down in my book-of-books and lo and behold I've already read "An Excellent Woman". When? Where? I don't remember it at all. Shall have to borrow it and re-read. I do sometimes worry that I read so fast that I don't remember a thing about what I've read. Should I  read everything twice? Although as I don't have to answer exam questions on content perhaps it doesn't matter.

Not a good weekend for the poorly man, a nose bleed lasting 16 hours because his platelets are so low meant a night without sleep. More test results due today perhaps the doctors will find out why various blood counts are not recovering as quickly as they ought to be. Because of rain, being worried enough to visit him 3 times on Saturday and being tired Sunday I didn't get to any of the Heritage Open events that I'd planned on seeing. I wanted to visit Ipswich cemetery and the old Broomhill swimming year perhaps.

The weather forecast for here for the next few days is HOT, much  hotter than it should be for mid September. I'm looking forward to going to the beach hut at least one day .......haven't been for a couple of weeks and with children all back at school it will be nice and quiet again...........makes me sound like a grumpy old woman.......Oh yes...........I am!


Friday 9 September 2016

47th out of 47 and 91st out of 91!

Those numbers above are where I am in the reservation lists for the new Alexander McCall Smith in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series  and " The Essex Serpent" it's by Sarah Perry - this popped up on Amazon "Recommended For You", a  new-to-me author, it sounds good - we shall see. As I'm 91st in the waiting list it's obvious that a lot of other people think it sounds good too. Suffolk Libraries have 43 copies so it shouldn't be too long before I get to read it.

My real reason for browsing on Amazon was to pre-order a new book (Tut!). I'm so excited for Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow Blog as the first books he has collaborated with Dean Street Press to republish are available to pre-order now. I've ordered  A Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell. and added "Bewildering Cares" by Winifred Peck, another reprint due out in October, to my wish list.

While I'm looking forward to that arriving here is my latest haul of requested library books .

"The Past Is Myself" is a home front biography but from a English woman who married a German lawyer in 1934 and lived in Germany right through the war.
"Everyone Brave is Forgiven" is a novel and also set during 1939/45. Just coincidence these have turned up at the same time,
The other 3 are all crime, two modern and the bottom one is another of the Jill Paton Walsh books featuring Lord Peter Wimsey the character created in the 1920s by Dorothy Sayers. I've now actually read a Sayers original - "Whose Body?". The very first, written in 1923. That's going to be passed onto a friend.
I've still not finished  "How to be a Tudor" and I'm also reading and enjoying my first ever Barbara Pym - A glass of Blessings"

Loving the Paralympics and Gold medals already even though it's only been on for a day. I shall be watching as much as possible and will also catch " The Last Leg" each evening if I can. I'm quite fond of Josh Widdicombe - in a motherly sort-of way obviously!

Thank you for your prayers and kind wishes. If you've seen Col's Facebook page you'll know he has had another slide down the snake in the snakes and ladder game he's on but is back on a ladder again now.

Back in a jiffy

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Autumn Ladder

It's too easy not to be bothered to do stuff now that Colin has been in hospital for 5 weeks and we are both feeling a bit fed up. He was very down in the dumps on Monday (and it seems unlikely he will be home this week after all) and I could easily slip down into a black hole and keep him company. All I can do to cheer him up is to keep visiting, texting and phoning. But I need to sort myself out and I nearly didn't bother to refill my shabby-chic ladder after emptying the summer stuff last month. Yesterday I gave myself a kicking and found a mixed tray of 6 different things at Aldi for £3.99.
That looks better than a half empty ladder.

 The jigsaw is coming along slowly.

 I'm beginning to wish I'd begun the one my sister has lent me rather than this with it's annoying sand, cliffs and trees!

I found a use for that basket I bought from the charity shop a few weeks back. Using secateurs I cut out the cross pieces that divided it into 6 and it has become the grandchildren's book basket. It's got the board books, picture books and rhyme books in to start with. Easy to fetch from the bottom of the wardrobe when needed.

Car boot sales have had very slim pickings lately. With children all back at school the Wednesday morning one is limited to regulars with loads of rubbish, I came home with nothing and won't bother again, and all I found at one last Sunday was another Soduko Book, a new leather purse - mine is falling apart inside and this pretty little jug with poinsettia. It will be a Christmas present - IF I can bear to part with it! ( As well as baskets I also have a thing about jugs- oh dear.)

Back in a day or 2

Monday 5 September 2016

Black and White

Meeting up with cousins on Saturday brought back lots of memories of their visits to our house when we were all much younger. Our Dad was a builder so we had a builders yard for a back garden, heaps of sand, piles of bricks, sheds full of  bits and pieces but if we played there we were always in the way. Luckily our Dad built us a play-shed. It was about 8 feet square with a proper sized door and window, kitted out with a table with cut down legs and some stools and a large dolls cot. The kitchen was a plank of wood balanced across an old wooden clothes horse. We spent hours playing in it, I wonder if my cousins remember. I hoped to find a photo of the shed but only found this one of me and my sister with the corner of our play-shed behind us. Funny that it was never a play-house always a shed.
Matching dresses.......good grief! What was our mum thinking of. It's 1964 and I'm 9 and my sister 5 years old in this photo. I can quite clearly remember wearing these dresses on holiday and a small child shouting "Look Mummy.....Twins!" Oh the embarrassment we suffered in our youth!

Lacking pictures of us and our cousins playing at home, I only have these...... All 4 of us on holiday at Scratby on the Norfolk coast in 1961. I'm back left with my sister in front and our cousins A back right with S in front.
( I'm not even sure if Scratby still exists, it may well have been washed into the sea sometime in the last 55 years................55 Years!, where did they go for goodness sake?)

Here we are again visiting our Dad's and their Mother's Aunts house in Nacton on the outskirts of Ipswich in 1968. (I'm back right aged 13 and wearing my trendy mock suede jacket). Visiting Great Aunts and Uncles was a regular Sunday afternoon thing back then. Always extremely Boring...........put me off visiting for life!

Happy days lived in black and white.

Back in a trice.

Saturday 3 September 2016

A bit of a do

Just back from my cousin's 60th birthday tea party held in a very smart hotel near Colchester in Essex (I put on my brave knickers and drove there all by myself - go me!!)

Look at those scones and  macaroons, and little jars with lemon posset,and some strange things made with choux pastry, which no-one could quite decide what the filling was.

So nice to see my 2 cousins A and S and their families. Both cousins may be heading back to live in Suffolk sometime in the near future, they lived in Stowmarket when we were all small before my uncle's job took them to Dovercourt and then my cousin's husband's job took A even further afield. We had 4 cousins on my mums side of the family but we didn't see as  much of them as we did these two cousins on Dad's side, who are close in age to me and my sister. As we all get older it seems only funerals bring families together so it's nice to meet up on a happy occasion.

Colin was sad to miss it but I brought home a scone and a  mini jar of Tiptree strawberry jam for him.
Speaking of home, he Might and I stress Might be home one day in the week ahead, although nothing is ever 100% certain. It will be nice not to navigate 9 roundabouts and 8 sets of traffic lights there and back every day twixt here and hospital........

Thank you for all the towel comments, who  knew scratchy towels could be so interesting!

Back in a flash

Friday 2 September 2016

What a Disaster Darling

 Strictly Come Dancing fans will recognise the post title, 'tis often said here when things go wrong.

For instance the Marrow curd I made a few weeks back was revolting. It looked good and smelled good but the texture was not nice.

This week I made lemon and lime marmalade using a tin of prepared lemon Mamade and fresh limes following a recipe that had been successful before. BUT even though the limes were cooked and soft when I added them they've turned into hard chewy bits in the end product. These were meant to be hamper presents but I'll have to keep them to eat myself - fishing out the hard bits every time I spread my toast!

And I'll leave you with this thought................

 Why are sun dried tomatoes delicious but sun dried towels hard and scratchy? ( or is it just my towels?)

Back Soon

Thursday 1 September 2016

Book Reviews......The Good, The Bad and The Indifferent.

CoverThese are short stories all set in the area know as The Suffolk Sandlings, mainly around Snape, Blaxhall and Aldeburgh. The author uses the real names of the villages and locality but then weaves in past and present, magic and supernatural.
Having lived  on the edge of The Sandlings for 23 years I know the area well, so was interested to read these stories even though I'm not keen on short stories and even less fond of ghost tales.
As I'm not much good at writing reviews and I couldn't find a short review anywhere,  here's what it says on the back of the book, big enough for you to read, hopefully.
I enjoyed most of the stories, but probably only because of the area, as it's not something I would choose to read normally.

Next up - " The Lanimer Bride" by Pat McIntosh
Cover11th in this series set in 15th century Scotland. A stand alone story but as always things make more sense if you start at the beginning. All 11 have been a good read if you like historical crime.
This is the note from the library website
How could the heavily-pregnant bride of the lanimer-man vanish into thin air? Young Mistress Audrey Madur is missing and her husband, responsible for maintaining boundaries and overseeing land use in the burgh of Lanark, is strangely reluctant to search for her. Gil Cunningham, answering the frantic appeal of Audrey's mother, finds himself searching the burgh and the lands round about, questioning family and neighbours. He and Alys uncover disagreements, feuds, adultery and murder, and encounter once again the flamboyant French lady Olympe Archibecque, who is not at all what she seems. And then another lady goes missing.

Wish these books included a translated list of the difficult old Scottish words the author uses, it would make them easier to understand.

Mrs Miniver by Jan Struther was first published in 1939 and begun as a column in The Times. I read it many
Coveryears ago but wanted to re read after reading her other book "Try Anything twice". The cover of this edition shows a still from the film starring Greer Garson. The book and film were both popular in the States and here. Churchill said they did more for the war effort than a flotilla of battleships and Roosevelt claimed it had hastened America's entry into the war. It's short essays and sketches about a  family during the early months of the war. An easy enjoyable read.

Next "Second-hand Stories" by Josh Spero
The library describes it thus.............Every second-hand book tells two stories: one within its pages and another of the life it lived before changing hands. Whether mundane or extraordinary, on a grand scale or intensely personal, every second-hand book conceals the story of its past life. Lives filled with love, loss, scandal and conflict, these are the intimate and incredible stories that author Josh Spero uncovered after tracking down the previous owners of 12 of his second-hand books.

I thought "how the heck did he know who owned his books previously?" But it's because they are all books read while he was studying Classics at University and have the name and often the school/college and dates noted in the front. For each book he writes about what he was doing at the time of the previous owner's ownership( if you follow) and then a few pages about the previous owner, why they had the book and why it was disposed of for him to be able purchase it. Unfortunately after about 20 pages I became an anti-snob snob! With all the books being translations of Greek or Latin texts, I soon found I wasn't interested in why he had bought them or why the previous owner had owned them. Back to the library unfinished.

Edward Marston ( real name Keith Miles) has written a lot of books, all - I think-historical crime and there are many different series. Looking him up on Fantastic Fiction I found he's been writing 2 or 3 books a year since the mid 80's

CoverSadly I think it's about time he stopped! This one - Signal for Vengeance - the 13th and latest in The Railway Detective series, is not well written. He tends to repeat whole paragraphs about the characters in each book and now seems to write in very short sentences. I did finish it because it's a crime book and I needed to know who-did-it and because I've read all the previous in the series and if he writes another I'll probably read it and moan all over again!
Cover This is a fascinating read. Most people do research by reading other books but of course Ruth's research has involved all the various TV programmes where she has dressed and lived the part. This is what it says about this book on Amazon -

The Tudor era encompasses some of the greatest changes in our history. But while we know about the historical dramas of the times - most notably in the court of Henry VIII - what was life really like for a commoner like you or me?
To answer this question, the renowned "method historian" and historical advisor to the BBC Ruth Goodman has slept, washed and cooked as the Tudors did - so you don't have to! She is your expert guide to this fascinating era, drawing on years of practical historical study to show how our ancestors coped with everyday life, from how they slept to how they courted.
Using a vast range of sources, she takes you back to the time when soot was used as toothpaste and the "upper crust" of bread was served to the wealthier members of the house. Exploring how the Tudors learnt, danced and even sat and stood according to the latest fashion, she reveals what it all felt, smelt and tasted like, from morning until night.

Perhaps not a book for reading straight through but as an-inbetween-other-books book it's really good.

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