Thursday, 18 July 2019

Thursday

. . . and a very early good morning to you.  It's been one of those sleepless nights and I ended up coming downstairs and doing stuff rather than things going endlessly round and round in my mind.

In the end I got a reasonable amount of stuff done yesterday.  I went to Aldi fairly early which was good because it was comparatively empty and I didn't have to queue for long at the checkout.  I managed to get everything on my list, which was good.
Then I wandered along to look at floor coverings and saw a couple of definite possibilities that, I think, will go nicely in the downstairs loo.  I won't get anything actioned until the middle of August anyway so there's time to just ponder.
After putting everything away, I did some housework and a spot of gardening before Beth turned up to work.  Then, later on, I did some mending/turning up clothes so I'm glad that's done.

Today, Beth and I are going to 'And Sew On' to choose fabrics for the bed covers and the bunting she is going to make for me.  We had planned to go about three weeks ago but other stuff got in the way.  It should be fun - expensive but fun!

Then, this evening, it's SW group.  Now that pottery has finished for the term, I'm back to my Thursday group and I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again.  I'm not looking forward to the weigh in results quite as much after a holiday but what will be, will be.  Ho hum!

I'm starting to feel tired now so I think I will try for some sleep.  At least I don't have to worry about getting to work after a sleepless night nowadays.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Wednesday

Good morning, everyone.  The sun is shining and the forecast for today is very promising so fingers crossed for a good day, like yesterday.

I now have a new electricity meter after the chap came, as expected, to instal it.  So that's off my list.
The letter came about the boob squash.  All's fine, next one in three years after which time I will have to organise my own - as if breast cancer stops at the age of 71!!!
Beth came round to work here.  She said Indigo hasn't ventured out since her little adventure!
I sorted out the messy pile of magazines, recycling most of them and replacing them with the most recent mags that I bought to take on holiday and hardly read.
I did the tuition session.
The biggest excitement was probably spraying the blackfly on the new dahlia at the front.  I've just been out to take the photo below and it seems clear now so that's good as it's definitely one I want to keep.  I'm not sure if the multi-colour will continue or if it's just an accident of nature and it will revert - I hope it's the former!  There are plenty of buds so I will find out soon.



Apart from that, I can't really remember anything much - it must have just been one of those 'nothing' days.  I suspect today will be the same.

I need to go to Aldi as I suddenly find myself out of things like loo rolls, frozen salmon, etc.  The result of running down your supplies before going away is that you have to run them back up again afterwards!  I need to make some more yogurt and have no long life milk and I am getting through salad veg like there's no tommorrow.

I'm also thinking of replacing the lino in the downstairs loo.  The flip side is that there's nothing wrong with it so doesn't actually NEED replacing but it was a hand on off cut from Mum and Dad, it's dark and makes an already small-windowed and gloomy room a bit gloomier.  I think a nice, light replacement would make such a difference.  There's a couple of flooring places near to Aldi's so I will take a look and see what's there.  I'll have to get them to lay it too but that's OK.  It's a tiny room with some awkward bits so better for the pros to do the job.

The garden is looking so exciting right now - apart from the runner beans which have plenty of flowers but none are setting yet, they just drop.  It shouldn't be long though and then I will be swamping the neighbours with offerings!

The ready cucumber does need cutting as you can see below but I will leave it until Friday so it's fresh to take to Dad's with me.  There are loads more baby ones so I hope the neighbours like cucumbers as much as runner beans.


Still no sign of ripening tomatoes but it can't be long now, surely.  They are definitely lightening up.  Dad has already picked a few so he's won that particular race - yet again!  Grrrrr . . .


Well, it's nearly seven, more than time I started the day off with a tidy and clean around the kitchen so, as Diane sometimes says, I will love you and loave you!  Have a splendid day and I hope everything goes well for you!  xx

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Tuesday

Good morning!  Yesterday was such a happy day because of Indigo's return.  Thank you for all your lovely comments sharing in our happiness - and if that sounds soppy, that's because I feel soppy!  :-)
I went round to Beth's to take some shopping and found an atmosphere of euphoric bliss there - and that was just the cats!!  Inds kept snuggling up to Beth whenever she sat down and followed her around if she was up.  She's never done that much before so I guess she had been thoroughly scared, poor puss-cat. 

I looked up info about footpaths around here and got side tracked into a site that informs about regular organised walks in and around town between 30 mins and about 90 mins which I might get a little bit involved in.  There's a local one on Thursday morning although I think I have something else on then.  Never mind, they happen once a week so another week will do.  This is the site.  Has anyone heard of Walking for Life?
https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder/chelmsford-heart-and-sole

I got my act together and have resumed my early morning swims.  It was lovely, well worth the effort and I was home by half past eight so it really doesn't cut into the day at all.  I can't go today but may well go again tomorrow.

The other happy is that I cut the first cucumber yesterday and, oh, my word!  SO delicious.  Cool, fresh, crisp and juicy, it was lovely, so much nicer than bought ones.  It will see me through the week and there's another one ready which I will cut and take to Dad's with me on Friday.

Today they are changing the electric meter any time between eight and twelve so I have to stay in.  The power will be off for about thirty minutes so I will then have to go round resetting a few clocks afterwards.

Apart from the above and a tuition session (the last this week), that's all the planned stuff for today.  There's a few messy corners in the living room so today's task is to get them sorted out.  It shouldn't take long and will look so much the better for it.

Well, better stop and get going with the day.  May it be a great day for us all.  xx


Monday, 15 July 2019

Monday

Good morning.  I have woken to some very, very happy news.
For the last four and a half days, my daughter's beloved cat (one of them, anyway) has been missing, AWOL, causing some extreme anxiety and deep unhappiness for Beth and Alex.  For longer term readers, Indie was the mother of those lovely litters of Tonkinese kittens I posted about in the past, although she is neutered now and getting elderly.
When that happens, you imagine all the worst things, don't you, and the chances of ever knowing what happened are quite remote.  Beth and Alex had started leaflet dropping in the neighbourhood, done the Facebook publicity thing, etc, and I was going to print out another load of leaflets for rather wider distribution today.

However, overnight Inds came home again, very stressed, starving hungry and glad to be home.  She's eaten a shedload of catfood, hidden under Beth's bed for a while and is now, I gather, out and accepting love and fuss.
Obviously, I was worried about Indie, but even more worried for Beth and Alex.  There's nothing you can say or do that makes things any better in a situation like that and I am just so glad and happy that she is home again and seems none the worse for the experience, physically anyway.

Such a good start to a new week.

Back to yesterday.  After finishing off the ironing, etc,  I went for a walk, just an hour around the local coutry roads.  It was very pleasant and I took a few photos.  It's just a shame it's so very flat around here - a few hills and dips would make it very attractive.  There's plenty of  brambles flowering so guess who will be back, punnet in hand, later on in the year!






When I arrived home, nestling at the bottom of my front door, was this.


From next door's garden and very, very delicious.  She's top of the list for a cucumber in a few days' time - I have two almost ready to pick, not just one - the other was doing an Indie and hiding!

I have also noticed that the chilli plants is peppered (excuse the pun) with little chillis  which should be pickable in three or four week's time.  I must start looking up ways of preserving them.


Today starts off with joy, of course.  I intend going for an early morning swim before the usual daily stuff - tidying, bit of cleaning, sorting out the kitchen for the day and so on.  Later on, Beth is round and I have tuition this evening - definitely back into the daily round now.

There were, I noticed, a number of footpaths marked on yesterday's walk so I must look them up.  It's a bit shameful that I've lived here over thirty years and don't know the footpaths but it's never too late to start, is it?

So that's today.  Nice and ordinary with, hopefully, no hidden traps along the way.  Have a good one too, all of you!  xx

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Sunday

Good morning, everyone.  It is home sweet home for me after a really excellent journey home yesterday.  Driving on the A12 is a whole lot better on Saturday than it is on Friday and I had absolutely no holdups whatsoever apart from the occasional roundabout.  It was busy around Ipswich but not slow and round Colchester was a doddle!

I stopped off at Sainsbury's on the way home for provisions and had intended to get one of the car washing men to do my car but they weren't there.  I've never known them not there on a Saturday before.  D'you think they knew I was coming?  Grumble, grumble!

Once home. I unloaded the car and got going.  Most of the stuff is now away again, all the washing has been done and half the ironing.  It all took longer than I expected and I was then glad to sit down and catch up with some of my telly recordings.

So that was yesterday.  Today, I will finish off the tidying up, type up my meal plans, get the ironing finished, prep for a bit of tuition and go for a walk.  It won't be a beach walk, sadly, but it will be a country walk.

The garden has come on.
The runner beans are not at the top of the archways and there are more flowers, although no baby beans yet.  There are loads of little tomatoes, loads of baby cucumbers and one nearly ready to cut, a few baby chillis, some unripe blueberries and some ripening fruit from the tayberry-that-refused- to-die at long, long last.  Not loads but enough to keep the hope for future crops up.  Finally, the autumn fruiting raspberries are starting to bud.

Cucumbers . . .


(Not so) Blueberries

The tayberry-that-refused-to-die - the darkest one, out of focus, at the back is the ripe one.

Tomatoes - barring accidents and blight, it should be a good crop


Raspberries

Better give them all a good feed today!

It's dull at the moment because it's early, but the sky looks pretty clear so we may get some sunshine, fingers crossed.  Have a lovely day.  xx

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Saturday

Good morning, everyone.  I wasn't going to do an entry until I got home but, for the first time here, I didn't sleep all that well and am up very early so I thought I may as well . . .

I think the bad night was from two causes.  There's a few things going on back home that concern me (personally but not directly, if that makes sense) and - well, I did have a big dinner last night!

Yesterday morning it was raining but by mid-morning it had all cleared up and the sun was shining so off I went, down to the beach, walking shoes and back pack on.  Both have been a real blessing this week.  The shoes (just Karrimor ones, nothing special) have given my feet great support and the back pack (just a small one) holds money, roll up mac, sun cream, book, etc, very comfortably.  The tide was out and, I think, pretty much on the turn so I strolled right by the edge down to the estuary and back.  On the way back someone caught up with me and, lo and behold, it was my friend, Faith!  She and her husband have a cottage a bit further down the coast and they had come to Southwold for the day with a couple of friends.  What are the chances, eh?  If it had just been her and hubby, I'd have suggested a coffee together, but as she had friend with her, I didn't like to.  Maybe next time.

I carried on after a refreshing chat, putting on my mac as it started to rain lightly, but that lasted something like five minutes before the sun came out again - the worst was out at sea where it looked very black and you could see the rain falling.

After lunch, I wandered up and down the high street and just bought some Southwold rock to take back.  I gave the item I was thinking about a miss because I liked it but I didn't really love it.  Then it was back to the shed to watch some Wimbledon.

As expected, the fish and chips was so delicious.  Freshly cooked in beef dripping, the flavour was wonderful.  No wonder it is a popular place and, as they fry to order, there was quite a group waiting but fifteen minutes or so later, I had my order and ten minutes after that I was tucking in.

Another coincidence - when I went on Facebook in the evening, there was a photo of an ex colleague who retired the same time as I did (but who is back teaching on and off) leaning against one of the beach huts by the pier.  She was here for the day with an aunt who lives not too far away.  Three of us, all from the same mid Essex primary school in the same holiday town on the same day!

The packing is pretty much done now with just a few bits and bobs left out.  When I'm dressed, I'll get it all into the car and then lock up the shed and take the key back to Suffolk Secrets before coming back (maybe the long way) to collect the car and leave.

And that will be my holiday over.  It's been fantastic but it will also be fantastic to get home again too.  In three and a half weeks I will be off again, this time to France on my Unexpected Holiday.  What a gadabout!

I know the house will be nice and clean because the cleaners were in yesterday and the garden will be fine as people between them have kept it watered.  There will be some weeding but that won't take too long.  There will be some washing too - I have a big bag of clothes to deal with so fingers crossed it is nice and warm this afternoon so it all dries well.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Friday

Good morning.  Long entry alert!  Text and photo heavy!

On my last day here at Southwold, I realise I haven't said much about where I'm staying.
When I booked it, it was called the Garden House but somewhere since then the name changed to Garden Studio.  A sensible change as it certainly isn't a house, more like a glorified shed.  No, that's not at all fair, it's really pleasant, very comfortable, well laid out with just a few personal niggles and the bed is just about the most comfy holiday cottage bed I have ever slept in.

However - garden?  No way (although I suppose the whole area was probably a garden long ago)!  It's actually sited up a narrow gravel road off between the High Street and Victoria Street so perfectly placed for everything.  One or two minutes to the shops, three or four to the coast but, because of where it is, pretty private and away from any madding crowds.  Not lovely though as it's behind the shops and you know what back of shops can be like.  However, it is perfectly safe, the other cottages are a mix of holiday and residential and, huge, great, enormous plus, it has its own off road parking.  A bit tight but absolutely fine!

Inside is just one room with a separate (tiny) loo/shower room.  The cooking area has enough in the way of tools/equipment, although personally I would prefer a little more working space, more than two rings in a small hob, and one empty cupboard for my own food would have been welcomed.
See what I mean!

As I said, the bed (a pull down bed that I just left down all week) is great

. . . but the lack of clothes space is the weakest point in the whole place.  I found it was not quite enough and it's supposed to accommodate two!
The living area is great.  Roomy and comfortable.  No complaints there whatsoever.  Oh, yes, one.  A little coffee table would have been nice.

Looking down from the front door:

And back up again:

Then, through a French window (that sticks at the bottom when you try to open it), a little courtyard for sitting out.  I didn't, it wasn't that sort of weather at the right times, but it was nice to have the door open to let the fresh air in.

I've described Southwold as 'sleepy' and so it is early mornings and evenings too.  During the day, the High Street and the shops are bustling but you don't have to go too far away to lose most of the crowds.  I'm sure it is more crowded once schools are out but right now it is perfect and I guess (at risk of sounding a bit snobby which I don't mean to) the lack of 'popular' amenities wouldn't attract those out for a noisy night life.  It doesn't have much (if any) in the way of  the usual seaside stuff - night clubs, amusement arcades, funfairs, marinas, etc, and you have to search for ice cream/seaside rock/bucket and spade kiosks or shops and, for me, that all suits me down to the ground.

So I've seen young families happily doing seasidy things with buckets and spades, people walking dogs which have to be kept on a lead in certain parts of the shore (great), people enjoying their beach huts (which you can hire by the day - might do that next time) and people of a 'certain age', retired and enjoying life, strolling around in sensible shoes and clothing looking, like me, perfectly happy with their lot.

The beach is beautiful, a mixture of sand and pebbly patches (but hardly any shells).  Most of it is well washed by the tide twice a day, there's a beach cleaning scheme going on and there are designated 'safe places' for swimming with a lifeguard on duty whenever people are swimming in the sea between the flags.



I know Southwold has taken some stick for fighting to stay as it is now but I wish them all power in their fight.  There aren't enough places like this and those who want the livelier type of break have plenty of places to choose from.

Yesterday we had some rain here so the day started slowly as I stayed in, pottering about, doing a bit of cooking, sorting, tidying up, etc.  I went for a sand stroll again (lovely) before coming home for lunch.  I hadn't taken lunch with me because it hadn't looked promising but the sun came out and it was gorgeous so I could have!  Never mind.
The market was up again and I saw some garden chairs that I truly coveted and, if I had been at home, I'd have bought at least one, stuff the price.  For what they are, they're not shockingly expensive anyway.  But I'd have had no way of getting it/them home.
Aren't they gorgeous?





In the afternoon I spent some time looking around the Church of St Edmund, Southwold. 


I started having a good nosey round and then saw a notice saying that there would be a free tour of the church every Thursday afternoon, starting at two thirty.  What luck.  So I waited and joined the group and it was well worth it; the guide pointed out lots of things I would never have noticed or seen the significance of by myself.  I took photos and will do a separate post about it.  Here's just a few photos.



Sue (from The Cottage at the End of a Lane), have you ever visited it?

As it is last day, I'm just going to do all my favourite stuff from this week.  A stroll along the beach to the Blyth estuary (while I am there I will have an ice cream and look round the RNLI thingies) and back again right along to the pier and back to the middle (depending on the weather - it's raining as I type).  Then I will do a bit of shopping for little gifts for folks and maybe for me as well.  I did catch sight of something in the amber shop that wasn't really exhorbitant but I'm not sure.

Then I have to pack and I'd like to load up the car with as much as possible to make for an easy morning tomorrow .  Packing to go home is always so much easier and quicker than packing to come, isn't it?  I also ought to just give the place a quick wipe around and sweep the floor.  I know they properly clean places between tenants but I always like to clear the worst evidence!

And I will finish off with fish and chips from the Little Fish Shop and a free beer from the Adnams shop (we were all given a voucher after the tour).

Tomorrow, I may not post until I get home later in the day.  I should be home by early afternoon.  All's well with the house and garden, I gather, and I'm looking forward to seeing how much things have grown (except the weeds - I'm not looking forward to them at all).
And now it's time for coffee.  Enjoy your day, everyone; I am sure I will.


Thursday, 11 July 2019

Thursday

Good morning, everyone.
The rain came and went, leaving some sunshine in the afternoon, which was nice.

The three little museums I visited were better than I had expected.  The Sailors' Reading Room focused on the work of the lifeboats and fishing industries in and around Southwold and I came away with a mini-book to read at my leisure.  There were tales of real heroism and forgetfulness of self in that little room; it was strangely impressive.

The amber museum was a tiny display at the back of a very nice jewellery shop and basically there were some boards detailing the story of amber and then some examples of items made with amber, all behind glass as, it said, they are very fragile.  Amber isn't my favourite thing but there was some incredibly detailed workmanship on display and it was well worth seeing

Finally I went to the Southwold Museum which looked miniscule from the outside but was Tardis-like on the inside and, again, packed with information about Southwold's long and colourful past.  Until it was pointed out, I hadn't realised that Southwold is almost an island with the Blyth estuary to the south, Buss Creek to the north with, of course, the North Sea to the east.

Two more days to go and today I want to visit St Edmund's church which is just down the road from here.  It looks impressive from the outside although Wiki tells me that there aren't many really historical things left after various issues with the reformation, a couple of World Wars, etc.  We will see. anyway, and it will be interesting to look round on what looks like being a dull day.  Apart from that, I will be lazy and saunter down to the beach to enjoy the sights and sounds.

I suppose I ought to think about packing a few bits and bobs too.  How sad!

Have a lovely day, everyone.  xx

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Wednesday

Good morning.  There's still three days to go, including today.  That extra day has made a big difference!

Weather wise, the forecast is not good.  Light rain and a gentle breeze and I have to admit it does look very like it right now.  The heaviest and lowest clouds I have seen since Saturday.  We had a few drops of rain yesterday, but nothing much and quickly over.

Yesterday I had three good walks and a brewery tour.
The first one was my early morning walk to get the paper, detour to the beach, sit and read the paper and then take a long way home for breakfast.  Everywhere is pretty deserted at that time and those of us who are out exchange smiles and greetings.  Very friendly.

Then, after breakfast and sorting out my little home, I set off again.  With an hour to waste, I went down to the beach again for some more sand walking before it was time to head to the pick up point for the tour.  It was all very interesting, especially the history, related by a very enthusiastic old chap who certainly knew his onions!  We could have got very tiddly at the tasting after the tour - the amounts and varieties were extremely generous!  We also left with a voucher for a free beer/lager from the shop which I will certainly make good use of on Friday.

Home for lunch and to watch a bit of Wimbledon before setting out again, along to the pier and beyond.  There seems to be no way to go any further than the end of the sea walk bit; there are barriers and a stone wall that goes into the sea and it is obvious that 'they' want to deter people so I won't even try to get round that.  Things like that are usually there for a reason.  It was a lovely walk; the tide was just on the turn so as soon as I got back to the Southwold side of the pier, I went onto the sand and strolled along the water's edge all the way to the sand dunes (which isn't all that far really but I kept stopping to watch the waves).  There weren't many people about, just a couple of hardy swimmers, a few kite flyers and, like me, people enjoying a walk.

Well, while I was typing the above, it started to rain and there are big splats on the windows.  Never mind, I had planned a more inside day today.
Firstly, I need to do a little bit of shopping to get things like a bit more fresh fruit and veg, a bit of fish and chicken and so on.
Then I shall do the museums.  I had thought to walk to the estuary to the RNLI museum but I'll see how the weather works out.  Then there's the Sailors' Reading Room, the Amber Museum and the Southwold Museum, all of which are within very easy reach and all very small.
I was going to go up the lighthouse as well but, after seeing the notice about very dodgy steps (at some points, they need to be tackled backwards like a ladder) and not suitable for those with vertigo, I shall give it a miss.  I still remember when I got stuck on the steps up to the top of Framlingham castle and had to go back down the up stairs, backwards and almost on hands and knees.  Not a nice experience and one I have no wish to knowingly repeat!  Holidays are meant to be fun, after all!

So that's today.  I might do a windswept walk along the sand again, I'd like that, but will see how everything fits in.
Hoping we all have a good day, whatever we plan to do.  xx


Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Tuesday

. . . and half way through.

Good morning, everyone.  Despite the weather forecast, yesterday was another lovely day.  Yes, there were clouds, but never 'thick' and there were plenty of warm and sunny intervals too.  AT the moment, it is definitely cloudy and the forecast is dull, dull, dull!  We will see.

I slightly changed my plans yesterday. 
I had the early morning stroll to pick up a paper and took the longer way back, stopping at the sea front to enjoy the waves before getting back and having breakfast.

My right foot (the one that used to give me a lot of trouble when I was enormous) was a bit painful so I decided to ease it up gently with a stroll up and down the main street, in and out of all the shops.  As luck would have it, the tiny market was set up too.  So up and down, in and out, went I but there wasn't much I wanted to got really and, as people had already told me, it was mostly jolly expensive.  It was lovely to look though; one shop did pots of rather gorgeous looking salads and I think I might indulge for one for a lunch, maybe on the last day.

I did get one thing though.  I will talk about my accommodation in another entry but, suffice it to say, it's very nice with a few niggles and one of the niggles is the size of the bath towels.  One of my morning things (when I can) is to have my bath/shower, wrap one of my ginormous towels round myself and come back down for a while.  I can get most ordinary bath towels around myself now but, sadly, not the ones provided here, which are a bit stingy size-wise.  So, when I saw some beach towels in one of the shops, I got one and now I can do my usual for the remains of the holiday.  This makes me very happy indeed!  I guess we are all creatures of habit in many ways and we like our daily routines and patterns

I also popped into one of Adnams areas and booked a tour of the brewery for today at twelve.  I had a choice, brewery or distillery but the girl said that if I wanted more about the history of the company, the brewery was the one to go for - so I did.  When it's over, included in the price is a tasting session, presumably with opportunities to buy.  Sounds good!

After lunch I set off to explore the coast the other way.  The wind was stronger, the tide was almost right in, the waves were very splashy and it was fun although, sadly, I didn't get very far at all.  The road morphed into a private road, the 'promenade' thing stopped with no beach access and I was certainly not going to go back and onto the sand, seeing as the tide was still coming in and what was left of the sand would soon be covered, if it wasn't already. 



So I stood and watched (I just LOVE watching waves) for ages, very windswept and occasionally getting thoroughly splattered before strolling back to the pier and going up and down that.  It's a nice little pier, free access, not all that long and with not too many little shops.  There's also an odd water clock with a funny surprise every half an hour (I believe it's every half hour) that makes the adults guffaw and the children shriek with shocked amusement.

And my foot was fine, thanks to my walking shoes! 

I'll check the tide times carefully and have another go when it's actually going out, walking along the sand, although I expect if it isn't safe or if it is private land, it will say so, and I'm not likely to invade someone else's privacy.  I just couldn't see if I could have got any further by beach so it's worth a another look and will be a nice walk.

Once home again, I watched Wimbledon and pottered happily around, eating way too much (ooops), until bed time.

I slept like a log!

Today, I have the Adnams brewery tour to look forward to, which will be the main event of the day.  I really ought to also give this little place a tidy up which will take all of . . . ooohhh, let's say fifteen minutes max!

I think I will have another 'enjoy the sand' morning and go to the tour starting place from there, rather than from here.  It is so nice to just sit, kindle and/or magazine to hand, and enjoy the sea air, the sea sounds and the sight of happy people doing happy seaside things.  Being very much an introvert, I have always been a people-watcher and it gives me great enjoyment.

After the tour, no idea.  Maybe back to the shore, maybe back here to watch Wimbledon.  I might pay the sea another evening visit; I'll see what the weather is doing by then. 

In home news, all is well and Beth sent me a photo of one of the cucumber plants.  It seems to be thriving.


Have a lovely day, everyone!


Monday, 8 July 2019

Monday

Good morning!  Day three has started off rather dull and cloudy and, indeed, the forecast is for thick cloud and a gentle breeze although the sun may break through late afternoon.  Never mind; it won't stop me doing what I plan.

Yesterday was a bit energetic; in fact, I'm still feeling the effects of a good long walk along the sea shore, much harder work than normal walking!
The day started off with a stroll to the newsagents to get a paper before breakfast and a leisurely read of the colour supplement before packing my back pack with my lunch and a bit of cash and setting off.  I headed to the sand and then walked down to the harbour.  It was warm, sunny, splashy and absolutely delightful.  It was by no means crowded but there were some families doing beachy-sand things and it took me right back to when my brothers and I were young and used to build not just a castle but a whole series of castles, cottages and water channels and then stood defying the sea to come and destroy them.  It never worked, of course, but it didn't stop us trying again in the eternal and totally unrealistic optimism of childhood!
(I took no photos of children building sandcastles - not a clever thing to try to do nowadays)


Once at the estuary, I headed up the river a short distance to the ferry, which is a rowing boat that seats twelve and a man who makes great use of the currents and flows to get his passengers across with the minimum of rowing at a pound a go.


I walked through Walberswick (quaint little hamlet with a few tourist shops and eating places) and down a bit more before going onto the beach again to eat my lunch before sand walking (ouch) back to the river again.


Once back home again, I unpacked my bag, made a refreshing cuppa, sat down to carry on reading the paper and went to sleep!

After dinner, I strolled back down to the sea front which was pretty well deserted once I got past the eating places with just a few folk who were, like me, watching the waves sparkling in the long rays of the setting sun.  Very peaceful, very relaxing, very calming.

Once in bed, I was asleep in minutes!
Today, I'm a bit stiff!!!

So, to ease things off, I'm going to head up north this time, past the pier and along the beach.  It's not built up or holiday-ish but it looks accessible and I've checked tide times which work well for me.  Depending on what the weather does, I will either picnic or I might wait until I get back before eating - the day is mine to do whatever I fancy doing really.  Lovely!

Other things I want to do this week is 'do' the little museums (I've located three so far), go up the lighthouse and look round the church which is just down the road.  I'd like to do the Adnams tour as well and will pop to the shop today to see where I can book.  It's not cheap but I will be interesting.  I also ummed and ahed about a boat trip up the Blythe or out to sea but might leave that until next time.
And there's all those little shops to explore
I won't be bored, will I?

It's brightening up outside now and the gulls are making a terrific din, bless them!  All part of being by the coast and very nice it is too.
Have a great day, whatever you have planned.  xx

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Sand-Between-The-Toes

Today I am reminded of another A A Milne childhood favourite.

Sand-Between-The-Toes
I went down to the shouting sea,
Taking Christopher down with me,
For Nurse had given us sixpence each-
And down we went to the beach.

We had sand in the eyes and the ears and the nose,
And sand in the hair, and sand-between-the-toes.
Whenever a good nor'wester blows,
Christopher is certain of
Sand-between-the-toes.

The sea was galloping grey and white;
Christopher clutched his sixpence tight;
We clambered over the humping sand-
And Christopher held my hand.

We had sand in the eyes and the ears and the nose,
And sand in the hair, and sand-between-the-toes.
Whenever a good nor'wester blows,
Christopher is certain of
Sand-between-the-toes.

There was a roaring in the sky;
The sea-gulls cried as they blew by;
We tried to talk, but had to shout-
Nobody else was out.

When we got home, we had sand in the hair,
In the eyes and the ears and everywhere;
Whenever a good nor'wester blows,
Christopher is found with
Sand-between-the-toes.

Thankfully it wasn't as windy as all that today!


Sunday

Good morning.  After some rain yesterday, it looks more promising today as far as one can tell so early in the morning and the forecast is good - sunny intervals and a gentle breeze.  It probably won't get into the 20s (says the BBC) which suits me perfectly as I want to do the walk and ferry to Walberswick today and will work up a good heat, not to mention wearing my walking shoes.

Here's a couple of photos of the B&B - what I saw when I arrived there with the blessed 'vacancies' sign and the living room in the studio apartment, rather messy because I had moved in by then.



After saying farewell to the B&B couple, I drove back into Southwold and parked at the pay and display next to the Sail Loft.  A fiver buys 24 hours of parking and, while I didn't need that long, I might just have gone over from the next time down and anyway, it's just another pound between friends, so to speak!  I spent more than that on an ice cream!!

I strolled along the beach back towards the town, meandered on the pier, looked up and down the high street, walked back and along the other way to the harbour, had an ice cream, had my lunch and walked back to the car.  By that time it was raining so I went into the Sail Loft and had two rather nice coffees and read my Kindle for a while.  Then I drove to where I am now and parked the car outside, changed from my fold up mac into my proper coat, dug out my brolly and walked again, first up to the Adnams shop (of course), then down to the butcher's and into Tesco and then into Suffolk Secrets to pick up the key.  I'm now all set up, food wise, for the day.

There's some gorgeous shops here.  I've found a superb cheese shop which I can't really enjoy too much because of SW.  Just as well as I looked at some of the prices and . . . swoon!  There's also a great pie shop and several other small food shops which all look - well, expensive!  There's also a Seasalt clothes shop (oh, dear).  One thing I really do not need is more clothes, not now!
There's also a fair number of reasonably posh eating places which I won't frequent, and a fish and chip shop which sent out temptingly appetising fragrance through the raindrops.  I found one shop that sells seaside rock - there are probably more but the place isn't loaded with them, which is nice, and I saw a really pretty necklace and bracelet set in a 'nicknack' shop on the pier that I will may get later in the week as a momento.

A few photos . . . a classic of the beach huts (I'd love one), waves, a George Orwell mural on the pier and the view back to Southwold from the sand dunes.





I think my days will fall into my usual holiday routine - wake as and when, coffee, shower and dress, then out for a morning 'constitutional' to get the paper and enjoy the town before it really wakes up, then back for a leisurely breakfast and out for whatever the day's event is.

Today I think I will do the walk to Walberswick, crossing the estuary on the ferry.  I will take a picnic with me and have a coffee somewhere en route.  Then back for a cuppa and, later, to cook and eat dinner.  There's an outside seating area which looks fairly private so if it's warm, I can sit out there and enjoy the sun which has emerged as I have been typing all this - hope it stays around!

To finish, on Thursday, my 'tutee' gave me some flowers as a thank you.  I brought them with me and they are brightening up the room nicely.


I think it is time for another coffee!
Have a lovely day, everyone!  xx

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Saturday

Morning.
I am an utter and complete wally and nothing else.
When was I booked to start my holiday?  Yesterday? No, not yesterday, today.  Doh.

Of course, I didn't realise until I got there and found my little building well and truly occupied.  Thankfully, before I went storming in, I checked the paperwork.  Phew.

So I found a parking slot (not as hard as I thought it would be) and made my way to the booking agents where I 'fessed up and gave them a chuckle.  In return, they gave me the name of somewhere with parking where they might have a room for one night.  I went there but alas, no luck.  They recommended somewhere else and gave me sketchy (and slightly dodgy) instructions about how to get there.  I tried at that place and hit gold.  No, not a room, sadly, but an extremely helpful receptionist chap who said sorry, they were full (it was starting to feel like 'no room at the inn) but then he looked up on the internet and not only found a B&B with space but also phoned them for me and let them know I was coming.  AND let me use the hotel loo!

So here I am, sitting in what is a converted and extended garage (definitely not a stable this time) with three extremely clean and neat rooms - bedroom, bathroom and everything-else room, haven woken way too early but I don't care  The things in my chill bag are in the little fridge getting thoroughly cold so they should be fine.  There's wi-fi and a big telly and, apparently, a resident hedgehog who comes a-visiting in the night and sets off the security light, not that I noticed.  At eight thirty, the lady of the establishment is bringing me my breakfast. 
How's that for landing on my feet, eh?


Yes, I could have gone back home, that's the bottom line, but I really didn't want to and I didn't have to, I had a little adventure instead and had to with my 'thing' about finding somewhere I haven't looked up and planned beforehand in great detail.  Mind you, I was so glad I had the sat nav.

And I still have seven days in Southwold.

I'm going to drive back to Southwold later and park in the pay and display car park I found beside the first hotel/bar I tried, right by the beach between Southwold and Walberswick, pay for a day's parking and then walk along the beach back to Southwold and have a good explore.  I can pick up the key at four and I now know exactly where my home for the next week is and where I can park.

So no stroll along the sea front yesterday evening but I will this evening and it's a great opportunity to get to know the place.   Diane, I have located the Amber Museum!  It's right next to where I have to pick up the key.  I've also located key places such as the supermarkets, the butchers and the Adnams shop!

I had to laugh yesterday morning - I had washed out the bird feeder and needed to top it up so I went to the French window and lo and behold, as cheeky as you like, a pigeon was regarding me solemnly, for all the world as if he was about to tap on the window and ask for his breakfast!  I'm not getting many small birds at the moment but a pigeon and a couple of magpies, for which I am grateful because, as you know . . .
One for sorrow,
One for joy!
Hopefully the smaller birds will come when other food gets scarcer again.

It's going to be a super holiday.  I can feel it in my bones.  It has to be after such a start!  And I really MUST get an iPhone!

Have a great day.  I know I will.  xx

Friday, 5 July 2019

Friday

Good morning, everyone!  Thank you so much for the lovely comments yesterday.  You have always been so encouraging and positive;  I can't say how much that has helped me through the trickier times and kept me cheerful in the easier times.  Thanks so much to you all.

Wasn't yesterday lovely?  Warm but not humid, bright, sunny and cheerful.  I had breakfast in the garden in a pretty leisurely manner before starting the day's work.  At the moment the place looks as if it's been hit by a bomb with things to pack scattered everywhere.  Kitchen, living room and guest room have all been hit but by eleven or so, calm will have been restored apart from the food that should stay in the fridge until I actually travel - quite important for my house sitter!

On Tuesday or Wednesday, I blogged about my two baby cucumbers.  This morning I counted six definites and two possibles.  It's hard to tell at first - the female flowers become cucumbers while the male flowers do the necessary, wither and drop off, poor things!  Barring disaster, I'm not going to go short of cucumbers this summer.  Cucumbers and tomatoes!
I wonder if one will be ready for when I get home.

I had my last tuition session with my oldest student - I mean the one I've had for longest!  Next week I won't be here and the last week of term is the Leavers' Bbq and Disco so he will be going to that, of course.  He brought with him a lovely bunch of flowers (which I will take to Southwold with me) and a photo frame with the words 'To Mrs Clark, thank you for believing in me.  Love, S, xxxxx'.  I have to admit, I got a bit watery eyed at that point.  I will miss him!

It was the last pottery session of this term last night (for me - the last session is next week).  I went to the office there last night to book next term and, darn it, the Tuesday morning session was chokka full (and was so by Monday afternoon - they course only went online Monday morning) so I've booked Thursday evening again instead.  Now I've got to know the Thursday people, I'm happy about that.  There's some very gifted potters in the group and people are very good at sharing advice, info and tools.  It's quieter and there's more help available and more space to work as there are fewer of us.  Beth's coming along too to give it a whirl.  I will be totally eclipsed by her as she has all the creativity in the family but I don't mind that; she'll give me good ideas!

The two finished pots were ready to weigh, pay and take.  I'm quite happy with them and the bird bath one will look great once I get it hanging outside; I know it looks a bit uneven and 'rustic' but that was the intent!  The 'leaf' one isn't what I had in my mind's eye but not to worry, it's a bit different and I will use it for something.  Most importantly, I learnt a lot while making it.



I was half way through making a pasta/tapas bowl and last week had wrapped it carefully in damp J cloths, cling film and hope.  It worked, it hadn't dried out at all, so that's something else learnt.  I spent some time trying to get the inside smooth (and failing, mostly, but it's the best I could manage) before using one of my tools to draw a 'tree bark' sort of texture around the outside.  I think it will look quite good when it's finished.  It has to dry out now so it will just have to wait until the end of September before the next stage.

As I had an hour left and had the foam pad I bought from the market, I had a go at that technique I linked to last week.  The idea was just to practise rolling and smoothing, getting a torn edge and then maybe using a jar to see if it worked on round things but Alex, after listening with interest, produced a few off-cut blocks so I went for it and, you know what?  It worked!
Tearing the edge wasn't quite so successful - I will need to work on that!
I recycled the first effort but carried on with the second attempt which is now also drying.  It will make an olive dish or something similar as it's small and shallow.
I need to get a much deeper foam pad to make a deeper bowl but, dear me, that won't break the bank.  I also need to get some off cuts and need to look around as I have no idea where I would get something like that.

On to today and although it looks as if I have loads to do, I don't really.  I have my lists and it's just a case of getting it all into case, boxes and bags and into the car.  I know my route and have done the drive most of the way.  It's dead easy!  I can't get there until around four anyway.  Next time (if there is a next time) I will know where I can park and will be able to get there earlier but I don't want to be faffing around hunting for parking today.

Apart from that, I just need to leave everything tidy and ready for my friend who is having a week at mine, bless her.  I have one duvet cover to iron and the fridge to sort out as I didn't get that done yesterday.  Lastly, I will give the garden a good soaking.

So no panic and maybe, tomorrow, hopefully, I will have photos of the seaside for you!
Have a great day.  xx



Thursday, 4 July 2019

Thursday

Good morning, everyone!  The sun is shining brightly again and all's well in my little world.

The good news:  three and a half pounds off, I'm now the lowest I have been for a very, very long time, I'm back in the healthy BMI banding and, since I started losing weight after the gallbladder crash, I have lost half a pound over six stones.  So happy!!

It was a bitty day yesterday but by the end of the day I seemed to have got done what I wanted to do.

I have reorganised my clothes in my bedroom and now everything is away neatly.
I did a bit of shed but not as much as I hoped but never mind - it's not a problem.
I did a bit of sewing/mending.
I got things out for packing so it's all a bit of a mess right now - an organised mess, mind you!
I ordered a new suitcase from Amazon (which I needed to do) and will pack properly when it arrives.
And look!  I have a baby cucumber!  It's very cute!


Today I will finish packing, change the bedding, do all the washing, drying and ironing and I have tuition late afternoon.  It's pottery this evening as well so, all in all, a really nice day.

I hope yours is too!


Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Wednesday

Good morning, everyone!  It's a bight morning, fairly cool right now but it will warm up.  Yesterday started off similarly and in the afternoon it felt quite humid but, dear me, it was such a good drying day that I'm not complaining, I'm glad.

Jeff came round at 7:30, as arranged, arriving bang on time.  It seems early, I know, but he doesn't live locally and comes over on specific days to work, so early suits both him and me.  He finished covering the strip with stones, neatened it all off and then finished off the hour with some weeding of the weeds between the cracks with a tool I have specially for that purpose.

Then I got the bus into town, something I hadn't done for a while.  I was looking specifically for suitable things for the summer and for my trip to France, after discussing this with Suzanne who goes often.

We have a number of clothes shops in Chelmsford and, generally, I stuck to the larger ones.  I started with H&M, then wandered round M&S (remembering to go upstairs for the bras), wandered into the precinct and looked around Romans (but not Evans!), into Boots for a few items and finally into the other precinct to get to the bus stop, taking in Next and Primark (no luck there though) on the way.  I was shattered by the time I got on the bus - obviously a retail snowflake!

I had SUCH a good time!

There was loads of stuff I could choose from, I was in and out of changing rooms like a yo yo and for the first time ever I said to myself,  'I think I need to try a smaller size'.  And I was right. 
I have never been a size 10 before (and, obviously, I'm not for everything, it was just a few items but what a thrill), the bras ended up a size down too and I'm afraid I spent way too much money but I DON'T CARE. 

I was walking on air back to the bus!

Oh, nearly forgot, I also stopped off at the fabric stall in the market and fell for a length of batik style cloth which I hope to make up into something in the weeks before France.

Of course, once home, it was a case of unpacking, nipping off paper/card labels and washing everything (including the fabric) which is when I was extremely grateful for the warm and breezy weather.  Combined with the two loads already done earlier, it made a lot of ironing but I didn't want it hanging over until today so I settled in front of the telly and just got stuck in.  Breeze and sun dried clothes really do iron easily so it wasn't a chore, not really.  And - you know - new clothes!

In the evening I settled down with some stuff Beth is making, doing some finishing off for her.  It was nice and relaxing doing that and giggling over back numbers of Have I Got News For You, Would I Lie to You and QI.

I slept like a log!

Today, my first tasks are to re-jiggle things in my bedroom to make room for the new stuff, tidy up the kitchen and do the bit of clearing out I didn't have time for yesterday.  I need to get a few things from the shop and pick up my new prescription before making up the taster I am taking to SW this evening.

The rest of the day will be spent sorting out the clothes and items I want to take to Southwold and trying not to make too much of a mess!  No tuition today so I have right up until SW to get things ready and it is lovely to not feel pushed for time.

The sun is out now and it is gorgeous out there - breakfast in the garden, maybe.  That would be nice!  Have a lovely day, everyone, and I hope you have time for some fun.  xx



Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Tuesday

Hi, everyone!  The sun is shining, the windows are open and all's well with my world right now.  It turned very gloomy and humid yesterday late afternoon but nothing happened and it lightened and brightened again before bed time.  It did make me feel horribly tired, mind you, and after an evening snooze I went up earlier and had a great night's sleep!

It ended up very busy yesterday.  Shopping with Beth took way longer than expected and then I remembered that I had a boob squash examination (the routine now-and-again one) between school and tuition, luckily in one of those mobile units and very local so easy to get to.

These things are never all that comfortable but I have to say it was a darn sight less painful now that there's less to squash!  Results in a fortnight!

I'm losing another student after next week, probably.  It's the same reason; great progress and he has moved on so very well in all areas.  His parents are going to speak to his teacher first before making a final decision but I won't be the least bit surprised.  As I said to J, his mum, I'll still be here if he wants some boosters before the SATs.
So I might possibly advertise for a few more students.

Today is not so busy according to the diary but pretty busy in actual fact.  Jeff is due round in less than ten minutes to finish off the patch at the front and then I want to take the bus into town to look for bras and maybe some clothes.  I've popped some washing in and there's a load waiting so one load will be drying while I'm in town and the other washing.

However, the main thing for today is to get everything ready for Friday.  It's self catering so there's various things I want to take to avoid having to buy them there (seasonngs, herbs, spices, etc) and some equipment I always take as, from experience, they are needed.  Really sharp knives, for example, as I hate prepping with a half blunt one.  I will only take food for using up, however, as there are at least two little supermarkets within easy walk of the holiday cottage.

Also, I want to do my fifteen minutes of clear-out.  I didn't do anything yesterday as I was short of time and energy.  It's the shed still - it will take quite a while to get that sorted!  Today I want to tackle the left hand corner by the door, clear that little area, sweep and put things back neatly.

There's also some hoeing needed around the front and some weeds to scrape up at the back.

And there's tuition, but I just need to look through the existing planning and resources.

Well, better stop and deal with a rather untidy kitchen!
Have a great day.  xx

Monday, 1 July 2019

Monday

Good morning and a pinch and a punch for the first of the month.  July already and at last it feels like good old summer.
Yesterday started off pretty cool (in comparison) but soon brightened up and today is supposed to be quite nice with that lovely breeze and 'sunny intervals'.  I'm not sleeping so have come down at stupid o'clock so there's no point checking out of the window yet!

The journey home yesterday was much better than going.  For a start, being Sunday, there were very few large lorries on the M25 and the only real hold up was, as always, the Thames crossing.  The left hand tunnel had an 'incident' (not 'accident') so maybe it was worse that usual for that time on a Sunday but, as those of us on the right moved into the tunnel, the traffic to the left started moving well again so it must have been cleared.

Once home, I sorted out my stuff.  Suzanne had given me some veg as she's off to Bangkok or somewhere equally exotic today - in fact, she has had a start on me as her car was coming at just before five - and some of the stuff wouldn't last until she got home.  I also acquired a bunch of flowers for the same reason which, once the fading flowers had been removed, looks very pretty.




After sorting out my stuff, which really didn't take too long, I went out into the garden which seems to have been thoroughly watered and everything looks very healthy.

I now have cucumber flowers so, maybe, by the end of the week, I might have tiny cucumbers too.
This is just one but there are others.  I read up about this kind of cucumber and it said that they are nicest picked young, more the size of a courgette than a fully grown cucumber and, judging by the way they are coming on, I won't be short of fruit (and nor will my family and neighbours!).











The tomatoes continue to do well.  However, the label on this plant said it was sungold, but it ain't - not with tomatoes that size, far larger than any sungold I have seen.  It'll be interesting to see how they turn out.







And I was very pleased to see the first little runner bean flowers.  I wasn't so pleased to see the first blackfly of the season thought; the spray has been employed so that's telling them!!












Suzanne said that my jeans will likely be rather too hot for where we're going and she looked through her cut offs to see if there were any I could borrow.  Whether I did or not is by the way (I have done) but imagine - me and the slender Suzanne exchanging clothes.  Wow!!!

Today is a bit busy.
I need to go to Computer World with Beth and then I have some tuition planning to do before starting to plan for Southwold.  There's only four days now before I go.  Woo hoo!!!
In the afternoon, I am helping in Foundation Stage before tuition.  It's all go but it should keep me well out of trouble, don't you think?  I guess I will sleep better tonight.

Enjoy your first day of July!  xx