Monday 31 May 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's a dull start but that means little as the forecast is for warm and sunny weather with temperatures into the twenties.  I'll take that!

I mentioned my rather extended drive home in yesterday's entry; this morning, I'm going to just look it up on Google Maps so I know where I went.  I don't think it is shorter than my usual route but it is easy apart from having to go through Harlow when the Sat Nav came into its own!

After unpacking and lunch, Beth came round and we trotted off to the allotment where we weeded and planted out.  Now the baby corn and the yellow courgettes are in their forever home and Beth took two more courgettes home for her little patch.  After watering, we sat at the table under the trees and chatted while we munched an apple before coming back here where I put the kettle on and we say in the garden sunshine and made A List!  There's not an awful lot more to do apart from the ongoing weeding - the bindweed is now making an appearance, grrrrr - and general maintaining.

While Beth was there, I strained off the rhubarb gin which has been steeping (is that the right word) in the cupboard for some weeks and we tasted it.  Wow!!  
I will be making some more over this week, some using gin and some using vodka and will try some flavourings.  Rhubarb and strawberry is always nice, and we thought rhubarb and ginger would also work well.  There's loads of rhubarb to pull so that's not a problem.
This wasn't the recipe I used but very similar - they're all much of a muchness really.

I took a few garden photos so . . .

The columnar Flamenco definitely has babies - these four and four more.  A few will drop, of course, but wouldn't it be nice to have four or five apples in its first year!
The strawberries are doing well although the cold spring has delayed them.  This time usually I have some turning pink and they're nowhere near that yet.  Perhaps the warmer weather will bring them on.
The strawberries at the allotment are also at more or less the same stage.

It looks as if there will be a nice little blueberry crop after all.  Three cheers.  I need to think about netting them, I suppose.  

The raspberries are also looking great, both in the garden and at the allotment, the allotment apple trees are not disappointing, the pear got caught by the frost but there's still some baby fruit.  As for the poor old plum - we counted a few fruit but they may drop as they did last year.  Time will tell.

End of this week?  Beginning of next?  Not long, anyway.
The bamboo has definitely taken and seems happy in that pot.  It's already thickening out and sending up new growth.
The geranium is going to be absolutely gorgeous soon.
This heuchera has never really done very well; I guess it was crowded by the rosemary.  Now that's gone, up comes the heuchera.  I love the colour.

The other flowers are also doing nicely now that the warmer weather has arrived.

Today looks busy but isn't really.

First of all I have the one tuition session of the week, half past eight to half past nine.  Then I plan a trip to a garden centre as I have failed miserably with the tomatoes and want to get some bedding plants.  Ditto for cucumber.  Today I will try Grenville Nursery which is the most local one and tends to be pretty good.  I'm hoping it is a ten o'clock opening, although I can't find anything on the internet.

Once home again, I want to work out in the garden - it's time to clear the spring bulb leaves away and get a clear view of what is coming up for the summer.

Beth's around for lunch and then we are off to the allotment again to work through The List.

It should be a very happy and satisfying day, don't you think?  Have a good 'un too and stay safe.  xx

Sunday 30 May 2021

More Sunday

 Good morning (or nearly good afternoon, everyone.
I'm home again after spending an extra day at Dads and after a journey that was longer than expected as I had to carry on down the A10 and take the 414 through Harlow instead of going cross country via Bishops Stortford.  For a couple of years, there's been some major flood and traffic alleviation works going on around Little Hadham and now and again the whole road is closed at the weekend.  I didn't notice any signs coming up but must have just missed them.

It looks like next weekend will be the same, having checked on the Internet.  Oh, well, at least I know the alternative way.

This afternoon I'm meeting Beth down the allotment and, fingers crossed, we are planting out the baby corn and the courgettes.  If we can do that, it would be great.
Apart from that, there's nothing much going on, really.  Isn't it nice that, for once, the weather has picked up over the half term break.  Long may it continue.

I hope your day is going really well for you.  xx


 Really sorry about missing yesterday.  I'm still at Dad's but will be home this morning and will post a proper blog from there.


Friday 28 May 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's not so bright this morning and, indeed, Beeb says today will be light cloud.  No rain though, that's the bottom line.   I'm happy with no rain!

Yesterday was busy.  I got my chat with Chris; we sat out in her garden in the warm sunshine and it was really lovely.  As we were both on holiday last week, we had lots to chat about and the time went really quickly.  

I got the house in order, washed, dried and ironed some clothes, packed and set out.  In the end, one of the things on my list had to go and that was the mowing - it was just going to take too much time.

So I set off, stopped off at the petrol station to fill up before taking the car to the car wash place so they could deal with residual evidence of seagull activity (!!!).  They were quite busy so that took longer than expected and, while that was going on, I realised I didn't have my phone so, when finished, I went back home (just five minutes away) to get it.  Couldn't find it anywhere!  Drat!  I set back out to Dad's feeling rather worried as to where it might be but when I unpacked I found I'd put it in my case rather than my bag.  Goodness knows why but it was a huge relief!
And I felt a bit foolish - what a waste of a good worry!

So I'm round at Dad's for the day.  I'm doing some shopping (for me) and taking him round to the local shops.  He's asked me if I could defrost the kitchen freezer and I'm going to start clearing out one of the bedrooms.

The implant site is fine.  The jaw aches a bit but it's not an intrusive ache, just a forgettable niggle and the gum doesn't hurt one little bit.  Saliva is a great healer, I gather.  Also, penicillin can sometimes give me a gippy tum but this time no problems.  So all is well and I'm happy about that.

I'd better get going.  Dad tends to sleep late and I'm hoping to be back from shopping before he is up.  Have a lovely day and, as always, stay safe.  xx

Thursday 27 May 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  The sun is shining, the forecast is good, it's not too chilly and all's well!  Beeb indicates that we are heading into a warmer, sunnier spell of weather - and about time too.

Yesterday, the biggie was the implant surgery.  It's called surgery but it's all under local, of course, and yesterday it went very well, much easier than when the front ones were done.  I went in at nine and was out by half nine complete with ironmongery in jaw plus penicillin, paracetamol, mouth wash and super-soft toothbrush, all in a posh little carrier bag with rope handles.
Yes, I got the shakes but not as bad as they could have been and no, it really didn't hurt at all.  Even the injections were OK.  The most eye watering part of the whole experience was paying the first part of the bill!
Now what?  Well, I go back in a couple of weeks to have the stitches out and then we wait until it has healed and settled, three months or so.  If, when I go back, Dr Clough doesn't think it's ready, I will wait.  He's the expert and I am paying plenty for his considerable expertise, after all!

It really doesn't hurt.  The jaw is a bit bruised and aches at times but it's not a real pain, even after around eighteen hours or so without pain killers.
I have to take the meds, eat softer food for a few days, chew on the other side and use the very soft bristled toothbrush for cleaning around the site for a few days.  Oh, and use the mouthwash for a number of days, four times a day, holding it over the site for twenty seconds.

And now you know as much as I do.  :-)

What I got home, I was pretty wiped out, got the shivers (turned the heating right up) and went to sleep!  Yesterday was a bit of a washout as I felt quite wobbly until; the evening - just reaction, I am sure.
I'm glad it is over - the rest isn't nearly so bad.

Today is busier.
I'm hoping Chris and I can have our Thursday chat after a couple of weeks of not having one.  I want, really want to get to the allotment and finish the grass haircut not it's all a bit dryer.  I have to tidy up the house and sort out any messy corners, pack and get up to Dad's for a few days.  Oh, and get some petrol and have the car washed.

Have a good day and I do hope it's pleasant weather your way.  Take care.  xx

Wednesday 26 May 2021


Good morning, everyone.  I'm awake early and it's hard to see what the weather is likely to be but Beeb says no rain and some sun.  Mind you, they said that yesterday but . . . 

On Facebook yesterday, Beth posted the following.  It made me smile and I thought you'd like to see it.  Indie is Freddie's mother.

"Last night, when Fred burst through the cat flap shouting and faceplanted into a bowl of food, Indie was singularly unimpressed. She glared at him through much meowing, two dinners, a cuddle and a bath.

Eventually she decided it was time. She walked over to Fred, grumbling, whapped him hard across the nose and proceeded to wash his head. And Fred, who is twice her size, let her, and even looked a little sheepish.

Mamas. They can be a bit scary sometimes, can't they? If Fred had any idea of bigging up his big adventure, Indigo's withering response put a stop to such nonsense."

Yesterday morning, I set off for the allotment, going to the garage first to get the codling moth traps first.  As I locked the garage door I felt the first few drops of rain, as if it just knew I was setting off.  Fortunately, it was a very short shower and then it all cleared up.

So I started on the potatoes.   Very wet soil, heavy work, but they are now earthed, not very professionally, I'd be the first to admit.  It feels odd, dumping spadesful of soil on a healthy looking plant.  It took ages but needed doing so I'm glad it's done.  Now we just wait.
Lovely photo of piles of wet mud!

I did a lot more weeding down the far end, where the runners will go and around the raspberry canes, etc.

I had just started on weeding under and around the broad beans when the rain started again.  By then I was tired (that earthing really was hard work) and muddy so I decided to stop and get myself home.

There's not much more in the clearing line that needs to be done now.  I have to weed the flower bed, finish weeding around the broadies, dig over where the tomatoes will go and give the 'grass' a closer hair cut (I hope to do that tomorrow) and then it's planting out time.  Beth and I will spend a couple of sessions over the weekend and bank holiday planting out the baby corn and the courgettes and sowing the mange tout and the runner beans.

Then I came home, cleaned up and changed by which time it was lunch, some housework and getting ready for tuition.  First session back after lockdown and they have both grown considerably.  It was nice to see them again.

I really should have done some ironing but didn't.  I must get it all done today and it will be so dry.  My own fault!

The only think I know for sure is that at nine I will be in the dentist's chair for the next stage of the implant treatment.  This is the least pleasant part of the whole thing; last time it took ages but this time there's only one, not two, so I'm living in hope.
Then it's home to overdose on painkillers and rest up although I'm hoping I can potter at the allotment this afternoon, weeding, maybe digging the tomato area which won't be heavy or difficult, I just need to dig some seeds in.
I really am amazed at how few weeds actually emerged while I was away.  However, it's now the turn of the bindweed and that's a right pain.  Fingers are crossed that it won't be so bad either.
I will get that ironing done and plan the next tuition sessions.  I only have one next week as it's half term and the others are away but it's nice to get ahead.  I also need to look for/prepare resources to meet issues that came out yesterday.

Things have brightened outside and it looks like a nice day is a-coming.  I hope so - we've had more than enough rain!
Have a super day, everyone.  Be safe.  xx

Tuesday 25 May 2021


 Morning!  Well, yesterday was fun, dodging the raindrops all day.  Talk about April showers!  It seems everything is a month behind.  We got February snow in March, March frosts in April and now April showers in May.
Today actually looks more promising - dull but dry (we can hope!!) and in a few days time it looks as if we will enter a more sunny and dry period at the end of which we will be longing for rain again!

I had frolics with the rain (no, not IN the rain, WITH the rain) yesterday!
I had just loaded up the car with the mower and strimmer when the first drops of rain fell bit the skies didn't look too bad so I thought go anyway and it'll clear.  By the time I got to the plot it was chucking it down.  After a while it eased up so I got everything out and set to, mowing the shockingly long grass (well, mostly weeds really).  It wasn't ideal, the grass was terribly wet and the rain kept falling.  I had to tackle some of the weeds on the grass with the strimmer first, but we got there and by the time the battery gave out, there was only a small patch left to do so, again, the strimmer dealt with that.  It was hard work!!

See what I mean.  It made the plot look terribly neglected and I was thoroughly ashamed when I got there and saw how much it had grown.
By the time I had finished, it wasn't great but at least it looked 'tended' again.
I'll take the mower back Thursday morning, I think, and give it another going over on a lower setting and that should do it.

The spuds are coming up and will need to be earthed (is that the word?); in other words, covered with soil again, to give more growing depth for the tubers to develop.  I know it looks a bit messy but the grass at the front is what was thrown onto the soil by the strimmer and there are surprisingly few weeds.  All that work over the past few years seems to be bearing dividends.

Three of the four rhubarbs were flowering merrily, unfortunately.  I cut out all the flowering stems and fingers crossed.  The fourth, out of picture to the left, is a much younger plant and hasn't tried to move on in its life cycle - yet!
I came home with some rhubarb and will take it to Dad's and make something with it.
The pansies are doing beautifully but the sweet peas - oh, dear me.  I'm not sure what we did wrong but they are not happy, not happy at all.

The broad beans, on the other hand, are doing very nicely and blackfly watch has begun.  I'm quite chuffed with them really.

The strawberries also look quite happy.  They are first year plants so not very bushy yet but there's plenty of flowers and developing fruit so that's good.

And finally, all the new raspberry canes are showing growth now, as it the spare one I have at home.  We should get some fruit from them this autumn.

As far as the trees are concerned, the apples look healthy, there are some pears although I think a lot were damaged in the frost but, sadly, I can't see any baby plums whatsoever.
Another thing I must do today is get the codling moth traps out.

I forgot to mention yesterday but I've booked another holiday in Southwold.  Yes, I know I said I thought I'd have done everything there was to do but, quite obviously, I haven't.  Sutton Hoo is only one place I'd really like to go too, there are plenty of others.
I've not booked the same place again - it was OK but looking a bit ragged around the edges this year and, frankly, the whole open plan living, bedroom, kitchen and all, isn't my thing.  I like rooms and doors and stairs.
So I did a search and found a nice little place - it looks nice on the web site and I went to take a look at the outside while I was still in Southwold and it looks fine.  It has garage parking and a nice courtyard area, it's easy to get to and it's a bit closer to the sea.  It's also a bit more expensive, of course, but I have a year to save and pay so that's OK.
There are just two things.  The first is that the loo is downstairs but I can live with that for a week.  The other is that it is decorated in 'French boutique style' which, I suspect, meant lots of tut around.
However, the kitchen looks nice, it has a dishwasher (yay) and a washing machine and just more space all round.  And rooms!
I was going to leave it for a few weeks but when I went online to take another look, the week I wanted as first choice had been takes (it was available on Saturday but had gone by Sunday) so I grabbed the following week instead - the week just before half term.
All very exciting.

I'm also umming and ahing about another few days at Bury St Edmunds.  It seems a better place from which to explore the wool towns and I wasn't feeling terribly well when I went before so didn't really get the best out of the visit.
I'll take a nosey on the Premier Inn site and see how much that will cost me.

Isn't it nice to be considering holidays - hopefully it won't all crash again.

I woke this morning to some very, very good news.
Since Friday night, one of Beth's cats, Fred by name, has been missing.  He's an outdoor cat although he spends more time inside than out, he's a very handsome fellow and stands up for himself .  Some of you might remember I told Fred's story a few years ago.

Here he is, looking all cute, innocent and 'What, me????'

Anyway, there was no sign of him and he didn't come running when called which he often does.  Three days is quite a long time not to come home so we were very anxious.
Yesterday, I printed out some posters/ flyers for Beth and Alex to hand round.  Later on, in walked Fred!
I'll know more later but I do wonder whether he was stuck in a shed or garage and when some nice local saw the flyer, they checked their shed or garage and out came Fred!  I guess we will never know.

Anyway, huge relief all round.

The only thing in the diary today is the tuition session.  I'm more or less prepared, I just need to go over the papers to check I know what to do (always a good idea) and get the table set up for two students.

I will go down to the allotment, probably earth up the potatoes and weed - there are still a very few nasty weeds (ground elder and the like) coming up in a very few places so I'll sort them out and then tackle around the broad beans.  I've decided to plant out the courgettes and the corn next week.

And that's that for today.  I'm trying not to think too much about tomorrow as I have the dental surgery for the other implant I am having.  I'm not looking forward to that one little bit!

Take care, enjoy your day whatever your plans are and be safe.  xx

Monday 24 May 2021

Monday and the inevitable garden update.

 Good morning!  The day has started lovely and sunny but it did so yesterday and finished off wet and nasty!  Today looks like being the same, sadly, so if I want to allotmentate (and I ought to, see below for the reason), it's going to have to be before midday.

Things are moving on in the garden.

There are loads of buds on the clematis.  It's going to be beautiful this year.
There were lots of flowers on the blueberry but, sadly, very few seem to be producing fruit.  I think the problem is the same as the apple, lack of a companion plant for pollination/fertilisation and I need to get another that flowers at the same time.
The strawberries are doing OK, despite the cold and the rain.  Not as far on as usual but they will be good.
All the blossom - er - helping along seems to have worked with the little apple tree.  It looks as if apples are beginning to develop, doesn't it?  Only a few but, for a first year, I'll be happy with any.

The raspberries are also doing really well - the established canes are growing fast, the one Elaine next door gave me last year has survived its severe pruning and is coming on and the new cane, left over from the allotment, is starting to send out growth.  Excellent.

Yesterday morning was quite busy.
First of all, one of my mums came round to bring me some resources (many thanks) and we had a chat about the way we see the tuition going.  That was nice.

Then I drove out to a little village about twenty minutes or so away to pick up some magazines from someone in a local SW group who is moving and is handing them on.  Loads and loads of them so I have a great source of recipe ideas now.
I decoded to go the way the sat nav told me to go rather than the way I know (I had it on for just the last little bit of the journey with which I was not familiar) and my goodness, didn't it take me all round the houses - all round the country lanes, anyway!  It was an unnecessarily complicated route along delightful country lanes which I don't think I have ever been along despite living here for over thirty years ago and through hamlets I'd never heard of.  Quite a nice drive really.
I came home the easy way, the way I know, on the main road, nice and fast.

While I was there, our conversation was cut short by some huge rain drops so we hastily said goodbye and I drove back through a short but very sharp shower, remembering that I'd left the washing on the line.  Oh, well.  However, back in Chelmsford,. there hadn't been a drop - not then anyway!

And then it did start and it rained on and off most of the afternoon which put the clappers on my allotment plans.  Drat!  Instead, I printed out lots of resources for tuition sessions which resume this week.

So the priority this morning is allotmenting.  It has to be.  It'll be awful muddy, I expect.
This afternoon, tuition starts so I must make sure my tuition bag is in good order and get the resources organised and in folders.  That won't take long.
I'm really looking forward to starting again.  Here's hoping there won't be any more lockdowns to disrupt things again.
And the other thing is that the lateral flow test kit thingy arrived so I must work out how to do it.  I've watched the video clip but it's not the same as doing it myself, is it?

Have a good day and stay dry, be safe and keep smiling.  xx

Sunday 23 May 2021


 Morning everyone.  Well, I'm home, unpacked and settled again after a journey that was so ridiculously easy that I reckon the Fates studied my worse nightmares and gave me the total opposite instead.  Even the very few traffic light worked in my favour.  I didn't remotely get lost, not even once, not even a smigeon of lost.  OK, it is an easy journey, but if I have a talent for anything, it is getting lost in my car.

But not yesterday.

So - as I said, home, unpacked and washing in the machine.  Now I am pondering on this much delayed holiday.
What did I bring home with me.  Well . . .

Plenty of stuff I never used but you can bet your last 10p that if I hadn't had it, I'd have needed it.

Very nice sirloin steak, devoured with relish yesterday evening.

A great wodge of smoked back bacon which I will deal with today, cutting off the unnecessary (?) fat to give to the birds and wrapping in small single portions for the freezer.

Family gifts.  Gin for Beth, rock for Alex, some chutney for Dave and Anna and some posh drinking chocolate and venison pate for my lovely Dad.  
Also a lap tray for me - one of those trays with an attached beanbag, useful not only for plates of food but also for leaning on top read or write, etc.  I also treated myself to two little bowls.  I've been looking for tiny pudding bowls, smaller than the pyrex half litre ones, for when I'm mixing just a small amount of something and I found a lovely little kitchen shop in Framlingham where they had both little plastic bowls and, lovely things, mini Mason Cash bowls, 250ml capacity, for around ten times the price.  Well - I was on holiday so . . . 

Two books.  Real books, not Kindle books.  One is an Ann Cleves detective thingy that I haven't opened yet and the other is a David Mitchell meander through life, 'Dishonesty is the second-best policy and other rules to live by'.  I'm a great David Mitchell fan.  I 'like' both him and Victoria Coren Mitchell, admiring them as both very clever and yet approachable people who often say what I would love to say, had I better command of the English language and more intellect.  I'm not rushing through this book but taking it slowly, relishing every turn of phrase, clever comment and chuckle - and there are plenty of chuckles. 
I totally recommend this book . . .

And, most of all, I have come home with memories.  Lovely memories.  Memories of  weaknesses fought and overcome, of wonderful experiences, of a thoroughly lovely week.

Aren't I lucky?

Today I have washing to sort out, an appointment with a tuition parent and an allotment to deal with.  The baby corn must go out and so must the courgettes.  Some of the latter have flowers!!
Apart from that, I expect it will be an easy day!

Take care and stay safe, whatever your plans.


Saturday 22 May 2021


 Morning!  The holiday is over and soon I will be on the road.  I'm sad but I'm very tired and rather looking forward to home comforts again - especially a decent and reliable Internet connection again.

I was puzzled as to why wind would close Sutton Hoo until Sue mentioned in a comment that it might be the observation tower.  It's a new thing since I was last there several years ago and, after looking it up, I can see why it would be closed.
I'm generically glad they have built a tower.  What they had before was pretty useless and, when the grass was longer, one could hardly see the mounds at all.

Yesterday went more or less as planned, once the Sutton Hoo trip was off.  I took a lovely long walk along the sand to the harbour with the wind in my face and the sand swirling about my feet but decided not to go any further.  I started walking along the harbour to the end but the wind was so strong I thought it would not be sensible - so there's no way one could go up an observation tower in winds like that.
Walking back was a darn sight easier than going, I can tell you!

Obviously, just a few photos . . .

I stopped off at the butchers on the way back and have a nice stack of rashers to take home and freeze in small portions.

In the afternoon I set down and fell asleep - I haven't done that all week!  
Then I finished packing and most of the stuff is now in the car.  I wiped over everything (I know they will do that too but, you know . . .) and swept the floor.  And that's more or less that apart from the last few bits needed overnight.

I will be back.  I've already located another cottage with parking included (important in Southwold) that's just a little bit more upmarket than the Garden Studio (with a price to match, sadly) and will book it as soon as I get home.

So, today . . .
I have to be out by nine and I don't intend to hang around.  I should be home by eleven which gives me almost the whole day to get things sorted and straight and to pop to Morrisons for fruit and veg.  After that I will probably just chill, start catching up on recorded telly and, more than likely, fall asleep again.
My lateral flow testing kit should arrive but I'll probably leave that until Sunday.

Take care and be safe.  xx

Friday 21 May 2021


 Good morning, everyone!  

Real Life has intruded into my long awaited and very much enjoyed holiday.  I had an email yesterday from Chelmsford City Council advising me that it would be a good idea if I tested for Covid twice a week using the lateral flow test.  It's because Chelmsford is one of the areas that has some cases of this Indian variant.
I'll order some tests today, being a Good Girl and wanting to keep myself and everyone around me safe.  Mind you, having been out of the area for a week . . .

Another Real Life intrusion - because of forecast high winds, Sutton Hoo won't be opening today 'for your safety' as the email says.  That's rather a disappointment as I'm not sure when I will be back but there you go . . .  At least, being a NT member, they won't have the hassle of refunding anything.

I have a few ideas about what to do today but first, yesterday.

All week I have been watching a sort of avian kitchen sink 'drama'.  About three metres from my French windows and on a wall, amidst ivy, somewhat hidden by a wooden post, a seagull is sitting on her eggs.  The female (I am presuming) eyes me cautiously each time I go to the window but stays put.  The male, presumably her mate, is never too far away and each time I go out into the tiny courtyard he flies down and utters short, sharp cries, presumably of warning.  When I go in again, off he goes, but he never seems to be all that far away.  I was rather hoping the eggs, however many there are, would hatch but no luck thus far - anyone know how long it takes for gull eggs to hatch?
I am trying very hard not to disturb things too much.  That includes not trying to take a good photo so here's just a snap taken through the glass, not a very good one.

Yesterday was lovely in its own way.

I drove across country, on some extremely minor roads that made me thankful I didn't meet anything coming the opposite way, to a nursery and farm shop.  There was a reason for going;  when I was last here, there was a stall in the mini-market that had some fantastic 'organic' garden chairs made from teak roots.  I greatly coveted one but didn't take it any further, to my regret.  The same nursery was there on Monday and there were flyers (but no furniture) so I thought I'd take a look.
It was a lovely place, even in the drizzle and the cloud.  Not posh, not 'glossy' but there were lots and lots of plants and as for the farm shop - well, if I lived anywhere near, I'd be using it regularly.  It's also a PYO - bit too far to come though!
Yes, there were teak root benches but not single ones and not as attractive as those I saw two years ago.  Never mind.
So that was yesterday morning.

In the afternoon, I stayed in and did a general tidy up and started packing.  I have to say, packing at the end of a holiday is a lot easier than at the beginning!  While that was going on, the wind was getting up and the skies were darkening so I wrapped up and set off for the beach.  It was most satisfying with some really decent waves (for Southwold, I mean) and lots of splashy excitement.  I got there not long after high tide and walked along the beach and back again with the wind in my hair and the waves doing what comes naturally.  Very, very  exhilarating and probably, for me, the best time of the whole week so far.  There weren't many people around but those who were looked as if they were enjoying it as much as I was.  How I would have loved to go swimming - had it been warmer!
Here's a few photos, made as big as I can!

OK, not so dramatic in the wider scheme of things but, for Southwold, not bad!  I loved it.

Then I walked back to the fish and chip shop.  Oh, it was delicious.  I couldn't help pondering on those who go out in conditions maybe ten times worse so that you and I can have fish and chips.
Brave men and women!

So - on to today.
My Sutton Hoo plans are no more so I am umming and ahing about a walk along the sands to Walberswick.  The forecast is, indeed, for high winds but I gather there is a motor boat that takes the place of the rowing boat across the harbour mouth, or I could walk up to a foot bridge which, I am assured, it there.

Or I could drive to Aldeburgh and wander around there.

I'm strongly inclined towards the former, simply because a walk along the beach with lovely, big, splashy waves really appeals.

And I have to pack.  I'd like to get most of the stuff in the car today to avoid a mad crazy rush tomorrow morning.

Have a great day and I hope the wind isn't too bad your way.  xx

Thursday 20 May 2021

Thursday, 20-05-21

 Good morning.  Two more days to go and already time is accelerating away as it always does once the midway point is passed.  Right now, the sun is shining but the forecast is dire.  Strong winds and rain, it says, starting mid afternoon.  I don't care - a walk by the sea in wind and rain is exhilarating.

Yesterday was Framlingham Castle day.  Contrary to expectation, I am really enjoying my drives around.  The A12 doesn't seem to be very busy around here and the country lanes are beautiful.  A good sat nav helps, of course, as I know that even if I get 'lost' I won't be, not really.

I was booked to arrive around eleven and managed to get just about the last parking slot.  A quick check of my tickets, and explanation of the rules and I was in.

While I'm thinking of it, I must give English Heritage a big thumbs up for their disability awareness.  AT both Orford and Framlingham castles, all I had to do was mention my difficulties when I couldn't see lips and every staff member, volunteer, whoever,  took a step back, removed their mask and just carried on.  Superb!  It makes such a difference when people don't make a fuss.

Anyway - back to Framlingham.  Briefly, it was built around the end of the 12th century by the first Roger Bigod and developed by his family in the decades to come.  Although the inner part of the fortress has now more or less vanished, the stone walls and the mere look pretty much as they would have looked in the Middle Ages (says the guide book).  It also shows a strong Tudor influence with some beautiful Tudor chimneys  and was owned, briefly, by Mary Tudor who was there when she received news that the conflict with Lady Jane Grey's supporters was over and she was queen.
Later on, a philanthropist had a workhouse built for the local poor and it served in that capacity for about a century before being used as a village hall.  It's now in private hands, I gather.
There's only one portion of the original great hall wall remaining but all round there is evidence of the bustling place it would have been.  Holes and grooves in the stone walls for timber supports, alcoves that would have been part of private chambers, fireplaces . . .
Enough of the history lesson.  Here's some photos.

The workhouse or 'poor house' which also included a school for the children of the poor.  I gather that, of its kind and time, it was quite a good place.
Remains of a kitchen.
The only remaining wall, part of the great hall and, in the background, the steps down from the wall walk built last year so ensure a one way system.  It made a huge difference for me not to have to descend rickety stairs.
Last time I was here, I chickened out of doing the wall walk.  I have a poor head for heights and had poor balance and I tripped at the furst hurdle, that of getting up there via a very old and worn stone spiral staircase.  I just froze.
Now, the wall walk takes in a museum bit as well so one ascends to the first floor via an proper, modern staircase, takes in a display of the modern history of Framlingham through the two wars and beyond before climbing just a little bit of the spiral stairs to the top.  With sturdy should, more strength and better balance (thanks, Lindsey), I got there - and it was well worth it.  The views!!!

This wall would have been covered with inner court buildings - you can see chambers that would have been built into the walls - all three storeys of them - and holes for roof joists and floor timbers.  The big recess was the chapel.
Every good, defensive castle needed a well and this one is 30m deep (and well covered)
Of course, it was originally and primarily a power symbol and designed for defence and there are deep recessed arrow slits both high and low - look at the thickness of that wall!
I dearly love a Tudor chimney!
This was a bridge from the 'back door' to the garden.  Only the supports remain now.
Sorry this is dark - the clouds were gathering!  This is what's left of the room over the chapel, known as the Tudor Room.  It has a large fireplace and would have looked out over the gardens - definitely the master suite of its time.
I started the moat and mere walk but, by now, the sky was dark and there was lightning and thunder and the rain started so I didn't get very far.  Maybe another time . . .

It was good!

Later on, once home again, I took another walk along the beach, this time to the pier.  By then, the rain had pretty much cleared and the sun was out.

Today I have a trip to a garden centre planned.  I know! - but it is supposed to be a good one and involves what looks like a very pleasant drive up into Norfolk via country roads.  I'll do that this morning.  This afternoon I must start packing a few things away and clearing out what's in the fridge so I can plan tomorrow's meals.  If we do get the bad weather, I want to take a walk down by the sea front and, if I get soaked, I get soaked!  I will also walk up the road to the Adnams shop to claim my free can of beer and get Beth's bottle of gin (10% off) using the voucher we were all given at the end of the tour.

This evening, I will be getting a fish and chips from what has been called the best chippie in the land - the Little Fish and Chip Shop.  After all, you HAVE to have fish and chips on a seaside holiday, don't you?  It ought to be Friday evening really but I want to have a bit of alcohol with it and need a clear head on Saturday morning as I have to be out by nine (covid cleaning regulations take longer).

I hope things are going well for you all.  Take care and, in the midst of this new covid threat, stay safe!  xx

Wednesday 19 May 2021


 Good morning, everyone.

Yesterday was definitely a day of two halves.
The morning was one of the most beautifully sunny days we have had this year but by lunchtime the clouds were gathering and mid afternoon we'd had some rain before the thunder started.

I was so glad I had decided to go on an early walk along the beach.  It was warm (no coat needed) and the tide was on the turn although it never goes that far out, the beach being quite sloping.  The water sparkled, you could see for miles and miles, everyone wished each other 'Good morning' and it was all quite delightful.
It was so nice, I decided to make it a longer walk, right down to the harbour and back, about three miles in total so not that far really.  It took longer than it should because I sauntered, meandered, stopped to look at interesting pebbles, shapes and patterns and generally made the most of the experience.  If one power walks, one misses so much of the beauty around, I think.

Taken straight into the sun, hence the effect.
More waves
Zooming forward to the harbour.
It looked prettier in real life!  :-)
Looking back to Southwold.
Such a lot of open space - one can breathe here.

After breakfast, I trundled off into town, sauntering up and down the high street, poking my nose into interesting shops, trying things on (the changing rooms seem to be open again) and generally having a great time.  I was sorely tempted a few times but, at the prices they commanded, I would have to like the item very, very much indeed.  Primark and Matalan they were NOT!
I came home with a light backpack and a heavier bank balance than anticipated!  I just got a beach hut fridge magnet!

The tour of the distillery was really good.  The lady leading it was obviously extremely proud of the company and most enthusiastic about it all.  Also, they had taken note of the bit I filled in on the ticket request form about being hard of hearing - she couldn't remove her mask but she did keep moving it forward so that her words weren't as muffled and she articulated clearly (not always the case in these things) so I heard more than I missed.
The tasting was fun.  We tried two vodkas, three gins and then three of our own choice.  Before you start wondering how on earth I managed to walk home, they were tiny little nips, about 20 mls, just enough for a taste.  Tonic and water were also provided and a spittoon, if wanted.  
They weren't!
Here's a link to their website, the gin page, so you can see how many flavours they actually do.  I particularly liked the quince, the sloe and the orange gins and the jardin gin was interestingly different.
I'll be popping down the their shop either tomorrow or Friday to get a bottle for Beth - she can choose which she fancies!

I didn't take any photos - last time it wasn't permitted so I didn't take my camera.  A shame, because this time it was OK.  Never mind.

Today I am having a leisurely start to the day.  It's a bit damp out and my legs are aching from all the sand walking yesterday.  I can't be too lazy though because I have booked Framlingham castle for 11:00 so I ought to be ready to leave by tennish.  Google Maps says it should take about half an hour but I want to leave a bit longer.  I can walk and wander if I'm there early, after all.  I won't take a picnic with me this time, I will wait until I get home.

Have a lovely day and stay safe.  Remember, you can hug but you don't HAVE to!  :-)  xx

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Tuesday and more photos.

 Good morning, everyone.  The sun is shining brightly at the moment (nearly 06:00) and the sky is a clear and brilliant blue.  It's a perfect early morning and I may very well finish this, get dressed quickly and take a stroll down to the sea front.
Yesterday stayed dull and gloomy pretty much all day apart from occasional glimpses of sun but no rain.  OK, the occasional hint of light drizzle, but that was all.

I started the day off with a beach walk taking loads of photos of the sea, none of which were particularly successful but not to worry, and stopping off at the butcher's shop, the delightfully named Mills and Sons and Daughters - obviously a real family concern. 

After a leisurely breakfast (lovely bacon, I'm going to stock up before I go home) I set off for Orford and the castle.  To get to most places, it seems you got on to the A12, north or south, and then take the relevant turning off again.   It was very easy.  

Orford is a pleasant village with the castle, an interesting looking church and, of course, Orford Ness.  It also has bags of history!
The castle was started as a 'don't you dare' to the powerful Bigod family after some tension between throne and powerful barons.  The Bigods were based in Framlingham (going there tomorrow) so there was definitely a power thing going on.

It's not nearly as big as Framlingham castle and is built on a circular interior with three turrets that create an exterior triangular feeling (if that makes sense).  It's very commanding, exudes power and might, quite bleak and  and must have dominated the whole area, set as it is on a hill.

In these Covid times, one is not allowed to just wander.  We had a guided tour, most of which was lost on me because the tour guide wore not one but two masks so it was just too muffled for an old deffie.  Not to worry, I took photos and had read Wiki on the subject.

There were lots of intriguing passage ways leading off from the central circle but nearly all of them were cordoned off, frustratingly.  They mostly led to rooms - living areas, tiny little things.  They certainly didn't believe in personal space in those days!
There were fireplaces on every floor - great big things but I bet they didn't keep the place all that warm, not with open windows!  East Anglia can be very bitter.
This was one of the little rooms we were allowed into - the bread oven.  It's not a great photo (it was very dark) and the bumph said it was made from broken tiles that were no use anywhere else.  To reduce the risk of fire, it was near the top of the castle.

I will go back sometime, after the restrictions are all lifted, to take another, more complete look - not being able to explore the little nooks, crannies and corridors was frustrating!

Near to the castle was St Bartholomew's Church but, sadly, it was all locked up.  Another thing on the 'next time' list, maybe.

Apparently, it was the venue for the first performance of four of Benjamin Britten's works.
This part was begun in around 1166 and abandoned in the 18th century.  I wondered if the graves within the shell were crusaders - they had swords as crossed on the flat stones.
I just had to take this - a pigeon talking to a gargoyle!

On the way back I stopped off at Snape Maltings where, unlike the last time I went, there were plenty of parking spaces.  I love this huge wooden tables, presumably used for outside events.
As well as the famous concert hall and the water way with boats, etc, there were some arty-craftly shops which were most enjoyable to investigate.  Don't think I wasn't tempted, I really was, but I was very good and just came away with a tin of rather nice (I hope) drinking chocolate for my dad.
A sculpture, an unfinished Barbara Hepworth called The Family of Man.  It was strangely powerful.  There were also other scriptures including a Henry Moore called Reclining Figure.

It was lovely, wandering around the outside.  Those huge, enormous East Anglian skies . . .

Today, I have nothing official planned this morning but I want to visit certain shops and spend some of my carefully stored dosh.  Peering in the window of Seasalt, I saw some lovely prints, so I will definitely take a look, and there are also a number of charity shops that might be worth investigating.

This afternoon, I have the booked tour of the Adnams distillary followed by a gin tasting session.  Woo hoo!!

And in other news, I have a definitely confirmed second student who want to come back.  As I've said, I'm no longer looking for students but any who want to finish off with me are more than welcome.

Well, better stop this and get going if I want that early walk.  Have a good day.  xx