Tuesday 31 October 2023

Tuesday, 31-10-12

Good morning, everyone.  I'm very bleary eyed this morning after a long time awake in the middle of the night followed by a sleep with a most vivid dream about getting on a bus in the wrong direction and having absolutely no idea where I was - it stayed off being a London black bus (I know - it was a dream) but quickly morphed into somewhere unknown.  Getting lost is one of my scary things - urgh!

Anyway - I'm awake now and downstairs, light is dawning and Tuesday has begun.  

This is what it's like now.  The skeleton (is that what it's called, I don't know?) is almost done although the front will take a while as it has bifold doors.

Here's where the side door to the shed part will be.  The freezer will go across to the left, some tall shelving across at the front, garden essentials will go on the shelving and any other essentials (like the mower and fold up chairs) will go on the floor.

I think they will be finishing the skeleton but how much more they will want to do before the predicted storm and very high winds come over Thursday night, I don't know.  I'm going to talk to Seth about it today.  I would rather a couple of days delay than the walls blowing away.
My garden is pretty sheltered but . . .

It was lovely going back to circuits again.  I miss it between blocks.  We had a new lady, the daughter of one of our existing group, and she brought her four month old baby along with her.  Oh, he was so, so cute and very happy (I was going to say 'good' but I don't think that's the right term at all).  Sociable too, smiling and pulling 'answering' faces when we coo-ed over him.

When I got home, I went online and ordered some boots from Cotton Traders.  Waterproof, walking-type boots.  They won't be amazing quality, I didn't pay enough for that, but I refuse to spend loads of money on things I won't use much.  I don't go on long, muddy treks, I just need them because the itinerary for the cruise says so.  Actually, I ordered two pairs because colour . . . you know . . . which is silly, of course, but I can send one pair back, can't I?   I also ordered a pair of thermal gloves from Amazon which can either be worn on their own or under other gloves and are OK when you want to use your hands for fiddly stuff (like taking a photo).  That's what the bumph says anyway!

M&S do both thermal underclothes and thermal socks which don't look too chunky so I'm off there at some point to take a look.

So now I have:  (checking the list)
wind and waterproof jacket (and a fold up mac to go over if necessary) - ✓
waterproof and windproof over-trousers (lent to me by Chris, two pairs which is enough because if they do get wet I can hand wash them and they will dry quickly) - ✓
thermal or woollen underwear - to get
warm socks - to get
warm, waterproof boots - on order
shoes with a non-slip sole (after sorting out my shoes, I already have several pairs) - ✓
warm hat - to get - I have warm hats but I want a Scandi one with ear flaps, just because . . .
scarf - ✓
gloves or mittens - ✓
ice grips (I presume they mean crampons - to get
walking sticks, if needed - ✓
sunglasses - ✓
lightweight, slip on shoes for indoor use - ✓
backpack (it says backpack, not rucksack) and I am assuming it is got things like sunglasses, sticks, camera, passport, money (if needed), slip on shoes, etc, etc, etc.  Things we need to take on the excursions, in fact - ✓
camera and tripod - to get
spare batteries, chargers, etc - already have or to get
binoculars - must look.  I have some, somewhere.  Otherwise, I will see if I can borrow some.
passport - ✓

So - thinking out loud - I have to get:
thermals, ice grips/crampons (good old Amazon has loads)

I want to get:
thermals; Scandi hat; camera, tripod and accessories; 

And I need to find my binoculars.

I've just highlighted and printed out the above.  😊

On to today and Chris and I are off to Groove first thing and a couple of hours later, Sharon is here to make sense of my hair.  In between times I will be making tea and coffee to keep the workers of the world happy.

And tonight is hallowe'en so I must make and print my sign to say no trick or treats but have a great evening.  I don't expect to have potential callers but there are children down the cul-de-sac again so may as well.  I'm not stingy, I just don't like the principle of it, that's all - that's a personal feeling, not a criticism of anyone else in any way whatsoever
To be fair, I've only been egged once (or, rather, my car has) and I know exactly who that was!  They did not get away with it!  Such a shame I knew where they lived, wasn't it?  < evil smile >

Well, I seem to have waffled on for a long time about not a lot and I need to shower, wash my hair and get ready for Groove so I will love you and leave you with hopes for  great Tuesday.  All the best.  xx

Monday 30 October 2023

Monday, 30-10-23

Good morning, everyone.  I hope you had a lovely weekend, whatever the weather.  It started wet here yesterday, then the sun came out, then it poured, then the sun . . . you get the idea.

They're supposed to be building a garden room, not a swimming pool.  Mind you - it would be nice . . . . .

Yesterday was one of those nice, gentle restful days.  The poor weather meant that I couldn't get out into the garden so I stayed inside, finished off the washing, ironing, etc and then just chilled with crochet, telly and Kindle.  It was just very pleasant.

Finally, we're starting to see a pecking order in the strictly contestants, I think.  I expected last night's leaver to go and there's about three or four more who, I think, will be the next 'bottom of the tablers' and also likely finalists - but you never know with Strictly.  All it takes is one poor dance, one slip up . . .

Today, garden room work resumes (weather permitting) and so does small group circuits.  I'm very much looking forward to the latter.  And that's about it really.
I hope you have a really lovely day.  xx

Sunday 29 October 2023

Sunday, 29-10-23

Good morning, everyone.  The sun is shining and everything is sparkly after some more overnight rain.  I don't know the temperature because I've brought my thermometer in while the work is going on but it doesn't feel all that chilly really.

I saw this on Facebook . . .

. . . and that was so me for the longest time - well, not the sundial but the rest.  Now, I keep a print out from my oven manual in the kitchen because I can never remember which buttons to press to reset the clock and, thankfully, the car reset is just a few presses of a button.  In my old car, it used to be an hour out for half the year!
Interestingly, my radio controlled clock hasn't reset so I've stood it by a window to catch the vibes.  Fingers crossed.
(I'd like a sundial but there's nowhere to put it really.)

For a rest day, I seemed to get quite a lot done yesterday - well, three loads of washing and drying, some garden clearing and some ironing while watching Strictly.  I'm feeling loads better now, thanks very much.

The next Broomfield coach trip newsletter came through and I've booked another one.  This one is a beaut - Swan Lake in the round, opening night, Royal Albert Hall, next June.  Woo hoo!!  

I don't seem to have an awful lot to do today apart from finishing the ironing, more gardening and the usual housworky stuff.  I do have some Nadiya and some Jamie to catch up on which will be enjoyable and I am once again crocheting squares for a blanket to go into the Sally Army drop off.  I am sure they will be able to give it a home with someone who needs it.  I swear that, like coathangers, yarn stashes reproduce overnight!

I must go to Morrisons too - I have checked my tea bags and I have enough for three mugs each.  That's not enough, is it?  We're OK on biscuits though and I have a larger carton of milk to see us through.  Must keep the lads happy - they are doing such a great job.

And the clock has reset!  Obviously, where I like to keep it now is not a particularly good place.    I will need to remember this come the spring.

Have a super Sunday, everyone.  Be good - but not too good.  😉  xx

Saturday 28 October 2023

Saturday, 28-10-23

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the weekend.  A bit of a special weekend as the clocks go back overnight - don't forget!

First of all, thank you so much for your lovely comments yesterday - I was in an unusually negative frame of mind with my niggles about whether I had made a big and expensive mistake in having a garden room built.  I think I might have been brewing something because through the day I didn't feel great at all - a bit giddy, a bit achey, very weary, like a migraine without the actual headache - so perhaps that was why.

Anyway, I've come out of that.  Yes, the garden looks a right mess at the moment; yes, I will need to think carefully about taller foliage in the middle bed and in pots to sort of break up the view from the house and I will have to move my existing pots around for the same reason but that's OK, I can do that.
But I have had three kind of bucket dreams in my life since retirement - solar panels, Northern Lights and a garden room and I am so, so lucky that all three have happened this year, thanks to Mum and Dad's legacy.  What am I even thinking of to worry, eh? 
So thank you again for your encouragement.  You are all so lovely.

Yesterday, it started off as a concrete slab and ended up like this. 
If you look along the back, you can see two wood supports closer together - that is where the dividing wall will be for the shed part and the freezer will go against that bit of back wall in the shed.
After various consultations with Seth, it looks as if I can have seven tall cupboard units along the back and they will just fit perfectly, leaving a good space in front for living!

It's going to have an oil heater, wired in, probably one of those nice modern floor to ceiling kinds, with a thermostat so it can be controlled.  I don't want it to get really cold in the winter and I want to be able to warm it up when needed.

Now my brain is buzzing about how to organise moving stuff around.  I want things like the Christmas china and the china I brought back from Mum and Dad that Alex might want at some point to go in there, I have to decide what garden stuff I want in the shed (there will be open shelving) in there which I already have and what I can then more around in the house.  It's going to take a while but I'd like it all sorted before Christmas, fingers crossed.
(I'm thinking out loud here.  It will be like this for a while, please bear with me.)

In other news about yesterday, I went to SW and found I'd lost half a pound so I'm still nicely within target range.  And I won the raffle - a decorative squash type thingy, some hallowe'en pasta shapes (and I am still trying to use up the Christmas shapes from last year!) and a jar of pasta sauce.  Also a sort of serving dish with hallowe'eny pictures on which I hastily donated to the first taker!!   
Mel was giving out her Avon books so I have that to go through today too - something to do when I am sitting down.

Later on, a couple of parcels arrived.  The windproof coat I ordered from Cotton Traders is just right (and I am assuming if it is windproof it's also going to be fairly waterproof but I have a foldup mac to put on top, if necessary), the size 8 slightly sparkly top from M&S fits perfectly and looks quite elegant with leggings and the heeled ankle boots I also ordered.  Note to self - must practise walking around in them as I'm not used to heels, even little, chunky ones.

I'm still feeling a little bit fragile this morning so will be taking things easy but I do have some pottering-type things to do.  Thanks to the cleaners, the house is nice and clean, but I have a full washing basket and my bed needs changing - might do that tomorrow - plus I really need to tidy up what I can of the garden.  Oh, and I need to buy some more tea bags too.  Annoyingly, after fighting to stay up and awake yesterday evening, I still woke just after three this morning and lord only know what time I will wake tomorrow morning with that extra hour.  Oh, well, it is what it is and at least I can go with the flow nowadays, can't I?  

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.  Are you chilling of busy today?  Hope it all goes well for you anyway.  xx

Friday 27 October 2023

Friday, 27-10-23

 Morning, one and all, and welcome to Friday.

Yesterday was a busy morning and a not so busy afternoon.

Seth and the gang arrived at eight, in the pouring rain, poor chaps, and set to work.

First they moved the freezer into the living room.  I could get used to having a freezer inside but not there, for sure.  It looked grubbier than I thought it was so I gave it a good clean down with Pink Stuff and then with a general cleaning spray.  Now it looks respectable.

Then they cleared everything else out while Seth came in and we talked about the cupboard units.  As I expected, he gave me the website for a place he can get similar stuff but more cheaply as it's for trades only and I found just what I wanted - floor to ceiling cupboards, painted wood or wood effect, all very nice.  Also, possibly a wine rack either vertical or across the top - possibly.

Then they carefully started taking the shed apart - carefully because I believe it will be repaired and reused somewhere.  I'm glad about that - apart from the floor, it's in pretty good nick really.

Going . . . . 
. . . going (that wood thingy is the floor) . . . 

I have no idea how old some of those leaves he is brushing up are - the shed went up in 1999, I think, or maybe 2000.  They could almost be prehistoric!
. . . and gone.

While they were taking the shed to wherever it was going, I started stressing that I'd made a mistake because that corner, done over properly, would make a lovely little vegetable patch or a raised thingy.
Too late to change my mind though - so I didn't.

And by the end of the day - oh, my gosh, it looks ginormous.  Having serious wibbles now but I guess I will get used to it.

In other news, I went upstairs to sort out some more cupboards and I rediscovered some shoes I had forgotten I had.  I know that sounds daft and I will not need to buy shoes for a while to come now.  Excellent

Today does not start with Slimming World, it starts with Seth and co arriving for an eight o'clock start and I've moved my car onto the road so they can park the van out of the neighbours' way.  Then it is Slimming World and I also need to pop into Morrisons to get some more biscuits, the lads having made great inroads into them yesterday.  It wouldn't do to run out, would it?
The house is pretty much cleaner-ready so that's good.
Again, I'm not sure what else I will do, it all depends on how things go and I guess it's going to be like that for a few weeks.  xx

Thursday 26 October 2023

Thursday, 26-10-23

Morning, everyone.

Usually, by now, Christmas has started.   I would have made the Christmas cake and I would be starting to 'stress' about food. 
This year, I celebrated Mum's birthday with a trip to Ely instead of making the Christmas cake and I have noticed with surprise and quite a lot of pleasure that all those lavish looking festive treats and goodies are not working any magic in my being whatsoever.  Not yet, anyway.
Money not spent is a bit of pay back for the cost of the cruise.
(we won't talk about the clothes, OK?)

On the other hand, after a lovely time watching Prince of Egypt at the Everyman Cinema (what a super place), Beth and I wandered over the road to John Lewis and invaded the Jo Malone section.  It's Beth's birthday today and I had said I would get her some.  After a great time sniffing and spraying on card (which are now in my undies drawer to make my wee smalls fragrant) she went home with a couple of different ones for her birthday and we both bought a limited edition box, out for Christmas, of five different colognes - Beth bought hers - I wasn't that generous.

Such lovely scents but ouchy ouch!  That's my cruise scents bought (my excuse and I'm sticking to it, OK?) and at least I should smell nice.  The orange bitters one is absolutely gorgeous.

Today, I have cleared the diary as I have no idea what's going to happen except that they will arrive at around eight.  I'll find out soon enough, won't I?
Right now, it is just starting to lighten a bit but it's also raining which will probably put the clappers on any outside work.  It is what it is.
Feeling a bit nervous so fingers crossed that all goes well. 

Hoping your day goes really well and you achieve what you want or need to achieve today. xx

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Wednesday, 25-10-23

 Hello, everyone.  It's Wednesday and it's raining - again.  Not like yesterday though.  Yesterday morning saw some really heavy rain here but by midday the sun was shining brightly and it was a lovely rest of day.  Something similar is predicted for today - that would be nice.

I felt I got loads done yesterday.  After a remarkably silly waking up time, I decided to get going as soon as I could run to the shed without getting absolutely drenched.  By nine o'clock, the chest freezer was defrosted and chilling down again; it didn't take all that long as the frost build up looked worse than it was and also I didn't feel the usual pressure as a lot of the frozen stuff went into the upright freezer temporarily.  Also, I've kept the contents in pretty good order since the last sort out so I didn't need to do any of that.
I ought to do another audit at some point but I can do that one bag at a time (all the contents are now in bags which has helped enormously).

Then I came in for breakfast after which I moved the contents back, looked at the inside of the upright freezer, decided it wouldn't take long either so got that defrosted and thoroughly cleaned out.  So now everything's ready, pretty much, for a garden room start on Thursday.  The only remaining thing is goodness knows what's lurking behind the freezers - I'll find out soon enough, won't I?

My wardrobe clothes are all cleared and sorted, summer stuff put up high and winter stuff ready to use.  Now I just need to go through the drawers (which really aren't that bad) and it's all done for the season.

I went to Morrisons for a little shop and dropped the bags of clothes off at the Salvation Army clothes deposit thingy - so now I can't change my mind about anything.

I slept well last night, that's for sure!

Today starts with an online coffee and chat with Chris.  It's usually Thursday but I thought it might be more sensible to keep tomorrow clear.  At some point they will be moving the chest freezer into the house temporarily and I need to be there when they do that, and there might be other decisions to make too as they turn my garden into a temporary building site.
And online because Chris has a cold and doesn't want to share it with me.  :-)

And then, at lunch time, I'm off into town to meet Beth and Alex at the Everyman cinema to watch 'Prince of Egypt'.  It's Beth's birthday tomorrow and this is to celebrate.  After that, time permitting, we will pop into John Lewis because I have promised her some Jo Malone something as my gift to her.  That will be fun.  

So another fairly busy day but it should all be lots of fun and I'm looking forward to it no end.
Do you have anything special planned this week?  xx

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Tuesday, 24-10-23

Morning, all.  As expected, most of yesterday was dry but rather dull and not terribly warm.  Today is predicted to be wet and, while I know I said I want to hold off turning the heating on until next Tuesday, it's beginning to feel a bit damp inside with all the rain and the washing was taking forever to dry not-terribly-well on the rack so I think I will bite the bullet, turn the thermostat down a bit and get the heating turned back on again.  Oh, well, I tried.

I gritted my teeth yesterday morning, unlocked the garage and moved the rest of the stuff from the shed to the garage.  The garage is now chock-a-block and will definitely need a good sort out once stuff has been moved back.
It took about an hour and I was so glad I did it because . . . 

. . .  when I came in, I checked my mailbox and there was a message from Maxine asking if they could start the garden room on Thursday.  This Thursday.  Woo hoo!  

So - this morning I will defrost the freezer I am keeping, moving as much stuff as possible into the other freezer.  When everything's back in the one I'm keeping, I can defrost the freezer that's going - I might do that this afternoon, assuming all goes well.  And on Wednesday, I need to move a few chairs so that the chest freezer has a place to go until the work is finished.  The men are doing all the lifting, etc, I just need to have things ready.

So that's the big news and I can hardly believe it's all happening at last.  So exciting.

Yesterday afternoon I went upstairs and started working through my wardrobe clothes.  Two hours later, I had a pile to donate after asking myself . . .
have I worn it in the last year?
does it fit?
really, honestly, do I want to wear this again?
. . . and now I have spaces in the wardrobes.
The burning question now is 'do I need any more tops for winter/the cruise and the answer is a very firm, definite 'NO'!  That's good.

I found something that made me both sad and happy.  I found a kilt, made by my mum in her sewing classes ages ago.  A proper, pleated, fold over kilt made with some sort of tweed she bought on holiday in Scotland with Dad many, many moons ago.  She was so proud of that kilt and it really is a lovely thing.  When I cleared her clothes after she died, I couldn't bear to discard it so, after checking with Dad, I brought it home and hung it in my wardrobe.
Anyway, I tried it on and it fits, it really fits.  Three cheers.  What's more, as it is a classic, it looks fine, it's not dated, and it will be great teamed with one of my aran jumpers, I think.
The only thing - I am pretty sure it is not dry clean as Mum never did dry clean (apart from coats) but I might tack the pleats and hand wash/drip dry rather than machine wash.  What do you think?

Tell me - do plastic coathangers reproduce in the dark of the wardrobe?  I am SURE I sorted them all out not that long ago and yet I seem to have hundreds - well, had; I've chucked quite a lot now.

As mentioned above, today's big task is to defrost the chest freezer.  I'd also like to sort through clothes in the cupboards - I don't want to get rid of any but I want to put summer stuff away and to bring the winter stuff down.  Once all that is done, I will feel really on top of things.

I also need to get a few things in Morrisons at some point.  Thank goodness there's no fitness classes this week; it's going to be a busy one, isn't it?
Have a lovely day, everyone.  xx

Monday 23 October 2023

Monday, 23-10-23

Good morning and we're back to what passes for normal this morning.

As I've missed a couple of days, I thought I'd do a quick (quick????) sort of resume.

Friday:  Slimming World saw me with a small gain.  While fluctuations are normal and I'm still within my target range (which is three pounds below actual target or three pounds above, so seven altogether, this is a new road so I'm being careful this week.
I got my letter from the DWP about the annual winter fuel payment.  There's also a cost of living payment which puts it up to £500, which is really nice.  What with the buffer money I have with British Gas, it should see me through the winter unless it turns absolutely arctic which is not predicted at the moment).  So that was good.
Also, a sparkly jacket I ordered from Tu arrived (bought for the cruise) so, with what I bought on Thursday (I think it was Thursday), means that I'm more or less OK for posh clothes.  I just need to focus on that outdoor stuff now.

Saturday:  It was supposed to be one of our walks on Saturday but, obviously, it was cancelled.  It was pouring but, even if it wasn't, it wouldn't happen because we're all golden oldies and not only would the route be very muddy, it would also be slippery with mushy, wet fallen leaves.  So that was off and I can't go to the next one because I am out for the day.  I've really not had much luck with these walks, have I?
I did a load of washing - at the moment there's little point waiting for a good drying day, is there?

Sunday:  I popped into town at ten, when most of the shops opened.  I found the fleecy leggings in Primark, tried them on and bought three pairs because I can see I will definitely be using them.  I tried on some joggers too but no!!  I'll keep looking.
Then I went next door to Next and, from there, on to other clothes shops.  In M&S I found a nice sparkly top but I swear clothes sizing is getting bigger again because the size 10 was too big (and I KNOW I'm a ten to twelve).  There weren't any eights so when I came home I looked online and ordered an eight.  If it's too small, I can return it.  I also did similar with a pair of ankle boots with heels.  I'm a bit unsure because I don't do heels really but they were nice.  I needed six and a halves which they didn't have so, again, they are ordered online and we will see.  I did find a pair of mock leather leggings with a thin line of sparkle down each side.
So now I am pretty well set up for the posh evenings and for the less posh but expected to be smart, trousers or leggings with nice tops, sparkly or otherwise, will be fine.  Having all these nice new clothes are proving a real incentive to not gaining any weight.  😌
I located the camera shop but didn't quite have the courage to walk in - I'll go into town later in the week again and do that.
Annoyingly, I couldn't find Rohan's - it wasn't where I thought it was so I have to check the map again before I next go into town.

(And EVERYWHERE had thermal undies!!!  Bang on trend!  LOL)

I took a few photos of a couple of my posh clothes.

I mentioned this one a few weeks ago.  I made it when I was in my twenties, during one of my healthy weight phases, around the time I had Beth and kept it because I loved it and hoped that just maybe I might wear it again.  It is quite full so perfect for maternity until the boobs get too big!!
Made with fabric from the market, rather badly (fortunately the fabric doesn't fray much), it's very flattering and I don't think it looks dated really.  Anyway, I had to turn the hem up (either I've shrunk or it's stretched a bit over the decades) and now it is perfect (I think).
This is a simple shift style dress and the sparkle is a result of light catching black sequins.  It looks really nice on and I have a three quarter sleeve jacket to go with it in the same fabric.

This is the one I am not entirely sure about but it does look a lot better on me than on the mannequin which, annoyingly, is a bit bigger than I am now so this and the dress above almost didn't fit on.  The waist is a bit higher than true waist and, as long as I wear my shaper stuff underneath, it really does look ok (sorry if that's TMI).

Anyway - with the Seasalt dress I already have, they should see me through the posher evenings.  I will just have to find excuses to wear them at other times too - or book another cruise (joke!!)

Today:  I've decided to stop pootling around and get the shed completely clear.  It might take a little while but I'll feel easier once it's done and the morning and early afternoon is supposed to be dry (and wasn't it lovely yesterday, by the way?).  Lindsey is on holiday this week and, as it's half term, there are no classes anyway.  I'll probably keep up with Snippets and access some older recordings.

So that's my quick (ha ha) catch up.   How are things doing for you?  Have you been affected by the awful weather and is it all settling again now?   Take care, everyone.  xx

Sunday 22 October 2023

Sunday, 22-10-23: part two

Morning, everyone.  For once, the skies are beautifully clear and when I went out to the shed for my provisions, the stars were so beautifully bright.  Yes, it felt chilly, bit should be lovely and sunny which would be a real blessing after so many dull and dismal days.

Today's blog is the second part of the trip to Ely and nearby villages.

The afternoon of the coach trip focused on the work of Rosemary Rutherford.
Rosemary was a British artist, notable for her paintings and stained glass designs.  She has a local connection because she spent some of her childhood in Broomfield which is one of the village suburbs of Chelmsford and just five minutes' drive away from me, her father being the church rector.  She lived from 1912 to 1972.
She designed a number of stained glass windows for churches in Essex and Suffolk.
I was interested to see that there's an unveiling of a Blue Plaque to her in November, at Broomfield Church, followed by a talk on 'The War Art of Rosemary Rutherford'.  I might go to that.
There's also an exhibition of her life and works on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, also at the church.  Interesting; I had no idea.

The purpose of the afternoon was to visit a couple of Suffolk churches that showed her work,  St Mary's Church, Hinderclay, and St Mary the Virgin, Walsham-le-Willows, where her brother was the local vicar and where she had a studio.

Sue wrote a lovely account of St Mary's, Hinderclay, in 2019 and here's a link to it.  Do go take a look - it is so interesting.  I'm really just showing the windows.

And here's a link to the church site:

It's a lovely old church, small but with a large tower and an active bell ringing group by the looks of things.

Yes, we had sunshine.  It was lovely.
I had to photo this - it made me laugh.
All nicely and neatly looped up.

I love the sound of church bells!  It is so English Sunday to me.

On to the stained glass.
The style is modern but very accessible and I liked them very much but the prevailing impact was one of glorious light and colour, even before the sun came out.
It's quite a dark little church really but the west side was an absolute riot of colour, a really happy place.
Sue's photos are very much better - please do take a look.

(couldn't get a good one of this - I did try)

They were wonderful, even with a really cloudy sky that made the rest of the church quite dark but then the sun came out and the reflections on the walls were- just fantastic.  We all gasped.

Then we went on to St Mary the Virgin, Walsham le Willows.

Again, Sue visited this church and blogged about it - again, go take a look as her photos are fantastic and there's loads of information about everything.

And the church site:
Follow the 'Norfolk Odyssey' link for some lovely photos.

The window we were there to see was the memorial window for Rosemary, based on designs from her workbook and executed by her vicar brother and Roly Haddon.

I took some close ups of the various flowers and that's what I will show here - they're beautiful.

This is the complete window - even in the cloud and gloom (the sun had gone by then), it shone.

There are other churches that have her work.  I believe this coach trip was the second because people wanted to see more so I'm not sure if there will be another one but if there is, count me in.  If not - well, Suffolk is not so far away and maybe it's a good excuse for a few nights in a B&B or similar.

Back to the usual tomorrow and thank you for reading.

Saturday 21 October 2023

Saturday, 21-10-23: photo heavy alert

 Good morning, everyone.
I hope all my UK readers are OK and not badly affected by yesterday's strong winds and very heavy rain.  I gather East Scotland was very badly hit and Suffolk also had more than its fair share, especially nearer the coast.
I gather the red alert continues through Saturday.  Worrying, indeed.

The Internet has sorted itself out for now round here so I can get some photos from Thursday with the usual disclaimer that I am far from a photographer, I have precious little sense of design and my camera is - er - basic.   😊

Ely Cathedral has a long, long history going right back to AD/CE 673 when St. Ethelreda (who happened to be a princess, I believe) built an abbey church.
This was destroyed by the Mercians and then restored as a Benedictine Community.
The present building dates back to 1086 and was given cathedral status in 1109.

It was not possible to get a complete photo; I'm sure it can be done with drones or moving back quite a lot but I was a bit pushed for time so this is the best I could do, sorry.  It in no way gives the scale of the building.

The outside is unashamedly Norman, big, domineering, powerful, imposing.

In 1322, the Normal central tower collapsed, fortunately at night so the church was not full.  When it was rebuilt, for stability reasons they found firmer foundations further out from the original pillars and the idea of an octagonal tower with an octagonal lantern on top was evolved using very advanced, original technological engineering (for the time).  Stone would have been too heavy to support a vault so they used wood covered in lead.

There have been three other major restorations, one in the 18th century, one in Victorian times and one in 1986 when it was found that roof, timber and stone works were becoming unstable.  £4,000,000 was raised to fund this and the work continues in an ongoing way.

The outside is very decorative in a Norman sort of way.  I'd have loved to have been able to just stroll around, taking time to just look.  Maybe, another time . . .

The Medieval building around the cathedral are still used today for staff, choir and for KIng's School (founded, I think, by Henry VIII)

There has been a choir school for boys since the 10th century and a girls' choir school since 2008.  Music in general continues to be a very, very important part of Cathedral life with some very big and important concerts being held in the main barea as well as more intimate, smaller scale performances in the Lady Chapel.  The acoustics are outstanding (said the guide).

This next lot of photos are poor and in no way convey the sense of space, colour and design, sorry.

 . . . especially this one!  The nave ceiling is stunning.  There are twelve panels, painted as part of the Victorian restoration and show the story of the ancestry of Jesus, starting with Adam and Eve through to Mary.

I've nicked - I mean borrowed - this next from the Ely Cathedral site because it shows detail and colour when it's properly lit.

Ditto for the Octagon tower which has been restored, of course.  The whole tower creates the most amazing space in the centre of the building - it's wonderful.
There were too many people for me to take any wider photos which is a shame.

From the same site, here's details of the inside of the Lantern.

It's not a particularly 'fussy' interior but there are some works of art, including some modern works commissioned from time to time.

This one is Jesus and Mary in the garden of Gethsemane
. . . but I have no idea who this is/was.  If you know, please do say in the comments.

Sadly, our group couldn't get into the Lady Chapel as it was in use.  Fair enough.
It was built at about the same time as the tower collapse and rebuilt and would originally have been highly colourful with statues and stained glass windows and so on.
However, after Cromwell's men had done their bit, there are only small hints of past glories.  Bits of paint, a few fragments of window and either empty pedestals where images had stood or faceless saints.
One grieves for past beauty.
On to the stained glass museum which was accesses via a stone circular staircase, in good order but not accessible if you had mobility issues so, sadly, a few of our group couldn't get up.

I'll just post a few random photos.  I particularly love the last one which may reappear in here nearer Christmas!
It was along a gallery so impossible to get back far enough to take a complete photo in most cases.

This is very long and photo heavy so I'll do a post about the afternoon for tomorrow.

I'd love to go back to Ely.  The Tudor house in this photo, taken with my back to the Cathedral; is Cromwell's House and I'd have loved to have looked around.  It was Cromwell's family home and the museum it contains looks so, so interesting.   

I think the building to the left is part of the King's School but I could be wrong there.

Anyway, see you tomorrow for the afternoon photos.  xx