Recipes from my Suffolk Kitchen

Monday, 24 April 2017

Given £30.........................

..................................but we don't know why.

Here is a letter received on Saturday - from our water company

The man came Friday to look at the stopcock as we have asked for a water meter. As far as I know they hadn't actually said what time he would come as it didn't involve coming in the house so it didn't matter and how did a letter get from there to here in less than a day anyway?
How kind of them!

But why?

Back Tomorrow

PS. Huge welcome to new followers J Yale and Sugar Ellis.
PPS. Don't forget to cover your tender plants in case we really do get the freezing weather that's forecast
PPPS. Books read recently  have been added to my Books Read 2017 page. "The Fortnight in September" a Persephone reprint was a very good read.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Purple Bed

This is the flower bed beside the conservatory which already had several purple/blue things growing. I've dug out some yellow flowered plants - I have no idea what they were  but they had small, weedy looking, pale yellow flowers! There are also two clumps of Crocosmia, which I've left in for now until I think of what to replace them with.
Compost has been forked into the gaps and the Osteospermum  will go here along with any other purple things I can find for later in the summer. A purple Heuchera will be something to look out for, there are a couple in another flower bed but I don't thing they like being moved.
When I weeded I came across plant labels for the two clumps of ornamental grasses which are already in situ ( I'm leaving them in). £5.20 EACH. Good grief! Grasses are not my most favourite of things to grow but they look OK here.
Front right corner of the picture is a pigs Jawbone..........Weird, I've left it there........for now

Thanks for comments yesterday and welcome to Chris a new follower
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Friday, 21 April 2017

That List from 5th April

On 5th April I posted a list of things I needed to sort out, how's it going?

Well, the good news is that Numbers 2 and 5 haven't been needed as  the doctor decided that as his white cell count had dropped into single figures there might not be any need for him to stay in hospital each time the dose is doubled. So I didn't have to take him up to hospital on Tuesday and he is just driving himself up for  blood tests two or three times a week. IF the blood results show he needs a blood transfusion they will do it the same day and he will be able to drive home again later. IF they decide to keep him in we will have to sort someone to take me to Ipswich to collect the car.

For the rest..........Green - done, orange started or not needed for a few weeks, and red means cancelled.
  1. Finish painting the inglenook where the cooker is going
  2. Collecting Colin from hospital on Thursday, Friday or Saturday - not helpful for planning!
  3. Need to be at home for a cupboard delivery Thursday
  4. Organising Cooker delivery, electrician and gas fitter all for next Monday
  5. Taking Colin to hospital next Tuesday (and repeating numbers 2 and 5 several more times!)
  6. Reading the meters at number 9 next Wednesday or Thursday before completion and contacting the supplier
  7. Taking the keys to Estate Agent
  8. Contact Borough Council to get a bit of a refund of April Council tax at number 9
  9. Going to the library van next Thursday
  10. Doing the shopping
  11. Collecting tablets from pharmacy
  12. Need to write a letter or two
  13. Col's laptop has got to go back to the computer shop.
  14. Find out how to get the "two home tax" back from HMRC
  15. Get the oil tank filled
  16. Get the septic tank emptied
  17. Prepare for visitors
  18. Find book shelves 
  19. Plant a tree when it arrives
  20. Water new things in garden if we don't get rain anytime soon
  21. Find a car to replace the Hyundai
  22. Get the Fiesta repaired and MOT done
  23. Weed more of the flower gardens
  24. Keep grass cut
  25. See neighbours about lane repairs
  26. Find out  who we've not informed of new address

Other things done which were not on the original list include vegetable gardening, selling books on Ziffit, unpacking and hanging some pictures. One more side of the greenhouse was cleaned and treated - 2 left to do.Our Tax forms have come and need filling in and there are still lots of books to unpack, although I'm still waiting for another bookcase to arrive.
I'm also waiting for asparagus crowns  and need to sow more seeds as the weather warms.

Very Many Thanks for all the comments, sorry...... some days I just don't get round to answering

Back Tomorrow

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Green and Smelly!

Col's brother helps a friend with clearing dead wood from a small woodland and he happened to mention that he didn't like doing it at this time of year because of the strong smell of garlic. My ears pricked up " Is it  Wild Garlic?" I asked. "I don't know" he said " but it's very Green and Smelly!"
Ramsons/wild garlic doesn't grow in many places in Suffolk, I think on the whole we are too dry.So I was very excited to hear about this place. I asked him if he could dig up a bucket full for me to plant somewhere here and last weekend he remembered to take a spade and arrived with this lot.

I've filled the bucket with water and hope to be able to plant some out later, and  made pesto with some of the leaves too using walnuts rather than pine nuts  as they are so much cheaper and in the cupboard already.

 I love pesto...........Colin doesn't! I Like garlic..........Colin doesn't! Hey Ho!

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Coming Along Nicely

I can't begin to tell you how good it is to have a greenhouse and a garden again. Growing things to eat must be ingrained into me after all our years at the smallholding.........and before that too.

Most of the things started in the greenhouse are doing well, outside it's a much sparser start - especially the beetroot.

I've potted 4 plum tomato plants into final position and two cucumbers covered with fleece as it's quite early for them

They are up on the staging and I'm going to fix a wire up and around the greenhouse frame to train them along.

Remaining in the conservatory are two more cucumber plants( no idea where to put them), 4 cherry tomato - just pricked out, 3 aubergine, 3 sweet pepper, 3 chilli pepper,and Basil  that I've just separated into 3 pots.

Also in the greenhouse, courgettes, squash, chard, spare aubergine and peppers. Pots sown with nasturtium and 2 tries at leeks with very poor germination and I've just sown a dozen climbing French bean seeds. The fig tree I found at Wilkinsons? -  is in the big pot on the right.
Outside in the beds, the potatoes are through and have been earthed up and covered with fleece. The bed containing beetroot is also covered with fleece but we've lifted it off the beetroot onto a mesh frame to stop our neighbours cat and/or the wind from flattening the seedlings. The lettuce plants Col got at a car boot sale are under a plastic tunnel cloche, growing slowly. There are a few radishes and rocket seedlings but 3 lots of lettuce seeds have produced nothing.

In the orchard (2 apple,2 Pear and one Plum) it's now really plain to see that this is a "family" apple tree grafted with at least 2 different varieties as one branch at the front has white blossom while the rest is pink.

Back Tomorrow

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Unpacking Pictures and Books

We have a lot of pictures. At the smallholding we had living room, dining room, hallway plus 4 bedrooms and there were pictures on walls everywhere. We hadn't unpacked any here except the large one Eldest did when still at school.
Eldest's painting of my pots of Hostas and Nasturtiums

Now walls are painted (mostly) it was time to unpack, sort out and hang or get rid. As I unwrapped various paintings, prints and framed cross stitch I kept finding ones I don't even like anymore! So a massive clear out, keeping just the favourites and the rest have gone into the car-boot boxes.

 An email over Easter said Ziffit were offering an extra 15% for books over the weekend and as I'd already found a few they would take decided to search through and find a few more to make a small box full. Added up they came to £25, so  much better than taking them to a car boot. I've counted the boxes behind the settee in the living room - from 25 we are down to 20 - sorting and carrying upstairs is going to be a long job.

A little gardening was done on Monday afternoon but I found myself very tired after the weekend visitors, so spent a while watching the snooker and resting.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes, another year older and no wiser! Also Happy Birthday to several other bloggers who had birthdays this weekend - a very strange happening. Must be something about Mid April! Welcome also to new followers.

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Monday, 17 April 2017

Small Cousins Meet Again

My 62nd birthday has been and gone and eldest daughter, Son in law and Jacob have returned to Surrey after a short stay. Youngest daughter, her OH and Florence visited on Sunday for lunch.

Jacob sitting on his Auntie A takes a closer look at his little cousin Florence!
Jacob demonstrates to Florence and Grandad how he's been playing with his favourite toy at Nanna and Grandad's house.
They are both happy smiley little lucky we are.

Saturday night we tried the local (4 miles away) Indian Takeaway for the first time and found it good and not too expensive.  For Sunday Lunch eldest daughter tried out my new oven by preparing a delicious lasagne for us all so I didn't have to do much cooking all weekend. A lovely way to spend a birthday. I was blessed with lots of beautiful birthday cards, books, chocs and a CD. Two cards contained letters from penfriends  - always a treat.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Saturday Car Boot Sale

I'm not sure about going to the Saturday Boot Sale again, it's got SO BIG that I really can't be bothered to look round the whole lot. A long running regular boot sale in Ipswich has just closed down so this could be a reason for the huge increase at Needham Market. It was also so dusty there today with gusts of wind blowing the light sandy soil everywhere,  by the time I'd looked round half and decided that was enough, it felt as if I'd got a mouthful of grit.

Anyway, my hour  yielded a few things from a man with loads of boxes of  house clearance stuff. £1 bought me.............a  tin of tomatoes (random!), some teaspoons (where DO teaspoons go?), a roll of cooking parchment and a plastic jug ( needed for watering things indoors). From elsewhere I bought a new wash-bag for £1....could be a Christmas present and a sheet of 3D decoupage for a card was 20p.

 Then I splashed out on this pot of Osteospermum for £3, just because of the gorgeous colour, which is darker than the photo shows.
The flower bed just outside the conservatory has several purple flowers including an almost black tulip and some Aubretia. There were very dark blue hyacinths earlier. Also in the bed are two large patches of Crocosmia which are taking over, so I'll dig one clump right out, dig in some compost and plant the Osteospermum. Later in the year I'll look out for something else purple flowering and move the other clump of Crocosmia around to the bed under the front window.

Back to entertaining small Grandson easy job!

Returning forthwith

Friday, 14 April 2017

From the Library Van this month......................

.........................................and other stuff

.A lovely haul of library books from the library van yesterday. All ordered for free for me to pick up
I seem to be back to crime again, there are 6 here...........Two Agatha Christie's that I've never read, and brand new books by Chris Nickson and Deborah Crombie - both authors I enjoy and regularly check for on Fantastic Fiction to see when they produce something new. Plus the Martin Edwards book about Golden Age Crime Writers which looks a mighty tome.
Two books are about wartime Home Front. I'm not sure about the one at the bottom of the heap -London 1945, I think I've borrowed it before and struggled with it. The other "Eggs and Anarchy" is subtitled The Remarkable Story of the Man Tasked With the Impossible: To Feed the Nation at War.
 The Persephone at the top is The Fortnight in September by R.C. Sherriff and for light relief I have Ronald Blythe's  "The Artists Garden" and even lighter "Honeycote" by Veronica Henry.
These should keep me entertained for 4 weeks.........or more.

Collected Colin at 8pm last night, he is home for the weekend ............3 Loud Cheers. Eldest daughter, son in law and Jacob of course, will be arriving later today for part of the weekend and youngest daughter, OH and Florence will be popping over. Son and DIL are away........sadly.

Hello and welcome to new followers.  I've noticed that some of the bloggers I read still have the old blog in their reading list, would be ever so chuffed if you could change it to the new one. Many Thanks. Thank you also for all comments, sorry I don't get round to replying to all of them..

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

Completion and The Unpacking Begins

Yippee Do! Completion on the bungalow,  IT'S SOLD. The bungalow that was supposed to be the place we stayed in between travelling in the caravan and turned into a year in town........most of it on my own while Col was in hospital. The only down is that it's the first place in all our moves since 1979 that we have lost money on. Hey Ho.

OK, I have some shelves, not enough for 1000 books but at least I can make a start. The boxes of books are downstairs and the shelves are on the upstairs landing so my plan is to unpack bit by bit and then when family are here at the weekend we can all take a pile up every time someone goes up stairs. Failing that I think a pulley system  will have to be employed! (Which reminded me of The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch! - Loved reading that book to the children many years ago).
As I go through the boxes, anything that I don't absolutely, definitely want to keep is checked on Ziffit to see it's worth anything. Most are not, so are put into the car boot box. It's going to take quite a while to sort through.

We get to see the sunset here which is nice as at the smallholding there was a big hedge and trees in the way.
Yesterday it looked like this, the other side of a huge black cloud a strip of light, except much more orange than the photo shows.
 This morning I looked out of the bedroom window and two hares were grazing on the meadow, came down a while later and open the curtains to see in close up one of the hares just outside. We looked at each other for a second and then he/she was off back up the meadow with it's mate. Amazing to see close up how big they wonder hare was a prized meal in the past.

Thank you for all the comments on yesterdays post, as everyone says nothing has been wasted and no debt incurred so perhaps I shouldn't worry too much although I'd still like to sort out exactly what we will have to live on before we do any more work.

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Woman Who was Once Frugal

 At last, my LPG range cooker is in and I can start making bread and cooking properly again.

It looks bigger than it did online!
An arm and a leg has been spent on this place  since we moved and there are many more things that need doing.
The garage roof needs work and the lane needs resurfacing and still  the living room and kitchen to paint and I'd really like an en-suite instead of a random shower in the bedroom plus the downstairs loo needs replacing sometime.

 All those will have to wait awhile as we work out what money  we have to live on. I'm guessing that now Col is getting his County Council pension the Employment Support Allowance will stop or at least be cut. Another four years before I'm 66 and get the State Pension and, although it's no fun to think about it, we have no idea if Col's treatment will be successful or................
The things we have spent money enhance the house or can be moved if the worst happens...........but I won't think about that either.

So spending stops now, even though the bungalow money will be through before the end of the month, we daren't keep spending how we have been over the last 6 weeks.

Back to living carefully.

Time enough for getting everything done later.

The woman who was once frugal returns!

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Big ol' things

Last week there were lots of these, or something very much like them, flying over.
Chinook, Helicopter, Army, Transport

 First they went one way and then they came back again.

Sometimes 1 or 2 or even 3 at once. They are very loud and I could hear them coming from a long way away but each time I was doing something and couldn't rush out to take a photo. So this picture is from pixabay free images.
It was all to do with joint maneuvers between two air bases in Norfolk and Suffolk.
I think they use this - which is a few miles from us- to navigate by, especially at night when it is lit up. We could see the top lights from the smallholding 30+ miles away - Suffolk is pretty flat!
Image result for mendlesham mast pictures

I'm very fond of helicopters.
 When the National Grid Helicopter, checking the High Voltage power line, flew over the smallholding I used to rush out and wave.!
Image result for national grid helicopter

In Ipswich we often saw the Police helicopter - I didn't wave to that one!

Simple pleasures!

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Monday, 10 April 2017

A Plant and a Book

There are all sorts of flowers in the 3 bits of flower garden here, but one thing was missing......... A LADY'S MANTLE or  Alchemilla Mollis. It was one of my favourite plants at the smallholding. Not because of the flowers - they are not very interesting- but for the leaf shape and for the way that every morning there are drops of dew collected on each leaf.........a morning drink for the Flower Fairies!

This is what I found on-line about it's uses (my books being still in boxes) although I don't recommend it without a lot more information!
Image result for herb uses ladies mantle
Also read this "To preserve their youth women would wash with the dew collected from the leaves on a May moonlit night.They had to be alone and barefoot!"
Worth a try ?  Nah ........too late!
I was pleased to find my very healthy plant for just £1.50 at the HUGE Needham Market car boot sale on Saturday
I called in at the boot sale on my way to visit Col but only looked round half - it was so busy too. Managed NOT to buy anymore toys for grandchildren although there was enough there for a thousand children to each have a share! My only other spend was £2 on some 3D decoupage card kits and  a bag of craft papers.

The Book is this, another of the Furrowed Middlebrow books

A really good read, showing how horrific it  was  in London during the Blitz.
Here is the description from Dean Street Press website
‘Take off your coat,’ said the doctor. I took it off. ‘And your dress,’ he said. ‘It’s too dangerous – the folds may catch in the debris and bring the whole thing down.’ I took off the dress. ‘Fine,’ he said shortly. ‘It’ll have to be head first. We’ll hold your thighs. Go down and see if it’s possible to give an injection. Can you grip the torch with your teeth?’
Frances Faviell lived in Chelsea before and during the London Blitz, having became a Red Cross volunteer when World War II began. Chelsea was particularly heavily bombed and the author was often in the heart of the action, witnessing or involved in fascinating and horrific events through 1940 and 1941. Her memoir evokes an unforgettable cast, Londoners and refugees alike, caught up together in extraordinary and dangerous times – not forgetting the ‘Green Cat’, a Chinese statuette, standing on the author’s window sill as the home’s talismanic protector.
Frances Faviell’s memoir is powerful in its blend of humour, tenderness and horror, including the most haunting ending of any wartime memoir. A Chelsea Concerto is reprinted now for the first time since 1959, with a new introduction by Virginia Nicholson.

I've got several books about the Blitz and this is probably the one that will stick in my mind the longest.

Many more things should be crossed off the list this week - If all goes to plan. And have put myself and our books out of  misery by finally ordering some bookshelves. And Col too as he got fed up with me saying I couldn't decide what to do.

Back soon

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Ticked Off

More things ticked from the list yesterday as the electrician came and put the connection in ready for the LPG cooker. Then the "cat flap man" came and took the front door to bits and remade it with a cat flap (actually that wasn't even on the list!) I'm soooo glad to get that done as I was fed up with the litter tray and being pestered by Polly to let her out at daybreak . Although she's not impressed with a cat flap again,  after  nearly 6 weeks of having the door opened for her. Also got another side of the greenhouse treated with wood preservative - two sides left, and wrote a letter to my penfriend.

Our neighbours have put their house up for sale, they've only been there for a year and a bit and the sale price has gone up £80,000 from when they bought it. Although I think they've had new kitchen and bathroom done.They are an elderly couple- aged over 80- and their son, who decided to buy an old cottage because they'd never lived in one before! Think they've found it a bit remote and hard work. It means that everyone coming for a "drive-by" viewing comes up the lane and onto our land to turn round and get out again  - so I hope it sells soon as I keep thinking I have visitors. The neighbours are nice and quiet...... hope new people will be too.

  News from hospital
 The new chemo tablets have brought down the white cell count dramatically,which is what they were supposed to do but then his red cell count and platelet levels dropped and he had to have a transfusion. The doctor here rang the hospital in the US where they have tested this drug to check these symptoms and was told it was OK just treat with blood and platelets. The upshot is Col is stuck in hospital again. He is also on intravenous antibiotics but the good news for him is that he's been moved into a room on his own so he 'll be able to keep a bit cooler. And they've had a re-vamp of the meals since last September, the food is better - more flavour and chemo hasn't affected his taste buds yet so things still taste OK. They'll keep him in now for the next round of doubling up the tablets. I'm hoping this is just a blip and he will be home for at least part of the Easter weekend.

Thank you again for all your good wishes

Back Shortly

Friday, 7 April 2017

Well wrapped

The problem with having built in cupboards ...... is that you can't take them with you when you move!

So spending more than I've ever spent on a cupboard before............

My cupboard/dresser for the dining room has arrived - On time too.

Talk about well wrapped.
From the outside in - first there was cardboard, then the edges were all protected by shaped polystyrene bits which were held firm by a sort of cling film and sticky tape wrapped round and round, then reinforced cardboard honeycomb strips front and back and base also held firm by cling film and tape, and on the inside - a thin polystyrene foam stuff.

It took me an hour to get it all off.............bit by bit

 Then on the cardboard on top I found
 "Return guarantee void if packaging is not re-usable"

How the heck anyone could get a 5 foot 9 inch tall wood cupboard out of a box without tearing the box- I do not know! Luckily it was so well wrapped there was no damage at all.

After that it was just a few minutes unscrewing the handles that were all fixed inside and putting them on the outside and fitting the shelf into the bottom cupboard.

Et Voila!
 Now at last I can unpack the 4 boxes that spent a year in the  summerhouse/shed at the bungalow.

Very exciting.

Thank you to everyone for comments about that list.........I've found some more things that should have been on it ...........

27. Finish wire brushing and  wood-staining the other 3 sides of the greenhouse that I didn't do last week
28. Watch Davis Cup tennis 7th - 9th
29.Visit youngest and Florence

Love a good list.................. 2 have been ticked off, two more are nearly done.

Thanks also for bookshelf ideas on a previous post. We had Ikea shelves at the smallholding and Col cut and altered them to fit in under the stairs and in the hall, they were good shelves but we had to leave them as they were all fixed and fitted. Could have the same again I guess, but I just had an extravagant yearning for real wood! I think it's called living beyond our means or wishful thinking.

Colin didn't get out of hospital yesterday, he's had no side effects to the increased dose, but still has a sinus infection/cough which the doctor said they wanted to sort before they let him out. He may be home today or tomorrow.

Back Soon

Wednesday, 5 April 2017


Seems to be a lot of juggling needed over the next few weeks..........................
Some are in no order, some are not so important
  1. Finish painting the inglenook where the cooker is going
  2. Collecting Colin from hospital on Thursday, Friday or Saturday - not helpful for planning!
  3. Need to be at home for a cupboard delivery Thursday
  4. Organising Cooker delivery, electrician and gas fitter all for next Monday
  5. Taking Colin to hospital next Tuesday (and repeating numbers 2 and 5 several more times!)
  6. Reading the meters at number 9 next Wednesday or Thursday before completion and contacting the supplier
  7. Taking the keys to Estate Agent
  8. Contact Borough Council to get a bit of a refund of April Council tax at number 9
  9. Going to the library van next Thursday
  10. Doing the shopping
  11. Collecting tablets from pharmacy
  12. Need to write a letter or two
  13. Col's laptop has got to go back to the computer shop.
  14. Find out how to get the "two home tax" back from HMRC
  15. Get the oil tank filled
  16. Get the septic tank emptied
  17. Prepare for visitors
  18. Find book shelves 
  19. Plant a tree when it arrives
  20. Water new things in garden if we don't get rain anytime soon
  21. Find a car to replace the Hyundai
  22. Get the Fiesta repaired and MOT done
  23. Weed more of the flower gardens
  24. Keep grass cut
  25. See neighbours about lane repairs
  26. Find out  who we've not informed of new address  
Think I should stop writing lists and get on

Back Soon

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Boxes of Books

What to do with 1000+ books? That is the question.

There was no point in getting bookshelves until we'd been painted so they are still all in boxes in the corner of the living room.

I'm not sure about having shelves in the living room with the wood burner.......... I know how dusty they will get so the landing upstairs will be the place.

The painter has finished upstairs but......

What are the chances of finding the right size second-hand bookshelves?

Very unlikely but.................

Have you seen the price of decent wooden shelving?

I hate cheap shelving that bends in the middle.

Colin might have made them in the past but not now.

I shall measure up and search online but..........

Probably not room for everything so much culling will be needed.

Although I did abandon some before we moved and more went to Ziffit last year but..........

There are still 25, yes 25 boxes.

So I shall have to be very strict with myself.

I shall be glad to unpack them and they will be glad to see the light of day again........most have been in boxes for 18 months.

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Monday, 3 April 2017

More Finds for the Grandchildren

I used to hear a voice saying " you've got enough books already", then when we moved to the smallholding and bought trees and shrubs the voice said " what more things for the garden?". When I was a childminder and had a little nursery group for our youngest and some other small people, I would pick up wooden puzzles and such like from car boot and jumble sales and the voice said "why do you keep buying things for other peoples children, you won't make any money from it if you do that" Now I can still hear the voice, this time it says "you shouldn't keep buying things for them, they'll always expect it".
 It's my Mum's voice, though she's been dead 18 years!

So disregarding ghostly advice, just as I ignored it at the time, at our nearest boot sale yesterday I found the Fisher Price Airport, 'plane, cars and figures, another Little Grey Rabbit book and the  folding seat which can be used on the floor or strapped to a chair. This will save our eldest bringing a high chair at Easter and it can then
go to the youngest's  where they hardly have room for a high chair in their little flat.
Also found a cake tin saying "CAKE"! Spending much more than my usual, this lot came to £15.
 Col came and walked round slowly, he has a horrible cough and blocked sinuses, making him short of breath and very difficult when trying to sleep. Probably a side effect of the tablets. They gave him antibiotics again before he came home but they're not working yet.
He bought some lettuce plants and a couple of cowslip plants and we got them planted out later. The cowslips have gone down the meadow where we already have lots of primroses. Hopefully they'll grow and spread. We never could get cowslips to grow over at the smallholding, they would be OK for a few years and then disappear.

Back home we got the dining room curtain pole re-fixed after the painting and put the curtains up. They are ones Mrs F left and were filthy but after a cool wash have cleaned up well. I was a bit dubious because you never know with lined curtains.

I enjoyed watching the Boat Races - another annual tradition for me - and it's really good to see the ladies given equal billing although Col moans at all the chat before they actual race!

We have today at home together and then he'll be back in hospital again for a few days when they double the dose of the drug. Each week he'll stay in from Tuesday or Wednesday until Saturday, so he will be here for most of Easter weekend I hope.
I need to write myself a job list of all the things that need doing - apart from painting the inglenook where the cooker will go.

Keeping busy as usual
Back Soon

Saturday, 1 April 2017

April 1st and the cat ate the cucumbers

I LOVE April, Spring springs, everything turns green and gorgeous and my birthday is halfway through the month and then the cat ate the cucumber seedlings!
They were on a little table in the conservatory - well away from the windowsill, out of reach of  Polly - Ha! Two pulled out and dropped on the floor and the other two nibbled. I've covered up the two that are left  now..........a day too late.

Despite the loss of  my precious seedlings I'm feeling very upbeat, especially as I shall go and pick up Col later and he will be home until Tuesday when he'll go back and they will double the dose of the tablets and he'll be closely monitored again. This is how we will go on for the next 6 weeks until he is on maximum dose, which is 40 times the starting dose. So far, touch wood, cross fingers etc there have been no side effects although 4 days on a very low dose may not be a true test.........we'll see.

We have the house to ourselves again as the painter, who has been brilliant, has done two of the bedrooms, hall, stairs and landing and the dining room which is as much as we need for now.The rooms have all gone from dirty shades of yellow or beige to nice clean blush-white. I can get the dining room organised before visitors arrive for Easter as the cupboard ordered from Oak Furniture Land (hooray for Col's County Council lump sum pension payment!)to store all the "best" crockery and glasses, is due next week. There are 4 boxes to be unpacked and sorted. All full of things I've managed without for over a I really need them all? More sorting needed I think. The Car-boot box in the cupboard under the stairs is filling up.

 Next week I must concentrate on painting the bit behind where the LPG range cooker will go in the hope that electrician, pipework fitter and the cooker will actually arrive before Easter. Its a weird pink at the moment but I've got some bright red which will show off the cream cooker rather well I think.

Thank you for lovely comments about the lane photos. Must remember to take more at the end of each month.
And a big welcome to more followers - Hello There.

Back in a trice or two

Friday, 31 March 2017

Down a Suffolk lane.........

 on the last day of will find ........

 Our house at the far end, you can just see the chimney

The base of the pump that would have served the three cottages in our lane before mains water
Daffodils and primroses still looking good

 One solitary Cowslip plant

We used to call these Five Fingers although their proper name is Oxslips.........I think!

 The bird feeders in our front garden

 The sign showing the path across our meadow

There is frogspawn and a dozen frogs but not easy to photograph

Wild  plum or cherry or something!

I'm going to try and remember to do this on the last day of each month

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PS. Hospital news.... still OK no nasty side effects so far. 8 hourly blood tests and continuous saline drip, measuring it in and out! Off to see him later.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Busy day planned

The weather forecast for today sounds so good that I decided to visit Col yesterday when it was cloudy................ and then I could have a sunny day at home getting on with jobs.

First I want to bring a wheelbarrow load of compost from the lovely heap Mrs F left us and mix it with multi-purpose and grow-bags to start filling some pots.
 Need to do this today as I was tempted by 6 Strawberry plants for £2.99 at Aldi. I've already got 3 plants that I found here........squashed into 1 small pot and some more coming free with the gooseberry bushes......soon I hope.
The other pots will hold tomatoes, peppers,cucumber and aubergines, not so urgent to get them filled.

 Then I'm going to find a wire brush and start to clean down the woodwork on the greenhouse ready to give it a coat of wood preservative. I'm not too fussed about getting it perfect as I figure anything will help it last longer.

 And if I have time I'll finish clearing the last veg bed.

 Then I really must write letters to friends who are  without internet at present.


Hospital news............... Day far, so good.

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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Old News From 1954 and new news from today.

My real Dad was killed in a motorbike accident a few months before I was born. I've always known about it and where this happened. We went and put flowers on his grave often and there were  photographs of him at home. Then when I was three Mum married my Dad's elder brother and he was always Dad to me and real Dad was rarely mentioned.
It's all a long time ago but I've occasionally wondered if there was a newspaper report of the accident and what happened to the car driver involved.
Speaking to my cousin at Colin's birthday party earlier this month she said that among her late mum's (sister to both Dads) things she had found a newspaper cutting of the inquest and emailed it to me.
 I didn't learn anything new - apart from the coroners and car drivers names - but now I want to see the report of the inquest when it reconvened.
The accident happened  long before motorcycle helmets were compulsory, I wonder if he would have died if he'd been wearing a helmet.
 No mention there of pregnant wife either, I'm sure it would have been made much of nowadays.

And the new news?
Yesterday morning Colin fixed up the stair gates - because our eldest had a picture on Instagram of Jacob trying out the stairs at their house........ and they are coming to stay at Easter.......10 months old and getting into mischief already! We are Prepared! ( By the way both gates were secondhand for £5 each saving us several £).
 I took Colin up to hospital yesterday afternoon, they had him on a fluid drip ever so quickly and hope to start with the first of the tablets today. After 2 journeys to Ipswich in 2 days I probably won't visit today  - he will be so closely monitored with loads of blood tests so all should be OK.The nurses have had special training all about the new drug so know what to watch for.

Must say welcome to new followers too......hello all.

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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Thank You............

.................for all your thoughts and prayers, much appreciated, let's hope they work.

 I've got over  the reality shock  so we've just been carrying on, one day at a time, keeping busy, although because of the speed that his white blood cell count is increasing Col is running out of energy, even with the steroids.  Someone asked if this really was the only 'choice'  and yes it is at the moment because all the things tried so far haven't worked. His only other option would be bigger doses of one of the chemo drugs tried last year,which didn't work then and neither he nor the consultant want to do that.
 The new drug he will be taking is called Venetoclax, it's been used mostly in the US and very successfully against CLL Lymphoma and also tried on Mantle Cell Lymphoma, which is what Col has. Only a handful of people in this country are taking it.
If it works and when the white blood cell count is low enough he will have a donor stem cell transplant from a sibling.
He'll get a phone call later today to say what time they want him in. The first thing they do is to give lots of fluids for 24 hours before starting the tablets. He might have to go in each time the dosage is increased, it depends what reaction he has. The big risk is Tumour Lysis Syndrome this is when large amounts of the cancerous cells are killed releasing uric acid, potassium and phosphorous into the bloodstream too quickly. This is why they now start on a very small dose and increase it week by week.
The consultant said he was very excited about being able to trial these new tablets, we said excited wasn't the word we would use!

Anyway,  we've trying to keep things as normal as possible which meant going to a car boot sale on Saturday afternoon at the Leisure Centre in our nearest big village. I was very pleased with this little grandchild sized chair for £3 and the box of Brio type railway for £5.
 Then Sunday we went for Mother's Day lunch at our son and daughter in law's home - lovely roast lamb - he's a very good cook.
On Monday we went to visit our youngest daughter and little Florence. We took  a Jumparoo which I won off ebay for her ( I hadn't heard of them until Eldest daughter told us about the one she borrowed for Jacob). She thought it was great fun and was soon worn out from all the bouncing.

After visiting A and Florence it was up to hospital so Colin could have the picc line put in, this is the way they can give antibiotics intravenously and take numerous blood tests while he is being closely monitored at the start of the drug..

Keeping busy has involved more garden clearing, I've finished forking and weeding my way across  veg. bed # 1, a little at a time as I'm so out of gardening practice.  We've sown lettuce and beetroot seeds in Veg bed#3 and planted the potatoes in bed #4, leaving space for 2 tripods of beans. Veg bed # 2 is still full of weeds, that's my next job. With much less space than at the smallholding we have to decide what's best to grow both from the freshness and expense point of view.
The soft fruit bed is cleared and ready and waiting for the arrival of two gooseberry bushes and I decided to use part of it for asparagus too. My cucumber, tomato, pepper, aubergine and basil seedlings have been pricked out into bigger pots - in the conservatory during the day and indoors at night. There's no sign of leek seedlings and very few lettuce seedlings coming up in the greenhouse. May have to try a different packet of leek seeds.

Latest reading was Problem at Pollensa Bay, a collection of Agatha Christie short stories with some characters I'd never heard of before- Harley Quin and Parker Pyne. Looking through the lists at the back of the book there seem to be quite a lot of short stories and collections that have been republished very recently.
Followed by a brilliant book by Rory Clements called Corpus...........this is what The Fantastic Fiction website says about it............
book cover of 


1936. Europe is in turmoil. The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland. In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror. Spain has erupted in civil war.

In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within weeks, she is found dead, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers.

In an exclusive London club, a conspiracy is launched that threatens the very heart of government. When a renowned society couple with fascist leanings are found brutally murdered, a maverick Cambridge professor is drawn into a world of espionage he knows only from history books. The deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he finds to link the murders with the girl with the silver syringe - and even more worryingly to the scandal surrounding the Abdication .

A very well written and gripping novel, which I really enjoyed. It says in the back that he is writing another featuring the same character. I've now run out of library books so have started The Winter is Past by Noel Streatfield which is one I bought from Grey Ladies Publishing last year.

Onward and onward we go, I'll keep blogging as it's another way of keeping busy.

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Friday, 24 March 2017

Suddenly Reality Hits

 We've been going along here as if nothing unusual is about to happen, the steroids have given him more energy than he has had for a while and lots of jobs have been done but we haven't had time to sort out so many things.... car repairs, garage roof repair, I've not even learned how to use the ride-on mower yet. The sale of the bungalow is almost complete but not quite, Colin's County Council work pension is being processed but hasn't come through yet. So many things  in the pipeline.

 Then we got the phone call to say Colin has been approved to have the new cancer tablets...... next week. These are some that have only become available this year and haven't even finished their trials. They've been cleared for use with CLL lymphoma in the States with good results but not tested fully on Mantle Cell lymphoma, which is what Colin has but the drug company are permitting them to be used under compassionate licence.

Suddenly we realise this is real, make or break. These tablets proved fatal to some people when they were first trialed as they were given in a high dose straight away. Now they introduce them slowly with lots of fluids to take away the toxins, so patients are monitored closely for several days, just in case.
He's signed the consent forms, one of the list of possible effects which we have to understand is Death.
If they work he then has to go through the donor stem cell treatment later with all the risks of rejection.

As they say.......... OMG

Back when I've got my head round the implications

The Lark by E Nesbit


 Another treat from Dean Street Press arrived a few weeks ago. One of their Furrowed Middlebrow reprints for me to read and review.

All I knew about E Nesbit was that she had written 'The Railway Children' and 'Five Children and It', but she also wrote several books for adults, this one being the last, written in 1922.

The Lark isn't about birds but the word is used in the old fashioned sense - fun and an adventure and charts the story of two girls finding a way of earning a living after their guardian has used all their inheritance for himself....... leaving them with a cottage and £500.

Jane and Lucilla are still in school - aged about 18 when they get the letter from their guardian telling them to leave school, but the story had started 6 years earlier. Jane braves a woodland at midnight to chant a magical spell  found in a book which is supposed to show her the man she will marry. By chance  John Rochester, a young man (but several years older than Jane) is walking through the wood and stumbles on Jane but quickly leaves when he realises that she has seen him.

Fast forward 6 years - after WW1- John Rochester just happens to be the nephew of an elderly man who owns a huge empty house close to the cottage the girls are living in.

The story is quite light and fluffy, everything goes well, (except for the Paying Guests!) they sell flowers, get permission to use the garden of the big house, then one of the rooms and then the whole house, find a gardener by chance and rescue him from poverty. Gladys, their favourite maid from the boarding school comes to hep them out - adding many tales of all her young men! There are some lovely descriptions of the house and furnishings and many humorous bits that made me smile.

Happy ending of course for Jane and Mr Rochester ( although they are totally unlike their Charlotte Bronte namesakes) but we never really know the end of the story for the others.

An enjoyable read that I would never had known about without Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow and his collaboration with Dean Street Press.

Thank you for all the comments about the WI on my last post.

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Wednesday, 22 March 2017


Image result for W.I.

 I'm not a great joiner of clubs or similar things, especially during winter when venturing out in the dark and cold doesn't appeal.
 So although I loved my 20+ years as a Cub Scout Leader before smallholding and my several years as Membership bod for the Suffolk Smallholders Society once we had the smallholding, I've not done anything lately.
Now there is more time and I really ought to make an effort. Colin's sister H happens to be President of a WI two villages away from where we live now and there was really no excuse not to go and visit a meeting. Last time I was a WI member was back in 1991 and I used to go with several neighbours and we enjoyed the meetings, it was a big group.......... about 30 or so members of all ages and  always interesting.
The group I visited on Monday is much smaller, less than a dozen ladies so H was pleased to have numbers boosted by one plus the subject was Bookbinding and you know about me and books!

The speaker was a neighbour of a member and had never done a talk before and then the overhead projector broke down just as he was about to start, but he did very well and had brought along old books and tools of the trade. He gave a brief account of the history of books and then described how he repaired damaged books and made things like record books for private hospitals. Then we all crowded around his lap-top to see the small photos which we should have seen enlarged.

After the speaker came delicious cakes and coffee, the members take it in turns to make refreshments, two people each month.

I just went as a visitor this time but will probably join properly next month. My only problem is that I don't really want to go on the theatre outings and other things organised so I hope that doesn't matter.

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