Tuesday, 30 November 2010
A few minutes ago Ann picked up a plastic jug just outside the back door, and found this young toad sheltering in it.
He was slow, torpid (?), but very much alive. We put him in our garden pond, where the temperature is just above freezing (around 35 degrees, and where we took this photo. Hope he makes it through the winter.
Monday, 29 November 2010
About four inches of snow had fallen on this area of Norfolk. Main roads were passable, back roads only just so, and at walking pace. Met up at school car park and collected goodies. By about 5p.m. we were on our way home, not really relishing the thought of the journey. But in the event, after the first few miles the roads were comparatively clear, and we arrived home just after six p.m. with a sense of achievement, and glad we'd decided to risk it.
Three miles further on - clear sky. Stopped off a few miles north of Stowmarket at a charming small pub off a back road for lunch. Nice landlady who explained that she had a big party in the dining room, but we could have a table near the fire in the bar parlour. We ordered lunch and coffee. Good coffee arrived five minutes later. Landlady brought in a basket of fresh bread, with butter. She then vanished and nothing happened for half an hour, during which time we ate bread and drank the coffee. Landlady then turned up (full of apologies- trouble in the kitchen) with our plates of lunch - which we quickly discovered was nothing like the lunch we'd ordered. Tried it- excellent- so made the best of it and started eating. Landlady had by now realised mistake and came back in, red faced and full of apologies. Assured her that food was good, we were hungry, and anyway we were running out of time. Landlady brought in more coffee. Finished lunch, drank coffee, went to counter to pay my score, where landlord adamantly refused to take a penny piece for lunch (because of the confusion) and despite my assurances that we'd had an excellent lunch - if not the one we'd ordered. In the end he won and we left assuring him we'd try his place again. Drove on into Norfolk - and ever worsening weather. Called on old friend Joan, now in care home in Thetford, stayed forty minutes recalling old times. Then on again.
We'd made arrangements to drive up into Norfolk today to collect a couple of pieces of stock that our friend Jim had bought for us in Sussex. I know the previous sentence sounds daft, but our friend Jim (sensible fellow) lives in mild and sunny Sussex, and had passed our two pieces onto his daughter, who was visiting him, but who lives up on the Norfolk Coast. HER daughter goes to school just over the Norfolk border a few miles North of Thetford, where we'd arranged to meet (it's a lot nearer than a drive down to Sussex). Got up this morning to a lovely clear sky, but by the time we'd had breakfast it was snowing quite hard, see above photo of garden. By twelve o'clock the sun was out again and all the snow had melted, so we decided to go anyway, having put a shovel, coats, a flask, and wellies, into the back of the car.
Sunday, 28 November 2010
Been a good, busy, weekend. Yesterday was our pre Christmas Church Bazaar. Ann helped in the lunch area, having made vast quantities of lasagna - well - two large cauldrons of the stuff, whilst I ran the book stall. Got to Scrabble club a bit late, but was able to join in a three handed game. The third game was interesting as the final score was 205, 207, and 208- can't remember a closer scoring game - three points top to bottom with three players. Home, and eventually had what little remained of the lasagna for supper- very good it was, too.
This morning at a baptismal service we both sang in the choir. After the service it was given out that the Bazaar yesterday had made £1,686. The bookstall I later learned (via Hilary) had made £98, which considering we were charging 50p. per paperback and £1 per hardback (and mostly it was paperbacks that sold), was pretty good.
Had lunch with friends Gloria and John today. Very good lunch, salmon, two puddings, a very well stocked cheeseboard, and coffee. Walked there and on the way took above photo of an early Tudor brick house (1490 - 1520 A.D.) which has just been fully restored. Two years ago it was two semi derelict cottages- although it was possible to see that it had been built as a single fine town house. It's good to see it restored to its original dignity. We're just back from an Advent Service with a visiting choir and mainly rather celtic sounding hymns -interesting service- different anyway, at the local United Reform Church. Now about ready for a bath and bed - so, Goodnight All.
Thursday, 25 November 2010
Took the above photo of the Brompton Oratory, looking along the lane to the side of Bonham's yesterday. There was almost an hour to spare between the morning and afternoon sessions of the auction, so I had a coffee and a cheese and pickle sandwich at the coffee house opposite Bonhams, then walked through to the Oratory, and had a look round inside it. It's a very handsome R.C. Church; almost a monument to High Victoriana - not my favourite period- heavy, pompous, and very sure of itself. But, like it or not, I had to admire the Oratory. Solidly well made and totally self confident (which sounds as if I'm admiring the very qualities I'm doubtful about - oh well- there's no accounting for, or even understanding our own, tastes !!!). I've spent most of the day in my workshop, tidying up and cleaning the stuff I bought at yesterday's auction (well some of it anyhow), and it's bedtime now, so I bid you all a very good night.
Monday, 22 November 2010
Photo taken in Thetford Chase last week, of Ann's favourite avenue of trees. We think they are hornbeams, but not sure. I AM sure however that some of our readers will know and inform us.
Spent the last weekend in the midlands, partly to enjoy the hospitality of Carl and Jude, partly to visit sister Maggie and Mark, but mainly, I must admit to make the aquaintance of new great niece Charlotte (as featured in our last two entries of this blog). Been a lovely weekend. Got home about four pm. Going to be a busy rest of the week, so may not be blogging for a day or so. Will probably reopen this journal later this week.
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
After purchase of flowers took photoes of ancient building that housed, for a while, my old school. During its eight or so centuries of existence (it received it's Royal Charter from Richard II in 1379 - partly for being a very old established foundation even then) it has been housed in four different buildings in Wisbech - all of them still in public use. After leaving Elisabeth- who is another old pupil of the above school - it's been taking in both sexes as pupils for around forty years now- we headed homeward. Arrived just before seven p.m. Nearly wooden hill time now - so Goodnight All.
We stopped off for coffee at the above Brandon House Hotel, our usual coffee stop. It has been undergoing renovation. Coffee still good (but price has doubled - still- not unreasonable), service excellent as always. Ann said renovation 'cheap and cheerful. Looks smart-ish, but no longer has the slightly down at heels, homely feel '(although I think that six month's usage by Norfolk farmers will soon restore this). As we shall now (since Gran's death) no longer be going to Wisbech nearly as often, and as we'd still like to meet up with Janet and Roy occasionally, we thought we might meet here, at the Brandon House Hotel, for lunch occasionally, especially as it's almost exactly halfway between us.
Then drove to the Blacksmith's Arms at Elm, near Wisbech, met Roy and Janet who were already there, and had lunch. They both liked our idea of meeting up at Brandon; they had used, and liked, the Brandon House Hotel before its renovation, and looked forward to seeing it in its new, smart format. After lunch drove into Wisbech, and purchased flowers for Elisabeth (our accountant). Then to Elisabeth's. Handed over books, then Elisabeth and Ann talked over various minor problems of settling Gran's small estate.
Monday, 15 November 2010
Sunday, 14 November 2010
Saturday, 13 November 2010
Had a 'phone call just before supper from Danielle to say that her grandfather, Roy, had died during the night. Mentioned them on Wednesday's blog. Bit of a shock. Roy was in his mid eighties but a very active, independently minded man. Too many unexpected deaths recently. As the Irishman is supposed to have said:- "There's people dying this year who never did before". Come to think of it Roy would have appreciated that old chestnut- his surname was O'Shaughnessy.
To more cheerful things- we've just had a superb supper- see above photo - from the top (for Lori's benefit) yorkshire pudding, roast beef (sirloin) with a dab of horseradish sauce, carrots, mashed potaoes, broccoli, and roast parsnips in the centre. This was followed by a jam puff each with custard. Ann said she made it with blueberry jam, and she had more jam heated to pour on, as the whole point of jam puffs (as with jam rolly polly pudding - and we have Lord Emsworth's dictum for that) is that there's plenty of jam. On which deep philosophical point, I think I'll knock off - So- Goodnight All.
A couple of evenings ago Ann and I were having our evening game of scrabble. All through the game Ann was very short of vowels, whilst I had far more vowels than I wanted (this happens occasionally when playing scrabble). Towards the end of the game with not many tiles left in the bag, Ann drew the letters J Z K and V from the bag (Ann's is the upper rack in the photo). She quickly got rid of four of her letters by laying the word 'inky', then drew the last tile, which was the Q. I got out as quickly as I could, and won the game, but only because Ann had twenty two points left on her rack, and only then by about four points. Very frustrating game for both of us.
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Cottage in (or near) Thorpe Morieux.
Been a very busy day today. Ann Deaconed, and I read both lessons, at early service. Breakfast then home, after which Ann walked back into town for coffee with friends Sue and Valerie. I did a little work in workshop then changed into funereal garb, took car, picked up senior choir member and drove back to Church, where we met Ann, for funeral (we both sang in choir) at twelve noon of friend Colin (retired Colonel). Sad service; he was only sixty seven. Had heart problems a few years ago. He'd looked much healthier these last few years, and was very active. Died in his sleep a fortnight ago. After service went to British Legion headquarters in town for tea, etc. Ran Margaret home; then home, afternoon nap, light meal, then back into car, picked up young aquaintance Danielle, and took her into Ipwich hospital, where our old friend Roy (who is Danielle's grandfather) had a fairly serious operation last Monday on his private insides (or 'innards' to use the correct medical term). He looked pretty groggy still, but brightened up a bit while we were there. Got home just before nine and both ready for bed now.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
Snapshot of your blogger in front of tiny rose garden on Friday morning just before we set off for cafe church, and eventually Stretham in Cambridgeshire for lunch. Rest of the weekend's been much as normal. Choir practice on Saturday morning. Scrabble Club on Saturday afternoon. We both sang in the choir this morning. After the service when I was winding the vestry clock I met a young man in the vestry who introduced himself as Craig, the new 'youth worker' and who kept addressing me as 'Sir'. I told him that I do like respect for age, but -'I'm not Sir, I'm Mike'. This threw him a bit, and he then showed a tendency to address me as 'Sir- er -Mike', which was worse. Oh well, he'll get used to me I hope.
This afternoon we went to Eileen's for a scrabble tea. Before scrabble Eileen asked me to put her grandfather clock back an hour for winter 'time'. As it's a complicated old gentleman (quarter chimes - Victorian, although it looks older) I simply stopped it for an hour, then restarted it at the (now) correct time, then wound it for the week. Hilary had made the tea for Eileen, who is recovering from a broken sternum, which she had sustained in a motor accident which wrote off her car, but certainly didn't write off Eileen. Hilary carried the meal round in a basket, which left Eileen to make the tea only. Three good games, all of which Hilary won, but we gave her a good run for her money in all three games. Been, as I say, a normal, and thoroughly enjoyable weekend.
Saturday, 6 November 2010
Choir practice was held in the vestry this morning, and halfway through practice I looked up and saw the above bloke glaring down at me. I go into the vestry two or three times most weeks, and have done for the last fifteen years or so, but I don't remember noticing this chap before - perhaps I'm not so observant as I think I am, or perhaps I'm more forgetful than I should be. To take the photo I climbed onto the oak table in the vestry causing protests from Ann and our Choir Mistress. The Tenor Line (young Geoffrey, well he's our youngest choir member anyway, a mere fifty) helped me to climb up, and gave me an arm down. He (the carved roof boss - not Geoffrey) looks a great character - not a green man, probably meant to be a wild man -several in churches in the area, and at least one pub a few miles away - The Wild Man, at Sproughton.