Tuesday, 28 December 2010


I had a proper Christmas present this year - from my friend Heather at Random Ramblings.
We, that is my husband, my mother and myself, gave up doing presents a few years ago because they both started to find it difficult to go shopping in the cold weather. So I buy 2 or 3 little things each and then we each have one thing that is from the other two, but I'm the one that doesn't get any surprises. Mum and hubby did, however, ask me if there was anything I really wanted and between them paid for me to get all seven series of Star Trek DS9 on DVD which I shall be watching over the coming months. Oh dear, my terrible secret is now out!
Anyway, it was lovely to open a package when I genuinely did not know what was inside it. It was a large diary with such a very cheerful cover and it has made me think that maybe 2011is going to be the year I get myself organised.

Every morning I shall look at all those pretty flowers and it will make me feel cheerful too, which is always a good way to start the day. I shall make a book mark with my daily jobs written on it and then check them off on each day as I do them - things like doing my exercises, checking to see if there's a birthday card to send, making sure hubby has taken his tablets (you wouldn't believe how many times there is a cry of anguish at bedtime when he realises he's forgotten them all day - AGAIN!) And although some of you may be shocked that I have to be reminded, I do also need to make sure that I have said my morning prayers and read my Bible every day too.
Of course I shall be trying to lose a bit of weight after a small excess of eating over the Christmas holiday so I will be keeping a check on the calorie intake and the exercise out put and my diary will be the perfect place to record that.
I shall try to have a slightly more ordered routine for the week. Mum's shopping will be much easier now that I have started doing an online order for her to have delivered so I want to have one day in the week when I do her cooking for the freezer and one day in the week when I do our cooking for the freezer and one day in the week when I go over to hers and spend some time with her. I see her on Sundays too when I call in on her before and after church. Mostly I can get all the washing done one day a week, probably when I am cooking too. Housework will get done, probably. Maybe three half days? Which should leave me with some time to do the garden (subject to the weather) and sometime to pay proper attention to hubby other than all the usual things and hopefully a bit of time to go out and do my own thing occasionally and make the effort to keep in better touch with friends and relatives. And blog a bit more regularly. And do a bit of painting and crafting. Oh and maybe I'll get a bit of sleep sometime too!
Happy New Year

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy Christmas

A virtual Christmas card for all my readers. Watch this space, I hope to be a better blogger next year X

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Suggestions please

I am going to accept a challenge - if I can get a few ideas. The challenge is to try to be a little more green and to stop doing something and to start doing something in order to achieve this. My problem is that I am struggling to come up with anything. Now I am not claiming to have a zero carbon footprint so let me explain my dilemma.
We are very fortunate to have a Local Authority who provide us with a recycling bin into which we can put all food waste, both cooked and uncooked, plus cardboard and shredded paper and garden waste and which they then turn into compost which can be bought back at a very reasonable price. We have another bin for the paper waste like magazines thick cardboard, plastic bottles and tins and which they also recycle. I usually buy my fruit and veg from shops where they sell it to you loose in a paper bag. I buy my meat from a proper butcher so the packaging is minimal but necessary. I make my own "ready" meals and freeze them in re-usable plastic containers. I take my glass to the bottle bank.
I walk to the local shops if I can and if I don't have too much to carry back. If I go into Ipswich I use the Park and Ride. Otherwise there is no proper public transport so I have to use my car. I can't turn the heating down because my husband is disabled and feels the cold terribly. In the summer I try to collect the water that I wash veg in, or have to run to get the hot water come through but I don't know what to do with that in the winter. I also think that you need to be careful that you don't forget that the drain needs a good flush of water through it fairly regularly. We don't have a bath in our house (yes, we do have showers!) so we don't get the flush through the drain from that. I wash almost everything at 30 degrees and don't use biological products. If I do a hot wash I make sure I have a full load in the machine. In the summer I hang the washing out but do use the dryer for sheets etc in the winter.
I turn the tap off when I am brushing my teeth. I don't leave things on standby. I am replacing bulbs with low energy as and when I can afford them (although it seems there may be issues about how they are recycled) I have been told that it isn't a good idea to turn them on and off all the time so I am a bit unsure about that. I use the mains rather than batteries where feasible. We even live within a five minute drive of the Municipal Dump and we save things up to take there.
I try to bake in batches so that I use the whole oven, and then freeze some. I foraged blackberries in the autumn and made them into seedless jam. Veg that is getting a bit tired is made into soup.
So, what else could I do, or stop doing, to be that bit greener? As my nana used to say, I am not as green as I am cabbage looking, although that was a different sort of green!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Christmas present and past

I went to a lovely big family party yesterday, without leaving the comfort of my own armchair. Through the magic of the internet and the presence of a small built in webcam on my laptop I was able to talk face to face to several of my relatives who I have not seen for years (and in some cases years and years) I stay in touch with some of them by phone, more or less, and there's always the Christmas card, but, due to circumstances beyond my control, I don't manage to get to the December get together and haven't done for quite a long time. I saw about 15 people over about 45 minutes and it was great to see them. I don't know if they realised just how much it meant to me. We seem to have got a bit isolated out here in the wilds of Suffolk over recent years, every body is getting older and has more immediate family commitments.
We used to have such lovely Christmases when I was little, at least that's what I remember. However, I suspect that, in part at least, that is because I wasn't involved in the preparation. All you do as a child is open the presents and eat the chocolates and play the games. You do not have to cook the turkey and time the dinner and do all the washing up.
We , including the grown ups, used to play a lot of games, like charades and any new member, girlfriend, spouse etc was submitted to the test of certain games where only those in the know knew what was going on. Do "Boots Without Spurs" or "Black Magic" or "Passing the Scissors Crossed" mean anything to anyone?
My Aunt's house was full of people, there were Christmases when people slept on any available bit of floor, that happened at our house too sometimes. And I still have my teddy that my mum and dad gave me when I was about 3 and which was almost as big as me then.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Fruity Mellowness

Now that the summer is officially over and the weather seems to agree with that, I may find a bit more blogging time, in between trying to tidy up the garden and all that other stuff I should have been doing. But I have been blackberrying again and took some photos and did a couple of little montages for your delectation and delight.
It is amazing how much there is along the old farm track that leads from our lane to the new estate and Tesco's I have to admit to feeling rather smug when I see little punnets of blackberries for over £1 for about 4 ozs when I have picked 3 lbs for free
The last lot of bramble jelly didn't last long as it was too lovely with yogurt, or on top of the stewed apple, so this time I will put it in proper jars and hide it until Christmas. One or two favoured people might even get a dollop for a present - now won't that be something to look forward to!
The photos are HERE at Not Cute and Not Funny as they show up better on the wide format.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A Mystery Solved!

Something slightly spooky happened yesterday.
Do you have clear memories of places or events which you cannot place? I have a few and one of them is walking along a badly lit, very long, corridor in a basement, with lots of wires and pipes running along the length of the ceiling and a room where people were sitting a drinking coffee. It is such a clear picture in my mind but until yesterday I wasn't even sure if it was somewhere I had really been or something I had dreamt. Then I watched a programme about the history of The Battle of Britain. It was on a few nights ago but I had taped it. The commentator was talking about a place where German pilots who had been shot down were taken, prior to being placed in camps. The name of the place was Trent Park which is where my father went to Teacher Training College in the early 1960s. I had been with my father several times, when he had to be at college and I was on half term holiday. I recognised the big staircase and entrance hall. And then, on the screen I saw my corridor, as the presenter of the programme walked along it. It did exist! The room had been a student's common room. It was a very odd feeling.
HERE is a photo of the building

Now if only I could pin down when and where and why I helped someone paint an old merry-go-round horse!

Friday, 24 September 2010

What a bad blogger

I'm sorry - I know - I haven't been doing very well, have I?
I am afraid I decided I couldn't keep up with the commitment to Alphabe-Thursday for another 26 weeks but I did promise myself I would try and witter on about something every week and I have failed already. Dismally. As for the arty blog, I haven't done anything for ages. Life has been getting in the way, if you know what I mean. But I will. Promise.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Alphabe-Thursday Summer Purple

It's the last week of Jenny's summer school and the colour is purple. At least I hope it is, I haven't checked, maybe it is mauve, or lilac, or amethyst. Anyway, I decided to spare you my purple prose and send you a couple of purple pictures instead. Oops, it's violet, oh well they still qualify

See what others were inspired to do HERE

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Alphabe-Thursday Mood Indigo

A rather short post from me this week as it has been one of THOSE weeks. I have joined up to Spotify and thought I would have a look to see how many recordings of Mood Indigo there are and there are loads. I can't choose which one to suggest. Sinatra, Ellington, Fitzgerald, Mingus, Day, Lyttleton, I could go on. They all have their merits. So I had a look at YouTube as well and decided on This one

Or this one if you want to know the words

More indigo HERE

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Alphabe-Thursday Summer Blue

Jenny's summer school is more than half way through now. It is beginning to feel like autumn here already, our summer has been too short this year and I hope it is going to give us a second chance before it gives up altogether. This week we have reached the colour blue
I love the blue of the sky in high summer, I love the blue of cobalt glass, I love the blue of cornflowers. But I don't wear blue very often, and here's the reason why

Something like this little chart hung on the wall of the Art Room when I was in the Sixth Form at school. (Sixth Form is the last two years, aged 16/17 and 17/18) When I started there the uniform rules were very strict. White shirt, navy with a thin blue diagonal stripe tie, navy gored skirt which should touch the floor when kneeling, navy blazer etc etc and the most unflattering pale blue cotton dress for summer. I can't even bring myself to talk about the hat. Anyway, the uniform changed when I was about 15 and then the rules eased off even more and we were told that, within reason, we could wear anything blue or white in our last term. This was the term when we would be doing our final school exams so we were no longer prefects at that stage. And of course, girls being girls, we all pushed the limits of what could or could not be described as blue and so the art mistress put a chart up on the wall and if there was any doubt you had to go and get her to match your clothing against the chart and got into trouble if you didn't coincide with the top line (blues that were blue) but had strayed too close to the next two lines (blues that were greeny blue or mauvey blue) The colours haven't quite come out as I intended but you get the idea. So when I left school I avoided blue because I was just too fed up with it and here I am nearly 40 years later and I still don't choose it!

Maybe I will find something to change my mind HERE

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Alphabe-Thursday Summer Green

Jenny's Summer School has reached the colour green. I went out for a walk with the camera and thought and thought of all the things I could say about the colour green. But a picture is worth more than a thousand words. How lucky am I to have this less than 100 yards from my front door!

Now see what other people were inspired to say for the colour green HERE

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Alphabe-Thursday Summer Yellow

I'm sorry. I've been sitting here trying to think of something nice and yellow. I've been looking around my house for something nice and yellow. I looked in my wardrobe, I looked at my ornaments, I looked in the sitting room and the bedroom and the kitchen and tried to find something nice and yellow.

I came to the conclusion that I don't like yellow. Then I had to deal with a wasp that came in the window. He was black and yellow. I went shopping and couldn't park where I wanted to because of the double yellow lines on the road that mean I can't park. I looked in my garden. The only yellow there is the grass that is dying because it has been so dry.

Gosh I am looking forward to next week

In the meantime maybe another post will convince me otherwise. Find them HERE

Thursday, 5 August 2010

A-T Rainbow Orange

Back at Jenny's Rainbow summer school and the colour is orange. Or maybe amber.
Think traffic lights.
Red is Stop - it ain't gonna happen
Green is GO for it
Amber is pray about it, because there's a chance it could happen. I expect you've heard the sermon that says "God always answers your prayers. Sometimes he says No, sometimes he says Yes and sometimes he says Maybe"

Something that means a great deal to me and which has had a red light on it for a few years has just gone amber. I am not saying what because at the moment I don't want people who know me to keep asking about it, especially if it falls through.

And in case you are wondering I am way too old to be pregnant!

But in a week or six I might be able to tell all so watch this space.

Other oranges

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A-T Summer Rainbow RED

Over at Alphabe-Thursday it is the school holidays but Mrs Matlock, being a hard task-mistress, has given us homework to do so we are now going through the colours of the rainbow. Yes, here in the UK we spell it "colour", I didn't make a mistake Mrs M!
So I thought about the colour red and looked round my house and garden and thought some more and then I remembered that somewhere I had some photos of my old cars.
Let me introduce you to PGT 427E.

I bought this car in 1976 and it was quite old then. It was the first car I owned after passing my driving test. Technically I had owned a Morris Minor before that because I had lent my dad the money to buy it and he drove it and gave me some lessons but it was sold before I was able to drive it on my own.
"Piglet" was a Triumph Herald Estate. It had no heater, no radio, no power assisted anything and rack and pinion steering which was famous for giving it a wheel lock like a London taxi, which meant you could turn it full circle in not much more than its own length. It was therefore a really easy car to park. It had a walnut veneered dashboard though and I loved it. It cost me £80 and I sold it for £25 two years later. Funny how I can't remember the registration of any other old cars but always remember the first
Now I have a little question for my American readers. Is it the case that you do not eat runner beans? Someone told me that you grow scarlet runners like this for the flowers but don't eat the pods and I didn't believe them. Here's one I have grown but the beans aren't setting very well this year, maybe because there don't seem to be many bees about.

HERE is where you can see what "Red" has brought to other minds

Monday, 26 July 2010

Ladies who lunch #2

I know it will come as a bit of a shock to some of you, to find me blogging on a day that isn't Thursday, but I decided that I really must make an effort and as I know a few of you really like your food I thought I would tell you about my lovely lunch that I had today.
I have a friend called Rosemary who lives in Woodbridge. About 20 years ago I rented a room in the house she had then because circumstances had put me working in Woodbridge when I lived quite a long drive away from home and so the room was my bolt hole for times when the weather was bad or I had to work late. Only I liked it so much I ended up staying over quite a lot more than anticipated and joining in the Bible Study that she used to host and we have remained firm friends ever since. We don't see each other very often but now that we have more time we have promised to meet up now and then and today we tried out a new place in Woodbridge called The Moorish Lounge For anyone who knows Woodbridge it's where The Captain's Table used to be.
The weather was lovely and there were several tables outside under a good shady gazebo but we decided to sit inside as the chairs were more comfortable for fuss pot (aka me) If you follow the link you will see the sort of food they do, and their ethos. The web site is very good and worth a read. And the place itself is very good and worth a visit.
We had lentil carrot and something else salad (oh dear, my memory!) chick pea falafel, haloummi and roasted peppers, seared cauliflower with date and anchovies (yes, yes, I know but it really did taste wonderful) and spinach and feta parcels. The rose and vanilla creme brulee had sold out so I had apricot tarte tatin and R had chocolate pot.
It was a tad expensive I think, although I am a bit out of date these days so maybe other people wouldn't think so but it was all scrummy and I would certainly go again

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Alphabe-Thursday Black and White

Alphabe-Thursday is about to take its summer holidays and we have been given that end of term feeling with Carte Blanche to post what we will. I have chosen not to go back but to anticipate. The following seven weeks are to be a rainbow holiday and I am really looking forward to that. But I am of the age that grew up in black and white. The television was black and white. The photographs were black and white because colour photogrphy was quite expensive and my dad developed his own films. Even some of the pictures at the cinema were black and white. Life seemed a lot more black and white too, in that you knew what was right and what was wrong. And now my husband has discovered that the new trend is black and white. He used to do a lot of photography with SLR (single lens reflex) cameras that he bought as a young man and he never really go the hang of his digital camera. He has just read an article that tells him that those really in the know are eschewing the digital in favour of the old fashioned film cameras and he has found that it is suddenly possible again to get the film and batteries for his old cameras. Hurray, at last hubby has a hobby!
Goodness knows what other soup you will find HERE this week!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Alphabe-Thursday. Z is for Zebayda

First of all a big thank you to everyone who came to the birthday party last week (Y is for.....) and if you missed it there's still some leftovers in the fridge so do pop in!) Thank you to for the lovely presents.
Now let me tell you about Zebayda
It's curious how things jump into your mind sometimes. I have a very visual memory and pictures suddenly appear behind my eyes and take me back more years than I care to admit. The letter Z (and where I come from we say Zed, not Zee) suddenly took me back nearly 50 years to a place that was then called The Hutton Residential School. I can see myself in a corridor painted that institutional green that many Brits will know and loathe. The corridor was actually a hallway in a large Victorian house and the house itself felt very friendly. The HRS was a place where children from the London Borough of Poplar who came from difficult backgrounds, broken families or who were orphans, were cared for. My mum and dad had befriended a boy who lived there - why is a whole other story which I might find a slot for next time round - and so we used to go there for tea sometimes. I would be sent off to be with the other chldren while my parents had tea with the matron and I was a bit apprehensive as an only child, suddenly finding myself, albeit temporarily, as part of a very big family.
Now Zebayda was the first black person that I ever met. Where I grew up, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, black faces were not commonly seen. Her father was part of a singing group, an English version of The Inkspots, but her mother was dead and so she stayed at the School while he was on tour. She was a year or two older than me and watched out for me when I was there. I never stayed the night but I guess my mum and dad thought it would be an experience to see how they lived in that place. It always felt full of love and I hope that it was.
HERE'S what other people made of the letter Z

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Alphabe-Thursday - Y is for You are invited

It's Thursday the 8th July and you are invited to my virtual birthday party. The caterers will be here soon. I have ordered an exotic fruit punch for the drivers and champagne for the drinkers. There will be smoked salmon canapes, vol-au-vents filled with cream cheese and caviar, or lobster in mayonnaise. There is the biggest cheese board you have ever seen in your life and a choice of several wines, spirits, mixers and fruit juices . Salads incude pasta and asparagus, orange and watercress and seared peppers and tomato. There's cold salt beef or ham, and a whole cold salmon which has been dressed in thin slices of cucumber to look like scales. If you fancy something hot there's a mushroom rissotto, a lamb pasanda curry and all the trimmings, or a smoked haddock chowder with crusty multi grain rolls. There are other breads too. For dessert there's a dark chocolate torte, a milk chocolate mousee, ice cream in three different flavours (vanilla, coffee and rum and raisin) and a fruit salad. I've also made a huge cobweb pudding to my Auntie Elsie's recipe, which I posted up on this blog last Friday. And there's cream.
Coffee, liquers, or herb tea. Mints.
Bryan Ferry has got Roxy Music back together just for the event but if you go right out into the extensive formal gardens, past the second fountain on the left, you will find a small chamber orchestra and some comfortable seating where you can get away from the heat and noise and repose calmly in the cool for a while.
I will be wearing my black velvet and the second best diamonds.
So all I want you to do is tell me what amazing and fantastic present you are virtually bringing me!
If you are reading this before I get up in the morning then come back later for the link to other Y's or make your way there from Jenny's blog HERE

Friday, 2 July 2010

Auntie Elsie's Cobweb Pudding

A friend asked for this recipe so I thought I'd share it with you all. Not sure if you can read my auntie's writing so translation underneath!

1lb rhubarb
1 strawberry jelly
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
3 eggs
pink colouring
Cook rhubarb slowly without water until juice begins to flow, then more quickly until it is pulp. Liquidise, dissolve jelly in water in same pan. Stir into pulp add jam to sweeten and colouring if necessary. Separate whites from eggs beat yolks into rhubabrb mixture. Whisk whites to soft peak and fold in. (Auntie left that bit out!) Pour into glass dish leave to set
The top
3/4 pint double cream
2 levels tablespoons sieved redcurrant jelly
8 large strawberries
Whisk cream spread on top of rhubarb pipe redcurrant jelly in rounds etc like a cobweb, decorate with strawberries

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Alphabe-Thursday X is for Xylophone

Now that Jenny's link is up I see she was ahead of me on this one. I wrote this before I saw her's - honest! I have been wasting time trying to find a picture that I could point you to, showing the sort of xylophone I had when I was little. You all know what they look like, but all the pictures I found were much brighter than mine was, I guess because the modern ones are painted in rainbow colours and are wooden, whereas mine was second hand and metal and going a bit rusty. But I loved that xylophone. It was educational, I started to learn about how musical scales worked and about the fact that things of different sizes made lower or higher tones. So then I drove my mum mad going round the house with my little xylophone hammers (red wooden balls on the ends of two slim handles) hitting everything in sight to see what sound it made. Then came the exciting moment when we filled up milk bottles with different amounts of water and tried to tune them to a scale. Hey ho, happy days!
What other things did Jenny's team come up with for X. Link will be up on Thursday morning I hope. Jenny if you read this, what time does it go up on your page and how far behind the UK are you? I'm going to stay up one night to get at the front of the list!
And HERE is the link

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Alphabe-Thursday Where or When

OK, this week I am going to ask you all a couple of questions. When do you ever find the time to do all this blogging and commenting? Where do you sit when you do it?
The thing is, although I love to do my little posts I find that I am a very infrequent blogger and this discipline of Jenny's is often the only thing I do on my blogs (and I have two!) for weeks at a time. I am also a very bad commenter. Sometimes I find that after I have visited a blog and commented the whole thing crashes on me and I have to fiddle about re-starting and quite often the time is getting on and I don't continue. I am blessed with the gift of being able to sleep, and I need my 8 hours, so I don't surf in the wee small hours. My computer is upstairs so if I am cooking or eating or doing much of anything then I can't keep checking in and out - I have to sit down and look at the computer and do nothing else (except maybe listen to the TV in the background.) And of course, if I am out of the house then I can't get online either. So tell me where I am going wrong and give me your advice for being a better blogger (provided it doesn't involve spending any money please!)
And while you are here, here is a song called WHERE OR WHEN
sung by someone I may have mentioned once or twice before. It is actually a show tune from the 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical Babes In Arms so a bit unusual for him, but from an album he did called As Time Goes By, which lots of people hated, but I loved.
If you are reading this before Thursday Morning UK time then the link will be up then for the rest of those W posts

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

V is for Villa-Lobos

Many, many years ago, before I was married, I and my then gentleman friend used to buy and sell what was known in the trade as "smalls". Now I don't know if this is a word used for underwear in the US but let me reassure you that I did not buy and sell those sort of smalls. No, the expression referred to small items, usually china, of an antique or collectable nature. We went to fairs and auctions and eventually had a space in a couple of antique centres. Consequently I spent, or misspent, quite a lot of my youth trawling round car boot sales looking for bargains. One day I bought a record. You remember those big black circular things, don't you? The cover informed me that it was some work or other of the composer Vivaldi. I checked it for scratches and it was fine and I paid my pennies and took it home. Then I looked at it more closely and found that it was not in fact Vivaldi at all, but some works by a composer called Hector Villa-Lobos that had been put into a wrong cover. I put it on the record player and was transported, amazed, delighted. Since then, over the years, I have got to know his work and loved most of it. In fact, if I could only ever listen to the music of composers whose names began with just one letter of the alphabet, then I would choose V. Vivaldi, Villa-Lobos and a bit of Verdi would cover most of my moods. And if you would like to know what that first ever piece of Hector's work was that I heard then you can HEAR IT HERE
Curiously I am presently reading the book "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel (thoroughly recommended by the way) and Villa-Lobos means, roughly, the same thing.
Find out what other people thought of for "V" HERE

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Alphabe-Thursday U is for Unusual

First of all I would like to thank you if you visited my "T" post last week. Teacher put me at the front of the class and I had lots more comments than usual - so that was unusual! I didn't manage to come and visit you all. And if you read my "S" post then HERE is the link to the post I did afterwards about the Suffolk Show.

Now, here is a rather unusual flower. I wonder if you know what it is.

It grew in the garden of my old house one year. Later it grew a lot bigger and the colours faded a bit and it looked like this

Well, let me tell you the answer. It's a foxglove, but a very unusual one, I think you will agree. Why it did what it did, I do not know, and it never did it again, although someone did tell me that it is a mutation caused by a virus!


Saturday, 5 June 2010

The Suffolk Show

I had a really lovely bit of "me" time on Thursday. I went to the Suffolk Show with my friend Irene. For those of you outside the UK, the counties in England are probably larger than the US counties but smaller than the states, well, let's face it, some of your states are probably bigger than England! Most of the rural counties have an agricultural show of some description. In Suffolk, and in many others, they are also a show case for local businesses, organisations and charities.
Parking is costly and can be very difficult so the local Park & Ride bus service run a regular bus to and from the showground which takes you on a route past some of the older and posher houses in Ipswich. Once there, and having recovered from the rather enormous cost of getting in we got our bearings and had a quick look in the tent where all the lovely shopping is, and then left again before we got too tempted. We had a good look at the animals

including a bat-eared sheep (?!)

and when it came to lunch time we got something to eat and went and sat in the shade under a grandstand and watched some horses.

I also arranged to meet up with a Twitter friend. Grethic (she's green and ethical) is a green blob on Twitter - it doesn't do her justice! It was nice to put a real face to the name and we chatted for a little while and then went our separate ways but have promised to meet up for a picnic in the summer

We went and had a look at the flower show

and I bought some fancy sweet pea seeds to grow next year and had an interesting chat with a man who grows the sort of thing I would like to grow in my garden. Irene bought a plant. She is the genius behind THIS garden by the way

We went to the stand of my local radio station and I gave one of the presenters a big hug, as we share our birthday and talk a bit on Facebook sometimes. He has the very early morning show and kept me company last year when hubby was in hospital and I wasn't sleeping very well.

Then I am afraid we did go back to the shopping tent. But I resisted most of the temptation and just bought some fudge and some soap. Can you tell which is which?

If I find the soap won't lather and the fudge tastes awful I will know I've got it the wrong way round.

Finally, here is a picture of two more piggy wigs (it's a face only a mother could love, isn't it) and two of what we call enormous tractors and what a lot of you will think are toy models - yes cousin Kathleen in Canada, I mean you!!!

It was a lovely day, the sun shone but there was a bit of a breeze, and I had managed to park my car where the shade of a tree had come round over it in the afternoon. I was tired and happy.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Alphabe-Thursday T is for Trees

I have a bit of a thing about trees. I have very strong memories attached to certain trees that I have "met" during my life. I know, I know, cue for that well known song "I talk to the trees". On the Andy Williams Show years ago he changed the second line to "that's why they took me away". But I digress.
My first tree was a big old apple tree. For some years we lived with my granddad and granny and the row of houses where they lived were Edwardian and had been built on an old orchard. Each house had been left one or two trees in the garden. I used to climb up into it and sit and read for hours, often until the light had gone and I couldn't see anymore. Dad put me up a swing in it too, so here's a photo of me sitting on the swing.

The second tree was one that I used to pass every day when I was walking to work. I had a lovely photo of it but I've lost it so I managed to screen capture what it looks like now from Google Street View. It must be ancient but it isn't as healthy looking as I remember it.

My third tree gives me an excuse to show you what a slim and gorgeous young thing I was. I am about 18 in this picture. The tree behind me was in the garden of the flat below us. It was a lilac and we got all the benefit of it because it was outside out sitting room window. In the winter lots of little sparrows would come and sit in the bare branches and my mum always said they looked liked little brown fruit

One tree I don't have a photo of is a tree in the park in one of the towns where I worked. It was a huge, and I mean really HUGE Copper beech. On stressful days I would go and look at it at lunchtime and it helped. The next tree is one that was across the road from our last house. I was rather pleased with this photo. We lived in the countryside and there were lots of lovely trees around us.

Now we have moved but we are right on the edge of the town and some of you will know that I can walk through a little wood almost outside my front door. I have posted a few pictures of these in the snow so HERE is a link if you would like to look at them. From my study window I can see the woods and two big pines, here they are in the evening sunshine

Last two. The very old oak tree that is along the lane that goes to the old farmhouse that is now a pub

and my favourite tree at Sutton Hoo

See more takes on T HERE

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Alphabe-Thursday S is for Suffolk Show

Unfortunately S has come round a week too early as the Suffolk Show takes place next Wednesday and Thursday . I went for the first time last year but can't find the photos I took then so maybe I will put some up next week and direct you to them.
The Suffolk Show was, I guess, originally just an agricultural show. Most Counties in England seem to have them. There are lots of animals to see, rare breeds etc, plus cart racing and show jumping, bands, displays and you can see what I call huge tractors and what my Canadians laughingly call toy tractors. Well, our country is a lot smaller so, so are our fields.
But there is also a flower show and lots and lots of shopping and eating to be done. It's a whole day out. I am going with a friend this year so I expect to be tired but happy, well fed and a little light in the purse by the end of it.. The website is HERE if you would like to know more and you can see what other people thought of for the letter S HERE

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Alphabe-Thursday R is for Ron

Ron was born the youngest of seven children in 1925. Being the baby, he was spoilt of course, but there's not a lot of spoiling that can be done by an East End family with 9 mouths to feed on a milk roundsman's money. They gave up the "comfort" of their London home for a small holding in Essex. His mother lost her indoor cold tap and the privy and replaced it with an outside tap and "bucket and chuck it"
Ron was a bright boy and gained a scholarship to the local Grammar School but left at 16 to go into the Fire Service (World War 2 having broken out by then) until he was able to get into the RAF, which he did at 17. He was a Flight Engineer and made Sgt but didn't get any further because he burnt down the camp in Iceland. But Ron being Ron even came up smelling of roses on that one. His squadron was posted to Iceland but the men were told they would have to set up Nissan huts on the hill and would not be allowed to billet in the local town.. The cook house drain soon got bunged up with grease and Ron was told to clean it. He decided that if he put some petrol down the drain and set light to it that would shift the grease but what it did was set fire to the cook house - a fire that spread. He was sort of court-martialled and fined £20, a lot of money in 1945. But his comrades in arms were so glad that they were now going to have to be billeted after all, they had a whip round and he made a profit on the deal. But he never got past Sgt.
When the war ended he went back to his home town to find that almost all of his contemporaries had moved on, married, or, sadly, died. He went back to the church youth club and there was only one person who he remembered, a girl called Dot. They spent quite a lot of time together over the following couple of years but then decided that it really was time that they made the effort to go out separately and look for a life partner. Within a week they both found they missed each other so much that they had found their life partner and not realised it.
Ron trained as a surveyor, auctioneer and estate agent but his first love was drama and he belonged to several amateur operatic and dramatic groups. He was a founder member of a well respected amateur Shakespeare company and worked with after school drama groups at a local school. He was given an audition by the world famous D'Oyly Carte Company and, perhaps not kindly, they told him that they would have accepted him had he not been a husband and father by then, but that the life of touring and late nights was really only for those without family ties. He never really got over it. But, aged 38, he sent his wife (willingly) out to work and got a grant to train as a drama teacher.
He was a very good teacher, there being something of the little boy that understood the ways of little boys, and which appealed to the children. Then aged 49 in the space of four months he developed and died of cancer.
Ron was my dad

See what other R's have been written HERE

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Alphabe-Thursday Q is for Q

I am reading a book called "Questioning Q" at the moment. Yes, really I am!
For many years the accepted theological teaching was that the authors of the gospels of Matthew and Luke had both drawn on a common source, called Q, which was believed to have been a collection of sayings of Jesus, but for which direct evidence did not appear to be extant.
It was called Q for the German word Quelle, which means "source"
When I was studying for my theology degree (which by the way, I never finished) this was taught as being accepted and definite. We looked at the similarities and differences between the two gospels and where they were alike we were told that this probably meant that the two had drawn from a third source, (or one had copied from the other) OK, yes, I have simplified this somewhat but you didn't come here for a lecture now, did you!
The reason I am writing this now, though, is because this theory has come into question in more recent years and so what I was taught as - pardon the pun - "gospel" is now open to more and more scrutiny and the resulting discussions are, to me anyway, fascinating.
You have to bear in mind that theology is "talking about God" and does not in itself require any faith or belief. If you have read me before you know that I am a practising Christian but if theology has taught me anything it has taught me that it is healthy to Question, to re-think, to keep one's beliefs, principals, core values, alive and active and dynamic and to accept that sometimes you may change your mind about things.
Sorry, just had to get that of my chest!

Of course, we all know that Q grew up to build wonderful gadgets for James Bond and to make Jean-Luc Picard's life difficult.

And HERE'S some qawwali music, which I love

And please forgive me if I don't manage to respopnd to your comments or leave a comment on yours but blogger is giving me so much grief again today and keeps crashing

You'll find a long queue of Q's HERE

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Alphabe-Thursday P is for Paris

I am an armchair traveller. For all sorts of reasons I am no longer able to jet about (or cruise) willy nilly. In fact, not at all. And yes, I do get a little bit jealous sometimes of the people who can and do. But that is a negative thing and we don't do negative here on Just Jotting Along!
I have some very pleasant memories of Paris. I first went when I was 17. A school friend had a sister who married the gorgeous Jean-Paul and lived in a flat in Paris so I and 2 others went with her for a week's stay, sleeping, at first, on the floor of the living room. Then a friend of theirs said two of us could have his room in his college digs, which was fine until we realised that the only place to have a pee was at an open urinal at the end of the corridor. I drew the long straw and stayed with my friend and her sister, but the other two had to nip down the Metro last thing at night and then first thing in the morning. They were not meant to be there and the next night another friend of the family offered her digs in a slightly less difficult situation. And it was in that place that I first listened to Leonard Cohen, looking across the roofs of Paris from the 6th floor. I also bought my first 2 Jacques Brel LPs on that trip. I already knew of him but only from the radio. And it was the first time I had filter coffee. Those plastic cone things, and the papers, were just not available in the UK then, so we brought back supplies. And Petit Suisse cheese. We went to the Louvre and said "Ou est.... " and were pointed to the Mona Lisa before we could say any more . She's a lot smaller than I had imagined. One rainy afternoon we went to the cinema and saw Midnight Cowboy. I only half understood what was going on because my brain insisted on reading the subtitles
The second time was when I was 30; with another friend who had a cousin who lived there, but this time I had a real bed because they let their cats roam the place and I didn't like cats in the room when I was sleeping so I got the bedroom and the others slept on the floor in the next room. It was a very hot time of year and there were cicadas at night which was rather exotic. This flat was right near the Gare du Nord so I could watch trains coming in and out and going round on a turntable, and there were more roofs and windows through which you could see a little sometimes. We went to the newly opened science museum right at the end of a metro line somewhere in the wilds, and played with a computer for a while - a big deal then. We saw the weird glass pyramid that had now appeared by the Louvre. and The Geode
On both occasions, because I was staying with people in a rather off hand sort of way, we got to do ordinary shopping. You know, I think you should always go and look round a supermarket when you are on holiday, even if you don't need to. It's fascinating.
So I feel very nostalgic for Paris.
I started collecting books about the city, some are really old. and I love reading them as though I know the place, when, of course, I don't really.
Notre Dame seemed too touristy to me but Sacre Coeur was just wonderful.
Climbing those steps in Montmartre.
The self service restaurant at Motte-Piquet
The wonderful names of the stations on the Metro
Shops open in the evening
Asking for "un carnet " on the Metro, like you are a local.

More Ps HERE

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Alphabe-Thursday - O is for Oasis and Optimism

This blog was never intended for anything but a bit of fun. My banner says it was meant to provide an oasis and that was what I wanted to do - promise anyone who followed that there would always be something positive to read here, or something funny or entertaining. Not for me the angst, the baring of the soul, the ranting and raving. Most of those things are, at least in my life, short lived and I have no wish to record them for posterity! So I have been a little quiet recently. Last week's Note From My Mum was not a joke. I have, in the last few weeks, had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a full time carer, my husband and my mother both need a lot of care and between them they take a lot of my energy and time.
I have worked since I left school at 18. I was a lawyer though I tend to keep that to myself these days. I was also a book keeper as a sideline. I was single until I was 36. When I gave up my job just before Christmas it was to give myself six months to catch up with a lot of things before I looked for something else, but I now realise that planning to get another job has been creating its own stress. My own health has been a bit suspect and I don't have the stamina to keep going all the time. Now that I have decided that I am not going to do that I find myself truly feeling a lot more optimistic about the future because I can give my energies to the two people who I love most in the world, and who need me the most and be very glad and feel, frankly, very blessed, that I harbour not one iota of resentment about the situation..
I am extremely fortunate that we can manage without my earning. Hubby being in a wheelchair means that we don't spend on things like holidays, or going very far afield for trips, neither of us smoke, he doesn't drink and I only do in moderation, I have time to cook real meals which are much cheaper than ready made and I have a wardrobe full of clothes that I used to keep for work, or best, which I can now wear to do the gardening in should I so desire. The social life I have is with the people I genuinely want to spend time with, not because they are the people I need to cultivate or people to whom I "owe" an invitation.
I may actually find that I will have the time and space to start preaching again - oh yes, have I told you I am a Methodist Preacher? I haven't been active for a few years because of all the other stuff that has been going on but I am hoping that might change in time. In God's time and mine.
So, for all you fraught and frazzled bloggers, this little oasis will remain open for business for the foreseeable future. I will welcome your company on this new journey and will stay optimistic I hope
More "o" s ( which makes an "oooooo" ) HERE

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Alphabe-Thursday N is for Note from my mum

Dear Mrs Matlock, I am afraid I had to keep Jay from class today. I know that her education is important but I needed her more than you did.
Kind regards
Mrs Dubblah

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Alphabe-Thursday M is for Music

Anyone who has been reading my Alphabe-Thursday posts regularly will know that I have already introduced some of you to a couple of my favourite singers but in fact my musical tastes lean a lot more in the classical direction than you might so far have thought. Music has been an important part of my life. As a small child I was taken along to rehearsals of Gilbert and Sullivan, as my dad belonged to two and sometimes three, amateur operatic societies. I appeared in my first musical at the age of 9, just a small part as a gypsy child in a musical called "Gypsy Love" and I was my dad's attendant in Iolanthe when I was 10 - he always played the G&S comedy role. I played a lead role in a school musical when I was 10 as well and at the age of 14 I sang in my first oratorio with the local choral society. That was as a soprano but I soon moved over to the altos. I have sung solo on occasion and have a video to prove it but not the technology to put it on YouTube (don't all breathe a sigh of relief quite so quickly ha ha) What was then called the "Third Programme" on the radio was on at home a lot, that was the classical music station, and I studied music at school. It is now called Radio Three and I still have it on a lot. Three of my favourite composers begin with "V" and that is my planned post for that letter when we get there. I do like popular music but if I had to choose then it would be classical. I like "World" music too, that is, music from non-western traditions. So, I thought I would set myself a little challenge and try to pick one classical and one popular composer or artist for every letter of the alphabet and this is what I came up with - I had to cheat a bit with first or second names and stretch the definition of classical or popular in a few cases. And there are surprisingly few classical composers for N and none that I like so I put in The Naxos Catalogue, which is the hugest list of classical CDs that I know of and which I drool over regularly. And I didn't want to cheat so I had to leave a few gaps. But I would be really interested to know a) how many of the 48 in the list you have heard of and b) any suggestions for the gaps

Albinoni and Alice Cooper,
Bach (J.S.) and Jacques Brel,
Canteloube and Leonard Cohen,
Dvorak and Dave Brubeck ,
Elgar and Electric Light Orchestra,
Faure and Brian Ferry,
Gershwin and Georges Guetary,
Handel and Lionel Hampton,
Isobel Baillie and The Inkspots
Jussi Bjorling and Japan,
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and The Kinks,
Lehar and Lata Mangeshkar ,
Mendellsohn and Mohammed Rafi,
The Naxos Catalogue and Peter Nero,
Orff and Mike Oldfield,
Phillip Glass and The Police ,
John Shirley Quirk and Queen,
Rodrigo and Diane Reeves,
Sondheim and Sade,
Tedesco and Tom Lehrer ,
?? and Unit 4 plus 2,
John Vickers and ??
Weil and Scott Walker,
Xavier Depraz and XLNC,
Yves Montand and The Yardbirds
??? and ???

Sorry I haven't put any pictures up with this, I was going to do a photo of my cd collection but the battery's gone on the camera again! See what other things the letter M has brought to mind HERE

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Alphabe-Thursday L is for Langham and Lehrer

I found myself torn this week between introducing you to one of my favourite places and two of my favourite singers. But then I remembered that some of you do not confine yourselves to one subject, so I am going to take my L-lead from you.
The place is Langham Glass. I have only been there twice but hope to go again someday. They make glass ornaments there which are very expensive but they also have a visitor centre where you can go and watch stuff being made. Glass blowing is an amazing skill and the people who do it "in public" have a terrific patter which is very entertaining. It is mesmerising to watch. There is a beautiful walled garden there too. HERE is the link to their website There is, of course, a shop, which is why I have a "second" paperweight, much cheaper and just as lovely. It would be easy to spend an awful lot of money there. Hubby gave me a wren for our wedding anniversary this year so I have posted a picture of my two pieces of Langham glass

The singers are Tom Lehrer and Leonard Cohen - poles apart! Leonard Cohen is a Paris memory so you will have to wait for the letter P but Tom Lehrer, well I can't quite explain what it is. He is very clever for a start, he was a Maths Professor at Harvard who had a sideline in very funny songs. THIS is one is one of the less Politically Incorrect ones. Look at others at your peril. His career in singing was short lived and he was on The Frost Report a few times here in England. I am not sure how I came across him but listen to him over and over when I need cheering up

For other people's take on the letter L go HERE

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Alphabe-Thursday K is for Kaleidoscope

I bought a new photo manipulation programme a while ago. It has some amazing features including what they call "Reflection" effects. One of those is called Kaleidoscope and I can't stop playing with it.

It turned this

into this

and this

into this

I didn't find the letter K very easy. I could have talked about the knife I used to cut the onions yesterday and how it cut my finger instead. I could have talked about my kinfolk, about not having any kids, about Kierkegaard or Khachaturian, but I want to go back and play with my photos some more.

See what other people thought of for the letter K HERE

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Alphabe_Thursday J is for Jacques Brel

I don't speak French very well. I can just about make myself understood I think. I can read it a little better and am quite surprised how things come back to me when I try. I did do "A" level at School.
My parents were quite "bohemian" in a way and it was through one of their friends that I first discovered Jacques Brel . I don't remember much about that, it seems that I have loved his voice and music all my life. Those of you who know me will be shocked to discover that he features in my subconscious even before Bryan Ferry hit the scene!
His voice is just so.....The words of his songs, well, it sort of doesn't matter if you don't understand them, although over the years I have gradually understood more and a few years ago got hold of a copy of his complete works in book form so now when I feel I want to I can follow a song and get out my great big French - English Dictionary and try to sort them out.
He died relatively young at 49, which is the same age my dad died, in 1978 And he wasn't French - he was Belgian
The link at the end of this post is to what is probably my favourite. Basically it says that although there are so many things in the world that cause us pain, the worst is to see a friend cry. There a few pics there too.
Scott Walker made a bit of a name for himself singing translations but his interpretation was very different, far more angry, than the originals. If you are interested then have a hunt round YouTube for some more. Some are slow and sad, some are angry and some are very funny. Try Madeleine and then Mathilde. And there is at least one song that many of you will know "Ne me quitte pas" which really means "don't leave me" but which in the translation became "If you go away" The original is better I think. Some of the translations really miss the mark
He also wrote "The Impossible Dream" which doesn't really sound much like anything else he wrote

LINK to Voir Un Ami Pleurer

Read more "js" HERE

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Wednesday Waffle #004

Inside this right handed person there may be a left handed person trying to make herself heard!
Due to some medical issues which I won't bore you with, the hospital consultant suggested that I buy a Wii. So I did. In fact, I had been tempted for some time but this gave me the clincher when it came to persuading Hubby that I wouldn't be wasting my money.
If you don't know, then I need to explain that one of the things you can do with it is a set of tests that give you your so-called "Wii-Fit Age"
Now I don't want to get all lopsided so I decided, as I am a bit ambidextrous anyway, to do the tests both right handed and left handed.. On the first try my Wii-Fit Age right handed was 74 and left handed was 62. I have now got the right hand down to 53 but the left hand is 39. At least, those are my best scores so far, it does go up and down.
My dad was left handed and the things he taught me to do I do more naturally with my left hand. I can write with both, use a screwdriver with both (very useful when you are putting flat pack furniture together) and do tend to get them mixed up, as in "turn right here dear", while pointing left.
So am I messing with my brain or was I just right handed generally because that's the way you are taught to be unless you have a really strong tendency the other way?

On the bathroom front, things are going well except that I had a really bad allergic reaction to the fumes coming off the stuff they put down on the floor before the waterproof flooring is laid. The builder is a happy chap and startles us regularly by suddenly singing one line from a song, quite randomly and then going quiet again. Then when you have got half way through that song in your head he has another go with a totally different song. Very strange! It should be finished by the weekend - here's hoping

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Alphabe-Thursday I is for India

If I was fit enough and money and time was no object then the one place I would visit before all others is India (and Pakistan too) My maternal grandfather was in India in the British Army during the First World War. I have his photo albums of his time there but the pictures are so tiny and frankly most of them are quite boring because they are sepia and faded. I like this one though, of him writing at his desk.

We had, I should now be ashamed to admit, a tiger skin rug, which I remember being in Granny and Granddad's bedroom when I was little. There were quite a lot of bits of brass, some of which I still have and an embroidered shawl, which I have used as a backdrop for this next picture.

I am fascinated by the music and culture of the area, I love qawwali and I love bhangra and if you know about these things you will know that is going from the sublime to the ridiculous, to coin a phrase. I also love all that Indian cotton stuff that I used to wear when I was a hippy and which I now feel old enough to get away with again

The place I would go first is Jodhpur. This is in Rajasthan and is where my puppets came from. A lot of the buildings are painted a particular blue and it must be a wonderful thing to see. The picture here is a photo of a poster that I have on a wall

I have found a couple of good blogs about India so for the moment I have to be content with being an armchair traveller. See what other people have for I HERE