Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Nature in the back garden

I've just finished a Facebook challenge, where I posted a photi every day for seven days. Each of the photos illustrated my love of nature.

The back garden is blooming and full of nature busily doing natural things. For the first tine ever, blue-tits nested in the nesting box, which, by now, is covered in ivy, affording them protection.

Beneath the nesting box, the border under the crab apple has been colonised by the common columbine, predominantly a stunning blue, but with some white and pink also.

MWNN says that we acquired them from a beighbour, and I'm sure the first pair were planted by the gardener. They've spread (they tend to do that, native wild flowers) and the lawn may well be at risk.

The Columbine is very at home in this corner, in the shade of the trees, beside the wood pile and old bench,. They are in the spot that was once covered in ground polygonum that used to drive me wild in late summer and early autumn, by encroaching ever further along the border. The Columbine sbould be easier to control.

Beside the Columbine, a variegated holly seems to be flowering for the first time, so we may get some berries this winter.

In the space vacated by one of the many Viburnum shrubs, I have planted some Sweet Williams  They, too, should spread and provide some much needed colour at this time of the year,

The wild Hawhorn, that seeded itself decades ago, is in full flower, providing shade for the Columbine and stretching along the border to the

Variegated Euonyums Japonicus behind the statue of Minerva. The statue was called 'Rosemary' by the makers, Inigma, and I thought she was a fitting memorial for my Mum, who fostered my love of learning,

To the right of Minerva, is a mock orange, in full flower, but showing some signs of damage and age.. We need some warm, humid days for the scent to be noticeable in the evenings.

Across the terrace, the Red Hat Lady Rose has put out its first bloom. It will be followed by a profusion of flowers that cover the dwarf shrub throughout the summer.

On the opposite side of the garden, the Dogwood is giving a wonderful display of masses of flower heads. They will become dark purple berries in the atumn. When the leaves have dropped, the lovely red stems will bring colour to that corner of the garden throughout the winter.

The birds that have benefit from the berries in the garden include the thrush. They've been absent for a few years but have been spotted feasting on snails on the slate-covered bed containing the lavendar. I found a few pieces of evidence of the work of the thrushes in the  border this morning,

MWNN doesn't like me cutting flowers to bring into the house, so he bought me some carnations (big brothers of my little Sweet Williams) for the spot in the kitchen where I like to have a vase.

Friday, 13 May 2016

A special third-year anniversary

celebrated with lunch at Roberto's.

A table near the window, but not beside it.

A menu, and a specials' board to peruse at leisure.

No fast-food here and the chef's signature dish, rack of lamb, was worth the 35 minutes wait.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Plus ├ža change. Out of the mouths of babes

It's exam time, again. Teachers all over the nation will, no doubt, be noting the amusing blunders made by some of their pupils.

This morning,, I finished cataloging Jill Grey Books, Box 17, at the British Schools Museum. My favourite, was a book from 1905, called "School Room Humour", by Dr Macnamara. Many of the humourous sayings are taken from the Schoolmaster Publication (the organ of the National Uion of Schoolmasters.).

 It was all I could do to stop myself reading the whole book. The Preface warned of those stories of which the author, like the Scotsman ' hae ma doots!' One such was the Bristol schoolboy who wrote 'The bowels are five in number, a, e, i, o, and u.' Had I stopped to read, the box would not have been finished within the three hours I had worked.

I made a note of a link to the Universal Library, where I found a copy of the book (third edition, 1913) available for download.

In addition to it being time of exams, it is also a time of Elections and, in the UK, a Referendum. . In the early 1900s, one girl wrote an exam essay which began 

An election means two things. 

First, the voice of the people spoken by choosing the most eligible person or persons to represent their creed, requirements, or grievances.

Secondly, an election means lies, treachery, hypocrisy, drunkenness, anxiety, disappointment, and glorification.

Out of the mouths of babes.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Which is the oldest

The People's Friend or The Lady?

Both claim to be the world's oldest women's magazine.

The  People's Friend claims that it was firsr issued in 1868, No image of this edition is available on the internet, the earliest I can find being 1893

The Lady was first published  on Thursday, 19th February 1885.

This week's edition dropped through my letterbox this morning, 131 years later.

So, there is little evidence for the age of The People's Friend, while that if The Lady is confirmed.

Which are you, the people's friend, or an elegant woman with an elegant mind?

Which is your favourite?

Children's periodicals, 19th century style

I love my work at the British Schools' Museum. At the moment, I'm working with the Jill Grey Collection of books, entering details into the museum database.

Today, I had the privilege of handling the 1870 bound copies of the Chidren's Treasury  and advocate for the  homeless and destitue magazine.

The printed incription on the frontespiece states "An annual for "children of the rich, for whose improvement and instruction the following pages were wrtitten, and the cildren of the poor for whose benefit they were puvlished and circulated."

I also entered the details of  the June 1910 edition of St George's Magazine for boys and girls,which ran from 1906 to 1915.

It was the magazine of the St George's club ,for boys and girls ,whose motto is "onwards and upwards" ,whose members promise to ,1. befriend ,those in need,weak,poor  or aged. 2.not to torture dumb animals or rob bird's nests. 3.not to wantonly destroy wild flowers.4.not to drop litter ,or chalk on doors or walls.5.not to throw orange peel or banana skins on the pavement ,and pick up other peoples peels and skins.The magazine has stories ,riddles,competitions ,approx 47 pages ,and is like many other childrens magazines of the time.

These antique publications provide a fascinating insight into the way children were raised in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It's a pity that I can't spend more time browsing their contents. It's easier with books from the same time, as they are often to be found in online libraries, and can even be downloaded.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The colours of Spring

at Blackthorne Lake Marina

and in the garden

Flowering Malus (Crab Apple)

Narcissus, Bridal Crown

Mint for Hugo

and Rosemary for Rememberance

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Ten Years of Fandom

This year is the tenth anniversary of WriterConUK. It's time to celebrate!

from Kazzy CEE The 10th anniversary event has been confirmed as the 16th-18th September!!  Ten years of getting together at this bijou event (as in, it's not huge and therefore much more fun than a large con) in Coventry at a hotel which knows us (and still lets us come back each year) and whose staff are fabulous! 

C'mon - you know you want to! :)

Sign up now for a place at The Event (and party) of the year.

There will be cocktails - oh yes. (Popcorn and sweeties on film nghts only.)

I wonder what special cocktails the hotel will come up with this year?

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Southwold trip in pictures

The cottage (RH end of terrace) from the Walberswick side of the estuary.

Runners on the bailey bridge (a daily sight).

MWNN (the dark figure on the horizon) heading back to the bailey bridge

The pump mill from Southwold Harbour footpath

Quay House from the Walberswick footpath.

View from the cottage bedroom, Walberswick marshes, with the Tower of the Church of St Andrew, far right

Walberswick Ferry,

 and day 8, open

day 1, closed

The season begins

Walberswick Harbour sign

Southwold Harbour Marine Services

Lifeboat training from the cottage door.

Southwold is one of our favourite destinations. The cottage on Blackshore is ideally situated for those of us who enjoy both water and land-based recreation at a gentle pace. The beaches of Southwold and Walberswick are both easy walking distance.

In the video, you can see the cottage fence on the right from time 53 to  56 seconds.


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Sunday in Southwold

Early lunch at Mrs T's.

is always busy, no matter what time of the year, no matter what the weather.

Today was never going to be a good one, weatherswise, but it wasn't bad, either. MWNN drove to the RNLI car park, via the town. We needed cleaning supplies, and he wanted to stroll on the beach without the prelude of half a mile walk along the quay.  Ron and I walked to the meet-up point.

We passed a group who were doing a spot of crabbing. "Things will get very competetive", said one of the women brandishing a net.

The Jack Russel was more concerned with the one that got away/ It was so big, it tunnelled under the wall.

The ferryman showed how to bring a boat safely across the river on an ebbing tide. It looked as if he was rowing in the wrong direction and getting nowhere fast, but he was using the tide and wind to bring the boat safely to the dock in Walberwick.

MWNN and I arrived at the kiosk at exactly the same time. I paid for an hour's parking and we walked along the beach to Gunn Hill. Ron joined a game of chase the ball with a large dog, so enthusiastically that I was worried he'd be swept out by the racing tide. I had to run to catch up. The wind was so strong that Ron couldn't hear my calls and whistles. On the way back, we watched a group of young spaniels playing. One owner kept tight control by using a dog whistle to recall his pup.

Back in the car park, we were all a little puffed from our exertions on the beach. I bought a latte for MWNN, a tea for me. Then I went back for a strawberry ice cream as this was our last day.

Suitably fortified, I walked back to the cottage while MWNN drove a wet Ron in the warm car. Again, we arrived at the same time and fell upon a late lunch,

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Mixed weather

for my morning walk with Ron.

I headed over the bailey bridge in thick cloud, and decided to turn right across Tinkers' Marsh.

The footpath follows the course of the River Blyth, inland towards Blythburgh..

On the left, the Walberswick Mashes stretch out towards the horizon.

Large flocks of sea birds were visible on the meres.

Large white pigs were visible through the drizzle, on the farm beyond the meres. Suffolk is famous for the fine quality pork produced on its free-range farms.

Across the river, to my right,  I had some fine views of the pump-mill and Quay House.

The clouds began to thin over Blythburgh, and Quay House was bathed in sunshine.

The stiff breeze was quite icy as Ron and I were walking beneath the thick clouds on the Walbersqick side of the river. We turned, quickened our pace, and were soon back at the bailey bridge.

Blackshore cottage was running low on supplies, so I drove into town. I bought some local Suffolk pork chops (bone-in, rind-on), streaky bacon, and Norfolk lamb from the butcher, bread from Two Magpies Bakery, and other provisions from The Co-Op.

On returning to the cottage, I found MWNN sitting in the conservatory. He's headed out after me and, thinking I'd taken my usual route to Walberswick Harbour,had walked to the Ferry point.  There was no sign of me or the dog, so he crossed the river on the Ferry and walked back to the cottage.

As we sat eating our bacon baguette, we spotted Paul Heiney walking past the cottage, on his way to the bailey bridge.

Yes, it is Paul Heiney, to whom I've been bidding the tine of day. He's usually been near the Harbour Marine Services building. He's recently done the voice-over on a couple of videos for the boatyard and the Harbour Master.

Blackshore cottage (the blue end of terrace) can be seen at 2:45

Blackshore cottage (the blue end of terrace) can be seen at 3:31 - 3:35

Friday, 18 March 2016

The sun has gone

but Southwold is still the place for lots of fresh air and exercise.

MWNN and I set off together this morning, heading for the beach at the end of Ferry Road. We parted company outside the Harbour Cafe, where we planned to return for lunch.

Ron and I walked at a brisk pace, past the JCB, which has finished the car park foundations and new piling.

Then it was quick march  past the kiosk (open despite the dull weather)

and onto  the beach, where Ron found yet another ball (tennis, this time).on the high-tide mark.

It started to drizzle, so, after a brief game of chase the ball, we turned back

towards the harbour entrance.

There we spotted MWNN walking along the top of the sea wall. We joined forces for a while, until Ron and I cracked on towards the cafe - and lunch.

When we drew level with the Smokehouse Restaurant, I decided to double-check that no dogs were allowed. There were no signs to that effect in the windows. I asked the fishmonger at the shop counter if we could take the dog into the restaurant. He replied 'of course'.

We waited for MWNN to catch up and gave him the good news. I've wanted to eat at the Smokehouse since they acquired an alcohol licence and started serving hot food. We hadn't booked but were shown to a table just inside the inner door,

The restaurant is now separated from the fish counter by inner glass walls and a door. There is a small bar area, in which drinks are prepared.

I had a glass of French Rose and MWNN had a pot of tea. MWNN opted for the home-batttered cod, and I had pan fried sea-bass.

By the time we were coming to the end of our excellent meal, the restaurant had filled. It has a reputation that places it as the number 2 out of 45 restaurants in Southwold. Booking is essential during the season and at weekends out of season.