Friday, 11 November 2016

We will remember

 Today's date has enormous significance for most people. It's Armistice Day and many of us are observing two minutes silence right now.

A special dedication to my Granny's brother, James.

J.A. Ryder MM (Manchester Regiment)

The  dedication wall.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Birthday Month

October is a time for celebrating three family birthdays - mine on 2nd, MWNN's is today, and The Daughter's on 28th. For the past eight years, there has been an additional family member to add to the October list - Ron, on 24th. After The Daughter left home, we've usually organised a get-together on a weekend between 13th and 28th.

This coming weekend, The Daughter is taking part in her second 100mile ultra. There are two weekends left in the month to organise the birthday bash. Hopefully, the latest leak repair in the utility room will be finished by the time we get together.

"October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen. It us the distant hills once more in sight, and the enduring constellations above them once again ..... Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night." Hal Borland

Happy Birthday MWNN.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Photo Retrospective

Southwold October 2016

Sole Bay Inn - our local for the week. Good food, great ale, very convenient location (our cottage was the blue one on the right of the picture).

Southwold Lighthouse, right behind our cottage's rear yard.

Watching the beams rotate at night is mesmerising.

Gunn Hill Beach Kiosk, the opposite end of the Promenade from the cottage,  is a good place to stop for a rest and a cuppa.

Ron's favourite pastime. We managed two or three beach walks each day.

Digging out the castle moat.

New sand cliffs are building up with each tide.

WWII mine used as a collection box for Shipwrecked Mariners.

Unknown bird, photographed by MWNN, outside the cottage.

MWNN serving tea at Sole Bay Kiosk.

The one place we have yet to visit (because it's a wet-weather destination and we haven't had many wet days during our visits to Southwold) is the Electric Picture Palace.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Blackthorne Marina

MWNN, Ron, and I, spent a long-weekend on the boat. It's almost ready to take out for a couple of days, but there were a few things that needed doing to make it weather-tight and comfortable.

MWNN has moved to the forward cabin, to sleep on the new 4ft bed. I am relegated to the rear cabin, on the single bed. When the rear bulkhead was replaced, the door frames were removed to enable the new wood to slip into position. The frames, trim and draught-exlcluders have been missing since then.

Mr Chippendale clutching the wood glue

The first night, I woke regularly because of the cold. Although I had a warm duvet, I needed to put on an extra layer of clothing, with long sleeves. During the warm weather, it didn't matter. I welcomed the cool breeze. With night temperatures heading into single figures, and a lack of heat during the day, it became important that the frame was finished.

Mr Hepplewhite weilds the panel pins and hammer

MWNN set to work. Even though it was raining, he was able to work on the frame. The rear canopy provided cover, and prevented any incursion of rain as he worked.

As the rain eased, I took Ron for a walk. The trees and shrubs look different now. The guelder rose berries are ripe, the blackcurrants are variable - some are still green, others plumo and black. The cones of the Black Alder confused me for an instant. At first glance, I thought they were acorns. But the leaf-shape was wrong, and there wqas no acorn cup.

We have two books of trees on the boat, but I find it much easier to identify trees by Googling.

After the storm

 Autumn has arrived, and, as we came back from our trip past the fishing lake, the sun gave one last, glorious burst to show the autumnal colours.

I slept better that second night. Not a puff of air came in through the door. Thank you Messrs Chippendale and Hepplewhite.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Season of mists


and mellow fruitfulness.

I spent a couple of days on the boat, hand disinfected  and then steam cleaned the floor. Between cleanings and clearing, I took Ron for a few walks along the Stanwick Lakes Trail, to Woodford.

Fully ripe blackberries

The hedgerows were groaning with  berries.

Viburnum opulus berries

Unfortunately, not all of them are edible.

I've been disappointed this year, at the lack of English plums for sale in supermaarkets. I bought a couple of punnets of Victoria plums and a couple of greengages (Rein Claud), but that's about it.

The local hedgerow mirabelle tree has disappeared. There is a dearth of plums this year.

MWNN drove up to the boat yesterday afternoon to help with some surgery on the gas fridge which problem. We drove home this morning to avoid the 31 degrees (in the shade) heat forecast for today. The season of mists and mellow fruitfullness doesn't usually include a heat wave.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Hot now, summer

in the city  town.

It's  lovely and sunny here in rural England, but I'm now housebound because it's too darn hot.

The town, nevertheless, is looking very pretty

and summery.

Last week, we went into town and had lunch at Lusssmans the new restaurant in Sun Street.

The meal was a little pricey but well worth it for MWNN's freshly-made Sussex pork rillette starter and fishcake main course. My beefburger was beautifully cooked, tender and fragrently seasoned.

There was a Kids' Day in the Market Square, with the town train,

a carousel,

and a couple of Dennises

Hitchin TV, once again, caught the town in all its beauty, in the sunshine


In other good news - I have new summer walking shoes, that can be worn without socks..

Sketchers Go Walk 2

Amazon was great. The first pair I ordered were size 3 and wre tight across the instep. A free return (via Amazon Locker) and the second pair, size 4, arrived 24 hours after arranging the return.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Part two

The couple of days we spent at the boat were lovely. Lots of fresh air, plenty of exercise, and peace.

I'd soon clocked over 10,000 steps by walking Ron along the Stanwick Lakes path, past the trout fishing lake.

Then we checked the new facilities in progress at the marina -  the new toilet/shower block,

and the new porta-potti sluice.

Ron led the way  into the woods at the opposite side of the lake, tracking electricity cables' trench

that headed towards the river and the lock at Woodford.

At the point where the undergrowth grew thick, I lost sight of the cables, and turned back.

As I followed the cables back through the woods, I heard the unmistakeable sound of a mosquito buzzing near my left ear. I batted it away with my right hand. My hand felt irritated, as if I'd been stung by nettles.

By the next morning, my hand looked like this, and we were heading for the nearest pharmacy.

The pharmacist took one look at it and sent me to the local GP surgery across the road. The GP refused to see me, despite my recent bacterial infection. I was told to go to A&E, but phoned our own GP instead. I was given an immediate appointment (allowing for time to travel home).

By then, the hand had got worse, and the infection was spreading towards the elbow, The GP prescribed penicillin, and recommended holding it upright (something I'd instinctively been doing anyway).

48 hours later, the hand was beginning to look normal, and we had jungle formula spray (the lotion burns my skin) for our next visit to the boat. Moral of the story - even if you're well covered with long sleeves, and socks over your trouser bottoms, the buggers will find a way to feast on you if you don't apply some deet to exposed skin.

A bonus of the trip, was that Ron is beginning to settle on the boat. Until now, if we both stepped off and left him below decks, he would whine and whine, building up to a howl if he thought we had left him alone. Now, with lots of walks, and games aboard, not to mention his own 'cabin' and bed, he's relaxed enough to accept being left aboard. We'll extend the time that we're ashore, and then walk some distancce away to see how long he remains quiet. It's a long process, but one that has worked many times.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

A couple of days

relaxing on the boat.

Part 1

The environment is glorious.

The weather was warm, cloudy at times and breezy.

Ron got to do lots of terrier-type exploring, more often than at home.

He was a bit miffed at not being allowed to go for a swim in his private pool,

He would definitely not have been welcomed by the Swan family.

I found lots more flora and fauna that I haven't often seen before.

They're relatively common, but I've never seen a Ringlet butterfly in the wild before

I had quite a bit of trouble photographing it at first,

I'd also never seen a Teasel in flower before. They're very pretty.

Poor man's orchid is becoming quite a problem along canal and river banks.

Woody Nightshadem although not as dangerous as Deadly Nightshade, is poisonous,

as is Ragwort.

It causes liver damage to grazing animals. Despite this, the cattle kept beside the lake,  are in a field full of the stuff.

Another deceptively attractive plant is Bryony. All parts of this plant are highly toxic. A lethal dose for a child, is just 15 berries.

A gentler plant, one that my father used to recommend for sprains and bruiises, is White Comfrey. It can also be used in an infusion, as an expectorant

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Visit to Elveden

We took MWNN's eyes to see the specialist in Norwich. On the way there, and on the way back, we visited the Elveden Estate at the Courtyard.  Click through pics for larger images.

On the way out, we had lunch at the Courtyard. Afterwards, MWNN had a rest in the car and I took Ron on the mile-long Eleveden Trail.

It was blisteringly hot, but, once into the woods, the forest air-conditioning kicked in.

Elveden is a large estate (Centre Parks is situated in Elveden Forest) Tank trials for WWI were carried out on the estate.

The soil is sandy. There are two reservoirs that are used to irrigate the farmland in dry months. Potatoes and onions are the main root crops that thrive in these conditons.

Snails seem to like it, too.

The woodland is mixed. Christmas trees and instant hedges are grown commercially on the estate. There are some beautiful London Plane trees on the trail.

The estate is also home to some rare wildflowers, some of which are to be found nowhere else in the world.

More common wildflowers were in evidence on the trail - like this Dark Mullain,

digitalis purpurea.

and wild raspberries

We made our way to the hotel where we were staying the night, and then on to the Spire Hospital where the specialist runs his clinics. He was running late, so I stayed outside in the grounds with Ron, for about 20 mins.

After a resonable, late, breakfast in the hotel courtyard the following day, we headed home, stopping at Elveden again to pick up some of their home produced pork and beef.

On our way home, MWNN joined Ron and me on the trail. We took our lightweight folding chairs so that we could stop, if necessary, for a rest.

Ron and I waited at the beginning of the trail, as MWNN needed to put on socks to walk in his sandals.

We didn't need to stop for a rest, and at the end of the trail, I went back to the car for the backpack with the elevenses' tea flasks. MWNN set up the chairs and we had a lovely cuppa in the air-conditioned forest. Rain threatened to stop play, but the forest canopy kept us dry until the shower stopped.

I tried to buy some Beckland Orchard posh pops sugar free, cloudy lemonade, that I had with lunch the previous day, but it was out of stock. However, I discovered that the producer is just 35 mins away from home. The hunt is on for more sugar-free products.