Sunday, 30 June 2013

WARMTH

At last a day when the sun warmed our edge of Suffolk, melting away the clouds and making everything feel so much better.
We sat out, did the smallholding and campsite jobs and sat outside again. Brilliant! Long may it last.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Back to normal - thank goodness

First of all, Many, Many Thanks for all the good wishes yesterday. ( Everyday life on a shoestring, Dc, Julie,Trudie, Morgan, Scarlet and Debbie all wishing Him Outside better- Thank you.)
 Him Outside survived his first ever hospital stay and as I thought, they chucked him out yesterday evening ( our youngest daughter and her  partner went and picked him up, saving me a journey) They never got around to doing a CT scan and decided that as his BP was OK again he could go home and get referred back later for the scan. Weird way of working - I've never understood how hospitals work. There might be a problem with something that showed up on the X Ray but whatever it was should have been making him ill and as it isn't that will also wait for further investigation! Meanwhile he seems fine - apart from the angina. So we will wait for more info after the scan and angiogram thingy.
I got all the smallholding jobs done yesterday, but why is it that the phone rings just as I'm stepping out the back door or sitting on the loo?
Another question - Why is it that just as I go out to clean the campsite toilets and shower at 11.15a.m someone walks over wanting to use both?
So many questions - so few answers!
I picked 6lb strawberries this morning so decided to put some out for sale. We don't often have enough to sell any. Although I do freeze some for jam making I won't bother with freezing many others, as I think they are nasty after being frozen and so many other fruits do much better in the freezer. My jam and chutney shelves are still quite full, so I won't need to do loads of things this year.


Just turned on the TV to see what's happening at Wimbledon - why is the sun shining there while we have cloud ?- Not Fair!! Him Outside said he heard they have unusually high temps of 54 C in some parts of the USA. Phew! That's too warm.
Right, time to put the kettle on for a cuppa. Him Outside has been doing the brakes on the jeep, something he can do sitting down. He MUST be feeling better.
Thanks again for the good wishes, I'm glad I started this blogging thing in April, so many nice people out there.

Friday, 28 June 2013

2 Crazy Days

Him Outside is in hospital having some tests after the BP monitor went off the scale, the doctor called an ambulance for him yesterday morning. X Rays have shown a problem which seems to be unconnected with the angina diagnosis so he had some tests and  is now waiting for a CT Scan. I went to see him last night and he had already read the one book he took with him, so I took 4 more! I can't imagine they will keep him in over the weekend unless they have to, as they usually send as many home as possible while the place grinds to a halt for weekends.
Meanwhile back at the Simple Suffolk Smallholding things are mad:- Phone calls, Arrivals on the campsite, Campsite cleaning,  Bread making, Putting flowers out for sale, Eggs as usual, Broad Beans to put out for sale and into freezer, lighting the Rayburn for hot water as there is no sun to heat the solar water thingy and Cauliflower plants arrived to plant. So I'm rushing around like the proverbial blue ar**d fly, trying to get it all done.
More news tomorrow.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

What to do with a blog and more about the local Produce Show.

Here's what one man did with his blog- he turned it into a book. Actually I think a lot of people have done that already but this is the first one I have read. Him Outside came across the info for this and ordered it from the library. After he had read it he said I would probably like it though it was gruesome in parts. I've only just started it and haven't got to any gory bits yet.

Having been reminded of writing a poem about childhood for a Flower Show years ago, wondering why I hadn't entered anything recently and nudging myself into picking up a schedule for this years show, I now have to decide what to enter.


I'm not as keen as some people who spend hours cleaning and polishing their vegetables so I only enter things that can be just cut or picked. I don't do Flower Arranging so that section is out. There are several things in the Domestic section that I'm hopeless at making ( Plain Victoria Sandwich cake for instance) and in the Handicrafts section I don't do knitting, painting, drawing or photography. SO
What's left?
In the veg section I shall enter Chillies, Peppers, Courgettes and Tomatoes, maybe beans if they grow in time, perhaps a cucumber and then Aubergine in the Any Other Vegetable Not previously listed Class.
In the Domestic Section I could do Rich Fruit Cake,Sultana scones,Suffolk Rusks,Loaf of Brown Bread(Hand made) and Cheese scones. Plus the Summer fruits jam that I made the other day, Jar of Chutney and of course Six Eggs ( home produced). Although I have a feeling that several years ago there were mutterings that maybe I shouldn't enter eggs as we have rather more hens than most home hen keepers.
In the Handicrafts Section I could enter  Any Small Cross Stitch Article, A hand-made card for a baby, A small Christmas Decoration and a Short Poem About a Village. ( question- how short is a short poem?!)
Entry is 20p per class which goes to pay for the prizes;- First £1, Second 70p and Third 50p. There's BIG money involved!!
 It's all good fun although lots of people take it very seriously and as well as money there are cups and trophies to be won and held for the year. I once won the Whiting Shield for my tomatoes as they were The Best Entry In The Vegetable Section!
There are Childrens classes too and when our lot were little I would encourage ( nag) them to make things to enter which would keep them occupied for the first week of the school holidays.
So it's all very well talking the talk but now I shall have to get stitching and writing poetry!

News re Him Outsides heart problems;- today he had to go to the surgery to have a 24 hour Blood pressure monitor attached, which inflates every 30 minutes during the day and every hour at night. It is already showing some VERY weird readings. Not sure what that means- we shall see what they decide to do next.



Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Just a quick note

I picked a colander full of strawberries today and another 6 punnets of gooseberries off the early bushes. I'm going to wait a while- maybe a week before starting on the other bushes.
The sun shone on and off today, when it was shining it was hot, when it wasn't it turned chilly again.
Boring ironing done again, collected Him Outside from station after he had taken the van back to Ipswich, various odd jobs and eggs of course.
 The chickens we have been chicken sitting while their owner was in hospital have gone home as he is getting on well after his hip replacement and driving again. It's wonderful to see an elderly friend, who just 3 months ago was hardly able to move, now getting about with just a walking stick and looking really well.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Yet another cold grey day

I'm sure some parts of the country are warmer than us but here we have lit the woodburner tonight as it is just so blinkin' cold. And to make a grey day even worse Rafa is out of Wimbledon in the first round, that's not good!
I took Him Outside to the station early so he could go into town to pick up the van and files for the monthly inspection job. He hasn't many to do this month so will take the van back tomorrow after he has done all the reports on the computer.
At home I have been doing some baking and cleaning - not very exciting.
We've have one caravan arrive on the campsite- one of our regulars, but sadly his wife, who had been poorly for a few years, has died since they stayed last year. He is venturing out on his own for the first time, that must be a difficult thing to do.
That's my news today, and I'll be back tomorrow with more riveting updates to the progress on strawberry and gooseberry  picking! I didn't do either today - too cold to stand still picking fruit.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Bleary eyed on Sunday!

The very loud music from the party at the second home started up around 8pm, stopped for a HUGE firework display at 11pm and then it was thump,thump,thumping away until after 3am. As we had been pre-warned ,we shifted ourselves into the  spare room where the window faces in the opposite direction and slightly quieter and might have slept OK except for the mattress feels really hard and solid, which is what the children say when they are visiting and sleeping on it. So may have to find some sort of mattress topper for that bed.
Luckily some visitors in a caravan on the campsite down at ground level, and sheltered by hedges, didn't hear the music until just before it finished. So didn't feel disturbed at all.
VERY windy again today, it doesn't feel right for June but we have had some good showers of rain which will help the fruit and vegetables.
So another delicious bowl of strawberries have been picked

And then I decided to start the mammoth gooseberry picking job and put 8 punnets out for sale,  and a couple of hours later they had sold so I picked another 6 punnets. Probably about 180 punnets still to pick!
Here they are on our stall at the gate


The remainder of the day has been spent watching the Athletics on TV and resting after our disturbed night.



Saturday, 22 June 2013

What a lot of WIND!

The calender says that today is 22nd June, but we have a really strong wind whistling around the house and first thing this morning it was definitely chilly.
Two visitors leaving the campsite today after a few days stay- both said it was a lovely site, which is nice to hear. I turned the page in the diary to see who is coming in next and realised we have NO BOOKINGS for most of July! Now this is really odd and must be due to the iffy weather I suppose. Surely we haven't spent all that time and money on the shower, new toilets and Recreation room for nothing.
This morning we popped 4 miles up the road to Snape Village Hall where the W.I were having a Table Top sale. Lots of very nice things, but nothing that I needed. ( and I was 3 seconds too late to nab a big earthenware jug for £2) Then I spotted this bag, brand new, for £1 and decided it would brighten up every shopping trip.
Our next stop was just up the road to Snape Maltings Concert Hall and Posh shopping destination for all the people who have second homes in the area. This is the link if you want a peek.
www.snapemaltings.co.uk . We had a look around but you have to be well heeled to buy there. Lovely stuff though! What we were there for really was just to pick up some leaflets about The Aldeburgh festival and Snape Proms which take place every August. This year they are celebrating Benjamin Brittens centenary, so lots of extra things happening. The Aldeburgh Festival was begun by Britten way back. Here's what they have happening if you like that sort of thing.
http://www.aldeburgh.co.uk/events
There are lots of walks along the river and a boat trip too and today being a Saturday everywhere was very busy, so we just picked up lots of leaflets to put on our information shelves in the recreation room and then we  came home again.
I may be grumpy tomorrow as we have just found out that some Londoners who own a second home two fields away are having a HUGE 21st birthday party for their daughter tonight.( These are not the people who Him Outside is grass cutting for but they are their friends so now we have to be nice and smiley about it!) Last year they had an 18th party for their son and from 5pm to 5 am the music was so loud it made the house vibrate! We got no sleep and found out later that someone in the village had called the police who couldn't find the source of the noise! We could have told them! People don't realise how sound carries in the quiet countryside.Just praying it stays wet and windy so we can't hear them!
What a mean grumpy old woman I am!



Friday, 21 June 2013

Jam Today

I started the day by using up some odd bags of fruit that were still in the freezer and made some jars of Summer Fruit Jam. I used 2lb gooseberries, just under 2lb redcurrants, a small bag of raspberries and a few fresh strawberries that we didn't eat yesterday.
Then I stretched half a pound of mince to make a cottage pie for today and a spaggi. bol. to put in the freezer for next week.
These jobs made lots of washing up by which time it was almost lunch time. So I nipped out to pick a few more strawberries and found that the sun yesterday had ripened lots more so that we had them for dinner too.
A bit of a wander round with the camera to take some garden pictures.


And finally, after  all the usual egg and campsite jobs, time for a Friday afternoon sit down to finish another good book.
A new discovery spotted on the shelves of the mobile library last Friday.

Turns out to be 5th in a crime series set in 1733. Now I need to find the earlier books and order them from the library ready for me to pick up next month.
That's my Simple Suffolk Friday. Cost = nothing. Satisfaction = Lots!

PS. Just editing this post to say that I've just found some comments from blogging friends on a blog a couple of days ago, that I didn't know were there . So apologies for not replying before, will do it now!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

A Poem Wot I wrote!

A couple of other blogs recently ( plus talking about writing a life story for the children to read) have reminded me of growing up in the 1960s. I looked through a some boxes of odds and ends to find this poem which I wrote several years ago as an entry in Knodishall Flower and Produce  Show - 'Poem of up to  12 lines about childhood'. As I have not much to blog about - it's been a quiet day here of bread baking, weeding, hoeing and catching a little bit of sunshine. I thought I would share this with you

CHILDHOOD
Red cherryade in a dolls teapot
Sixpence to spend at the travelling shop
Aunties and Uncles coming to tea
These are the memories of childhood for me

Visits to Grandma, in town, once a week
Cousins who came and played hide and seek
Sunday School outings by bus to the sea
These are the memories of childhood for me.

Hot sticky traffic jams all the way to the coast
Softly boiled eggs and buttery toast
Long summer holidays, so good to be free
The fifties and sixties were childhood for me.


I think I won a prize for this, probably about 60p! Which reminds me that show schedules for this year are available down at the shop and I must pop in and pick one up.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

3 hours of Summer?

It was actually HOT and sunny for a while today, then it turned hazy and humid, then cloudy.
 I made a double batch of Tomato and Herb bread rolls, helped tidy up all the tools and odd bits of wood left laying about after the path work, took the secateurs and a wheel barrow around the garden to cut off things that were sticking out, dug some potatoes and picked strawberries. At last there were actually enough for a few each for dinner tonight.
Him Outside did some strimming over the road at our neighbours and then after lunch went off to the second home for grass cutting.
Apart from all the usual egg collecting, sorting and boxing up, toilet cleaning on the campsite  and dinner preparations plus washing up etc. That was all I did today.
Which should have  left some time for reading some more of this- 5th in a series of modern Police crime set in the wilds of west Scotland.Well written with a bit of an edge to them.
 But then I remembered that I hadn't finished looking at and sorting out the haul of car boot craft stuff, so decided to do that instead. My problem is that I really need a proper way of storing all my various backing papers and card toppers so that I can find them easily. I think a company called Storage4crafts do lovely shelf and box units BUT as they are several hundred pounds each I shall be managing without one of those!
Lazy cooks dinner tonight - fish fingers( on special offer last week) new potatoes, mixed frozen veg ( broad beans and sweetcorn are our own, peas are not). And those very delicious strawberries for dessert. Costing even less than yesterdays frugal meal = 40p each

Monday, 17 June 2013

It's Monday again.

I trotted off to the dentist this morning for a filling- Oh what a horrible experience. Yes, I am a wimp when it comes to sitting in that chair with my mouth open for what seems like hours. It's a toss up as to which is worse  - Dentist or smear test!!  I've made an appointment for this time next year and hope nothing goes wrong in the meantime.
Yesterday being Sunday we went to the local car boot sale as per usual. one lady had a box of craft stuff,  containing a new cutting mat, papers, sheets of pearlised card, card mounts, card blanks and peel offs which I was sorting through, to pick out the bits I wanted, when she offered me the lot for £8. As there were loads of sheets of "funky" alphabet letters, which are probably a £1 a sheet I thought I would take up her offer!

  We also found a few more plates and dishes matching my Johnson Brother Summer Chintz everyday stuff which I've had for YEARS. ( they are prone to chipping quite easily so if I spot spares going cheap I'll get them) With the plates were a set of matching cutlery - I didn't even know that Viners had produced cutlery to go with the china, so we had the lot for £5. When we got home I had a look on ebay to see if they were unusual or not. There were several sets on there, the boxed ones selling  for silly prices . Also loads of dinner and tea plates etc, all going very cheap - they must have produced masses. But what amused me was that some people are now classing them  as 'Vintage'.

 After the car boot we went on a trip to the Suffolk Showground where there was a Antique and Collectors Fair. We had never been to one before but as we are usually eating lunch when Bargain Hunt is TV we thought we would go and have a look. It was much smaller than advertised and very much smaller than the ones on TV. I got Him Outside a late  birthday present of two prints that were originally in the carriages of the L.N.E.R train company. They need the frames repairing or maybe re-framing, but luckily we have a friend who will do that for us for the cost of the materials and some fruit from the garden.


After the dentist I helped with shifting rubble as we  started getting the other bit of path ready for concreting in July and then Him Outside went off to do some strimming at the second home. They are back for one night at the weekend so he needs to get it tidy for them! I stayed at home and did the boring ironing.
Dinner tonight was part of  one of the packs of Co-op Yellow sticker chipolatas done as toad-in-the-hole, new potatoes from the garden, carrots (still using the value pack from the fridge) and Hip Hip Hooray! - the first of the pointy cabbages from the garden. The egg for toad in the hole is free as we eat the odd shaped ones that we can't sell, value flour used, so total cost probably less than 50p each. Our main evening meal is often less than 75p each and that is how we manage to afford my spending on craft stuff at car boots!!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Bringing Electricity to the Nation!

Here is what some people have to do for a living so that we can all have electricity. They winch these motorized hanging bucket things up the pylons and then zoom along replacing all the spacers. One man in each vehicle. And it was very windy!

They must have a fantastic view of the countryside, but I guess they don't have time to look around. Not a job I would fancy. When it started thundering they came down pretty quick I think.

Thank you to Pam in Tydd, Bridget of Malbridge House, Everyday Life on a shoestring, Sarah at Frugal in Bucks and Fran at Bonnieofclyde for comments yesterday. Fran suggested that when I write my memoirs I should include the story of the parcel lady. That's a good idea, as I am thinking about writing a life story thing, just for the children  and their children ( if they get around to having any). I grew up in the 1950s and 60s and so many of the things that happened then have gone. So far I've got the title! Which will be "My small Suffolk World".   I guess I ought to crack on with it before it's too late!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

A P.S. to the parcel lady, the pylons and the path

If you are new to the parcel lady story you need to go back a couple of blogs for the beginning. When she was going on about the electricity being emitted from the pylons and cables I couldn't be bothered to get into a discussion and tell her that Sizewell Power Station wasn't actually producing any power at the moment as it's been off-line since mid May for repairs and maintenance, because I wasn't 100% sure it was still off. But this morning along came a van load of blokes from National Grid who were going up to the pylons to prepare them for the men who go whizzing along on a trolley thing to check the spacers and the earth wire. I said "Oh it must still be off line then" they said yes it's off for several more weeks otherwise they wouldn't be able to go up there!  I wonder if she would have stayed on our "sweet little site" if I'd have known they were definitely off ? I shall never know!
Thank you to everyone for comments on the blog over the last few days and apologies for not always getting around to replying individually.
This weather  is driving me nuts! Today we are back to grey and miserable and the wind is very strong and cold.
 We had 2 of the men Him Outside once worked with come along to do our path and they got a really good big bit done which was brilliant. We reckon between me and him we can get the paviers              ( freebies chucked out by a neighbour) laid outside the conservatory door, it's pushing a heavy wheelbarrow that seems to give him most problems with the chest pains so I shall be barrowing - probable half loads of cement -  at a time and he will lay the things. The guys will be back in July to do the rest of the wide pathway  so we have plenty of time to get it ready for concreting,and then we will be much tidier.
This is a photo I first put on the blog  back when I started in April. It is a wrens nest made in some coils of baler string which is hung on a nail in the shed. Now the fledglings are out and about and there are at least 3 tiny balls of feathers hoping about in the shed with their parent making a huge noise anytime we go near.


Friday, 14 June 2013

Anti climax

Well, she came, she collected the parcel ( apparently it was some special pro-biotic drink for her stomach!) she apologized for being a nuisance, she actually drove onto the campsite but said she wouldn't have been able to stay because "the cables and pylons give off electricity", she said it looked a"sweet little site". I just smiled and said receiving her parcel  had been no problem at all and off she went. Presumably to somewhere much safer!
Meanwhile, back in the real world, I collected another lovely pile of library books from the mobile library. They are mostly crime fiction this month 
  except for this one below, which if it is as good as it looks might get added to my wish list for my Home Front collection.

 As we have 2 or 3 blokes here tomorrow doing the concreting of half of the back path, I made a nice big fruit cake to keep them sustained. They have said they can come back in a few weeks to do the other half so that will be brilliant. Him Outside and I managed to get the smaller bits of rubble cleared and the shuttering edges for the path fixed. He went and collected the cement and ballast so we are right ready.
While he was collecting cement I popped into Co-op where much to my surprise they actually had one pack of reduced price neck of lamb chops and chipolatas. When I say reduced it's only by a third but living around here that's quite good. Amongst the reduced price fruit and veg there was a small swede ( and mouldy strawberries! - didn't buy those!) so the swede went with the lamb, value carrots from the fridge, our own onions-lasting really well this year- and mint from the garden,to make a nice lamb stew. Which is quite a treat, as lamb is something that we ate a lot years ago when we kept and bred sheep but is now priced out of reach. They had three packs of chipolatas so I got all three and popped them into the freezer.
I watched some tennis this afternoon and then had a surprise visit by a retired couple from Essex who've camped on the site several times over the last 20 years. They have had to give up camping so were staying at a B & B not far away so they could go to some Benjamin Britten events at Snape Maltings and in Aldeburgh (This is the centenary celebration of Britten with lots of special thing happening) and thought they would pop in to say hello.So we caught up over a cuppa. I thought it was such a coincidence some of our friendly visitors should call in on the same day as the" lady with the parcel"!


Thursday, 13 June 2013

The joys of owning a small campsite.

We meet all sorts of  people who come to our campsite. Some like to chat about the area, the weather or the chickens, others just  say Hello, most are happy to be on holiday, some seem to find holidays difficult. Lots come back every year, some have become friends. We try to be cheerful with everyone. But sometimes I wonder how we do it.
Here is something that happened this week -
 Monday, Phone rings, A lady would like to come to the site  on Thursday for the weekend. Yes that's fine says I, write down details, answer questions re price, facilities etc. Say goodbye and see you next Thursday.
10 minutes later phone rings. Same lady - forgot to ask if it's OK to bring dog. Yes, no problem says I we have lots of footpaths close by for dog walking and  dogs are welcome.
Hour later phone rings. Same lady - Would it be OK to have a parcel delivered to us for her to collect as there is something she needs. Yes says I- no problem, just put" care of" our address and we will look out for it and keep it safe for her.
Hour later phone rings. Same lady - She has ordered the required thing and it will be posted to us, it should arrive by Thursday, please could we look out for it and keep it for her. Yes of course says I, No problem, I'm sure it will arrive on time. See you Thursday.
Tuesday evening, phone rings. Same lady - she has looked on OS map and now realises we have pylons close to site. Not sure if it will be suitable for her as she is sensitive to Electrical things close by.
Husband answers-  Says, that's fine, the pylons are on adjoining field, the cables are not  very near site and we can put her caravan furthest away behind the hedge or if she would rather not come no problem to cancel booking. She says perhaps she will book another site just in case she feels pylons are too close.
This morning phone rings. Same Lady- She says she has been thinking about it and  the cables will be too close to the campsite. So she is staying at  another site nearby.
 That's OK says I, no problem, thank you for letting us know and your  parcel has arrived safely, so don't forget to call in and collect. She says she will call in tomorrow morning.Sorry says I, but I will be in and out a couple of times tomorrow morning and could she call this afternoon or tomorrow  afternoon instead. Well, not very convenient says she but suppose she could re- arrange her plans for tomorrow!
Ok says I, We will be here all afternoon so we will see you then.
Hour later phone rings. Same lady-  Could I leave parcel out for her somewhere safe?
Not really says I, would rather keep it indoors and pass it to her directly. She says she will rearrange her plans and call in tomorrow afternoon as previously arranged. OK says I, we will see you tomorrow afternoon.
I'm so looking forward to seeing this lady and smiling and saying yes it was no problem to keep her parcel for her and I hope she has a nice holiday in the area!

Is it me?




Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Batten down the hatches!

Have you seen the weather forecast? Very strong unseasonal winds, could cause some damage, heavy rain overnight, temperatures below average!
I'm worried what the garden will look like after that lot!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Thinking about plastic and Big Brother, Plus a biscuit recipe.

  I was looking at some different blogs yesterday and came across a challenge that takes place in Australia each year. People sign up to not buying anything in plastic for a day, a week or  for the whole month of July. It is to bring awareness about the huge quantities of plastic waste ( estimated to be twice the size of Texas in the North Pacific alone)  that drift in the oceans, wash up on beaches and cause problems to so many areas of the world.
I don't think I have heard of this challenge via Friends of the Earth so it must just be in Australia.
Signing up for a day would be pretty pointless I reckon, a week would be easy but a month would be difficult without a way of buying milk in anything other than in plastic bottles. Is there anywhere that still uses glass? - No milkman delivers anywhere near us. This is the website if you want a look.
 http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/the-challenge.html
 I can remember when the Co-op stopped giving out plastic bags for free and now it is quite the norm to take our own reusable bags everywhere. But why are so many things, that could be sold differently, sold in punnets or on plastic trays? I shall give this more thought. It's good to be nudged to think about different things sometimes.

This morning I made a double batch of Peanut Biscuits - enough to last us for ages. I have 3 main biscuit recipes that I use and this one I've been using for years, ever since I saw it in THE PENNY PINCHER PAPER many moons ago.
 Basic Biscuit Recipe
8oz Plain flour         }
1tsp baking powder }     sieved together
Pinch salt
4oz butter
4oz caster sugar
1 egg

Plus one of the following : 2oz chopped nuts/ 2oz coconut/grated zest of a lemon/2oz chocolate chips.

Rub fat into flour, add rest of dry ingredients then add beaten egg, mix to bind.
 Roll out as thin as possible, cut into rounds, put onto greased trays and bake for 170C, Gas 5 for 10 - 12 minutes, until just changing colour. Put straight onto wire trays to cool and crisp up.

I also made my usual weekly two loaves of bread.
Him outside started the job of putting down the wooden shuttering to make edges for the new path along the back of the house. He is taking it steady but seems to be fine.
Then he had to go up to Ipswich Hospital for  the pre- angio-gram check, blood tests etc. ( apparently an angio-gram could cause stroke or heart attack! - Oh Heck).
The sun shone for a while this afternoon, which was nice as we hadn't seen it since last Friday.
Dinner tonight fruit and vegetable curry, rice and home made naan bread.. When there isn't much home grown veg around I chuck in some chopped apricots and prunes to bulk it up a bit, tastes delicious. Tonight there was more fruit than veg!
Now about to watch something about a man avoiding everything that could be leave an electric trace  or on-line footprint,on channel 4 news - due to the news about secrecy being breached by USA. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU AND READING THIS!!!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Open Wide!

Actually they don't say that any more. My once a year visit to the dentist happened this morning and I need a filling so have to go back next week too. I dread going for weeks beforehand, it wasn't too bad when I had the same dentist for 18 years but then he suddenly retired and now it has been somebody new each time.
I then popped in the Co-op and got £42 pounds of store cupboard stuff, fruit, milk and other odds and ends for £22 thanks to having a £5 off an over £40 spend voucher + £14 of divi vouchers and £1 off fruit voucher. Seemed like a good shopping trip - pity divi vouchers are only twice a year!
 Last night I finished the 4th and final book about the Cazalet family by Elizabeth Jane Howard. I enjoyed them immensely and am so pleased they were recommended to me as I probably wouldn't have tried them otherwise. The library van is due Friday so my pile of books has lasted me well. I think there is another nice big lot awaiting.
That awful North east wind has gone thankfully, so although it's still grey at least it is a few degrees warmer today.
Him Outside  cut the grass on both parts of the campsite, then we have to make a start on sorting out the rubble around the back of the house and marking out the path edges as his 3 ex-work friends are coming at the weekend to begin concreting. The tablets he is taking are working well and he is feeling much better with no chest pains for a week now, so between us we should be able to get that work done.
We had our first strawberry for lunch - half each!  and the final asparagus for dinner. Now it must be left to recover until next year.
That's the story of our simple life on an ordinary Monday.
More wild excitement tomorrow :-) 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Three Cheers For The First New Potatoes!

Here is a picture that is a pleasing sight.
These are our first early potatoes dug today. The variety is Swift and this plus 3 larger ones that I quickly cooked for a potato salad for lunch are all from one root. This means we don't have to buy anymore potatoes. How good is that!
More signs of hopefulness on a cold June Sunday.

Tiny Plums have set.



Gooseberries are growing.


We might beat the blackbirds to the Morello cherries.


Our Green Man is still watching over some trees we planted 8 years ago.

Now settling down to watch mens tennis Final from Paris, plus doing a bit of  cross stitching.

(PS thank you to everyone for comments yesterday and welcome to Wendy at Blue Borage)




Saturday, 8 June 2013

June 8th? It's more like January!

SOOOOOOOOOOOO cold here today. If  you couldn't see there were leaves on the trees you would think it was a winters day. The wind is a strong North East - straight down from the arctic and not a glimmer of sunshine.We didn't even bother to open the polytunnel doors. The Rayburn was lit for hot water earlier and now the woodburner is alight for warmth.
 Apart from collecting eggs I've been inside all day which is very depressing. Him Outside took the tractor with the topper to do the meadow at the second-home, then visited the elderly friend whose job it used to be. I fiddled about with ideas for card making but inspiration was sadly lacking.
At the beginning of the week  a cheque arrived for the  machinery that Him Outside took to the collective farm  auction last month. I put it away ready to add to the ISA. Then next day we got a letter to say that a computer glitch had caused the wrong date to be printed on all the cheques and we had to send it back. The date printed was 32/10/51! I wonder what the world will be like in 2051?
Dinner tonight was cold chicken with salad and potatoes and stewed apples and raspberries from the freezer. I had a good sort-out in the freezer depths the other day and was surprised that we still had several small bags of fruit left - mainly raspberries and redcurrants with a 2lb bag of gooseberries and a few bags of apple slices. I think I might mix the g.gogs with some raspberries and redcurrants and make some tutti- frutti jam. I'm checking the gooseberry bushes  for sawfly caterpillers most days and the crop is looking good as long so as the weather is  warm and we get some good rain  it won't be long before I'm putting this years harvest into the freezer.
Now going to watch Rugby - England  v Argentina. French Open tennis finals tomorrow, Queens Club tennis next week and Wimbledon very soon = My favourite time of the year!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Nosing into other peoples shopping trolleys!

The supermarket car park was half empty so I thought it would be a quick dash round and out, but there were so few checkouts open I got stuck behind someone with a HUGE trolley full. Now I like looking in other peoples trolleys and as the person on the checkout behind me also had a massive load of stuff I was able to be really nosy. They both had tons of things that I never buy. Dishwasher tablets- No, we don't have a dishwasher, Gi-normous boxes of highly advertised smelly washing powder - No, I use tiny amounts of Ecover liquid plus a spoonful of old fashioned washing soda. Fabric Softener - No, have never bothered with this - working on the principle that if you never do something you won't miss it. Large quantities of famous brands of sugary coated breakfast cereals - No, Him Outside has muesli that is packed by a regional wholesaler and sold in a simple package in the Co-op. Packet mixes for making cakes - No, I start from scratch and the only time I tried one of these it was artificially  nasty. Loads of packet of biscuits- No ( well mostly no, occasionally we buy a packet and then regret it) mostly I make from scratch. Ready Made jellies in little plastic pots - No- I bet the plastic pots cost more than the filling. Pre-grated cheese - No, I don't understand that at all.
I could go on all day but that would be really boring!

Watching the weather forecast it looks as if the whole country is bathed in warm sunshine with temps. up to 22. But over here on the East coast yes, we have sunshine but the wind is still very, very cold. All the blossom has been blown off the quince and apple trees and the wind is drying out  the soil so that we have had to start watering which seems crazy after the wet spring. What this weather is really good for is getting the washing beautifully dry in no time at all.

There is one job here that Him Outside didn't get around to doing when we sorted out the front drive and turning space last autumn and  we were wondering how on earth we would do it now that heavy lifting and strenuous jobs are out of the question. For 8 months we have had no path along the back of the house. He took up all the odd bits of concrete path and then was so busy with front drive, new campsite showers, poly tunnel and garden that the path didn't get done and for 8 months we have been walking through rubble and mud or doing a detour all round by the poly tunnels to get up to the washing line, workshop, chicken shed, freezer sheds etc etc. But there is light at the end of the tunnel as he asked some of the guys that he used to work with on bridge maintenance, and hopefully at least some of the work will be done over the next couple of months. This is how it has looked since October .The slabs laid on chippings were "temporary" to take us around the rubbley bit. Keep your fingers crossed that they won't be needed too much longer.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A morning out.

First of all thank you to everyone for kind wishes re Him Outsides heart problems.
You've probably gathered by now that we don't stray far from home, local car boot sales, local shopping ( and now hospital visits) are often the furthest we go for most of the month. Just occasionally we venture a bit further for a tour of charity shops in a different town. We had a garden  voucher left from a gift last year and then we got sent another discount voucher plus yet another voucher for free coffees from the Wyevale Gardening Club, so as the weather forecast said today would be cloudy (they were wrong - the sun shone!) we decided to have a morning in Woodbridge, a small town about 15 miles from us.
We've recently made a new flower bed after taking down some huge Leyllandii a couple of years back, and although I sent for some cheap perennials to fill it they are still very small, leaving lots of space for weeds in between. So after seeing this on TV we are hoping for an amazing show of annuals in the gaps between the small perennials.
I'll let you know if it works! It was blinkin' expensive ( although we used the voucher) but cheaper than buying a whole load of bedding plants. ( I'm NOT advertising this - just telling you what we bought!). We had our free - luke warm -coffees, then went into town.
A trip around all the 7  charity shops  didn't result in many bargains although I spent the last of my birthday on a tunic for £4.50. Then I found a book that is on  my Amazon wish list, something to add to my collection of war time home front books. I thought it was a brilliant bargain at £2.99 as the last time I looked at the price on Amazon it was well over £5. So I was well fed up to come home, go onto Amazon to delete it from my wish list only to find they had one copy at 1p! How annoying is that, I could have saved 18p!! This is my collection and the book I've added.




Tuesday, 4 June 2013

I know more than I want to know about agricultural waste exemptions!

This morning I 'lost' three quarters of an hour of my life  registering for New Agricultural Waste Exemptions on the Environment Agency web site.
Because we have land rather than just a garden and we are a registered smallholding we have to comply with waste regulations. Normal things like having a bonfire, building a compost heap or cleaning a ditch, which more or less everyone with a garden can do without any problems, we have to fill in a blinkin' form on the computer!
We had to do all this about 10 years ago and then re-register every now and again. But now they've jigged about with all the exemptions so we had to start from scratch. EVENTUALLY after ringing them up to find out why we couldn't get any further than  the first page and then having to search for a grid reference on another website and then going backwards and forwards from page to page. I clicked on the Submit bit and hopefully we are now legal. At present there is no charge for all this but I can just imagine that sometime in the future someone in a city office will have an idea to bring in more money and will start charging us.
 I think the most annoying thing is that the HUGE farmers like the ones who farm 10s of thousands of acres all around us and for miles right down to Essex, have to fill in exactly the same form as we do with our little 5 acres and a compost heap! And they can employ someone to do all their paperwork for them.
Yesterday and today the  sun is shining here on the edge of Suffolk but by golly the wind is cold. It's a north easterly so we are feeling the worst of it straight off the sea. Yesterday Him Outside worked for a customer in the morning and then cut the campsite grass ( sitting on the ride on mower isn't causing him any strain) and I got the small mower out to do all the fiddly bits of grass cutting. Today we've got lots more odd bits of gardening done mainly weeding and tidying and Him Outside was in the poly tunnel taking the side shoots off the tomatoes until it got too warm.
 Here's a nice sight- tidy ranks of healthy onions


 He managed to get in to see the doctor yesterday to get more advice on all the tablets that the hospital dished out without any discussion after the angina diagnosis, but when he stopped the tablet that gave him a headache he got the serious pains again and had to use the under the tongue spray for the first time. It's all such a sudden thing we don't know what he should be doing and what not to do.
I suppose he will get sorted out eventually.
Yesterday, at last, I picked up my needle and started a quick and easy cross stitch picture for a card and also got into the first few pages of Confusion- the third in the Cazalet family saga by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Finally I must say welcome to Dragonfly, a new local visitor to my blog. Thank you also to everyone for comments and advice re the angina issue - we need all the advice we can get I think!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Sunday, so can you guess where we went this morning?

Yes, of course, we went to the local car boot sale!  But after 2 months we are now starting to see some of the same old stuff every week. So very few bargains today, just 3 things bought actually. For £4 I found a huge box of Whittards tea bags with 9 different sorts of tea to try. I'm sure I have seen them in the Whittards shop in Ipswich for about £18. It will be interesting to try some of the weird varieties that we would never normally buy. I also bought a virtually brand new hard-back book for 50p which I shall hide away until Christmas as I think Him Outside will enjoy it. ( It's about cricket - which he listens to on the radio whenever possible). Him Outside bought a pack of new paint brushes for £1, ready for whenever we do the next bit of decorating. Then we came home again!
Unlike yesterday, the sun has shone all day today and we got the Pumpkin and Squash plants planted out onto the field. We pulled a little barrier of soil around each one in the hope that they will be protected from any strong winds that might blow them about. Some years we have covered them with a huge long length of fleece but that is quite hard work, which neither of us thought would be a good idea this year.
Here are the Pumpkin plants, potatoes are in the ridges on the right and then further over are the two rows of squash plants.

And here is a sight no small campsite owner wants to see! This is the caravan side of the site where the electric hook-ups are, and it is EMPTY! and we have no-one booked for 2 weeks. Oh well, at least I get a break from toilet cleaning!

Tomorrow morning Him Outside is off to help one of his customers with her allotment and I'm not sure what I'm doing yet, but I'm certain I shall find something that needs doing without looking too far.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Looking back at May

Oh dear, in some ways May wasn't a good month, but they are at the end of the list!
Here is a look at all that happened on the Simple Suffolk Smallholding  in May
  1. Once again we earned more than we spent- always a good start to a review of the month.
  2. Thanks to the guys working at Sizewell Power station, the campsite income was our best ever start to a season. ( Campsite income is not counted in the above )
  3. Income from campsite has gone into ISA ready for winter.
  4. I earned some money working as a Poll Clerk 
  5. We got the new poly tunnel covered and planted full of tomatoes which we will sell later
  6. We also got everything else planted out ( except for pumpkins and squash plants - we are running late with them)
  7. Him Outside got another regular bit of work - looking after the grass cutting and strimming at a second home.
  8. Egg sales were eggscellant!
  9. We got rid of 3 years worth of unwanted odds and ends at a car boot sale - income £85
  10. I managed to sort out all the small pots of herbs, and prepared them to sell at the gate.
  11. We re-potted or chucked all my huge pots of weedy Hostas - something that we should have got done at least 2 years ago!
  12. Some good boot-sale bargains have filled in lots of spaces in my Christmas present book.
  13. We were able to eat the first and only (so far)  mini cucumber from the poly tunnel.
  14. I've had lots of good books from the library and done loads of reading.
  15. Co-op divi and Tesco voucher both arrived at end of the month- handy saving  of £29 for June  food spending.
BUT
Him Outsides sudden health issues are worrying.
 The awful weather means that lots of things in the garden are running very late or looking sad and things are on go slow in the poly tunnels.
Another month has gone by and I've done NO cross stitch again.
The food budget was way over because of trying some different things from  different places and having almost nothing from the garden.( Although the food cupboards are now full and June food spending will be down).
Campsite electric hook-up annual test found things that needed repair = Big Bill.
There had to be some spending on working boots for him and clothes for me.
We had nothing to sell at the gate except eggs and a bit of rhubarb.
Conclusion - Not a very frugal month. Must do better!