Thursday, 11 July 2013

"I'll never tire of this view!"

      As I stood on the pathway at Pin Mill trying to take a photo of the scene before me - with Bella asking impatiently to paddle in the Grindle – a gentleman slowed down so as not to get in the frame. I thanked him and said, “I’ll never tire of this view” and he could only agree!


Even the presence of the big red boat lift in front of the pub didn't seem to scar the landscape!

Summer lunch-time patrons still enjoyed the view and the comings and goings, from the deck.

     I think the senior primary school students were having their end of year treat, 'messing about on the river', under the guidance of the Pin Mill sailing club. Between 12.30 and 1pm little dinghies made their way up the Orwell River to the shore and excitable and giggly, wet children looked liked they'd had a good time!

    But I did have to get back!

    But I couldn't not capture the summer's day on the river from viewpoints on the walk back home!


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Feed the birds scraps!

The pros and cons of feeding the birds!

It’s always a soothing experience to watch a little blue-tit slip between the bars of the ‘ball feeder’ without so much as a shiver of a wing! He doesn’t stay for long, does a circuit on the floor of the feeder and although he’s quite safe, exits the open ‘windows’ as smoothly as he entered!

Blue-tits, Great-tits, Chaffinches, one or two Goldfinches and Robins have dined at our everyday-nothing-special-but-food-anyway ‘featherstaurant’!

The cons are when the Pigeons, Blackbirds and even the lovely Song Thrush come to dine, but find they’re like giants in Lilliput and have to make do with the crumbs under the table. The Pigeons are the biggest culprits in protesting strongly by fouling the patio beneath the feeders! Yuch!

So it was time to give them their own-sized featherstaurant out of the way of the patio and the BBQ!

Scrap wood was easily hammered together (thanks to a kind non-DIY hubby!), given an edge and chained ready to hang …. somewhere!!  The only suitable place, for now, until we’ve cleared a bit more of the jungle, was from the old rusty swing frame which had formed a secret entrance to the deep dark jungle!  It hangs a little low, but with nice sunny weather and clear days, the bundu-bashing and jungle clearing will continue and hopefully reveal the ideal tree branch.

Of course, Murphy’s law – I’ve run out of birdseed!!

The Song Thrush was the first – and only – to try out the breadcrumbs and only stayed a couple of seconds. So I did some research to see what other kitchen scraps can be fed to birds – a surprising variety it appears!

Pastry, cooked and uncooked!
Citrus fruit! (Fished the half mouldy Clementine out of the bin!)
Grapes, Melon rind, Apples, Pears, Banana
Peanut Butter
Raisins, Sultanas etc soaked in water.
Baked and Mashed Potato! (not that there’s any left on our plates!)
Unsalted meat!
Cheese grated
Uncooked Porridge Oats!

Yes, I had some left over uncooked pastry! So bits of that went into an Aunt-Bessie-Yorkshire-Pudding-foil-container and was thumb-tacked to the table.

Yes, I have some raisins and sultanas. Soaked them in water and they went into a Peanut Butter jar lid thumb-tacked to the table.
Birds-eye view!

And yes, the other half of the mouldy Clementine fished out of the bin cut into tiny pieces and put in the lid of a Smash (instant mashed potato) tin and thumb-tacked to the table.

And yes, there’s always peanut butter in the cupboard, so some smeared to the side of the bird-table should do the trick.

The Open sign is up…….

...... well either they have a bird-watch and disappear as soon as I look outside, or I just simply miss them, but when I went out to photograph some extras, I took the crust of bread to top up and found ...... 
.... the raisins & sultanas all gone!!

And the Song Thrush was watching
Not a clear pic at all but the Song Thrush is on a branch in the top left quadrant, just her head and shoulders!

Give them time and tomorrow, maybe a little cheeeeese!!

Thursday update!
Soaked raisins are obviously the favourite! In less than an hour the lid was empty this morning!  During the night the Clementine fruit pieces and the uncooked pastry were eaten - by what, I don't know! I think the Starlings have cottoned on to more free food as three or four of them were being smartly marched away from the table on the shed roof by a strident Blackbird this morning!

This morning's menu is grated cheese, soaked wholewheat bread, and soaked raisins - which are gone already! Glad the featherstaurant is being utilised!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Shopping in Felixstowe

     So after we’ve been in the south Suffolk area for about 18 months, we eventually walked the high street of Felixstowe!!  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve enjoyed the beachfront at Felixstowe, had an ice-cream on the promenade and walked the dog at Landguard Fort, but somehow never actually strolled the high street!

(On the beach at Landguard Fort)

(Sunset at Landguard Fort)

   I like Felixstowe town centre!!

     First of all, and always most important, parking was £2.00 for 4 hours! Compare that with Ipswich’s  average of £1.80 per hour (centre of town prices).

     Secondly, I didn’t see a lot of so called ‘High Street’ shops. They’re probably there somewhere, but there seemed to be more independent or small chain shops, which is really great. But I do enjoy popping in to the Charity shops! I generally head for the bric-a-brac first and then move on to the children’s books, toys, then adult books. I did have a list of things to look for, but as usual got totally distracted! The list had things like a tea-pot, maps, and milk jug, but none of those found their way into the shopping bag!

First stop was St Elizabeth Hospice shop and right at the door was a basket of baby clothes. Now this is a new experience for me – wanting to buy baby clothes for an unborn grandchild! But what fun! At 50p an item and some even 30p, it was an opportunity not to be missed. I came away with three very cute babygros in varying sizes - they'll be useful over a few months!!   I got so excited about getting three babygros for £1.50 that I went straight to the counter and paid for them and then realised I hadn’t even looked at the rest of the shop!

    Next door was the RSPCA, and here I picked up some orangey beads which I’m sure will come in useful for some craft other! At 50p, just can’t go wrong! Or they might just get sent along with the babygros to First Love Creations!

Right next door was the SENSE shop (deafblind charity). Again bric-a-brac first, then the curtains/bedding looking for fabric I could cut up for patchwork quilts.   

I did find this very cute Dutch tea-towel, with very nicely blocked classic Dutch pictures – for 99p. While I was also looking out for maps for our next Sweet Monday meeting – those ‘old’ ones with a million folds that tend to obstruct the driver when the passenger is trying to navigate – my husband found an Atlas (more compact but not what I was looking for). This was his purchase and he spent a pleasant half hour paging through it at home suddenly discovering continent sizes, ice-caps and unpronounceable tiny countries and islands!

      I like to think I collect salt and pepper sets. Many years ago in South Africa we had a meal with friends and each guest had a different salt and pepper set in front of them. I thought that was so nice I started my own collection of salt & pepper pots and family and friends helped. So today I added to that collection with a nice cottagey light wood salt and pepper mill.  Together with the Malta buses (thanks Claire!), the Japanese Geishas (thanks Judi!), the wooden Zimbabwe pots (thanks Sean!), the ‘Karkloof’ butterfly (thanks Nicole, and despite the fact that 'my' butterflies look nothing like the Karkloof Blue! It's just a reminder of 'home'!), the blue and white stripe lighthouses (thanks Meg!), and others, the collection now stands at 12. I left some behind in South Africa, like the crocodiles, and I think I've packed away the quirky tap salt and pepper set, they were quirky but really ugly! One of our friends was recently quite disappointed when she sat down at the table with us and I'd only put one set out for three of us!!

The Huggies against the backdrop of the Alice in Wonderland biscuit tin!

Against the backdrop of the Alice in Wonderland biscuit tin!

Against the backdrop of Grandad Ash's still life fruit painting.
The latest addition!

There were other Charity shops we went into: Barnardos, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, but didn’t go into Oxfam because the search was then quite desperate for coffee, which Greggs provided, together with a custard doughnut!

Of course we had to go into the Thing-me-Bobs Shop although it was a tad disappointing; I thought there might be more 'indescribably thing-me-bobs'! And with the North Sea calling us from the bottom of the road - some people just have to see the sea if it's in the vicinity! - I first got to make a diversion into Fabric8 and rummage in their 30p a piece (or 5 pieces for £1) scraps box for more patchwork bits. I found 6 pieces and she wouldn’t give them to me for £1 :(  They’re only small pieces!! Amazingly it was my very patient husband who praised this shop very highly, taking great delight in the plain white shirt buttons available in tubes, never mind about the gorgeous heart-shaped, pretty polka-dot and teddy bear buttons!

Lastly as we crossed the road on the way to find the car and make our way home, there was Treasure Chest Books! While he got stuck at the counter paging through a Naval book on Flower Class Corvettes etc, I discovered this shop goes on and on and on and further and further back, with old books on every single imaginable subject. Sadly not enough time to browse properly as Bella would need her walk very soon, not to mention not enough spare cash in the purse! Sigh! Definitely another visit to Felixstowe soon!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Walking in May!

     We’ve reached month five, that is the 5th month of 2013, which means we’re very nearly half way through the year! :O

     Spring rocked up a little later than expected but nature has embraced her and the daffodils made their appearance then quickly disappeared, some tulips took their place and quickly exited, but the next door neighbours’ pansies are still smiling all the way down the pathway!

     The sun gratefully took his rightful place and turned up the heating just a little, and April, having been March-bound for an entire month, sent along her showers about three weeks late.

     All in all, it’s been a lovely Spring – and I most certainly hope the majority of Britain’s subjects remember these May sunny days; like the May Bank Holiday when Felixtowe promenade was teeming with young and old, families and dogs, as if it was a Saturday or Sunday! But I suspect it will be like all previous years, "Lousy summer eh?!" choosing to ignore the more spectacular Spring - probably a moral in that somewhere!

     And now that the country paths are dry and passable, it’s once again a pleasure to walk the dog. We all know that we see far more of the little things when walking than when whizzing past in a car; so the tree’s odd shapes, the dappled shadows, the dark clouds against a blue sky through new green growth on trees, is actually more beautiful in real life than a photograph could ever reproduce.

     The fields of Flax (rape) which look amazing from a distance, like Mrs Giant left her sunny yellow scarf at the countryside picnic spot, somehow lose their magic a little when close up; one tends to see the green stems more than the cheery yellow flowers when standing right next to them – there’s probably a moral in that somewhere too!

     So although these pics probably don’t look like much, in real life it was enough to calm a soul, de-stress and feel good!

Bella enjoyed it too!

Rooks and ducks scarpered over Pin Mill when the scarecrow gun boomed!

Even the dandelions looked cheerful!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

..... falling out of favour ....

Things that used to be beautiful that are falling out of favour:

Sun -
it’s not come back from its summer holidays!

Swans – 
they look so graceful and white and beautiful on the water.  On land, they beg for food, they look scraggly and they sit in the middle of the road like a spoilt child having a temper tantrum and cars and vehicles have to be careful, slow down and drive around them!
(photo by Megan Kelland)

Snow – 
After snow in November, snow in December, snow in January, snow in February and then snow in March, there is no more inclination to make snowmen!

Birds on my birdfeeders – 
they eat my food then poop on the patio and on the window!


Jumpers / jerseys / sweaters – 
I’m tired of wearing them for the 180th consecutive day!


Ice-cream – 
it’s no fun eating ice-cream on a cold, miserable, wintry, snowy, icy, windy day; if only summer would stay!


The full moon and a sky full of stars – 
why do they shine the best on the most freezing night of the year!


 Yep! It's finally got to me!

I know Easter is usually rainy, but the cold hasn't let up and the snow keeps coming and everyone's miserable!

(Next blog will have to be more sunny!)

Friday, 1 March 2013


     Many, many moons ago (about 1994/95!) I went to a church ladies’ meeting in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. I’m not a fan of ladies meetings, so the ones I do go to tend to be memorable for some reason or other!  At this one they had someone from the Colour Me Beautiful camp and we heard all about the Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn colours and according to our skin tone, which colour category we fall into, to help us choose the right colours to wear, both in clothes and make-up, to look and feel our best.  I think they’ve changed their own image a bit since then and the Winter, Summer, Spring & Autumn categories seem to have changed to soft, warm, light, deep, etc.

     After that meeting I decided that I was perhaps a Winter person; I could wear pure white and pure black and the pinky palette, but the yellow palette didn’t suit me an so I stuck to that over the years. I don't remember ever wearing anything bright yellow! However as we get older, we may change!

     Today I went to another church ladies’ meeting – the 2013 Women’s World Day of Prayer – and I was asked to take part.  My part was highlighted in yellow in the programme as “Woman 6 – wearing a lemon yellow scarf.” The scarves were provided by the local organisers and my scarf was a bright yellow! But a beautiful bright Yellow!

     The Women’s World Day of Prayer is put together by a different country each year, and this year was France’s turn. The French organisers asked that six women wear different coloured scarves, symbolically representing the diversity of backgrounds of those taking part in the service.  The other colours were garnet red, vermillion red, orange, apricot, and yellow-ochre. Most of the scarves our ladies wore were a very muted red and orange palette. And then there was yellow!!  

     At tea after the meeting everyone commented on the beautiful yellow and I most certainly had warmed to ‘my’ scarf and was dreading having to give it back, even though it was yellow, and bright yellow at that!  Fortunately we were given the opportunity of paying a very nominal amount to keep it and I walked home feeling very sunshiney, on a cold winter’s day!  The ladies suggested it represented the sunflowers which had formed part of the French display!

     That Yellow Scarf made me smile. It made me feel light and happy! It joins my grey silvery scarf, my deep pinky-red patterned scarf, my white woollen scarf, my pink woolly scarf and my black and grey scarf. It probably feels quite conspicuous! But I like my Yellow Scarf! Who knows what colour my next clothes purchase will be!!

 (Err, no, I don't consciously collect scarves, but it is nice to have a choice!)

Saturday, 9 February 2013

I don't like London!

       It’s about six months since I last set foot in London, and that was in the middle of a Saturday morning chanting, singing football crowd on a tightly packed underground tube station platform, with an overlarge suitcase, heading westward! I don't like London!

     This sunny, cold, drizzly February trip was to join with a North London church for a special celebratory service. Traveling by car.

 Step 1 – Preparation: Take one afternoon to carefully scrutinise Google Earth to find a parking space near church building. Take one evening on Google Earth Street View to find how to get in to that particular parking area.

Step 2 – Set up sat-nav in friend’s car and assure them that the frequent ‘hoot’ sound is simply a warning that there are speed cameras in the vicinity, not that they are speeding! Explain that when the numbers in the bottom right hand corner of the sat-nav screen turn red, they are speeding! Explain that the right turn should be taken in 800yards, not 5 yards ahead! As the sat-nav lady says!

Step 3 – In the milieu that’s North London on a Saturday afternoon, turn left where it says ‘Parking’ even if it’s not the Parking area you’d spent an afternoon and evening plotting.

Step 4 – Having found an empty parking bay, carefully note, mentally, which level (Level 3 overflow parking), and name of parking area, as it’s not the one you found on Google Earth!

Step 5 – Set up ‘carfinder’ app on smartphone.

Step 6 – Find way out of Shopping Mall below Car Parking area, through narrow passage and heavy industrial type door.

Step 7 – After walking 5 minutes through jostling, noisy shoppers, decide we’re going the wrong way. Turn around.

Step 8 – Rush a little as we’re now going to be late for the 3pm meeting we thought we’d left forty minutes spare to get to. Blame it on London traffic!

Step 9 – Be duly alarmed and concerned as kind driver-friend trips over uneven pavement surface and falls flat on face – (All OK, no bones broken and no blood!)

Step 10 – Ask three people what street we’re in and get a blank stare from all three and a foreign sounding “I don’t know” from one of them, shrugs from the others.

Step 11 – Suggest to male companion that we ask a ‘copper’ (policeman) walking past at that moment, for directions. Response from said male companion, “Nah!”

Step 12 – Decide 2nd road right must be Alexander Road. Get halfway down and check with red-haired English looking lady wearing a sleeveless T-shirt – it’s 2°C, but she is English speaking and we’re on the right road!

Step 13 – Find church venue but from outside it looks deserted, with 3 minutes before 3pm – Did it start at 2.30pm? or 2pm?!!

Step 14 – Church meeting running to ‘African Time’ so plenty of time to find a loo, greet friends and breathe, before heartily joining in singing praises to God!

Step 15 – Feel safe inside church building and forget that London is outside!! Just for a couple of hours!!

Step 16 – Home-time – Retrace steps to Main Road. Ask English looking man standing outside West Mall Entrance where East Car Park Entrance is. Forget to use carfinder app on smartphone. (Male Alternative: Don’t need to use carfinder app on smartphone!)

Step 17 – Discover Parking Pay Point in the Mall won’t accept perfectly legitimate £5 note. Scrabble in wallets & purses for coins. (£3 for 3-5 hours parking – that’s pretty good for London isn’t it?!)

Step 18 – While looking for coins, put the Apple Pie kindly given by church people ‘for the road’ (padkos, for South Africans!) on top of Pay Point.

Step 19 – Get three-quarter way to car after squashing in crowded lift and nearly walking wrong way towards car, then discover said Apple Pie has been left behind on Pay Station! (Sorry Alastair!)

Step 20 – Keep head down in back seat of car texting daughter, trying not to see big red London bus nearly take front fender off car, and trying not to hear hooting or see cars attemptin to make star shapes across traffic light intersection. Other cars, of course, ignoring traffic lights and hooting because other Other Cars are ignoring traffic lights!

Step 21 – Close eyes.  Let driver, sat-nav and front passenger get us safely out of London. Sleep. Anything to avoid seeing chaos on London roads!

Step 22 – A12. Yay! Familiar ground! Relatively quiet motorway - well, not quiet, but by London standards.....

Step 23 – Home. Sorry about the Apple Pie. Again!

Whew! London is not my favourite place to get to. 

Or be walking in. 

Or driving in.

Next time the wind sends me that country piggy smell, I promise not to complain!

Sorry about the Apple Pie! Again!