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A wet start to the month.  R and I went off in the rain to the benefice coffee morning at the Rector’s house.  We could find nothing to bring with us this time and, as usual, I had not done any baking, so we just took ourselves and a little money.  We bought raffle tickets, a classical music c.d., a jar of the Rector’s home-made lenten three-fruit marmalade (i.e. without whisky) and a jar of plum jam.  After indulging in a bit of chit-chat and getting the local gossip (no raffle prizes this time!) we left to go shopping in Halesworth.  Boring groceries shop in the Co-Op and then, while R read the paper in the car, I walked in to town to see if I could find some flowers for the church.  I eventually found what I was looking for in the third place I visited – some really pretty multi-headed narcissi, some in yellow and some in a creamy-white.  The individual flowers very tiny and delicate;  I bought two bunches of each colour.

The rain was easing off a little by the time we got to Rumburgh church but the path to the church was very puddly and muddy.  The snowdrops were still looking good and the primroses were just starting to come out.  The churchyard will be a mass of wild flowers very soon.  We found a suitable vase in the cupboard and just put the poor flowers in water.  I cannot attempt anything more than this and even this made the flowers look as if ashamed to be where they were.  They all huddled in the middle of the vase and faced inwards and no matter what I did they twisted back and hid their faces.  I eventually gave up,  put the vase on a ledge and checked that the other flowers in the church were all o.k.

I went out to feed the birds later that afternoon after the rain had stopped and the sun had come out.  Something, probably a squirrel, had pulled the top off one of my fat block feeders and had removed and taken away a block that I had only put in the day before.  I mended the feeder, replaced the block with a new one and wired up the top to prevent it being pulled apart so easily again.  We shall see!  I took a couple of photos of the geese and some of next door’s ****** chickens in the garden again.

020Next door's chickens (640x480)

 

 

022Pair of geese in garden (640x480)

I discussed with E what she would like for her evening meal and we decided on one of her current favourites – fried bacon, potatoes and onions.  I added some diced eating apple as I thought that might go well with it.  E was of a different opinion!

024Bacon, onion, apple and potato (640x480)

 

R and I set off for the quiz at St James at 7.00pm.  We had become quite reluctant to leave our nice warm home and get into my very cold, damp car.  It was just 1 degree celsius outside and it took the whole journey to de-mist the windscreen.  I drove most of the way bending forward and peering through the only clear bit at the bottom.  Fortunately, we met no-one on the journey but the real danger is in the deep ditches at the sides of the road.

The quiz was great fun and the six of us on our team all know each other and get on well.  We eventually came second which was very pleasing.  R and I also won two prizes in the raffle.  The food provided by the village hall committee (I suppose) and cooked by two ladies from the village was really good.  A pork casserole or a vegetable bake with a baked potato and a little pot of butter for the first course and then a choice of four or five (I can’t remember how many) desserts with cream or custard for the second course.  This was followed by tea or coffee with a chocolate mint – all for £8.00 per person.  There was thick frost on the cars when we left just after 11.00pm.

A lovely bright morning and hardly any wind the next day.  We went to church at St Michael’s.  This is a very small church in the middle of fields and has only recently had electricity put in – only a couple of sockets though.  There is no electric light, I think, and no heating except for an enormous very old gas heater at the back of the church.  If they have evening services they have oil lamps which makes it look so lovely.  The lane is very narrow and there aren’t many places to park.  R squashed up as close as he could to the electric fence and had great difficulty in getting out of the car.  The fence might not have been switched on as there weren’t any animals in the field – we weren’t going to take any chances though!

058St Michael's Church (480x640)

 

 

057Electric fence at St Michael's (480x640)

By the time we had had lunch and washed up the sun had disappeared and the wind had got up again.  R and I went out for a walk in the lanes near our house.

There is still a lot of standing water about.  This water is as the base of a hedge on St Margaret’s common.

025Water under the hedge at St Margaret's common (640x480)

 

In the village of St Margaret South Elmham is the old phone box which they have converted into a mini library.

027The phone box library (640x480)

 

The rooks are busy in the rookery near the old rectory.

029St Margaret's rookery (640x480)

 

The geese who live at the old rectory were resting for a change!

030Cordelia's geese (640x480)

 

The churchyard is full of pretty flowers.

031St Margaret South Elmham churchyard (640x480)

 

Lots of common reeds in the ditches at the side of the lane all waving in the wind.

033Common reeds in ditch (640x480)

 

The tributary to the Beck at Froghall.

034Tributary to the Beck at Froghall (480x640)

 

Some lovely silhouettes of trees on the skyline.

035Trees on horizon (640x480)

 

Blackthorn just starting to come out in the new hedge.

039Blackthorn (640x480)

 

Marble galls.

040Marble galls in hedgerow (480x640)

 

The top of our lane.

041Top of our lane (640x480)

 

The fields in St James have very few hedges.  It is very windswept here and very cold!

042View across fields (640x480)

 

Primroses at the side of the lane.

043Primroses (640x480)

 

And lesser celandines.

044Lesser celandines (640x480)

 

A lot of work has been done here at the bridge to dig out the ditch again and lay new drainage pipes.

045Newly cleared ditch (640x480)

 

A row of Italian Alders with catkins.  Not a very clear photo because of the wind and my lack of skill.

046Italian alder trees (480x640)

 

The farmyard with sheep wandering about freely and cattle in the barn feeding from their manger.

047Farmyard (640x480)

 

Our lane again – muddier now.

048Muddy lane (640x480)

Even worse!

049Muddy lane (640x480)

 

More primroses.

050Primroses (640x480)

And these are ‘weeds’ in our garden.  All lush green plants – the arrowhead leaves of Lords and Ladies, ivy, dog’s mercury and stinging nettles.

051Lords and ladies, ivy, dog's mercury, stinging nettle (640x480)