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I haven’t published a diary post lately so this is a short resumé of my activities over the past month or so.

To start things off I have a photo of a cream tea that Elinor and I enjoyed while out shopping in Bungay before our holiday.

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A very brightly-coloured café called ‘Jesters’ at the entrance to Bungay castle. We were going to walk round what is left of the castle when I remembered in time that I had only allowed myself an hour’s parking . The cream and jam scones were yummy!

Elinor and I went by train to Sheffield on the 2nd of July to visit my elder daughter, Alice.  The day was hot and the journey quite uncomfortable as the carriage we were in on the train from Norwich to Sheffield had faulty air-conditioning.  The ticket collector handed out bottles of water to anyone who wanted some.  We had noticed large quantities of water bottles in the waiting room at Diss Station as well, with a notice saying any customer could help themselves to water if they needed it.

We were travelling to Sheffield in order to watch Alice perform in ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ by Alexandre Dumas.  We then stayed the night with her in her single room.  It was snug to say the least, but lovely to be all together again.

These are some photos of her that I have ‘borrowed’ from her drama group’s Facebook page.

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Alice (in the green dress) played the part of Constance, D’Artagnan’s wife. She is watching D’Artagnan (on the right) fighting his foe.

The man on the left is an expert in weapons and fighting and has an armoury at his home.  He taught all the cast how to fence and fight.  It all looked very real.

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I thought Alice did very well especially as she had to wear a costume which gave her a terrible rash for which she needed medical treatment.

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‘All for one and one for all!’

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Dumas will be spinning in his grave at their version of his very sad and doom-laden book. It was a brilliant, funny, well-acted and well-choreographed play with a happy ending.

As we were waiting for our train back home the next morning I saw and heard the piano in the concourse being played.  The piano is there for anyone’s use at any time.

IMG_4906Pianist on Sheffield station (640x477)

This young man played well.

Unluckily for me and Elinor, the carriage we were in on our return journey also had no air-conditioning.  This time there was no free water but we were able to leave the carriage at Nottingham (I think) and get into another carriage with AC that they had attached to the train.

The following week was busy with preparations for our holiday.  Elinor’s laptop stopped working and had to be taken in for repair.  She worried that it might not be repaired in time for her to use on holiday.  She used my lap-top all week.  We were able to collect her’s on Friday :).  I shopped with Mum on Tuesday and made sure she’d be alright for food and other necessaries while we were away.  My friend Heather came to lunch on Wednesday and we had an enjoyable time chatting about friends and family.  She gave me a book – Janet Marsh’s ‘Nature Diary’.  Such a thoughtful present.  I had an appointment at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital for a rheumatoid arthritis check-up on Friday – the day before going away.

We were surprised to find on our return from holiday on the 18th July that the field of barley behind our house had still not been harvested.  The weather at home had been warm and quite dry while we had dripped and shivered on holiday.  We did get a superb sunset to welcome us back.

We had another busy week catching up on household and gardening chores and I had two weeks’ worth of washing and ironing to do.  On the Monday I had to take Mum to the hospital for her regular eye check which went very well.  I collected her shopping list as I would be doing her shopping for her that week.  When I got home I started to make a loaf of bread and discovered I hadn’t enough yeast so had to go out again.  I bought some other groceries as well as the yeast and was on my way home when I got a flat tyre.  I managed to get the car into the town central carpark and got the spare tyre out but couldn’t work out how to remove the jack from the car!  Shameful!  I’m also not strong enough to take the wheel off anyway so had to phone Richard who had just sat down with a drink.  While I was waiting for Richard to come and rescue me I got two offers of help from kind gentlemen who saw my pancake-flat tyre.  The age of chivalry is not dead!  The tyre had a rip in it and a couple of nails too.

The next day they began harvesting the barley field.

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This combine had just off-loaded its grain into the waiting tractor trailer.

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The harvesting wasn’t started until late in the day and continued until quite late in the evening.

The countryside at harvest-time is a very noisy, dusty, dirty place to be.  It proves at this time of year to be very industrial.  Our houses and cars get covered in a thick pall of dust and bits of straw.  We all start wheezing and coughing and anyone with allergies or asthma has problems with their health.  There is a constant roaring and whining of engines as the combines trawl up and down the fields all day and most of the night too and the tractors with full trailers of grain are driven at break-neck speed along our narrow lanes to the silos and barns at the farms.  Woe betide anyone or any creature who gets in their way!

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The barley field was only half finished that evening and the combine went off to another field to work on that. Both fields were left with strips of uncut grain.

I am not sure why they left both fields like this.  Bad weather was forecast and duly arrived a couple of days later.  Perhaps less damage is caused by wind and rain when the crop is in strips.

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This is a photo of the other field our local farmer cut in strips. We took this picture while on a walk nearly two weeks ago.  The fields were both finished last week – almost a month since they had begun.

This was the first walk we had taken from home in months.

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A bee and a hoverfly enjoying the nectar of a Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)

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I disturbed this moth as I walked through the long grass. I think it may be a Shaded Broad Bar moth (Scotopteryx chenopodiata)

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I remembered seeing a large patch of Common Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica) in the corner of a field last year. It was still there though a large heap of prunings had been left there earlier in the year

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Fleabane with Pollen Beetles (Meligethes aeneus)

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The Field Maple(Acer campestre) was looking bright, not only with its new ruby-coloured winged-fruits and leaf stalks but also with the crimson galls on many of its leaves. These galls are small red pustules probably produced by the mite Aceria myriadium.

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New Pedunculate (or English) Oak leaves (Quercus robur) shining in the afternoon sun. There are also tiny acorns on long stalks to be seen.

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Interesting cloud formation.

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A hoverfly on Bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg. ) flowers

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Bramble flowers are very attractive and blackberries go so well in pies and crumbles!

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I saw my first Dewberry (Rubus caesius) last year and was worried I wouldn’t find one this year because of all the hedging and ditching that was done in the spring. I eventually found a small plant under a hedge.

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Richard and I like this view across a field

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This is another view we like and I’m sure my regular readers recognise it.

When I checked my photos on my return home I was dismayed to see the spot just above the trees at the centre of the photo.  However, when I cropped the photo…

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…I realised a bee had photobombed my picture!

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An Oedemeridae beetle, perhaps Ischnomera sanguinicollis on a Spear Thistle flower with lots more Pollen Beetles.

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We have had our first harvest of purple beans.

These beans sadly lose their purple colour when cooked and end up a rather dull green.  They taste very nice and they have appreciated growing in the cooler summer.

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French beans are so quick and easy to prepare and taste wonderful straight from the garden.

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My white lilies (Lilium longiflorum) are flowering in the garden. This photo was taken at dusk.

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Another sunset – this time with an added rain shower

The rain soon cleared away and as I turned back toward the house I saw the sky to the East was lovely too.

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Pretty pink clouds!

Thanks for visiting!