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We have had a very busy few weeks here with very little time for relaxation.  We are all rather tired and stressed and could do with a holiday (or a few weeks at home with nothing to do!), though there is little chance of that just yet.

All the planned work in this first phase of house renovation has been done and we are very pleased with the results.  The new windows, doors and garage doors are looking good and the house and garage are feeling much warmer.  We still have a little sorting out to do in the garage and a few more trips to the tip and charity shops with the things we no longer need.  There is a little room at the back of the garage which had a toilet and wash-hand basin in it which we never used.  We had the plumbing removed shortly after Christmas and Richard painted the room last week.  He has bought some shelves for it and we hope it will be a good storage room for the bird-seed and fruit and vegetables.  It has a window which we hope to brick up and put in a vent in its place.  For now we will put a screen against the window to prevent the light getting in.


Potatoes chitting on the garage window-sill. Note the new window!

We worked very hard to get the house ready for the work and it was worth the trouble we took.  Most of the time there was just one window fitter – a very pleasant, hard-working man who was so proficient and tidy it was a pleasure to have him here.  He let us know which rooms he would be working on during the following day so we prepared by moving furniture and covering everything we could with dust sheets.  While he worked on one room we got the next ready and so we progressed round the house.  He was here for five days and on his last day with us he was joined by a colleague and together they replaced the Velux window in Elinor’s room.  It was unfortunate that the weather wasn’t very nice that day with snow, sleet, hail and rain showers and it took some time for Elinor’s room to warm up again.  We supplied the men with plenty of hot tea to help them keep warm!

I washed, dried and ironed lots of pairs of curtains and also took the opportunity to launder other furnishings too.  I feel I made a good start to my spring cleaning!

Elinor took her two mock maths GCSE exams the same week that we had most of the window work done.  (She is re-taking her maths because the grade she got last year wasn’t good enough).  She also handed in her art project work that she had been working on since Christmas.  She got a pass mark for the art (there are only two marks she could have got – a pass or a referral) and she got a ‘C’ for her maths which has pleased us all.  If she gets a ‘C’ grade when she takes her exams for real in the summer it will mean she has the minimum grade all colleges and employers demand.  She won’t ever have to go to a Maths class again or take any more maths exams.  (A sigh of relief from Elinor!)

DSCN0207Crockham Hill

View from Crockham Hill churchyard.

I now feel I must say how much I appreciated all your kindnesses when I spoke of the death of my aunt – I was most touched; thank-you.  The funeral went very well and was a very satisfying celebration of her life.  It was good to see my brother, sister and all my cousins and their families and to re-visit Kent and Crockham Hill, the village where my Aunt Marie and Uncle Fred lived for so many years.  Aunt Marie had moved away into sheltered accomodation after Uncle Fred died.


Aunt Marie and Uncle Fred

It was sleeting and snowing as I set off for my brother’s house that morning and that continued until my brother had driven us to the Suffolk/Essex border when the clouds began to break up.  When we got to Westerham in Kent where we stopped for coffee, the sun had come out.  My cousin had arranged a lovely buffet meal for us all after the funeral in The Royal Oak, Uncle Fred’s local pub.

The Fens in Cambridgeshire seen from the window of the train I took to Sheffield.

I travelled to Sheffield by train so that I could see Alice in her production of Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’.  The play was excellently performed by all the cast and I enjoyed it very much.  I stayed at Alice’s house overnight and met one of her housemates and also Alice’s cat, Mona.  Alice and I breakfasted in the city next morning before I caught my train back home.


The Mosque in Peterborough seen from the train

DSCN0208Norwich Station

Norwich Railway Station

DSCN0211Norwich Station

These life-size figures stand outside the station and are rather a disparate group.  Admiral Lord Nelson on the left; born in Norfolk and was a great Naval commander during the Napoleonic Wars and was killed during the Battle of Trafalgar – Edith Cavell; born in Norfolk and was executed during WW1 for helping allied soldiers escape from occupied Belgium – Stephen Fry; born in London though grew up in Norfolk and is an actor, writer, presenter, activist and ‘National Treasure’.

I saw quite a lot of my mother during the middle of February as she had a number of appointments to keep ( two hospital appointments in Norwich and two with her local doctor) and a fair amount of shopping to do.  Elinor and I had a meeting at her college to discuss her support needs for her next academic year and to deal with any support problems she has this year. I had been looking forward to Elinor’s half-term holiday but as the window replacement carried on into that week and as we had other duties to perform it wasn’t as restful as I’d hoped.  Elinor had a hair appointment on the Thursday and we had planned to go with her and have lunch out in the city.  Unfortunately, I woke with a migraine and had to spend most of the day in bed.  Richard took Elinor to Norwich and they had lunch in a café.  Richard brought me back a lovely couple of presents.

DSCN0227My presents

My presents!

I love the design on the tote bag!  It is by the artist Amelia Bowman and is a view across the roofs of the market towards the castle. The book is also just what I need for my visits to the churches in the city.

We have managed two short walks; one at the RSPB reserve at Minsmere and the other in Tyrrels Wood which lies to the north of Diss and Harleston in Norfolk.  Neither of the walks were particularly interesting but we were out in the fresh (very fresh and cold!) air and were taking some exercise.


Richard at Minsmere


Minsmere reedbeds

A slideshow of some small but quite interesting things!

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Our walk in Tyrrels Wood was less pleasant as it was so very muddy and we were disappointed by the state it was in.  There was a quantity of litter in the wood, especially near the entrance and it was obvious that the wood is used by dog-walkers.  We had to watch where we walked!  In this country it is illegal to allow one’s dog to foul a public area and not clean up after it.  I am surprised that a large organisation like the Woodland Trust is happy to leave the wood in this condition.


The spotted leaves of Lords and Ladies/Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arum maculatum) next to Dog’s Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)


Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) also with Dog’s Mercury


Tyrrels Wood


An ancient coppice stool. This group of trees was once one tree but through repeated coppicing (cutting back the tree to near ground level to let new shoots re-grow) it has become a group of trees with a shared root system.


The bark patterns on this tree are interesting.

And now for my music selection!  A little trip down memory lane to the summer of 1978 when I was nearly 20 years old and fancy-free.

Thanks for visiting!