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This will be a post full of bits and pieces of news; just a catch-up post on the things we have been up to during the past month or so.  I apologise for the length of the post – feel free to skip past as much as you like!

Snowdrops and a few daffodil buds in a pot

We began January with heavy rain, as I mentioned in a former post, but the high waters gradually receded despite lots more rain during the month and we are now left with a few waterlogged fields, lots of full ditches and ponds and plenty of mud.  A storm in the middle of the month left us without power for fifteen and a half hours but we suffered no damage to our house and out-buildings for which we are very thankful. We have had a little sunshine, some mild, wet and windy weather and a few colder spells too.  Very changeable weather.  This week has been cold with some snow showers.  The following photos were taken on Tuesday at sunset on our way home from Norwich.

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A dusting of snow

My mother had another fault on her phone-line and we spent some few days trying to get it repaired – again.

Elinor’s lap-top developed a fault and had to be repaired.  She doesn’t like to be without it as she finds her phone inadequate for some of the things she likes to do on-line.  She borrowed my lap-top.

We now have Super-Fast Broadband – except it isn’t really super-fast but faster than it was, which is quite satisfactory.  The downside is we have a new thick cable attached to the house right next to our bedroom window which loops over our front garden to the pole in the lane.  We think it is dangling just a little too much and in the summer when it expands it may be low enough to snag the roofs of delivery vans.  Trying to get someone back to deal with this may prove difficult.

Sweet violet

We have had some gates fitted at the end of our driveway, which look fine.

We are arranging for the old conservatory (which we cannot use) to be knocked down and a new one put in its place.  This will be a very messy job and will take a few weeks to get done but we hope when it’s finished we will have a room which we will be able to use all year round.  One which isn’t too cold in winter, too hot in summer, doesn’t leak when it rains or drip condensation when it’s cold.  I need to move quite a few plants away from the flowerbed outside the conservatory and find a place to keep them while the work proceeds.  We will also need to find somewhere to store all the furniture in the living room for the duration!

Snowdrops and early crocuses under a crabapple tree

We have all had the usual visits to the dentist, doctor and hospital.  I was particularly pleased with my appointment at the Rheumatology Clinic.  I have been in remission for some while and my blood-test results have been good.  Because of this, I have been told I can stop taking one of my tablets.  I have been taking this one for eighteen years and it is thought I don’t need it any more.  It is also a tablet that can cause irreparable damage to the eyes and the longer it is taken the more likely it is that damage will occur.  I wonder how long I would have been left taking this medication if my blood-test results hadn’t been so good?  So far, after over three weeks without them I have noticed no return of pain and I feel fine!   If I remain in remission for another year I have been told I may be able to reduce the dosage of the medication I inject myself with each week.  I would love to be able to do that!

Molehills in the garden

Gardening can be quite difficult in the countryside as we humans are not the only ones who like flowers and shrubs.  Most of our visiting wildlife love them too – as food.  My favourite miniature iris started blooming at the end of January but the deer found them and have eaten all the flowers. A few of my other plants have been pruned severely by the deer and pecked by the pheasants.  The only answer is to cover everything with chicken wire which isn’t attractive and it’s such a bother to have to remove it each time I wish to work on a flowerbed and then remember to put it back again afterwards!  Despite my grumbling, I do feel lucky to live here and to be able to see all the wild creatures that visit us.  Gardening on a plot surrounded by fields is different from gardening in a town or village.  It is impossible to keep wildlife, including weeds like brambles, nettles and thistles, out of the garden.  We have to be more relaxed in our attitude but it is hard not to be disappointed when a flower that is looked forward to for eleven months is eaten before it blooms!  Before Christmas I was looking out of the window at dawn and saw a family of Muntjac deer in the garden a few metres away from me.  A female, a male and a tiny spotted-backed fawn about the size of a large cat.  The baby kept racing about and bouncing on all four legs at once.  As soon as it got near enough to her, the female proceeded to wash him which he tolerated for a while and then ran off again!

We all spent a day in London on the 25th January but I took no photographs.  It was a day for visiting bookshops as a treat for Elinor; she had recently celebrated her 21st birthday.  We had lunch in an Italian restaurant in Shaftesbury Avenue and when we had had enough of books we wandered down through Trafalgar Square to the Embankment to see how many monuments and statues we could see before catching the tube from Embankment Station back to Liverpool Street Station.  We were very fortunate with the weather which though cold, was dry and sunny.  All our trains ran to time and we had a wonderful day.

Richard and I have taken a short walk near home recently and all three of us have been to Minsmere for a walk.  I will post about these later.

Richard and I went with friends to see a one-man performance of St Mark’s Gospel in Wangford Church last Saturday evening.  The church was freezing cold, probably because it had had extensive building work done to it and the people from the village had only just finished the clean up that afternoon!  The performance was absolutely brilliant!  St Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the gospels and was written at speed.  It is said that Mark recorded Jesus’ life using Saint Peter’s recollections of Him. It was performed by Ian Birkinshaw who was the narrator but he also acted all the characters in the gospel.  He had minimal props and costume accessories and I was very impressed by the way he used them.  For example, he was wearing a keffiyeh which one minute was round his neck, then with a little folding looked like a child in his arms and then a baby which he held over his shoulder.  Ian Birkinshaw’s performance conveyed the excitement about Jesus that is evident in the Gospel and his energetic recital which lasted over two hours was very impressive.  I cannot recommend this performance highly enough.  Here is his wordpress site.

As I have mentioned recently, Elinor, my younger daughter has been attending art classes in Norwich since September and has been enjoying them.  She has shown great improvement in her work and has become much more confident; she is managing her anxiety a little better.  She had been very disappointed last year when she failed to get onto a course which would have given her a qualification which she needs to get into art college.  She applied to a different college to have an interview for the same course and this time she was successful.  She will be starting college in September but instead of Norwich her new college is in Great Yarmouth on the coast.

Here are four examples of the work she has been producing recently.  Each of these pieces were completed in two and a half hours.




Painted with twigs

My elder daughter, Alice belongs to a couple of drama groups in Sheffield where she lives and works.  Next week, one of the groups – The Company – will be staging a dramatisation of Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’.   Alice is playing the part of Mrs. Palmer.  The drama group has produced a few vignettes to celebrate St Valentine’s Day and the opening of the play next Wednesday.  I think you may be amused by the following, in which Mr and Mrs Palmer have been asked questions about their relationship.  Alice tells me that they were given the questions and were asked to improvise the answers in character.

The Company have posted a  number of these on their Facebook page and they are all amusing.  I particularly enjoyed Edward Ferrars’ contribution!

If any of you are in Sheffield next week I would heartily recommend you going along to see the play at the University of Sheffield’s Drama Studio in Glossop Road.  The performances are at 7.30pm Wednesday to Saturday.  Tickets can be bought on-line on the link I have provided or on the door.

Thanks for visiting!