I arranged to visit Alice in Sheffield on Thursday 23rd February, spend the night in a hotel and return home again the following day. What I hadn’t expected when I bought the train tickets and booked the hotel room was a visit from ‘Doris’ that day too. For those who don’t know who ‘Doris’ is (or who might have forgotten), ‘Doris’ was a storm that caused some disruption here. Fortunately, my journey went ahead with no problems other than a speed restriction. Alice met me at the station and we decided to have lunch together before I went to my hotel. We nearly got blown off our feet on the way to the café, the door of which kept blowing open while we ate, but we weren’t inconvenienced too much by this. I spent a lovely afternoon with Alice either chatting in my hotel room, drinking tea in another coffee shop or buying books.
While I was enjoying myself, Richard and Elinor were having quite an unpleasant time at home. The power went off at about 2 pm and in the garden a few of our belongings started flying through the air despite Richard having tried to make them safe before the storm began.
I wonder if any of you remember how pleased we were when we got our new summerhouse last year? Here is a photo of it.
Our summerhouse when it was new last February.
The summerhouse after the storm this February.
The wind ripped the roof off and the rest of the building just broke apart. A number of trees in the area were blown over and roads were blocked. When I got back to Norwich the following afternoon Richard was a little delayed when collecting me from the station by having to make detours to avoid blocked roads. The power was still off when I got home and the house was cold. Richard and Elinor had coped very well using the gas hob to cook meals and heat water for hot drinks and washing up. They had sat together the evening before in front of the gas fire listening to the battery-powered radio by candlelight. We often get power-cuts living where we do, though not as many as we used to do before the power company changed the cables and started regular cutting-back of tree branches that are too close to the cables. Having said that, we have had six power-cuts of at least an hour this year already. We keep a supply of candles and lamps ready and have torches in all the bedrooms and in the kitchen, utility room and garage. We have a portable gas heater as well as the gas fire and gas hob. We can also use the caravan which has a large battery and a gas supply.
Fortunately, the power came back on later that day. I was very grateful for it as we were expecting my cousin Beverley and her partner Jeremy to visit the following day for an evening meal. I didn’t have the time to prepare all the things I had hoped to, but at least the house was warm and the evening was great fun!
We have been able to claim for a new summerhouse on our insurance and our replacement arrived on Monday of this week. We got an identical summerhouse which had to be put where the old one was which is a little worrying, knowing how quickly it succumbed to the storm-force winds. Richard will bolt it to the concrete base and try to make it somewhat sturdier. We will see what we can do. We lost our old incinerator during the storm and wondered how far it had travelled, but once Richard had taken photos of the wreck and started to clear up the glass and the panels he found it squashed as flat as a pancake underneath one of the sections. I am grateful neither Richard nor Elinor got squashed under it!
Here is our new summerhouse. Spot the difference!
Our new internal doors were due to be fitted that week in February but the storm put paid to that, and, because of storm damage the carpenter had to deal with, we didn’t get the doors until nearly a fortnight later. We are very pleased with them. They look good, they are more sound-proof than the old ones and the doors downstairs are now glazed and let much needed light into the hall. The sliding door to the en-suite WC has been replaced with a better one and the sliding door to the downstairs shower-room has been replaced with an ordinary door which is so much nicer. We will now employ a painter and decorator to decorate the hall, stairs and landing and to paint all twelve doors (we replaced the airing cupboard door too).
Richard and I have attended a Lay-led Worship Training Course at a church in Beccles. To enable us to keep our churches open, the way forward is for us, the members of the church to take the services ourselves if there is no priest to lead us. This will be very useful to us when our Rector retires in the summer. The four-part course was interesting and well-attended and it gave us the opportunity to meet people from other churches in the Deanery. Our Deanery is made up of a number of benefices from Halesworth, Bungay, Beccles, Southwold and the villages in-between.
We have carried on with the usual round of duties and chores; hospital visits, blood tests, appointments with opticians, hairdressers, acupuncturists and chiropractors; housework, gardening, shopping. We have all had bad colds. I continue to take my mother to church once a fortnight and join Richard at church in our benefice when I can.
Richard went to visit his brother Chris in Manchester for a few days recently and had a very pleasant time. On his return we took part in two quizzes. Last year we had been in a team that had won the quiz held in the village of Walpole. Part of the ‘prize’ was the honour of composing and presenting the following year’s quiz and Richard offered to take it on. The time for the quiz duly arrived and he did a fantastic job as Quizmaster (I was his assistant) and he was presented with a bottle of wine as a thank-you gift. The following night we were at the village of St James taking part in the quiz to raise funds for the Harleston Choral Society. A meal was included in the fees – very good it was, too – and the questions appealed to me more than usual as there were more music ones and fewer sport! Our team managed to win again.
We celebrated Mothering Sunday on the 26th of March and it was our church at Rumburgh’s turn to hold the service. I helped make a few posies to present to the mothers or for people to give to their mothers or take to graves. Though we have no flowers in church during Lent I was asked to provide some flowers to put in the porch.
The flowers in the porch. Looking at this little work of art, you may be surprised to know I am not a flower-arranger 😉 The flowers are lovely in spite of my ministrations. As you can see, the porch is in urgent need of work. If nothing is done soon, the porch will collapse and we won’t be able to use the church.
The church was a little disorganised because we are having a tower screen fitted at the moment and there was dust everywhere. We have been saving for years for this improvement! We put everyone as near the front of the church as possible (well away from the building works) sitting in the choir stalls, which was very pleasant. Richard our Rector chose lots of good hymns and his sermon was amusing and instructive. I brought my mother to our church for a change and took her back home afterwards. I couldn’t ask her to lunch because I had no time to prepare a midday meal but she came for an evening meal instead.
This is the new tower screen. You can see the framework for the glass which has yet to be put in. There will be a glazed door at the bottom of the screen.
We will now be able to see and watch the bell-ringers as they ring before our services.
I will end this rather wordy post with some photos of the flowers in our garden starting with my favourite iris reticulata that bloomed for too short a time in February.
Mahonia with a bumblebee
My music selection is ‘Handle With Care’ by the Traveling Wilburys.
Thanks for visiting!