bird feeders, Coffee morning, Epiphany, HGV menace, Jacob sheep, Mary Berry apple cake, medieval churches, Pakenham Water Mill flour, Plough Sunday
I have been so busy for the past ten days I have had no time to add anything to my blog. The post-Christmas clear-up took ages and then I had to catch up on jobs that had been put to one side during the holiday. I am almost back to normal now and have time to write a brief resumé of the things that have happened recently.
Sat 4th Jan:A wet and windy day again. R and I went to the Rector’s Coffee Morning which he holds on the first Saturday of every month. We took a couple of things for the Bring and Buy stall and bought a book and some home-made marmalade (Rector’s special recipe with whisky!) We also won a pair of neon yellow gloves and some chocolate in the raffle – hmmm! An enjoyable event as usual where we heard all the gossip and had a laugh. Went on to the farm shop where we bought strong wholemeal flour. They stock Pakenham Water Mill flour which is the most beautiful silky flour and makes the best bread I have ever tasted.
Sun 5th Jan: A beautiful sunny still morning for a change. R and I decided to walk to church this morning. The Eucharist service was at St Margaret’s which is the church nearest to us (a mile away) but is not our parish church which is a mile and a half away – we live on the parish border. Despite the sun there was still ice on the road. 2nd Sunday in Christmas, so we had our last chance to sing carols. Lovely birdsong on the way home and we looked at the Jacob sheep in the field opposite the end of our lane. A cloudy afternoon during which I cleaned and sterilised all my bird tables and feeders.
Mon 6th Jan: Epiphany and all the decorations to be taken down and put away. I would like to be able to keep the crib out until Candlemas on 2nd Feb with the figures of the Kings offering their gifts to the Christ Child but it would mean two trips up to the loft and the thought of that is too off-putting when we are tired. The day started windy and wet but by afternoon was bright, sunny and mild. The birds were not at all interested in the clean feeders I had put out. They would much rather have stinky dirty mouldy ones I think! R and I went to the Epiphany Eucharist this evening where incense was burnt to commemorate the frankincense given to the boy Jesus.
Wed 8th Jan: Our last remaining goldfish died today at the grand old age of ten.
Fri 10th Jan: A frosty night and a calm sunny day. Shopped in the morning and then spent the afternoon preparing fruit for the freezer. I have no time and no inclination for preserve making at the moment so I’ve put all in the freezer for later – much later, I am sure, knowing me! Youngest daughter went for a walk down the lane and was chased by a small dog. Why won’t people keep their dogs under control? E also had to leap into the hedge to avoid an HGV which thundered down the lane then up again. HGVs, some with trailers, have become such a menace in recent years. They are as wide, if not wider, than the lanes: they break the banks and verges down and cause terrible damage. The mud from the sides is spread across the road by their wheels making it dangerous and messy to walk and drive along. Everyone living in the country has filthy cars at the moment – it isn’t worthwhile spending time cleaning the mud off when we know that within minutes of setting off our cars will be muddy again. Farm traffic is enormous too and also causes mess and damage.
Sat 11th Jan: It is our turn this month to clean our church so R and I spent a couple of hours this afternoon doing our duty. Our church is a lovely place and nearly a thousand years old. However it is in such a bad state of repair and we have no money to do any work on it. It is damp and has woodworm – the roof leaks and the windows need repairing. It is so cold in the church in the winter despite some electric under-pew heaters. Condensation and penetrating water drip on one during services. Bats live in the church and cause so much damage but they have nowhere else to go as all the old barns have been done up and converted into modern residences.
Sun 12th Jan: A frosty morning. Drove to St James church for the Eucharist service this morning. Very cold but enjoyable service. Home for lunch then out again to our church, Rumburgh, for the Plough Blessing service. This takes place on the first Sunday after Epiphany. A local farming family has a lovely old plough which they bring to the church and decorate with ribbons. This is blessed during a short service which is thought to ensure food for the coming year. The following day, Plough Monday, traditionally is the first day when work on the fields is recommenced after Christmas. I will include a picture of the plough in my next blog. Made apple cake when I got home. A delicious Mary Berry recipe. R and I had a small slice each and E had the rest over the next 24 hours!