We have just spent Christmas in Suffolk, though I didn’t say so at the time in case there are any burglars who follow the blog. I have a lifetime accumulation of tat in the house and you can’t be too careful. It would be virtually impossible to replicate the collection these days, particularly the shelves of 1970s paperbacks that fall apart when you open them up.
It started badly when my leg started playing up in the week before we left. Then I started sneezing. And coughing. By the time we got down to Suffolk I was ready to convalesce.
At that point my arthritic finger came into play. At first it just ached, then I caught it in a cupboard door on Christmas Day. That made my eyes water. It also rendered me fairly useless, and one-handed, for Boxing Day. Fortunately everything is recovering now and the leg and finger are back to imperfect normality.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The cottage itself was wonderful and the owners had put up Christmas decorations and left gifts (a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates). Despite my various trials we had and excellent dinner and a fun visit from Julia’s brother and his wife. We also had time for jigsaws, chess and dominoes (all provided). The jigsaw had all its pieces but the chess set and dominoes didn’t, which can be a bit tricky.
A decorative touch
The unusual name comes from the name of a shipwreck which provided the timbers for the building in the seventeenth century. Unfortunately I can’t find further details, though there are some interesting wrecks of this name, including three around Australia and one in the North Sea (when a U-Boat sank over a dozen trawlers).
After the first day the weather was wet and wintry until it was time to come home.
Looks like we’ll have to go back when the weather is better.
The day started well, with a telephone call from the pharmacy. This allowed me to drive down to the shop and use the words “Incontinence Advisory Service” for the second time in three days. This time there wasn’t a crowd of people listening, so it was a less embarrassing experience than the first time.
I am now fully equipped for the next eight weeks and, as a result, feeling relaxed.
After that it was time for a trip to the jeweller’s. I don’t need any jewellery, watch batteries or repairs but I don’t really need an excuse to gossip and drink tea. With my current set-up I am able to drink tea without worrying about the consequences. It was a relaxing interlude, as it’s part jeweller and part antique shop. As I think I’ve said before I feel at peace in three places – church, antique shops and bookshops.
I also feel at home in “all you can eat buffets”, as you can probably tell from the self-portrait, but for some reason I’m never made as welcome there as I am in the other places and don’t feel so comfortable. The staff always seem edgy when I walk in…
The last visits of the day were to drop off some Easter cards. It involved more tea and a look at several gardens that I used to look after. One of the ladies showed me her 80th Birthday Album. She had spent the week in Whitby with her children and grandchildren. It looked like a good time was had by all, and the Birthday Cake was made by Botham’s teashop. The picture on top was a view of the Abbey framed in the Whitby Whalebone Arch.
Whalebone Arch – Whitby
As a result of getting out and about I feel much happier, even if the weather forecast is not good.
In fact, with all this tea and visiting I’d go so far as to say I feel very Jane Austen.
“You’re never alone with a Strand.” as the advert said.
I tend to find the same with email, as last night proved. After a day of jobs and errands we sat down to eat and watch Death in Paradise. It was a relaxing end to the day.
That was before Julia decided to check her emails. When someone from the farm goes on holiday I make sure that I don’t disturb their time away with emails and work-related discussions. When I’m away I tend to ignore emails, to the point that when we last went away I made sure that we didn’t take computers and went to a B&B that didn’t have wireless.
Not everyone takes that attitude, and Julia fell into the the trap of opening an email from the farm last night. I won’t go into detail, because I’ll then be falling into the same trap myself, but it was something that, once known, needed action.
Me? I didn’t open the email. It’s about something that should have been done last year, and it should have been done by someone else.
In short, it’s not my problem. I’m not going to ignore it, but I’m not going to squander a few precious days off by dealing with it now.
“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” – Matthew 6:34
In this case, “the day” is the day that I return to work.
The pork is sizzling, the vegetables are browning and we have broad beans ready for steaming. I’ve also brought the tips back: you have to take them off to prevent black fly so you may as well eat them.
I would say it’s time to relax but after 25 years of marriage I know better. Just as I am ready to wind down and prepare for the coming week my wife is just winding herself up to start her week. The first stage is to give me a list of jobs for tomorrow. then she starts asking about jobs she thinks I haven’t done from last week. That’s when I go “to check the food in the kitchen”. It gives me ten minutes peace. Muttering “social media” is currently a good one too, though you do have to tap a keyboard to make it believable.
It seems like it’s time to get the begging bowl out again and start applying for grants. It will take a couple of weeks, we will spend a lot of time on it and we will eventually be told that there is a lot of competition and unfortunately we haven’t been successful in this funding round. we are, of course, welcome to waste more time and apply in the next round of funding.
Sorry about the cynicism but such is life.
I won’t bore you with a discussion of funding, or excuses about why we haven’t managed to expand or set up a retail operation or rob a bank. We just prefer gardening,working with members of the project and feeding weeds to visiting children. It’s a good life, but not a lucrative one.
So my solstice resolutions are (1) start applying for funding (2) come up with some bright ideas for raising money. If you have any ideas let me know. They have to be legal (though I’m flexible about this) and practical for a tubby middle-aged couple so no mountains and no long-distance cycling.
We’re going to be organising an autumn fair later in the year because it’s not only legal but involves cake. That’s my sort of fund-raising!
Ah well, that’s the end of my “social media” excuse – better go and check the pork.
Time for plans tomorrow…