Mainly Birds

It’s been a few days since I wrote a blog post but I wanted to share with you the experiences I have had with a variety of birds in the last few days. On Friday, erroneously thinking that if I went to Waitrose fairly early it would be quieter, I set out to drive around the lanes to the main road. My journey takes me down a road that crosses the wide drainage channel that links the Military Canal to the sea for purposes of drainage when the water is too high in the canal. As I began to drive on to the bridge I spotted a squadron skein of geese flying low and heading away across the Marsh. This is the first occasion in all my time of living here that I have had the pleasure of seeing this amazing sight. Then as I crossed the bridge I glanced to the right at the wide sunlit water and there floating in balletic splendour were around about a dozen swans. Making a mental note to stop in the lay by near the bridge on my way home to take some pictures. Although today has not been such a sunny day as those that have gone before it has, in the main, stayed dry although somewhat chillier. But back to my trip to Waitrose. I got on to the main road easily and feeling rather pleased with myself headed towards Hythe. My optimism was soon destroyed. There is a new development being built on a disused gravel extraction area and before there are any housers built it looks as though the developers are putting in the road entrance to the site. In consequence there are road works traffic lights, massive queues of vehicles and a totally inexplicable series of traffic islands and roundabouts under construction. Heading into Hythe proper I was continually held up by traffic snarl ups – strangely enough not with petrol queues but because traders were setting up for a food festival. Nothing ventured I crept on and eventually got my groceries – incidentally I noticed that as a mask wearer I was rather in the minority. Stuff back in the car and I needed to go around the one way system to get to the local Sainsbury’s Waitrose had failed me on a couple of items and as an added incentive Sainsbury’s have cheap tulips and I wanted to get some. If I thought the snarl up of traffic had been bad on the way in it was ten times worse on the way out. I, eventually, got the items and most especially the tulips and then slowly made my way out of Hythe. By this time the word was out about petrol shortages – the petrol station on the edge of the town had a massive queue that stretched back beyond my turn off to the Marsh. It wended its way off into the distance along the coast road apparently making very slow head way. 

On my homeward journey I did, indeed, stop at the bridge. I managed to get some good pictures of the swans and others across the stubble fields. Today and everyday I try to do the exercises that the physio has given me. Some of them make the back less comfortable whilst others seem to help. Whilst I was laying on my back this afternoon looking up through the conservatory roof a gull scythed, at some speed, across the sky below the dense cloud cover, catching a hint of a weak sunlight glinting from those scimitar sharp wings. Others followed, each cutting its own swathe across the domed scudding cloud. Then a flock of rooks whirled around above – seemingly with no discernible purpose but eventually disappearing about their business. Then a lone pigeon, ungainly and flapping, with great effort made its way towards the churchyard. Recently there have been trails of feathers – almost all pigeon’s – strewn across the lawn, blown by errant breezes into bushes, while a few have ended up caught in the Autumn cobwebs that stretch across dew soaked grass or the diamond encrusted webs held fast on the windows of the conservatory. Delicate, fluffy, downy milk white breast plumage dances as the wind wafts across it – never released from the iron grip of the web but fluttering like an anchored butterfly. Talking of butterflies – we have still have a plethora of the larger white ones that bounce from one flower to another in dancing swarms looking for all the world like tissue paper scraps as they float and twirl. Since the apples have rotted we are not visited by the Blackbirds so often. Although I haven’t seen them recently I have certainly heard the Magpies, no doubt perching in the foliage of the yard trees, and leaving the occasional blue/black iridescent shot silk feather on the drive. 

The table legs are painted as is the chair, I have started to make a patchwork cushion for the chair and tomorrow I must finish the top of the table with some oil – I am hoping that it will not change the light colour too radically. Bulbs need planting up in pots but before that can happen the geraniums etc must be decanted, new compost needs adding and a general tidy up is required. The hops that were growing on the fence have been cut down and only a few still languish on the well head – they must go soon. All jobs for tomorrow but we are promised rain at least in the morning and so I shall have to start the patchwork throw I am going to make. We could do with some petrol but I am hoping if I hold off until later in the week I will be able to get some at Jempsons. Maybe combine a visit with a little shopping and a cup of coffee or even lunch.

I didn’t get round to posting this yesterday when I actually wrote it and now this morning the weather has changed quite dramatically. The wind is blowing a gale, the trees in the yard opposite my study window are lashing too and fro, bending at somewhat violent angles and the leaves are being ripped from the twigs and branches. The window panes are, quite unusually, bespattered with rain drops and the sky is a dirty grey blanket of heavy cloud. All in all I think autumn has arrived with something of a vengeance. Quite annoying in some ways although the rain is welcome if it doesn’t continue for too long – I need damp soil to be able to do the proper autumn tidy up. Good news – I have just spotted a chink of blue sky over towards the hills and of course it was rain before seven so if the old adage is right it will be fine by eleven. Here’s hoping!

I am back!

Apologies to regular readers – it has been some while since I have posted a blog entry I am afraid. Somewhat weirdly, now that we are nearly back to some real kind of normal I find I have much less impetus to write. Apart, that is, from my endless re-writing of the the Talk I gave at the Rye Arts Festival on Tuesday! It was a rather splendid afternoon with a nearly full hall and ticket sales of approx 80. Who knew that a little known novelist who had her heyday in the 1920s could still pull in a very respectable audience – I certainly didn’t expect so many people but it was delightful and the audience were absolutely lovely. A big thank you to you if you were in that audience. The Rye Arts Festival is a brilliant arts event that spans just over two weeks and hosts a wide variety of concerts, literary talks and in conversations with authors and writers, art workshops and exhibitions and whole days devoted to a variety of literary genres. Save the day please for events you might like to attend next September; it will be well worth it. I have been pencilled in for another Talk so watch this space for more news much nearer the time. Ok adverts and blatant self promotion finished. 

I am sitting outside at my garden table writing this blog in the autumn hazy sunshine with a gentle breeze effortlessly moving the wildly overgrown foliage of a garden recklessly out of hand and in dire need of a tidy up but in some ways it is slightly strangely rather pleasant. A bird is singing away in one of the trees, the dome of the expansive skies is a cornflower blue with the smallest of fist shaped fluffy clouds over the castle topped hills. Shadows stretch down from the wooded escarpment while the sheep gently graze on the marsh fields. A lone small biplane has just droned across the sky and now silence reigns with only a contra trail to show that bigger planes have now taken to the air again. The plants that surround the patio are slowly setting seed, the leaves of the bushes are showing the first hints if autumn colour while the horse chestnuts in the lane have already turned to a bronzed copper glow. Silently and sedately a hot air balloon glides into view and makes its way above the fields until it disappears over the distant ridge. The field has been harvested of its field beans, the ground has been ring ploughed and the edges have been cut back to a pleasing neatness although I expect there are environmentalist out there who would have wished the “weeds” to have set more seed and continued to provide a home for the mice that we saw scurrying across the path the other day. Greater care must be taken to not leave doors open now or we will have unwelcome small furry visitors throughout the winter. Autumn brings us spectacular sunsets, a melancholic calm  filled peacefulness and a season of “mellow fruitfulness” that heralds in each day with what we always dub ‘hop picking mornings’ – those early mornings that are chilly, misty and dew laden but give way to delightful hazy sunshiny days with a buzzing of bees, plants and bushes festooned with sparkling spider’s webs  as the sun’s rays catch the diamond drops. 

What have I been doing in all that time I have not been writing his blog? A bit of gardening certainly – still much to do. Organising the reception of a ‘field’ five bar gate across the drive so that random wandering dogs can’t get in to leave unwelcome ‘deposits’ on the drive, and so that my sister can come here with her dog and know he is secure in the garden. Also to be fair we will have a generally more secure garden – not a bad thing in my book. Himself, however, is rather less than convinced for the need of what he sees as an expensive luxury. His idea of costs for such items resides I think back in the 1960s and as the price of timber has rocketed through the roof recently the said gate is not cheap. I have been for my first physio appointment and I have become, I think, a rather sceptical grumpy old woman! The young woman I saw was lovely in many ways but seemed somewhat confused when she got my answer to her question of what I hoped to get out of the sessions. I thought, not unreasonably I still think, that wanting to be able to walk for about 5 or 6 miles for pleasure is an honest ambition. She clearly thought I was being somewhat odd at my ‘time of life’. Well she is wrong. She gave me some exercises to do but suggested that I should not doing anything that was painful – I am of the no pain no gain school and this did not go down well! She was kindly and did give me a lot of time for which I am grateful but I guess I am rather impatient!  I have to go back in a couple of weeks time – we shall see what happens then. I have been engaged in making cushions for my daughter and am about to embark on making a patchwork throw for her sofa so that it is protected from dog damage or similar. 

We have not managed to get rid of the dining room table and chairs and have sort of resigned ourselves to putting up with them for a while. The table that was brought in from the garage has had its top sanded down and now awaits finishing – probably with some oil that came with the kitchen work tops. The legs are to be painted – by me – along with a tatty looking chair that had been in the garage for some while. Himself loathes painted furniture, I love it. It took a very long time to pick a colour but now I have finally decided on a creamy colour called Portland Stone. The chair has had its first coat and the legs the second too. It looks good and I am please with it but Himself has yet to see it! Where are we going to put it all though? The table is at present in the conservatory and I am mindful to keep it there. It would be very useful to use for my sewing machine etc and I would have far more light to work by than at present in the spare bedroom. Likewise it could act as a desk when needed. Of course we do have to face a rather large expense soon because the conservatory has to be replaced. Himself will not, under any circumstances, be keen. The expenditure of substantial sums of money always goes down badly. A battle to face later I think. 

I have replaced the hops that hang over the fireplace, have managed to get fairly small bines for both the children and some for a friend which is really pleasing as the hops have not been very good this year. I like to think of myself as a hop grower – the sixth generation in my family – but of course those five generations that went before would under no conceivable circumstances count me among their number.  Their comment, undoubtedly, on my meagre crop this year would be something like “Call those hops – not worth the picking”. But I love the smell and the cutting, pulling and picking, the scratches that sting all along my arms are all worth it for that smell – if they bottled it I would buy gallons! 

One Last Push Please

This is going to be a rather short post today but nevertheless an important one to me at least. I heard today that the tickets for my talk on Sheila Kaye-Smith at the Rye Arts Festival are going well but there are still a few left and I would love to have the Methodist Church full to overflowing also this is a quick reminder to those of you are intending to get tickets but haven’t actually got round to it yet. Please don’t leave it too late – I would love to see you there.

You can book via the web site for the Rye Arts Festival or by telephone. Number is included down the side of the picture from the guide to the Festival that I have added below. The web site address is:-

https://box-office.ryeartsfestival.org.uk/sales

Kaye-Smith was known in her hay day as the Thomas Hardy of Sussex and so why not come along and hear about her life and fiction as well as how her work reflected the age in which she lived and her own life.

August Bank Holiday Sunday

It s a bank holiday and for once – a great surprise really – the sun is shining. The sky is cornflower blue with fluffy candy floss clouds and there is a slight whispering breeze. The washing is on the line and the gardening calls but only once the dew has been burnt off. Why? Because I need to use a hedge trimmer and mow the large lawn and neither will work very well if the grass or foliage is wet as it is now. It promises a good day however and perhaps I shall be able to finish the cutting back of the American Pillar rose and the white Montana Clematis that have run complete riot across the back fence and out along the yard wall. So far this past week I have managed to cut back, or as some might say, decimate these two plants across much of our fence but now I am faced with the last bit and the great swath of growth that has almost enveloped the oil tank and reaches up to a great height. It is entirely my own fault that this has turned into a major undertaking – I haven’t bothered, for several years to prune it all in any way. Therefore the task is far more arduous. The change in the amount of light and sunshine that reaches the vegetable patch is very pleasing and we now have our view across to the hills restored so that we can see a wide view from the conservatory instead of having to go out to the field gate. Nevertheless I do not look forward to the last part of the cutting back. A ladder of some sort will have to be used and I am nervous of them at the best of times. Holding and wielding a hedge trimmer several rungs up is not, in my book, the best of times! I have drawn the line at tackling the growth in the field except where it encroaches on the gate etc. That which has spread across from behind the oil tank will just have to stay. Of course it has occurred to me that if I had left the task until the leaves had fallen I would have, possibly, had an easier task.

For the last few days the weather here has been quite changeable with short sharp showers, dense cloud cover, and blustery winds. Quite autumnal in some ways but entirely predictable for August bank holiday weekend. Choosing not to garden I have been spending my time sanding down a table top. Why you may ask. I have taken against our dining room table and chairs in a big way and am determined to get rid of them. I have advertised them in a couple of places thinking, as it turns out entirely erroneously, that someone out there would be willing and keen to take them off my hands for a small payment. One person has contacted me but having answered his query I have heard nothing more. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the fairly large light oak table and five chairs and a carver chair – it is just that I don’t like them and want to replace them with a darker oak table and chairs that I inherited from my parents and that at present languish in my study in the case of the table and around the house in various rooms in the case of the chairs. If and when I manage to do the swop I will need a table in the study, that is where the sanded down table comes in. It needed to be sanded down because this particular table has had a somewhat checkered history. Once upon a time it had four matching chairs but no more. At that time it was our kitchen table. Then it was replaced and moved to the study, from thence it was moved to the conservatory when the aforementioned dark oak table came here in 2008 after my father’s death. It remained there for some years and then in a fit of changing things we decided it was just too bulky there. It was moved to the garage and served a useful purpose for storing drugs, fertiliser etc. What I hadn’t thought of was that the fish, food and bone fertiliser cardboard box would not survive damp and the depredations of rodents without spilling its contents on to the table. It did do so and whatever chemical make up there is in the stuff it removed the varnish from a part of the table top, stained it and left it in a dreadful mess. Once the new kitchen was installed it made perfect sense to use some of the old units as storage in the garage and so we did. It is very successful and the cupboards and drawers take a multiplicity of stuff with the extra advantage of making the garage look very tidy! At that point the table came back into the conservatory with me intending to sand down the top thus removing the staining etc. By the end of yesterday evening I had succeeded in completing that task although not all of the staining has been removed. Sufficient has, however, and now I have to decide on what kind of finish I put on the surface. Oh by the way if you are wondering about the legs of the table, they are to be painted but that is another conundrum. I very much like the look of a light coloured pine table top with painted legs but what colour should I paint the legs. I am veering towards a sort of grey/blue. Himself favours a green reasoning that the carpet in the study is green. However, the curtains are cream with shades of blue flowers and green leaves – perhaps I can find a grey/green. Or a straight greyish tone. Part of me wants to go quite radical and paint the legs a dark blue but I think it would be rather too dark in what is essentially a small single bedroom with every wall lined with floor to ceiling bookshelves, a smallish window and that faces north and therefore gets no direct sunlight and can be a bit gloomy on dull over cast days. Keep it light is probably the safe option. Himself is taking little part in this decision making reasoning, quite correctly, that I probably won’t take any notice and also stating every now and then that he doesn’t approve of table legs being painted.

The garden is being visited again by a number of representatives of the natural world. Throughout August little has happened but in the last few days there have been several Blackbirds pecking at the dropped apples, wasps have made an appearance – also lured by the apples I suspect – and the regular resident Magpies and Pigeons have been taking full advantage of the bird bath and food on offer. The squirrel is also back. We have a self seeded Hazel tree in the garden and I have never really attempted to remove it although it is not really growing in the most convenient place. We never get any nuts from it – the squirrels get there first. In the last few days the squirrel – I think it is the someone but really have no certainty – has been using up the tree, criss crossing then lawn, digging and ferreting about presumably burying nuts for a later date. Delightful in some ways to watch but I am somewhat ambivalent about him because he is essentially a rat with a bushy tail. This morning he has not made an appearance so far but I did notice that we are getting into those early mornings that were always characterised as ‘hop picking’ mornings when I was young. Misty and dewy with sparkling silver droplets gilding the grass. Gradually the mist fades and gives way to bright sunlight, and warm days. The moisture evaporates and the grass gradually drys. The cold chill of the early morning gives way to a warm balmy late summer day. I am hoping that will be how today pans out and by this afternoon, fingers crossed, the lawn will be dry enough to mow. Meanwhile I will enjoy the day starting with the hedge trimming if the foliage has dried if not it is more reading of the Sunday paper until it does. I hope you all have a good week and an enjoyable bank holiday. The week ahead for me is not replete with things to do but I suspect could easily be if the weather stays fine. I want to go to Rye, I have a talk to write and there is a visit to the dentist!

It’s Been Awhile!

To all of you who are still reading my blog – first of all a big thank you because now life is almost back to ‘normal’ most of us have plenty of other things to take up our time – but more than that you have stuck with me and for that I am really grateful. It has been awhile since I wrote anything on here and you would be forgiven for thinking I had more or less given up perhaps. I haven’t but like everyone else I found many more demands on my time. To get back to this blog post now. The weather all week has been somewhat variable and today is no exception. Not hot and sunny, not wet and windy, just dull for most of the time with the occasional shower, the occasional burst of sunshine, the occasional blustery wind and quite often rather humid although Himself maintains that it has been cold! As I look out of the window the low oppressive dirty blanket of cloud hangs still and grubby – a veil of nothingness in some ways. In the garden there has been some progress. Using my new cordless hedge trimmer I succeeded in trimming back the overgrown Lavender and more especially getting the Clematis, that was in imminent danger of blotting out the light to the living room windows, hacked back to a manageable size. It has wound itself around a piece of low guttering, attached itself to an earth wire, and been tenacious enough to creep up under some lead flashing. Whilst removing the tendrils from around the guttering I managed to dislodge said guttering from its anchor and it hung droopy and forlorn. Himself would be bound to notice and besides it would be absolutely no use if it really began to rain and would probably pull down another section. It had to be mended. I tried reaching up but the anchor point was only in reach if I stood on tip toe. Not ideal if one is required to wield a screw driver etc. Back to the garage for the step ladder. Once I had the extra height I found, to my horror, that the ’gentleman’ who had put up the guttering had stuck it to a wedge of wood with some kind of glue and not surprisingly it had come adrift. How to re attach it, that was the question now. There was a handy screw close by and with the use of garden wire I have managed to re attach it on a temporary basis. I have a painter coming to paint the outside later this year and he can do the job properly but meanwhile any downpours will be dealt with. Needless to say the whole operation and the tidying up of the prunings took far longer than I had anticipated. Today I set to on the over grown clematis and a rambling rose on the back fence. It has been allowed to run riot for a couple of years now and has encroached on the walk way through but not only that it has also managed to attach itself to a nearby cherry tree and has formed a sort of leafy corridor. It too has to go. I have managed to cut back a small proportion of it this morning but then the rains came and I had to come in. At least I managed to tidy up the mess before it set in so any rain might just wash down the gravel a little. There is plenty more to do!

The dark purple Buddleia that I can see from the kitchen window has proved to be a real magnet for butterflies this year. Great clouds of Red Admirals, Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and Commas drift around it settling and then balletically flying off to return almost immediately. The garden is full of bees, beetles and a plethora o flying insects including moths. On which matter I have been reading a short article and discovered that there are 58 species of butterfly in Great Britain but a massive 2,500 species of moth. The garden has that slightly overgrown blouse look to it that always presages the late summer early autumn. The hops are now fully in hop albeit they’d are still small but the ones over the well promises a good crop. They are Fuggle, a really old fashioned variety, that usually have really long hops. It is too early for that wonderful hoppy smell that has the power to transport me back to my much younger days.

On one the days this week that was mainly wet and rather unpleasant I decided to do some work on the manuscript I had started to prepare of my “Lockdown Diaries”. I had decided that I might be able to turn a year’s worth into a book perhaps. I had gathered them all together, saved them in one document and had dated each one, checking that each was properly titled and dated. This week i returned to the document to make the font size and font uniform across the whole document. To do so I selected the whole work then I changed the font size – so far so good – then I tried to change the font to Times New Roman. You might just be ahead of me here. If you are reading this Adrienne you might want to look away now because you impressed on me that I should always, always, make copies, email a copy to myself and above all just in case all else failed make sure I had a hard copy of everything and anything I wrote. I didn’t. I pressed a button and the whole of the document disappeared. 359 pages of A4 gone. I searched in vain to try and find a way of getting them back but as they were saved in Word on my iPad the received wisdom was that they were gone forever. NO amount of Googling etc would change this horrifying fact. I could of course collect the all together again from the web site but that would take soooo many hours. Was it worth it? I decided not. It was gone and I might as well move on. A few days later I was trawling through my emails looking for something and suddenly thought that I might, just might, have heeded Adrienne’s advice. I searched and there it was. Not titled properly, not fully dated but ALL of the blog posts were there in one document. It is now saved again in Word on my iPad, saved on my laptop, emailed to myself again and above all a huge stack of printed paper on my study desk bears witness to the fact that I now have a hard copy too. It took ages to print and, of course, the printer ran out of ink half way through and I ran out of paper. I frantic visit to Argos for replacements and the printing mission was on again. Not as easy as that makes it sound though because the printer is work of an exceedingly evil force and it is its mission in life to be difficult, annoying and above all not to work properly until a human being has spent many hours fiddling with it!

As I began to read through the entries in the diary I was reminded of the nightmare I had in trying to get a grocery delivery. In view of that I have arranged for a delivery of groceries next week – I don’t want to be subject to such ‘middle class’ trauma again. I shall, no doubt, also pop into the shop for a few bits – why – because I can and the novelty of it all hasn’t entirely worn off yet. As part of my ‘duties’ as a village Councillor I walked around the whole of the village this week delivering a questionnaire about our playing field. It was interesting to chat to people as I walked around and if I had a mind to it would have made a fascinating study I think. The village proper – that is the housing and pub etc that are centred around the church – consists of a few roads and two small housing estates, one of which is a modern build of detached owner occupier properties. My first trip out was to the shortest of the roads and the mixed housing estate. At both locations people out and about in their gardens, getting stuff out of their cars or walking their dogs went out of their way to pass the time of day or stop and have a chat. When I wandered down the lane one of the occupants was going out in his car but he stopped to chat for a while, the older gentleman across the road chatted away for some long time and another resident waved as they drove by. All very friendly. The next day I tackled the road that runs in front of the church and heads out into the marsh. Again the occupancy is mixed with some properties rented and others owner occupied. Again I had several chats and hand waves etc. Once those houses were done I turned my attention to the newer estate. Each house had well kept gardens, tidy drives and almost all had post boxes attached to the wall. Now this is a very significant fact if you are delivering leaflets because they do not grab your hand, pinch your fingers or put you in direct contact with raging angry dogs – they are in no way a danger to life and limb! This could not be said of the other properties I had delivered too. I had scrapes on my fingers, letterboxes had sprung closed on my hand and more than one dog had lunged, barking, at my hand as I pushed the paper through the flap. Therefore delivery to these houses was easy. There were people around on their front drives, getting in and out of cars, and picking up parcels from door steps but none of them spoke to me and in some cases it was abundantly obvious that they were going out of their way not to notice me. Was I dressed oddly? Did I look like a vagrant or someone about some kind of dodgy business? No I didn’t. Most odd I thought. However, several questionnaires have come back and at least one is from the estate in question. How do I know, after all they are anonymous. Simply because one gentleman appeared at my door asking if this was the right house for them to be delivered to. This mystified me not a little – the address, my address, for the completed questionnaires to be returned to was written clearly on said questionnaire and I have TWO signs at the entrance to my drive stating in no uncertain terms that this is the house for delivery. Oh well perhaps I am being overly pedantic and nit picky. I must stop now and wander over to the pub to order our Fish and Chips.

If you haven’t got your tickets yet for the Rye Arts Festival please please get a move on – I have got a lot of seats to fill!

On My Hobby Horse

There are a couple of things I feel impelled to write about today. The first is purely personal and the fact is that this morning I received a copy of the programme for the Rye Arts Festival. Excitement about my inclusion was beyond description. I instantly went on Twitter and posted a picture of my entry and fulsomely suggested to anyone reading my Tweet that they needed, yes needed, to get a ticket forthwith. However, on a wider perspective on the Festival as a whole I would urge anyone who is interested in the Arts in the widest sense to get a copy and have a look to see the wide variety of activities, concerts, exhibitions and talks there are. It is a wide ranging programme and has something for everyone no matter your interests. I would like to think that my talk will sell out quickly but I am sure those being given by Gyles Brandryth, Rev Richard Coles and Lord Kenneth Baker certainly will. If you live away from the area but would love to visit Rye has a number of places to stay, masses of tea shops and the like and will be fully open for business during the Festival weeks. Extended PR exercise over – now for my other topic.

The Title of this piece warns you that at least some of the content is going be me having a good rant. Well here we go! The morning while browsing through my copy of The Times newspaper I happened upon an article by the Rev Marcus Walker in the section headed The Thunderer. I have seen various pieces by and about this reverend gentleman recently and have added my support to his campaign to save the Parish system in the Church of England. I am not a particularly religious person – I am, I guess, the sort of person who attends church in the village on a very irregular basis, who declares themselves to be C of E on official forms etc but above all a person who recognises the supreme value of the parish church, the pastoral work of its incumbent and likewise the wider value of all that the parish encompasses. As Rev. Walker points out parishes come in all shapes and sizes. Some will be staid rural places and churches that have remained much the same for many years, others will be much more ‘modern’ and appeal to a different community. Each and everyone of them serves a unique and needed purpose in their community. In this village the church building sits at the centre of the village, it is a very historic building in the sense that it was constructed and added to over many centuries. It is a final point for the community even if it only has a few services a month because what it symbolises for the people who live here is equally important. My understanding is that the ‘church’ is there to provide for all in a spiritual sense but also in a more material sense for those who need that help. To do this the organisation needs a focal point in each community it serves and, I would argue, a person who is dedicated to serving that community. As someone once said to me “I don’t go to church to hear from someone who is not authoritative in matters of faith, I want to hear from someone who has dedicated their life to something they believe in, someone who speaks with knowledge, faith and authority in so doing”. Someone who I can respect, who will help me through the difficult times, someone I can turn to and know they will help without any prejudice. A person of vocation.

Rev. Walker has some eye watering statistics in his article most of which I was sublimely unaware but which shocked me. He says that the a study conducted last year shows that the ‘parish’ is the “source of £12.4 billion of economic and social value”. If the C of E destroys such a system they are wiping out all of this. Whilst the Church is not just the building, that building that each and every parish calls a church is a dedicated space that offers to all, regardless of faith or none, a place of calm and tranquility, a place for a moments peace.Just today, whilst listening to the news on the radio, I heard loud and clear of just such an incidence. In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Plymouth the local church is open for those who want to seek such calm, a chance to just sit and try to come to terms with things, for the police who have had to deal with the situation, for local residents who have been traumatised. If that church building was no longer at the centre of that community that succour would not be available to the local community. Likewise the local clergyman has been proactive in offering any help he can. If the parish system ceases to exist there will be no local clergyman. In the article Rev. Walker notes that the parish system changed in 1976. at that time it was decided that “all parsonages (built and paid for by local parishes) and all their endowments (built up over generations)” should be taken into the care of the dioceses to look after. In return a promises was made that the dioceses would use the income to provide for parish priests and parsonages. A 2016 study showed that the dioceses had squandered much of these monies to the tune of £8 billion. As well as this the dioceses still demand that each parish pay for priest and parsonage through a ‘parish share’. If parishes fail to meet their ‘share’ they are deemed to be ‘failing’ parishes. While parishes are being labelled in such a way the ‘church’ is employing more and more personnel who are not associated with parish work or in direct contact with communities. Middle managers in roles such as ‘associate deans’ ‘directors of “justice, peace, and the integrity of the creation” and ever more ‘chief executives’. This has undoubtedly happened here on Romney Marsh where gradually but inextricably the local benefice has grown bigger and bigger and the church services that do take place in our village churches are invariably taken by non-paid retired clergy. This was the case in my village until the clergyman moved away. We were very fortunate because the gentleman in question took all the services and acted to all intense and purposes as a regular parish priest including undertaking pastoral duties in the village. Rev Walker points out that, essentially unbeknownst to most of us who are not very regular churchgoers, that the next synod is going to be asked to consider proposals that would make it far easier for the dioceses to remove vicars and sell off parish buildings including churches. Rev. Walker’s assertion that the church authorities are looking to remove from their remit all or most of the churches and other church buildings and priests in many parishes and thus effectively disband the parish system was more than hinted at recently when the church authorities suggested that “a building, a stipend, and a long costly theological education” are all “key limiting factors” for the church.

All of these possibilities of the disbanding of parishes and removal of ownership of church buildings resonated with me. Not only do we have an ancient church building in the village but we also have our only public community building owned by the church. We do not have a village hall we have a ‘church room’ which has until recently done duty as a village hall. In recent years the ‘room’ has been allowed to fall into disrepair, particularly the kitchen and toilet facilities. try as they might the local PCC have been unable to raise funds for repairs and latterly have shown little inclination to do so with the church authorities not having the good grace to answer a lady who offered to supply labour etc to carry out repairs free of charge. It is her understanding that the church authorities are hoping to sell the ‘room’ and the land it stands on as a development site for a three bedroom house. The sum of £125,000 has been suggested as a possible price. The village has no other communal space indoors. When it was being used it played host to wedding receptions, children’s parties, council meetings, jumble sales, coffee mornings a much else. Does the church not see that it has a responsibility to the local community? How will a middle manager in Canterbury help this community? Now I know why the church authorities have not answered the lady’s letter, now I know why they have made no effort to repair or renovate the church room, now I know why solicitors letters have been received by the neighbours living adjacent to the church room. The local parish council have asked for the ‘room’ to be listed as a community asset but it is likely that the full weight of the C of E will be thrown behind objections to this listing. All of this is in a small way related to the article and points that Rev. Walker makes in it. If we don’t fight for our parishes, churches and priest we will lose them. He and other like minded individuals have begun a campaign to “Save the Parish” and are taking their cause to the synod by trying to get as many people as possible elected to represent this cause. To find out more and possibly add your support go to http://savetheparish.com

Below is a copy of the article from The Times.

Hansons and Others

In my previous recent post on the blog I mentioned a number of other family members in connection with Aunt Fanny Weekes and promised more to come. Here it is.

At one time Fanny Weekes lived with two of her brothers in the Six Bells at Northiam and she was listed in the Census as a Housekeeper. The two brothers were younger than her and the eldest of two, John, was the Innkeeper. From documentation I have been able to find it appears that John, born September 1844, bought in to the Six Bells in January 4th 1870 when he paid Three Hundred Pounds on ‘accepting the Valuation at the Six Bells Northiam’. John sadly died on 5th January 1873 and the valuation of his household goods etc is dated 18th February 1873. He was only 28 years old and had only been running the Inn for 3 years. Bearing in mind the valuation when John bought into the Inn it is interesting to see the details of the valuation at his death. The items valued were ‘ household goods, furniture, plate, linen, china, glass, stock in trade, horses, carriages, hay and personal effects’. Once the items that were not of a personal nature were enumerated the total was Five Hundred and Fifty One Pounds, 16 Shillings and 4 Pence. John’s personal effects, money etc came to a total of Six Hundred and Forty One Pounds, 5 Shillings and 3 Pence. However, when Probate was finally awarded his total personal worth was stated as Eight Hundred Pounds. A rough calculation of His worth today in 2021 places his wealth at the time of his death at Ninety Seven Thousand Six Hundred and Eighty Pounds. Not too bad going for a young man of 28 by our standards! In my loft I have a board made of glass – always referred to as a chequer board presumably because it was once used to play droughts or chequers. The coloured glass squares and ornamental surround are held together in an oak frame and family legend – probably from Aunt Meg tells that this board was made by John Comport.

When John died the Six Bells appears to have been taken over by his younger brother Frederick who ha already been working there. In 1875, on the 10th July, when Frederick was the Innkeeper he borrowed Six Hundred and Fifty Pounds from his sister Fanny Comport. In the legal agreement he agreed to pay her back with half the sum plus interest of Five Pounds per hundred on ‘tenth day of January now next ensuing’. The back of the agreement has an endorsement that the whole debt, including all interest, was paid by 2nd February 1880. Fanny’s signature does not appear on the document – the agreement is signed by Frederick and the acknowledgement of the repayment is acknowledged and attested to be her brother Alfred. Where Fanny had got her money from is a point of conjecture. At the same year she lent the money to her brother, 1875, she married Edward Gladwish and by the time the debt was repaid she was a widow and probably living in the household of Alfred. One can only presume that she had been left money by her brother John and had remained working at the Six Bells when Frederick took over and if this is so it is not unlikely that she left her money in the Inn business when she married.

The 1851 Census has Fanny (Comport) staying with her maternal grandparents in the nearby village of Newenden. They are William and Mary Hanson and are the parents of her mother Mary. William is an Innkeeper of the White Hart in Newenden and they are both staunch Unitarians. At the entrance to the now converted Unitarian Chapel in Dixter Lane Northiam stand a couple of headstones to members of the Hanson family. One records the details of William and his second wife Mary. They died within a day of each other on the 27th and 28th October 1868. William was 88 years old and Mary 78. The other headstone is if anything more tragic. It records the demise of William’s first wife Elliss at the age of 28 years on 29th September 1812. It states that she left behind her husband and it also commemorates another daughter Elizabeth who died when she was 10 weeks old. It is difficult to find more details as the family were Unitarian. In later years William and his family lived in Beech Cottage later referred to as Beech House. By 1861 William had moved from The White Hart to Beech Cottage He and his wife had had four daughters, Mary born who married William Comport, Fanny and Kitty who remained single and Elliss who married Aaron Pinyon in 1844 and who sadly died in 1858. This daughter Elliss appears to be mentioned on William’s first wife’s headstone and it is entirely possible that she was the only living daughter of that marriage, perhaps born in the year her mother died. What we do know, from a diary written by Aaron Pinyon, is that Ellis was a frequent visitor to the home of William and Mary Comport and that he would meet her there for tea etc. (Aaron was very good friends with William Comport.) Mary was the eldest of the other sisters and would , therefore, have perhaps been closer to Mary. Kitty was born in 1818 and died in 1886 but Fanny, born in 1820, lived on until 1909. In 1861 they are running the White Hart but by 1891 Fanny is described as a lady of independent means living at Beech Cottage. Undoubtedly Fanny Comport was named after this aunt and in her Will Fanny Hanson acknowledges a special bond with her niece by leaving to Fanny Weekes as she then was all f her goods and chattels and her cottage and gardens etc for her use throughout her lifetime. The Will was drawn up in 1907, Fanny Weekes was a widow without children. Smaller bequests were made to Fanny Hanson’s other nieces and nephews but by far and away the greatest worth went to Fanny Weekes but interestingly for her life time only and thereinafter it was to be divided among her nieces and nephews and/or their children.

Below is a photograph of the Six Bells taken at the end of the nineteenth century when Frederick Comport was the Innkeeper. The Inn has been divided up and is now a number of houses.

Aunt Fanny Weekes

I haven’t had a chance to get to Rye to look at the documents there that were written by my ancestors. Sorry Sarah if you are reading this – I will be over and very soon I hope. In preparation for this archive stuff I thought I would write a piece about one of the ‘legends’ of the family. I never met this lady but my father certainly did. Her name before she married twice was Fanny Comport and she is important to me because not only did I hear a great deal about her when I was growing up, see the picture at the bottom of this article every time I went to visit a great aunt but also because this lady was born on the same day of the year as I was – 24th December. I am greatfull that my parents resisted the pressure exerted, apparently, by some relatives and thy did not name me Fanny. there is another reason why she is important to me – she is a direct link via my father to my three times great grandfather and the man who wrote the early entries in the ledgers that I am hoping to read at the Rye Museum Archive. A special lady too because she lived to be 101 and died in 1936.

What else do I know about her? Well when my father was a boy and visiting Aunt Fanny Weekes (no matter if you had known her or not she was always, always referred to as ‘Aunt Fanny Weekes’, – the name was NEVER shortened) with his father she gave him several glass cases with stuffed birds in them. Family legend relates that his mother was far less than pleased but he was thrilled! An indomitable woman I think and revered by the likes of my Great Aunt Meg from whom I eventually have acquired THE photograph. There are probably others out there but this is the only one I remember. This morning I took the back off the frame and carefully took the picture and the glass out. The picture had been stored in my attic for a while and the glass was filthy and dusty. I was careful with it most of the time as I cleaned it but then it slipped and now I have a ‘nick’ out of my thumb! No matter. The photograph was taken by a Hastings photographer and shows Aunt fanny Weekes standing at her cottage door. This is almost certainly the cottage she was born in 1835 and is, to this day, called Clench Green Cottage. It is in the Main Street at Northiam across the road from the entrance to Dixter Lane. The cottage is now a listed building and is constructed of weather board. Although much of what she would have known remains there are clearly changes and additions.

Fanny Comport was the eldest child of William and Mary Ann Comport , nee Hanson. They had married on 9th January 1835 probably in the Unitarian Chapel in Northiam. The Comports and the Hansons were staunch Unitarians. William and Mary were 20 years old and William described himself as a Plumber in the Censuses of 1841 and 1851 but not just any old Plumber – he records that he is a Master Plumber and employs others. The family lived a few houses away from William’s father, John and his third wife, and the Plumbers business and workshop that was attached to John’s house. At the time of the 1841 census Fanny was five years old and her grandfather John was 55 years old. He would live until the typhus epidemic of 1847. William took over the business while John was still alive and eventually turned it into a thriving builders business. Among other things this business also made Hop Tokens and my understanding is that they were indeed very fine and are much prized by collectors today. By 1861 William and Mary have all of their children at home apart from Fanny and their eldest son, William. Fanny’s slightly younger sister Mary (2 years younger than Fanny) and several younger brothers most of whom will eventually find employment etc in and around Northiam. They included Alfred who eventually ran the building business, Frederick (my Great Grandfather) who ran the Six Bells in Northiam for a while and then became a farmer, although to be strictly accurate when he was running ‘the bells’ he was also farming, Frank who was the youngest and ran the Crown and Thistle, and John who died young but had run the Six Bells before Frederick. William (Hanson) Comport was away from home working as a Painter in Battersea and it is not unlikely that Fanny is also not included in the Census because she too is working away from home. Perhaps as a Housekeeper – she is recorded as working in that capacity later in life. By the time of the Census in 1871 that is what she is recorded as doing – she is the Housekeeper at the Six Bells which is being run by her younger brother John. At this time she was 35 years old and living at the Bells with them was their younger brother Frederick who is described as a Farmer. They employ three servants – a domestic, an Ostler and they have a Wheelwright living on the premises. It is difficult to tell how long Fanny worked at the Six Bells but her brother John died two years after the Census in 1873. Frederick took over the Six Bells and in 1875 Fanny married a local farmer, Edward Gladwish. In 1871 Gladwish was a widower, aged 60 years, a framer of 55 acres and he died 3rd September 1880 leaving Fanny a widow and with 800 Pounds. By 1881 Fanny is recorded as living with her brother Alfred and his family. She is described in the Census as of independent means and an Annuitant. She was 45 years old. By 1888 she is living in Brighton and has married Thomas Joseph Weekes. In the 1891 Census Thoma Weekes is the Head of the Household at 47 Preston Street, Brighton. fanny Weekes is described as a Lodging Housekeeper, all of the six lodgers listed are female and range in age from a ‘student’ aged 19 to an elderly widow of 87. By the time of the 1901 Census they are recorded as living in the parish of West Blatchington St Peter – as far as I can tell this was a small village on the edge of Brighton close to present day Hove. Thomas Weekes is described as a retired farmer who had been born in Salehurst ( a village not too far from Northiam). He is 70 years old and Fanny is 64. They have two domestic servants – a housemaid and a kitchen maid. Like Fanny Weekes had been married before and at that time had lived at Moat Farm Salehurst along with his brother and family and it appears to two brothers had run the farm between them. Thomas at this time is married to Elizabeth but there is no mention of children and Elizabeth died in 1883. However, by 1911 Fanny and Thomas Weekes have left Brighton and returned to Northiam. They have returned to the cottage in which Fanny was born. Fanny is 75 years old and Thomas 80. He is described as a farmer and she is described as having private means. They have one female servant. Fanny continued to live at Clench Green Cottage, visited by her many nieces and nephews, attending the local Unitarian Chapel and in due course inheriting from her namesake aunt Fanny Hanson. (More in a future piece). The cottage is directly across the road from her brother Alfred’s home, Thornton House, and close by to the home her grandfather John lived in. Next door to John’s former home the workshop was a builders yard and business and an undertakers run by Alfred. When she died on the 29th December 1936, aged 101, she left 1292 pounds and 7 shillings. Probate was granted to her younger brothers Alfred and Frank.

Obviously I never knew this lady but the look of her in the photograph, taken when she was 91, bears a striking resemblance to those I have known. By today’s standards, looking at the picture, I imagine she would be seen as a little over weight! What was was always described in the family as ‘big boned’! She outlived many of her much younger brothers and still lives on as a legendary figure in all members of the family of my generation. I would like to think that her face and that of my great aunt and father give me a clear and certain clue as to the appearance of my three times Great Grandfather John. I hope he was a man of kindness, looked much like my father in face and general appearance.

Blatant self publicity

Before I do anything else I will address the topic to which the title refers.

Tickets are now on sale for my talk at the Rye Arts Festival. Just use the link below

https://box-office.ryeartsfestival.org.uk/sales?v6=24

Or go to the Rye Arts Festival site and click on the box office tab.

Scroll down until you come to the talk entitled “Sheila Kaye-Smith” – 21st September at 3.00 in the Methodist Church. In case you don’t know where that is it is located close to the Gun Gardens and the Ypres Tower and across the road from the parish church. I have a lot of seats to fill so please feel free to pass on the details to anyone you think might be interested.

In case you have no idea who Sheila Kaye-Smith was – and many people don’t – she wrote the best seller “Joanna Godden” which was made into a film staring Googie Withers in 1947. She was, at the height of her popularity, hailed as the Sussex Thomas Hardy and her novels are rurally and regionally based in and around the countryside around Rye. Some feature Romney Marsh whilst others are set in the villages of Peasmarsh, Northiam, Brede, and Hastings and a wider Sussex environment. I will be talking about her life and writing, most specifically her novels that are set in the local area. She was writing from the early part of the Twentieth century until her death in 1956. If you are interested in rural writing that often focuses on the environment and the lives of those who work the land, and the work of local writers set in the local area, why not come along?

As well as my talk the Festival features a wide variety of truly interesting talks, musical events and a wide range of Arts related activities. There is something for everyone.

Self publicity over – now to turn to other things. I have managed to do some gardening and have acquired a new cordless hedge trimmer. While I was waiting for it to come I attacked the over grown shrubs near the drive with old corded one but had to have the cord trailing across the drive. Hardly ideal and I spent much of the time making every effort not to cut through the electric flex and therefore inadvertently adding to the number of connector thingys that are already strung out along the cable’s length. The job is done however and for the back garden I now have rather new one charged up and ready to go, however, if the weather forecast for tomorrow is to be believed I wont be able to use it – we are forecast rain, wind and possibly a storm!

I am able to keep on picking sweetpeas but the stems are getting ever shorter – all my own fault because I should have tied them in and also taken off side shoots. The Dahlias are going great guns and I picked a few for a vase this week. Strangely there appear to be no earwigs – when I was a child and my Dad grew them they always but always had earwigs in them. earwigs are not the only insect that is missing from the garden this year – although the apples have begun to drop I haven’t seen any wasps around. The apples are not ripe as I discovered when I tried one today, although they are a lovely red. Around the Buddleia Red Admiral butterflies conduct an intricate dance, settling for a while and then whirling around before finding another dark purple flower. Across the field the beans are gradually becoming browned but not until they are truly dried will they be harvested. I was somewhat alarmed the other day when I noticed that the woodland that cloaks the hill has many trees that are no longer leafed. Instead their skeletal branches are grey and grim in amongst the foliage of those that have not succumbed. I suspect they are Ash trees and the reason for their demise is the Ash virus that has been attacking trees for some while. I contrast the Ash trees that are self seeded in the yard are flourishing and growing ever taller. In the recent wind they have lashed about with leaves rasping and rustling as branches clash. In the garden there has been one pleasing result of the constant rain. I haven’t had to water my tomato plants and they are promising a good harvest of fruit if they eventually ripen. The courgettes too are racing away and I am having to find ways of cooking them so that Himself has no idea he is eating them. He maintains that he hates courgettes – well that only works when he realises he is eating them! I have dug up the remainder of the potatoes – there weren’t many. A constant but somewhat sparse supply of french beans and a few runners have provided ‘organic’ vegetables for us.

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary – we are not great ones for celebrations and particularly at the present time. We ‘celebrated’ by going to Jempsons and having a cup of tea and a cake each. Really pushing the boat out! The journey there and back was enjoyable and it still seems very much of a treat to be out and about. The weekend is on the horizon and this one I am not going to be cleaning or preparing for another building project! I am, however, going to be advertising our dining room table for sale. It is light oak and quite large with five chairs and a carver and a separate leaf that can make it even larger. Why are we getting rid of it? I have never really liked it – there I have said it. We also have a perfectly good, slightly smaller hand made oak table in the study that would serve a useful purpose in the dining room and would be somewhat smaller. The chairs that go with it are spread out around the house. Instead of that table in the study I have ‘rescued’ a pine one from the garage, will sand it down, re polish it and put that up there for my desk. I might have to paint the legs but really rather look forward to doing that. At present it is cluttering up the conservatory prior to a make over but the weather needs to be good enough for me to do the work outside.

In other news the cake from yesterday and the few sweets etc that I have been eating in the past week have undone all of my ‘small’ weight loss. No more sugar for me. This morning I broke apiece off of one of my back teeth and although it isn’t painful I have a dentist appointment for Monday – I suspect, apart from anything else, that will be painful to the wallet so speak.

In case any one is interested in the table and chairs please email me and I will send you details.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Historia/Shutterstock (7665024kc) Sheila Kaye-smith Writer Notably of Novels About Sussex Such As ‘Sussex Gorse’ 1887 – 1956 Historical Collection 129

What a week!

Well it has been something of a week and I am not sure how to take this return to what we have been calling ‘normal’. But first – yes I know I shouldn’t start a sentence with ‘but’ – a piece of blatant self publication. I mentioned awhile ago that I would be speaking at the Rye Arts Festival, and it is fast approaching.

Get your tickets from Wednesday for my talk. I am talking about the life and writing of Sheila Kaye-Smith at the Methodist Church in Rye ( its up near the Gun gardens and the Ypres Tower) on 21st September at 3.00pm. I need a good audience and I can promise you that you will learn about Kaye-Smith a local rural writer of the first half of the twentieth century, and even hear some snippets of her work! What could be more fascinating? Apart from anything else if you book tickets and if you don’t know who I am you will find out on the day! Here is the link to the Rye Festival – https://box-office.ryeartsfestival.org.uk/sales?v6=23 – if that doesn’t work just google Rye Arts Festival Box-office.

Now for my week. It all kicked off with Monday when I had my first speaking engagement for nearly two years. I was talking to a local History Society about the New Romney Passion Play. There was a good turn out and they were all really complimentary too. Tuesday was a visit to Sissinghurst to meet up with my sister and a friend. It is ages since I have been to the castle and it never disappoints although I suspect the gardens would have been even more beautiful towards the end of June. We wandered our way around the different parts, admiring the plants and commenting on the number of visitors before heading for the tower. The friend was all for us climbing to the top. My sister, knowing that I am petrified by heights tried gallantly to explain that they could go up but I wouldn’t. I added my two penny worth and stated that I might be able to make it to Vita Sackville West study but would not be going beyond that. What I had forgotten was that the hand rail doesn’t reach to the study door. I had to take a few steps without that support. I managed it but only just. Going back down was a whole different ball game! How two reach the hand rail – with sister’s assistance and a bit of cajoling I made it down. Once they had done their climb lunch called – loads of chat and then back to the cars. Just as we reached them the heavens opened. A lovely day though and below I have added some pictures from the day. I am on my local Parish Council and it fell to me to accompany the Housing inspection team around the social housing in the village on Wednesday bright and early. Well not so bright, rather more dull and overcast. The visit took up a fair bit of the morning and when I got back home it was full steam ahead for ‘operation defrost’. The last part of the kitchen alterations would arrive on Thursday – the new American style fridge freezer. I didn’t now until seven o’clock on Thursday morning when they would be delivering but I did know that the old freezer needed defrosting. It had more ice in it than we see in an average winter! Turned off, metal tray to catch the ice water and a scrapper to help it on its way I set too. It took ages, water leaked on to the floor, ice fell in cascades cracking and crunching until I retrieved it. The plants outside had the shock of their lives when the icy water poured on to them. After several hours the freezer was defrosted and dried and cleaned. The fridge part I would leave until tomorrow when I would get up early to tidy it out. Himself could see little point in my cleaning the thing reasoning that they were only going to dump it anyway. Thursday duly arrived and the fridge was cleaned, and the message came for delivery time – early afternoon. I need not have got up early! I bought the new fridge freezer from AO and was more than a little sceptical about them. I need not have been. They arrived at the due time, were polite and pleasant, managed to get the monster piece of equipment in to my kitchen and into the allotted space – it looks very good. The kitchen is at last finished!

Now to turn to the porch/boot room if you are posh! Yes it does have shoes and boots in it and coats and a box of odd tools, shoes cleaning stuff and sundry bits and pieces. All useful! It also housed a couple of under the counter freezers. I don’t need them anymore and therefore they had to go. Well to be strictly honest they haven’t actually ‘gone’. They are in the garage – where else would they be? One will remain there as an ‘overflow’ in case of need although as someone pointed out there are only two of us and surely we didn’t have that much frozen food. Well, we don’t but we might! They also had to be defrosted, they also were wildly encrusted with ice. They had been insitu since I broke my shoulder eight or so years ago. Defrosted and unplugged they were removed from under the worktop. The detritus behind them had to be seen to be believed! first, however they needed to be moved to the garage. The first one, the one we are keeping, was manoeuvred across the gravel and eventually placed near a socket at the back of the garage. Then for some inextricable reason I decided to have a bit of a tidy up in the garage – if you are a regular reader you will note that this has happened a number of times throughout the pandemic. Stuff got moved around, two small bags of coal were given to the neighbour – they use it we don’t – the kindling container was moved, a box of old tools was sorted through and most retained. My father’s hand shearing sheep shears were hung on the wall. Then the second freezer – the one with a wobbly leg – was moved by me and the neighbour into a space in the garage. She thinks she might know of someone who might like it – I hope they do because it will save me a trip to the tip or a fee to the local council. All that was left was a small kitchen unit and the worktop. The worktop presented little resistance but weighed a ton. With the help of Himself it was moved to the – yes, you are right – the garage. Now for the unit. The drawer came out easily and the cupboard shifted without much resistance but it was fairly heavy to shift into the garden to ‘destroy’. It is now in pieces in the garage ready to go to the tip.

Today was floor washing and cleaning again! All is now clean and neat ready for the new week and there is much less on the horizon for this week so with a fair wind I might, just might, if the weather isa clement, be able to turn my attention to the garden. Here is hoping.