Sunday, March 19, 2017

Just an old book?

A few weeks ago a cousin of my Dad's said to me 'I've left a few old bits from Aunty Elsie for you with you Dad - chuck them if you don't want them.'

I was intrigued.  Aunty Elsie was my Grandma's sister, I never knew my Grandma but I was very close to Great Aunty Elsie, (I've blogged about her before).

The next weekend Dad gave me the bits which included this book:


It doesn't look very exciting does it.

But, on opening it, I discovered it was meticulously kept accounts from Dec 1954 to March 1964, all recorded my her husband, Uncle Cyril (I know it was him who wrote it and not her as there are many entries referring to 'wife's wages').


Most of their income was from the sale of the fruit and flowers that they grew, on quite a large scale, and from selling eggs - all seasonal of course, rhubarb featuring in May.


Today, whilst I was reading more of it, I found an entry showing that they'd paid my Grandma, Mrs Harris, for casual fruit labour work, in July 1957.


 He also bought a new summer suit in August 1959 from Joshua Taylor for  £17 and 8 shillings.


Joshua Taylor's was a shop in Cambridge that I remember from my childhood, I think it was on the corner where Monsoon is now.

Why did it stop in March 1964?  Because they retired - the last entry of income is the first payment of their pensions in February 1964


It's a truly fascinating piece of my family's history; I can see where they went on holiday, when they built their new house (and who built it and for how much), and the fact that they had an insurance claim for some damage to some gates.

This is them, Aunty Elsie and Uncle Cyril, the man who hand wrote every single entry in the book.  It was taken in the 1930s and is from a book called 'Cottenham in Focus'. They are with their 'Clara Butt' tulips.


One day, I will try and find out some of the answers to the questions that I have about the entries - for example, who or what is 'Soar' - it seems to be a company they sold to but I've never heard them mentioned before.  But for now I'll just enjoy as it reveals more insights into their lives.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Snowdrops and Lace

I had a few days off this week so I decided to go for a walk amongst the snowdrops.  I headed over to Marks Hall.  First of all I walked by the lake


and along the millennium path where the winter scents are beautiful.


Soon I was at Robin's Grove which is carpeted with snowdrops.



Beautiful, and a sure sign that spring is on the way.


I also wore my newly finished lacy shawl earlier this week - it has tiny beads hooked into it (which are actually more visible in real life as they twinkle slightly).


I can't really wear many hand knitted things for work, but I can get away with nice scarves and shawls - this one will be worn a lot I'm sure.



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Winter Colour

Yesterday wasn't a brilliant day weather wise but I decided to risk the forecast rain and head up to Anglesey Abbey for a spot of winter colour.

First of all I walked up to the water mill,


then through into the Winter Garden.  The birches were almost glowing.



Round the corner come the dogwoods - many different species and colours



The snowdrops were just starting to appear


The grass heads work well with the red dogwood stems.


And I just love this hedge of dogwood!


The garden isn't just about colour though, it also champions winter scent.


It's a place that's worth visiting at any time of the year, but especially on a winter day.




Monday, January 2, 2017

Making and Walking

Well here we are, 2017.   I've had a lovely few days off, in the period between Christmas and New Year when no-one knows what day of the week it is.

First of all I build some wooden covers for my wheelie bin.  They used to be hidden behind a screen fixed to a pergola but the pergola was rotting so I decided to take it down before it fell down.


I thought it would be a quick job to put them together but it actually took all day.  They are very sturdy though.

Next I've been making some jewellery.  A few months ago I bought some limo (polymer clay) and yesterday I made beads - it's very therapeutic!


Today I had fun laying the beads out and finding other beads to go with them.


Quite pleased with the finished result - I'm especially pleased with the marbled blue beads.


While I had the beads and bits out I decided to make another necklace with some beads that I'd bought ages ago.




But it's not all been building/making - I've had 2 lovely walks.  One day Celia, her husband and I went to Mersea Island off the Essex coast.  We'd seen a Channel 4 program called Britain at Low Tide a few months ago and they'd shown the earthworks of a tudor blockhouse  which was commissioned by Henry VIII in 1543 to protect the strategically important Colne estuary.


We found it!  The triangular earthworks are all that remain, and eventually, due to the changing coast line here, even these will probably be lost forever.


The other walk I did was on New year's Day, when it was grey and murky but it wasn't raininng so I walked down by the river to the mill on the water meadows.


The reeds were rustling in the wind and I watched a kingfisher darting about for ages.


Finally I walked home through the town, past this little gate, which was open but clearly not used much.


I hope you all have a wonderful 2017!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Autumn Walking

You might have realised that I love walking.  Sadly at this time of year walking opportunities are fewer due to dark evenings but I have had a couple of lovely walks recently.

A few Saturdays ago I went over to one of my favourite places, Marks Hall Arboretum.  I walked up towards the lake,

and then around on the Millennium walk, along the bottom edge of the lake,


up to the memorial site where I'd heard the autumn colour was especially good.


The memorial site is a memorial to the serviceman who were stationed at Marks Hall during the 2nd world war - the colours in the acers were stunning.


This is acer rubrum 'October Glory'.  And it was living up to its name!

Then I walked back through the woods to the walled garden.



From the walled garden the views over the lake were lovely.


Later that same week my cousin and his wife, who now live in America, came to visit.  They wanted to walk on the Sudbury water meadows and we had a glorious day for a 4.5 mile circular route.


We walked along the river Stour, across the meadows the the Salmon Leap (no salmon in the river nowadays as far as I know!),


with time for a quick selfie


before walking back home along the river.  


Two great walks, hopefully to be repeated again very soon!




Monday, October 17, 2016

A Cambridgeshire Feast!

My Dad was born and brought up in a village just north of Cambridge, Cottenham, which is part of the Fen Edge villages.  Every year, on the first Sunday after October 11th, they hold their annual Feast.  On the Sunday there's a parade that starts by the church and processes down the High Street, ending up at the green.  The first parade was held in 1894, so it's been going a while!  When I was little we used to go there every year for it, this is me, my little sister, my Dad and my Grandad in 1969, standing on the front step of my Grandad's house, eagerly waiting for the parade to go past.


Dad hasn't been for years but really wanted to go again, so yesterday we went.  We listened to the brass band play while we waited for the parade.


Then the parade came past - lots of excited children, some of whom had walked a long way, eagerly collecting money for local causes.



Aren't those jellyfish costumes clever!

There were a variety of vehicles towing trailers full of people - Dad was really thrilled to see this one, driven by an old friend of his!


After the parade had passed we all made our way onto the green.  Originally there was a service on the green once the parade arrived and somewhere I have a copy of a very long speech that my Great Grandad made during it sometime in the early 1900s (but I can't locate it at the moment!). There was no Salvation Army band playing like there used to be when I was little, so no hymn singing like we used to do, but lots of people milling about.  


Dad had a long chat with his old mate.


We also managed to find the people who now live in his old house and were thrilled to hear that the small holding behind it, in which my grandparents used to grow fruit for Chiver's and flowers for Covent Garden is still there! Although it's not used as a small holding anymore they still have a productive fruit and veg patch.

We all had a great day out!