Wednesday, 16 August 2017

To The Fringe And Back

It's been another busy week. Last Wednesday we drove to St Andrews again to spend some time with the family before the children went back to school. We had a further incentive to visit as Paul and his family were holidaying in Scotland presenting us with the very rare opportunity to see all four grandchildren in the same place at the same time.

For once, this summer, the weather was kind and on Thursday we took the whole family (minus Duncan who had to work) to Cairnie Fruit Farm near Cupar. I know that a visit to a fruit farm doesn't sound much but it's a great place for kids with plenty of play activities and an enormous maize maze. I think Sarah enjoys the huge inflatable bouncy pillow more than the children enjoy it.

Marion with all four grandchildren on a trampoline. 

Paul had a go too.

You can't go to a fruit farm without picking some fruit so Teddy helped Marion with the strawberries. It was very reminiscent of the days when Sarah used to join us picking strawberries at the PYO farm near Southport.

After a very good meal of sushi at Kazoku in St Andrews it was time to say goodbye to Paul and Josephine. 

We were up at the crack of dawn on Friday when we caught an early train from Leuchars to Edinburgh. It's a couple of years since we last visited The Fringe but it is as lively as ever with scores of wannabe stars trying to sell you their shows, lots of street artistes performing and a generally exciting buzz about the whole place. There were loads of shows that we would have liked to see but we were in Edinburgh for the kids and we'll have to go back next year for the adult stuff.

Our first show was Mavis Sparkle put on by M6 productions of Rochdale. It's a one person show involving the wonderful cleaner Mavis and her dreams of seeing the aurora borealis. It was extremely gentle and magically charming and we all loved it.  

After the gentle Mavis, we had a few slices of pizza for lunch before moving on to the next entertainment. Our afternoon show was provided by Arrr We Nearly There Yet - a pirate themed hour of slapstick and highly acrobatic high jinks on the high seas. Some of the acrobatics were amazing, some of the juggling was not quite so amazing and, sitting on the front row while heavy knives were flying about made the afternoon a little more hair raising than we expected. I had a bet with Melody that her balloon sword would not make it back to the station intact - it didn't.

We were back in St Andrews on Saturday. Marion and Sarah went shopping while I had a relaxing time. It's a wonderful place and I don't think I'll ever tire of it.

On Sunday we drove back to Framlingham - we don't half pile up the miles. After a day of washing, ironing and tidying up at home, we had a bit of spare time yesterday so I had a few hours out with the detector. I didn't find a great deal but something interesting always turns up. 

I haven't been able to identify this lead item yet. It seems to be some sort of seal. It makes a simple pattern when pushed into Blu-Tak but I have no idea how old it is. It's quite crude so probably has some age to it.

My other interesting find was this tiny half penny from the reign of Henry VIII - a nice find and quite a rare coin.

If you've followed this blog for some time you'll know that, a couple of years ago, my mum modelled for a photographer who was a friend of one of her Spanish grandchildren. He takes stock photos and sells them online. Mum turns up quite frequently in the most unexpected places and my sister often sends me links and photographs. Here's Mum's latest appearance.  

Not her favourite.

Monday, 7 August 2017

More Treasure, Another Prom And Fram's Debut In The FA Cup

Over two hundred people turned up at Baddingham Road on Saturday afternoon to watch Framlingham Town take on Wadham Lodge in The Castlemen's first ever outing in the FA Cup.

Sadly the game ended goalless but that means that Fram live to fight another day and will play at least 180 minutes of FA Cup football.

Fram's chances were not helped by a sending off early in the second half when Kerridge was dismissed for a fairly innocuous (but risky) kicking out at a Wadham defender. It was reminiscent of David Beckham's notorious World Cup faux pas against Argentina. All credit to the Castlemen for holding out against a well organised Wadham side. Let's hope that the replay on Wednesday brings the team some FA Cup glory. 

After the match we drove to Snape Maltings for another of the Summer Proms.

If there's a nicer concert venue in the country I would love to hear about it. It was a glorious evening and we arrived in time to enjoy a glass of wine and take in the view.

Saturday's concert was performed by Barbara Dickson. She put on a lovely set which included Scottish ballads, covers of songs by Bob Dylan and Gerry Rafferty and, of course, a couple of her own hits from the past. She's an excellent singer with a lot of personality and we both enjoyed the show. Our next trip is to see Renee Fleming - that should be another great night.

We're off to Scotland this week for a couple of days. We were supposed to be going there via Wales but our Welsh trip has been postponed due to our friend's work commitments so it's going to be a less arduous drive than we expected.

The harvest is starting to be brought in now so I've managed to get out into the fields with the detector a few times in the last week. Stubble is not the easiest to search as the coil has to be swung higher off the ground than is ideal thus reducing the detector's depth. Here is what turned up.

This mourning brooch in memory of Martha Tayler (sic) who died on 4 Feb 1825 probably holds a lock of Martha's hair. Although not hallmarked it appears to be gold. I've searched local records see if I can find any reference to her but have drawn a blank to date.

This is an army badge for the Royal Artillery.

No detecting trip is complete without a couple of musket balls

A lead toy horse's head 

Lead bag seal.

Elizabethan bag seal.

Tudor rose lead bag seal


Two Victorian silver sixpences 

A tiny George III Maundy silver penny dated 1800 (sixpence shown for scale)

Unusual lead handle

Battered Tudor hammered silver coin.

And last but not least, the very final signal of the last few outings. 

This is a silver gilt pin head.

It is beautifully decorated in filigree and dates to the Tudor period. It classes as Treasure so I've reported it to the archaeologists in Bury St Edmunds.

Detecting is not a hobby for the impatient though. Apart from the finds shown above, I also dug up this lot. 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Visitors And Visits - A Packed Fortnight

My plans to keep the blog updated regularly fell apart again for the best possible reasons - visitors. We drove up to Southport early in the morning on 21st July to collect my mum for a rare visit to Suffolk. The traffic on the way back was heavy but Mum survived over five hours in the car.

We didn't want to exhaust her during her stay so we spent a lot of time relaxing around Framlingham, having coffee in the Dancing Goat and reading the papers at home. We did manage a couple of trips out though.

We had to go to Bury St Edmunds to collect a new car so took the opportunity to visit the museum to see the Lost Property Exhibition of mostly detecting finds. 

I didn't quite share top billing with Bill Wyman but it was good to see ten of my finds on display.

Whilst on the topic of detecting, September's edition of the Searcher dropped through the letterbox and I was absolutely delighted to see this -

I really appreciate the support that John Winter of the Searcher has given me. I'm thrilled with the positive response.

It was the B200 we were changing.  We've been using this car for our regular trips to Kent and it's been very reliable although the sports specification and suspension meant that, whilst it was very nippy, it was was not as comfortable as the CLS.

The replacement is a C200. It's extremely comfortable and a nice drive. After all the bad press for diesel we've opted for petrol this time. We would have liked to go electric or hybrid but it just isn't practical for the long journeys we do very regularly.

The highlight of Mum's stay for her was a trip to Rochester to visit her great grandchildren Catherine and Teddy. She loved playing with them and they loved the rare chance to see their Great Nana.

A week after picking her up, it was time to say goodbye to Mum. We took her to London.

And the helpful guy at Euston who was taking her to her seat, offered to give us all a lift to see her off. It was quite an experience driving around Euston concourse. Either all the travellers are deaf or they just can't be bothered to move for the trolley and it took some skilful manoeuvring to get us to the platform.

We stayed on in London and went back to the Cantina Del Ponte near Tower Bridge. 

It's a friendly place with good food....

...and a great view if you get an outside table.

After a night at a Premier Inn we went to the nearby Walkie Talkie building for breakfast.

Although the breakfast is nothing special, the views from the Sky Pod and Sky Garden are spectacular and make up for the self-service and paper coffee cups.

An experiment with the panoramic camera facility.

After breakfast we walked down to the South Bank and enjoyed a brief disco dancing session with a Conchita Wurst lookalike who picked Marion out from the crowd for a quick chat.

More traditional entertainment came in the guise of Morris Dancers who were holding some sort of competition outside the Tate Gallery to the bemusement of the many foreign tourists.

After lunch in the always good Terrace restaurant at The National Theatre we went to the matinee of Mosquitoes - the sold out show in the Dorfman Theatre in the round. Starring two Olivias (Colman and Williams) as sisters with differences, the acting is brilliant but the plot, centring around the loss of a child, the slow decline of an elderly mother and the problems of a bullied son, set in Switzerland where one of the sisters works on the Large Hadron Collider, seemed contrived to me and,for all the thespian excellence on display, I didn't enjoy it much. Marion did enjoy it and it has been critically acclaimed so I am probably in a minority.    

Without pausing for breath it was back to Rochester on Sunday to collect our two grandchildren for a brief visit to Framlingham.

The castle was hosting a jousting tournament.

It was a colourful event and the children enjoyed it.

Although Catherine was happy enough with her paints in the garden.

It was back to the castle again on Monday where Catherine enjoyed scrambling up the hill to the ramparts. Marion joined her but didn't join in rolling back down again.

After all too short a visit it was another drive back to Rochester on Tuesday before tidying up the house after all the visitors.

Last night we headed to Snape Maltings for the first of three visits we've booked to the Snape Proms. We had an excellent pre-concert dinner at The Plough And Sail. I was very impressed. We've been a bit disappointed with meals at the concert hall restaurant (although the view is spectacular) and the pub was a lot better and slightly cheaper for the set menu.

The concert, performed by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was brilliant. With no instruments or backing of any sort the nine strong group put on an amazing vocal performance of harmonic African melodies accompanied with high energy dancing for almost two hours. If you ever get the opportunity to see them - grab it.