Sunday, 31 January 2016

More Trips To Cineworld And This Week's Detecting Finds

We've spent a while in Woodbridge at the Planning Appeal this week, I've written another four thousand words of my second novel and we've been to lots of exercise classes but we still found time to continue our cinema binge. On Thursday it was The Danish Girl and The Big Short at Cineworld in Ipswich. Eddie Redmayne has been nominated for the best actor Oscar for his role as transgender artist Lili Elbe but I felt that it was Alicia Vikander as his wife Gerda who stole the show in The Danish Girl. Vikander has been nominated as best actress in a supporting role and I feel that she may well win it as it was hardly a 'supporting role' in what was really a two-hander. The film showed the agony that grew from when Einar Wegener began to cross dress to pose for his wife's portraits to the stage where he felt unable to go on without transgender surgery to become his alter ego Lily. It's a moving and very beautifully filmed movie with some stunning Paris period locations and lovely costumes.  

After eating at Ask a restaurant near the cinema we went back to Cineworld a few hours later to see Oscar Best Film nominated The Big Short. I loved this quirky film that tells the story of a number of American bond traders who bet against the US property market before it collapsed. It did it's very best to explain some of the weird and wonderful financial products that were being put together by the corrupt Banking industry and the agony that the traders went through before the world finally realised that the bonds were worthless. If that sounds boring it most certainly isn't. The director uses some way-out and quirky methods to show us what exactly was going on and I think that it is a strong competitor in the best movie stakes for its originality alone although strong performances from Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell also make this a very entertaining and watchable film.

This coming week's movie picks are Michael Caine's Youth and the last Oscar Best Movie nomination for us Spotlight. Youth has only one Oscar nomination (best song) but Spotlight has four or five. It promises to be another great day at Cineworld.

Another exciting cultural event awaits us tonight. Slice Of Life our local arts promoter has brought another tremendous event to Framlingham. Tiara fahodzi's play I Know All The Secrets In My World received huge critical acclaim at Latitude last year and we are both looking forward to what promises to be a thought provoking and (reportedly) emotional piece of theatre.

We try to buy most of our food locally and we treated ourselves last night to some excellent lobster from Darren who is one of the mainstays of Framlingham market. With all the development being discussed for Framlingham it is important that we try and support the local businesses as much as possible as, if housing goes ahead on the scale proposed, another supermarket will inevitably follow and the traders on our historic market hill could suffer.

It was our dear neighbour Wilfrid's funeral on Friday and we were pleased to see a good turnout to say their goodbyes to a funny and knowledgeable old man.

No week would be complete without a detecting outing and yesterday I had a few hours on some very damp stubble.

It wasn't my best session but, as always, there were plenty of signals to dig.This was what I turned out of the bag when I got home. The individual finds after sorting are below.

Georgian Cartwheel Penny

Small mount. Possibly from a book.

Bullet and Musket Ball
Watch Winder
Copper rings (not finger rings). Top one probably medieval.
Plenty of buttons
Victorian coins.
Lead toy horse's head.
Lead pieces. Unsure but top two possibly weights bottom perhaps a palm guard.
Charles I Rose Farthing
Post Medieval seal matrix c 1570-1700
Seal impression a Tudor rose.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Busy In Framlingham And At The Planning Appeal In Woodbridge

The planning appeal by developers hoping to overturn the rejection of their plans to wreck our small Suffolk market town began last week. We've been to several sessions of the hearing. It's scary how a big shot barrister can manipulate words and intimidate those supplying opinions and being cross examined on the case. From listening to the Taylor Wimpey barrister you would think that Taylor Wimpey was some sort of charitable Robin Hood trying to build homes for the impoverished and disabled townsfolk of Framlingham but being impeded by idiots who think the green fields that would be forever lost actually have value. He also argues that the small town can easily cope with over three hundred new homes arriving at once on three separate sites. Money can't buy you love but it can certainly buy you erudition. Sad thing is that I am sure that the lawyer would make an equally compelling hatchet job on Taylor Wimpey if he were employed on the other side. I hope to be able to stand up and offer my own twopence worth before the appeal finishes. I don't care what the rules say or what the county's housing needs are, you can't increase a town by 30% almost overnight without it ending in tears.

When not at the hearing in Woodbridge we've kept up with the exercise classes. We also had a great evening at the Fram Soc book club on Thursday when our book was The Great Gatsby. It was a really interesting evening chatting about the book (which everyone loved). We've not been to the cinema yet this week but we've got another binge planned on Thursday with The Danish Girl and The Big Short in Ipswich. 

On Friday we went to the official re-opening of The Castle Inn here in Framlingham. The pub was absolutely packed as new landlord and landlady Tony and Jennie welcomed locals with free food and drink samples along with some excellent live music. It's not easy running a pub today so I wish them every success in their new venture. The pub is in a great location so, if they make hay during the tourist season they've a good chance of making a go of it.

On Saturday we treated ourselves to breakfast at the fabulous Farm Cafe in Marlesford. The breakfasts there are magnificent and we managed to do the Saturday Jumbo crossword in The Times whilst I enjoyed a full English that included kidneys and black pudding (delicious). Marion had less of a blow out but she tells me that her chocolate croissant was equally delicious.

After years of wondering just what went wrong at Liverpool I finally saw a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel as I watched the Norwich game on TV on Saturday afternoon. Not only was it a fabulously entertaining game but we witnessed a manager who actually seems to "get" what Liverpool is all about. When I was a kid in the sixties I can remember Emlyn Hughes urging the team on when they were 1-0 down against Manchester City with a minute or so left. We won that game and that sort of spirit continued throughout the seventies and eighties but hasn't really been seen since. Jurgen Klopp appears to have rekindled it. I hope it's not just a flash in the pan.

I've been getting on well with my second novel. I'm up to 53,000 words now and have written 25,000 this month. If I can carry on at this rate I should be ready to start the editing process by March. I just hope that people like it. 

We've been having some wonderful sunrises recently. They've been followed by mild days and with this milder weather I decided to have some time on the fields with the detector on Sunday. 

I was back on a field that seems to have once been a tip of some sort as there is an awful lot of rubbish (as you can see from the above). But there were a few interesting bits amongst the rubbish.

This silver spoon was an unusual find in that it its complete. Sadly it's mangled. 

But it does have a full set of hallmarks from a good London maker from the early 19th century.

Here are a few other finds.

Buckle Possibly A Garter Buckle 18th century
Lead Cloth Seal Or Alnage 17thc
William IV Sixpence And Victorian Farthing                       Buckle pin possibly Medieval

Silver Groat Edward III The Reverse Is In Super Condition
Not so (sadly) the Obverse.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A Winter's Tale

It wasn't quite "Exit Leo DiCaprio pursued by a bear" in Alejandro Inarritu's winter's tale The Revenant at Cineworld yesterday but it wasn't far off in this epic western which has garnered no less than seven Academy Award nominations and includes a fiercely savage encounter with a grizzly. It's not difficult to see why it has been given so much acclaim as there are several exceptional scenes that are quite breathtaking in their execution. The film opens with an incredible confrontation between Leo DiCaprio's character Hugh Glass's party of fur trappers and a tribe of native Americans that surpasses any western I have ever seen (and I grew up watching John Wayne, Sam Peckinpah and Sergio Leone films). The film is worth the admission for this scene alone but there is plenty more to marvel at.

The cinematography is outstanding although by the end of the 156 minutes some of the views up into trees with a central sun started to feel repetitive. The Canadian winter scenery is magnificent and Tom Hardy's performance as the bad guy of the bunch is almost certain to win him his best supporting actor Oscar. As for Leo and his Oscar prospects? I thought he should have won one for The Wolf Of Wall St so I would love to see him win. His part in this movie, acted mostly on location in the harshest of sub zero conditions must have been sheer hell to play and he (and the entire cast and crew) deserve medals for their endurance in making the film. 

We were lucky to see the film in IMAX which totally immersed us in the event. Such is the involvement of the IMAX experience that , as in Everest last year, we felt as if we too might get frostbite. Don't be surprised to see it win most of those seven Oscars.

After the movie we went to Ask, the Italian chain restaurant, in Cardinal Park by the cinema. We had a decent meal before going back to Cineworld to see Room. This movie also has Oscar nominations (4)  but, I feel that Brie Larson, who stands a good chance of best actress, could be the only winner.  She plays a young woman who was abducted as a teenager and raped on a daily basis over seven years in which she is imprisoned in a single room. During that time she has given birth to a son who is five when the film opens. I read the book a few years ago so the film held no surprises for me. It's not a pleasant story and it does have one plot device that I found unbelievable when I read it and is equally unbelievable on screen. After reading the glittering reviews, I expected more. Great acting from Larson and Jacob Tremblay as her son but that's about it.

Today we are off to Woodbridge to show our support for Framlingham Residents' Association at the appeals against the two big housing developments proposed. It's freezing today. Could do with one of Leo's bearskins.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Auf Wiedersehen Wilfrid

With great sadness I have learnt that our neighbour and good friend Wilfrid Robst passed away peacefully at his nursing home yesterday. 

I visited him on Friday and found him in good spirits, full of his usual mischievous humour and busily tapping away on his beloved laptop. We talked about getting him into the car for a brief tour around Framlingham as soon as the weather warmed up. Since we moved to Framlingham we have enjoyed our regular conversations with Wilfrid. Although he was housebound for several years he was a constantly positive and upbeat personality who coped extremely well with adversity and kept himself busy at all times.

I particularly enjoyed his stories of his active service in the Luftwaffe - captured by the British on his first day and sent to P.O.W camps in Scotland and then Dorset. His amusing P.O.W experiences in the south of England could have filled a book. He met an English girl whilst still a prisoner. She eventually became his wife and he remained in England for the rest of his life. 

He had a very successful career as a financial controller at RAF Bentwaters US air base here in Suffolk. He lived in Orford for most of his life where he loved sailing his small yacht and taking an active interest in village life. I believe that he once was Chair of the Parish Council 

He held very strong religious beliefs and spoke fearlessly about death. 

We are pleased to have known him and hope that he rests in peace.

I'll finish with one of the last emails he sent me last week. I think it shows his sparkle

"Good Afternoon John,

Please convey your unknown mother by me (although I saw her famous pictures) my sincere best wishes and congratulations for her birthday she nearly beats me by being a year younger than I will be on 5 February next and tell her I believe all best persons are born in the first quarter of each year. They had the advantage as babies to look forward to summer!

Thank you for your good wishes,

Hope to see you again some time

your erstwhile neighbour 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Joy Of Whales

With Mum's party and the Christmas break over, this week has been a chance to try and recover the fitness that disappeared in just a few days without exercise. Despite our delight at Mum reaching 90 in such good health, the sad news of two major stars dying at only 69 this week rams home the message that we should make the very most of the years of retirement that we have left and the old adage "Never put off tomorrow etc " has never rung so true. So it's been eight exercise classes at Fram Leisure since Monday and I'm pleased to say that each one has left us gasping a little less than the last. 

There's no point exercising if you're eating badly so we've continued to make a real effort in our weekly menus using Jamie Oliver's and other healthy eating recipes. We even gave Hello Fresh a try. This company delivers a box to your house containing the recipes and all the ingredients necessary to cook a set number of meals (we chose three). The meals were all delicious, the recipes easy to follow and, as they provide exact measurements for each ingredient, there was absolutely zero waste. We won't be doing it every week as we like to support our shops here in Framlingham but maybe once a month we'll order a box for variety.

We caught up on our movie going this week and went to Cineworld in ipswich to see a couple of films from the wish list. The first was Joy. As always, Jennifer Lawrence stole the show and upstaged all her fellow cast including the not insignificant Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. Lawrence is that rare film presence who steals the screen in every scene. The only other current actor to have this level of star quality in my opinion is Idris Elba and I am sure that Lawrence is destined to be one of the all time Hollywood greats. To achieve this level of watchability in a film about a woman who invented a mop makes Jennifer Lawrence's performance all the more amazing and well deserving of today's Best Actress Oscar nomination. It's not a fantastic film - an interesting rags to riches story. But it's worth seeing for Lawrence alone.

Our second film was In the Heart Of The Sea - the true story that inspired Moby Dick. It's an underrated film that hasn't been a huge box office success (and no Oscar nominations that I could see) but there is some very fine cinematography, a very convincing CGI whale, some superb whaling scenes and an excellent study of relationships in a horrific survival situation. Chris Hemsworth is a little bit of a fish out of water in an "acting" role compared to his usual smouldering hunk in Thor but he does his best. Cillian Murphy and Benjamin Walker excel as  his crew mate and captain. I recommend that you try and catch it on the big screen as TV won't do it justice.

In The Heart Of The Sea has courage, honour and humility as its dominant themes and last night we went to Framlingham College for the first Fram Soc event of the year where John Bradshaw (above) spoke on the subject of courage and humility. John was blinded in his youth when he was on his National Service as a bomb disposal operative in what was then Rhodesia. Despite this major setback he went on to have glittering careers in computer sciences, agriculture and later as a headmaster. He told us his nine key words for success and, unlike many "inspirational" speakers these were heavy on being a decent human being rather than the usual ambition, ambition, ambition. 

We're two weeks into 2016 now and the weather was very fine yesterday so I ventured onto the fields for my first detecting outing of the year. I was only out for two and a half hours but managed to make some more interesting finds. 

This was what I tipped out of the bag when I got home.

A Charles I penny c1630's

Scottish Medieval cut quarter penny possibly William The Lion c1200
Another Medieval cut quarter penny. Not yet identified.
Unsure but possibly a Medieval strap end. Appears to be decorated.

Just a lump of scrap but I believe that it is waste from a very old casting

I find scores of buttons - most are very ordinary but this is for the short lived and very early railway company Eastern Counties Railway which ran between 1837 and 1862

Monday, 11 January 2016

Celebrating Mum's 90th

On Friday my mum reached a major milestone in her life as she turned ninety. It's nice to see some longevity in the family after my poor Dad passed away at just seventy and I certainly hope that I've inherited more of Mum's genes as my sixties seem to be flying by.

Sara at H-P's Emporium here in Framlingham painted a super birthday card celebrating Mum's new found career as a stock photo model.


And our old friend and colleague Jan Harbon arrived at the Vincent Hotel in Southport where we held a party with the most beautiful cake that we ordered from her.

Jan's cakes are never less than stunning and she followed our brief for "something classic" to perfection. Jan's erstwhile hobby has now turned into a thriving business and she can be contacted at her Southport company, The Cake Shed, via this link. I guarantee that you will never be disappointed with one of Jan's creations.

My sister Julie did a great job in organising the party with the Vincent and everything ran perfectly. My brother Peter and his wife Val arranged for the room to be decorated with flowers and balloons which made the venue look very special for Mum when she arrived. 

Peter opened the proceedings with a very heart warming speech and toast to Mum and then it was time to enjoy the wonderful buffet provided by The Vincent.

Here are some photos from Mum's big day.

You've hear of a babe magnet - well Marion's a baby magnet. She's the pied piper when there are children around and she kept the younger family members amused for much of the afternoon.

Rose and Melody hadn't met their second cousin Emmy before but they got on together fabulously.

Marion looked lovely as always.

Emmy and Rose

Sarah and Duncan had a rare chance to get on the dance floor

It was nice for the kids to get a chance to know their "Great Nanna"

Mum with Julie and Peter

The children, including recent family arrival Thea, have a break from the dancing.

Sarah with Melody

Children love candles on birthday cakes.

Julie gave Mum a surprise treat by booking Liverpool singer Ryan Grant who entertained us with plenty of Rat Pack hits. You can find Ryan's website here.

Mum with Spanish grandson Carlos

Melody lives up to her name and loved the music.

Marion with my Aunty Rhoda. It won't be too many years before she joins Mum as a nonagenarian.

Mum with her three Spanish grandchildren, Victoria and Natasha (standing) and Carlos together with Nati's partner Christian and Carlos' girlfriend Monica. 
A frame is no obstacle to dancing at a 90th party.
Sarah and Duncan

Mum with Rhoda.

Living thousands of miles apart cousins Vicky and Sarah don't get many chances to see each other.

Our nephew Chris together with his wife Becky with our sister-in-law Val and niece Lisa in the background.

It was sad that Paul and family couldn't make the big day but they did manage a Skype appearance and Mum was able to chat to them.