Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Striking While The Iron's Hot

I like to do a bit of photography when I'm not metal detecting and, as smart phone cameras are now so good, there's no longer any need to lug around a load of equipment (unless you're intending to do some really serious stuff).

But you really do have to strike while the iron is hot (or in this case while the snow is cold) as our two recent snowy spells here in Framlingham each lasted little more than twenty-four hours. Snap number one came on Sunday so we walked to the town's most photogenic spot and took a few photos.


As you can see, the day was overcast and grey and the photos have very little colour.

Yesterday was another matter. A second overnight snowfall was accompanied by a cloudless day and the photos took on an altogether different hue.

The lane near the house

The view from our bedroom window

Perfect light
Framlingham College
Walking through the woods near the castle

Panoramic view


I'm sure that a professional photographer could have taken some glorious and far better shots but it was good to be able to capture these fleeting moments in our local landscape.

Blog readers who haven't read my novels please note you can treat yourself to one or both of them to read over Christmas. Both are free on Kindle for five days. Click here for Mr Prendergast's Fantastic Find and here for here for Give Me Your Tomorrow.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

A Night In The Calais Jungle

Last night we were part of a theatrical experience when we went to a preview of The Jungle at the Young Vic. This is theatre as you've never seen it before. The Young Vic was converted into the Afghan restaurant in the middle of the Calais Jungle famously reviewed by Sunday Times food critic AA Gill. The audience was seated at tables which formed the stage upon which the players performed. 

We were lucky to be at the table where much of the action played out and were a matter of centimetres away from the cast. This new play covers the development of the refugee camp into a community and follows it to its ruthless destruction by the French authorities. We joined in clapping to exuberant music and dance from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa, we heard the Muslim call to prayer, the Christian hymns and the tragic tales of some of the boat people.

To say that we were totally immersed in the action would be an understatement as some in the audience were given plates of food as the drama in the restaurant unfolded (Marion got a chickpea dish). 

Along with the multinational refugees including the outstanding Ben Turner as restaurant owner Salar, were British volunteers, a drunken Geordie builder, a young public school type played brilliantly by Alex Lawther (who you will have seen as Tibby in Howards End and who was outstanding in Goodbye, Christopher Robin - certainly a star of the future), a do-gooding young woman, a foul mouthed older female volunteer and an ineffectual male jobsworth. All were trying to help but all were, in their own way, refugees themselves.

We started and finished with the eviction of the refugees and we were left bereft as Safi, played beautifully by Anmar Haj Ahmad, ended the play with a brief but poignant monologue.

I can't praise this production enough. The outstanding cast received a thoroughly deserved standing ovation. 

If I had one Christmas wish it would be that Nigel Farage be made to attend every performance holding a copy of that bloody poster.

We got to London in the morning for some Christmas shopping at Westfield and then went to Tate Modern for a couple of hours before the play began. There are certainly some eye catching installations.

These two particularly fired our imagination.

We haven't been to the cinema as often as usual (although we did see the wonderful The Killing Of A Sacred Deer recently) but nowadays we have so much available at home. This week we watched Mudbound on Netflix. Netflix goes from strength to strength with its own productions.

In my opinion this amazing movie about racial inequality set in Mississippi during WWII is the film of the year and I expect to see Jason Mitchell in the running for a best supporting actor Oscar and the film and director Dee Rees in the running for Best Film and best director awards. 

We went to Snape Maltings for a few Christmas decorations. Somebody had been having fun with the mug display.

We didn't need any new decorations for Marion's second tree which is adorned with special items from the last forty years and topped with the amazing Father Christmas (now lacking an arm) made at nursery by one of our kids.

This Raymond Biggs Snowman mobile is another blast from the past.

An icy blast hit us here in Suffolk today so we went to see how Framlingham Castle looked.

It really was a winter wonderland. But I don't think that there will be much around in the morning.

If you are a regular blog reader you will know that I do a lot of metal detecting. I like to thank the farmers for allowing me to carry out this wonderful hobby and, in 2015, I produced a book on Photobox to let them know what I found on their fields. It was very well received and I've just done another covering 2016-2017. Copies have just arrived.

Some of the 60 pages.
And possibly the most important page for anybody thinking of taking up the hobby. 

With winter in full flow I've not had many opportunities to detect this week but did manage a couple of hours. Here's a few of the bits that turned up.
Egyptian head badge. Probably Victorian

Medieval cut quarter penny

Medieval cut half penny.

Christmas is fast approaching. If I don't get the chance to blog again, Merry Christmas to one and all. And if I do get to blog again, I'll say it again.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

A November Photo Album

I've not been able to blog as we've been up in the caravan in St Andrews (with the notorious lack of WIFI) but we're back in Suffolk now.

My mum, who will be 92 in a few weeks, joined us for a week and it was a great opportunity for Rose and Melody to see their Great Nanna.

Here are some photos from our trip.

Mum with the girls

I love reading to the granddaughters. Not the most flattering photo - I don't have a double chin - honestly.

We took Mum to Cineworld Dundee
Okay I know it's a kids' film but Paddington was great.
Sarah, Marion and Mum

The weather in St Andrews was cold for most of our stay with a few very wet days but after we took Mum home on Saturday it brightened up again and we had a glorious day at the nearby Cambo Estate which has a footpath that runs to the coast.

Rose and Melody loved clambering across the rocks and looking for sea glass and shells.

Three generations together.

Trying out the new long exposure feature on the iPhone
After ten days it was time to drive back to Suffolk. We had a trouble free journey.

Apart from a small chip in the windscreen that developed into a large crack. That's four punctures and two windscreens since March. Lucky or what?

The book is doing well and seems to be enjoyed by the readers. It would be great if I could get the sales to take off and see more tweets and reviews like these.

In other news I've been doing a little bit of "antiquing" and bought these lovely peices of art pottery for our spare bedroom from Theatre Antiques in Framlingham.

I also bought this fabulous Carlton Ware Art Deco jam pot that I thought would sell for loads on eBay. -- It didn't.

And, of course, I did manage some detecting time in November. Here is what turned up.
Short days, long shadows.

Medieval farthing Edward I

Obverse of the farthing with a buckle complete with pin from around the same date

Four more musket balls.

To add to the collection

Two more medieval cut farthings
Interesting paw foot from a casket or similar. Date uncertain but probably not ancient.
Cast hand. Possibly part of a Victorian paper clip.
Military cap badge. Royal Something Corps. Not sure of the regiment.
Voided short cross cut half medieval penny.
Queen Victoria penny made into a pendant.
Other bits and bobs