Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The £210 Bottle Of Pinot Grigio

You may (or may not) be wondering what happened to this blog for the last couple of weeks after I promised regular updates.

Well, a very expensive bottle of wine happened.

I discovered that the wine fridge was bare and ordered a couple of cases from the excellent Richard at The Framlingham Wine Shop. I gave him a budget and suggested a quantity of reds, whites and rosés and, as always, he came up with a lovely selection.I picked it up and started to refill the fridge when somehow I inexplicably caught my shirt cuff on one of the bottles. I watched as it span almost in slow motion before crashing to the kitchen work surface and shattering into a hundred pieces. At least it was only the Pinot Grigio I thought (it's not my favourite) but no real harm done apart from a lost bottle of wine. 

Marion rushed to see what the commotion was. "No problem" I said "only a bottle of Pinot Grigio".
"What about your computer?" says Marion pointing out that it is sitting in a large puddle of wine.

"It'll be okay" I said. "It's seeped underneath but none got on the keyboard"

As I said this, the MacBook started to make an ominous fizzing and popping sound and Marion gave me a look that said "sure it will be okay."

And, as always, she was right. The screen went blank and every effort to bring it back to life failed.  

An hour later I was driving to Leigh On Sea where I had located a company that said that it could restore liquid damaged Macs.And they could. eFix ltd they are called - Macbook-repairs.co.uk 

Just over a week later I drove back to Leigh On Sea to collect the laptop and here I am writing the blog - £200 out of pocket but happy that everything is up and running and no data has been lost. 

I might have been better off if eFix couldn't fix it as everything was backed up to BT Cloud and the insurance is new for old but hey - I'm not a big fan of claiming on insurance (don't get me started on the "did you have food poisoning on holiday two years ago?" firms).

So, after all that, I'm back writing and I had better keep it brief as we've done quite a bit in the last couple of weeks.

19th August saw us back on the South Bank in London for another trip to the National Theatre. I was fascinated to see this boat packed with EU and GB flag waving protesters. I hope that they got their message across. 

There's always something to see on the South Bank. This time, this amazing superhero sculpture caught our eyes. I can't remember which comic book series he is from but he's a truly impressive piece.

Our play this time was "The Majority" , Rob Drummond's fascinating one-man interactive show. We couldn't have been any closer and found ourselves on the front row and within touching distance of the Dorfman stage. We were asked to vote on a number of issues and discovered that we were amongst a majority of white, liberal people of whom 89.8% voted Remain. This meant that the results of many of the votes cast during the show were hardly surprising but nonetheless it was a very entertaining, thought provoking and enjoyable ninety minutes of theatre.  

I've been working hard on the lawn over the last four years and I'm pretty pleased with the results.

It was time for more culture last Thursday when we returned to Snape Maltings for another of this season's proms. This time it was Renée Fleming with the LPO. Her performance of the Strauss Four Last Songs was amazing and brought no less than three encores from a rapturous crowd.

And a bit more culture on Friday evening when we went to The Lemon Tree here in Framlingham. They opened for an experimental wine and cheese night with a young lady (Maddy from Dennington) singing. It was a nice event but I found it hard to linger for very long over a couple of glasses of wine and some cheese.

There was more substantial fare at home on Saturday when we bought a couple of lobsters from Darren at the market and had a delicious and simple lobster dinner.

On Sunday we went to the Halesworth street antiques market. I didn't buy anything but it was a hot and sunny day and we had an enjoyable stroll around the many stalls. I loved this sign.

Last night we returned to Snape for our last concert this season.

This time it was the wonderful London Gay Men's Chorus. The show was called "Agit-Pop" and carried a very serious anti-homophobic message amongst the joyous and harmonious singing - a fabulous show that went down a storm with the Snape audience.

If there is a nicer concert location than Snape, I've yet to find it. Here's Myriad, one of the many stunning artworks in the grounds

The wetland setting is idyllic 

And there's often a spectacular sunset.
Today was another trip to Leigh On Sea. We didn't want to do a ninety minute drive and just head straight back so we went to the famous Beth Chatto gardens near Colchester.

The weather was glorious and the gardens gave Marion plenty of ideas for our own (somewhat tiny) plot.

And if you couldn't care less what I found with the detector while the computer was out of action you can stop reading now. I've had a few trips out and here are some of the finds.

A musket ball and a similarly sized lead artefact (drawer knob perhaps?)

A nice silver sixpence from the realm of Charles I

An Elizabeth I penny and an Exeter lead seal from around 1650

Two Charles I Rose farthings and another early cloth seal

Tiny medieval heraldic harness stud and another Rose Farthing

Sword belt hanger probably Tudor period and a couple of fancy buttons from the 19th century

Shoe buckle and a very early anthropomorphic mount depicting a crowned head and dating to c 1250

Edward III penny with a nice clear portrait for once.

That's it for now. I'm hoping that now that the Mac is back, blogging will continue as normal. 

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.