It was Marion's birthday this week. Here she is wearing her birthday present from some of the family. She's looking as great as always and I think she's a very glamorous sixty-something.
We were in full grandparenting mode last weekend. The Rochester family's house is undergoing improvements and there aren't many cooking facilities at the moment so we volunteered to look after Catherine and Teddy for a couple of weekends. We didn't want them to have to be stuck in the car for the drive back to Framlingham (which can be a nightmare on Friday evenings) so we decided to take them an hour's drive into Kent.
We chose an AirBnb for the first time and ended up in a very nice little stable conversion near Margate. We had planned lots of activities for the children but the snow and sub-zero temperatures put paid to that and we had to change plans.
It's amazing how much you need to pack for a two night self catering break with a two and a five year old.
When we arrived the weather was not too bad and the kids had a great time meeting the horses in the adjoining stables. But Saturday morning saw a layer of snow covering the ground and our planned trip to a nearby nature reserve was abandoned (good thing as we later found out that they closed it.)
Instead we drove the short journey into Margate. We don't know Margate but managed to find something to keep Catherine and Teddy occupied.
The mysterious Shell Grotto was discovered beneath a suburban garden in the 1830s but nobody knows how old it is. It's certainly an interesting place and the children loved the subterranean tunnel and chamber.
Sunday's weather was also freezing and snowy so it was back to Margate. This time we went to the magnificent Turner Contemporary art gallery which sits imposingly on a headland at the end of the Margate seafront. The sea was spectacular.
We had to dodge the waves to get out of the car.
I then foolishly decided to photograph the waves and managed to get myself completely drenched when this one continued on it's way and reached the spot where I was standing. Nice picture though.
The gallery was a big hit with the children.
Catherine particularly loved the monumental piece My Ghosts by John Davies.
The snow continued on the journey back to Rochester but died off en route back to Framlingham so we avoided another night camped out at the Orwell Crossing Lorry Park.
With the weather being so cold and miserable we've managed to take in quite a few movie trips and have been to five films in the last two weeks.
Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel has fabulous sets and beautiful cinematography in warm colours. Kate Winslet puts in a fine performance as a downtrodden wife whose life is lifted by the attentions of a young and handsome lifeguard and is then brought crashing down when her beautiful young stepdaughter arrives to stay. It's not the best film ever but certainly worth seeing for Winslet's performance alone.
The Oscars implied that The Shape Of Water WAS the best film of 2017 but, after starting with the most fantastic ethereal underwater dream scene it dissolved into a weak love story between a mute young woman and a sea creature. I can't see what all the fuss is about for this one.
On the other hand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, which lost out to The Shape Of Water, is a fabulous film. We both absolutely loved this blackest of black comedies and Frances McDormand fully deserves her Best Actress Oscar. It's a mystery how the film didn't win best film.
Having grown up in the 60s, Michael Caine's My Generation was a must see. The clips and the soundtrack are absolutely fabulous and, although I'm not a big fan of Michael Caine who narrates, it's worth seeing for those alone.
As Marion loves cinema, I wanted to take her to see something on her birthday. The only problem was that I could't find a film that we hadn't seen or we wanted to see. So I opted for something a bit different and, after a great meal at The Lighthouse in Aldeburgh, we walked down the road to the cinema to see My Gal Sal starring Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature. Well it was certainly a bit different, and the meal was delicious.
I'll end with my latest detecting finds. Before yesterday I had had three detecting sessions in 2018 but they were very short due to the wet conditions leaving the detector and my boots covered in mud but it was fourth time lucky yesterday when the weather was dry (if still bitterly cold) and the field was light soil instead of a quagmire. Here are the finds from those sessions.
|Post Medieval Belt Mount|
|My Finds Liaison Officer tells me that this is probably a Roman bracelet fragment|
|Edward II farthing c 1310|
|Good Georgian "Dandy Button"|
|Anglo Saxon Buckle|
|Post Medieval Vessel Foot|
|Super Coin Weight|
|Made in Antwerp and dated 85 for 1585 by Cornelius Janssen|
|I found this item a few months ago but wasn't sure what it was although I felt that it was interesting. The FLO identified it today as a zoomorphic stirrup mount dating to around the tenth century. He was very excited by it.|