Jane's Blog

An Everyday Story of Country Folk!

Baskets and Drowned Rats

Bursts of manic activity, as the temperature slowly reduced, took me to our Jubilee Fun Day on Saturday afternoon on the Playing Fields with an overflowing table of baskets. We had everything, flowers, fruit, cakes, biscuits, jewellery, smellies, cuddly toys - the whole conveyor belt, and all in baskets of varying sizes. The flowers were supposed to be beautifully arranged, but it ended up a rather hasty job on Saturday morning, but no one complained. I was all flowered out from the previous evening when a young man turned up at our house with a large and beautiful bunch of Roses and freesias. Isn't the internet wonderful that Tony could remember our wedding anniversary from Spain!
The baskets went well, and resulted in nearly £100 profit for Brownies and Guides. Plenty for ice creams on the trip to London.
I half expected that rain would bring the Fun Day to an abrupt close (not the first time this has happened in living memory) but it held off until everything was safely tidied up, thank goodness. But today has not been as kind - plenty of rain overnight meant it started soggy and we have had intermittent showers all day. The Jubilee boats on the Thames started dry but ended in a complete downpour. The finale comprised the London Phil playing patriotic songs to the Quenne from a large barge by Tower Bridge. The orchestra was OK, they had a roofs over their heads, but the choir looked like drowned rats. Didn't stop them singing though.
I spent the afternoon as hostess at the church, serving teas to anyone who came to see the decorations. The whole church is a sea of red, blue and white, and quite magnificent. It was fairly quiet (most people went yesterday I think) so we were able to sit down and chat. Then home to welcome Steph who is here for most of the week with another essay to write.



Will it Won't it?

The question on everybody's mind at present is whether it will rain over the Jubilee weekend. Sunday looks nasty at present, but it could all change. I am desperate for rain, to get my garden(s) going again, but I don't want to stand out on the playing field in a downpour waiting for nobody to patronise our Guide stall on Saturday afternoon. If it rains Sunday at least I shall be sheltered in the church, with the tea and cakes, and a few friends to chat with!
A quiet few days punctuated with bursts of energy.  Gay has brought me the plants she needs for the wedding flowers in August, and we planted some - the others are waiting to bulk up a bit before going out in the garden. They need to be butch enough to fight off slugs and snails. Aside from this there has been the usual circuits of the table tennis table on Tuesday afternoon, some clambering around the bushes on Wednesday with the rest of the bunting (Christine is flying a large Union Flag from the bus shelter so we are looking very patriotic), lawn mowing, and the Ramblers walk this morning. A chance to catch up with Peter, who is still recovering from his blisters, and getting himself fit to walk to the most westerly point in early July. The new plan involves a train to Fort William, which seems eminently sensible to me. He will go to Dunnet head on foot next May. On his Easterly walk he must have had a pretty nasty time, trudging through the rain, soaked through and cold. We have concluded he is one of Douglas Adam's rain gods - he reckons the weather always turns wet and cold on him when he tries to walk long distance.

Spam, Spam, Lovely Spam

The Brownies reached the 1950s last night. The "Coronation Tea" included coronation chicken sandwiches, salmon paste and cucumber sandwiches  the bees knees in 1953 I understand), tasters of spam, then jelly and blancmange and cake. Opinion was fiercely divided over each item as to whether it was edible. The blancmange surprised me, as most of them decided they would prefer yoghurt. It was my favourite school pudding back in the 1950s. I clean forgot we had a vegetarian amongst us (not many of those in the early 50s, especially after years of rationing) so she only got to eat the cake. There weren't a lot of left overs of the cake.
Anyway, decorations (union flags coloured by the Brownies and some red white and blude garlands made by Sue) have been made for the church, and will be installed by Sue this Friday. The Guides have done their best to construct the crown jewels out of silver and gold card, purple crepe paper and assorted stick on jewels, so I can do their window as well. We had 5 girls again for Guides, I am so please that they all came for a second chance, just hope they come back after the half term break. They have been promised a night out in the woods lighting fires and making pizza, so who could possibly pass up that?

I have decked out the public gardens with bunting, but didn't have quite enough so will have to get more. Hope the parish council will be prepared to pay for it!

A Mystery Solved

For several days now I have been waiting for my peas to come up. I noticed that there seemed to be small holes along the row, but couldn't work out why, unless they were the original holes from where I pushed the pea seeds in. A few days ago I thought I saw a seedling starting to emerge, but there was no sign of it the next day, so assumed I was mistaken. Then, at last, while watering, I found a real seedling. The following morning I found two things - a fat pigeon wandering apparently aimlessly around the garden, and my seedling, neatly pulled out and laid beside the row. I think we have a pea thief. I told Morris, but she says its too much bother in this hot weather, and could I open another pouch of cat food!

We had a lively time last night, as an all woman team for the local pub quiz. We came second, largely due to Sue's encyclopaedic knowledge.  The picture round was a page of logos to identify, a good idea, but one which completely floored us all.

With nothing better to do on Saturday night, I watched the Eurovision Song Contest. So bad its almost good. Actually the standard of songs was better than usual, but some of the acts were quite mad. Engelbert Humperdinck had a very pleasant song, but what with being first up, and the political voting, it barely got off the stating blocks. At least we did better than Norway. In fact Norway did quite well this year - for them - they still came bottom, but they got a few points. Graham Norton is not quite as unrestrainably rude (and funny) as Terry Wogan, but managed a few very neat comments. Does any country take it seriously?


It is getting hotter by the day, though a pleasant cooling breeze set in this afternoon. I'm trying to make the most of it, as its entirely possible we are currently enjoying the only summer we are going to get - British weather being totally capricious.
Yesterday I took the opportunity to work in my new garden, digging weeds out from between the paving slabs. There is a definite limit to how much one of this one can do with the sun burning down. The weeds are a feisty lot, though; where I have attacked them previously and replaced the soil between the slabs with sand, they have managed to root themselves in the sand. But its a lot easier to pull them out of sand so I will not be beaten.

Today I visited Julia's garden - I still can't believe how much work she and Pete have taken on, but they seem to be moving forward at a fair rate. It should be lovely when (if?) its finished. Then Sandra visited for a craft chat. A nice relaxed sort of day. Just working myself up to the onslaught of the various things I am involved in for the Jubilee over the next couple of weeks.


A Musical Day

The Parish Meeting was not totally anticlimactic. It was rather lengthy, as our illustrious chairman took the opportunity to discuss ways to reduce speeding in the village seeing as he had plenty of public to contribute. Whether the suggestions will come to pass is in the lap of the funding gods. By the time we got to the reports from village organisations, half the meeting had had enough and left, so a number of reports were missing. Not all reports were brief though; our two local councillors made sure we knew how hard they were working by listing all the committees they sit on, and the lady who read the church report  read the entire leaflet that had been sent out for the recent gift day, including a complete list of services, exhortations to join the church, and even the captions to the photographs. In the past she has been known to report a whole year's worth of WI meetings in excruciating detail, so her style was well known. I managed to keep a straight face, but with difficulty. 

Today has been musical - the afternoon choir, then back to practice with the Sunday school children for the Jubilee service, then the evening choir. The choirs went as expected, but of the Sunday school children who had been invited, only one turned up, so we have moved to plan B - we shall not be getting them to play their instruments, but we will get them to sing the song they have been learning, with musical accompaniment from the Sunday School teachers. I have a vague feeling of impending disaster, but I think we'll manage, assuming any of them turn up on the day.

The cat has been eating too much again. She is sitting on the desk and hiccupping.
And so to bed.

Run with Torches

What a busy 24 hours! Last night the Brownies went to the 60s and made flowers and headbands to put them on. Although we had only 8 Brownies, they made quite enough noise for the full 14. With all the windows open to make the most of the warm sunshine (at last) I felt sorry for the people next door. The noise limiter in the hall doesn't seem to react to Brownie squeals, alas!
5 Guides turned up and spent the evening finding out about Guides, and playing games, finishing with a very rowdy "Tie me Kangaroo down" which they really liked. They are very keen to camp and get badges, so I think we are going to get along OK. Just hope they all come back next week. Maybe they will tell their friends.
This morning, I took Ann and Sue down to Shepton to watch James carry the Olympic Torch. There was a good crowd, and a wonderful atmosphere. I got some half decent photos, as he ran, and then later when we all went back to the local pub to wait for him to come home. Christine made him a beautiful cake - decorated with the Union Flag in raspberries and blueberries.

Got back to the Sports group to find them hanging bunting in the Village Hall for the Jubilee. We then spent our usual hour and a half running round the hall doing silly things.  
And I still have the Parish Meeting this evening to go. Think there may be an element of anti climax!





Remember me

Wonderful concert last night, with the Maesbury singers. It was billed as a concert for 3 queens; they sang some madrigals and songs from the time of Elizabeth 1st, plus some songs from songbooks put together for Queen Elizabeth II's coronatioon and Jubilee. The best was one of the most modern, an African prayer and blessings.
The second half was devoted to a performance of Dido and Aeneas, which was absolutely superb. I knew the choir was good, but their soloists were even better. I was in two minds about going on my own, but I am so glad I did.  

Bringing Home the Bacon (and a little on the subject of bushes)

Ralph came over yesterday en route to visit friends, to borrow a sleeping bag. I didn't get to see him becausew I was out, but I caught up with him at lunchtime when he came to bring the bag back. He tells me that when he arrived the previous day, Morris was on the drive, occupied with a nice rasher of cooked bacon. No wonder she was picky about eating yesterday. Goodness knows who she pinched it from!
Ralph was in fine form, and much amused that I had been to Sunday School, with my bush, made from lilac cuttings, to be used in the story of Moses and the burning bush.
Still hoping for some warmer weather - promised for later in the week. I don't know whats going on in the pond at the moment, but the pump seems to need its filter cleaning every 2 or 3 days. Maybe its the newts. 

The Cats Mother

After a very pleasant weekend (well, pleasant after fixing the computer) with Stephanie, and Ralph who joined us for Sunday dinner, life goes back to its normal peace and quiet. I was very pleased that Stephanie managed to write her Master's essay, which was, after all, the reason for her coming home. When she arrived on the Friday night, tired and out of sorts, it was touch and go whether she'd be able to bring herself to put fingers to keyboard the next day, but she managed it.
However, after the excitement of visitors, Morris is now feeling bereft again and follows me everywhere round the house and garden. Major insecurity problems!
We visited the 70s with the Brownies this week, but it was a very chaotic evening. In fact it seems to be more chaotic each week. Rachael, who works in a primary school, tells me that the main reason for the problem is the pressure of Sats for most of the kids, and the weather being unconducive to going outside to play at break times. The girls are suffereing from being all cooped up. I just wish they didn't have to take it out on us! I may have to "read the riot act" this week at Brownies - it usually improves behaviour for a week or two when we remined them that we are not paid and we only come to have fun. It takes them by surprise because they don't expect unrelated adults to choose to spend time with them.
Good news, Stephanie has been released from her current job, so that she can start at her new school straight after half term. This will give her time to find her way around before the Autumn term starts. I really hope she finds this job suits her.