pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011


I woke up feeling human - wonderful!  When I say human, I mean pain-free and able to function again.  These three-day migraines really disrupt my life, they hurt dreadfully and make me feel nauseous.  Now, apart from some tenderness in my eye socket, and a bit of tiredness, I really do feel great.

George's first outdoor job was to turn the compost heap over - it's a big compost heap - a big job.  When I strolled over to see whether he was ready for a cup of tea, I had to laugh.  He had two chickens pecking around in the compost and one of the cats walking around the top of the fencing, watching the chickens - they were all being observed by Toby.  I ran back indoors and got my camera but couldn't get them all in one shot.

Needless to say, it wasn't long before young Harry called around to see whether Grandpa would take him and Toby into the field ...  so off they went.  They returned with treasure - bits of old pot found in the mud of the field

The smallest piece is glazed inside and out.  The large one was part of the rim of what must have been a very large pot and the orange one looks as though it was a very chunky handle... they are lovely.  I wonder how many other treasures are lying around in the field waiting to be discovered.  I love thinking about the people who made them, the people who used them, etc.

Apologies for this next bit, Jonny, you already know about my stone collection, but the pots lead on to ...

When we first moved here our son-in-law dismantled the rockery, and didn't want the stones, so I asked for them.  They are marvellous - worked by stone masons, goodness knows how long ago, or for what building.  They may have been from one of the local churches which now no longer exist,  or somewhere very grand... what was the building, who worked the stones, walked through the doorways, or looked through the window arches, even the people who transported them to here... I will never know, but I love the stones just the same.  Every so often I clear off the moss and just sit and think about them, trace the workings, admire the skill of those stonemasons of long ago.  

Aren't they wonderful?  There is nothing there to show the scale and their size - plus of course they are stacked up and mossy - so you are not seeing them at their best.  When I have more energy I'll clean them up and share their beautiful shapes and lines with you.

Much more recent history, to do with this lovely old converted stable/cow/cart shed in which we live
I dug up all of these bottles and jars (plus many more) they were approximately three feet and more under the surface of the soil.  One turned up during building work and that was it then, I had to do my very own Time Team dig.  It was thrilling.  I know they are all practically worthless, but to me they are treasure.  I can't describe how wonderful it was to gently work through the mud and the muck and scrape away and finally find an intact pot, bottle, jar.  I found buckets full of broken china, lots of old, rusty metal work - including some wonderful old cogs - best china, everyday china, perfume bottles, an old shoe...  eventually I had to stop excavating and allow the builders to continue to work in that area, but what treasures did I miss?

Monday, 29 August 2011


It was really chilly, a sign of things to come, so we lit the small stove.  The warmth from the fire was very comforting, but I enjoyed the dancing, cheery light the most...

Unfortunately I have a headache today Jonny, nothing to worry about, just due to getting over-tired yesterday.  Hopefully normal blogging will be resumed in a day or two.

Love to you, from Mum and Dad.  xx

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Thanks for the email, good to hear that all is going well.  Good luck for Monday - your first real day of work in Shanghai.

We had guests today, Steve and Shirley came to visit, which was lovely as we haven't seen them for ages.  They brought lots of photographs of their trip to The Gambia, which is where Joanne is living now.  I was especially interested in seeing them as it is not so  long ago that you and Gavin drove that BMW over there in the Banjul Rally!

We had as simple lunch of pasta and salad and then finished up with ice-cream and berries.
For tea I made some scones... plain scones, simple and delicious.
Harry called in and asked Grandpa and Toby to take him into the field for a walk, as you would expect they were only too happy to oblige!
and young Harry couldn't wait to throw himself into the straw, just for fun.
then he came back and ate all of my carefully nurtured cherry tomatoes from the greenhouse.

I must get on and go for a run to burn off some of those extra calories and try to work off the effects of drinking a couple of glasses of wine during the day!

We will be thinking of you.  Have fun.

Lots of love,


Saturday, 27 August 2011


I got up early this morning, obviously a little too early for Pip...
who was sleeping so deeply that I was able to photograph her asleep on the sofa and making herself very comfortable amongst the cushions.

The sun rose from behind the old railway track, Farmer T has begun baling the straw - from some places it looks like a straw bale version of Stonehenge - although about a third of the barley remains unharvested due to the rain.
I am not complaining, because compared to the States we are having it easy at the moment, but goodness have we had some thunder storms and rain today.  All very dramatic, with great streaks of lightning and lots of thunder to scare Toby.  The rain fell very suddenly, and so heavily that it was like stair-rods falling from the sky.
This was the view from the kitchen door just before one of the episodes.  The amount of rain made it necessary for your Pa to drain the system at the back of the house - but don't worry - he has worked out why it couldn't cope and he's going to divert the overflows to the system you installed in the car park.  No doubt he'll talk to you about it.

I picked lots of runner beans this morning, and spent some time cleaning and blanching them all ready for the freezer.  Time consuming, but satisfying.  Five bags so far, and lots left to pick.  

The fruit farm on Rye Lane is advertising that it will be open for apple-picking in a few days so that will be one of the next jobs.  One of these days your Dad will get the apple press out and we will try our hand at making cider.

We made several bottles of sloe gin, and for variety we also made blackcurrant gin  - they'll be ready in time for giving out as gifts in December (don't worry, we'll save you one).  They look so beautiful that I had to photograph them for you.

Friday, 26 August 2011


Pip, Toby and Bennie are all agreed on that!  No doubt it will keep them occupied for a long time.   Don't worry about Toby's 'bald side' it really isn't like that, it's down to some quirk on this photograph.  

Today has been wet, very wet.  So we decided to do some indoor work ...!!!  We both scrubbed the utility room floor and part of the kitchen - but I thought you would like this photo of your Pa wearing Marigold gloves and scrubbing !

Jonny, you will know what this next photograph is all about, so no need to go into details.

We nipped to Woodthorpe Garden Centre this afternoon  - and guess what they were busy doing...unbelievably ... but here's the photo to prove it.  Dreadful!!!

Far more interestingly, we have just been listening to a wonderful Prom 2011 programme which featured a Spaghetti Western Orchestra from Australia and their music is magnificent.  Check them out sometime.

That's it for today, Jonny.  Look after yourself.
Call/email us when you have the chance.


Thursday, 25 August 2011


First job of the day - visit the Aged Aunt, do her gardening, shopping, sort out her paperwork and pay her bills.  She has finally realised why you visited her last week, Jonny.  She understands that you have gone to China and has taken to looking it up in her new atlas
I reckon she could probably do a round of Mastermind questions on the geography of China, particularly Shanghai!  She sends you her love.

Toby was delighted to see us when we finally arrived home - Pip just wanted to know whether we had brought her anything - bone, doggie chocs, ...anything at all..  The two cats were much more relaxed and draped themselves around the place
Toby came back inside, spotted Bennie in her box and just couldn't resist having a cat kiss

We have spinach in abundance so I made a triple batch of your favourite spinach soup
we had some for supper and the rest has gone into containers for the freezer.  It was particularly delicious because we had a heel of parmesan left, so I dropped that into the soup as it was cooking.  

Harry came over to play earlier and had his very first icecream sandwich
followed by bread and butter, and an apple, and still he was hungry.  Apparently his mother and father don't feed him and he wants to move in with us.  He is very good at spinning tales these days!!

It is a real shame that we missed your Skype session this morning, but at least now you know where we were.



Wednesday, 24 August 2011


I woke early this morning and found that during the night  low level ribbons of mist had formed over the field, which really enhanced the lovely magical feeling that early mornings hold for me.  I fed the cats on the low wall outside the utility room and watched as the sun began to rise over the old railway line.  Pip and Toby were patient enough for a few minutes but then they reminded me that they needed their breakfast - quickly.

Today was Louth Farmers Market Day so I made a quick trip to buy quality local food. It was really strange to buy in relatively small quantities for just George and I.  I am so used to getting a 'shipping order'.

Jonny, this is Pip getting up to a bit of a run earlier this afternoon ...

...not a great photo but seconds later she was head down and rolling on a dead rat.  Lovely girl.

Lunch was delicious and very simple - Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, artisan bread, home grown tomatoes, home made chutney ... and because you are not home, cucumber!! 

Your Pa wanted to do the dreaded aerial/signal strength re-adjustment for the television - horror of horrors.  I agreed, but said he could only have ten minutes to do it (why didn't we do that last time Jonny?) it worked - and he only took seven minutes.

I spent a little time working on some sewing,

while George worked in the wood for while, coppicing some badly neglected hazel.  
Young Harry came across with two cupcakes, which he had helped to make and decorate.  Naturally we had to eat them, so that means I have to do a bit of extra running tonight!

Hope all is going well in Shanghai; it was lovely to talk to you yesterday!


Tuesday, 23 August 2011


The cats are enjoying rich pickings in the stubble field, working hard as per their contract!

Sparky having a yawn
Cats Nap in the Conservatory

In all fairness it was pouring with rain when I took the photographs, and they had both worked hard and notched up a few rodent kills.

The dogs snoozed the morning away too, but as soon as I suggested a walk in the field they perked up.  I was thrilled to watch the way they enjoyed themselves, recapturing a little of their lost youth and enthusiasm for life - even Pip, who thinks that a stagger to her feeding bowl is quite enough exercise, thank you.

So, Jonny, all that worry last week when you asked me not to take Pip to the vets (to be put to sleep) before you left was unnecessary.  She has perked up yet again and is still having a bit of fun now and then, so don't worry.  She's fine.

Toby bounced around until I feared for his paws - he is half labrador, half whippet, and has the delicate little feet of a whippet, which get cut easily.  Pip managed to get up to an impressive trot and for half a minute she was almost cantering - she is mainly terrier and has large, all-terrain paws.

It is so chilly that we lit the Rayburn at lunchtime, and now Toby is slumbering in front of it and food-motivated Pip is under the kitchen table.


I spent some time working on clearing out my pantry
but I daren't show you the other side of it until I have cleared and tidied it!  I also started a   
sewing project, so the day was not entirely wasted.  

George is the only one to have put in a decent day's work - he has painted the architrave of the kitchen/hall door, worked in the wood and the garden and oiled the idigbo front door, which now looks spectacular.

Monday, 22 August 2011


The weather forecast for the rest of this week is dire, torrential rain, heavy showers, intermittent rain, and more showers.  However, today has been warm and dry and by lunch time the ground began to shake a little as the combine harvester turned into the field and made its first cut around the perimeter of the field.

I abandoned my lawn mower and snatched the washing off the line as George chivvied the dogs back inside the house and closed all of the windows - past experience has shown that harvesting means noise, dust clouds, and lots of rodents running for their lives as their field is shaved and shelter lost.  This is when the two new girls, Bennie and Sparky should come into their own and earn their keep by keeping our gardens free from invaders.

Bennie came triumphantly into the garden clutching a wriggling mouse in her jaws and then started to toy with it.  After a few moments the mouse ran up a tree, hiding himself in the tangle of ivy and I have to confess that I was wishing him every success; he deserved to escape for his fighting spirit.  I had to leave them to it and I don't know how it all ended.  I couldn't watch.

This was Bennie earlier in the day as she tried out  camouflage methods!  Sparky is the real hunter as Bennie loses interest and concentration, so the mouse did stand a chance.

Naturally the wind was blowing towards the house today!

I love the field after the harvest because for a few brief weeks it has a holiday feel.  I use the small gate which leads directly into it, and the dogs and I make the most of the freedom as we take the short cut through the field for our walks along the old railway line.  When Toby and Pip were younger it used to bring out the puppy in them which was a delight.

We are fortunate because this field is used for the Enduro motorbike race in September, so the stubble gets left and the ploughing is delayed.  In these days of such intensive farming when it seems that no sooner is a field harvested than it is ploughed and sown with the next crop, it is lovely to know that 'our' field is able to have a brief rest.    I know that it will have the motorbike race to - forgive the pun - endure, but that seems a small price to pay for a few weeks rest.

We also get to enjoy ringside seats and brilliant views of the motorbikes.  I'll take photos of the event when it happens.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


This post should be all about The Railway Tavern's Charity Car Boot Sale, but something far more exciting has come along.

Lets start with the car boot sale 
this is the field before the sellers arrived - and here is the field beginning to fill up
with sellers, and the first trickle of buyers.  It was a hot and sunny day and after four hours of manning the entrance and directing traffic, telling people where to park, selling drinks, snacks, bric-a-brac, etc, etc, we were all a little hot and rather tired...  
so we adjourned to the pub and had some shandy bitter - cold, restorative, and on the house - as were the quiche and the rolls - thanks to Keith and Dawn.  

Hopefully this event will have raised a decent amount of money for the Air Ambulance and Callum's Wish!

On our way to the car boot sale we passed a driveway which had the most adorable little teardrop-shaped caravan parked in it, along with a beautifully restored maroon mini.  We admired it and carried on to the Tavern.  Imagine our delight when said mini, towing the gorgeous little hand-built caravan turned into the field where the car boot sale was being held!

I had to go across and investigate.  I know, I know, but I like people who dare to be different.
My photograph does not do it justice, it is delightful and terribly cute.  It is also beautifully made and has a bed, electricity, a sink, wine storage, food storage, etc.  and can be towed by a Mini.

Did I say Mini - well here it is ...
The lovely couple who own them met while they were restoring their cars.  Love blossomed and they are about to be married in Gretna Green next week.   They don't have loads of money to splash around on a huge, showy wedding which will be over in a flash - so they have come up with something stylish, and totally true to themselves and their interests.   Their honeymoon will be spent touring with the caravan.  Wonderful!   

I hope to have access to some of their wedding photos, so I'll post them on here if possible. 

I wish them a long and happy marriage!