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.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Eve Notes (for Jonny & Ming Ming)

This morning we had Harry and Francesca for a few hours, to give their parents time to do a few errands.   We had arranged to visit your Great Aunt, their Great Great Aunt.

We took food and nibbles, drinks, lots of Christmas crackers, and had a party with her.    She had a wonderful time watching the children, eating party nibbles and fancy did the children.   George and I are exhausted!

Nicki sends you her love and wants to know when you are coming home, she is sure that Tim could find you a job in London....!!!

The rain has been falling, heavily, for hours.
The ground was already sodden, no danger of flooding, thank goodness, but we are awash with surface water and the pump has been put to good use.

I know you are working tomorrow, but we'll keep watching to see whether you and Ming Ming are available on Skype later.

Merry Christmas to one and all.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Angels and a Putto in the Kitchen

I am working hard to try to shift the immense sorrow, the weight of sadness, which I have felt for the past few days as my over active imagination has threatened to engulf me.  

So, carols play softly in the background as I trim and dress the kitchen, make pomanders to add to my collection - amazing how some made years ago still smell so sweet - and try to get into the right frame of mind.

Life goes on.  

I must dig deep and get in touch with lighter feelings, it is too easy for me to sink to the bottom.   So, forgive me this trite nonsense.

It is therapeutic, my therapy.

I enjoy Christmas.  I love the carols, the candle-lit services, the excitement of watching the children in their Nativity play and I also love the satisfaction of baking and cooking a feast to stave off the chill of winter and to celebrate.   I love the smells of spices and baking, the warmth and the joy...cheesy, but true.

Back to the kitchen... I usually cater for large numbers... for the carnivores,  vegetarians, pescetarians, and the vegans among us.   I try to make sure that everyone will eat festive food.     I am not a good cook, I couldn't do it all on my own, I rely on my kitchen assistant of many years ... my little golden putto.

This little putto has watched over my festive culinary adventures for many years.

The golden putto is aided and assisted by a whole host of kitchen angels, bought one at a time over the years.   I now have quite a collection of them, they all work hard to help me.

Some are now beginning to look a little worse for wear, with fallen halos and dishevelled hair and I could swear that some of the expressions are mischievous, rather than angelic...

Luckily, this year I don't have to feed an army on Christmas Day...

Instead, after a morning of fun and merry-making with the grandchildren and family, George and I will take old Toby for a good walk, call in to see Arnold and take him some Christmas treats before coming home to relax and eat a quiet and festive buffet, the kind which we normally enjoy on Boxing Day.

No cooking required...surely a little miracle!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Life at Home

This post is for Jonny and Ming Ming, and also for Joanne Noragon ... they have missed reading about what happens around this place.
....We have drunk lots of tea..white tea, green tea, ginger tea....we love them all.

George had a mountain of ash logs delivered, we then had the great fun of wheel barrowing them around the fruit garden, up round the house, through the vegetable garden and up to the log store.

Our cheeks were glowing rosy by the time we finished that little job.

If the predictions of an arctic winter should come to pass, then at least we have plenty of logs to feed the Rayburn and the fires.   The log man didn't come alone, he had two wonderful canine friends with him...

One was very shy and stayed out of sight, however, this little chap was determined to have some attention, he is called  Monty.

The shy one is a rescue dog.   He spent the first nine months of his life confined to a kennel, no walks, no interaction.   The log man rescued him and he now has a wonderful life with Monty.

Show-off Sparky
Bennie plays hide and seek behind the books

The cats are having such a lot of fun - days are spent hunting mice and rats, running up trees, chasing Toby-dog, stalking the hens.

Then they spend cosy evenings indoors...Ben likes to find new and interesting places to hide from Sparky.

Here she is tucked between the wall and the books in our bedroom.

Toby watching the hens

Toby continues to plod along - here he is focused on the hens as they ramble around the woodland, he finds them do the cats.
Frankie, Boadicea, Xiao Ji and Isadora

Here are the girls.  Their new feathers are coming through thick and fast now, their combs are pinking up and they are happy and healthy.

They roam around the woodland from dawn to dusk scratting in the soil and doing chickeny things.

Today we left the woodland gate open and allowed them the freedom of the garden.    It didn't take them long to make their way across the gardens to the kitchen door.   It was almost like old times with the other hens.   Their characters are developing and they come running when we call or whistle for them.

Harry is settling well into school, he still gets tired at the end of the day, but then he is only four and a half years old!    He has a small speaking part in the school nativity play - he is to be the inn keeper.   George and I will be at his school a week on Monday when he makes his debut.
This little poppet is doing well, she is on the brink of walking by herself...just not quite ready to relinquish her hold on someone's finger or the furniture, even though they are scarcely needed.

I have also been having a major sort through my books and clothes.  Five huge sacks of clothes have gone to a charity shop in Louth, I have also thinned out some of the books from the Dressing Room.   If I could repeat this exercise many times over I could finally begin to live won't happen, but I keep trying.

PS  I am so excited about seeing you both in the summer.   Three whole weeks, wonderful!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

We Will Remember

Waiting to present the wreaths at the Louth Cenotaph.       

The handsome Guardsman, with the red tunic, was here on holiday but came prepared for the Service of Remembrance.

Standing to the right of him is our local hero, Terry, veteran of the Korean War.    He is a wonderful man who suffered greatly as a POW in Korea.

George, also wearing the beret of the Royal Marines, stands directly behind him.

In recent years it has been of great comfort to Terry to know that after all the years of being the sole local representative of the Royal Marines, he now has George to stand beside him.

Terry is 82 years old, a small, dapper, quiet man.   He is immensely popular,  spends much of his time trout fishing, he still goes out to beat for local shoots and finds time for a drink at the local pub.   I know those years as a POW still haunt him, but he gets on with life.   He is unfailingly polite, with beautiful, old-fashioned good manners.   He is not only popular, he is greatly loved.

Today Terry and George will be attending the British Legion Remembrance Service in Louth, along with many other representatives of the Services.

We will all remember.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

New Girls in the Owl Wood

Snow, sleet, hailstones, heavy rain, biting northerly winds.  

Hardly the ideal way to welcome four semi-plucked ex battery hens to the big wide world of Owl Wood.

We collected them from a farm on the far side of Lincolnshire.   When we arrived there were some two hundred blonde and balding hens taking their first breaths of freedom in the bitterly cold yard of the farm.    One of the assistants caught four hens for us, and as we put them into the cardboard boxes two characters immediately shone through.

The one who has most of her feathers is definitely a feisty one, she decided that she didn't want to be in the box and made to escape, I had to restrain her.    The other one which came to our attention was plonked in the box and immediately fell flat on her face.. and stayed that way.   Once we had assisted her to the upright position she was fine.  Bewildered, confused, hen-pecked - she has a bald neck and few feathers.

The feisty one to the left, the confused one is to the right.
It distresses me to see them looking like this, but they are in far better condition than the first batch we had, and they went on to enjoy several happy years with us.  

These girls will soon settle in and get their cosy feather duvets to keep them warm.

Welcome to our little woodland, girls.  
You are about to have the time of your lives.  
You will be pampered and loved - and you will have your freedom to roam and do "hen things".

Sunday, 21 October 2012

For Jonny

Happy Birthday Jonny!

Growing up in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Holidays in Scotland...

...tackling the Loch Ness monster with your water pistol!

Happy memories of long ago.

Now you are in Shanghai with the girl of your dreams!

Jonny and beautiful Mingming


with oooodles of love,


Mum and Dad


Saturday, 20 October 2012


It looks a little like an old fashioned sweet shop, but this is the interior of the wonderful herb shop at Candlesby.

Just click to enlarge!

Herbs and spices, pot pourri, sweet treats and delights, star anise, cinnamon sticks..

Bunches of herbs hang from the rafters, the whole effect is a visual delight.

Click to enlarge!

The gardens are packed with herbs of every imaginable variety, all beautifully tended.

If plants, herbs and spices are not your thing, perhaps you would like a glimpse of the welcoming committee.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Happy Families & Awaiting New Arrivals

This is for my sons, Tim and Jonny, both of whom have lamented my lack of posts.    

Sorry, boys.   Time is in short supply at the moment.   One reason being that I have been busy making things for the church craft sale next month, at South Thoresby, and I still have a way to go.   However, now that I know you really do still read my blog I will try to fit in a few posts to keep you in touch with life back home.  Love, Mum xx

Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments on previous posts, my apologies if I haven't answered your comment yet.

Whenever I take Toby out for a walk we call in to visit old Arnold,  give him a few treats and a bit of attention.    

The other day we had a stalker - Bennie.

Can you see her?   

It seems that Bennie and Arnold are well acquainted for she strolled up to him, through his legs and then sat down and had a wash.   Arnold bent his head to her and blew softly through his nose; Bennie calmly carried on washing, looking for all the world as though she belongs there.

Moments before, Arnold and Toby had been 'nose to nose' having a little exchange of old gentlemanly conversation - restrained,  dignified,  amiable.

I had a chat with the wonderful John.   He is keeping busy, despite having had a fall earlier in the week.   Luckily he doesn't seem to have done anything more than bruise himself.  Thank goodness.
I was admiring the Chinese Lanterns in his garden, their glorious orange and pumpkin colours are such a delightful sight on an autumnal day.
Chinese Lanterns (Physalis franchetii).jpg
I was privileged enough to be shown his greenhouse.
I was struck with tomato envy!
They are big and very prolific, great heavy clusters draped all around.
Despite his modesty, his vegetable garden was making a good show too.
Runner beans, carrots, beetroot, outdoor tomatoes, etc, etc.

John always has something to chat about, some helpful advice, or an interesting story.
Ninety-five years old and going strong.
A truly wonderful man.

Toby and I bade John farewell, left Bennie with Arnold, and continued our walk to the fishponds.       Some of you may remember that there were two families of geese raised together on the fish pond, earlier this year,  here they are - all grown up.

Toby sauntered over, acting for all the world as though he couldn't see them, he got pretty close and then whoosh, up they flew, over my head and back onto the pond.

All their care and caution seems to have paid dividends.
Now I am wondering, will they stay or will they go?

A bit further on I passed another family, I think they could be related to Triffids...

They were about eight feet tall and pretty large, I'm so pleased I took this quick photograph of them because they have been cut down now.

 I know I have shown you this family before, but they seem to be the most relaxed and contented group.
They won't be outdoors enjoying sunshine on their backs for much longer,
so I made the most of the opportunity to photograph them again.

On the homeward stretch we were met by Bennie sauntering along the road, her tail up in greeting.
I am going to have to run through the road safety code with that little cat.  

I had hoped to be able to bring you news of some new additions to our family,  they were due in September, but they haven't arrived, as yet.

We are expecting another little group of rescue hens.  
Poor little things will arrive 'ready plucked' and bewildered, but before too long they will feather up and then we'll gradually introduce them to the woodland and freedom to roam during the day.

Exciting times.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Vicar's Dressing Room

I thought that today I would show you a couple of Vicars Dressing Rooms...oh all right then, vestries.

In many of the country churches I visit they are simply screened by a bit of curtain, others have doors, and some churches don't appear to have a vestry at all.

This particular church was built in 1363, but was badly damaged during the Civil War, the small portion which remains was restored in 1889.

I have a healthy curiosity so I needed to know what lay beyond the curtained door,  I took a peep... and I am so pleased that I did.   This is the most interesting vestry I have seen.

A small fireplace, for the vicar to warm himself by, a mirror to check his appearance, and a holy statue.   It all seems so right, so well used.   There was even an old kettle - necessary for making that reviving cup of tea.

A lot of junk was in there too, bits and pieces used throughout the church year.
I took my photograph and left, but this small room was the nicest part of the church, it had a wonderful atmosphere.   The main part of the church was beautifully furnished, sumptuous even,  but it felt empty

I also enjoy exploring right around the churchyards -  this little door leads directly into the vestry, what a beauty.

Moving on...

This next vestry is in another small country church located on a hill, just above a tiny hamlet and adjacent to a fine country estate.   Outside, the churchyard monuments show just how wealthy some of the parishioners were.

Hidden behind a curtain ... two safes...perhaps one was for the Parish Registers and the other for church plate.   It was a junked up, messy kind of area again and that is exactly how it felt.     The interior of the main church shows that lots of money has been spent on it - and yet it does not have the feel of a  well-loved church.

This monument is in the vestry - hidden, forgotten, dirty, dusty and covered in cobwebs.  So sad.

The chancel of the church dates from before 1384, with many additions over the years.

Regrettably, the church was "restored" by the Victorians.

Perhaps that accounts for the loss of atmosphere.

My prowl around outside revealed a couple of treasures.

How about this cute, if somewhat dangerous, little staircase  which  leads to the bell tower.

This wonderful Norman arch reputedly comes from the ruins of nearby Calceby church - a recycled archway!

I still haven't found a church which can match All Saints' Church at Saltfleetby - but I shall continue looking.