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.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Things are Topsy-Turvy

Life is a little topsy turvy at the moment, no time to play. 
One tiny 6lb human being can create chaos! 
We live right next door to her.
So we are able to help out.
We get to the end of the day and find that we haven't done any of our own work.
Things will improve as she gets a little older... was the same with her mum - 33 years ago!
In the meantime, postings may be sporadic.

I hope you enjoy these pictures, they are from a wonderful book called The Fox's Frolic by Sir Frances Burnand, pictures by Harry Neilson.

It is all about the Topsy Turvy Hunt.
I was fortunate enough to find this book lurking in the bottom of a box of books which I purchased at auction, many years ago.
This is Francesca, cause of all the chaos.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Wrap Up Warm, Wellies On

I thought you might like to see another of our favourite walks, this time down past the fishing pond and across the Great Eau to the far bank where we will meander along to the fields of Belleau.
Come on, Gran!
This river feeds into the local trout farm and has private fishing rights.  It makes for a wonderful walk - or, as Harry preferred to call it today 'A Bear Hunt', with hungry trolls under all the bridges.  Luckily we met neither.
In the last couple of weeks they have done a lot of tree work along here, so we wanted to see the results.

We plodged through the mud, much to Harry's delight.
Past the tiny cottage with the bright red door.
On around the bend in the river, until we could see Belleau in the distance.
You can just see the lovely Belleau Church Tower in the distance, with the old dovecote in the foreground.
No trolls under this one!
Small signs of spring everywhere.
(Unfortunately I forgot my specs, so we were back to point and click, sorry)
Then we found a lovely muddy puddle to wash our wellies, before going home!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

My Humiliation on P&O Cruise Ship Oriana, April 1964

Our sadness at leaving Hong Kong was lessened, a little, by our excitement at the prospect of a three week cruise home to England!  
Steve and Ian
He was very cute!
We three children had enormous fun, visited many countries on the way and 'enjoyed' much entertainment - something was organised for almost every minute of the day, if you had the stamina or the inclination.  
There was a fancy dress competition for the children - Ian was dressed in red crepe paper; Steve made him a very impressive trident to carry and a large note was hung around his neck which declared: "I'm a Little Devil - Just Ask My Mum!".  He was very cute and he won first prize!

My outfit was black leotard, leggings, and a long black cat tail (made by Steve)  sheets of paper were attached around and about me - bearing the legend  "COPY", I wore a cat mask and had whiskers - I was a copy cat!  I got third prize.  I think I won a wooden jigsaw puzzle which showed Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Somewhere, there are photographic images of these - no doubt Owl will have his revenge with them one day.
Wednesday 22nd April...
It was great fun, we were having a wonderful time.  
Then Wednesday 22nd April, 1964 dawned.  
It was  Children's Sports Day.   

I had been entered for the egg and spoon race - I didn't get placed, but I didn't disgrace myself either.
Next came the Obstacle Race.  The first obstacle was easy - throw a bean bag into the bucket - even I could manage that one.
The second obstacle was where I came unstuck.  I couldn't get beyond it!  Three hours later, when everyone was tired from laughing so much, I was allowed to stop trying and move on.  
What was the cause of this utter humiliation?  
A bread bun.  
A bread bun attached by string to a rope, dangling there.  
The idea being that we had to take a bite out of it - no hands allowed.  

The irony of it is that I enjoy my food, I have always enjoyed my food - and here I was, defeated by a bread bun,  in front of all those people.

Ian fared rather better in the under 5's running race - my mother had a box of mini chocolate bars which she waved at him from the far end of the track - he won by miles!  

I wonder whether I would have done any better if she'd done the same for me!

Friday, 27 January 2012

One Simply Cannot Get the Staff

Do not entrust the making of tea to servants
This is taken from a very old Victorian recipe book.  It made me smile.

Blend your teas thoroughly well and keep in a closed tin in a dry place.

Do not entrust the making of this (or any other tea) to servants.  The scalding of the teapot and making of tea with freshly boiling water are essential:  and this is what servants usually ignore.

Water that has been boiling some time will not "draw" tea properly: much less so, water that "has boiled" which is too frequently made use of by servants.

Hints on Food Storage:
It is essential that all store-provisions should be kept covered otherwise they accumulate dust and germs, and become unfit for use, even though they may appear so.  

This is a fact which no servant can get into her head, and which requires constant attention.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Message to Jonny: You have a Niece!

Hi Jonny,

We were doing the Aged Aunt's  shopping this morning when we got a call to say that Davina has had the baby - a little girl, weighing in at 6lbs. 2oz - so 11oz heavier than Harry was.  She was born at 10.04am this morning.  
Poor little babe had a slightly complicated delivery, so she and her mum are being kept in for a day or two.  Her little face is beautiful (obviously) but on the photograph you can see she looks a bit battered, but that will sort itself out in a few days.

She has dark hair and pretty large hands and feet, so she probably takes after the Appleby side, well, that's what your dad says.

We dropped Nicki's shopping off, made her some lunch, gave her a glass of fizz to toast the baby and told her as much as we knew.  Before we made the trek home we were able to nip into the maternity hospital and see Davina and the baby for twenty minutes.

Davina was looking radiant  and the baby was fast asleep.  Both doing beautifully.

I must dash now and ring the Aged One to furnish her with a few more details.  No doubt her telephone will be red hot today!

We have to collect Harry from nursery very soon, he will be staying with us again tonight as John is staying with Davina until much later this evening.

When do you start work again?
Look after yourself, let me know if you are available for a Skype call anytime.
Ooodles of love,

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Hugs for Arnold and Huffy Sheep

This morning we went to Louth Farmers' Market, it is only held on the fourth Wednesday of every month - so we always try to get there to stock up on good  quality local produce.
After a snack lunch we got our wellies on and headed out to check up on Arnold and his new companions.  
Arnold was very welcoming and demanded a good hug, a good scratching session, and then searched our pockets for the apple which he knew would be around somewhere.  I had to laugh because the sheep had obviously been watching us for as Arnold crunched and munched they began tip-toeing closer to see whether we had something for them!
They gave us some very hard stares when we had nothing to offer them - sorry sheep!
 Arnold seemed very keen on the hugging side of things today.
The good news is that the sheep were all keeping pretty close to Arnold, everyone had been amicably grazing in the same part of the field - so I think the plan is working.  Arnold has chums!

This is where Arnold lives.  The wonderful, crumbly buildings to the left probably won't be around much longer - mind you, I've been thinking that for years!  
We nipped over the road and across stile and checked out the fishing pond which is directly across the road from our house.
This is the view in the other direction
in the distance there you can see the old Methodist Chapel which has been converted into a lovely home.
If you would like to see a little more of our area  my lovely friend Dom has done an article for Lincolnshire Magazine, all about our local trout farm and smokery  located just across the road from us.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Bubonic Plague and the Calceby Ruins

Today dawned grey, wet, and bone-chillingly cold - not a day for working out in the wood or the garden.  
I decided to go and photograph the ruins at Calceby.  
I hold my hands up, it was probably a housework avoidance tactic.
St Andrew's Church, Calceby.
The last service held here was in 1692.
The church was constructed of chalk and dressed with local stone, which apparently means that the parish was not wealthy.
The ruins stand on a knoll near a deserted medieval village.
Opinions vary on why the village was abandoned - was it down to differences in farming practice and less need for farm labourers - or was it because of bubonic plague?
Bubonic plague decimated the population in villages just a mile or so away in 1631, so that could be a factor.
Rumour has it that there was a tunnel dug under the church - indeed a woman who spent her younger days just a little further down this hill, at the Grange, says that she discovered the exit, but was not allowed to try to dig to find the tunnel under the church!
Probably just as well given the perilous state of the ruins
All that remains is the Norman tower arch and some portions of outer walls.
I understand that when the church was abandoned the main doors were taken to a nearby village church, I'll go there and take a look when I get the chance.
This is the view from the church this morning - it was bitterly cold and drizzling!
The ruins viewed from the road...
..and this is the small lay-by where we had to park.
It looks pretty grim and it can be pretty grim at times because the rabbits and badgers sometimes dislodge skulls and bones from the graveyard up that hill.
I'm happy to report there were no bones there today.
This is the lovely old manor house and farm, located just a few yards from the ruins.
Sorry, by this time I was too wet and cold to run up the road for better photographs.

I'm sure that the place was a sacred site long before this church was built, unfortunately I haven't been able to discover a great deal more.
Even on a day like today the site had a wonderfully peaceful air about it, the kind that I often feel in a well-loved and much prayed-in church.

It was worth braving the elements, but I was pleased to get back home for a good cup of tea.