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.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

China - London and finally, home!

At 7.20pm tonight, the coach pulled into Louth bus station - the first passenger to alight was Jonny!
We soon had his bags stashed into the back of the car and were on our way home.......Mother Nature treated us to this beautiful rainbow.  By my reckoning the end of the rainbow was somewhere pretty close to Pear Tree Towers.

Forgive me if I go quiet for a few days, I need to cook and bake and talk, or perhaps talk while cooking and baking.   I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Friday's Fences - Wild and Wacky!

click to enlarge, it's worth it!
This is the gateway to a farmyard/scrap metal yard/garage - a
wonderfully exuberant and colourful gate.

I would hate to be the person who has to re-paint it!
It is composed of spanners, spark plugs, cog wheels, connectors, and bits of this and that.
I think it is great fun.
The yard itself is rather ugly, but tidy.
It is located to the left hand side of this very quiet country lane.
As the signboard indicates, on the right hand side, directly opposite,
is a rather wonderful old church - can you see how the tower has tilted?
It really does lean out to an alarming degree.
This big old church was built on marshy ground and, although it is considered safe, there is still some movement which occurs from time to time.
The tower has supports and an extra fillet of lead roofing has been inserted into the gap between the roof and the tower, but still it keeps slowly moving.
There are huge cracks in walls and a little rubble falls occasionally.
Despite all of this it is my all-time favourite church building and I would love to show you round.
I'll be posting about it soon.

 Once again I am delighted to be joining in with Jan n Jer's Friday Fences.  
For a wonderfully varied collection of fences please click on the link.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Sparky gets Sniffy & Hen Comes to Tea

click to enlarge!
Sparky, taking time to smell the flowers.
My giant poppies are a brief seasonal treat.  
They are delicate.  
When I spotted Sparky having a jolly good sniff I was - concerned. 
I am happy to say the poppies survived Sparky's attention.
Unfortunately the wind and the rain took care of them later that day.  
They were nice while they lasted.

This little red hen is the sole survivor of the original rescue hens.  She is an old girl now.  Throughout the time we had the gang of four she was always the quiet one.

She wasn't greedy, grumpy or gregarious, she just stayed in the background, feathers golden and glowing, always gorgeous, but aloof.

Now that she is without her old friends she has developed quite a character, or should I say, we now have the opportunity to fully appreciate her character and her habits.

She doesn't do early mornings, she likes a little lie-in.  Then she likes to go to bed nice and early, with a mug of cocoa and a couple of digestive biscuits to dunk and nibble as she watches Emmerdale Farm.

She doesn't like to be handled, or to take food from the hand...unless it is Harry who is doing it when she suddenly becomes compliant.

Her routine has developed into escaping from the Owl Wood twice a day.  Somehow she gets herself over the fence onto the old pew and then flutters heavily into the log store area.

Little Red Hen then comes through the vegetable garden, round to the patio and taps loudly on the kitchen door.  She will not be budged until she has had a tasty scrap or two, then she quite happily walks back and waits to be let into Owl Wood.

Scone is her treat of choice at teatime.

No doubt while Jonny is home her breakfast treat will be bacon scraps or cheese rinds.

Monday, 25 June 2012

He's Coming Home!

Later this week Jonny (for whom I began writing this blog) will begin travelling home!   He will visit some family and friends in London before beginning the trek up to Lincolnshire and home.

I am in a state of excitement, to put it mildly!
He left home  in the middle of August last year, to work in China.     During his time away he has had many adventures and new experiences, made lots of new friends, built up relationships.

I am looking forward to having him home and cooking a few of his favourite foods hearing about his adventures.

I know that Jonny is desperate for some really good cheese having been starved of it for almost a year.  Luckily Louth has a wonderful cheese shop and a couple of really good delicatessens.  He will dine like a king while he is home.

All too soon he will be packing his bags and going back for more adventures.
He may be a couple of pounds heavier though.  

Saturday, 23 June 2012

A Pretty Thatched Church what the Bishop reported, when he visited the Augustinian Priory which used to stand on this site.   It was dissolved in 1534 and the stone was used to build the pretty little church of St Peter.  The bell is said to be the refectory bell from the priory.
Just Click to Enlarge!
As you can see, it is thatched.  One of only a few left in the country and the only thatched church in Lincolnshire.  When it was built in 1611 it had a tiled roof, but in 1672 a Church Warden (Richard White) thatched it, and took the tiles as payment.    I don't know why that happened, perhaps the roof tiles were leaking - or perhaps he was simply an early wheeler-dealer!
1898 view of interior, English Heritage 
By  the late 19th century the church was in a very dilapidated and run down state so a corrugated iron church was built nearby... and the old church was used only for funerals or the occasional wedding.  By 1962 the corrugated church was also in a poor state of repairs, so they finally decided to renovate St Peter's Church.
It is a very small church set nicely back off the road.  The site is well sheltered and screened and there are the remains of a moat around part of the site, probably part of the original priory.
The sun was shining as I made my way to the door - it is a quite plain door,
which shows the wear and tear of many years, lovely.  I like the very simple ironwork too.
So, it was with a tingle of anticipation and delight that I turned the door find I was greeted by
this rather less than beautiful interior.  It is having all manner of renovation work done to it, not all, I fear is sympathetic.  We can only wait to see what happens, I hope it turns out to be a minimally invasive renovation.  I'll keep you posted.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Friday's Fences - A Perfect Walk in Owl Wood

I have young Harry to thank for this Friday's Fence. Without his young eyes, and shorter stature, I probably wouldn't have spotted what he saw.

We were walking Toby around the Owl Wood and being followed by Little Red Hen and the two cats.

"Gran, Gran, there's a little man" ... whispered Harry.
I peered in the direction he was pointing, but could see nothing.
Harry was insistent.  He tugged on my hand and I squatted down next to him...
click to enlarge

Gradually I began to see what Harry had spotted, it did look as though someone was sitting on the lawn next door.

So, this is taken through a metal fence, then through an old hedge, and we saw...

... a  beautiful little Buddha sitting under a tree.
I think he looks perfectly at home in an English country garden.

When you realise how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.

I am very happy to be joining in with Jan and Jer where you will find lots of other Friday's Fences.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A Small English Village and a Cute Little Car

Situated just three miles from Louth is a small village, Little Cawthorpe.  
This beautiful building is the manor house and dates to 1673.
Click to enlarge!
Even the gateposts are original and yet somehow a post collection box was carefully fitted into it during Victorian times.

Whenever we pass this pretty little manor house I have to steal a look.

Just opposite it, on a small bank, is the village church.  St Helen's was rebuilt about 150 years ago, in red and black brick.  

I really like the way that whoever designed the pathway to the church didn't go for the easy option, they decided to make it flow, built in a curve.  Red and black brick do not appeal to me, the pathway does!

Right next to the church is the village pond.    This area had seven springs and is the source of the Long Eau.  At some point it was decided to turn this soggy place into a village pond - and it is quite beautiful.  The road is called "Watery Lane", that should tell you everything you need to know about how wet it gets.
It is a beautiful, peaceful place, although I don't think I would like my house to be quite that close to the water.

There are a couple of other interesting buildings which I would like to show you, I will photograph them when I visit the church.  

Forgive me, this is pure self-indulgence.  I spotted this cute little car in a car park, just a couple of miles up the road at the garden centre.

An Austin Seven.

So cute, so dinky, I could almost have fitted it into the boot of my car.

The sun was shining so brightly I couldn't see what I was photographing, I had to resort to good old point, click, hope for the best.  They are not brilliant shots, but at least I got the right car!

Monday, 18 June 2012

A Walk into the Unknown

The sky didn't look promising, the clouds looked as though they could drop some rain at any time, but I decided to just go for it.   Normally I just put a lead on Toby and we walk wherever our feet take us, today I wanted to do something different.   I put Toby's car harness on him and drove a couple of miles along the lanes, in order to try out a new walk.

For the first ten or fifteen minutes of the walk I skirted around a very large field, enjoying the wider skies and sight of the dancing trees on the horizon.   I enjoyed seeing the remarkable variety of grasses and sedges - and became aware of just how ignorant I am of any of their names.    Hedges were studded with wild roses in pink and white.

click to enlarge
A few more minutes brought us to this stream.

I had to climb a stile, Toby found his own way through.  and we met on the other side, where this pretty scene greeted us.

There was even a beautiful white duck with one lone duckling.

Beautiful yellow irises are in flower along the banks.  It was tranquil, refreshing.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

A Privy, An Outhouse, A Necessary Room...

...Call it what you will, we all need them.  Preferably the modern, indoor, flush version.

Regular readers will know that one of my favourite walks takes me through a barley field and past this dinky cottage - follow the path, then look to the left, you can see the roof.

Set away to the side of the cottage is a small, brick, outbuilding.  A privy!  The very necessary, outhouse.

Of course these days the cottage has modern plumbing, but it is an old cottage and this outhouse is what passed for the conveniences.  Imagine trekking down there on a cold, dark, wet night... either that or use a chamber pot.

Those of a sensitive disposition should read no further!

It would have been dark inside there, even on a bright sunny day.  Note the sloping roof which lets the rain run down and off the building.  This one may have been a double seater - there are two holes at the back where the waste could either drain, or buckets could be removed.

with thanks to
There were a couple of methods of dealing with the waste products.  In the diagram above,  it was left to rot down in some sort of stinking 'compost heap'.  If the heap was too large, or the privy became blocked ''The Night Soil Men'  could be hired to come and dig it out - during the night - hence the name.  What a job.

An alternative method was to use buckets, which could be either emptied onto the compost heap periodically, or, The Night Soil Man would come around to do the emptying and carting, for a fee.

When we moved to the Byre there was a very large shrub and ivy covered clump at the back of the farmhouse.  When we finally broke through the ivy, it turned out to be the old privy, still complete with two buckets.  This is one of them.  Note the oval shape and the two sturdy handles.  You really wouldn't want any accidental slips when emptying one of these...
Unfortunately, when the ivy was cut back the building was found to be unsafe and had to be dismantled;  we didn't want to lose all of the history, so we retained the footprint and turned it into a herb garden.  We also kept the old privy buckets!  They were both perfectly clean and fresh, or I wouldn't have kept them!

Jonathan added some huge hunks of wood, left over from the renovations, to create a bench seat.

He mischievously  positioned these so that anyone who sits on the bench would be sitting 'back to back' with those who used the privy in times gone by.  Boys!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Fridays Fences

click to enlarge

Metal railings on top of brickwork...

Metal railings, overgrown trees, attractive brickwork and metalwork...
It is a fence of metal railings on top of an old railway bridge across a country road.
 The bridge was built in 1848 for the Eastcoast Railway Line which ran between Louth and Boston.
Sadly, this line was closed in 1961, which explains why there are trees and shrubs growing all along the top, nature is reclaiming  the line, and the bridge.

You may be able to read the sign which warns that only vehicles of 12'6", or less may use the road under the bridge...

This bridge is on a narrow country road, with a trout farm entrance to the left and a cereal crop field to the right - neither space is suitable for a large vehicle to turn...times without number do we hear the "beep - beep" of enormous vehicles as they have to reverse a quarter of a mile before they find somewhere suitable to turn to  avoid the low bridge!

There are lots of warning signs, but too much reliance on sat-nav systems could be a factor.

I am happy to be participating in Fridays Fences with Jan and Jer.
Please check out their website for lots of interesting fences.

Still Together

A quick walk to the pond was rewarded with this lovely sight..if you click on them, the photos should enlarge.  They were taken from a long way off the pond as the parents are very wary.
Haven't they grown!
Both families still have all their babies.  

I don't know whether it is normal behaviour, but they seem to be two families looking after their own young, but together - four pairs of eyes being better at spotting danger.
A quick walk on past the watermill - the swan is still alone, but seems content for the moment.
As Toby and I came under the old railway bridge and on to the homeward straight, I stepped into the barley field and took this shot of the Byre - now if only that were our front lawn!  Eeek, no, think of how long it would take to mow.