26 July 2022

All Aboard

For a ride on the Mid Norfolk Railway, a standard guage preserved line running from Wymondham to Dereham.

A week or so ago M and I enjoyed another day trip with our local coach company. The itinerary was to board the train at Wymondham to Dereham, have lunch then by coach to Gooderstone Water Gardens finishing the day with complimentary coffee and cake. However........ engineering work on the line meant we had to do the trip the other way round.
Starting at Gooderstone we had coffee and delicious bakewell tart, before exploring the meandering paths around the ponds and the nature trails at this little gem. It's not as impressive as Leonardslee Gardens but still a very nice place.

Clever placing of craft stalls at the entrance to the tea room

Unfortunately it was a bit of a whistle stop trip because we had to be at Dereham in time for our inclusive lunch and be ready to depart at 2pm.

It's a lovely old station, just as I remember from my childhood

Lunch was a delicious quiche salad with gorgeous new potatoes followed by a scrumptious raspberry and cream sponge cake.

The lovely station master and ticket inspector.

The train should have been pulled by a steam engine but because of the risk of sparks landing on any of the very dry crops or hedgerows along the line it was changed to a diesel engine.

The destination should have been Wymondham but because of the engineering works we could only go as far as the tiny station at Thuxton where we had a look in the signal box.

I was hoping we would be in the old fashioned carriages but they were reserved for afternoon tea. They have dining days of afternoon tea, and the Breckland Fryer Fish & Chips Train. That's our kind of trip, shame we don't live closer!

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

22 July 2022

A Nice Day Out

Today my friend M and I visited our friend J who lives in Hadleigh in Suffolk. We had lunch in nearby Lavenham, a quintessential beautiful English country village.

Lavenham Blue Vintage Tea Room is very pretty, I forgot to take photos of inside. It's decked out in 40's memorabilia, posters, photographs, pretty table cloths, patterned china cups and saucers, proper teapots kept warm with tea cosies, and 40's music playing.

It was just a tad to chilly for us to sit in the pretty garden

Tea Room goodie bags for sale

There are lots of fine old properties around the village

The old Guildhall

We had a lovely day but the weather was chilly. On Tuesday and Wednesday we were roasting, I'm always bewildered how the weather goes from 39 deg to 20 deg in just two days!

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

18 July 2022

Another Dolls House

Yes dear reader, I have another house! I haven't finished Lake View yet, but this one was there and I couldn't resist it. After buying Lake View I told myself that I would only buy one more house and it had to be a Tudor one. I've always liked the Tudor and Jacobean eras.
There is a dolls house shop nearby that I visit now and again, and when I visited a couple of months ago there it was, right at the front of the shop, just waiting for me! At £375 though it was a tad above what I wanted to pay. The owner wasn't in but her friend said she thought I would be able to pay by instalments, and to phone the following Tuesday. Meanwhile whilst surfing the web looking at Tudor house designs and furnishings I found the shop's website, and there it was online for £275, and when I phoned the following Tuesday the owner said I could have it at that price, and pay for it over a couple of months.

It's very well built, sturdy and in very good condition

Apart from removing some wallpaper, changing the ground floor covering and adding some wood panels and beams it's good to go for furnishing with furniture and wall hangings. The Tudors weren't big on accessorising.

The dolls house shop is one of several well preserved farm buildings at Blake House Craft Centre, which was previously the Blake House farmyard.
There is a lovely flower shop, an antique shop, a gorgeous fabrics and wool shop a good restaurant, and resident peacocks.

This one was fascinated by its reflection, thinking it was another peacock.
It was trying to get into the shop.

I've never seen a white one before.

I waited for a while hoping they would lift their tails but they didn't.

∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x

14 July 2022

A Good Read, Sort Of

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Well I don’t know what to say about this. It’s billed as Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day. It is a clever plot, well written, with excellent descriptions of the characters, but I spent a lot of time in a state of confusion! There are a lot of characters in lots of places, gathering lots of clues to solve the mystery of who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. 

The story starts with Aiden Bishop waking up in a forest, not knowing who he is, where he is or how he got there. He later learns his name and that he received an invitation to a Masquerade Ball at Blackheath House, the family home of the Hardcastle family. He also learns that he is trapped in a supernatural prison, and his only means of escape is to identify Evelyn Hardcastle’s murderer. A masked figure curtly informs him that Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and he must do so by reliving the day of the murder eight times, each day in the body of a different person. If he fails he will return to the first day, memory wiped clean, to do it all again.

The concept is good, 8 people each with different skills for picking up clues and working out where people were and who did what at given times of days and nights, but I found it very difficult to pick up any clues or remember where all the characters were and what they were doing.

At the beginning  of the 505 pages I was invested in the plot and the characters but as the novel progressed I lost track of everything, enjoyment turned to hard work, and eventually I was speed reading to get to the end.

If you decide to read it, take notes, copious notes, about everything and everyone! AND CONCENTRATE!

∼ Happy Reading ∼ 

Polly x

11 July 2022


Our last two WI meetings have been extra nice ones. In June we had an outing to our city museum, and last week we had our summer lunch.
The Museum is a local history and industrial heritage museum. In 2019, it had a full refurbishment, with a new cafe, interactive displays and new artefacts.

The additional wing at the side is quite modern but blends in well with the original building.

The house started life as a beautiful surburban residence built in 1865 for local industrialist Frederick Wells, a director of the Chelmsford Brewery, on land purchased from the estate of the influential Mildmay family.
The house was used as a hospital in World War I, and when it came up for sale in 1930 Chelmsford Borough Council bought it for use as Chelmsford and Essex Regiment Museum.
It has some wonderful exhibits documenting the history of Chelmsford through the ages.

Prehistoric and Roman

Flint tools, and bones from wild ox, hippopotamus, woolly rhino and woolly mammoth.

The Roman hypocaust central heating system
Hot air from a furnace circulated under the floor which was raised off the ground on stacks of small tiles. The hot air then escaped through holes inside the walls heating the walls too as the hot air moved upwards. The holes were made by building hollow box flue tiles into the walls. That large tile is a rare original.

Sword, sheild, pottery, spearhead, knife, cauldron


The Essex Yeomanry was a Reserve unit of the British Army that originated in 1797 as local Yeomanry Cavalry Troops. Reformed after the experience gained in the Second Boer War, it saw active service as cavalry in WWI and as artillery in WWII. 

In 1913 four silver sided drums were presented by public subscription to each Battalion as a memorial to the Boer War. In 1922 all ranks of the 2nd Bn subscribed to complete the set of 8 side drums and 2 tenor drums.

Trooper Ray in France 1915 in service dress uniform worn for daily parades and instruction.
His horse had a rope curtain to keep flies out of his eyes.

This was so life like we expected it to suddenly move and say hello ladies!


Purple satin mourning bridal gown 1898

Cotton utility dress 1940's
During the Second World War the Government introduced the Utility Clothing Schemto safeguard materials and labour needed for the war effort.
Clothing had to be simple and practical.

 Silk afternoon dress 1953
It didn't take long for fashion to move from utility to something more luxurious though. When Christian Dior's "New Look" appeared in February 1947 with its nipped in waist and full skirted silhouette it became an instant success.

A-line mini dress circa 1968.
Shell suit 1992 must rank high in the 'most dreadful fashion item' list.
At the time though we all thought they were great.

Children's Toys
a trip down memory lane

Marconi's made radar equipment for defence and navigation

Ships at Sea. Before Marconi there was no way of contacting a ship at sea.
The survivors of the Titanic owed their lives to marine radio.

An accurate copy of the radio room on board the Titanic

Factory Life

Mrs Beaton
My grandmother's cellar had a sink and mangle just like these

More modern

I really liked this trio of pottery.
The middle one has "My gift to you from heart so true" engraved around it.

Medical and neonatal equipment

I'm not a fan of local lad Grayson Perry's work. He has done very well though. This is a bit rude! The clasp is strategically placed. Made in 2019, the handbag is one of ten specially designed by Perry in collaboration with Osprey. Perry's maker's mark, a W and an anchor are embossed on the leather. The clasp features Perry's teddy bear Alan Measles, who is often used as a symbol of masculinity and God.

And finally, our lunch. I didn't intend this to be such a long post, and I've only scratched the surface of the exhibits.
Our annual WI lunch is always a happy event. We all contribute, talk a lot and have a great time. 
I was so hungry and keen to get started I forgot to take a photo of the delicious vittles!

This is what was left towards the back, and at the front the most
scrumptious strawberries for dessert, complete with cream.

My raffle number was called, I chose the hand wash as the
lovely stocks and chocolates had already gone. 

I've been working on more Haikus, this is my latest offering

Roses for beauty
And their perfume is divine
As heady as wine
∼ Be safe and well∼
Polly x
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