Sunday, 17 September 2017

Framlingham - Rochester - Framlingham - St Andrews - Framlingham. The retirement merry-go-round

Yet again I've had to put the blog on the back burner as the hectic retirement merry-go-round continues. It's almost three weeks since I told you about very expensive bottle of Pinot Grigio that wrecked the Apple Mac and those three weeks have been quite eventful. 

The Mercedes CLS tyres appear to be jinxed. By August we had already had  three punctures this year - two of those needed new tyres (£250 each- ouch) and one was repaired by the excellent Fram Tyres. All this after telling my friend Mark in March that we hadn't had a puncture in years. You would have thought that that was enough tyre problems for a long time but no! On Thursday we went to drop off some bits and pieces we were donating for the refugees in Ipswich when a boy racer approached on the wrong side of a narrow country road. I swerved to avoid him but overdid it and hit the kerb with a bang - another £250 up in smoke. Although it was his fault it was my fault too - my steering left a lot to be desired. 

Oh well. Once again Fram Tyres offered excellent service and went out of their way to get hold of a tyre on the same day despite the blowout being after their usual cut off time. 

So what's been keeping us so busy? I'll fill you in in pictures.

We had a great day in Rochester visiting son Paul and our grandchildren Catherine and Teddy. Here they are at the Chatham Dockyards - a quite spectacular example of regeneration.

Here's a submarine that was built in Chatham. I've never been in a submarine before.

There's not a lot of room.

Near the dockyard is a trampoline centre called Flip Out. Marion flipped and I sat it out.

Back from Rochester it was time to get in the car and drive up to St Andrews to visit the Scottish branch of the family. 

We had a lot of fun. Here are Rose and Melody at the Dundee Science Centre where we had a great day.

No summer trip to St Andrews is complete without a visit to Allanhill strawberry farm.

The sun did shine - for all of a couple of hours

It's not much fun staying in a caravan on rainy days so we went and had coffee in some very special places. Here's the view from The Old Course Hotel. Okay the coffee is almost twice the price of Costa but you don't get this view and the WIFI is super fast.

And the Fairmont's not too bad either.

Whatever the weather. St Andrews is a magical place.

But you can't spend a whole week drinking coffee, however nice the venue. So we filled in the rainy afternoons with no less than three movie trips.

Detroit. Excellent but harrowing.

Logan Lucky - fun.

Wind River - thrilling.

Now it's time for the stuff I've been finding with the metal detector so you can stop reading if you're not interested. In between trips to Rochester and St Andrews I've managed to get out a few times and, as always, there have been some interesting finds. Here they are :-

Cut halfpenny of either John or Henry III
Medieval casket key c1200-1400

Seal ring c1250-1400 (it's not complete sadly)

Tiny early seal or alnage

Wonderful and very rare penny of Henry I. My first find of a Norman king. Henry reigned from 1100 to 1135 so this coin has survived for over 900 years. 

The moneyer is Brunic and, as far as experts tell me, there is no previous recorded example of this coin with this moneyer

Lousy condition but the first Roman coin I've found since living in Suffolk. Emperor Gallienus c260-268 AD

Lovely shoe buckle. Post Medieval

Another medieval casket key
Elizabethan Penny
Medieval penny

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The £210 Bottle Of Pinot Grigio

You may (or may not) be wondering what happened to this blog for the last couple of weeks after I promised regular updates.

Well, a very expensive bottle of wine happened.

I discovered that the wine fridge was bare and ordered a couple of cases from the excellent Richard at The Framlingham Wine Shop. I gave him a budget and suggested a quantity of reds, whites and rosés and, as always, he came up with a lovely selection.I picked it up and started to refill the fridge when somehow I inexplicably caught my shirt cuff on one of the bottles. I watched as it span almost in slow motion before crashing to the kitchen work surface and shattering into a hundred pieces. At least it was only the Pinot Grigio I thought (it's not my favourite) but no real harm done apart from a lost bottle of wine. 

Marion rushed to see what the commotion was. "No problem" I said "only a bottle of Pinot Grigio".
"What about your computer?" says Marion pointing out that it is sitting in a large puddle of wine.

"It'll be okay" I said. "It's seeped underneath but none got on the keyboard"

As I said this, the MacBook started to make an ominous fizzing and popping sound and Marion gave me a look that said "sure it will be okay."

And, as always, she was right. The screen went blank and every effort to bring it back to life failed.  

An hour later I was driving to Leigh On Sea where I had located a company that said that it could restore liquid damaged Macs.And they could. eFix ltd they are called - 

Just over a week later I drove back to Leigh On Sea to collect the laptop and here I am writing the blog - £200 out of pocket but happy that everything is up and running and no data has been lost. 

I might have been better off if eFix couldn't fix it as everything was backed up to BT Cloud and the insurance is new for old but hey - I'm not a big fan of claiming on insurance (don't get me started on the "did you have food poisoning on holiday two years ago?" firms).

So, after all that, I'm back writing and I had better keep it brief as we've done quite a bit in the last couple of weeks.

19th August saw us back on the South Bank in London for another trip to the National Theatre. I was fascinated to see this boat packed with EU and GB flag waving protesters. I hope that they got their message across. 

There's always something to see on the South Bank. This time, this amazing superhero sculpture caught our eyes. I can't remember which comic book series he is from but he's a truly impressive piece.

Our play this time was "The Majority" , Rob Drummond's fascinating one-man interactive show. We couldn't have been any closer and found ourselves on the front row and within touching distance of the Dorfman stage. We were asked to vote on a number of issues and discovered that we were amongst a majority of white, liberal people of whom 89.8% voted Remain. This meant that the results of many of the votes cast during the show were hardly surprising but nonetheless it was a very entertaining, thought provoking and enjoyable ninety minutes of theatre.  

I've been working hard on the lawn over the last four years and I'm pretty pleased with the results.

It was time for more culture last Thursday when we returned to Snape Maltings for another of this season's proms. This time it was Renée Fleming with the LPO. Her performance of the Strauss Four Last Songs was amazing and brought no less than three encores from a rapturous crowd.

And a bit more culture on Friday evening when we went to The Lemon Tree here in Framlingham. They opened for an experimental wine and cheese night with a young lady (Maddy from Dennington) singing. It was a nice event but I found it hard to linger for very long over a couple of glasses of wine and some cheese.

There was more substantial fare at home on Saturday when we bought a couple of lobsters from Darren at the market and had a delicious and simple lobster dinner.

On Sunday we went to the Halesworth street antiques market. I didn't buy anything but it was a hot and sunny day and we had an enjoyable stroll around the many stalls. I loved this sign.

Last night we returned to Snape for our last concert this season.

This time it was the wonderful London Gay Men's Chorus. The show was called "Agit-Pop" and carried a very serious anti-homophobic message amongst the joyous and harmonious singing - a fabulous show that went down a storm with the Snape audience.

If there is a nicer concert location than Snape, I've yet to find it. Here's Myriad, one of the many stunning artworks in the grounds

The wetland setting is idyllic 

And there's often a spectacular sunset.
Today was another trip to Leigh On Sea. We didn't want to do a ninety minute drive and just head straight back so we went to the famous Beth Chatto gardens near Colchester.

The weather was glorious and the gardens gave Marion plenty of ideas for our own (somewhat tiny) plot.

And if you couldn't care less what I found with the detector while the computer was out of action you can stop reading now. I've had a few trips out and here are some of the finds.

A musket ball and a similarly sized lead artefact (drawer knob perhaps?)

A nice silver sixpence from the realm of Charles I

An Elizabeth I penny and an Exeter lead seal from around 1650

Two Charles I Rose farthings and another early cloth seal

Tiny medieval heraldic harness stud and another Rose Farthing

Sword belt hanger probably Tudor period and a couple of fancy buttons from the 19th century

Shoe buckle and a very early anthropomorphic mount depicting a crowned head and dating to c 1250

Edward III penny with a nice clear portrait for once.

That's it for now. I'm hoping that now that the Mac is back, blogging will continue as normal.