Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, this morning I can look out of my window and see the beginnings of a well sorted summer garden. Having got all my plants in over the Bank Holiday weekend we then had a couple of mild days with rain to water them in nicely. Unfortunately though I think one of my cucumbers has bought it - we had a day of strong wind which seems to have given it a real battering but I'm endeavouring to use my vegetable vet skills to bring it out of it's cucumber coma! But I can now see some of my seeds struggling through the soil and my red hot pokers are starting to 'poke'.

As I'd worked hard most of last weekend, Adam decided it'd be nice to have an early evening drive out on Bank Holiday Monday. We needed to post some letters so we went via back roads to the village where I spent the first 26 years of my life - Coltishall. It's only five or six miles up the road but since my mother and father moved a few miles further north to the market town of North Walsham back in 1999, we tend to drive through it rather than stop. Typically, as it was a Bank Holiday, one of the roads through was closed for roadworks so the traffic was diverted (not that there's a huge amount of traffic) and also, just as typically, the diversion signs were here, there and everywhere but gave little information. Fortunately we knew where the little back lanes were to lead us to the post office but I pity any poor visitors/holidaymakers, they probably ended up somewhere between Devon and Yorkshire!

By going along the back lanes I have to admit I was saddened by three things.

When I lived in the village the banks were full of brambles, crab apples and basically native hedging but since I last went round that way, all the hedgerows had been stripped. I spent so many happy years walking and cycling there, grubbing through the cow parsley and nettles on the banks to pick the blackberries and crab apples.

The second thing I noticed was that an old wooden five bar gate across a meadow had been replaced with one of those hideous metal ones and the kissing gate attached to it to enable use of the public footpath had been taken away and a wire stock proof fence had been placed along the edge of the meadow. I assume this is to stop yobs and idiots who don't control their dogs from getting to the bullocks that are normally in there but it's somehow taken away that idyllic country feel from such a beautiful area.

The third thing which dismayed me somewhat was that a pretty little 1920s house, painted pale pink and set in its pretty little cottage garden complete with apple trees had been knocked down, the plot had been flattened and cleared and a large new house was under construction. The house had been built by a Mr and Mrs Girling who had a daughter. After Mr and Mrs Girling died, their daughter who had remained a spinster continued living there until she died a couple of years back. I'm sure Miss Girling would have been devastated if she'd known her lovely little family house and her beautifully tended garden had been razed to the ground.

But at least some good came out of the 'diversion' - I've now decided to have a stab at writing up a few notes on my childhood memories. I think I've been fired by the fact that I'm currently typing up some memoirs for a retired surveyor and estate agent and also I want to try my hand at something akin to a biography, which hopefully will lead me to starting on my first novel (thanks George for the inspiration there!!).

The rest of the week has been extremely hectic work wise but, in these hard times, it's good to know that at least I'm earning a living when so many are struggling.

Wednesday was my birthday - I worked all day but we decided to order a kebab for a treat. We use a Norwich kebab house that delivers to our village for an extra £1. Again, being ever frugal, we order the special meal deal which means we get two portions of fries and salad, a bottle of coke and a huge tray of mixed kebab meat/chicken. We only use one portion of the fries and eat about half the meat which means we can then freeze the remainder of the meat and reheat the second portion of fries for dinner the following day!!

The rest of the week has been busy but at least the weather's been good. I find myself feeling really smug on hot summery days as, working from home, I can wander off down the garden when I want to, do a bit of watering and (as I did yesterday afternoon), have a nice drop of lager and lime to ensure I keep cool, calm and relaxed to cope with the extra work.

Adam and I should have been in Southwold (Suffolk) today to help celebrate Adam's mother's and my birthday but Adam's mother wasn't able to come so it's been put off for a further week. Still, it gives me a chance to catch up with some work, do a bit of research into my next article (another murder tale) and maybe get started on my 'biography'. I'm also expecting my sister to phone and make arrangements to drop in as I didn't get to see her on my birthday. She's got a 10 year old son (my one and only nephew) so we'll probably take a walk out in the sun through Spixworth Park. Not your swings and roundabouts type park but the grounds of the old Spixworth Hall Estate - plenty of running around space and a wooded area to poke around in (and that's just for us adults!!). The lovely thing is it's just a couple of minutes' walk from our house so we don't even have to use the car.

Well, time to have a clear up around the house in case the family come in to land without a prior appointment!!!


  1. A belated Happy Birthday, Jackie. Oh, if only I could be 29 again, too!
    Sorry you didn’t get to go to Southwold for your birthday treat.

    Now I’m donning my chairman of the Local Access Forum’s hat.

    Re. the fenced off public footpath at Coltishall.

    Have the public still got access to the footpath, that is, can they still get on to it and walk it? If not then a breach of section 137 of the Highways Act 1980 has been made.

    Section 137 makes it an offence for any person, without lawful authority or excuse, to wilfully obstruct the free passage along a highway (the term 'highway' includes all rights of way). The offence is punishable by a fine of up to £1000, and the courts have the power to order anyone convicted to remove the obstruction. Failure to comply with such an order is a second offence punishable by a fine of up to £5000; and failure to comply with that is a third offence punishable by a fine of up to £250 per day.

    If you are in an activist mood, let me know and I’ll tell you what steps to take next.

  2. On the day of birthday morning we people wake up soon and go to temple and take the blessing from our parents and we go out of house and enjoy the day, especially on that day we get lots of gift and greeting cards from friend and from loved once