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Easter Treats


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Yesterday was a wonderful day, here in the cottage.  On Saturday night we put the clocks forward. Yes I know what you’re thinking, but we’re always a little later here in England. The lady vicar at church was very accommodating and put the service forward an hour so it started at 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. I was grateful for that.  The Easter Service was wonderful, with a full church and hardly any spaces. This was achieved by combining the early morning service with the late morning service so we got to meet lots of people we didn’t usually get to see on a weekly basis.

The Easter Treats above are called ‘Crispy Crackles’. I’ll be posting the recipe soon.

How did you spend your Easter Day?  Was it joyful?

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I’d like to leave you today with an invitation. Click on this link and come on an Easter Egg Hunt with my little grandson, Dylan and his Grandad.

Happy Easter! from Oma

Ramsey Plantation House


Constructed about 1797 for Francis A. Ramsey, the late-Georgian house has a central passage plan on both floors.  Ramsey’s eldest son, William B.A. Ramsey, inherited the house in 1820 on his father’s death.  In 1840, he sold it to his brother James G.A. Ramsey, who in turn gave it to his son Francis A. Ramsey as a wedding present in 1857.  In 1952 Knoxville Chapter of the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities purchased the house from a subsequent owner and began to restore it.  The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.

Last Saturday there was an open day and we went along to look at it. There was a Craft Fare in the grounds and the weather was lovely so we had a great time looking round the house and visiting all the stalls. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos inside the house so there are none of those to look at, but if you ever get the chance do visit it yourself.  It’s well worth the trip.

So here I am outside the house. There is a central door with a path leading up to it, but we were told that the original residents didn’t use the path much, preferring to go round the back because the area at the front of the house  is swampy. Opposite the house on the other side of the road was a large, swampy pond. At least one of the original owner’s children died from Malaria which was caused by a mosquito bite. Mosquitos breed in watery places. After the death of his dear child, the owner had the pond drained.  How sad to lose a little girl like that.

The house has a central door on the first floor, right above the main front door. This was used when furniture needed upstairs. The furniture would be hoisted up and through that door. To the right of the main house is a log cabin. You can see it in the picture. At first I thought this was going to be the kitchen, but later found out that it was the original house where the owner and his family lived whilst the main house was being built.  To build and own a house as large as this one made the owner a rich man because most people would have lived in a log cabin in those days.

The next picture shows the kitchen which was added on to the main house. Usually the kitchen was in a separate building owing to the risk of fire. If the kitchen caught fire, then it probably would not spread to the main house. That was their way of thinking back then.

This is a wooden house quilt on the wall. Isn’t it pretty?

One of the first stalls we came across was a friendly couple who were making and selling popcorn.

…and soon after a stall selling home-made ice cream. We had to try it!

Then I found this lovely old veteran from the Civil War and asked if I could have my picture taken with him. He obliged and this is the result.

Next picture shows the back of the home-made ice cream stall with all the paraphernalia needed to make the delicious ice cream.

The people at the next stall were cooking something delicious in a Dutch oven. From Wikipedia = Dutch oven is a thick-walled (usually cast ironcooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. Dutch ovens have been used as cooking vessels for hundreds of years. They are called casserole dishes in English speaking countries other than the USA (“casserole” means “pot” in French), and cocottes in French,

The Wenlock Jug


‘The Wenlock Jug

The Wenlock Jug.

This bronze jug was almost sold to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for £750,000[4] but was export-stopped in October 2005 by culture minister, David Lammy, based on a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, run by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

Decorated with coats of arms, including the royal arms used between 1340 and 1405, the jug bears the inscription My Lord Wenlock. It is thought the jug was made for either William Wenlock, who died in 1391 and was canon of St Paul’s CathedralArchdeacon of Rochester and a canon of King’s Chapel, Westminster, or his great-nephew John, the first Lord Wenlock, who was a major figure in the fifteenth century serving every king from Henry V to Edward IV. Both had strong connections with Luton.

“The two Wenlocks associated with the jug, William and his nephew John, both lived in Luton and the family name figures in the medieval guild register in our collection” Maggie Appleton, Luton museum.

It was bought by Luton Museums Service for 300 times its normal annual acquisitions budget to equal the offer of the Metropolitan,[5] thanks to the overwhelming generosity of several key organisations and donations from many individuals. It is a rare example of a jug cast by the English bronze founder and bearing his mark. Virtually unknown until its recent sale, the jug gives scholars the important opportunity to research into Medieval metalworking skills and expertise.

On Monday 14 May 2012 it was reported [1] that the jug had been stolen following a break in at the Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton. It’s current location is unknown.’

+++ Ah ha! but the story doesn’t end there…

The above information is from Wikipedia.org.uk. It tells about the greatest treasure in my home town, The Wenlock Jug, stolen in May this year! Today I heard that it has been recovered and I am so thrilled about that. Here is the link. Be happy with me!

Oma

The Archdeacon’s Bottle of Gin


The Archdeacon laid aside his Sudoku puzzle, stretched and looked out of his study window to see if his 10 a.m. appointment was coming up the tree-lined road.  It was summertime and the mature lime trees were in full leaf, looking beautiful as always, but making it difficult for parkers to get out of their cars in the confined spaces.  The trees had grown to their full size, their roots causing the paving stones on the path to lift and separate.  It really could be quite dangerous.  I must ring the council and let them know, thought the Archdeacon, nobly reaching towards his old, oak desk to retrieve a pen so he could write himself a reminder note.

This particular Archdeacon was missing his parish; the beautiful church overlooking the town, the commodious rectory and most of all, his flock.  It was a large parish and a lot of thank you letters to write once he had accepted the promotion from Rector and Rural Dean to Archdeacon three years previously.

The Bishop had assured him that he was ‘just the man for the job’ and this was borne out by the number of phone calls to ‘see how he was getting on’, that he received in the six months after he left.  An Archdeacon no longer has a parish of his own.  He lives in a church house; in this case a beautiful one, built to a high standard in the 1920’s and he is responsible for the whole archdeaconry.  Archdeaconries vary in size.  Our particular Archdeacon is in charge of an archdeaconry with nine deaneries in it and each deanery has up to twenty-nine parishes in it, all with their own Vicar, Priest-in-charge or Rector.  That’s three hundred churches, up to three hundred Vicars and six hundred Church Wardens.  That’s a lot of responsibility so the Bishop has to be very careful that he does pick the ‘right man for the job’.

Of course with all the cut-backs, sometimes one Vicar has to cover up to four churches, but that would mainly be in the country districts.

The Archdeacon’s house is situated in the centre of a busy town although you would never know it if you took your tea on the lawn in his well- manicured back garden. A gardener was employed to come once a week and keep the weeds under control. In reality he did much more than that, assuming that he was storing up points in heaven for when he eventually parked his lawn-mower in St. Peter’s garden shed.

The hierarchy of the Church of England is very rigid and so once you get the call to higher office, off you go. Mostly Vicars move on every so many years, each time taking on a larger parish, until they are deemed experienced and responsible enough to become a Rural Dean.  This post extends their duties as Rector of their own parish and prepares them for future promotions.

Once our Archdeacon was in post, he became the Bishop’s right-hand man and he was quick to learn the intricacies of the job.  Apart from being the first point of call when one of his many Vicars had a problem, he was also responsible for the annual inspections of the many beautiful and ancient buildings that grace the English countryside in his own particular archdeaconry.

To help him in his daily work, he had a part-time secretary, to whom he gave the accolade ‘The Real Archdeacon’ because, in his humble opinion, she did all the work! This faithful soul kept all his appointments up to date, typed the many letters, organised the annual Visitation of Church Wardens and was always on hand to intercept telephone calls when she was able to shield her boss from the most unnecessary intrusions.  Perhaps her biggest task was sorting out the annual inspections.  There was just time in one day for the Archdeacon to do three inspections. However, with three hundred ancient buildings to visit, it was vital that all three were near to each other.  She couldn’t allow her Archdeacon to criss-cross the Deaneries in a haphazard fashion. Sounds easy? Well it wasn’t.  It was an almost impossible task, but one that the faithful secretary took in her stride.

August was approaching and with it came the Archdeacon’s birthday.  Each year the secretary bought him something he would really enjoy.  This year she decided to buy him a bottle of gin.  He can take it with him on holiday and drink it on the beach, she decided, feeling generous because the cost of the gin would make quite a hole in her weekly wage. He works so hard, he deserves it! She justified the cost to herself.

The secretary knew that the Archdeacon’s holiday with his wife and family was to coincide with his birthday the following week, so that night she stopped off at the local supermarket and bought the biggest bottle of gin she could afford and some pretty paper to wrap it in together with an appropriately sober birthday card.  As she wrapped the present up that evening, she pictured him opening it and relishing the partaking of it. This happy thought brought a smile to her face.

Next day she carried the present carefully in to work, setting it on his desk in a prominent position.  He’ll probably think it’s a bottle of Ribena, she surmised.  She wasn’t trying to curry favour; she was just grateful for her job, which gave her the opportunity to work flat out for four mornings a week and any extra hours she could manage for free. She didn’t work Fridays so this would be her last opportunity to wish the busy man a happy holiday and clear up all the many loose ends from his untidy desk before he made his departure the following Saturday.

The Archdeacon was surprised and pleased with the unexpected gift and after due thanks, he moved it to a safer place than his untidy desk, to a corner of the sideboard in the dining room.

‘Don’t forget to pack it, will you? It’s meant for you to enjoy while you’re away,’ said the secretary.

‘No, I certainly won’t,’ he replied.

The last morning passed in a flurry of letters dictated and typed.  Of course there were twice as many phone calls as usual and an emergency to deal with when suddenly a loud crash caused the Archdeacon to look out of his window. He watched in astonishment as a runaway car rolled down the hill without a driver and came to rest with a loud bang and a shattering of glass right against the front of a safely parked car further down the slope.

‘Oh my God!’ exclaimed the Archdeacon forgetfully.  ‘She must have forgotten to put the handbrake on when she parked it!’

‘She?’ replied the secretary quizzically.  ‘How do you know it was a she?’

The Archdeacon looked a tad embarrassed and sheepish when he realised he was being sexist.

‘Well whoever’s car it was that rolled into the other one, he’ll probably get away with it because from where I’m sitting it looks like the other car bashed into his!’ observed the secretary remembering that it was deemed the fault of the person behind when an accident such as this occurred.’

‘Maybe,’ replied the Archdeacon, hoping he wouldn’t be asked to be a witness. He refrained from calling the police, but remained on the alert for developments.

During the two weeks that the Archdeacon was away, his industrious secretary worked hard.  She got to grips with the mountain of filing and shredding and then set about sorting through the annual inspection returns.  There was a complicated spread-sheet to design, where in to show the results and a number of new Churchwardens’ Handbooks to send out.  This of course involved a lot of wrapping up and carrying of heavy boxes to the Post Office, which naturally she did after her working hours were over so as not to waste valuable time spent in the office doing more important things!

All the while she worked, the Archdeacon’s cat kept her company, leaving little presents under her desk for her to clear up when she got in each morning and once or twice an even larger and smellier present in the hallway or under the settee where even the longest broom handle was unable to reach.

The faithful secretary took all this in her stride and looked forward to the return of her boss and his family in due course.

On his return the Archdeacon was tanned and refreshed and full of his adventures at the seaside.  At coffee-time he showed his secretary the lovely photographs he’d taken on the beach, in front of the guest house and walking on the seafront, his family looking happy and relaxed complete with sun-hats and ice-creams.  The weather had been warm and pleasant and not too hot to take advantage of the beach whenever possible, he told her as she smoothed her lank hair away from her white cheeks, which had not seen the sun since the day the old King died.

‘It’s hard to get back in gear after two weeks away,’ sighed the Archdeacon as he picked up the mountain of mail that was waiting for him on his desk.

‘Indeed’, said the secretary.  She had been sure to sort the mail so that the most urgent letters to be answered were on the top of the pile.

‘Are there many e-mails?’ he asked, reaching for the dictating machine.

The secretary smiled encouragingly at him and opened up the Inbox containing the latest collection of e-mails.  Most of them were from the usual addresses: the Diocesan Office, the Bishop, several applications for appointments from the clergy.  One unusual address caught the diligent secretary’s eye.  It was from a guest house in Sandy Bay, where the Archdeacon and his family had spent the last two happy weeks.

‘Dear Archdeacon’, it read… ‘I am writing to thank you for the very generous gift of a large bottle of Gordon’s gin.  It was most unexpected and welcome and I want you to know how much Ted and I appreciate the gift.  After you left I found your mobile phone charger, which I will send on to you when I can get to the Post Office.  It may not be till the end of the week because my leg is playing up again, but I assure you, I’ll send it on as soon as I can.’

‘Well I never!’ exclaimed the secretary, her cheeks flushing with annoyance.  She carefully printed all the emails and took them in to the Archdeacon with the one from the guest house on the top.  The Archdeacon read that one first.

‘Damn!’ he exclaimed when he’d read it.

A Bible, which was perched precariously on the corner of his desk suddenly broke free of its constraints and fell with a thud to the floor causing the Archdeacon’s coffee cup to fly out of his hand and spill its hot contents all down his trousers.

‘Damn, damn, damn.’

The next day the Archdeacon was at a Property Meeting at the Diocesan Office.  His secretary arrived punctually in her office at 9 a.m. and sat down at her desk. She picked up the map of the nine deaneries, which was awaiting the planning of the annual church inspections. With her longest ruler she measured the distances between the churches taking care to make sure that the three daily inspections she was going to arrange were as far away from each other as possible. Then she started her list.

That should do it she thought as she stroked the Archdeacon’s cat behind its ears. The cat purred loudly.  Was that a smile on its face?

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This was an Archdeacon’s Story from Oma’s library.

Bathroom refit


The bathroom in the cottage needed a remodelling badly!  Originally, we had two rooms, one for the toilet and the other for the bath and basin. This arrangement worked well when all the boys were at home. At one point there were seven of us sharing these two rooms and it was a race to get in there first when we were all working.

Times have changed! and now there are few of us. So we felt it was time for the refit. It was a hard decision and costly of course. This is what we had before… I liked the tiles and having three colours allowed for a lot of variation in the curtains etc. However, the wall got in the way and restricted the space so we looked into ways of removing it.


Come and share with me the transformation…

First the dividing wall, complete with two radiators, was removed.

The old tiles had to come off the wall and the toilet and basin were removed temporarily.

At this point it became necessary to do all our ablutions downstairs in the kitchen sink. Fortunately there is a toilet downstairs too!

We could still use the bath.

The throne was on the landing…

The ceiling was re-plastered and dimmer lights inserted.

The toilet will be turned around to face the bath.

There will be a shaver socket near the window for both 240v and 110v. We have 240v in England.

The plumbing for the shower was inserted in the wall.

We chose a Japanese theme. The floor tiles are a fairly dark brown.

The wall tiles are a beige colour with a hint of green.

This is the tiling over the bath before the grouting was done.

We bought a hold-all to go in the corner for all the bottles and jars.

This is the radiator, which doubles up as a towel holder. The towels will be lovely and warm and dry in the winter.

New taps in the basin.

This is the shower. We didn’t have a shower before so that will be a luxury.

It’s a corner unit with magnetic doors. It’s going to be such fun!

Last pictures tomorrow. The builder hopes to finish today.

Have a lovely day everyone.

Oma