The Life and Times of a busy bookseller, her husband and Gordon setter dogs in North Norfolk.

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Born In Essex, UK.
School in Luton.
College - Sussex.
Worked in Cambs.
Now Living in Norfolk.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A Norfolk Day near Christmas

Even though we have we have been living here for two years now, we still consider ourselves extremely lucky to be living in this gorgeous county, and when we are able to get a day 'off' it is a real treat to be able to go out and about.  Saturday was no exception.

One thing in particular we have noticed here is that when it comes to Christmas, Norfolk does it particularly well with its array of fayres, concerts, pantomimes, plays, fireworks, shopping nights and many other festivities - and of course the famous Thursford Concert, if you can manage to get a ticket. Well it is mid November, so things have started to happen, and as we try to support the Hillside Animal Sanctuary whenever we can - who incidentally do tremendous work in rescuing and looking after a large variety of animals, we planned to go to their Christmas Open Weekend.

By now I think it is fairly obvious that all events have to be planned around our two mutts - Poppy and Henny. Weekends always involve a reasonably long walk for them - and so for us, so for once I did a little planning, and decided we could go to West Runton with the doggies in the car, go to the beach - have a long walk along the beach - wear them out there - well try to, and then hopefully have a short look round Hillside whilst they had a snooze in the car after their walk.

We set off in the car on our expedition, armed with the usual equipment - dog bowls, water, towels - the dogs have far more 'stuff' than we do, and headed for West Runton.  The sun was shining amazingly, it was a lovely day.  We decided to let the dogs run around the field going up the cliff to start with.  They hadn't been here before and they seem to know when it is somewhere new.  They looked at each other excitedly and rushed about all over the field - even bumping into each other at one point.  Jeff followed with his trusty poop a scoop bags - I always let him have the nice jobs! Then we went onto the beach and they loved it.  The sea was right in so there wasn't much sand, but the tide had turned so we were OK, and would not get cut off further down the beach. All four of us had a lovely walk.

Having returned to the car, given the dogs water to drink, and settled them down, we then went to the Hillside sanctuary, just up the road. Things were already in full swing and the car park was quite full.  We found a shady spot for the car and hoped that it would be peaceful so as not to disturb the doggies post walk snooze. We left the windows down a little to allow air to circulate and crept off.  We then hid behind some cars (if people were watching goodness knows what they thought) to make sure all was quiet - not a peep.  We weren't going to leave them long, but wanted to make sure they were happy.  Off we went - first stop the Nativity Scene.  Hillside do a real stable with animals at the nativity - it is lovely, and I think has so much more meaning for the children (and big children like us) than most nativity scenes. I love it.

Hillside run several stalls as money raisers including a tombola. Unusually, I won something last year.  Now when I say something - when I win I do it in style - it was the most enormous teddy bear - a real giant one. This I proceeded to give to my then 2 year old niece, although I am not sure her parents (My brother and his wife) liked it quite as much as she and I did! Between us he was christened Billy - as in 'Billy no Mates' as we told her he didn't have any friends because he had been a naughty boy, and he needed her to look after him and make him into a good boy.  Since then he has developed a 'Phil Mitchell' (with apologies to Eastenders) type voice, and gets up to all sorts of pranks. I told the family gleefully that I was going back to Hillside this year and would try to win Billy's brother Bobby - I saw the look of dread on my brother's face as he suggested if I did win it, wouldn't it be better going to a hospital?  Sure enough - there was another large bear in the Tombola - but try though I might, I couldn't get it, although I did win some other bits on the way. So, much to my brothers relief I'm sure, my niece will be getting a small white polar bear, but not another huge bear to add to her collection.

Our Trip to Hillside was cut short as Jeff went back to the car to check if the dogs were OK, to find them 'singing' or in reality howling beautifully.  There were people around making noise and instead of sleeping they decided they would try to get attention, so despite the fact we had only been missing for 10 minutes, they were not to be placated and Jeff had to stay in the car with them whilst I went to the shop and get some Christmas presents and of course have a quick look at the books, where I actually got some  for me to read. I also patted some horses, had a quick chat to some cows, some donkeys, and the occasional person.  We then moved on, gave the dogs another walk to make up for leaving them for such a long time! and went home, via Binham craft fair as planned - where I bought a couple of Christmas decorations.

Having done a little work in the afternoon - well you have to, don't you, we then went to Docking Quiz night in the evening with friends who live in Docking.  This did mean taping Strictly Come Dancing, but it was a very good evening.  We don't partake in quiz nights very often, our general knowledge being a bit on the thin side - and with my memory getting worse on a daily basis, but if it's just for fun, well that's OK. (Are these things ever just for fun?).  I must admit though there is something amusing sitting in a room of generally middle aged people all sitting mumbling to themselves, reciting away, trying to recall things in the back of their mind - all these facts that we know somewhere, that elude us, but given a week or 2 would suddenly pop into our minds. Mind you the alcohol consumed on the night probably doesn't help. Anyhow our team came a respectable 3rd - no thanks to me - and then it was off home, and of course we couldn't go to bed, as we had to entertain the doggies who had had the evening to sleep and become recharged.  So we watched the dancing at Wembley - and what a spectacular that was, chatted to the dogs about the evening, and thought what a nice life we are leading in Norfolk!

Monday, 21 November 2011

The Greyfriars Alphabet!

The Greyfriars Alphabet! (from The GreyfriarsHoliday annual 1925)

A Humorous Poem of some well-known Greyfriars Characters

A Is Alonzo, a dreamy young duffer
B is for Bunter, the world's greatest Stuffer
C is for Coker a comical fellow
D is for Dutton, at whom we all Bellow
E is for Elliott a junior well-dressed
F is for Fish, who is sometimes a pest
G is for Gatty - gay jests are his aim
H is for Hoskins, of musical Fame
I is for Inky, who's dusky of visage                                                                      
J's Johnny Bull, who's a marvel for his age!
K is for Kipps a conjurer clever
L is for Loder - no good whatsoever!
M is for Mauleverer languid and lazy
N is for Nugent, as fresh as a daisy
O is for Ogilvy, Scotland's Proud son
P is for Penfold-great deeds he has done
Q is for Quelchy, a capable master
R is for Russell, wholse left spells disaster
S the sly Skinner plans Japes by the dozen
T is for Toddy, Alonzo's cute cousin
U is the Upper Fourth's Elegant Leader
V Vernon-Smith gaily greets every reader
W is Wharton, a sport born and bred
X sometimes Xtra - Bob Cherry's 'YZ' (Wise Head)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

I have been rather busy of late - what with us having the VAT to do, our year end accounts to finish, the catalogue to get out - which yes, I did eventually do, a couple of Book fairs to go away for, and finally a weeks holiday to squeeze in (Lanzarote in the sunshine) to recover. So the Blog has suffered neglect - sorry. I am still not a natural blogger.  Some people can 'blog' as naturally as breathing - I guess they are generally younger than I am, and a great deal more creative, but for me it takes a little more work - and I always seem to have so many things to do.  I know we women are able to multi task - but there are limits at to things that you can do at the same time as blogging - and the blogging still make sense. I do have my coffe break at the same time, but I guess that doesn't count - and there is still the danger of the coffee going over the keyboard. Those who know me, will realise that isn't just a jokey remark but a very real possibility. My co-ordination isn't the best.

The holiday was great - and the 6 days away always gives Jeff and I our best thinking time.  The rest of the year we tend to spend chasing our tails, knowing that our lives could work better but not seeming to have the time to sort it out, but on holiday we actually stop, and after about day three we start to talk about how we could make changes. This includes just about everything.  One year we got out a paperbag and pencil whilst sitting at a poolside, and redesigned our house - the one we are now living in, and is now slowly taking shape (actually, our last one evolved in the same way too - maybe we should learn from this!). This year it was the business.  Jeff's contribution was to vastly improve the efficiency/timewasting through better organization - no surprises there.

Again those of you that know us, will also know that Jeff is the tidy organised part of our partnership. He loves systems, organization, things in place, efficiency,  in fact just about everything that I hate! (But I do have the good grace to understand are necessary for a business to work properly). Now to some degree this works well - Jeff takes care of the paperwork of the business - the accounts and the generally troublesome side that, even though I am quite cable of dealing with, I don't have to bother with - but Jeff actually likes it. Wonderful.  The problem comes more with issues of my untidiness and disorganization - things like me forgetting - (or to be honest, not being bothered), to write book purchases down,  and then having to recall afterwards and look for the receipts, and wasting oodles of time looking for them. Then there is the messy way I work - with piles of books everywhere - well you get the picture! Well we had a full and frank discussion - and I had to feel a little sorry for him, when he said he had even tried working a bit more messily himself to see if that helped him undestand - but it didn't! Anyhow - a few ideas emerged to see if we can 'streamline' to become a bit more efficient in our procedures. In my defence - I can try, but when you have my type of disorganized personality (I naughtily call it creative, but its not, its just untidy) it is very difficult to change.  My brain works in a disorganized way - ideas don't come in nice orderly pattern, I remember things either all at once or not at all.

Now - my contribution to the holiday discussion was somewhat different - shock horror!  For sometime I have been wanting to have another 'string to our bow' - just a little string. Both Jeff and I love old toys.  Jeff collects dinky toys - you probably won't be surprised to know (but I was) that when he was a child he actually kept some of his cars in their boxes, all neat and tidily when he finished playing with them - I didn't know anyone did that!  Needless to say his mum gave them all away, didn't mums always do that? He has slowly, and at great expense, been replacing them - only wanting all the ones he had as a child - and getting fussier and fussier as he has progressed.
I just like toys - especially those from the fifties and sixties - there is something about the colour and design that really appeals to me - although I am still searching for a replica of my doll with blue hair - I would only know her if I saw her again.  Anyhow - I would like to set up a separate Peakirk Vintage Toys & Collectables Shop soon - I have been squirreling away some things - just bits and pieces, to see how it goes, and I asked Jeff if he would register it with our accountant. He looked doubtful, as I expected - he is not one to be rushed - it took ages to get Peakirk Books going - but the seed is sown. Watch this space.