Tuesday 26 July 2016

Ebenezer Chapel - Knodishall, Suffolk

Number 7 on my list of 50 things to do before I'm 60 is to holiday on the Suffolk coast. Well, I am pleased to confirm that I've achieved another big tick.

We are just back from spending a week in Ebenezer Chapel, a holiday cottage in Knodishall, a pretty little village, just in from the coast between Southwold and Aldeburgh.
I have plenty to tell you about our week's stay but first let me tell you what we thought of Ebenezer Chapel.

Our first impressions came as a bit of a surprise. We parked up and walked up to the cottage thinking we must be able to park closer for unpacking purposes. We soon found out that this was not the case!
Whilst there is only a tiny bit of outside space, the Chapel is in a lovely spot, though it is literally just a few yards opposite the Methodist church. We did wonder if it might get busy, especially on a Sunday morning. It is on Knodishall Common and, as such, is approached from two sides by public footpaths, so we also thought it may possibly not be that private.
Unpacking did end up being a bit of a pain, though it could have been much worse. We were lucky that the weather was reasonable. I can't imagine it would be much fun at all, making the nine trips of 75 steps each way, up that would then be a pretty muddy footpath, though we do have a bit of a tendency to pack for every eventuality.

It does say on the website that there is no private parking, but that certainly didn't prepare us for not being able to park up closer to unpack and pack the car.

Within a few minutes after unpacking it was clear that the public footpaths were pretty well used, so there would definitely be no wondering about in the buff as there are lots of windows.

Inside, the main living area is impressive, light bright and very nicely decorated. It's very contemporary, with natural wood floors and doors and decorated in grey and white tones, whilst maintaining plenty of comfort.
It also had the biggest log burner that we've ever seen, not that we used it as we were blessed with the hottest temperatures of the year.  We were very grateful for all of the big sash windows, which let in plenty of fresh air and a bit of a breeze.

Two bedrooms lead off the living area, with no wardrobes, which seemed a little unusual. There are open hanging rails in each bedroom, which are functional, but we weren't really keen on the idea of. We like to be able to hide all of our stuff away to keep everything looking nice and tidy.

One of the bedrooms is en suite with a large shower, which looks good and worked really well. Both bedroom windows are covered. It turns out that this is to resolve a privacy issue, as both look out directly into a neighbour's garden, but it was strange to have no views.

There is also a nice roomy family bathroom, with a bath and shower.

Whilst the interior of the cottage is lovely to look at, storage is not brilliant. There is nowhere to store shoes, nowhere to store suitcases and very limited free storage space in the kitchen, including a pretty tiny fridge. We struggled to fit a few days worth of provisions and soft drinks in there, definitely no room for the beer!

It wasn't the best start. Having read the guest book I decided we must be really picky as everyone else who has stayed here has loved it.

As the week went on and we settled into the swing of living in the cottage, we did end up really enjoying our stay there.

It was nice not having any traffic driving past, it was nice being able to have all of the windows and the front door open in the heat, only having to be concerned about the occasional dog walker wandering past. The Methodist church opposite only had visitors a couple of times in the week and we hardly noticed them.

The lounge was, oh so comfy and the rest of the living area was so spacious.

Whilst the initial impressions did make this a cottage that we wouldn't re-visit, they didn't spoil our holiday and we had a really lovely week. We were blessed with very good weather and some cracking sunsets. 
Knodishall is a really pretty little village and is an ideal spot for exploring the Suffolk coast, which was just lovely.
 I think that Gorgeous Cottage we stayed in back in May in Yorkshire has spoilt us!

Monday 18 July 2016

Will Sidney's War - August 1918 - Still Suffering

It's now August 1918, four years since the beginning of 'The Great War'.  Will has been 'in the Dock' since the end of May, with a problem with his neck.

This picture is quite amusing and has been taken whilst Will is in the hospital. We can tell this because of the uniform that both are wearing. It clearly shows the difference in height of the two men, which is considerable, as you can see ...

Having had an operation during July, Will still seems to be suffering at the beginning of August, as well as deciding that it's time for him and Ethel to tie the knot ...

"1 Thursday - Marked for Con Camp. Writ to Ethel in answer to paper. My neck getting stiffer & sore again. Letter from Darling Ethel."
"2 Friday - Answered Ethel's letter. God bless her. Writ to Lily & Maisie ..."
"3 Saturday - Sent to Con Depot 'F' Coy. Classified B for a fortnight. Thinking of Ethel. God bless her. No letters from anyone. Made up my mind to get married as soon as I get home, if Ethel is agreeable."

4 August 1918 was the 4th anniversary of the beginning of 'The Great War' and worthy of a mention in Will's diary.  He is still struggling with his neck and is being treated with fomentation, which is a substance used as a warm moist medicinal compress or poultice.
 "4 Sunday - Anniversary of the Gt War. Church service @ 10.30. Pay parade @ 11.45am. Writ to Ethel about money."
"5 Monday - Got to have a bandage around my neck. Had a parcel from home. Cakes all mouldy & wet through."
"6 Tuesday - My neck getting stiff again. No letters from anybody. Thinking of Ethel. God bless her."
"7 Wednesday - My neck broken out again. Letter from Ethel & writ to her about going in hospital."
"8 Thursday - In hospital. Admitted into hospital again. Same ward & same hospital. No letters from anyone. My neck very painful & sore."
"9 Friday - Still in the 38. Having fomentation twice in a day time & twice @ night."
"10 Saturday - No news of Ethel. Thinking of her & wondering how she is going on. Also if she is worrying or not. God bless her & protect her from all danger." 

 "11 & 12 Sunday & Monday - Still in the 38. Went to church @ 11. 2 letters & paper from Ethel & 1 letter from Ma. Answered Ethel's letter. Will send her a long one when I get a pad.
"13 Tuesday - My neck feeling stiff again. Still in hospital."
"14 Wednesday - Thinking of Dearest Ethel. How I wish she was here."
"15 Thursday - Still in Hospital. Still to carry on. My neck getting worse. Thinking of Darling Ethel."
"16 Friday - Went into Genoa for a short walk."
"17 Saturday - Answered Ethel's parcel & letter. She must be in a temper (letter). 1 letter from home this week."
 I wonder if Will bought this postcard on his walk into Genoa ...

The following week Will experiences a new type of treatment on his neck. It doesn't sound very pleasant at all ...
 "18 Sunday - Recommended for a new treatment - Elect Rays. Very painful. Wish I was better."
"19 Monday - Still in the same hospital. No letter from Ethel. Thinking if anything is the matter."
"20 Tuesday - I hope she is not worry @ all for it hurts me to think that she is worrying."
"21 Wednesday - Still under the new treatment. Written to Ethel. God bless her & protect her from harm."
"22 Thursday - Still in Dock. Finished with the ??? treatment. Made enquiries about sending some money to Darling Ethel. Sent £10 to Darling Ethel."
"23 Friday - A letter from her & answered it straight away."
"24 Saturday - Another letter from her & also answered that one. Hoping she gets the money alright & I hope she puts it to some good cause. She is worth more than the all the World to me."
The final week of August 1918 sees Will undergoing yet another operation on his neck. Hopefully this time it will resolve the problem ...
 "25 Sunday - Awaiting news from the Doctor whether I have to go under another operation or not. Letter from Ethel. Answered it straight away."
"26 Monday - Major Whittaker inspected my neck & told me I should have to have an operation on Wednesday . Writ home to Ma. No letters."
"27 Tuesday - Getting prepared for the operation. Iodine & shaving. Writ to Ethel telling her of it. I do wish she were here so as I could have her nurse me."
"28 Wednesday - Went under the operation @ 10, came out of Chloroform @ 11.15. A letter from Ethel."
"29 Thursday - Writ to Ethel. Answered her letter. Feeling pretty bad all day. My neck very sore & is affecting my arm & hand. I wish she was here to look after me. God bless her & protect her from all harm."
"30 Friday - My neck still a little sore. My arms very stiff. Letter from Ethel."
"31 Saturday - A letter from Ethel. Answered both of her loving letters. I wish she was here. My credit came through from York. £84.6.101/2."
So, August was another full month for Will in the hospital.

Amongst his things we have found a selection of photographs taken during WW1 in hospital. We can't be certain they were taken during this stay, but one of them does have 1918 written on the back so they may well have been.

I am sorry that the quality of some of them is very poor, but I have included them all the same ...


Monday 11 July 2016

HM@No27 - Chancel Primary School Summer Carnival

This Saturday found us out with the Hand Made at Number 27 craft stall, in the shadow of the Old Chancel, at the Chancel Primary School Summer Carnival, in Rugeley.

The day started off very wet, with plenty of rain and the event was only a smidgeon away from being called off, but being British it was decided to just 'Keep calm and carry on'.

I have to confess that we did end up playing it safe and set up inside.
We had plenty of pretty bits and pieces for sale, including plenty of old favourites, a few Christmas bits and some brand new doggy bandanas.
Even though we stayed inside, we still had a steady flow of visitors and both got chance to have a wander around outside to see what was happening. 

There was lots going on outside with a DJ, plenty of stalls and plenty of options for a bit of a snack along the way.
We managed to find time for a visit to the BBQ and the Pimms tent, it just would have been rude not to.
I'm so glad the event went ahead.  All in all, it was a lovely afternoon, with a lovely atmosphere, with plenty of parents and children visiting and having fun. It's lovely to see the school so well supported within the community.

Here are a few snaps of just some of the people involved in organising and supporting the event. A big well done and thank you to all the staff and members of the PTFA who were involved in any way. 

We will be back for more fun next year!

Monday 4 July 2016

Will Sidney's War - July 1918 - Still 'In the Dock'

In my last post we left Will 'In the Dock', waiting for a Medical Board.  It was 29 June 1918 and Will had been hospitalised since 26 May, with a problem with his neck.

On 30 June Will writes of receiving letters from Ethel, Ma & Charlie. Will then went on to also spend the whole of the month of July 1918 either hospitalised or in a convalescent camp. He was clearly having a pretty rough time of it, though probably not as bad as being on the front line ...

"1 July, Monday - Finished Ethel's letter. Thinking of her & the temptations she is under. God bless her & protect her."
"2 Tuesday - Writ to Charlie. I have had a letter from Darling Ethel & one from Chuck. My neck still stiff."
"3 Wednesday - Awaiting Medical Board @ 10.30 before the CO, Maj, Capt & 2 Lts. Writ to Ethel & Chuck."
"4 Thursday - Still Convalescence. Expecting another Board. Got mark to attend treatment for 3 weeks. No letters from anybody. No paper for me to write with." 
"5 Friday - Still here. Thinking of Ethel. Bless her. I wish with all my heart we were wed."
"6 Saturday - Still in Con Camp. My neck still stiff. Still getting it massaged. No news from anybody."
          "7 Sunday - Still @ the same old place. Had a letter from Darling Ethel. God bless her."
"8 Monday - Sent into the 38 Hospital for an operation with my neck. Letter from home with photos."
"9 Tuesday - Waiting for 1/2 past 10 for my operations to lance abscess & cut tendon." 
"10 Wednesday - Writ home to Ma, Lil, Charlie. Took some stitches out of my neck."
"11 Thursday - Still in the 38. I can bend my neck a little now. Thinking of Darling Ethel. No news from anywhere. Writ to dear Ethel."
"12 Friday - No letters from anybody. My neck very sore & stiff."
"13 Saturday - Stitches taken out. My neck very painful & sore. No letters from anybody. Thoughts of Ethel." 
Here is another photo that we found in Will's things. Could it have been taken in the convalescent camp? We don't know for sure, but the clothing does look like that which would have been worn by soldiers in hospital during WW1.

Whilst, as usual, Will has written on the back of the card, it still doesn't really give any clues as to where the picture may have been taken.
In his note Will sets Ethel the puzzle of finding 'Big Willie'. Will is sat pretty much bang in the centre of the picture. 

"14 Sunday - The sister pulled the setting plaster off my neck & I nearly fainted with pain. Very poorly after."
"15 Monday - My neck still feeling sore. Thinking of Darling Ethel. God bless her."
"16 Tuesday - Still in Dock. My neck getting better. Not so sore now."
"17 Wednesday - Letters from Ethel & answered them. I wish she were here."
"18 Thursday - Writ to Charlie, Lily, Rosie & Ma, not forgetting Darling Ethel."
"19 Friday - Thinking of Ethel. Wondering what she will say to the big letter."
 "20 Saturday - My neck getting better nicely. I wish Ethel was here so as I could have a long talk with her smiling face." 
"21-23 Sunday-Tuesday - My neck dressed. All the stitches out. Went to church. Thinking of Darling Ethel. God bless her & protect her from all temptations & harm. I wish she were mine so as I could protect her. Letter from J Clark & 1 from Ethel."
24 Wednesday - Answered Ethel’s letter & J Clark. Wishing Ethel was here. My neck nearly better. Still in hosp."
"25 Thursday - No dressings on my neck now. Better, but very tender & sore. Doctor no good @ his work."
"26 Friday - Letter from home & answered it straight away. Thinking of Ethel."

 "28 Sunday - Still in the 38th. Church @ 11.30. No bandages on my neck @ all now. Answered Ethel's letter of 18th."
"29 Monday - Still in the 28th Sta Hos. My neck is still a little bit stiff. I wish I knew what they did to it."
"30 Tuesday - No letters from anyone. Thinking of Darling England."
"31 Wednesday - My neck slightly swelled & getting a little stiffer every day. No letters."

Will had now been hospitalised for two full months. Surely his neck would soon recover. You can find out what happens next for Will in my next post.