Friday, 31 July 2015

My Month in Numbers 2015: July

Hello hello.

It's the last day of the month which means one thing: I'm rounding up the events of my month with the aid of a number or two, mainly as a hook to hang my stories on. And I've got a lot of stories, because even when there aren't any stories to tell I find stories to tell. Even if it's only about toilet paper.

And it has been about toilet paper several times over the 5-plus years I've been doing this #truestory.

And you're welcome to share yours.

Events and numbers that is. Not toilet paper. I've got my bases [ahem] covered on that front thanks.

[If you're new here, or even if you're old here and just want to join in for the first time, here's where you can pick up some tips on how to do just that.]

And so ... let's start at an appropriately 'starty' place - with some numbers I gathered on the 1st of the month ...

415 years = the age of Doddington Hall[just outside Lincoln]
Isn't it splendid? Finished in 1600 it's been occupied ever since and is still a lived-in family home today. And, what could be better than living in an Elizabethan Mansion house ... than living in an Elizabethan Mansion house with two topiary unicorns on the front lawn?
Incidentally, July entered 2015 to, almost literally, a blaze of glory as the Met Office announced it as the hottest July day on record! In our car we clocked the temperature as 39.5 degrees 

It was an exquisite day in which we browsed the quilt exhibition 'Voices from the Inside' [it's on until the end of August so if you're interested in quilts with interesting stories, as many were made by prisoners and soldiers.] And it was while wandering around their gardens I took what is my current 'favourite photo of mine of the year'.  I was playing around with the fully manual mode on my camera and, either by luck or judgement, I got this, which I love:
Fortunately Mr.Shakespeare was an obligingly patient model. Statuesque even.

Also in the gardens I thought I'd grab an overtly numbery photo for Month in Numbers:
If I remember rightly they're identifying markers for their lily collection. 

And while we're on a blatant 'number' themed photo theme ... how perfect is this? 

The Numbers = the name given to this circle of houses: 
These are directly opposite Lincoln Cathedral [like, within spitting distance of it. Not that you would ever spit at Lincoln Cathedral. That would be unforgivable. I have gotten ice cream in my hair outside it once ... but that's were as I'm drawing the line.]

And, while we were taking the roof tour of the Cathedral the guide mentioned that these houses were called 'The Numbers' because ... they were the first houses in the city to get house numbers!

Have you ever even considered that there was a time before house numbers?? Me neither!

While in Lincoln I also spotted ...

21 out of 25 Lincoln Barons found and photographed. 
These funny squat little chaps were dotted around the city in a treasure trail, to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta [of which there's a copy held in Lincoln]. Each 'Baron' was decorated by a different artist and represented a different aspect of local life or a person or community group.

I might well share photos of more of them sometime, but for now here are the first 2 I found [the first one was just few feet from our hotel at the top of Steep Hill]:
Did someone mention Magna Carta?

800th Anniversary of Magna Carta. 
For anyone who doesn't know what Magna Carta is I'm going to send you over to the British Library's explanations as I can't do it justice!

In short .. it's a document from 1215 that sort of, kind of, marks the beginnings of the human rights and freedoms we enjoy in the UK today [and, I believe the US constitution was influenced by it too]. Anyway ... there's a new exhibition centre inside the grounds of Lincoln Castle where you can view an original copy of it. 

They don't allow photography of it but ... they do allow photography of the vast wall of the building where they've printed out the entire document highlighting some of the key phrases in gold:
If you ever allow yourself to think that we, in our 21st century sophistication, are more 'evolved' than people of the 13th century you need to go and stand in front of that wall and read what they were setting down 800 years ago. It certainly wasn't all dusty narrow roads and chickens wandering about being chased by peasants. I'm ashamed of my ignorance!!

And now from the sublime to the ridiculous ...  

73 = the number of items of cutlery we bought for £4.00 in a junk shop:
We didn't need cutlery but we bought them mainly for the 5 lovely old knives which were just like the one my Grandma always used to use to spread butter. You know when something just does the job it's meant to do perfectly? That's those.

I knew my Mam still had my Grandma's original one, but the handle's broken and, finding 5 of these together - with handles in tact - I thought they'd make a nice little gifts for her and my sister [and us too!]. So we bought the lot ... which just happened to include 68 other pieces too!

As we were on holiday when we bought them we left them in the car [because heck, who'd take them up to their hotel room? What on earth would the cleaner think we were doing in there? School catering?].

But having them in the boot of the car made for some interesting percussive sounds every time we went over a speed-bump!

22 = the number of SPAM messages I returned home to ... which is 548 fewer than I returned to when I went away in March! 548 fewer! Clearly my service provider has upped the 'filteriness' of their SPAM filter lately!

Perversely [which is the right term ... for more reasons than one] I do, sometimes, kinda miss some of the more creative and bizarre messages I used to find in there from time to time. Yet again over 100 SPAM messages a day was getting a bit much, whatever the entertainment value.

3 = the pieces of mail that landed on my doormat but which weren't for me. 
I wrote about them here and .. if you're interested ... I've got an update on one of them ... which I'll report in a post of its own next week sometime.

3 = the number of items of gloriously life-affirming mail I received the week after in an act of reparation by the Gods of the Letterbox.

  1. was the update I'll update you on next week
  2. was my Hamlet tickets!! They've arrived!!! I'm actually going to see Hamlet!! It's real!!
  3. and the 3rd piece of happy July mail was a complete surprise gift from an amazingly thoughtful friend. And a zebraful gift at that.
Gods of the Letterbox you outdid yourselves. I'm calling us even now. A 3 all draw.  

And finally ...  
48 miles travelled to visit the 60 acres of land that make up Yorkshire Lavender:   
That's actually another contender for my favourite photo of 2015 ... clearly my new-ish camera is working out for me! 

I did plan to share lots more photo of the visit but in case I don't get around to it soon, if you're thinking of going, go, go now, and go quickly before they harvest the lot at the end of August!

Ever since I learned of its existence earlier in the year it's been on my list of things to do and, yet coincidentally, just in the last few weeks I've noticed a spate of lavender field visits cropping up in my online life.

Sandie shared her photos of another UK field on her Facebook page while Hazel blogged her visit to the lavender fields all the way over there in Utah. There's obviously been something in the water or the air lavender, obviously] that's been sending us all to seek out these fields this Summer.    

So last Saturday, on what turned out to be the best day in a few weeks, and with the impending harvest time in mind, we too headed off to take in the sight and scent.  And there was lots of this happening: 
... and not just by me. There were dozens of camera, big lenses and small all attempting to capture the loveliness of the scene.

I don't know about you but, as a fairly introverted yet dedicated life-documenter and blogger, I can sometimes feel a bit self-conscious  being the only person whipping out her camera to capture all kinds of moments and vistas. But there ...

... truth be told I felt a little self-conscious for being one of the hoard of folk crouching and bending and angling themselves to get the perfect shot! It was common. Trendy even. And goodness knows that's not a space I ever imagine myself taking up!

Obviously lavender fields are where its at in 2015. Has anyone told Pinterest or Instagram?


So that was my July. Some history, some sunshine [although not as much as I'd have hoped], some postal shenanigans and a percussion section's-worth of old cutlery.

As ever ...

  • if you're just here to read ... then I'm glad you did. Putting words under your nose [lavender scented today, naturally] is absolutely one of my favourite things to do. 
  • and if you're here to share you own blog post featuring your vital statistics for the month ... pleeeeaaase read my post and leave me a hello at the same time. Don't just drop your link on me from a height like a seagull struggling to fly off with an iPhone/dog/child. Thanks!!
May the Gods of the Letterbox [which would totally be my band name if I was in any way musical] look beneficently on your doormat during August.

Thanks for stopping by today. 



  1. I've loved your month of numbers this time, and am gladly leaving a comment (though no link) - I find it astonishing how many people read a blog but can't be bothered to leave a comment (I try hard not to do that..mostly)

    1. Hi Helen. Well, I admit that I don't always leave comments on the blogs I read!! So I don't blame anyone for doing the same. But I occasionally used to get links pasted into the comment with no added conversation ... which I don't quite understand, so that's why I mentioned it. :-)

  2. I seemed to have missed a month or 2 along the way - but here are my numbers for July -

  3. Hah, as usual I had to take notes on your post, to remind me to not leave anything out in my 'Ooh, ah, yum' comments....! So, here goes! Topiary unicorns: yay! Shakespeare: brilliant photo!!!! (I've just signed up for a course about his life: perhaps you're interested too? Drop me an email and I'll send you the link, if so....).....LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that circle of houses in front of Lincoln Cathedral.........(didn't know it was called 'The Numbers').....800 years for the Magna Carta. Blimey! What a fantastic thing to have seen (would have LOVED, absolutely LOVED, to have seen the print out of it all: a.m.a.z.i.n.g!!! (I'd also be very happy to see more piccies of those Barons: what a *great* project!)....I remember 'doing' the Magna Carta at school and desperately wanting to know more (one of my big regrets is not being a school student in our post-iPhone world; I tell you, I'd have been in my element having Google at my fingertips as a schoolchild!!!!)....OH MY G......(said in total 'Janice' tone of voice.....).....those butter knives? My Gran had the exact same ones and, yes, nothing spreads butter like them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Am still waiting for your 'Spam mail' stories.... ;) And, "Ooh!", can't wait to hear the update on the 'wasn't for me' post.....HAMLET TICKET......JEALOUS, MOI????? I'll be less jealous when I hear all about it....(oh my, oh my, oh my!).....Yorkshire lavender.....BEAUTIFUL....we always used to holiday in Norfolk once a year and there was a beautiful, beautiful series of lavender fields there, that I always remember: the smell, that particular blue. Definite childhood memory to cherish....(side note: I always feel totally awkward getting my camera out....).........but, lady, NO CAKE?????? Don't tell me they don't sell lavender cake at the lavender field? Travesty of travesties....!!

    1. You get the award for most diligent commenter H! I didn't now that about 'The Numebrs' either ... maybe the guide just made it up! ;-) You'd love the Magna Carta wall - I'll have to share some more photos for you. And how could I forget to mention the cakes!! For full disclosure: I had a lavender scone at the lavender field and ... Biscoff cake at the teahouse.

  4. P.S. Gods of the Letterbox, why do you not shine so brightly upon little old me?!!!!

  5. Wonderful post - I can almost smell the lavender from here :). Great photos, Julie, and you always make your month so interesting. I have just spent the morning trimming the box hedge before the rain came and regret now I hadn't seen your wonderful unicorn otherwise I might have been tempted to NOT trim the hedge and think about growing it instead. We have some knives like those, with bone handles :).

    1. I love it when something as simple as an old knife can get people talking and finding similarities! Can't wait to see the hedge *next* year then.

  6. I love reading your month in numbers (i forget each month to record numbers to do my own) so thank you for such an entertaining read. I assumed you were happy to whip out your camera without batting an eyelid so was reassured to find that i am not the only person who feels awkward taking snaps of the ordinary and every day. I never feel daft on a day trip/holiday etc but feel like i am some sort of 'peeping tom' taking a photo on the streets where i live (hence struggling still with Rhinda's challenge of someone walking a dog)

    1. Hi Louise - yeah, sometimes I feel perfectly fine whipping out the camera then other times I feel a bit conspicuous! It definitely helps when I'm with other people - not only because I can sometimes pretend to be taking a photo of them ... when it's really someone in the background!!

  7. Mmm... lavender. We used to have a lavender hedge in our garden and smelling lavender used to mean coming home..

    A great read, as always

  8. So much to love in his post! The unicorn hedge for a start! The lavender fields look gorgeous (off to search for one near me now) and the manga carta. My mum has her mums butter knives too! Enjoy Hamlet x

  9. I'm back - I decided to do a variation of your month and did a day instead (too poor a memory for anything longer :) )
    Louise x

  10. Hi Julie! Absolutely wonderful photos, words, happenings, etc. again! Love the Lincoln Barons and your lavender photos are gorgeous. So glad you were able to see them on a sunshiny day too! Look forward to hearing more about the mystery mail and Hamlet! Here's my July numbers:

  11. Of course I am behind! Visiting and posting! I love your photos and your numbers once again. My favorites are probably the street of "Numbers" and the mansion/gardens (awesome shot of the Bard). Sounds like it was a fantastic month for you!
    My numbers are on my page here:


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