Monday, 1 February 2016


 All three photographs here are of the same item. It is an English version of a so called 'Nuremberg kitchen'. For those of you with good memories, yes, you have seen it before. I used it as a blog entry a few years ago (say three or four). I think it was probably 'estate made' i.e. by the estate carpenter of a village manor house, for the squire's daughter, NOT as a toy, but as a reference work, and  instructional tool to acquaint a young girl with her coming housewifely duties.  I bought it (the cabinet, I should say) some years prior to that on the Lincolnshire showground at Newark (at that time a massive antique fair). The cabinet was  empty, save for the tinned iron cooking range in the chimney piece, and a built in cupboard or so. Since then we've redecorated the kitchen, I've done a good many necessary repairs, and we've kept an eye out for well made miniature household items to furnish it. When we considered it complete, we were coming up to Ann's seventieth birthday (so it was six years ago) and I'd not found a birthday present for her, so asked her what she wanted. At the time I was considering an offer I'd had  for the above item, and it turned out that what Ann wanted was NOT to sell the kitchen with the maids' bedroom above it, but to keep it:  so I gave it to her as a birthday present. Before that time, I'd been treating it as potential stock; so then we carried on furnishing it.

Now, if you look at the top photo, there are two rooms; the lower one a complete kitchen, and the upper one a well fitted out bed chamber.

This is much the same photograph but with the doors open. Everything on the kitchen range is working, even the tap on the left of the fire bars in the  range can be turned so that water trickles out of the tank to the left of the range, and every one of the copper kettles and saucepans are tinned inside so that if used the young mistress would not suffer from copper-poisoning (in other words, if the young lady desired a dolls' tea party, it would be quite feasible, in theory).

Almost all of the metal items are of copper, brass, iron, or pewter. Most of them are of early nineteenth century date, although some of the pewter is rather earlier. Easily the earliest item is shown to the extreme right of the second photo on the upper floor. It is a guilt brass miniature casket, and dates from a few years either side of the year 1600. I purchased it at the Long Melford Antique Fair about three or four years ago.

The photo above shows a close up of the right hand side of the kitchen (the lower floor). A pretty good idea of scale can be got from this picture. The two candlesticks on the table top are both just under two inches high, and the clay pipe on the table top is just over an inch long. It could, of course, be smoked. In front of it is a brass candle snuffer dating from about the year 1790, and less than an inch long. As I've never been able to find a snuffer tray small enough for the snuffers, I eventually made one to complete the birthday present; Ann didn't seem to mind. It's the only piece of metal ware in the  'English Nuremberg kitchen' that I made. All the rest is original.

                                           Good Night All.

Thursday, 28 January 2016


This really is the last rose of summer (last summer that is).  Been watching it as a tiny bud since a week or so before Christmas. Realised this morning that it is now in full flower. The garden has snowdrops in profusion, a few daffs, four different colours of hellebore (Christmas Rose) one or two crocii, a quince bush(japonica) full of white flowers, and one last rose illustrated above. Our small garden is now giving us flowers the  year round!

P.s. Roses in flower through from April to January.

Monday, 25 January 2016


This is a sort of continuation of yesterday's blog entry. Above photo shows Ann holding up a photograph of herself as a baby.

Above photo is of meself  holding a seventy year old photo of meself (to left of photograph) and Crowbard, to the right.

Sunday, 24 January 2016


No, these are not 'Mystery Objects'. Just been sorting through some old photos, and came across these two. If anyone thinks they recognise them (and I think my offspring might if they  see this blog entry)  when do you think they were taken?

Been out to lunch today with friend Heather. When Heather 'phoned a week or two ago to invite us, she asked Ann if she thought I'd mind being the only bloke.  Ann said she thought I wouldn't, and how right she was. I don't think any man in his right mind would mind that. Anyway, in the end, the score turned out to be six ladies and meself.  A good time was had by all (except that I broke a wine glass - very embarassing!)    Hostess Heather behaved perfectly though, as she always does, bless her- that reads as if I break Heather's wineglasses regularly, and I didn't mean that at all, this was the first time I can remember doing it. Must try not to let it become a habit.


Ann's just gone up, so I suppose I'd better join her.
                    Good Night, everyone.

Thursday, 21 January 2016


At about ten o'clock yesterday evening, whilst putting the car away, I realised there was a lovely clear moon. On Christmas day I realised there was a full moon and took a photograph of it which pleased me, which I thought was something of a fluke, so I got my camera and photographed last night's  moon, quite successfully I think, and using the same method as on Christmas day, except that I used the garden gate to keep the camera steady.

This morning we took the clock movement I illustrated on my previous blog back to its home, replaced it in its case, and set it going. The owner was pleased to have it back, and allowed Ann to photograph me with clock in situ,  to give some idea of what a tiny, but well proportioned clock it is.


On our way home we stopped and had lunch with friends Jill and Keith (fellow antique dealers). Bought from Keith a very nice eighteenth century brass chamber candlestick which needs a small amount of restoration (some of which I've done this evening - it's good to keep busy).

                                                   Good night everyone.

Monday, 18 January 2016


I don't seem to be working on clocks quite so much as I used, more on early guns and mechanical antiques generally; but this past weekend I've been working on the above long case clock movement. It's an English thirty hour clock about two hundred and fifty years old. I've had to find a clock rope of the correct size,  and splice it. It seems to be running nicely. I then had to dismantle, clean and polish the dial, resilver the chapter ring and, then relacquer  the dial. The movement lives in its original oak case, which is under six foot high, but as the dial (original to the case and movement) is only ten inches square (on a taller clock it would be a twelve inch square dial) it is a well proportioned neat little clock which I've know for ten years or so (since I sold it to its present owner in fact). It's been very satisfying to work on.  


Saturday, 16 January 2016


Walked into town yesterday morning to do a little shopping , and stopped for a coffee. As you can see from the above snapshot of Saint Mary's Church, it was a fine, sunny morning. It was cold though, with the wind in the North. Still, that doesn't matter too much at this time of year, as long as it's bright and sunny.

The two (above and below) photographs are both of a short, sturdy (16 inch barrel) coaching carbine which I bought in December at Bonham's, and have been cleaning and putting into good, working order since then. It was built around 1780, by Robert Wogdon, who was born in 1734, apprenticed to Edward Newton in Grantham, Lincolnshire in 1748, and then worked in London as a gunmaker until his death in 1813, at the age of 79. It has a very thick barrel, as can be seen from the next photograph.  The odd  thing is that Robert Wogdon is best remembered for making very high quality, sophisticated pairs of duelling pistols.

In view of that it is all the more surprising that he was still prepared to make this sort of solid, workmanlike  tool.

                                                   Goodnight everyone.

Thursday, 14 January 2016


Quick snapshot of the first snow here for the last three winters, taken a few minutes ago.   Our garden using flash. Gives a fair idea of the weather.

                                          Good night, everyone.


Very short blog entry, but must record that just after midday yesterday , for perfectly good reasons which I won't go into because it would spoil the story, I found meself telephoning home to Ann :-
"Hello Darling. I'm in Felsham Post Office. Where aught I to be?"

Shades of G.K. Chesterton?

Saturday, 9 January 2016


Above is a snapshot of Hilary, meself and Ann, taken by David Atkins. Hilary is, as you can see, at the same time taking a snapshot of David Atkins taking a snapshot of H..............Oh well, I'm sure you get the idea. We are in a nearby Golf Club, having the Christmas Lunch held annually by the Highdale Mothers' Union. I am there because all the Mothers are allowed (even expected) to take a partner. After all, if the mothers didn't have partners, they probably wouldn't have become mothers in the first place, although I'm told that it isn't altogether necessary to stick to the traditional methods these days, although I'm glad I'm a traditionalist. The meal is invariably traditional, though, and all the better for that- choice of roast beef or turkey, with all the tradional fixings. There were ten of us at our table, and we all know each other, so the conversation flowed like the wine. Although at one point I made a bit of a booboo, I'm afraid. The lady to Hilary's right is Ruth, who, although as well smitten in years as the rest of us, still continues (professionally) to do very complex (and quite exquisite) embroidery, so of course, I asked her what she'd been doing lately? "Oh", she said, "I'm afraid I've been spending rather too much time in Ladbroke's of late."  Now, this rather surprised me, because, although Ruth is a thoroughly sporting old darling, I wouldn't have thought she'd know one end of a horse from the other.
 "Ah", I said, by way of giving her a let-out if she needed it "And have you broken even, or have the bookies skinned you?"   This seemed to stop her in her tracks, and it became obvious that she was floundering.
"Tell you what, Ruth," I said  "Let's start this conversation again. Where did you say you'd been spending a lot of time lately?"
"I said, I've been spending a lot of time in Addenbrooke's of late. What did you think I'd said?"

So I told her, and she joined in the general laugh, bless her.

There are times when it's quite fun being deaf.


                                             Good night, Everyone.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016


 This morning had to go into town to our local opticians to have my annual eye check up. Got there a bit early so sat and chatted to various acquaintance, swapping 'what we did over Christmas' stories'. Very pleasant too. Then went in to see the eye specialist, and all went well, until he looked at the x ray pictures he'd taken of the back of my eyes, as a totally new service they provide. Then his face dropped a bit, and he spotted something he wasn't very happy with, and decided he'd like to take more x ray pictures and have a think about matters. Would tomorrow be alright ? he asked.
     "Fraid not", I said. "I shall be in Long Melford all day tomorrow."
He couldn't make Thursday, so in the end we agreed on Friday morning.
"Now, don't worry about it" he said. "It's probably nothing much."  Those are the two silliest remarks (and the most frequent) that the medicos make.  Oh well, we'll see. Ann and I then decided (by way of cheering ourselves up) to go and have lunch in the above photographed hostelry, which has recently been opened by our friends Simon and Ros (the Cooks - yes, that is their surname, as well as their profession).  Went there soon after they opened, before Christmas,  and liked it.

Given the season, we decided on a light lunch to try and restore the intake to average, and Ann had the top plateful in the above photo, a duck pate, of some sort, with salad; and I had the plateful nearest the camera. Can't remember what it was called, but it was in fact a lamb shank, with the plate of vegetables shown in the centre of the above picture. Very good they both were, too.

Above shows Ann getting stuck into her light lunch. In view of our resolution, we decided against pudding, but did have coffee.   If you ever come to Highdale, and feel peckish, I'd recommend the place. It's the White Hart, and it's the first hostelry you'll see after coming off the by-pass; but that's only if you've forgotten to let the Horners know you're coming,  so haven't arranged to share their family fodder first.

Got an early start ack emma, so will bid you all a very Good Night.


Thursday, 31 December 2015

Thursday, New Year's Eve.

Just nipped upstairs from my workshop and found Ann busy finishing off a woolly jacket for Great Granddaughter, Elsa; so I took the above snapshot - looked very domestic.

This blog entry is to wish all our readers a very Happy New Year - 2016  from us both.


Sunday, 27 December 2015


These four photos were all taken on Boxing day, when Sarah, her husband Mikey, their four children, and one grandchild, spent the day with us; as did our son, Jonathan, and his partner Jude. Lunch was a cold meal, consisting of cold meats, cooked by Ann, and carved and arranged by me. They consisted of baked gammon, sausages in sliced bacon, and roast turkey breast. There was also roast vegetables, salad, and a large cheese board. Together with puddings, and fruit. As our table couldn't take eleven of us, everyone was given a plate, and expected to help themselves, which they did, and find somewhere to sit and eat. Actually things organised themselves to some extent, in that the teenagers took over the kitchen, and the adults gravitated through to the sitting room. The baby, great granddaughter Astrid, seemed to be able to go where the pickings were richest. As she doesn't yet walk, or crawl to any extent, I'm still not sure how she managed this - probably hitched lifts from whoever was going for refills.

Above shows senior daughter Sarah, with three of her four, left to right, Lucy, Guy, and Sophie.

Above is Guy ensconced in a corner of the kitchen, and obviously feeling that he's made a good choice of venue, and is about to make a good choice of provender.

Sarah took the above snapshot of Ann and meself, the senior generation.  It was a very pleasant day, enjoyed by all (certainly by us).

Friday, 25 December 2015

Christmas Day.

Christmas Day. Went to Family Communion in Aldham Church, this morning. Took the above photo from the car. A farmhouse we've always admired. The Church was nearly full, and about fifteen children, with their parents, and grandparents, which was nice. Then home to lunch, picking up our lunch guest, Sylvia, on the way. Excellent lunch, then coffee/tea in the sitting room, until the Queen's speech at three p.m.  Then ran Sylvia home, about four p.m.

This evening I went out to check the car before locking up, and realised (remembered) it was a full moon on Christmas day, so went and got the camera and took the above photo. Thin clouds driving across the moon  ( west wind), but the photo was reasonably clear. Pleased with it.

                                         Good Night, Everyone.


Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas Eve 2015.

                                             Mystery Object.

Not really a mystery object, although it's a bit larger than usual - it's a good four inches long.
Please tell me what you think it is for, when, and where, do you think it was made, and (this is the mystery bit) of what do you think it is made  (please be specific here)?


We wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, and send our warm regards to all our readers -
                                       Mike and Ann.


The run up to Christmas has been a thoroughly sociable one (including being asked to swell  the choirs at THREE carol services in our immediate area). Motored over to Monks Eleigh this morning and took the above snapshot of a dew pond beside the road. As you can see, it's a lovely, bright morning, considering today is Christmas Eve.

We've three different coloured Hellebore in flower, including the one photographed above. They really are justifying their old name of Christmas Roses this year.

There are also a good many periwinkle in flower.

Going to have to knock off now, as the computer is playing up. It only seems able to handle about three photoes at a time. Hopefully I'll be back in a minute with this week's Mystery Object.

Thursday, 17 December 2015


Above and below are photographs of this week's  MYSTERY OBJECT. It is made in three parts, all of them cow horn, which screw together. Can you tell me please - what the object is, its purpose, when and where it was made (please be specific about 'where' - I do know where experts say these specific items were made, but I wonder about it a bit).  The below photo shows the item disassembled into its three component parts, which should make the guessing about its purpose easy, I think.

P.s. I bought it on EBay yesterday, and it was delivered today, which is good going I think, or rather good and speedy coming/delivery.

                                         Good guessing, and Good Night All.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015


Been waffling lately about the number of unusual wildflowers to be seen in bloom in mid December; so, just for a change here are some garden flowers that are at present in bloom in the garden. Above, in a small, raised bed in the centre of our garden is a group of primula of different colours that we planted some few months ago, and which are still in full  flower. In the ground beneath them are tulip bulbs, which next March should give us a bed full of scarlet tulips.

Realised, yesterday evening, that growing over a low wall, is a clump of dianthus (carnation) which is still trying to flower. Took a shot in the dark, which flashed, and worked. Must check in the morning if they have scent.


I've shown pictures of this building before. It is our 'Row Chapel'. It was built, circa 1450, to serve the inhabitants of a nearby row of Almshouses, which it still does. This morning at eleven o'clock a service of nine lessons and carols was held in the Row Chapel. It was full to capacity, which turned out to be 52 people. No one could remember it ever being so full, and we all sang lustily (and were served mince pies and mulled wine after the Service).

 Below is a photo of  part of the row of Almshouses which the Chapel was built to serve. These, however, were largely rebuilt in the 1870s. It's nice that both the Alms Houses and the Chapel are still serving their original purpose.

                                                      Good Night All.

Saturday, 12 December 2015


This morning we, together with friend Hilary, motored over to Hollow Trees Farm Shop (the restaurant) where we met up with Jill and Ruth) for breakfast, which was, as usual, excellent. We rather lingered over it catching up on all the news (gossip). Took a slight detour on the way home to take snapshots of flowers I spotted earlier in the week (but was unable to take photos then owing to the fact that I'd left my camera on the kitchen table. The top photo is of primroses in flower, and the lower one of daffodils/narcissi.  Hilary told me that the latter flowers were not daffs but Jonquils, which are known to flower early. I'm about to google Jonquils and if I find that Hilary is right (she usually is) I'll add to this blog entry and confirm (so more later, perhaps).

P.s. Hilary appears to be right that the above flowers are Jonquils. However, I've just been searching Google, and can get no answer to a query about early flowering. In fact the only reference to their flowering period states that they flower in late spring. It seems strange, therefore,  to see them in full flower in mid December. Any comments about the usual flowering period of Jonquils would be gratefully received.

Sunday, 6 December 2015


Been a good, busy week (so far). On Thursday we lunched with old friends of ours who live near Lavenham. Telling John (who is a keen gardener) about the wild violets in flower in our garden. John then took me into his garden and showed me, in a sheltered corner, primroses in flower !!! It's been a weird autumn.

 On Friday morning, which was a lovely, mild, sunny  morning had a walk through Saint Mary's Churchyard, and took these three snaps.

The Church above has the second longest nave in Suffolk (which is a county of fine, large churches). The longest nave in Suffolk beats us by about three and a half inches (I'm told - I've never measured them!)


                                                  MYSTERY OBJECT.

The above and below object has TWO commonly used names, one of them is rather misleading. Can you tell me both of them, please. And also, what it is,  where it was made, when it was made, and any other details you can see from the two pictures.



I foresee rather  a busy few days ahead, but I will answer any comments on the 'Mystery Object' whenever I find a few minutes to spare.

Goodnight All.