Wednesday, 29 October 2014


Above is a photograph of yesterday's  mystery object shown with all three lids to compartments fully opened. It is, of course, a brass snuff box. English, of circa 1800 to 1820. It's purpose is carry three different grades of snuff. In the largest compartment would be bog standard snuff (wonder where the expression 'bog standard' comes from?)  for offering to undiscerning (or possibly undeserving) acquaintances. The middle compartment is for mediocre/goodish snuff to offer to acquaintances who you suspect might know the difference; whilst in the smallest compartment is really good, expensive, snuff, for close (and hopefully deserving) family members; and, of course, for yourself.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


Been fully occupied over the weekend, which is why I have been a bit lazy on the Blogging front. My apologies.   However, here is a
                                        MYSTERY OBJECT  
    which arrived by post this morning,  my having purchased it on eBay.  What is it? where was it made, for what purpose (this is an easy one) but it does have a specific purpose, or rather a speciality which you should spot if you look well at the picture.
Good guessing (if you are reduced to guessing and don't know). I think Roger may well have seen one of these before and will know what it is.

Thursday, 23 October 2014


On Tuesday, as I believe I mentioned, we did a 'big shop' in Sudbury, and I took the above photograph of what must have been a very generously  natured machine. It was, as you can see, offering 'Free Cash'.  I managed to suppress my immediate impulse to step over to it, and ask it for a million or so. I mean I'd never been introduced to the machine, and it would have been rather a cheek, don't you think?  Anyway, I include the photo, so that if any of my readers, of a rather less sensitive nature than meself, are in Sudbury, they can go and have a chat with the machine. It is parked right outside the front door of Waitrose, so should be easy to find. I should be interested in the result (if any) of this experiment; so please let me know.

P.s. Good Luck, and don't we live in a wonderful world these days?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Been a nice, eventful day. Nipped into town this morning to do various odd jobs. Got back in time for Ann to take a 'phone call. This concerned a very fine, early, London made, long case clock, which I did a quick job on nearly two years ago. The story was that the owner wanted the (recently inherited) long case to be going by Christmas, if this was possible. I've a feeling I did a blog entry on it at the time. Anyway, I attended the clock, and did what was needed to have it running during the Christmas season. This morning the owner 'phoned again to say that the clock had been running well since then (nearly two years ago remember) but it had now stopped. Could I attend and see what might be done about the matter?.  Arranged to get together with the clock this afternoon. In the meantime I'd promised to take Ann out to lunch at a new Italian Restaurant that opened in town about a week ago. Pausing only to grab a tool box and work apron, motored back into town and
checked the notice in the doorway of the shop, which stated that it would open every weekday at twelve noon - only it hadn't!  Got there at twelve fifteen p.m. and found the shop closed. Wasted five minutes or so, hammering on the front door occasionally,  whilst waiting for the shop to open, which it still didn't.  So got back into the car and drove out to our favourite farm shop and had their usual excellent lunch - so there!
Then drove into Sudbury (on our way to clock) where, at Waitrose's shop did a large, extended grocery shop.By the way, should have said that the two photos of early buildings were taken on the road between farm shop and Sudbury.

Back in car and drove to clock owner's home, and renewed acquaintance with the below clock. It was built in London around 1690 (or a little before), by one of the better London makers, and is an old beauty. When we got the movement out the problem turned out to be in the bolt and shutter maintaining power, which in turn was discouraging the escapement (don't worry about it - all is now well with the clock) and matter eventually put right, clock reinstated to its case, and was ticking away happily when we left. I know of few things more satisfying than bringing a dead clock back to life.

Got home just after five o'clock. Must knock off now, as I've got several minor jobs to attend to in the workshop. Cuppa first though, I think.

Saturday, 18 October 2014


Went to Scrabble Club this afternoon. There were only six of us there, so we had two tables of  three each. The first two games were uneventful, and were won,the  first by Kevin (to the right of the lower picture), then the second by Joyce (one of our senior members) to the left of the lower photo.  The third game, photographed above, started at about twenty to four(when we usually break up) so we  agreed to have a quick game to take us through to four o'clock. I kicked of with the word lax,  in the centre of the photo. Joyce put down 'wet', and Kevin followed with 'toy'. I started the next round with 'kat' and 'kex'. Soon after that we realised what was happening and decided to see if we could finish the game by four o'clock, and reach the upper right and lower left of the board. Soon after that a sort of sublime idiocy seemed to overtake the three of us, and we played fast and well. We didn't cheat, and we counted the points (although that became of very secondary importance in the game). We finished- I should say Kev finished- the game at four o'clock, in the lower left hand corner, by which time the other table had finished and were gathered round our table to watch this rather weird and wacky game end. I won (on points) largely because of my 'rez' and 'fez' in the lower left.

We all three thoroughly enjoy scrabbling, have much the same scrabble skills, and are all three mediocre to goodish players; but this game was special and will be long remembered.

Thursday, 16 October 2014


Here are two photographs of yesterday's Mystery Item, now complete. The top one illustrates best what I meant when I said that you should be able to work out one more fact from today's illustration of the clock complete.  I think it is very obvious from the top picture.  The lower picture makes it equally obvious where the clock was made, and shows that it is weight driven, and the THREE weights indicate that it is hour and quarter striking. Not sure that I'm making this clear, but have another crack at it.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


                                         MYSTERY OBJECT.

Been working on the above object most of today. It is hanging on a modern bracket, and is not the complete object. It is what we antiquarian horologists refer to in our pedantic way as 'the innards'. If I complete the job tomorrow, I'll put up a picture of the complete object. In the meantime you should be able to work out what it is, roughly when and where it was made, and some of its specialities.

Being called up to supper.  Goodnight.

Monday, 13 October 2014


This entry is going to be a record (necessarily shortened a bit) of this last weekend. On Saturday morning we set out to drive to London to attend the baptism of Great Granddaughter Elsa. The above photo was taken of a dramatic sky somewhere over the M25. We drove up to Twyford to have a look round an Antique Shop where we've always bought well over the past several years. Beside the shop door were two notices each telling us that the shop was now 'permanently' closed and thanking everyone for their custom over the last twenty five years - oh well, it was bound to happen, sooner or later. There are very few real antique shops about now. Drove back into London, and to our hotel, which we'd found on EBay, a small, basic, but very clean, welcoming, and  affordable establishment (oh yes, there are such places to be found - even in London).

The following morning, after a 'full English breakfast' served up by the proprietors, a charming Indian couple, we made our way to the Church of Saint Anselm Belmont, at Stanmore, Middlesex, where we took the above onesie of ourselves; only I think I've got that the wrong way round and in fact it's a selfie of.......... oh well I've no doubt you can work it out.  The Church (in this case I do mean the building) as you can see in the above photo, is a solidly confident late Victorian/ Edwardian confection/erection.  The real Church (i.e. the people - the resident congregation) was lovely. Ann described them as - an evangelical, but nicely short of being a happy-clappy- Church.  The music was an excellent choir, many of whom played instruments at the same time as singing. There were two guitarists and a percussion section, mainly with a West Indian flavour. As I was a member of a skiffle group a very long time ago (late nineteeen fifties) I could appreciate their music.

Above photo shows Ann with our grandson Matthew.

Above photo is of Ann and our Great Granddaughter Elsa (who behaved perfectly during the baptism - and indeed all day).

Last picture  shows our oldest and youngest daughters (gallantry prevents me, of course, from telling you which is which).

Well that's really all about the baptism, but I do want to tell you of one small incident that occurred later in a private room at a nearby hostelry where Granddaughter Georgie, Elsa's mother , had arranged a very nice buffet meal/reception. This last few years I've rather admired the sort of quiet self confidence that a good many of today's youngsters seem to have. Ann and I had just sat down at table when a young lad galloped up, held out his hand and said "Mum says I can come and say hello to you because you know me".  I returned his handshake and said
 "You'll have to tell me your name though".
"I'm Oscar", he said in a slightly surprised tone of voice, and as if his words had explained every thing.
"Of course I know you". I replied (I mean, how many Oscars does one meet during a lifetime?) "I've known you since you were a baby, but the last time we met you were only a toddler, so I'd forgotten".  He obviously forgave my lapse of memory, and said "I'm ten now", after which we got on well. His mother (a good friend of  our youngest daughter) came up soon afterwards and hoped Oscar wasn't being a nuisance (which he  wasn't in the least). I told him I was glad he'd introduced himself, but that I supposed we both had a duty  to circulate now;   although I then stopped to chat with his mother and picked up all the family news (and to compliment her on her son's good manners).
"Oh, he worked out that you were probably Lizzie's father. So I told him to come and introduce himself. I knew you wouldn't mind."
              I repeat, it's lovely to meet youngsters with that sort of quiet self confidence and innate good manners.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


 Been a Wednesday today, and we never seem to be able to strike a balance on a Wednesday. So much so that the body seems to take over a bit- happened this morning - woke at 6.15 a.m., and I do mean really woke, not just drifting close to the surface of awareness, but became completely conscious, and aware that there was something I ought to do. When I concentrated I found that the 'something' was to get up, dressed and ready for this morning's early service, to which we both eventually went (at 7.30 a.m).  All the photos, by the way, were taken pip emma (that is, this afternoon). We were back in town by eleven, as we'd arranged to meet friends John and Margaret at the Orangery for coffee, which we had to linger over, as, mid way through coffee there was a very heavy downpour. Had a word with the waitress who said that they weren't busy this morning, so to linger as long as we wanted over coffee, which we did. We tend to meet up at the Long Melford Antique Fair, which never leaves us much time to socialise. John is that rare and unnatural creature, a RETIRED antique dealer. It has been well said that antique dealers never retire, but just become steadily more in keeping with their wares. However, John has officially retired, although he does occasionally buy bits to improve his collection.  When the rain had stopped, home to lunch, then back to the surgery where Ann had a hearing test, and I had a check up. Then to postal sorting office, who had a parcel for me (business - EBay). Then decided that a quick visit to our favourite farm shop was in order (see below photo),  followed by a cuppa in the canteen thereof.  On the way there took the first photo showing, after the rain, and, using the Norfolk tongue, "a whully slubby Suffolk lane".

Detoured, on the way home,  and in order to take a few more pictures, via Kersey. I know I've taken you there before, but it's impossible to take tooooo many pictures of the place.
Above is an early (circa 1490) just  pre Tudor, brick building.
Above is another picture of the same building, with the ford across the village street in the background.
The above house is a favourite of Ann's. For some years past it has been in the possession of its one inhabitant, a very elderly man, who eventually died about four or five years ago. By that time the place was in a fairly derelict state, and was sold immediately to people who have been doing it up ever since. I think it will take a long time, but they will eventually have a very lovely home in a delightful village. I'll take the occasional photo of it, so, in the meantime, watch this space!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Sunday 2.

                                                  You'll spot that 'twas just as I feared,
                                                   That photo had quite disappeared;
                                                    So I went back, and found it
                                                    Then caught it and bound it -
                                                     until on my screen it appeared.
                                                     It's behaviour I'd found really weird!  Although fairly typical of that miserable monarch, the late (and not much lamented) King George IV.


 Been a busy week. In fact it's been so busy that I've forgotten most of it!  Except that we went to the Long Melford Antique Fair on Wednesday. I think we'll forget the rest of the week and start at today. Went to Aldham Church this morning - read the New Testament Lesson. I usually get the Old Testament lesson, which I can, and do,  usually let rip on. Got home just after midday, and found that Saturday's rain storm had

snapped off some of our late roses. Brought the above ones in for Ann. Roses still looking quite well, and a good many of them are bearing buds still.
This afternoon we went to friend Terry's cottage (pictured above) for tea. Good to see her.
After tea Terry told me that my last visit - to try and sort out the problems besetting her french mantle clock- had been successful, and the clock had been running well since then. She then wished me many happy returns of the 25th September, and presented me with the below cast iron chimney ornament of King George the Fourth (pictured below I hope, although I fear the photographic recovery department of this machine is playing hard to get again). We'll see when I throw the 'publish' lever of this device. Here goes :-

Monday, 29 September 2014


We've just spent the weekend with Sarah, Mikey, Lucy and Guy; and a very pleasant weekend it was. On Sunday, yesterday, Mikey ran us across to a Stately Home he's just discovered (Castle Ashby) and which I didn't know of. We passed the above farmhouse on the way there. Can't remember where it was, but it's a lovely little farmhouse (about the same age as our house) and the way both chimneys leaned to the left made me feel better about our leaning Tudor chimneys.

Above photo is of the place we were heading for (Mikey warned us that the house isn't open on Sundays) but the gardens were, and were well worth while a wander round.

The church in the grounds was just a small country Church dating from the 1300s, with some nice early contents. The chap carved on a slab, above, was all in mail (i.e. chain armour) and was probably a crusader.  I told Sarah that he was the oldest chap in the church.

 A couple of minutes later Sarah called out "Daddy - I've found an earlier chap", and pointed out the bloke above. Had to admit she was almost certainly right.

Mikey  was very taken with the stained glass, which was really rather good (probably of early nineteenth century date I think).

We all liked Saint George above - we loved the nonchalant way he's dragging home a very dead dragon- obviously the day's bag.

Must go, Got to answer a 'phone call, and I'm told supper's ready.

Thursday, 25 September 2014


As today is my birthday we decided to go out to lunch, and chose one of the few local hostelries whose goodies we have not yet sampled : -

Hintlesham Hall, above. Looks pretty good at a distance, doesn't it? Immaculate, you might say.

Looks pretty good, too, in close up.   The lunch was, generally speaking, excellent. Well, the first two courses were, anyway. We've often noticed that pub meals seem to fall down on their puddings (that sounds slightly rude, but I'm sure that you'll know what I mean). In this case it wasn't the country pub meal that fell down on the sweet course, but a very well known local Country House Hotel. However coffee served in the lounge came in a cafetier, and was excellent.

Having said a bit back how immaculate the front of the building looked, I took a walk round the back of the building, and photographed some of the top floor (which really does need a bit of money spending on it).  However, I would guess that in the past these were servants' quarters, and are probably now staff bedrooms?  Not much changes, does it?

Earlier in the week we received an invitation to go to tea at three o'clock today, from our ninety year old friend Sylvia, which we accepted gladly. Yesterday evening we got a 'phone call from a mutual friend to say that Sylvia had been rushed into hospital, and to cancel the tea appointment. This afternoon we got home just after three o'clock to hear the 'phone ringing. It was Sylvia to say that yes, she had been rushed into hospital yesterday, but that she had jolly well rushed off out again at the earliest opportunity, and that tea was ready on the table waiting for us. This time it was our turn to rush off out, which we did, and had an excellent tea with Sylvia (and the mutual friend Sue, who'd popped in to see that Sylvia was up to this hectic social life). Before we left I did running repairs on Sylvia's Vienna Regulator clock, which, being German, sulks occasionally- and sorted it out for her. It's been a lovely day - who could ask for more from a birthday?......which hasn't ended yet.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014


                                                   Mystery Object.

About a fortnight ago I went along with the Collectors Branch of our local U3A to view a local auction, which has just moved its rooms into our area. I left a bid on the above oak item.At the auction  two days later  the hammer  fell at about half my bid, which is reassuring as it was a new auction room to me. It was also reassuring as I've known auctioneers who would have taken bids 'off the chandelier' until the top bid was reached. It indicates that we've got an honest man of principle on the rostrum.

          Can you suggest the date it was made,  where it was made, and for what purpose? Extra credit will go to any reader who can give the generic  name of the type of decoration on the item, which in this case will indicate the period of the piece.

Good guessing.

P.s. Sorry. Should have given you the size of the item. It is seventeen inches high, fourteen inches wide, and eight inches deep.

Monday, 22 September 2014


Thanks to a new card reader and a deal of good advice from daughter Nea, I am now able to put up photies relating to a Horner get-together in Cambridge a week last Saturday, and reported in my blog of Tuesday, 16th September. The above photo shows a few of us having a swift cuppa/snort (according to taste, but mainly cuppa) on the banks of the Cam at the Garden House Hotel, while waiting for the rest of the clan..

Above photo shows all the family embarking on their trip on the two punts in the middle of the picture. All, that is, bar three, who have made a daring escape and will be shown in the next picture.............(background music for Dick Barton, Special Agent, whom nobody now remembers, on the wireless).........

And as you can see Ann and I have made our escape from the rest of the family, taking with us our latest edition, great granddaughter, young Elsa, who is in the pushchair.

 Back at the hotel for tea, and still in charge of Elsa, who, by this time was a little tired and fretful.

This one was taken about six minutes later, showing Elsa, who, after two verses of 'Within the Cellar's Cool Domain' sung basso profundo by her maternal Great Grandfather direct into her tiny 'shell like', is now flat out.

                                          Hope this works. Nea should be watching out for it, and will, no doubt, report back.

Sunday, 21 September 2014


two items in this unillustrated blog entry.  The first is that I noticed this morning that a wild violet in a corner of the garden is again in flower - 21st September!!


The second is that although I'm not in a position to offer a Mystery Object, as I can't publish photos at the moment, here is a sort of verbal, or rather literary, mystery object for your perusal.

It is by Catherine Fanshawe, who lived from 1765 to 1834. It's not great poetry but I've always found it very neat verse. It's more of a conundrum than an enigma, but it's one that our grandparents would have recognised instantly. See if you can solve it  :-


'Twas whispered in Heaven, 'twas muttered in Hell,
And echo caught softly the sound as it fell:
In the confines of Earth 'twas permitted to rest,
And the depth of the ocean its presence confessed;
'Twas seen in the lightning, 'twas heard in the thunder,
'Twill be found in the spheres when they're riven asunder;
'twas given to man with his earliest breath,
It assists at his birth and attends him in death,
Presides o'er his happiness, honour, and health,
'Tis the prop of his house and the end of his wealth;
It begins every hope, every wish it must bound,
With the husbandman toils, and with monarchs is crowned;
In the heaps of the miser 'tis hoarded with care,
but is sure to be lost in the prodigal heir;
Without it the soldier and sailor may roam,
But woe to the wretch who expels it from home;
In the whispers of conscience it there will be found,
Nor e'er in the whirlwind of passion be drowned;
It softens the heart, and though deaf to the ear,
It will make it acutely and instantly hear;
But in shades let it rest, like an elegant flower,
Oh! breathe on it softly, it dies in an hour.


You should be able to work it out. You'll probably be aware of it (it's a real old chestnut).
If in doubt think Jane Austen's Emma.

Saturday, 20 September 2014


This is by way of being an experiment, suggested by Nea. The picture is of our High Street, and was taken ten days ago (i.e. the tenth of September). It seems to prove Nea's theory that the present problem regarding putting photos on my blog stems from a problem in the 'Universal Card Reader' that I use. It is, we think (and to use a technical expression) ' knackered'.   Nea has put a similar one(but, we trust, in better condition) in the post for me; so, if we're right, in a week or so, you may expect illustrated blog entries.  In the meantime, I shall continue to to use verbal only entries, with perhaps the occasional old photo.


Tuesday, 16 September 2014


My apologies for delay in blogging. Been hoping to be able to put photos up, but computer won't wear it at any price, so will have to be a verbal only (unillustrated) entry. Last Saturday drove over to Cambridge, calling at Railway Station to pick up Granddaughter Laura, then on to the River Cam, where a couple of punts were waiting for us (eighteen or so family). Ann and I didn't go on the river this year, as we'd agreed to take over the care of Great Grandaughter Elsa, while the family explored the river. Once they were embarked and under way we pushed Elsa (in the pushchair provided) to visit a friend of ours who keeps an antique shop opposite the FitzWilliam Museum main entrance. David spotted me and the pushchair on the pavement (Ann had paused to do a little necessary shopping) and popped out of his shop doorway to greet me and to admire the baby (he's a bit soppy about tiny babes, as am I) and asked who this new grandchild (?) was. "This is my Great Granddaughter" I told him. He sniggered and said something about even I wasn't old enough for great grandparent hood surely? So then I formally introduced him to Elsa and vice versa, so he had to believe me.  Ann arrived shortly afterwards and was duly congratulated by David. I bought one or two nice early bits of metal ware from him, and David said he was very pleased to see us as he wanted my opinion and assistance on a long case clock he's just bought. Would I step round to his house (he lives nearby) he asked? The shop was busy and he didn't really want to close it, so Ann (bless her) volunteered to mind the shop and his dog as well as Elsa whilst David and I nipped round to look at his clock. I was able to give it a good report, and eventually agreed to overhaul it for him. Then back to his shop, where Ann was busy enough to be glad of our return. Back to river just in time to greet the two boatloads of  family just arriving, and round to the Garden House Hotel for tea. A lovely afternoon. Took lots of photos, and a fat lot of good that'll do my readers, as I'm afraid you're all stuck with a written blog only, until I can persuade the thing back to its duties.

          Good night all.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


On Monday Ann and I met up with her brothers and their wives at the Fire Engine House in Ely. Coming into Ely from the Newmarket direction I finally managed to take a decent snapshot of the Cathedral through the car windscreen. 'Our Cathedral' (as we called it when young) was perfectly visible on the horizon from our village, although we were twelve miles north of it. In fact it was quite useful for weather forecasting purposes. When the Cathedral could clearly be seen we were told, by old fenman, that this meant that rain was on the way. If the cathedral could not be seen at all, it meant that it was already raining.  This is known as dry fenland humour, and as nearly everything else in the fen is usually wet or soggy, this meant that anything dry (perhaps especially the humour) was much appreciated.


Today we motored into Bury Saint Edmund's to meet up for lunch with her old friend (and next door neighbour - although in this case their two houses were about four hundred yards apart) Barbara and Barbara's husband Alan.  I don't know if anyone remembers this, but in the sixties and seventies everyone said that they were planning, when they  retired, to a Landrover and drive overland to India, or to.... convert a 'bus and drive to Morocco with a group of friends, or to - well generally to see the world, if you get the idea. Well, the only ones we ever knew who stuck to their plans are Barbara and Alan, photographed above on either side of Ann, at lunch in the Cathedral Refectory in Bury St. Edmund's. On retiring, fifteen years ago or so, Alan commuted part of his pension and bought a very good mobile home with the proceeds. Since then, every October, they lock their fixed home, climb aboard their mobile home, and head South. We tend to get exotic postcards from them during the winter. They return to their home, usually during April. This coming October they've planned to drive a long and complicated route down to the Greek islands. Barbara takes copious photos and keeps a journal as a record of their travels.  She plans, eventually, to precis and generally tidy it up, so that their grandchildren get a record of their grandparents' adventures.   I am lost in admiration, but as  Ann says, we've done what we wanted to do with our life, and so have Barbara and Allan.

After lunch we had a wander round Bury, and on Angel Hill the Angel Hotel was looking so bright and colourful, that I had to take the above photo of it.

                                          Good Night All.

Monday, 8 September 2014


This last week has been a very busy one, one way and another, and I have not had time to blog. However, on Saturday evening we relaxed and had friends in for supper. On these occasions Ann cooks, I sort out wines, drinks generally, hoover through, and then lay the table. Above photo shows table laid and ready.

 The above photo shows same table an hour or so later when we're lingering over cheese, port and coffee. It shows (left to right) Ann, Christian, Claire, Bryan and Rose. I like the modern habit of the ladies staying with us for at least a glass of port apiece.

Following morning, Sunday,  the weather was distinctly colder, so we dressed for the weather and took photos of each other in the garden. As you can see from the below photy, I considered that Sunday was the first day of distinctly 'weskit weather' so I'd dressed accordingly for morning service at Aldham Church at eleven a.m.    John Smith took the service, and concluded  the sermon by telling us of the man who sold his vacuum cleaner because it was only gathering dust !!!!!!!!!!


Today was Ann's 'sibling day' and we motored over to Ely and had our usual excellent lunch at the Fire Engine House.   Ann's just gone up to bed, so I'd better join her.

                                                           Goodnight All.