Thursday, 26 November 2015


Had a very busy week so far.  On Monday we set out to drive to London, Parked at Lizzie's, then took a 'bus to Sotheby's, where we were allowed to view the forthcoming Arms and Armour Sale -the sale is early in December, but as I was only really interested in one lot, didn't fancy TWO trips to London in quick succession, so viewed the lot I was interested in and left a bid (Sotheby's are very obliging about this sort of thing). Then by taxi to the South Ken Christie's, where a friend had asked me to check out a piece of bronze (discretion!!). Did this then walked round to Bonham's in Knightsbridge to view their Arms and Armour sale. The sale was due to take place on Wednesday. Viewed part of it on Monday afternoon, then we took a tube back to Lizzie's house. As Parson Woodforde would have said - "dined, supped, and slept there."

On Tuesday grandson Matthew called and we tubed and walked back to Bonham's and resumed viewing Bonham's Arms and Armour sale. When Matt goes to a sale in London with me, Ann always tells him to look after his grandfather -  This always seems to me to come over as an instruction to keep an eye on his grandfather and don't let him commit any excesses when off the lead and out in London Can't think what she means!!! At lunchtime Matt and I walked back to the South Kensington Museum (the V.& A.) and had  lunch there (this is as near these days as committing any excesses as I get - well and perhaps a glass of claret  to go with it). It's worth knowing that a good meal can be had there, and it's not crowded at this time of year. After lunch walked back to Bonhams and completed our viewing.  I had a commission to advise on three lots for collector friends. Two of them, after I'd made notes then boiled them down, could be summed up as 'leave it alone' and  'not with a barge pole', but the third lot, for which I was able to  sum up quite a lot of boyish enthusiasm,  my friends decided to have a bid on.
Communication can be incredibly easy these days (providing the chap at the other end knows a good deal more about it that I do).
The  sale didn't start until two p.m. (and my first lot came up at just after three) So that we were able to meet up with granddaughter Beth about mid day, and gave her lunch at Saint Martin's in the Fields (in the crypt, where again a good lunch is served, as is a very good apple crumble for pudding). It is Ann's favourite church, and Beth says it is hers too.Took a tube back to Bonham's (the Tube Station that comes out at the back of Harrod's is the nearest). Eventually was able to buy five lots, one of them being Jon and Jo's, on whose behalf I was bidding, and part of one of the other lots is the long sporting gun in the three photographs. .
The sale ended after five p.m, so by the time we'd payed and collected them, and got ourself back to Lizzies, the rush hour was in full swing. At Lizzie's suggestion, we got our heads down for an hour, got up, had supper with her, then loaded the car and hit the road. Took us just less than two hours, and we got home at eleven o'clock - Slept well.


                                    Mystery Object.

The below object was, as I've said,  part of one of the lots at Bonhams. My two regular mystery guessers (Rog and Crowbard) should be able to look at the details of the above and  below three photos, and then tell me the exact date (the year that is,  in  which it was made) together with any other facts for which they can see evidence. Be interesting to see what they come up with and why.

Sunday, 22 November 2015


This blog entry is really to record that we had the first frost of the winter last night 21st/22nd November, with ice hard on the car windscreens.

The top picture is of  Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, which we explored earlier in the week. The interior of the church is an absolute treasure house! Medieval glass, brasses, and memorials, mostly with a story to be told (and all is well labelled with their stories).

Above church brass - I forgot to get his details, but he is obviously of the XV/ XVIth century.

The above knight reclines, clutching a red rose. His story is told in the next picture.

See what I mean.

The above picture is of Saint Andrew (you can tell from his fiercely curling beard that he is Scottish (with apologies to my Scottish friends).

I've still got enough pictures from Long Melford Church to keep some in reserve for when I've not taken any photographs lately.

                        Must get on, out to lunch, and work waiting here in the workshop.
                                         Wish you all a good day.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Wednesday (2)

Yesterday we motored over to Long Melford to deal with several birds with one stone (mainly horological). We had a very good lunch at the Black Lion, and I recommend the place. After lunch we had half an hour to spare before the next clock stop, so, as the Black Lion is near the Church in Long Melford we awarded ourselves a potter round the Church. We'd been there before, a good many years ago, but I'd forgotten the incredible stained glass  there is in Long Melford Church. It is said to have the finest display of early glass in the country, and I certainly don't know of a better one.  The lady in the stained glass window shown in the photograph above seemed vaguely familiar, as I'm sure she will to several of my readers. It turns out that this portrait was used as a model by Tenniel to illustrate the Duchess in 'Alice in Wonderland'. Tenniel decided that she was a perfect model for the Duchess. Louis Carol credits the lady with that sublime piece of poetry sung by the Duchess  ( quoted from memory, but I think it's about right) :-

'Be cruel to your little boy,
and beat him when he sneezes.
He only does it to annoy;
Because he knows it teases.'

P.s. Didn't trust my memory on that verse, so checked it, and it starts -
"Speak harshly to your little boy........."   Sorry.


                                    Good night, Everyone.


I took the above photograph this afternoon in a sheltered spot in our garden. It is a wild violet. They bloomed prolifically there this spring, as they always do. Very occasionally, if we have a mild autumn, they will bloom again a second time; but it's very unusual, and this is the very latest I've ever seen a wild violet bloom - the 18th November!!!

I'd be interested to know if anyone else has noticed wild violets in flower this late in the year?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015


The above picture has nothing to do with the narrative of this blog entry. It's just that I spotted the above fruit bowl and contents, and realised that fruit can be easily as good-looking and  colourful as flowers; so I took the photo and used it to start this blog entry.


Been a good, busy week so far. Starting (as the week does traditionally) on Sunday, we motored over to Welney,  a village in  the Norfolk fens, and where we both grew up, for a family get-together. It wasn't quite so numerous a gathering as was originally intended. There seems to be a tummy upset in our area, and just less than half of us had to cry off. However, in the end well over twenty people attended. We'd hired the village hall on the bank of the Old Bedford River; niece  Naomi had arranged everything with her usual skill and efficiency, and we'd all chipped in to share the costs for the hire o the hall and refreshments.

 All age groups were represented,  from eleven months to eighty odd years.  The group above are great granddaughter Elsa, granddaughter Georgia, Great Granny Annie, and great granddaughter Astrid. Elsa has recently learned to walk and toddles everywhere, very straight backed and upright, occasionally breaking into a surprisingly fast trot. I took a photo of her heading towards the refreshment table at top speed, but I seem to have lost that photo.  In fact, as it's been a busy day today, I think that I'll knock off now (once I start losing things on this machine, I'm afraid I carry on losing them) so better to leave it till tomorrow, I think.

Goodnight all.

Thursday, 12 November 2015


This morning we had to motor over to Bury Saint Edmund's, to kill several birds with one stone.After we'd done the necessary business we decided to have a look at Risby Church, another of Suffolk's round towered churches. We'd not seen it before and it came as a pleasant surprise, and a larger church than we'd expected, as per the above picture. We had the added benefit of sun in a mid November day.

I almost don't know where to start. Once again the round tower is the oldest part. It's said to have a good deal of Anglo saxon work still evident. There are two lots of wall painting, in places with one lot overpainted by the other. The pews are largely early, and where there's been restoration it's been sympathetically done, with as much early work retained as possible.

 The same is true of much of the glass. The above window (the East window) is of largely 14th/ 15th century work, restored in the 19th century.

The rood screen is pictured above. It is small (about nine feet wide) but  exquisite!

 Being called up to supper, so must hurry this. Above shows Ann looking at some of the murals.

Above showing the lychgate, with seats inside it. I should think a lovely place to spend a summer evening.  Got to go now.  May put more down later. In the meantime recommend a look round St. Giles' Church, Risby. It is like an amalgum of the best from several good country churches mixed together.

Ann is much better than I at perceiving 'atmosphere' in a church. Over supper I asked her what she thought of Risby Church. "It's lovely" she said, "It's still a well-used Church. It's been well looked after, and cared for. And it's still a very active church."  I think I knew what she meant.

P.s. Just been re-reading yesterday's blog. The truth of the last paragraph assuring us that there are still  'fine things to be seen' has been confirmed today in a Suffolk village church.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


I am presenting the photograph of the above goodies  not as any form of 'mystery object' but as the sort of work that I have been doing lately.  I am, as you know, by profession an antiquarian horologist, but lately the dozen - no!- twenty or so good antique clocks that I keep in good running order in the area have been behaving themselves beautifully, and have been in no need of Michael's attention; so that I have been spreading myself a bit work wise - broadening my horizons you might call it, and turning my skills to all sorts of other things. As above, a flintlock musket that I purchased whilst on holiday in the West Country. It had not worked for some years, and I spent about three days putting it back into good working order. It is, as you can see, a military musket of circa 1750-1770, and originally of French/German origin. I've enjoyed playing with it, and it's now in good working order. The sword is a massive 'hand and a half sword' of German make (probably Solingen) and XVIth / XVIIth century date. When I was first shown it, most of the grip, and all of the grip binding, were missing, or to put it another way  - most of the hilt (or what was left of it) was clattering around.  Anyway, another two good days work did the trick, and I was able to , at least, FEEL busy.  This last few years I've survived in business by having turned meself into an antique restorer/dealer.

Then yesterday we took two telephone calls, both from owners' of antique clocks (both clocks date from the first half of the 1700s)  and both are beginning to feel their age a bit (yes gentle reader or rather Crowbard and Rog - I do know how they feel). The point of this  blog entry is that, however slack things seem to be, there are always jobs to be done:

  "For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to paradise by way of Kensal Green."

G.K. Chesterton- The Rolling English Road.

Thursday, 5 November 2015


This week's Mystery Object. It is four inches high overall. The middle section is about three inches high. The mounts are of silver (not hallmarked, but this was not unusual for small bits of silver at the time this was made). It has much the shape (and indeed the capacity) of an old fashioned sherry glass. The coin is included to give some idea of scale. It is a twenty pence piece, which will give some idea of the state of the Horner pocket. It sounds more if you call it a four shilling piece, or a double florin (yes, there really were such things late in Victoria's reign)  but isn't really, in fact it is worth a great deal less than the so called 'Bar maid's ruin'  (but that's another story). Your opinion of the illustrated item if you please. Of what is it made, where and when? There are a couple of points about it that puzzle me slightly, so this is a serious enquiry.  Thanks.

Sunday, 1 November 2015


As you will have gathered from the previous blog entry, we got back yesterday from nine or ten days holiday in the West Country. The photo above shows Ann in a piece of topiary work in the garden of friends of ours in Honiton. They are dealers, so we did business with them and had coffee.
On our way there many of the countryside trees were changing colour to yellows and russetts, so that parts of Somerset, seen from the tops of hills, looked as if they were made of gingerbread. Then on to South Devon. Senior daughter Sarah usually takes a cottage at half term, and this year she'd taken a rather larger one than usual and asked us if we'd like to take the spare bedroom (on arrival, and when the youngsters had unloaded for us, we found that the 'spare' bedroom was easily the best bedroom).

Just to prove the point, the above picture shows the view from our bedroom window.

The following morning we went down to the beach, and above snapshot is of grandson Guy.

 Glorious sunrise the following morning, taken from another of our bedroom windows.

Another family photo showing four generations - Amelia, Sarah, Ann, and Astrid, just before going down to the beach.

On the beach, going down to the sea. Must make a point here - if we're lucky with the weather it's not a bad thing to go to the sea in late October - the beaches are not crowded.
Must knock off now - Church, and I'm reading the lesson (out of Revelation !!!!)  I'll probably put more holiday snaps up later in the week (be warned !!!)

Saturday, 31 October 2015


Dear Nea. This is to wish you a very happy (and significant) birthday. Four days ago in South Devon four Henshaws - Mikey, Sarah, Lucy, and Guy, and one Horner (your venerable father - meself) assembled on a beach to write you out a large and congratulatory greeting card. My job was to stand atop a bluff, overhanging the beach below, and to bellow directions at the four Workers (well within my skills still), whilst the others worked hard at writing our message in the sand.

 The above photo shows the task nearly completed, and the below shot shows three of the  workers congratulating themselves on having completed the task.

The below shot shows Guy and Lucy, a little later the same morning demonstrating some other of this remarkable family's equally remarkable skills.

The last picture above, shows our message to you again; and I wish to repeat that we ( your family here in England) all wish you many happy returns of this your birthday - have a good and happy one, Darling.
              Love from all your family.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


Had to motor over to Sudbury today (several birds with one  stone visit), had to have running repairs done on the hearing aids, then visit my tailor to purchase a tie or so and eventually a cravat as well. It was a lovely sunny day, and I've been meaning to take a few photoes of the fine autumn colours we're enjoying  this autumn. We found, though, that the best colours were in and around Highdale itself (see above photo of the Deanery and the churchyard).

Close up of the Deanery looking its best.

Also the flower baskets on the Guildhall are still showing colour.

Driving out of town  the trees are colouring up.

As they are along the bypass (above and below).

Coming home through Newton Green couldn't resist a shot of this place (I've shown it before - been tarted up around the 1920s I should think) but well worth another look.

Almost home again.
Got home about half past four, since when I've been bottling the sloes for sloe gin - which is looking good. Won't be really drinkable until the Christmas after this coming one. It's a process that can't be hurried - still, I've got quite a bit left of the previous three year's produce, so we shan't go short.

Good Night All.

Sunday, 18 October 2015


This morning we set out at about ten fifteen and motored over to Ely. We had been invited to Ann's youngest brother tim and his wife, Sue's celebration of their fortieth wedding anniversary, together with Tim's sixty fifth birthday. Autumn colours beginning to show along the way.

The celebration was held at the Fire Engine house in Ely (near the Cathedral), and the above photo shows the private sitting room where we gathered prior to lunch. The couple in the forefront of the above photo are Sue and Tim.

The above photo shows the private dining room at the Fire Engine House. I've shown it before  when we celebrated Ann's seventy  fifth birthday here, earlier this year.

Above shows Tim and Sue surrounded by their children and grandchildren, just after Tim had said Grace, and  made a short speech of welcome.

View of the lunch table. I aught here to make an acknowledgement that several of these photos were taken by nephew/Godson Edward, who is a professional photographer; so if any of you have been murmuring "Gosh, haven't Horner's photographic skills improved of late?" that, I'm afraid, is why.  Thank you Ed, for thus lending a bit of style to this blog entry.

After the meal, at about four thirty the whole party adjourned to the cathedral. Tim, who is a jeweller, had made Sue a new ring. The one he'd made forty years ago for their wedding was getting a bit worn, so a short service was held in a side chapel at the Cathedral to bless the new ring.

We had given them, as a ruby wedding present, a rose called (very appropiately) 'Ruby wedding' in a terra cotta pot. We walked the two hundred yards back to the Fire Engine House, to transfer the rosebush, pot, and a bag of compost for it, to Tim's car. I was personally glad of the assistance of Ronnie, Tim and Sue's son in law, He picked up the  sack of compost as if it were a bag of sugar, bless him.
Set off on our journey back, and home by about seven pip emma. It had been a very pleasant, sociable sort of a day.

Good Night All.

Thursday, 15 October 2015


It's been a pleasantly eventful day today. Firstly, Janet and John came to lunch. You may remember that about a fortnight ago we had lunch with friends who intend 'retiring' as antique dealers (which is, of course, as I said at the time, against ALL the accepted rules for antique dealing).  Well, today they came and had lunch with us. This was partly so that they could pick up some repaired brass ware I'd done for them, and partly to show me some more antique metal ware that Janet had found whilst sorting some old stock. Her late father opened an antique shop in 1930, Janet took it on in 1970 (ish), and is now clearing it out, prior to closure. Various nice things have come to the surface during this operation, and anything that puzzles them, she firstly picks my brains, and then gives me first refusal on the items. I might well use one or two of the pieces I bought today as 'mystery objects' on this blog (unless I sell them first - but I want to play with them, so I'm not in a hurry to do that).

Grandson Matthew 'phoned Ann yesterday to ask if he might come and spend a couple of days with us before he starts a new job on Monday. Of course we said come and see us at any time, so we got a 'phone call from him this afternoon to say that he'd be on the five o'clock train from Liverpool Street, which we met. Matt and Granny shown above, and Matt and Grandpa shown below.

Spent this evening catching up on family news. He's just been downstairs to say Goodnight to me before retiring to his bed - I must say goodnight to my readers before doing the same - Goodnight all.