Thursday, 28 May 2015


I mentioned in a blog entry a week or so ago how very well the aquilegia flowers are  doing this year. Took the above four photographs this afternoon, which rather demonstrate  the point I was making.

Had taken the above flower photos when i looked a bit higher, saw what a lovely 'skyscape' I was missing, so took a quick snapshot of the sky above our  garden. I think I must try and make a habit of looking a bit higher for some photos.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


All four photographs are of this week's  MYSTERY OBJECT. It is very small - two and a quarter inches long (2.25"),  but was  made for a quite specific purpose.

Where and when made please? Material of which it was made ?  And the specific purpose for which it was made?


P.s. Cheating slightly in that I've not yet shown the underside of the object - it is signed and dated.

                                                            Good night every one.

Saturday, 23 May 2015


In yesterday's blog entry, I mentioned that we'd bought fruit and vegetables from the Market.  This evening for supper we had  the asparagus and a poached egg on toast, followed  by some of  yesterday's fruit. I then thought of another blog entry, so hastily rearranged what was left of the fruit, photographed it, and here are the photographic results (which I should have thought of earlier).  All the fruit photographed we bought from Highdale Market.
Ann made the flower arrangement of flowers from our garden, mainly aquilegia.

                                         Goodnight All.

Friday, 22 May 2015


Took this snapshot of my favourite tree yesterday. It is a couple of miles out of town, on one side of a narrow, embanked lane. The other side of the tree the bank runs down to the river Brett. I showed a snapshot of the tree a few years ago. I wish I had known this tree sixty years ago. I could have done it justice then. I'd never noticed the face above the hole in the centre of the trunk. The face rather matches the tree's character.

This morning we walked into town, had a coffee, walked home via the Market Place. There's only about half a dozen stalls nowadays, but we usually stop and buy vegetables at the green grocery stall to the right of the snapshot, as they always have locally grown fruit and vegetables. Also, Ann says they give good value for money. They sell nice, fresh produce anyway.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


Been a busy week. Ann has wanted to go and find a small garden centre she'd  heard of in a  nearby village, so yesterday afternoon, we decided to give ourselves a mini outing and drove over there. A mile or so out of town we slowed down so that Ann could take the above photo out of our offside window of a small farmhouse that we've long admired.

Fifteen minutes later we arrived at the garden centre, took the above photo of a pink flowered conker tree under a threatening sky, then had to run for cover, as the sky did more than threaten. It was a small, but very well stocked garden centre, with a helpful staff. If they hadn't got what was wanted they told us of other local suppliers who might have. We bought several bits, mainly herbs, in which they seemed to specialise.  The main problem of having such a small garden as ours, is that we have to chooses the things to go in it very carefully. In other words we have to be very sparing of  the space that is available.

Drove home across a fairly low lying bit of Suffolk, under some lovely cloudy skyscapes, but now with lots of sunny bits as well.

Couldn't resist a photo of this small herd of cattle, being led by a rangy, long horned bull, with whom I wouldn't have cared to get into a political argument if I'd met him in a bar parlour.

And last of all, a few miles from home, went through a typical Suffolk lane, with cow parsley hanging from either bank. Stopped for a cuppa and sticky bun a couple of miles from home. Thoroughly enjoyed our (fairly) productive afternoon out.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


This morning we motored into the depths of wildest Suffolk to have lunch with friends. After lunch our host showed us his latest acquisition., which he'd received this morning.  I asked him if I might take a photograph of it to use as a Mystery Object? "It's in dreadful condition" he said, "and there's an awful lot of work to be done on it before it's fit to be seen. Tell you what Mike. I'll get you one out that you can take a photo of. It's not quite as early as this one, but, it's in a lot better condition ."

So, that's what we did. Here is the photo above. The object is on the seat of a modern garden chair. Please try and guess what it is, where it was made, roughly when it was made, and the material of which it is made.

On our way home we stopped for petrol on the forecourt of a garage, and found ourselves parked next to the above photographed, magnificently preserved, 1930s Rolls Royce motor  car. As an old uncle of Ann's used to say :- "The things you see when you're out without your gun!"


Monday, 11 May 2015


 Took these photos in our small garden last Saturday morning. As you can see in the first two photos we have roses in bloom (a few days later than last year). A couple of years ago it was possible to buy miniature rose bushes on garage forecourts. We were given several of these, and when they'd done flowering indoors we put them out in the borders, where, in season, they continue to flower, and these two are our earliest flowering roses this year.  Have you ever noticed, by the way, that when we say a thing happened 'a year or two ago', if we're in a position to check, it's almost invariably at least twice that time?

The aquilegia (Grannie's bonnets or nightcaps) are really blooming nicely now. We cut them back hard last year but it doesn't seem to have discouraged them this year.

 Above and below pictures are of alpines in our rockery.

And lastly, after giving us a good show, our tulips are nearly past their best.

Got to go now. Ann tells me Sarah is on the 'phone, wanting to discuss last Saturday's Telegraph Prize Crossword.
Good Night All.

Friday, 8 May 2015


This afternoon we motored over to Sudbury to do our fortnightly 'big shop'. It's an interesting town in South Suffolk on the Essex border. It's probably rather bigger than Highdale, and the town has obviously been an important place in it's day. You'll get the idea when I tell you that there are THREE medieval churches in Sudbury - All Saints Church, St. Peter's Church and the 'Mother Church' of Sudbury,  Saint Gregory's.  Simon Theobald of Sudbury, who was born circa 1316, and became  Bishop of London for some years, witnessed the peasant's Revolt on the 14th of June, 1381, and (rather ill advisedly as it turned out) took refuge, together with King Richard II in the Tower of London, where Simon was beheaded by a lynch mob. His mummified head  was eventually returned to Saint Gregory's Church in Sudbury (which, from Simon's point of view probably didn't  help much). The head is still there, though - it is kept in a glass case in Saint Gregory's Church, where it can still be seen - by request. If you are of a nervous disposition, I suggest you don't bother. I think he was probably no beauty at best, and six and a half centuries mummified don't appear to have improved things much.

 Sudbury, as you can see, is well worth a visit though. The above building, which backs onto the river, is one of my favourites.

There are a great many half timbered buildings which are well worthy of inspection.

The above Church is Saint Gregory's where the head is kept.

Sorry to have been a bit macabre this time.  Good night - Sleep well. You don't HAVE to go and look at him.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015


Earlier this week (Monday possibly) we got mildly lost across towards Sudbury. Been through this village before, but I can't remember taking a photo of this building. The main (cream coloured) part  is of various periods, mainly eighteenth century in view, which knowing our area probably means the skeleton of the house, especially if it's end on to the road, is timber framed and probably medieval; But why anyone should, probably during the late eighteenth/early 19th century, build an oast house and nail it on to the lovely earlier building, I really don't know. Suggestions (I want to say sensible ones please, but, on the other hand, I don't want to exclude Rog or Crowbard) would be welcome.

Snapped another church I don't remember seeing before, and I can't remember the name of the village; just sailed round a corner, and there it was. Snapped it through the nearside window, and got a reasonable picture for once. If I ever come across it again, I'll try and get more details of it.

 Been passing busy today, getting ready for Long Melford tomorrow; so I'm now quite ready for bed....

                                       Goodnight All.

Monday, 27 April 2015


 Quick blog entry. Above is a cottage garden gate on our way to Aldham Church. The garden, and area is full of primroses which will, in a week be past their best - so took a snap when I saw them.


The next three snaps show changes we have recently made to our front hall. Late last year we decided to give up our piano which took up most of the spare space in the hall.  Neither of us had played the piano in months, so hearing that a nephew (who is an organist in his pare time) was in need of a usable piano, we gave him it, and are told that they are very happy together. That brings us to the point of this entry which is - what to do with the spare space in the front hall.  We bought upstairs,  from my cellar,  this small dresser. It had belonged to Great Gran, and I'd been using it to display early metal ware . It now has some pewter bits and the remains of a Minton tea service (of  'Lady Amerst pattern'- I think I've got that right).  Given that it stands where an Edwardian upright piano stood, it's amazing how much bigger the swap has made the hall look.

The lady who has been framed above, is a Victorian 'pedlar doll'. We bought her when the children were small. They all loved her, and all joined in making small pieces of stock for her tray. She retained her tray, which in turn displays her 'Pedlar's Licence', still adhering to the backboard of the tray. I finally got round to making  - and installing her into- her frame. The frame is made to unhook, at the side when necessary, for Ann to tidy, or rearrange, the doll's stock. I aught to have opened the case  to take the photo -there'd have been less problem with reflections.

The last photo shows a small oak chest which, crowded our bedroom until recently. The chest is English, and dates from the late 1500s, or early 1600s.  It now stands in the hall, furthest away from the front door, and under the stairs.  These small alterations have made the hall look much more spacious and less crowded  than previously. It's much too easy to allow a room to become overcrowded. Think we've got it about right again now.

Friday, 24 April 2015


Dear nephew/Godson Edward, the above photo has nothing to do with the 1975 trip to Wales. I  think it was taken at a Christmas get together at Welney House, after we bought it from Pa.

This photo was taken on the front steps of the hotel on the seafront of Criccieth. This group is mainly Horners, but there are a couple of Claytons in the front row - Elizabeth and Rebeccah, and young Sam in the middle (thanks Ruth, well spotted).

The above photo and comment is, I hope, self explanatory. Suggest no one mentions it to Sarah. She will probably  attack instantly!!.

I have before me a piece of slate which we liberated from a slate mine in Blaenau Ffestiniog. The old minor who gave it to me, Hugh Parry Thomas, showed me how to engrave on it with a sharp pointed iron nail, and put his name on it.  The lettering on it now also reads :-

From Norfolk and from Lincolnshire,
O'er mountains and through vales,
thirteen Horners and Claytons came to take a look at Wales.

Unto Blaenau Ffestiniog
they came - this numerous tribe,
and pinched therefrom this slab of slate on which I now inscribe.


One last piece of news before I close - been feeling a bit grotty these last few days, and this morning Ann dragged me off to our doctor. He looks (honestly) like a thoroughly well intentioned gorrilla, and never pulls his punches. He did various tests and listened to my upper insides through his stethoscope, then said  "You've got a thoroughly nasty chest/lung infection". Then put me on a course of antibiotics, so please bear with me if I don't blog much for a while.

Thursday, 16 April 2015


Been a pleasantly busy week so far, but I've been snapping away whenever the chance presented itself, and got the odd printable photograph  ..... so here goes.... On Monday we motored over to Ely. Took the back lanes to Bury Saint Edmund's, got a bit lost, and came across the above thatched cottage, with a pond (surrounded by daffs) in front of it. A hefty chain link fence has been erected between the cottage and the pond, which seemed rather a pity until the thought came to me that the people in the cottage  had probably recently started a family and the fence had been raised to prevent the children falling in the pond. Nice to think, if so, that children were still being raised in such a pretty cottage!

Had coffee in the gardens most mornings, and realised that the tiny plants in with the bonsaied yew tree were again in flower- they match the size of the tree. The tree is less than a foot high, and the pink flower shown is about a quarter of an inch in diameter.

The small apple tree espaliered along the fence is once again in flower. It has a small, crisp red apple. Can't remember the name of it- something like a Winchester red ??? (but don't quote me).

Same tree again, but from a bit further away.

The above orchid has been in bloom since before Christmas, and is now showing new buds, whilst the old flowers are still blooming.  I grew up believing that to grow orchids needed a heated greenhouse as they were supposed to be very difficult, sensitive plants. No such thing though - they are as tough as old boots,  flower for months and  then start all over again.

Must knock off now - and  get on with the  loads of work waiting for me in the workshop.

Monday, 13 April 2015


With reference to the mystery object shown in the previous blog entry, the above and below picture shows the mystery object with the cover beside the brass nozzle (which has NO adjustment for the powder measure) open. This round opening in the top plate is to keep pistol balls in.  The object which Crowbard (and, I think, Roger) spotted as being a gunpowder flask. The point is that it is rather a specialised gunpowder flask which would have been cased up with a pair of duelling pistols. I did in fact spell 'dual purpose' as 'duel purpose', which was intended as a clue.

As Crowbard mentioned (but didn't really apply) there are double purpose and triple purpose powder flasks. This one is a triple purpose flask, with a nozzle to release, when the release lever is pressed, a set measure of gunpowder. The other hole in the top of the flask, when the cover is swivelled, contains spare pistol balls, if both the first exchange of shots is ineffective.

The third purpose of the flask, is shown below. If the base is unscrewed, a further space is revealed which would have held spare flints (or spare percussion caps after about 1820).

The object is English and would have been made around 1800 to 1820. It would have been carried in the duelling pistols' case, so that the seconds could have loaded, and if necessary,  reloaded the pistols with which the duel would have been fought to decide who of the two duelists was in the right (the one who was still upright at the end of the affair, of course). If I've not made anything clear I'm sure I can rely on one of you to inform me of the fact...... and then, if I disagree with you, we can settle the matter the traditional way - with a duel!

Saturday, 11 April 2015


I don't know if anyone else has noticed (or whether it's just in this area) but I don't think I've ever seen such a profusion of wild violets (or dog violets) as there is in this area this spring.  There  seem to be clumps of them springing up in all areas of the garden. They are a lovely flower with glorious scent. Last year we had another flush of them in October - not so profuse as in the spring, but it seemed an unusually late blooming.


The above item is this weeks 'mystery object'.  It will, I think be easy enough to guess what it is, but it has a very specific purpose, or use, or place; and it would be nice if you could also guess its place and date of manufacture as well.
P.s. I bought it late last week, and haven't cleaned it yet, but it's in good working order.

                                                   Good Night, All.