Saturday, 8 March 2014
Earlier in the week we went to a church in this area (well, a few miles from Highdale) that I'd not visited previously (and we've lived here twenty years come November), although Ann says she went to a concert there with the W.I. or the Mothers' Union some years ago. It is well off the beaten track and only visible from the road in winter, and then only a quick glimpse in passing. It is a pretty little church, mainly early 14th century, with a couple of late Norman doorways (one shown below). Well worth a visit - sorry, should have said - it's Nedging Church.
Drove back via previously unexplored lanes, and took photos through the car windows of early cottages. The one below is an early single storey farm cottage. Probably originally two or three cottages, now knocked into one, and very well cared for.
The cottage above is a little beauty of a small farmhouse, built around a pair of Tudor chimneys, and with that odd air I've mentioned before of having grown into its surroundings. It's reassuring to know that there's still bits of Suffolk to explore.
This morning went to the funeral of an old friend, Terry. Known him for forty years or so. He was a dealer in antique weaponry (should perhaps add : - etc.). The funeral was held some miles away at Hitcham. Nice service - well attended - in lovely Church. After the service and interment we went on to the White Horse, where refreshments were laid on. Met a good many old aquaintances. Got home just in time to attend scrabble club - but not time enough to change out of me subfuscs (funeral clobber). When I got there Hilary looked at me and said "No need to ask where you've been. Anyone I know ?" Which of course Terry wasn't - so explained that he was an old friend and business aquaintance. Usual well fought three games, Hilary won the first, I the second, and Kevin the third. Just had dinner/sorry - supper nowadays. Ann nipped into the butcher's this afternoon and bought a chicken, which she roast and served up with a lemon and garlic sauce - recommended by our butcher. He's a good cook and he and Ann often swap recipes. Don't know why, but we always seem to feel very tired after a funeral.
So we're going to have an early night.
Good Night all.
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Today is Shrove Tuesday, so this evening we rather swapped places; that is, I made and cooked the pancakes, and Ann took over the photography department. I'd just tossed (and caught) the first one when Ann took the above picture, and in the photo below, I'm tucking into the fourth one. I must confess that for the first time I can remember, when I tossed the third one - I DIDN'T catch it - it went on the floor (Oh the shame of it !!!!) I think I must be skidding a bit. All the rest went allright. I suppose that we get out of practice when we only excercise a skill annually. I think a new Act should be passed proclaiming a Shrove Tuesday every threemonths, so that we all get more practice (and MORE pancakes). We eat ours the traditional way, i.e. with a squeeze of lemon, muscovado sugar, then rolled up and a little castor sugar sprinkled along the top. I don't think it can be improved on.
Now to the answer about yesterday's mystery object. The point about the object illustrated yesterday is that it is a sturdy, reliable pistol; BUT, if you examine the lock closely, you'll find it has a plain, unsophisticated (albeit workmanlike) lock. The only real outward sign of this is the lack of a bridle to the frizzen (i.e. the steel), but there are several other small signs of a lack of refinement that usually went into officers' or duelling pistols. This one was made for the protection of a gentleman's coach. The coach guard was usually armed with a blunderbuss, more often than not a brass barrelled one. The point about the brass barrel, as most of you spotted, is that travelling in English weather, they were less subject to corrosion than iron. This led to brass barrels being used at sea or when travelling in a horse drawn carriage. They were issued (as anti highwayman devices) to a liveried footman, or more probably a liveried outrider to a private carriage. In other words it was a servant's pistol. The usual name for them, and they are fairly rare items, is therefore 'livery pistols'. When they were made they probably cost about a quarter of what would have to be spent on duelling pistols. The same is still true. When such a weapon comes up for sale it probably makes between a third and a quarter the price of a good dueller. For me it is a part of our social history.
Monday, 3 March 2014
The first three photographs are of this week's MYSTERY OBJECT. We went for a drive this morning (with a purpose, but found ourselves on a slightly unusual route so I took lots of photies, meaning to show you old buildings, but then thought I might have been overdoing suffolk scenery of late, so decided that it was a while since I showed a 'mystery object', so showed this one instead). It isn't strictly a mystery object in that there's no mystery about it. It's a flintlock pistol, but made for a fairly specialised purpose, and it's your job to see if you can work it out. I think to do this, you'll have to ask yourselves questions.
Above photo shows the brass barrel of the pistol. Why a brass barrel ? It has one major advantage over an iron barrel, and is used in two fields of use. which you may be able to work out. The stock, as is usual, is of walnut.
The above picture of the lock is the giveaway. Suggest you enlarge it and look closely. It's not quite what you'd expect for it's date. I think I'll give a clue here. It dates from around the year 1800. See what you can do with this. As per usual - no prizes. Good deal of kudos though, if any one gets it. I do realise that this one is quite highly specialised. I'm not cheating - it really is a lethal weapon of its day, but for a special purpose.As that might mislead you, I'd better say - it's emphatically NOT a duelling pistol.
This bit has nothing to do with mystery objects. I found meself thinking that I sometimes put up a photo of the evening meal. Well this is today's light lunch. Gammon sandwiches, the gammon cooked by Ann and cut into quarter inch thick slices (with a little mango chutney in them - I prefer a smear of English mustard, but this is more subtle, I agree). Celery and red pepper as a relish. The olives are prepared and bottled by our friend Millie. They are bottled in olive oil with fennel seeds and, I think, a little garlic. We plan to try and bottle some ourselves later in the year if our bronze fennel produces a decent crop of seed. With grapes and apple. A very tasty lunch, although I think that celery does need a little salt (although I'm not really supposed to - bad for the ticker, I'm told).
Oh, and a cup of Red-bush tea (ruibos tea), which fortunately I like! People either love this stuff, or can't take it at any price. The point is it contains no caffeine or tannin, so it's lucky I love the stuff. Being 'GOOD for you' and 'liking it' don't necessarily run together, but this time they do.
Sunday, 2 March 2014
Last week was a good, busy (and very social) week. Therefore shan't bother you with details, but will put up the few (printable) photos taken this week. Above is a snapshot of a moated (probably pre- Tudor) manor house taken on our way back from lunch with friends John and Margaret. Also repaired their slightly ailing long case clock, whilst there. It's now going well again, having suffered a minor mishap whilst being regulated by John.
Took the above photo of early bow window in Bildeston.
Also in Bildeston, an array of shop frontages that have changed little over the centuries.
Will try and keep a better photographic record of our travels over the next week (which looks like being a fairly busy one.
In the meantime - wish you all a very Good Night.
Monday, 24 February 2014
This morning had to motor over to Sudbury to have my ears tested (yet again). Stopped and shopped in Waitrose on the way. Once again, even more powerful hearing aids are on order. They'll probably help for a while. Drove back via the back lanes , taking photos through the car windows on the way. Pretty thatched cottage above, Pleasant village manor house below. This has had a fine Georgian facade nailed onto a timbered , earlier house (probably Tudor). If you look to the right of the house, the end of a small, white, mediaeval house is visible, at right angles to the road. A lot of our earlier houses (including the one in which we live) seem almost organic in the way they've grown and developed.
Village back street scene of various periods below.
We really are spoiled for lovely old houses in Suffolk.
A mile or two further on we stopped for lunch at our favourite farm shop. The hot dish today was beuf Bourginon (sorry - never could spell in French) , so we each had a dish, so generously served that Ann could not finish hers (and as I was quite replete - could not assist). Quite delicious.
Good night All.
Saturday, 22 February 2014
Good Night All.
Thursday, 20 February 2014
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
And this is what I was working on today. I've shown one before as a mystery object, it is a chamber candlestick complete with dowser and snuffers. It is an unusually early type, English, and dating from circa 1750 to 1780. Had to do quite a lot of restoration on it - it was falling apart.
Ann has just informed me that I have four minutes to get upstairs, cleaned up, and ready for supper;
So, Goodnight All.
P.s. Must reopen this to report that supper was well worth the gallop.
P.p.s. Consisting, as it did, of a hearty beef casserole, followed by apple and figgy fool.
Monday, 17 February 2014
It's been a lovely day. Twice, so far this year, we've planned to go to Sarah's, and each time, due to the weather and our leaky back hall, we've had to cry off. This morning (applying the well known principal of Mahomed and the Mountain) Sarah and her two youngsters, Lucy and Guy, accompanied by Ruby and Mango, set of at 6.15 a.m. and drove over to us, arriving at about 8.15a.m. Ann had prepared for them what the hotels call 'a full English breakfast' which we all enjoyed (and lingered over). Above photo shows Ann, Ruby, and Lucy, enjoying each other's company after breakfast, in the drawing room.
Above shows Sarah and Mango taken at the same time and in the same room.
Guy,Lucy, and Sarah. The time flew and at 1.30p.m. Ann reminded me that we'd planned to take them to lunch at our favourite farm shop. We all piled into Sarah's car, and drove out to Hollowtrees, where we lunched. Ann had a pannini with bacon, Brie, and cranberries, Sarah had a sausage sandwich and salad, and the children and I shared a large dish of tachos, with toasted Cheddar, tomato sauce (not the bottled sort) and red peppers (I'd not tried this dish before - rather liked it- and found it surprisingly filling). Ann and Sarah had water to drink, Lucy and Guy had Coca Cola, of different sorts, and I had a ginger beer, which I found went very well with the tachos ( I should perhaps explain, for clarity, that these turned out to be a sort of coarse textured and spicy, potato (?) crisp).
After lunch, which (like breakfast) we rather lingered over, we decided that a long walk around the farm would freshen us up. Above photo (taken by Lucy) shows meself and Guy on a thoroughly muddy farm track, which they'd made slightly more navigable, by placing logs crosswise along the worst of the path. As you can see, a tree had come down in the recent gales, and it always surprises me to see what a small root system supports an adult tree, which, in this case was a good forty foot high, or rather - long - now. Got home just before five, when Lucy and Sarah spent a good deal of time putting a slight problem to rights on my computer for me, then set off for the South Midlands just before six. As I said, it has been a lovely day, and thanks again, Sarah, Lucy, and Guy for coming all that way.
Friday, 14 February 2014
Yesterday was a full day. Had to walk to the surgery in the morning to have a blood sample taken. Then at twelve noon we went to the dining room of our Town Hall, where Hilary was holding her birthday lunch party. It was a big 'Zero' birthday. In fact Hilary was holding a birthday party to celebrate achieving four score years. Hilary hired the dining room to seat around fifty of us, and Ros and Simon Cook (very aptly named, too) were catering. Simon had laid on a vast cauldron of cottage pie, with a good dish of vegetables at each table. Solid 'comfort food' followed by a choice of puddings, all excellent (I'm told - I stuck to just one - a chocolate roulade with cream) then tea/coffee. A meal to be lingered over, which we all did. The party broke up at about three o'clock.
In the evening we went out to supper at Jordain and Sue's new house. Sue has always wanted a dining room, so that she can entertain friends.The new home is rather larger than their previous one and Sue now has her wish. Sue told us that we were her very first first dinner guests, which we took as a great compliment, especially as our hosts are in their twenties and we are in our seventies- isn't it nice when different age groups can mingle happily?. She is an excellent cook and produced a chicken dish (a sort of slightly piquant casserole) with red peppers and one or two other vegetables in it. It had rather a 'sweet and sour taste' to it, and was excellent. She'd made an apricot flapjack as a pudding, which was also very tasty. We were allowed to play with their daughter Summer before the meal, and afterwards before she was taken up to bed. She's now five months old, and is an absolute little charmer.
Altogether a very pleasant and satisfying day.
P.s. The house photographed above dates from about 1480, and belongs to our friend Jane, who, like us, is at present having trouble with a leaking roof, and is having to live with correctly placed buckets all the time.
Monday, 10 February 2014
NO!!! It turned out to be the steam cloud from the Bury Saint Edmund's Sugar Beet Factory (above).
And Good Night.
Saturday, 8 February 2014
This morning - being a nice morning (at first) with sunny intervals, we pottered about the garden, taken snaps of hellebore (above) and snowdrops (below).
A bit later Ann walked into town, and I went down to my workshop. When Ann got home she had to go upstairs to change as there had been a sudden, very heavy rainstorm, and she was SOAKED! She also said the river was up nearly as high as she'd ever seen it. So, after lunch, and after Scrabble Club, we motored a mile or so out of town and took the below two photos.
Our little River Brett, instead of being about four or five yards wide, had swollen to two or three hundred yards in width across the water meadows.
Took the below photograph on our way home, entering Highdale from the East (sorry David- South - East -looked at a map).
What weird weather we're having. Our side hall, and occasionally the kitchen is still leaking. We've had buckets under the main leaks, and piles of books in the front hall, since before Christmas. Our friend David, a builder specialising in early properties, says he can do nothing until the weather is drier. Oh well - the joys of living in a grade two listed building !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Still, we keep telling each other that things are much worse for some of the people in the West Country.
Thursday, 6 February 2014
This week's MYSTERY OBJECT. Although there's very little mystery about it. I'm sure that any real ceramicist would tell you that it has almost NO monetary value, because of the damage. Perhaps Z and Russell would confirm (or deny ?) that last sentence ? However, in my view, it has great value from the social history point of view. Perhaps my readers could tell me what it is, when it was made and where, what has happened to it, what has been done to it, and by whom (I don't mean their name, of course, just their occupation- two possibles here).