Wednesday, 26 August 2015


                                                This week's  Mystery Object.

I purchased the above photographed object in Sweden in July.  I've just looked it up in Pinto, who states that we did use similar objects in this country, mainly in the Norfolk fen area. Being a native, and never having seen one before, this surprised me.  The dealer from whom I bought it was dealing mainly in treen (i.e. wooden items)  and was sporting enough to warn me that the item would have been one of a set of four when in use. The item is of very little value - the price tag on it equated to about one pound, fifty pence, and I think he threw it in as a makeweight in the end, as I'd bought  a few nice bits  from him.  I've included a foot ruler in the photos to give some idea of size.

                                 See what you can make of it.
                                 Good guessing.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


I can't remember if I've told you of this before, but today's blog concerns our annual get-together with Barbara and her husband Alan.  Barbara and Ann were (and are) great friends. As children they were next-door neighbours . As their fathers had neighbouring farms in the Norfolk fens, this meant they lived half a mile apart -  I lived about a mile North of them. Ann and Barbara also shared a birthday, the twenty fifth of March, which appropriately is Lady Day.

In the seventies a lot of people used to talk of eventually retiring, and then doing adventurous things -buying a Range Rover, and driving overland to India, or buying a mobile home and driving round the world...............
Barbara and Alan were the only ones of our acquaintance who actually kept to their plans for adventure. They   saved hard, then when Alan eventually retired (I think about sixteen years ago) they purchased a good mobile home, the predecessor of  the one above; and every October since then they have packed the mobile home and headed South for the winter. I think the furthest South they've been has been Morocco, but ever since they retired they've wintered in or around the Mediteranian area.   They usually come back around April time, and spend spring, summer, and early Autumn at home; and during this period we've always managed, every year, to get together and catch up on all the family news.

This morning we motored over to Ely, met up at the Fire Engine House,  had lunch together, then pottered around Ely, teaing at a tea shop next door to the Riverside Antique Centre (they let me explore the place before tea - I  was able to purchase a rather nice piece of pewter). We finally said our cheerios, and "see you next year!"s at a bit after five, having driven them out to where they'd parked their mobile home. Got home just before seven.

Been a lovely, restful day - it's always easy to pick up the threads with old friends.

Good night everyone.

Saturday, 22 August 2015


Above photo shows (I think 'Little Hall' to the right) on Lavenham Market Place. Ann in the centre foreground. Should say that all three photos shown today were taken in Lavenham Market Place on Thursday.

Above is the Guildhall in Lavenham. It dates from circa 1520, which makes the Guildhall here, in Highdale, a goodish hundred and fifty years older, but ours has been added to and altered over the centuries, while Lavenham's is all of a lump - 1520.

Shops on Lavenham Market Place. All three photoes are taken from the Market Place. It is said (with some truth, I think) that if you stand on Lavenham Market Place and look all round you, every building you can see was standing there at the time of the Wars of the Roses.


I really started today's blog entry to record the fact that today we've picked and eaten the first two ripe figs this year from our garden. Delicious they were, too.

Friday, 21 August 2015


Had an enjoyable and eventful day yesterday. Motored over to Lavenham in the morning, and had coffee with friends of ours who live in  Lavenham and who collect pewter. The point of this is that Jill always spends time with us at the Long Melford Antique Fair, and as this is usually a very busy fair, I have to keep dashing/drifting off to attend to other customers' needs. Jill has therefore suggested (at the last two or three Long Melford Fairs ) that we visit them at their home in Lavenham, where we can natter uninterruptedly over coffee. Which we did; and very pleasant it was, too. 


We then went on to call on Penny and Hugh, who also live in Lavenham, and  where we were to have lunch with them and fix a lantern clock which has been playing up a bit lately. Before and after lunch (which was, as always, excellent), I did the necessary repairs to the lantern clock, aided and abetted by Hugh. They were having a very busy day, with various things slotted in. In fact they'd booked too much into the day, and had just decided that they really couldn't fit in their plans for the evening, and would we like the tickets for the concert they'd been planning to attend, and now found it impossible to do so?   We'd nothing planned for the evening so Hugh, before we left, found the tickets and programme for the concert, and presented them to us.  

The photo above is of the River Alde, and was taken...............

near  to the Snape Concert Hall, photographed above. The Concert  we'd earlier been given tickets for, took place in the Concert Hall, and was by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.  The first half was given over to music by Robert Schumann, and the second half by Richard Strauss.  It was a quite unforgettable performance, and to try and describe it further would be 'to gild refined gold, or paint the lily'.
          Thank you Penny and Hugh.
          It was glorious music, and a lovely evening..

          We've decided that we must get out more of an evening, and imbibe a bit more more music than we've been doing lately.


Wednesday, 19 August 2015


All three of today's photos are of Hibiscus trees.  The two above are rather taking over their corner of the garden, and I'd been thinking of taking out the one nearest the garden shed (especially if it could be transplanted - friends of ours would like it - if it could be done). Today our 'jobbing gardener' gave us a couple of hours 'tidying up' and I picked his brains over the hibiscus. He didn't think much of the chances of transplantation, but suggested that 'a bit later in the year' I try and 'shape them to the area' rather than taking one out. Well, he's the expert, so that was decided upon. But it gave me the chance to make a Roglike jest or funny." I shan't take too much out of the tops of the trees" , I told him "Or our hibiscus will become a  lowbiscus."  He rather liked it!


The above plant is still a hibiscus - Hibiscus Bluebird, and years ago it was considered the only hibiscus that could stand up to the British climate. So much for climate change. This one grows in our neighbour's garden.

Tomorrow looks like being a busy day - coffee with friends - lunch with other friends- and a lantern clock I've always liked,  to have  minor (I hope) surgery on, to be done in situ.    Oh well. We'll see.

                                                            Goodnight All.

Friday, 14 August 2015


The rather handsome old building above is the White Hart coaching Inn in Highdale. It is at the opposite end of town to us, and  has recently changed hands, having been taken over by friends of ours, Ros and Simon Cook, who, as their surname suggests, are professional caterers. Having taken it over, they have spent the last month or so having it tidied up and redecorated inside and out. Must say they've had a lovely job made of it.  We were taken there today for lunch by Hilary, as, and I quote : - "A small 'thank you' for all the time Ann spent looking after me" - when Hilary had an eye operation done at the local hospital in Ipswich in July.  We know that Simon makes rather a speciality of fish, so Ann and Hilary both had lemon sole (I think), and I had a fillet of turbot, followed by excellent puddings, I suspect of Ros' making. Altogether - a very good  lunch.

The room above is now the main restaurant.

This room is the front bar.  I like the fact that they haven't gone all 'olde worlde' in their decoration of the place. It is obviously an ancient building, but is not smothered with Birmingham made horse brasses. It should do well. We're rather spoiled here for goodish eating places, but I think this one is going to be an asset to the town - and to the area.


                                           Hope they do well. They deserve to.

                                                                 Goodnight All.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015


A week or so ago we got a panic call from granddaughter Georgie in London, asking if one or both of us could baby-sit great grand daughter Elsa. Georgie is back at work full time, and her baby sitting rota had one blank day on the list. Ann said she would go, and as (a) I've been to London twice in the last six weeks and managed to spend some time with the young lady (Elsa that is), and also, as a direct result of my London visits, I have a good deal of work waiting in the workshop for my attention, I decided not to go with her. So this afternoon I motored over to Manningtree Railway Station, and saw Ann onto her train (see next three photos).

Immediately after  lunch, which consisted (mainly) of  a very good lamb casserole, Ann showed me that she'd left me a full fridge, so I shan't even have to cook while she's gone. Since getting home at about half past two, I've been very busy in the workshop, and by the time Ann returns I should be pretty well up to date.  Hope she enjoys her stay - I'm sure Elsa will. She's thirteen months old now, fairly mobile , and very socially inclined - good company in fact.


Good night All.

P.s. Ann 'phoned to say that she'd arrived safely, after an uneventful journey, bar a minor 'bus accident in London, in which no one was hurt except a wing mirror! All the passengers then had to  change onto another 'bus. Ann says it only added a few minutes to the journey. It's a good way to see London - from the top of a 'bus.

Monday, 10 August 2015


First of all, my apologies for not having blogged for over a week.  No excuses, except that I have been thoroughly busy during that time. However, I have found time to take the odd photie, so here are one or two of them. I know I've often shown the more usual views of our ancient Guildhall, whose origins are lost in the mists of iniquity, but here is a view taken of the back of the guildhall, with its cobbled courtyard/carpark.

Since the Luncheon Club was started, to give the 'old dears' of our town, a very reasonably priced monthly lunch, Ann has worked hard for it, and indeed, run it for the last few years.  However, last March, having achieved her harumpety-fifth birthday, Ann decided to retire. The committee, having decided that we must both now have achieved the status of 'old dears',  invited us to attend the future lunches as deserving participants, which we have done since then.  I took the above photo last Friday; It shows, on the right our friend Hilary, who has just had surgery on her right eye, and is feeling it a bit.  On her right is Gwen, who at ninety nine, is till enjoying- and is full of - life.

Last Friday friends John and Milly had supper with us, and gave Ann the above pot plant. It is very pretty, but I'm afraid I've forgotten its name. I'm sure one (or more) of you will know, and remind me.

Must stop and do some work now. Last Wednesday, at Long Melford, I purchased a Black Forest wall clock, which I've repaired, and it's now keeping decent time.  At the moment I'm in the middle of a French flintlock pistol - it's now in good working order, but still needs a little cosmetic work and a good clean.

Will try and be more conscientous(not sure of the spelling of that last word) - so will call it better behaved blog-wise.
Regards to all, Mike.

Saturday, 1 August 2015


Been a pleasantly sociable weekend. Yesterday evening friend Zoe drove over from North Suffolk, dined with us and slept here. Ann gave us duck casserole (I opened a bottle of gewurztraminer, which despite pedants who will say that this is a wine for game, 'went' quite well with the duck).  Ann followed this with a lovely trifle, then with a cheese board, followed by coffee. Lingered over the meal, then to bed at about ten thirty.

At nine this morning we were joined by bloggers Sir Bruin and the Small Bear , so that above and below we show photos of East Anglian Bloggers.

Then on to Hollowtrees Farm Shop Restaurant, where we all enjoyed their celebrated farmhouse breakfast. The party broke up about Mid day.

At 2 p.m. to Scrabble Club for my weekly three games. Ann went shopping with friend Sue. Whilst we were finishing our third game, Ann and Sue came in and  washed up the tea things. Then on to Sue and David's where we drank more tea and caught up on all the news. Sue showed us a fine pottery urn of Amherst pattern, which she knows we (sort of) collect. They are retired dealers (if any antique dealers can ever be said to have completely retired), and after a while we purchased the urn from them, and we are trying it in different places about the house, although I think it will eventually occupy the first home that Ann suggested, which is in the centre of the front window of the house, where it really does look well. Must take a photo of it.
Must also knock off now, I think, and do a bit of work. Still got a good deal of cleaning and labelling to get ready for next week's Long Melford Fair.

Regards to all my readers - Mike.

Friday, 31 July 2015


I think I've put up similar photos of our double jettied Guildhall with its summertime hanging baskets of flowers a year or two ago, still, it looks really well at this time of year. Walked into town this morning via the Churchyard and took this one. Been a busy week. Motored into Essex earlier this week and lunched with friends. Janet is a second generation antique dealer and has decided to retire, so she 'phoned us, and asked if I would look over her brass, copper, and pewter stock, and buy anything I wanted, as she didn't want to put anything through the salerooms (don't blame her); so we drove to North Essex, which is as pretty, in parts, as some of Suffolk, and bought quite a lot of stock, plus one possible 'keepie'.  Must knock off- being called upstairs for tea, and we have an overnight guest coming soon, so must clean meself up and get changed (am in workshop scruff at present).  Will probably blog again later - or more probably tomorrow.

Saturday, 25 July 2015


This blog entry records the last of the Scandinavian holiday snaps. Above is a snapshot of the beach of the 'Swimming Lake' near Nea's farm house. This area of the beach seems to be covered with clover flowers, which, in the sand, give a rather pretty effect.

And, finally, the long journey home. Ruth drove us back across Sweden and Norway to Trondheim Airport. The girls came, too. Above snap shows Swedish mountainous area, with glimpses of snow towards the tops.

Fairly typical North west Swedish Church, with separate bell chamber.

Nea driving into Norway.  The  journey was fairly uneventful.

Thank you, Nea, Lasse, and family, for a lovely break in a lovely country. The time flew past.


Normal Service will now be resumed :-

This past week has been busy. Our good friend Hilary has had an eye operation. Ann ran her into hospital, stayed with her, and stayed overnight with her on her return home. At the same time I took a taxi, then a train into London, viewed Bonham's Arms and Armour auction then slept at Lizzie's. On Thursday, back to Bonham's  and bid (fairly successfully - seven lots). Then home by train, etc.  Got home about 9p.m.

      Yesterday (Friday) evening,  friends Hilary and Heather, came and had supper with us-thoroughly enjoyed the evening, ate early (6.30p.m. for seven) in view of Hilary's op. earlier in the week.  Party broke up about nine thirty p.m.  so an early night (much needed). Slept well.


Tuesday, 21 July 2015


To return to mid/North Sweden. The area where Nea lives is, in fact, about a hundred miles South of the arctic Circle. On a map it looks like North/Central Sweden, but is treated by the natives as being  in Northern Sweden. On the photo above is part of a lilac hedge near their farmhouse. We saw several of these, although lilac in full flower seemed strange to our eyes in mid July.

The picture above is taken from the top of what looks like a modern water tower. On top of it is a circular glazed area which contains a very good restaurant (we lunched here three days of our stay- and excellent grub it was, too). We had a window seat looking over the town, the lake, and the surrounding hills. The lake is huge -several miles long. According to local legend it contains 'the Great Lake monster' . He appears to be something like our 'Nessie'.  Animal activity was last observed in the waters of the lake about two years ago.

 Back at the farmhouse, our granddaughters and Nippa, the dog, soaking up the sunshine on the front porch.Should say the young lady on the right is now exactly the same height as I am (or slightly taller), whilst her sister, on the left, is an easy three inches taller than I am, i.e. about six foot two.

One day we drove out to 'the Swimming Lake'. It's a smaller lake (about two miles long) with a beach at one end. We didn't swim (the first year there we haven't, but it was tooooo cold). In a field near the lake I photographed these three cranes, large birds, about three feet high at the shoulder.

I think we're nearly at the end of the holiday snaps; one more blog entry should do it. Grit your teeth. Then it's back to the usual Suffolk scenery.
Hope you haven't been too bored,  Regards, Mike and Ann.

Monday, 20 July 2015


On our second day in Sweden we drove out to Nea's farm. The above photo shows the river (stream really) which flows about seventy yards from the farmhouse. As it had rained a good deal in the previous week the river was in spate. This little river supplies the water for their farmhouse and all the other houses in the village (all five of them). Good clean water it is too!

This one is of Nippa, the family dog. She is, as you can see, a pure bred Norbotten Spitz (or so I'm told). She is, I think the best natured and most intelligent dog I've ever known. She is now though, eleven and a half years old. She is trained to the gun, and assists Nea's husband when he's out after elk.

Not sure if these are wild roses, although there are several banks of them in the area. For a 'single' rose they have a lovely scent.

The above small building was originally the calf shed. When Nea and husband bought the place, they turned it into a play house for their daughters, who at nearly eighteen and fifteen have rather grown out of it now. There are two swings from the cross bar (a pine tree trunk) in the two silver birch trees, and the swings are still in occasional use.

It is a lovely, peaceful part of the world.

Good night all.

Sunday, 19 July 2015


These two extra photographs are for the benefit of Crowbard and Rog (or indeed any of my readers who care to take a guess at last Friday's mystery object.

I think they will help to identify the object's primary purpose, although it is rather a rarity - not the sort of thing you'd expect to find at a car boot sale these days;  nor the sort of thing that any jack of all trades would use.

Hope this helps.
Regards, Mike and Ann.

Saturday, 18 July 2015


As you can see the above photo is of the first railway station out of Trondheim. It is called Hell, whichof cours, gives rise to all sorts of terrible puns, i.e 'We had to go through Hell to get to Trondheim'.........'It's a Hell of a long way to get to Trondheim'.........etc, etc,etc.  I do wish Rog or someone like him who's good at thinking of fresh puns would go to ..... NO, I must reword that ..... Oh well, I'm sure you know what I mean, Rog, although I'm not sure there are any new ones. I asked my youngest granddaughter (who is fifteen) about the name of the place, and she tells me that she thinks that in Norwegian it probably means a large, rocky shelf, presumably on which the village was built.

Above demonstrates the result of prolonged travelling, although I think ten minutes or so did her good. Ann is one of those fortunate people who can drop off for fifteen minutes, then wake refreshed. If I do that I tend to sleep soundly for an hour or more, then wake feeling worse than when I dropped off !

This was taken somewhere near the Swedish/Norwegian border. If you look at the upper part of the picture it shows that, even in July, it's possible to see snow in this area.

More to come - but probably tomorrow, although tomorrow looks like being a busy day. Good night - we'll see.


On the evening of  Wednesday the eighth of July we flew to Norway (Trondheim airport), and met up  with our daughter and her daughters. We slept at the Airport Hotel, then spent the next morning exploring the town of Trondheim. It's a nice old town (I think an old fishing port) and is an excellent place for pottering around. 

 On the small harbour is the above (and below) bronze statue. He is called 'The last Viking'. His present purpose seems to be to collect gull guano  on the end of his nose, and he appears to find this rather a depressing come down.

In the afternoon we caught the train from Trondheim to Ostersund in Sweden. The above  photo was taken from the train a mile or two from Trondheim, and is of the fjord. There is more to come, but the machine refuses to accept  more that three photos  at a time, so I am having to publish this in little bits.

Friday, 17 July 2015



Just  after midday today we arrived back in civilisation (well Suffolk anyway) after our trip to Sweden via Norway - Trondheim Airfield. The trip was organised by our second daughter (who blogs as Nea) and Ann. We stayed with Nea and her husband, her 15 and (very nearly) 18 year old daughters.  I have a lot of holiday snaps to foist on my readers eventually; but in the meantime here are some photos of an antique object I purchased whilst in Sweden. I think it will make a very decent MYSTERY OBJECT, in that I shall be pleasantly surprised if any of you can guess its correct (well - primary - purpose). It is made of wood (I think straight grained mahogany), and is just over ten and a half inches long. See if you can tell me its purpose, date and country of origin. In view of where I purchased it the country of origin should be Sweden, but even that is a little doubtful in that the only illustration I can find of a similar one states that it was made in England!

I will eventually publish more photoes to illustrate its purpose.  It is lovely to be home, and I wish you very happy guessing.
Warm regards  - Mike and Ann.