Sunday, 29 May 2016


Our High Street here in Highdale is full of lovely old buildings. The one pictured above is nowhere near the oldest of them, but it does retain a lot of original features. In the glass of one of the first floor windows there is a date in part of the lead work. It is, I think 1657 - I don't quite trust my memory and will check this. The ground floor is, as you can see, now four separate shops. All the innards are surprisingly ungot at; i.e. quite fairly original. An old building is usually worth walking right round, if possible. Well, it's impossible with this one- as you can see (top picture- it is now part of a long terrace of buildings, so the ends of this one are invisible now.

However, it struck me that the rear of the building is still on view, partly because one of the four buildings is now a coffee shop, with seating in the rear garden. Also, from the street at the back of the building, which runs parallell (think I've got the 'l's right. The word 'parallellogram' always gave me problems at school -it's one of those words that look wrong however you spell them). Point is, that from a gate in the back street a photograph can be taken of the rear of the building. If you look in between the three 'pointy' roofs  at the top,  you can see two small doors that give on to the 'leads' between the dormers. Don't know what the doors were for, but no doubt they had a purpose. From the back of the building it looks as if the building dates from the sixteenth century.  Our town has lots of little lanes behind both sides of the High Street, so it's often possible to view the rear of most buildings, and I can think of quite a few that have had new facades put in, but usually the rear view is rather more original. Must start looking closer.

Goodnight everyone.

Thursday, 26 May 2016


Dear Crowbard, herewith, as promised, photographic details of a silver coin I purchased about fifteen years ago. It was sold me as a coin of Queen Boudicca (boadicea), of about 61 A.D.  It is an attractive coin of  a slightly greyish silver,  just over half an inch across. The vendor, who I've rather lost touch with over the last five years or so (the last I heard from a mutual friend was that he was a sick man). I was sorry to hear it as he was a fount of knowledge in the field of antiquities.  I hope this is of interest to you; please let me know if you can add to the details I have of the coin.

Warm regards, Mike.

Saturday, 21 May 2016


 On Thursday of this week, we, together with about forty other people of this area (including friend Hilary), set out at about ten to seven in the morning, and went, by coach to Stratford on Avon, to see the afternoon performance of Shakespear's Cymbeline at the Royal Shakespear Theatre (see above photograph). Most of us had never seen this play before, and although I read it before we set out, at the end of my reading, the more confused both the play and I seemed. It is a complicated play set in Romano British times. A good many liberties had been taken with the plot, which probably didn't really help (to my mind they never really do). King Cymbeline had become a Queen instead. The King's two young sons had been kidnapped in early childhood (in the standard plot) but in the version we saw, these were a boy and a girl, and when a cave/hole in the ground was opened, the two missing children, a boy and a girl, came out, and this gave the play (for me) a similarity to the Suffolk tale of  'the green children of Woolpit'.  Very confusing, but really quite enjoyable in its way.

We got back into the coach at about five p.m. and I took the next two photos  (of Stratford on Avon) through the coach windows.  A pretty place - lots of half timbered buildings - but I can think of a good many places in Suffolk which are just as  good.

We slept, on and off, in the coach most of the way home, and got home at about ten p.m.   We all quite enjoyed it, but if we do it again  we'll try and make it a play we know (Quite fancy 'The Tempest' which is one of my favourites) and if we know it, I could hear it rather better, if you see what I mean.

We don't seem to have stopped this week, and as it's approaching nine o'clock  I think I'm going to have an early night.  I bid you all a very good night.

Warm regards, Mike and Ann.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016


Here is a picture I was able to take last week, which I think amply demonstrates the difference in size between a muff pistol (top) and a standard size pocket pistol. The mechanisms of the two are surprisingly similar, despite the lower one being French, and the upper one English.  Great copy cats those French.

Going now to our garden, here is a photo of the first clematis in bloom .

Today we motored over to the Manger Inn at Burnt Bradfield, where we met up, and lunched with our friends Derek and Cath. We normally meet them at Long Melford antique fair, so it was good to meet up for lunch and an uninterrupted natter. To anyone interested in place names, you will find Burnt Bradfield (the country name) on the map as Bradfield Combust. Both these names refer to the rioting that went on here in 1327. It started in Bury Saint Edmund's, and ended in Burnt Bradfield when the rioters burned down Bradfield Hall.  It is now an area of peaceful countryside and the occasional old thatched farmhouse (see picture above), and it is difficult to imagine the scenes of rioting and arson that took place here nearly seven hundred years ago.

In the words of the dreadful old music hall song 'I'm one of the ruins that Cromwell knocked about a bit ':-

In the good old days there really were some doings;
It's no wonder that the dear old Abbey fell to ruins.

Friday, 13 May 2016


This week's Mystery Object.  This was one of the six lots I purchased on Wednesday at Bonham's Knightsbridge saleroom. I've photographed it on the palm of my left hand to give some idea of size (I think my hands are of the average male size). The pistol is just over four and a half inches long. the turn off barrel is just under one and a half inches long. The bore of the pistol is just over three tenths of an inch, and the barrel is chambered to take a very slightly larger ball than the bore, so that the muzzle velocity would be good.  It would be interesting to see what you can tell (or deduce) about the  pistol from the photographs.

P.s. I have several more photos of the pistol, if more details are required. The pistol  has already been  sold to a keen local collector.

Thursday, 12 May 2016


Been a good, busy week this week. To London on Tuesday to view a sale - Bonham's of Knightsbridge, Arms and Armour, to be specific. Stayed over at youngest daughter, Lizzie's. Went to the auction on Wednesday afternoon, and eventually bought six lots. Didn't buy the lot I really wanted, though - for the very good reason that it eventually sold for over twice the upper estimate. Still six lots, all fairly decent, isn't bad. Got home just before eleven yesterday evening,.

The top photo is of a rose bush in Liz's garden. It flowers very early every year. Lizzie lives just off Chiswick High Street,  which I think must be a very sheltered area. Liz says this rose was still carrying flowers in February, then flowered again in early May. I've a feeling I showed the same bush, on blog, two or three years ago. Liz says she prunes it back fairly hard every year, but this treatment seems to suit it well. As you can see, it's full of buds.

The above photo shows Ann, Liz, and Liz's granddaughter, Elsa (our senior great-granddaughter) yesterday evening, in Liz's kitchen.

Spent a fairly lazy day pottering today (most energetic thing I've done is unwrapping yesterday's six lots).  Must be strong minded now and get on with some work.

                                       Warm regards to all readers, Mike.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016


Today we took Hilary out to lunch at the Ramshold Arms, just North of Woodbridge, on the North bank of the River Deben. We'd booked a table, but, as we were well ahead of schedule we motored down to Bawdsey, and parked on the car park next to the Deben Ferry across to Old Felixstowe. The above photo is of a little fishing smack passing one of the two Martello Towers at Old Felixstowe. These were built just over two hundred years ago, in case Boney was  so ill advised  as to try and invade us. The idea was that heavy artillery would be mounted on these towers to actively discourage any approaching Frenchmen. It seems to have worked.

The above picture shows half the crew gutting a flatfish which had been  the wrong plaice at the wrong time - the other half of the crew, presumably the captain, was in the deck house navigating and driving (I know that's the wrong term, but my use of maritime expressions is a bit shaky).

The first mate was on the aft deck (that sounds better) getting rid of the bits of fish that the fish could not reasonably hope to use again, and throwing them to the pursuing seagulls, who were eager to prove that they could use these bits of fish to some advantage. As you can see it was a lovely sight, except perhaps if you were a fish.

It was a good way to spend half an hour on a fresh, but sunny, spring morning. We then motored back to the Ramsholt Arms and eventually had lunch - mainly fish - knew just how those gulls felt.
Had lunch at a reserved table in the window of the dining room overlooking the river Deben and watched the tide turning and running out as we ate. Had a lovely day out, but had to get home in time for me to complete preparations for tomorrow's antique fair at Long Melford, which means a very early start...... So, Goodnight Everyone.


With reference to my previous blog entry on Sunday, the connexion between the two items is that they were made probably around the same year. The English oak joined stool gives every indication of having been made somewhere between the years 1660 and 1680. The large treen bowl (it measures 17 inches by fifteen inches) has a good deal of carving beneath it, including the date of its manufacture - 1670, as seen above. Despite the difference in location of manufacture, and the difference in wood, they look well together, presumably because of the similarity of period.

Sunday, 1 May 2016


Bunch of unusual carnations (Dianthus) which we saw in a local florists and which I bought for Ann (as part of my husbandly duties).

Above is a painting by daughter Ruth, which hangs in our hall. We holidayed with she and her husband Lasse in a ski cottage in the hills/mountains of Norway, which we hired in the SUMMER of 1991. There was a waterfall which we could hear from the cottage. Ruth painted a picture of it on a sheet of copper, which seemed to work well (look at the reflection of the water below the fall). I swam in the pool near the fall - this was a mistake, though. It was snowmelt water, and heartstoppingly cold!. I did one quick circuit of the pool, and was glad of a hand from the youngsters to climb out!

Above are shown two items, also in the front hall. Not mystery items; one is a large, Swedish, treen bowl, the other an English  joined stool. But they do have something very much in common. See if anyone can guess what it is.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016


This morning, about coffee time (our friend Helga was taking coffee with us), when I had occasion to leap up and take the above photo of a young greenfinch. These seem to have become fairly rare over the last year or so, but this one has been coming to the bird feeder over the last couple of days, and finally allowed me to photograph him.

This afternoon, we walked into town to do one or two jobs that had become necessary, and we were pleased to see that work had finally begun on our friend Hilary's house (the pink, bescaffolded house in the above photograph).  It is a very old house - Hilary has a trick, when showing people around her house of saying "This is the new part; it's around five hundred years old."  Then, on entering into what she calls the 'older part', saying "Now this bit is rather earlier. Well, another two hundred years or so older than the new part I've just been showing you".  For the last year or more Hilary has been battling with the local council for planning permission to put up scaffolding on the front of the house, where large areas of the plastered facade have been threatening to tumble into the street, and it looks as if planning permission for the scaffolding must have been finally granted; and only just in time, too. So now the necessary repairs can be started.

Walked home via the river walk. Not long ago there were three black poplars in this immediate area of river bank. Now only this one is left, and, as you can see, it has recently been very heavily pollarded. There are very few black poplars left in the east of  England; so I hope the town council know what they're doing. There are signs of it having been pollarded a good deal in the past, and also signs of a few green shoots already showing in the upper part of the tree, so it may be alright (???)  Hope so anyway.
Must walk round that way rather more often. Will keep you in touch.


P.s. Ann has just 'phoned Hilary, who says that it's THREE years, not one, that she has been trying to get planning permission  for scaffolding  to be erected on her home, so that the necessary repairs can be done.  Like many of the houses in town (including ours) Hilary's home is Grade 2 listed, so it's hard  to see why the council make it so difficult for us to keep our homes in good repair.

Sunday, 17 April 2016


Was going to do a long and rambling blog this evening, but have run out of time; so will have to do a fairly quick  'Mystery Object',  two photographs of which are shown. The upper photo shows the whole object (it is one foot, three inches in length, although I have seen even longer ones). They were made for a quite specific purpose, I'm told. The lower photograph shows the mechanism of the device. Please have a guess at where they were made, roughly when, and the 'quite specific' purpose for which they were made.
Will now stagger off to bed, so  Goodnight to all, if any, readers.

Thursday, 14 April 2016


Been a busy week. On Monday motored over to Leicestershire, and spent a coupe of days with Crowbard, and his wife Judy, whose cooking and hospitality was, as usual, first rate.
On Wednesday we drove on to the Milton Keynes area, and spent a day with senior daughter Sarah and her family. The top photograph shows meself and our Great Granddaughter, Astrid, chatting. She is a contented little soul, and although she can't talk- she hasn't realised that fact, is convinced she is a prolific and accurate speaker, and spends a lot of time in verbal communication with whoever is next to her. This suits her great grandfather (meself) very well, being rather deaf, and we chat away quite happily together.

Above photo is of Grandson Guy, in school uniform, who has charge of the above Norfolk grandfather clock . Guy suspects there is an incipient minor fault in the winding mechanism. He is quite right - the click spring in the ratchet on the great wheel  of the striking  train needs to be tensioned up a little. Next time I'll try and remember to take a box of tools with me, and we'll perform kitchen table surgery on said click spring. A fairly easy job, but getting at it is the difficult bit.

Set out for home at nine ten ack emma this morning, journey took just under two hours. The garden is looking well, and, as you can see,  the snake's head fritillary is looking very well. Got a good deal of work to do though, before the middle of June, when we're booked to take part in the exhibition of 'Secret Gardens of Highdale'  still, potentially it's looking well, and we've got a couple of months to clean and polish things up a bit.  Quite looking forward to it.

Saturday, 9 April 2016


Been a very busy week. The two photographs are of a small clock  (six inch square dial) that I've purchased, restored, and resold (to a dealer) all in about the last  fortnight.  It's originally a loop and spurs wall clock, which has been later mounted on a small oak bracket. It was made somewhere around 1690 - 1720, by Roger Moore, of Ipswich, who was the founder of a distinguished family of East Anglian clockmakers. The best known of them was Thomas Moore, also of Ipswich, who was this chap's son.

This photograph shows the name Roger Moore, Ipswich, engraved along the bottom of the clock's brass  dial.  It was rather a temptation to keep this clock, but there - you can't keep them all, or the place begins to look like a cross between a junk shop and a museum.

I really started to type this blog entry to warn my readers that I am once again having problems with the computer. It keeps telling me how many messages it has taken in on my behalf, then refusing to give them up to me.  I think the number it's withholding at the moment is something like sixty three, but it keeps varying, so if you've written to me and not got a reply or an acknowledgement, it simply means that the computer has retained it and is growling at me whenever I attempt to make it give them up. I shall have to get an expert in to beat the machine up and persuade it to behave.

In the meantime, please bear with  me.

P.s. I should perhaps have said that Roger Moore was born somewhere around 1660, and died in 1727.

Friday, 1 April 2016


These three photographs are all of monuments in Bramfield Church, near Halesworth in Suffolk, and are at the special request of my brother, who blogs as Crowbard. The first two are a monument to three members of the Coke family, who lived at Bramfield Hall (the house behind the crinkle crankle wall, illustrated earlier this week). The monument was erected in the early part of the 1600s.

 The photograph above is a close up of part of the above monument to the Coke family. It is a lovely alabaster sculpture of mother and tiny daughter. It is very touching monument.

The above monument is, I think, of slate, much the same period as the Coke monument (or a little later). It is a monument to Bridgett Applewhaite, and has, to our way of thinking some odd ideas. One of them is worded as 'the enjoyment of the glorious freedom of an easy and unblemished widowhood' which seems to be the only cheerful part of the whole thing.

Don't trip over the long S, or rather esses in this one, they are written as fs, and can be a bit difconcerting.

Being called up to supper now, so must leave this - The church at Bramfield is worth the journey.

Thursday, 31 March 2016


Been having the kitchen decorated this last three days. Job finished this morning. This afternoon we motored over to our friend Helga's house for a birthday tea party. Helga is German by origin but has lived in England for the last sixty years or so. Her (and our) friend Rosemarie is staying with Helga, and today was Rosemarie's birthday. The above photo is (left to right) Helga, Joan, Rosemarie and Ann. A very good time was had by all.

After a most stimulating German tea we motored home, driving into a magnificent sunset (above and below).

I think I've quoted this before, but it's worth repeating :-

From quiet homes and first beginning,
Out to the undiscovered ends,
There's nothing worth the work of winning,
Save laughter, and the love of friends.


Ain't that the truth ?

Sunday, 27 March 2016


I think I must start off by saying that last week was a very busy one. Among a good many other things we attended two funerals, and these three photos were taken on our way to the second one (Thursday), which was held at Rumburgh which is in the North of Suffolk, up near Zoe. We stopped off at Bramfield to take photies of the Church, but I'd forgotten that opposite the Church was one of the longest crinkle-crankle walls I know, see photo above. The idea is that a wall built like this is a very strong, stable and long lasting wall!

The Church is quite a small church, and as you can see, thatched, as are a good many churches in North Suffolk. It has a round tower, which is also fairly common in this area, but Bramfield is unique in that the church was built well away from the round tower, as you can see.

This is a photograph of the nave of the Church. It is a quite small church (I think I've already said that), and has a quite superb rood screen, as well as several very interesting monuments, most of which I've photographed and may use en blog sometime.

Stopped off at Halesworth for lunch, then on to find Rumburgh Church, where our old friend Pat's funeral was to take place. She was an 'old' friend in that we've known her for fifty years or so. Even then she was very deaf (a result of childhood illness).  In fact, as she got older, she became profoundly deaf; but she was one of the best lip readers I've ever known. The real problem was that a few years ago she went blind as well. She remained though, and almost unbelievably,   invariably cheerful, pleased to see friends, and great fun. I can't describe her better than in a phrase someone used at the funeral :- "Whatever the weather, when Pat smiled the sun came out".

After tea and buns in the village hall, back in the car and fought our way back through the Saints, I know this area reasonably well, but I can still very easily get lost in the Saints (Zoe, who lives a few miles North, will know what I mean) then to the A143, the A140, and home.

It always seems to be quite a problem when blog keeping to know which bits to put down, and which large tracts to leave out. Still, I've got some lovely photos from last week that I can use up when I'm short of pictures.

Good Night, every one.


Saturday, 26 March 2016


The above three photos are not a public blog message, but a private piece of information for junior brother-in-law, if everyone else could kindly look away.

You can all look up now. Wish you all a Happy Easter. I think the above photos and message are a jolly good way of getting information to Tim. Hope it works.

P.s. Don't forget to put the clocks an hour forward tonight.

Warm regards to all.

Friday, 25 March 2016


With reference to the previous Blog Entry (mainly about the Fire Engine House Restaurant in Ely) this morning a friend of ours (Phoebe) sent us the above newspaper cutting. It reported that the day before our visit, a car ran into the front of the Fire Engine House, and badly damaged it. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but it's nice to report that last Monday, the day following the road accident, the place was open for trade as usual. No mention was made of the incident the day that we were there, and I like to think that that's the spirit that won the Empire - don't make a fuss about things - just bash on regardless.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016


Yesterday Ann had arranged a sibling day for ourselves, her three brothers and their partners, meeting at the Fire Engine House in Ely.  Took the above photo in our garden before we set out, then got in the car and motored over to Ely. A pleasant uneventful journey, and we arrived in plenty of time for me to go and have a poke round the Waterside Antique Centre. Worthwhile as I purchased four pieces of stock. Met an old friend and decided we just had time to go and have a coffee with her (she lives on the Quay at Ely, very near the Antique centre). Picked up all the family news (ours and hers) then back into Ely to the Fire Engine House.

The routine is that a table is booked a few weeks beforehand, then we  congregate in the above Bar Parlour (see photo) until all the others arrive, the staff bring in menus which we study, and place our orders while we wait. When everyone has arrived and placed their orders, and when our table is ready, a member of staff comes in and tells us, then we all troupe through into the dining room, and the meal is soon served. It sounds a bit long winded but it works well. We linger over the meal and all the family news is swapped. The meal usually starts about one o'clock, and ends a bit after three o'clock. The staff treats us like old friends (and vice versa) and a pleasant time is had by all. The food always consists of very largely locally grown produce, and is invariably very good, provided you are fond of country fare, cooked on the premises. Second helpings of vegetables are always offered, and sometimes second helpings of meat.  In my opinion (and we've been going there for forty odd years) it is the best restaurant in East Anglia, and I don't know why I'm telling you this, as you'll probably try to race me to it next time.   Long may the place continue to thrive, say I.

Saturday, 19 March 2016


Answer to Wednesday's mystery object. Crowbard is right in his answer that the object is a tobacco pipe tamper. The above photograph shows the position of use in a small, 17th century clay pipe. It is a good (but not tight) fit in the pipe.

This photo is the same but includes a 19th century 'churchwarden' clay pipe. The tamper could have been used in  this pipe, but it would be a loose fit.

I should perhaps have mentioned that the tamper is made of very pale (Georgian) brass. It dates, in my opinion, from  the eighteenth century, although in his book -'Paktong, the Chinese alloy in Europe' the author, my friend Keith Pinn, stresses the difficulty of dating these tiny artifacts made in paktong or pale brass, but states that they were mainly made from  the eighteenth century up to the mid nineteenth century.