Friday, 21 October 2016


The photos on yesterday's blog entry were taken coming home from Sudbury, and were mainly taken through the car windscreen in villages on the way home. The one above was taken as we were motoring through Kersey. The variety of windows still displayed in this ancient building fascinates me. Good Night All.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


Been a good, active week so far. Yesterday evening I gave a talk to the Mothers' Union (and about half a dozen assorted husbands, and a grown up son) on the subject 'The History of base metalware', illustrated by a table topful of early objects, from the late Stone Age to the late eighteenth century. I usually do this on the principle that if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the actual, three dimensional object is worth at least a hundred pictures. There was a slight problem at first in that the Mothers' Union Secretary was labouring under the delusion that my subject should have been 'Precious metal ware'; so at the end of about forty minutes waffle on 'A History of base Metal Ware' I produced a very ornate, mid Victorian, silver drinking cup, for her special benefit, and in case that didn't satisfy her lust for 'precious metal ware', I hauled out my gold hunter watch and its gold chain from my weskit pocket, and added it to the silver cup. Also as usual, I introduced a 'question and answer' session at the end of the talk, in case I'd not covered everything or made all clear. As sometimes happens this session went on nearly as long as the talk itself (I'd been asked to make the talk somewhere about forty-five minutes long - I'm always a little surprised to find that it's easy enough to carry on for that time on an interesting subject). At the end of the lecture (and, as Ann is a member of the Mothers' Union - I'd not made a charge for the talk) the secretary presented me with a bottle of wine as a thank you, which was much appreciated. It's always a pleasure to talk to a captive audience on one's own subject. Today (Thursday) we've been over to Sudbury to do a little shopping - Ann found some plants she wanted for the garden on a plant stall (it's Market Day in Sudbury on a Thursday); and I took a weskit in to my Tailor. It has shrunk in my wardrobe over the last few years - I don't know what they do to wardrobes to cause this to happen, but I know it is a not unusual effect. Matthew, my tailor, thinks he can get the necessary repairs done. Must go and assist Ann with some cat feeding - not our cats -neighbours' cats- Two neighbours - three cats. May finish this later. P.S. Consider it finished now. Cats wouldn't co-operate, which is a bit ungrateful of them considering we'd gone there to feed them; you'd think it would be little enough gratitude to pose for a photy or so. Cats!!! humph!! Good night All.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


We spent last weekend with Sarah and Mikey, having received an invitation from Mikey's parents, Frank and Jane, to attend their Golden Wedding celebration meal at the Woburn Golf Club.The above photo shows meself after the meal and surrounded by glamorous granddaughers (Sophia, Amelia, and Lucy). It was a lovely 'do'.

Monday, 17 October 2016


Took this photo outside our home last week. The lorry shown bullying the small car was MASSIVE. There is a weight limit of seven and a half tons on this street. Almost all the houses in the street are Grade two listed. Whilst I was taking photographs Ann was trying to inform the Police of the difficulty with the lorry as traffic built up. Although Ann eventually managed to report the matter to the police, no police attended, and we were not given any further information by the police. Despite the weight limit having been applied around twenty years ago, it is flouted daily, and apparently with complete impunity!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Today we motored across to John and Margaret's house in a village a few miles north of here to have lunch with them. Got a panic call that their long case clock was playing up, so took my tool box with me. As soon as we got there, while Margaret made coffee, I had a look at the clock, applied a little clock oil appropriately and (this is the important part) set the clock in beat. Don't quite know how this had happened, but it is a thirty hour clock, therefore is wound every day. It should ideally be fastened to the wall, so that once set in beat it will not depart from it. I've already explained all this to John, but as he doesn't really want to fasten the clock to the wall (for various reasons) I don't mind going over occasionally and giving it remedial treatment, especially when one of Margaret's lunches is included in the arrangement. We have a reciprocal arrangement with them, when John checks out any minor computer problems. It seems to work very well, and is an arrangement of very long standing. Took the photos on the drive home, mainly in Bildeston. Some lovely old buildings there. It is now a mile away from the village church; according to local legend this is because the place was very badly hit by the black death in 1349, so that the village was eventually moved down to the river. Not sure about all that, except that the bit about the Black Death seems to be true enough. Must close and do a bit more work now; regards, Mike and Ann.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016


Couple of photies put in just to keep in practice. Played scrabble at Hilary's this morning. Two good games. Won the first. The second photo shows a toleware (japanned tinned iron) snuff box I bought on eBay a day or two ago. Cleaned up nicely with better detail showing than I expected. The legend on the box is 'Liberty to all men' which was a favourite anti slave trade slogan. A real piece of history. Certainly made and probably used in England. It is a fact that a good many English workmen solidly backed the emancipation of American slaves, feeling that although they were not very well off themselves, at least they were free men. Such an English workman probably carried, and used, the snuff box displayed above. Went to dentist this afternoon to have a filling seen to. He asked me if I thought an injection would be necessary. Suggested he try it first without one and see. So he did, and all was well. Good night All.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


Once again - corners of our tiny garden. The first one shows a small group of bonsaied, but native trees, they are a cotoneaster tree, a hawthorn tree, an ash tree (though there is some doubt as to the survival of this one) and a yew tree, which I have been training for about ten years now - this sounds as if I stand in front of it daily, cracking a whip and shouting "Down sir, get down" -but this is not how one trains bonsai trees. Number Two photo shows roses still in bloom in mid October. Can't remember the name of number three, but if I do, I'll insert it in a P.s., photo number four shows an olive tree in front of a fig tree, with red flowered plants around its base. Can't remember the name of the red flowered plant, either. Just remembered the name of the plant in photo number three - it's a hibiscus tree. Shan't have to reopen this entry for a P.S. now. On Saturday when son Jonathan was teaching me to use the new computer, we decided to bid on a few items so that we could check the bidding part of the computer, then, if any of the bids succeeded we could pay by Pay pal to check that the Paypal part is working too. Anyway, by this means, I purchased quite a nice little snuff box in painted tin (tole ware) with 'Liberty to All men' (an anti slavery slogan) on the lid, made about ten years either side of the year 1800, If you're reading this Jon, many thanks for your efforts. I really do feel that I'm back in business now. As this blog entry is now rather longer than I'd intended, I think I'd better close it and get on with some real work. Bye All.

Sunday, 9 October 2016


These are by way of being mystery objects. They are not really mystery objects but coins. They are very unlike each other in almost every way, but they do, in fact, have something very much in common. See if you can guess what it is. I think that Crowbard and indeed Rog may very well have a good idea. P.S. I should have said :- the larger coin is just over one and a half inches in diameter and very thick - over an eighth of an inch (and weighs two ounces). The smaller coin is about half an inch in diameter. Hope this helps. Warm Felicitations to you all.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Distinguished looking gent on the photo is our son Jonathan, who has spent the day with us whilst trying to turn your blogger into a responsible, computer-wise citizen, and, if this picture turns out all right, seems to have succeeded. Many thanks, Jon. I will continue to practice. He has also given me lessons in gathering 'comments', bidding on eBay, and playing scrabble on computer (give ear, oh Rog. there should be a scrabble game started and waiting for you. Hope to see you reply soon). Warm regards to all - Mike.
Still practicing under son Jonathan's tuition.

Friday, 7 October 2016


Wednesday attended a good, busy, Long Melford Antique Fair. Sold an early stonebow (16/17th century Italian) soon after we got there and before we'd had time to set up. Bought two brass tinder boxes, both needed a clean, but sold one of them on to a couple (quite literally a married couple) of American dealers (old friends) together with a good deal of early metalware. Very busy morning both buying and selling. Just after midday our good friends Derek and Cath turned up to look after the stall for a while, and we adjourned to the Bull Inn for a quick lunch. After lunch things were rather quieter, but we continued to sell odd bits and pieces. Packing up was a good deal easier than packing had been earlier. Got home at about four thirty, and teenage Tom Next-Door (note hyphenated surname) gave us the usual very welcome assistance doing the heavy work. Now all we've got to do is to find some more decent antiques ready for the next fair; still, got a month to do that, and we usually succeed in finding a few fresh bits. I'm really just typing up bits of this last week to keep the blog going. Still unable to illustrate it, but son Jonathan is coming over on Saturday morning to try and teach me to use the computer more efficiently, especially in the photography department. I am also quite unable to buy on Ebay, and I hope Jon will be able to set me to rights on this. Oh Well ; we'll see. P.s. It would also be lovely to be able to correspond with fellow bloggers again. Cannot check whether I'm receiving any comments to blog, hence -lack of correspondence!! Fingers crossed, though.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016


Still practicing. One of these shows (Sorry - yet again) the ipomeia - been a very good year for them. The other picture shows us, and Ann's siblings and their partners having lunch a week or so ago, in the Crow and punchbowl Inn at Horningsea near Cambridge.


On Sunday we drove to our friends' house near Lavenham, climbed into their car and all four of us (driven by Keith) went to Hartley Wintney in Hampshire, where an annual meeting of the Antique Metalware Society was being held. The journey took nearly three hours, but we'd left home at 6.45 a.m. , so we got there at around ten a.m. Various interesting subjects were spoken of by various experts, then after a sort of indoor picnic lunch (ours put together by Ann and Jill, and a very nice lunch it was, partaken of by eight of us in all), several examples of early metal ware were shown by their owners and discussed by all. Crowbard may be interested to learn that I took along the bronze sword that I've shown recently on blog (Friday 23rd September) and that it raised considerable interest. It was eventually decided that it was indeed made in the Luristan area (now Persia), and that it is rather earlier than I'd realised, i.e. somewhere between one thousand and two thousand years B.C. It's always reassuring to have your judgement confirmed by 'the experts'. We eventually hit the road about five, and got home by about half past eight. It had been a lovely (and thoroughly educational) day out.

Thursday, 29 September 2016


I still seem to be having problems with this machine, which is a Windows 10. Still trying though. About to see if I can put up a photo. 'The King of Prussia's eldest son said "Thank you. I am having none." and that seems to be exactly the attitude of my 'new' computer. Very annoying, but at least this morning it seems to be considering allowing me to publish a written blog - I hope. It has been, so far, a busy week. Been getting on well (so far) in the workshop, dealing with an 'anniversary clock' so called because it is supposed to run for 400 days. I don't usually take on early twentieth century clocks, but this one belongs to a friend's son, and is anyway proving to be more interesting than I thought it would be. Am also dealing with a large, late Victorian wall clock, which is responding well to treatment. Would that I could transfer some of my skills in mechanical items to electronical skills in computers. I've also been working on three guns that I bought at a local auction a fortnight ago, although they really only needed tidying up and cleaning, which they all look the better for. I also bought a book on bayonets and a bronze age sword, which I think I've already told you about. I think I'm waffling now instead of doing some work, so will remedy matters by adjourning to the workshop. Sorry about the lack of photies. Wish you all a good day.

Sunday, 25 September 2016


This morning we went to the harvest festival at Aldham Church. I read the first lesson, a very long one, 31 verses from Exodus. After the service we stayed on for a 'shared lunch' when we all bring something in the way of food. It always surprises me at what a well balanced selection this produces, and a good lunch was had by all. Been at work in the workshop most of the afternoon, but as today is my birthday, I've been constantly interrupted by the 'phone, all by the family wating to wish me many happies. Very nice of them all, and as I've been asked the obvious question several times I may as well confess that I'm seventy four today. Even the Minister at church this morning knew it was my birthday. I asked him how he knew and he told me that it was on Facebook this morning. "In some ways", he said, "these modern forms of communication are nearly as good as the village grapevine used to be". I'm now going to try and put up a photograph; in the meantime I wish you all a very good night.

Saturday, 24 September 2016


The above photos are more ipomieas, a good pub at Horningsea near Cambridge, where Ann and her three siblings (and partners) got together for a monthly lunch. I'd recommend the place once I can remember its name - good grub, excellent service, and not tooo expensive. On the way home, Ann was driving, I spotted part of a rainbow way up in the sky and on ts back, as best I can describe it. It was still visible when we got home, so I took the above photo of it. I expect there is a proper meteorological name for this sort of phenomena. Does any one know it please? P.s. I think the name of the pub is The Crown and Punchbowl?

Friday, 23 September 2016


Dear Crowbard, please have a look at these two pictures. You can see that the Italian crossbow has now been strung. It looks better, doesn't it? In both pictures I hope you will be able to see a bronze age short sword (the blade being about eighteen inches long. I bought it at a country auction where it was catalogued as Chinese. I think it might well be Persian (Luristan), and would value your opinion? Over to you.

Thursday, 22 September 2016


Very quick blog this evening. I think you'll soon be fed up with photos of the ipomeias ? But they're still flowering, and look like doing so until the first frost, and they are very photogenic. The other snap is of meself making up a jug of Pimms, back in august when we had friends coming for lunch. The photo is a bit misty because I'd left the camera in the car overnight and the lens got a bit damp. A tip I was given by my old (and now late) friend, John C.T. about making pimms was not to use lemonade as a mixer, but tonic water. It makes the pimms a bit less sweet, to its great advantage. Goodnight All.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


Been a lovely year for Ipomeia (I think I may have said that a day or two ago, still, this photo came up, so I may as well use it). Spent today making a trigger for a Spanish miquelet flintlock pistol, and replaced one or two screws, etc. This afternoon Ann went to Mothers' Union meeting; I made meself a cuppa, and sat down to read the rest of the newspaper - woke up an hour later, with the tea on the table beside me - cold. Could have been worse - could have dropped off holding the tea, and woken up with hot tea in me lap. Wooden hill time, I think. Goodnight all.